There’s never been a moment in my time living up North where I’ve dreaded going to Hebden Bridge, but last night came close. Given that the country goes into lockdown whenever a single snow flake lands on the ground, I was concerned that the last train home would be cancelled and I’d be stranded in the Northern market town. Though there are worse places to be stranded, I suppose.
There was not much say in the matter however, given that Leeds leg-ends Pulled Apart By Horses were making the trip, marking their first ever show at the infamous Hebden Bridge Trades Club. It’s always a pleasure to take in a show at The Trades, and they’ve been putting on lots of wonderful line-ups recently, including fellow Northerners Hookworms and Everything Everything.
I was also fearful that I’d miss the support given some earlier tardiness and having caught the train to Hebden by the skin of me teeth. Thankfully, I knew I was right on time as Crows frontman James Cox was still waiting at the bar on arrival. Minutes later he’s up on stage with the other three in Crows, the North London quartet kicking off with a pounding opener as the room began to fill.
The proper nails rhythm section built up relentlessly throughout the opener before it was unleashed to a ripper of a conclusion. During the applause afterward, a bloke to my right audibly said to his mate “I like that!” Within two songs, vocalist Cox was in amongst it, getting in people’s faces, keen to let us see the whites of his eyes. Later on he was out in the crowd again, doing a circuit of the room whilst the rest of the band slayed from on stage.
Crows were pretty relentless throughout and put in a real shift, dominating the stage. A perfect opener really, with a few down the front more than keen to get stuck in.
Talking of putting in a real shift, Pulled Apart By Horses were unsurprisingly on form, putting together a collection of brain-melters that was all killer, no filler. Kicking off on the title track from their latest record ‘The Haze’, it was near enough 100mph from the off, marked by vocalist Tom Hudson’s initial vocal shredding assault.
Following a huge introduction on ‘Flash Lads’, Hudson was off like a rocket into the crowd, stirring up the congregation. This was certainly what was needed and during the absolute howler that is ‘V.E.N.O.M.’, Hudson was at it again, riffing like a wild man on one of the tables. Pulled Apart By Horses came in hot and got the room bouncing, proper lighting a much needed fire under peoples arses.
“…Been wanting to play here for two fucking years!” Announced Hudson following their huge single ‘The Big What If’, with guitarist James Brown in agreement, stating that The Trades might just be his new favourite venue.
Released back in March of this year, The Haze has had time to sink in and on tracks like the storming ‘Hotel Motivation’ and the chunky, brooding ‘Prince Of Meats’, the audience really come alive. It sounded at one stage like they were going to burst into ‘The Dream’ by Thee Oh Sees, which would have been monumental, but instead it was album closer ‘Dumb Fun’, which was just as good!
Elsewhere, glimpses from the past were more than welcome, with cuts like the frantic ‘Meat Balloon’ from their first album and the ridiculous ‘Shake Off The Curse’ from their second sounding particularly large in all their riffy glory. This was all capped off in spectacular fashion with old-school favourite ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ producing mass hysteria in the room.
For a Trades Club debut, Pulled Apart By Horses knocked it out of the park. It was great too to see such a turnout, especially given the bad weather potential.
“Fuck the snow” Said Hudson of the conditions, with Brown quick to add “I hope we get snowed in”. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if the train home had been cancelled…