Asylums – The Cookie, Leicester 27/10/2016

It was Sartre who once pronounced “I want to leave, to go somewhere where I should be really in my place, where I would fit in… but my place is nowhere; I am unwanted,” yet this could quite easily have applied to Asylums on this mild, yet soulless Autumnal evening in Leicester. Taking the stage to a smattering of polite applause from the 20-strong throng inside The Cookie, Luke Branch and the boys must have felt deeply unwanted, out of place and longing for the comfort of their Southend-On-Sea homes. If this is how they felt then they show no sign of their disquiet for the next thirty minutes as they set about scything through one of this Summer’s most criminally ignored releases. Killer Brain Waves.

Music history is littered with the corpses of bands like Asylums; arriving at intimate venues to discover a meagre turnout must dishearten even the most impervious of egos and there is so much to love about this band that I am determined they won’t fail on my watch. Their songs are punchy, catchy slabs of indie rock which you find yourself humming along to whilst mashing potatoes in an evening; punctuated by wry, tongue in cheek observances on modern life. In some ways, they remind me of the early incarnations of Carter USM or Terrorvision, Asylums make you smile.

For once, you’re not going to elicit any further information from me. I can tell you they ran amok through the majority of Killer Brain Waves including ‘Joy In A Small Wage,  ‘Wet Dream Fanzine’ and the awesome ‘Monosyllabic Saliva‘ before closing with the anthemic ‘Born To Not Belong’ and ‘Slacker Shopper.‘ I can also tell you that the band not only sound great but they look like extravagant rock starts already. Luke Branch stands out a mile, he has the facial features of Guy Martin coupled with the hair of Seventies cartoon character Hair Bear. Branch is the ideal frontman, all action, sexy rock poses and a neat line in between song banter; he’s also never still, not for a moment. At one stage I worry he may have contracted St Vitus Dance. Alongside him is guitarist Jazz Miell, a praying mantis with a guitar who throws shapes that wouldn’t look out of place on a yoga mat. He resembles a deranged Afghan Hound, his blond hair seemingly having a life all of its own.

Asylums deserve so much more than they receive tonight, in an era where guitar-led indie rock is not only facile but largely redundant, the four lads are almost single-handedly manning the barricades in an attempt to breathe further life into a tired format. The fact they are managing to stay afloat is down to their energy, their determination and to venues like The Cookie who are still prepared to support smaller acts in a tightly packed marketplace. To say I left with an enormous smile on my face was an understatement, a view shared by the three friends I persuaded to come along and probably the remainder of the onlookers who, like me, would love to be able to tell our “we were there when…” anecdotes as Asylums hit the big time.

Anyway, that’s all you’re getting by way of a live review. If you really want to know how exciting and kinetic a band Asylums have become then take my advice, go and see them, they deserve a bigger stage. “I wanna know where fantasies go to die” implores Branch at the opening of ‘Wet Dream Fanzine,’ well the answer is evidently Leicester on a Thursday night.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.