Long Division, Wakefield, UK, 11 June, 2022 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, April 14th, 2024  

Low Hummer

Low Hummer, Shelf Lives, Haiku Salut, Modern Woman, W.H. Lung, Mi Mye

Long Division, Wakefield, UK, 11 June, 2022,

Jun 17, 2022 Photography by Andrew Benge Web Exclusive
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Over a decade of existence, Wakefield’s Long Division festival has become a hidden gem on the UK festival circuit, shining a light on an often overlooked part of Yorkshire. Bringing with it a range of quality legacy acts, but having a knack for featuring the most exciting new music, it has both reflected and helped build the vibrancy of the town.

With 70+ acts cross nine venues dotted around its narrow streets, Long Division 2022 again brought the likes of Sea Power and Field Music propping up the bill at Venue 23, which in previous years has seen sets from the likes of Menace Beach, Asian Dub Foundation, The Lovely Eggs and Peter Hook and the Light, but again it was the small spaces that the excitement was really to be found. Long Division is an exceptional discovery platform.

Our day began in Venue 23, with an strangely early set from major future headliners Low Hummer proving why they are possibly the most vital new indie band in the country. Following a blinding set at last year’s festival, a debut album release and a stint in support of the Manic Street Preachers the Hull six -piece is now an improved, thrilling live experience. Despite being marred by sound issues for the first few tracks, vocalist/guitarist Aimee Duncan’s vocals barely audible, which detracted from the power of the start of the set, it was a minor set back.As this was solved the vocal interplay guitarist/singer Dan Mawer that makes their songs so dynamic came to the fore.

Low Hummer
Low Hummer

Low Hummer fuse big indie-rock with tight rhythms and the electronic quirks of bands like Devo, matched with the kind of epic fist pumping 80s melodies you get from Huey Lewis - yes all that! The set, like the album, has several big “singles” with “Sometimes I Wish (I Was A Different Person)” and “Take Arms” being as good as you’ll hear from any indie band right now. Flitting effortlessly between electro-punk, rhythmic post-punk and soaring indie-rock, they ooze cool and have tracks that are everything good indie should be. Low Hummer became many people’s new favourite band at their show in Wakefield, and rightly so.

In the ornate Mechanics Theatre, Canadian-English duo Shelf Lives were anything but refined, with an obnoxious explosion of big beats, dirty bass, heavy riffs and near spoken fuck-you manifestos as vocalist Sabrina got in the face of the gathered crowd. Tracks like anthem “Shelf Life” treads the same electro-punk line as Le Tigre and Peaches, delivered live with visceral energy. An unexpected and worthy cover of Hole’s “Violet” was a highlight of the day.

Local collective Mi Mye took things down a notch with their “nice” collision of indie-pop and folk, with great songwriting in the classic sense and a likeable stage presence driven by awkward charm. This year’s release “Party” comes on like a Yorkshire Arab Strap, with female vocals, taking aim at getting people to attend things (or at least something like that). Sometimes nice is good and in that sense Mi Mye are very good.

Mi Mye
Mi Mye

After forgetting a key piece of equipment, you’d think Derbyshire trio Haiku Salut would have had less of an impact. Thankfully, their charming folk-tinged, electronica still felt effortless, even with the clear nerves of a kit re-hash to contend with. In the grand confines of the Town Hall, they proved why they are one of the most intoxicating live acts in the UK. Of late, everything about their sound - the Yann Tiersen charm, the soaring electronica and the shades of post rock - has refined. This was heard on a stunning rendition of “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” from latest album The Hill, The Light, The Ghost. Haiku, as always, were a reassuring comfort blanket of sound, taking myriad genres and remoulding them in their own image.

Making things “their own” was a theme continued by End of the Road signees Modern Woman who wilfully mashed numerous styles into something different, familiar yet off-centre. Flitting between the rhythmic spaceness of Young Marble Giants, the darkness of Nick Cave and the distorted blurs of Sonic Youth (and many things in between) vocalist/guitarist Sophie Harris emoted between speech and epic high notes. Was it folk reimagined? Alt-rock schewed? Pin-pointing its exact place is hard, and that is what makes this band so exciting. One to watch, no doubt.

While the excellent Sea Power ended the festival else where, it is W.H. Lung we decided to close the day. Having been impressed with their fusion of shoegaze, psych, krautrock and electronica in the past but not having seen them live, they did not disappoint. The Liverpool band exploded on a wave of kinetic energy driven by motorik rhythms, big synths and washes of guitar noise with vocalist Joseph Evans stomping the stage like a man possessed. Off the back of second album Vanities it feels like the band are coming into their own. With songs started live with extended kraut-influenced and synth-driven intros, W.H.Lung is a band with no fear of experimenting but still having the allusions to bands like New Order in their quest for big pop tunes. This was a huge performance from a band begging to be household names.

Haiku Salut
Haiku Salut

As the feedback from that final set still rang in our ears the day of Long Division melted into the usual nightlife of English small towns showing that what festivals like this bring to places begging for culture of a different bent. Long Division always delivers and 2022 was another year of head-turningly brilliant new music in the heart of Yorkshire.


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