Sunday 16 January 2022

Lonelady / Peter Duggal - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 14th January 2022

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.

There's little pause for breath other to change instruments, no unnecessary chat between songs ("it's pretty relentless" Julie deadpans at one point) as they move from one song to the next. There's a continuity in sound between the tracks from the three albums without them ever sounding the same, often a criticism of this style of music, but something that Lonelady could never be accused of. Visually the draw is in the energy and intensity of the performance, the intuitive way the three of them work together. The quartet of songs that finish the set - Former Things and Hinterland's title tracks and lead singles There Is No Logic and a gloriously celebratory Groove It Out - are the highlights, if we were pushed to pick them

Whilst these songs feel perfect for this tight intimate room, where the front row group are using the show as the soundtrack to what seems like their first post-pandemic party, it's easily to imagine scaling this out to the bigger halls that Lonelady's growing fan base may well see them in by the next record. The love in the room for this unassuming trio is palpable, Julie slightly taken aback at one point by a roaring "I think you're so amazing" from a lady in the front row. However, that adulation is deserved and if like us, people are going in curious about how the records will be translated to the stage, and leaving buzzing and infatuated by the irresistible energy of the live performance, then it's something that they need to get used to.

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

Lonelady's website can be found here and she is on Facebook and Twitter.

Peter Duggal's website can be found here and he is on Facebook and Twitter.


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