LIFE live in Hull: Yorkshire punks prove anger is an energy at socially conscious knees-up

The Moon Factory, August 20: raising funds for the Justice for Christopher Alder fund, the quartet air new material at this slick hometown gig

Yorkshire punks LIFE have always been proud flag-bearers for their hometown. From frequently championing Hull’s burgeoning live music circuit across social media to supporting local charities via merch sales (a recent zine that donated proceeds to WISHH, a charity in aid of local hospitals, was a hit), they have never shied away from their roots.

The band carry this same attitude tonight as they storm through their first live set since March, performing in aid of the Justice for Christopher Alder fund, which aim to raise money for the family a local hero who was unlawfully kill in 1998 while in police custody.

From the confines of their Hull studio, the Moon Factory – which unfortunately appears to be less visually compelling than its cosmic name suggests – four HD cameras beam one hell of an atmosphere directly to our cosy living rooms via livestream. The quartet – frontman Mez Green, guitarist Mick Sanders, bassist Lydia Palmeira and drummer Stewart Baxter – play a 55-minute, full production show that includes new material alongside choice cuts from their incendiary first album, 2017’s ‘Popular Music’, and last year’s equally exhilarating follow-up, ‘A Picture Of Good Health’.

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After a retro-futuristic, space-themed countdown frames the screen in anticipation of what’s to come, it’s time for blast off. The title track of their second LP makes for a towering intro, as Green’s quasi-aggro energy emerges via scowled vocals and macho posturing. Fast-footed camera operators flit between other band members as they join in with the performative action, too, Palmeira hitting the floor in tandem with each scattershot chorus.

They swiftly dial up the intensity by launching into the blistering ‘Excites Me’, as Green turns the shout-along chorus on his virtual audience, pointing the microphone to the lens. Debut highlight ‘Moral Fibre’ follows and plays to a similar effect, its circular riffs begging to be played back to the sort of rowdy, limbs-flailing crowds that typically occupy a LIFE gig.

Credit: Matt Molson

Elsewhere, newbie ‘Big Moon Lake’ gets its first outing and immediately impresses with cowbell warbles and a snaking bassline, and ‘Switching On’ provides a singular, high-octane burst of giddy romance while the strobe lights still flash menacingly.

READ MORE: “It feels like cultural degradation”: what corona-closures could mean for live music in the north

After a freewheeling ‘Half Pint Fatherhood’ wraps things up, a black-and-white clip suddenly begins to roll out. Titled LIFE INSIDE, it comprises spoken-word extracts from a few of the band’s Hull-based fans, and tenderly details what it means to be from a city that is built on togetherness. You get the feeling that LIFE have never felt more at home, both onstage and off.
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