Goldblume’s latest album Husk just released a couple of weeks ago and has quickly become the current soundtrack to my daily commute. It’s a fantastic fusion of almost every niche sound you’d find labelled ‘alternative’, heard through an audial kaleidoscope to create something extremely unique. It serves up acerbic wit on a bed of frenetic power-pop with a side-dish of grit. With this sonic concoction ringing in my ears, I was excited to check out the band live for the first time. They’ve been around since 2015 and I’ve been aware of them for a while but just not been able to catch a show. I wasn’t disappointed.
On the night, the band were supported by Polypin, Soviet Films, and Mean Caesar. I was unaware of Mean Caesar’s addition to the bill and had built up my excitement expecting Goldblume to take the stage, only to be confused when another group of guys started playing that I did not recognise. I quickly found the easily-identifiable Jethro Steel, of Goldblume, who confirmed that they were still playing and just who was on stage. I had to check that this wasn’t some Milli Vanilli situation where the ‘real’ Goldblume weren’t the face of Goldblume!
Polypin took me by surprise. Taking the stage all understated and meek, they then proceeded to kick straight into some bold arena-suitable rock of the kind that brings to mind images of leather-clad lotharios charging around giant stages. In stark contrast, their lead singer dedicates one song to his soon-to-be-wife. It was a refreshing feat for a band who play in a style renowned for borderline misogyny. Their music filled the room nicely and the audience was held largely captive.
Soviet Films I have seen before. In fact, I had seen them a few weeks before in the same venue – where they were providing the soundtrack to Battle Lines (an event featuring two visual artists duelling it out with Posca™ pens). I recognised several other attendees from the Battle Lines event who had returned to see them again, which should go some way to sell you on the quality of what they do. Immediate comparisons can be drawn to Biffy Clyro or Oceansize, mostly due to the focus on frequent and drastic dynamic shifts in their music. However one never has the feeling they are trying to be those bands. A big difference for me are the vocals which share more DNA with post-hardcore bands like Rival Schools or Underoath. I highly recommend spending some time with the band’s album Cetacean – a particular standout track being ‘Kraken’ – then heading along to their next show:
I felt for Mean Caesar a little. They suffered being on the bill after Soviet Films with some of the more casual observers heading home. Undeterred, they played their hearts out like unattended hyperactive children, using every inch of the tiny stage to entertain the remaining crowd. There may have been fewer people but they managed to increase the energy level in the room well.
Finally taking the stage around 11, Goldblume picked up that energy and ran with it. They whipped up the crowd into a frenzy, culminating in a human pyramid!
The band’s performance captured the essence of Husk well. I was intrigued to hear how they would sound with a different person hitting the drums – previous drummer Neil Bruce left after laying down the core drum tracks for the album, replaced by Matt Kilsby (who did contribute backing vocals, percussion and other sounds to the recording). Live, you can still feel a pride in and sense of ownership of the songs from Matt and the band gel together well as a unit.
Ultimately, the whole evening was an enjoyable affair with a varied enough bill to keep things interesting and Goldblume’s performance was as good as I could have hoped it would be. I can’t wait to catch them again.
If you want to hear a little more from them, here is a stream of Husk:
If you want to hear more about the band, including a lot more on the recording of this great album, you might want to check out Local Distortion’s interview with the band below.
Lastly, the band’s music is best absorbed live, so keep an eye on our guide for the next time they’re playing around these parts.