Live Review: HMLTD - Electric Ballroom, London 24/10/2017
London's bedazzling ensemble of miscreants, HMLTD, have turned the music world on it's head in recent months and they unleashed an uneasy hellish atmosphere on Camden's Electric Ballroom that you couldn't help but marvel at.
HMLTD are well known for their exuberant live shows so anticipation and excitement was progressively rising all day. Right from the outset, entertainers in Gothic Elizabethan attire greeted you with HMLTD branded tarot cards and candy at the entrance. Projected onto the wall as you walked into the main room was a visual of two faces that can only be described as twins of Shakespeare's Sisters, licking tongues and disappearing into a spiralling abyss. White masks, some covered in fake blood adorned the walls and stage and many punters took to wearing them on the backs of their head. The same masks featured heavily again as a group of naked individuals filled the stage shortly before the headliners emerged, their bare behinds proudly on display with the masks aiding their anonymity. Mesmerising, freakish, twisted and attention grabbing was definitely the tone set for the night.
HMLTD believe that music should be so much more than just a record, they want you to experience their own expressive nature, bringing you into their mindset. Ditching any attempt at being labelled is an effortless feat for them,glam rock, punk, goth, fetish, new wave and art-pop are tags you could easily associate with this outfit with not one out weighing the other. With songs like the nights opener “Proxy Love” sounding like a modern day Sigue Sigue Sputnik, they are a band infused with synths, power drum beats, heavy reverb and dramatically driven by punkish vocals from lead singer Henry Spychalski.
Henry along with the rest of the band paraded all over the stage, although he was the only one to do it dressed only in a leather jacket and matching underwear, ditching the jacket all together by the time they came to play Kinkaku-Ji. Duke meanwhile, in a more dapper leather suit and rocking a beautiful Gibson guitar, looked like he was having a seizure as he shook back and forth as the song reaches it's climax, Kinkaku-Ji being repeated over and over, increasing in ferocity and mania. One of the stand out tracks of the night.
Despite having released only a handful of singles (which got them signed to Sony), they have enough in their back catalogue to entertain the sold out crowd for an hour. Flirting with the 8-bit genre is the night club destined song “Music!”. New single “Satan, Luella and I” is a definite crowd pleaser with memorable sing along lines like “And I met Satan in a cheap motel / she talked at length about Orson Wells”. Keeping the hits coming was “To The Door”, which can already be classed as a classic, with it's numerous comparisons to a Tarantino styled western. Perhaps there could be a collaboration in the future? “Choo Choo” reeks of dirty Adam Ant vibes as Henry could be the born again Prince Charming as he whips the crowd into a moshing frenzy. An air of despair in his voice, strutting and waving his microphone at the crowd as the song builds with relentless drumming before crashing to a halt.
The night came to a close with the two songs that you could say started it all, “Where's Joanna” and “Stained”. With Halloween just around the corner these songs have that delightful manic quality about them befitting any ghoulish party. “Where's Joanna” you could say has a slight Ska punk beat to it, much like “Baggy Trousers” by Madness and the crowd just steps it up a notch, so when “Stained” hits them with all it's synth and, dare I say, dub-step glory, they just let all hell loose.
If you like your nights to be a little bit weird and devilishly good fun then grab tickets to their next tour because HMLTD will carry on selling out venues and you don't want to miss out on this spectacle.
Review and Photography by Rachel Prew