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LIVE: Heavy Lungs – Arts Club, Liverpool, 18/04/2024

Another graduate from the “School of shouty bands that have supported IDLES”Heavy Lungs are in town tonight promoting last year’s splendid debut album All Gas No Brakes.

And speaking of IDLES, Heavy Lungs’ lead singer is THE Danny Nedelko, who gives his name to their unity anthem exhorting the delights of an immigrant population. And it was around the time of that song first being released that this reviewer first saw HL, as they were ripping apart Liverpool Sound City, even though it was a Sunday lunchtime slot.

So it was with some vim and vigour we made our way towards the marvellous Arts Club (where we soon to discover has now started selling Guinness on draught, joy!) on what should have been a splendid spring evening. But the weather gods have decided that it is now going to feel like Autumn forever and we can’t help noticing how quiet it is around the venue. It turns out that not only is the gig clashing with the local football team’s (thankfully unsuccessful) attempt to progress in Europe, but it is also one of three similar vibe-type gigs all happening this evening within yards of each other (Maruja at the Shipping Forecast and L’Objectif at the Jacaranda being the other two), which is an absolute shame as there are many of us that would have gone to all three.

We are in just in time to catch local lads SPILT, and whilst their thrashiness can be a bit sprawling at times, when it’s focused, as on set highlight ‘Honeydew’ which sounds like Kings Of Leon going very very rogue, there’s some diamonds in the rough there. It is also great to see so many of their fanbase resplendent in their T-shirts, which is rare for a support.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a headline act come onstage at 10:00 (so late, and on a school night too) and the energy levels go up to a different level and where the intensity doesn’t let up for the next hour. Straight from the off, the whole four-piece are at it, swirling and leaping their way through ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ and a hypnotic ‘Late To The Party’.

Sometimes with bands with a penchant for the loud and obtuse the tunes can get lost somewhere in there, but not here tonight. The album title track brings out the first major crowd jig of the evening, and the new song that follows it gets an even bigger reaction with shouts of “I love it” from a someone in the crowd.

It’s one of two new ones we are treated to tonight, with the majority coming from the album. ‘Angle Grinder’ and ‘2 Hot 2 Ride’ are exhaustingly raced through, with no pause for breath, and the debut’s highlight ‘Plagiarism’ with it’s incessantly catchy “We does it, everybody does it” refrain ringing in the ears long after the gig.

Early track ‘Stutter’ somehow turns into a raucous version of Kelis‘s ‘Milkshake’ with drummer George, resplendent with red hearts in his hair, leading the singalong with the small but enthusiastic moshpit before ‘Descend’ does just that with a now topless Nedelko writhing around the stage on his back.

An insanely fun evening ends with their two best known songs, the frenetic ‘Dancing Man’ and old single ‘(A Bit Of A) Birthday’, which culminates in the frontman coming into the crowd to strut up and down the barrier.

I come away safe in the knowledge that I’ve picked the right night out tonight, Heavy Lungs are unstoppably entertaining, all gas, no brakes indeed.

(Photo: Cheryl Doherty)

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.