North East Post
A Voice of the Free Press
Ian Street
Gigs Correspondent
1:01 AM 30th March 2024

Gigs: Hot Water Music

Supported By A Wilhelm Scream And Catbite
Hot Water Music
Photos: Ian Street
Hot Water Music Photos: Ian Street
In 1979, Crass famously announced that Punk is Dead. Fifteen years later, Hot Water Music, taking their name from a Charles Bukowski collection of short stories, formed in Gainesville, Florida. Thirty years later, punk is definitely not dead, as the doyen of Leeds venues, The Brudenell, hosts a night of American punk to raise the spirits and the fists.

That time span ensures that the night is the equivalent of a punk Avengers Assemble, as many elements of the punk community are in attendance for the first of two sold-out shows. T-shirts from Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Negative Approach, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, and Descendents adorn the torsos of young and mostly old people, showing the respect in which Hot Water Music is held within the community. 

The line-up is such that any of the bands could hold their own as headliners, which ensures that before Hot Water Music takes the stage, everyone is ready to roll. Philly’s Catbite brings some ska punk to open the night, brimming with energy and bounce, putting a smile on faces. Fizzy lead singer Brittany Luna is soon down in the crowd, encouraging people to rediscover their skanking. After this exuberant opening, Massachusetts technical hardcore band A Wilhelm Scream brings another level of intensity to proceedings. You need to pay attention to any band that opens with a number entitled Me vs Morrissey In The Pretentiousness Contest. Nuno Pereira is a fabulously watchable and engaging frontman, and around him, the band brings the riffs and the noise while at the same time conjuring harmony out of the chaos. That’s a fine line to tread, but the Scream walks down it with aplomb.

Hot Water Music
Photos: Ian Street
Hot Water Music Photos: Ian Street
Hot Water Music must be the most American-sounding punk rock band there is. Imagine yourself on a road trip across the states. You pull up at a scruffy roadhouse in search of a cold beer, and inside a band is tearing it up with a singer drenched in sweat and a voice crafted from whisky and rocks. That band is Hot Water Music, and they did not disappoint, surfing across their 30-year-old catalogue with crowd favourites kicking things off right from the start. Anthemic and community-spirited, the crowd sang along to Turn the Dial, Habitual, and other tracks that many had grown up with. Chuck Ragan embraces the celebratory nature of the night, and the band and audience spark off each other, providing one of those nights that all live music should be—utterly life-affirming. Hot Water Music essentially sings about keeping your chin up when it’s dark, and tonight they shone brightly—the sound of punks growing old disgracefully—which I can get on board with and I think Bukowski would approve of.

Catch Hot Water Music tonight in Manchester at
MPF Manchester Punk Festival 2023 @ 7:00pm