by / July 29th, 2016 /

Holy Fuck – The Bowery Ballroom, New York

Holy Fuck don’t perform. They play turned in, facing each other. On the very odd occasion that they acknowledge the crowd, they mutter towards their footwear, the voice distorted to render it unintelligible. To bend the old adage, this is a band who play what they like and if anyone happens to have paid to see them, that’s a bonus.

The thing is, there isn’t much to see. They mess around with patch bays, unplugging cables and re-plugging them in different slots. Some knobs are turned. Towards the end, one of them seems to be pulling some film through a machine, undoubtedly to create some outlandish screechy noise.

Not every band needs to interact with the audience in the manner that we associate with being a great performer but a more interesting light show, visuals that go beyond just a green sound wave would enhance what Holy Fuck are great at – making a glorious racket. And there is lots of that to be soaked up here – they take us through the highlights of their career so far including a generous dollop of their latest and best record, Congrats.

‘Shivering’ twists into a mesmerising diamond, all Portisheady synths and foreboding angelic menace. ‘Xed Eyes’ thumps and grooves in equal amounts, squelching and twitching in all the right places. Set climax, ‘Lovely Allen’, shines as brilliantly as ever, a reminder of a more melodic, arguably more inviting, chunk of Holy Fuckness. And as arresting as their music is, fostering more of a welcoming nature would do their shows wonders and potentially take them from a band with some great songs to an intoxicating live prospect.