Sometimes gig promoters throw together the most curious combinations of band and venue, and Holy Fuck in the intimate surrounds of the 100 Club promised to be something altogether different for a venue steeped in jazz and soul.
Yet both band and venue have more in common than might be expected, the flouting of musical rules being toward the top of their respective lists.
Holy Fuck make rabble rousing, belly rumbling bass lines, with drum fills that scale industrial proportions. And yet they achieve all this while essentially standing around a table. For the Toronto band, gigging is a community affair, and at times it’s as though we’ve been allowed to eavesdrop on music making in their own garage. Yet when they cut loose, they make music that can get the sweat running down the walls in a warehouse, and that was largely the case here.
Sure, when the music dipped the persistent hum and chatter of the club was a factor, but as the beats began again even the most passive of back row wallflowers were shaking at least one foot to the rhythm.
Graham Walsh led the charge, his youthful demeanour cracking with the sheer exhilaration of the synthesized sounds the band were making. With the drums the focal visual point of the set-up there were big slabs of rhythm, big bastard drum fills rocking the club but somehow not quite swamping the lithe basslines.
Holy Fuck’s set carried most things before it like a juggernaut, ploughing through red lights and crushing bollards as it sped onwards. Only the gaps in sound proved intrusive, and though while these were usually countered by atmospheric whooshes there was inevitably an intriguing period of plugging in new keyboards and rewiring.
Yet that somehow added an essential human element to the gig, proof that the program was not controlling the band. With a triumphant blast of Lovely Allen and encore Super Inuit the band wrapped up an impressive set to showcase the debut album LP, and the two-pace encore, from hip hop tempo to helter-skelter house, rang through our ears as we emerged blinking widely onto Oxford Street.