Sunday, February 05, 2017
Live Review :: HAARM :: Telford’s Warehouse, Chester - Feb 3 2017
Telford’s Warehouse, Chester
February 3 2017
Words/Pictures: Jane Davies
For the audience assembled at Telford’s Warehouse, Chester, many were Friday night revellers, unaware of the very significance of the band they found themselves listening to. They would not be aware, for example, that 'In the Wild', the follow-up to debut 'Foxglove', has racked up over 100k Spotify streams, or that its predecessor was not doing too badly either with over 33,000 plays on Soundcloud.
A sizeable minority were people in the know, aware of the growing popularity of this band by the name of HAARM (double 'a', please) from Cheshire and Liverpool, and although only their fourth live outing for the four-piece, this evening was to serve as a warm-up gig for their Manchester and London support slots to Bloc Party next week.
The support act for the evening comed via HAARM’s own founder member Chris McIntosh, showcasing a clutch of deeply personal songs, which served to remind us that the band members were previously writing as solo artists before combining powerful forces. ‘Bombed out Church’, referencing St Luke’s Church (bombed during the Second World War, it serves as a lasting memorial to the destruction suffered by the city of Liverpool), was the standout song, emotionally delivered and evoking memories of the ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’. Chris connected beautifully with the audience discussing topics such as Nandos and Justin Bieber as he went along.
This connection continued into HAARM’s set, with local girl Jen Davies recalling that they had all been treated to a pre-gig tea at her parents' house. Home gigs are always special and this was no different. The band were clearly moved by the reception afforded them and Chris confided that he was absolutely “sh*tting himself" about the forthcoming gigs next week, but that this was proving to be an excellent warm-up.
What is so special about HAARM is the harmonious blending of Chris and Jen's voices, and the tight drum and bass lines that are impossible not to move your feet to. A very vigorous display of dancing erupted from one fan in the front row within seconds of the first song of the set, 'Valentine', getting into gear and continuing throughout. There were hints of a rolling New Order bassline to my ear, and early echoes of the band running through the set. The initiated immediately recognised the “oooh ahhh” introduction to ‘Foxglove’ and sang along, arms aloft. Much dancing and arm waving ensued culminating huge cheers and rapturous applause.
All too soon we were at the sixth, and final, song of the relatively short set. Latest single ‘In the Wild’, all airy, subtle synths and electronic pop finery which starts off a bit reminiscent Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Symphony’, kept the audience entranced, rewarding the band with appreciative applause. Much is anticipated of HAARM, who are still in their infancy, but with this harmonious homecoming show, plus playing the prestigious London Roundhouse to kick off 2017, things are looking very bright for the coming months.