Squid played Brighton Music Hall – 3/25

U.K. art-rockers Squid played their first Boston show over the weekend with Toronto’s Deliluh at Brighton Music Hall.

Following a string of buzzy singles, Brighton, England quintet Squid emerged last year with Bright Green Field, one of the most striking debut LPs in recent memory (on venerable electro label Warp, no less). The band comes at post-punk, dance and art-pop conventions through a quirky, prog-tinged lens, borrowing influence from everywhere but sounding only like themselves. Alongside likeminded experimentalists Black MIDI and Black Country, New Road, they’re making the case for the best and most fascinating guitar music in the world right now coming from the freaked-out minds of Britain’s post-Brexit twenty-somethings.

Squid made their U.S. live debut late last year, playing some NYC shows I couldn’t make it to on a short run where, in an alternate universe, they would’ve played a perfect gig at our late Great Scott. Thankfully they made it back soon enough though, and finally rolled into Boston to headline a packed Brighton Music Hall on Friday night.

Canadian duo Deliluh opened the night in disarming fashion, performing a spaced-out, droning, kind of unsettling and totally enthralling set of slow-mo no-wave paranoia. That’s a lot of qualifiers, but they earned them all. A band I’d love to see back for a longer set in a smaller room.

As openers, Deliluh found themselves dwarfed on stage by gear, relatively little of it theirs. Squid’s expansive sonic palette brings with it an instrumental sprawl consisting of racks of guitars, synths, bass and brass extending out from the front-and-center drum kit of singer-percussionist Ollie Judge like so many legs of a spider. The band are clearly psyched to be bringing their songs to the masses – for the first time in most fans’ cases – and wasted no time in manning their stations for an 8:30 start to dig into a comprehensive hour-plus set.

It was the final night of tour, but there was no sense of fatigue afoot. Rather, the group felt particularly dialed in, pushing and pulling at the sinews of their songs in such a way as to not wildly reinterpret them, but tweak them for maximum effect. The ambient interludes and simmering buildups ratcheted tension before anthemic peaks sent the crowd into a frenzy over and over, even launching a crowdsurfer or two above the fray. Highlights abounded, but the positively frenetic set-closer of Field standout “Narrator” couldn’t help but top that list.

It’s always a thrill to catch a young band that clearly has something special going for them on the ground floor, and that was certainly the case with this night. Hard not to imagine big things for this lot. (And likewise for the buzzy Leeds quartet Yard Act, who played their own Boston debut across town at The Sinclair later that same evening [which I was also able to catch, thanks to some inter-band teamwork]).

Scroll down for a gallery from the BMH gig below (and scope out those Yard Act photos here).