On the eve of what has been described as this country’s most important general election in a generation – one being fought out mainly on the battlefields of Brexit and spending on public services – it seems entirely fitting that Hot Snakes should be playing here in Leeds tonight.
Well into their coruscating set at the Brudenell they unleash ‘I Need A Doctor’; it heads towards us like some rabid Rottweiler snarling and frothing at its fearsome mouth. An apparently damning indictment of the fractured American healthcare system this song could equally be applied to the Tories’ NHS failures this side of the Atlantic particularly when one thinks about what happened a few days ago when Boris Johnson was questioned on Yorkshire TV about a boy with suspected pneumonia who had slept on a pile of coats on the floor of a local hospital – just a couple of miles down the road from here – due to the lack of beds. Not only did our mendacious prime minister repeatedly refuse to look at a picture of the four year old lad, he then pilfered the reporter’s phone on which he was being shown the distressing image.
Many of Hot Snakes’ songs capture the sheer sense of outrage and disbelief that many of us felt upon hearing about the above. And the American four-piece – formed in the Californian city of San Diego 20 years ago – merge these heavily bruised feelings into those of rank disillusionment and utter despair before harnessing them to their unrelenting, unforgiving dual guitar-driven onslaught on the senses. It is not music for the faint-hearted.
As they head towards the home straight on their current jaunt round the UK and Ireland and even though tonight they only do one encore – as opposed to three or four on most every other date on this tour – the Hot Snakes juggernaut shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. From the moment they put the key in the ignition for ‘If Credit’s What Matters, I’ll Take Credit’ and fire up the Hot Snakes assault vehicle they do not ease off the gas. Not for one second. It is a sustained sonic attack; 18 songs, pretty evenly spread across the band’s four studio albums, plus one new tune ‘Checkmate’ which guitarist and lead singer Rick Froberg has rightly referred to as “big, fatty content freshly extruded from the Hot Snakes sausage machine. Same ingredients; new flav.”, all of which are driven by merciless guitar riffs, pulverising rhythms and Froberg’s larynx-lacerating vocals. It most certainly clears the head for what now lies ahead at the ballot box.
The Hot Snakes UK tour continues:
12th December – The Garage, London
13th December – Thekla Social, Bristol
14th December – Patterns, Brighton
15th December – Portland Arms, Cambridge
Photos: Simon Godley
More photos from this show are HERE