The former Super Numeri dandy returns home…
Pop Levi is a tease. And like the icons he’s clearly influenced by, he knows it.
Taking to Korova’s underground bunker at 1.45am, garbed in a psychedelic multi-coloured silk shirt, mandatory skin-like black slacks and armed with a coy, filthily expressive grin, the devilishly handsome Liverpudlian is keen to take his time. After all he’s in his own back yard.
Having piled into the venue at around 9pm and bobbed their way through the hit and miss, style over substance, disco-sex-rap duo Hot Machine the throngs of Levi ladies hemmed in at the front are literally purring for a slice of hot Pop pie.
Approaching five hours later, and here he is.
Nodding like some elven dandy, his mascara-clad doe eyes lock onto the pogo-ing kids as his backing band oddballs Woman let rip into a one-chord chug which reverberates for nigh on ten minutes before detonating into the Small Faces-esque Dollar Bill Rock.
Its a bewitching entrance, and is indicative of what’s to follow as Levi delivers a cosmic cauldron of tunes mixing retro psychedelia with futuristic pop.
Blue Honey, with its ‘People, people, when you hand me down’ lyrical intro, recalls Stevie’s Higher Ground, as organs swirl amongst a thick bass soup and wah-wah guitar melange.
The spiky Mournin’ Light is prime Bolan glam stomp with ridiculous lyrics about being rocked to the edge of the farm.
The only problem with Levi’s mission statement is that he is so heavily indebted to his heroes. His tunes are almost an homage of T-Rex – far more so on debut record, The Return To Form Black Majick Party (which contains several folksy Bolan ballads), and his image strays towards a mod Prince.
And while Levi still manages to weave enough of himself into his carefully created persona you just hope he manages to steer away from cartoon caricature.
On tonight’s showing there’s little chance of that, however, recent singles Sugar Assault Me Now is the very definition of three minute perfection; all tom-tom drums, scuzzy guitars and lascivious vocals while Pick Me-Up Uppercut is pixie Glitter Band heaven.
For a man whose featured with many of Merseyside’s musical cognoscenti (Ladytron and Super Numeri – check out the latter’s Great Aviaries if you haven’t already) his talent was never in doubt, but with a debut as wild as it is restrained in terms of musical virtuosity it comes as an even greater thrill to see him wig out in full Hendrix mode as the set draws to a close.
There’s deafening feedback, there’s dripping wet girls, there’s action aplenty, but ol’ Pop seems altogether unmoved. He’s alone in that respect – and you guess, that’s just the way he likes it.