It's rare for me to get to visit a venue in
Leeds I haven't already been to, and rarer still that it leaves me impressed. The Irish Centre is such a venue – coming across like a larger version of the Brudenell Social, it does the following things very well: atmosphere, seating, sound. These are all very important when you're a grumpy old gig-going twat.
Solid support was provided by Molloy and The Magnificent, both of whom wear their Hot Water Music influences proudly on their sleeves and produced varied takes on the hardcore pop punk formula. This is of course no bad thing, especially when Chuck Ragan joins the latter on stage for a blistering cover of Alkaline Trio's "Bleeder" (previously covered by Hot Water Music on their split EP).The headliners themselves were superb. Even stood near the back the energy was palpable, and the setlist nigh-on perfect apart from the slightly peculiar exclusion of "Trusty Chords". The highlights were many, but the likes of "Rooftops", "Translocation", "Choked And Separated" and "I Was On A Mountain" put a massive grin on my face that I don't think shifted for over an hour. There is something simplistic and raw about the appeal of Hot Water Music, and this purity translates into a joyous live experience. When the band announce that they're looking to record new material at some point in the not-too-distant future, I manage to completely blank out their slightly disappointing last album 'The New What Next' and instead concentrate on the startling possibilities their performance is evoking. This year has already seen a remarkable run of great gigs for me, and this was no exception.