With so many shows cancelled at present, it was a real joy to witness a gig for the first time in 2022 at our favourite venue, The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, and with such an intoxicating performer as Lonelady on stage, fusing dance and rock music elements into a combination that few do so successfully and with an audience eating out of the palm of their hands as the seventy-five minute set felt like a genuine release of pent-up frustration and a reminder of the joy that live music can bring.
Opening up the evening was a set by Peter Duggal, long-time collaborator with Wolfgang Flür (ex-Kraftwerk) and a Hebden Bridge resident which gave him additional kudos with an enthusiastic crowd. His set was accompanied by old video footage on the screen behind him, often of run-down areas of Northern and Midlands cities that felt a perfect accompaniment to the beat-driven sounds that came from his decks. His history working on music for early games consoles was also evident to those of us of a certain age who remembered some of the gaming action playing out behind him in the earlier parts of his set. The set was varied enough, not always the case with this style of music, to keep the audience entertained and switched on as the anticipation grew for the appearance of Lonelady.
That buzz was bordering on impatience as Julie, Kendra and James took to the stage a little later than advertised to a roar of appreciation that underlines why the Trades is such a special place to watch (and perform) a gig. Opening with last year's Former Thing's first track The Catcher sets the scene for what's to come, a magnificent infectious fusion of beats, keys, bass and guitars that brings to life the recorded versions in a hot and sweaty room. The energy never drops as they switch between tracks from Lonelady's three albums - last year's Former Things and its predecessors Hinterland and Nerve Up. Julie's vocals are the perfect complement, urgent, direct and targeted, accentuating the drama and tension in the electronics and guitar riffs and it's impossible to be not drawn in.
Lonelady played The Catcher, Bunkerpop, Fear Colours, Threats, Into The Cave, Nerve Up, Silvering, Intuition, Time Time Time, Marble, Former Things, Hinterland, There Is No Logic and Groove It Out