I'VE particularly enjoyed the succession of beautifully curated musical events in Hull this year. Of these, Mind On the Run, a three-day celebration of composer Basil Kirchin back in February gave me most pleasure.
The opportunity to hear free jazz pioneer Evan Parker play from Worlds Within Worlds accompanied by full symphony orchestra is reason enough, but Sean O’Hagan’s opening night appearance was bottled lightning.
When the chief High Llama was joined onstage by Jane Weaver for I Start Counting, Kirchin’s haunting title theme to the “lost” Jenny Agutter thriller, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.
William the Conqueror’s Proud Disturbers of the Peace is one of my favourite albums of 2017 and Ruarri Joseph’s decision to slip his shackles as a solo artist and front the band his younger self would have enjoyed has proved decisive.
As a live act, the Conqueror are head and shoulders above their Americana contemporaries. Twice this year the tightly honed three-piece has won over seasoned audiences in Leeds with their potent fusion of ringing guitar, Southern blues boogaloo and edgy grunge dissonance.
In interviews, the singer is fond of quoting Hermann Hesse. Onstage he lets his music do the talking.
The hideously monikered Snapped Ankles resemble something dreamed up by a cash-strapped Dr Who costume designer and play instruments fashioned out of tree debris but there is no arguing with the sounds they invoke together live.
They play with a ferocious, percussive intensity and their music is an insane swirl of keyboards, treated guitars and psychotropic wonder.
This is Dark Magus period Miles jamming with The Silver Apples, fronted by The Butthole Surfers’ Gabby Hayes and directed by Kenneth Anger. Only you can dance to it as well.
By far, Snapped Ankles are my strangest, most exhilarating, live encounter of 2017.
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