The Amazing Snakeheads: Fruit, Hull – live review

The Amazing Snakeheads 

Fruit, Hull

9th Oct 2014


Glasgow’s The Amazing Snakeheads descend on Hull for an evening of sleazy and sordid rock’n’roll. Louder Than War’s Jon Taylor was there to review.

You know you’re at one of those special gigs if you feel hesitant of using the toilet in fear of being lambasted by the lead singer for not paying enough attention.

After a stand out performance from tonight’s support – local pioneers of ‘dark soul garage’ Fire (The Unstoppable Force) who feature former Paddington Grant Dobbs on drums – The Amazing Snakeheads brought their dark and grizzly tales to the soon-to-be UK City of Culture.

Topless from the beginning, sweaty and at times downright scary, frontman Dale Barclay shows the same intensity in his performance as in his lyrics, as he snarls opener ‘Here It Comes Again.’

It’s not until halfway through the set that the band make their first interaction with the Hull audience, newly reinstated bass player William Coombe encouraging those at the back of the venue to gather further toward the stage.

The draw of the Snakeheads’ impassioned and intriguing live show means they oblige, and it’s not long before Barclay finds himself off the stage and thrashing psychotically around the venue amongst the crowd.

In truth, Barclay could’ve either headbutted the drum kit or burst into tears without causing too much surprise, such as the unpredictability of his fierce live performance.

I don’t come alive ‘til night time,” he bellows in his harsh Glaswegian accent. It’s a statement that’s apparent through his off-stage wanderings in some songs, yet questionable in others such as ‘Memories,’ when he appears lost in his own twisted world, eyes closed, barking “Take it by both hands and shake it if it needs it!

It’s as impressive a rock and roll show as you could hope to see: at times enthrallingly energetic, at others dark and atmospheric, yet always captivating.

The line-up may have been reshuffled after the acrimonious June departure of Jordan Hutchison and the now-returned Coombe, but songs from debut album Amphetamine Ballads sound more menacing, seedier and filthier than ever.


The Amazing Snakeheads are on Facebook and Twitter.

All words by Jon Taylor. This is Jon’s first post for Louder Than War.


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  1. Sound Control, Manchester 15/10/2014 Fulfilling every line above The Amazing Snakeheads at Sound Control was my best gig of the year so far, and I can’t see it being beaten. Tense, swaggering, raw power was all present and unleashed with explosive enthusiasm by Dale Barclay. The crowd were understandably an older group, who else craves the punk creativity and anarchy of ’76? Stripped to the waist Dale, in white leather shoes?, scowled, wailed and electrified the whole building. Several tracks saw Dale in the middle of the crowd, mic and guitar surrounded by dancing, pushing, singing enthusiasts. There was always that element of pent up danger, the crowd loved the band, the moshing became ever more chaotic, some fool wanted to lift me up on their shoulders, the band took drinks from the front row to quench their thirst – close up, personal, elemental, and so so alive! Musically superb, easy to pick up the rhythm, even if the glaswegian accent made the words unintelligable to a mock northerner. A well deserved encore was demanded and supplied, Dale ended up in the crowd mobbed by gloriously enthusiastic fans. So the album was a must purchase item, but more importantly when and where can I see them next. It was good to see them at Sound Control, previously they were at the Roadhouse and that would have been too small and cramped a venue to feel safe, we took our teenage daughter last night – they’ll be very few at her college who could even comprehend why The Amazing Snakeheads are an essential live musical experience. Its LIFE in its rawest state.


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