Introducing the LGBTQIA+ LEEDS Series: Wormboys

So before I even start, I am a queer, anxious, agoraphobic Brummie.
Since I burst out of the closet at the age of 14, I have struggled with every door since. Girls that Gig have allowed me this incredible platform to document on a monthly basis all that I have missed by being totally terrified of gigs and musicians and hopefully learning some more about some of the awesome LGBTQIA+ talent in and around Leeds. If you want to learn and read about about some cool artists, stick around.

Phew, now that’s out the way, let’s talk about Wormboys.

From beginning as a three-piece and adding a fourth member in October 2017, Wormboys consists of Sophie on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Harry on lead guitar and fewer vocals, Edie on bass and Kate on drums. The lyrics are predominantly written by Sophie and Harry. Sophie identifies as queer, while Harry is straight. The lyrics are therefore written from a range of different perspectives, encompassing various different themes as opposed to being limited only to those of an exclusively LGBTQIA+ nature. Edie also identifies as queer, both Edie & Sophie were available to chat to me on behalf of the band.

While Edie is from London, and Sophie is from my beloved Birmingham, when discussing music venues it appeared that we were united in our soft spot for particular places in Leeds that encourage newer bands, for example, the Brudenell Social club, which Wormboys have already performed at more than once.

When discussing other venues, Sophie said that gigs at Wharf Chambers “always feel like a big warm cuddle” and I have to agree.
Sophie continues: “They have a safer spaces policy and seem to be more active than other places in trying to ensure they provide somewhere for everyone to enjoy. It’s also a hub for grassroots activism and host for LGBTQIA+ events.”

In my personal experience as a queer, naturally anxious person, I believe that making your venue a safe-space is important to make gigs inclusive for all. Edie explained why perfectly by stating that in not doings so, venues can exclude so many people and erase their experiences if they don’t fit the dominant “norm”.

When asked what Leeds music venues could use more of, Sophie expressed “more gender-neutral bogs, please” and “in general more efforts to understand different people’s experiences in order to provide spaces that let everyone have fun.” Edie continued the idea that education is a means to enable more venues to be even more inclusive: “it’s important that we all carry on educating ourselves all the time to consider these things.”

While their personal politics seem learned and wise, they are a self-professed “baby band.” Their confidence in their performances, which they expressed has been a work in progress, shines through, particularly in Sophie’s clear and distinct voice, supported by Harry’s deep, contrasting tones. They describe their sound as “fuzzy, punky, sad, occasionally noisy, pop songs.”

Their music is for me so reminiscent of bands like Hole and Sonic Youth that I felt so happy. I was taken back to my young teenage days when I was first discovering punk in a mishmash of hormones and hair-spray. Regardless of any sad undertones, their music is short, sweet and unmistakably fun to listen to, particularly ‘Do The Wanbah’. Listening to it, I grinned the whole time and wished I was at a gig so that I could shout “WANBAH” out loud.

Their cover of ‘Rock DJ’ does sound melancholy, which just made me enjoy it more. What a perfect twist on easily one of the most fun commercially successful pop songs ever. The tone is completely different to the original. It is dark with long, chiming chords in the initial minute that remind me of the bell at the beginning of Black Sabbath’s ‘Black Sabbath’ until the beat kicks in and the song takes full form. With brilliant guitar solos & excellently timed pauses, it sounds like an original song in its own right, yet still plays homage to the Robbie classic. They even include a reference to Dead Moon’s ‘Dead Moon’ right at the end! All they need to do now is cover Electric 6 and I can die happy.

As they are a young band, they expressed that their sound will be evolving & getting “punchier” and honestly I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Their next gig is on April 3rd at CHUNK. It’s part of Trans Pride Leeds and I will 100% be there.

Find Wormboys on Bandcamp and Facebook.

Kitty Calderbank

Image: Facebook

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