Chrome Hoof’s Facebook page.
Gonzoid genius from metal funk space rock droogs. All photos © David Nicholls.
Chrome Hoof have to be one of the best live shows that’s out there at the moment.
With a set of mesmerising songs that shift in style but never shift from piling on the excitement Chrome Hoof are like no one else. If you thought music was slowly choking on a sea of sensible Dorm blokes and their fake folk dullard indie, then Chrome Hoof have arrived, like a gang of bacofoil space commandos, to save you. This is a gloriously ribald freak out of a show that is an aural and visual experience and total trip from start to finish.
In a time of dressing down and bands that look like wet November morning bus queues Chrome Hoof have arrived from some planet dressed as freak out, space rock droogs- a mixture of lanky blokes playing loud, a free jazz brass section, two mutant guitar freaks, gyrating sex dancers and two glorious black women who take turns to belt out the lead vocals in a twist that is so divine that it is perfect.
We have been digging their recorded madness for years, hooked not only by its lunacy but also its addictive brilliance, but this is the first time we have seen them live and we are instantly pulled into this maelstrom of genius.
This is no bloke rock plod, this is sex, an outer space sex from a London based band who are four albums in and are finally getting a cult reputation with two sold out nights here at the Lexington and a real chance to get massive in the way that ancient sonic mariners like Hawkwind once did with a similar disregard for pigeon holes and other earthly dullard ways of getting the fear.
Chrome Hoof are more than a band, Chrome Hoof are an experience.
Onstage there are about 11 people dressed in kinda space rock, droog wear. They are bashing out a powerful mixture of prog, black metal, space jazz, drain rock and even punk and hardcore with touches of Fela Kuti and early seventies funk like Parliament when they hopped onto their mothership in a glorious rush of ideas that is both stunning in its imagination and thrilling in it execution or sexecution if you count the gyrating go go dancers who flank the stage like rubbery androids and they also have a woman who plays freak viola and someone else who plays a bassoon- can’t say I’ve seen many other bands who line up like this…well none on fact!
The whole show is stunning, built on the rock powerful rhythm section of the two Smee brothers who formed the band in 2000 and were formerly in drone rock precursors Cathedral. Leo enters the stage first with his bass and lays down the spine with that classic, cutting, heavy prog punk bass that reminds me of primetime JJ Burnel whilst current drummer Alex Thomas is stunning on the drums- there can be few better drummer out there on the circuit and his polyrhythmic brilliance means he can switch from drop beats to krautrock to funk in one song and make it sound like a seamless whole- the brothers formed the band initially as an electronic duo and have somehow morphed into this glorious beast that is now the stunning spectacle that is before us now.
Most of the stuff they played tonight seemed to be from the 2007s Pre-emptive False Rapture, including the incessant bass nag of Tonyte that is like early Killing Joke in its simplicity and brilliance, Pronoid is driven by the clanking bass groove kinda like that classic Steve Hanley period Fall, Death Is Certain is neo-hardcore thrash with the guttural whiff of black metal in its assault and auto flesh vocal whilst Circus 9000 is a chance for the keyboard drone to come to the fore- giving the track an almost ELP feel but far better than that sounds as it morphs into a riff of divine, seething madness that perfectly captures the band’s musical dexterity and brilliant command of the loon dynamics.
They play some stuff from about to be released new album, Chrome Black Gold, that hints at the electronic base from where the band started without losing any of the gonzoid mayhem of its predecessors.
Of course there is a sense of prog to what they do, but it’s so damn exciting and so full of great twists and turns and a real energy and a real danceability that any memories of lank haired youth sitting around at parties in the seventies is soon banished into the sweaty pit as Chrome Hoof have taken several strands of the musical past and reinvented them as a future music that surely is the genuine outer space rock.
Chrome Hoof have got to be seen to be believed and even when you see them you may not believe what you are seeing. They are that audacious. They are that good.
We urge you to check this band out they are a hair’s breadth from tearing the festival circuit apart.