It’s devastating in more ways than one as bdrmm launch into their debut album ‘Bedroom’ at Hull venue, The Dive. Firstly, there’s the sound itself that knocks you for six; pulsing synths, emotive guitar lines and agony-steeped vocals, you’re instantly left longing to be in the same muggy room as the shoegazers.
Then there’s the reminder of the devastation felt by local venues across the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This showcase to raise funds comes on the same night as the We Make Events Campaign lights up venues across the country red, raising awareness for the situation facing the events industry. Hull has seen first hand the severity of this crisis, with pillar venues The Welly and The Polar Bear recently closing its doors for good.
An enthused presenter hosting the live stream announces that 2020 was to be this particular band’s year and it’s hard to disagree. After all, NME declared it a “modern shoegaze classic” as they earned the five-star treatment back in July. A quick interview before they commence details the weirdness of dropping a record four years in the making without any live shows to keep momentum flowing. “Of course we wanted to be playing shows,” says frontman Ryan Smith. “We had a tour sorted which fell through, all you’ve got to do is keep optimistic and keep pushing it back until we actually can do it.”
Tonight such worries are cast aside and we’re gifted the band’s first live performance since their album dropped in July, and it’s mesmerising stuff. Instrumental opener ‘Momo’ is a gripping introduction, deeply pensive whirling guitars set a tone much like that on the album itself – the band are animated and locked into the impactful whirring groove from the get-go. The haunting ‘Push / Pull’ follows with a brooding tone matching some of the stark themes on the record, which range from substance abuse through to unplanned pregnancies and mental health issues.
Ryan Smith brings to mind Nothing’s Dominic Palermo throughout with his painfully soft vocal lines – much like those noise-rockers, the fragile moments are pulled into heavier, scrappier territory here. Perhaps it’s due to the heatwave but the band themselves look stifled after a couple tracks, something in itself which is a reminder of the power of intimate gigs, crammed in with only the warm dregs of a pint for hydration. We’d take it right now.
The number of textures on the album are done justice throughout this seven-song set, and a quick peak at the array of pedals framing the stage demonstrate just how meticulously-crafted this sound is. ‘A Reason To Celebrate’ delivers their most towering and commercial punch, with a piercing chorus to dredge up all sorts of feelings.
This is a profound encapsulation of those intimate shows bdrmm would have been playing, and here they prove just how staggering those moments will be once they can return. A wholesome and brutally nostalgic live stream for an imperative cause, ultimately showing that bdrmm can summon all the power of their stunning debut in the live setting.
You can donate to Hull institution The Polar Bear here. bdrmm’s debut album ‘Bedroom’ is out now via Sonic Cathedral