Student and teenager, Arthur Whelan, writes:
On a warm and very humid Friday night I passed through the doors into the darkness of this cosy little venue, Kardomah 94, for the first time, and the atmosphere hit me. There was a sense that everyone attending the gig was part of a new family and we were about to experience something great together as one. I settled into my comfy leather bucket seat to the side of the stage and the evening kicked off gently to the melodious strains of Jackson D.
Uber cool, with slick Chelsea boots and a sharp satin smoking jacket, Jackson D sauntered on stage accompanied by drummer (sorry Zachary Theodorou; “percussionist”) and bass player, (imagine Siouxie Sioux meets Joan Jet) The room fell silent for the exotic marimba intro to the first song. What I heard next was a soulful bluesy sound that intoxicated my ears and had me spellbound from the start; Jackson’s sleek, sonorous voice slid its way into everyone’s ears and held them entranced for the next 30 minutes, especially the ladies on the front row. Black Ribbon was my favourite song of the set, it could very easily be a James Bond theme tune, it was so, well, sexy! There was a dark, gothic vibe to some songs, tempered by the flavour of 60’s jazz in Hit Girl, a homage to The Avengers.
The next act, Sleeperman was a select group of bearded, balding and effortlessly cool blokes led by self effacing, dead pan lead singer John Hilton, who delivered funny, heart-warming and poignant songs epitomizing life in Hull. Their home-spun, deeply personal, autobiographical style of Indie Rock with a taste of Billy Bragg, and a twang of Johnny Marr was more my mum’s cup of Yorkshire tea, but I enjoyed it, especially Bleach Blonde Pharmacist, with its oddly ominous chorus and the sauntering American blues instrumental.
The pinnacle of my enjoyment that night, the piece de la resistance, was the final act, and, it appears, the masterminds of the whole event: Loudhailer Electric Company.
We were suddenly transported at mach speed from the laid back nostalgia of the previous acts into a frenzied flurry of colour and psychedelia that was gobsmacking. Lead by the tiny whirlwind of energy that was Lou Duffy-Howard, this spunky rock group owned every note they played. Jeff Parsons on electric guitar rivaled Jimi Hendrix with his virtuosity, the intricacies and timing was second to none, with personality and life oozing out of every chord. The trippy songwriting made for a vivid and moving journey through this wormhole of sound. Their performance left me utterly blown away, only able at the end, to piece together the few words I could muster, announcing to my mother, “That was f***ing awesome!”
This was not what I was expecting. It was an amazing and inspiring night, showcasing musical imagination and talent from a diverse range of local artists that made me proud of where I come from. I hope I get to visit Kardomah94 again to see more of what Hull has to offer, the building is currently up for sale so fingers crossed someone with the same passions will keep it going as a great venue for showcasing and supporting local music culture.
Thanks to Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard for inviting me along. Coincidentally LECo have just released a four track mini album Morpheus, with superb psychedelic sleeve art, so go have a listen. It was recorded in the studios upstairs at Kardomah94, but in my opinion they are a ‘must see live’ kind of band, so look out for them at a venue near you.