Pop Levi: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool

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Pop Levi works his sexual seduction to the max at the Shipping Forecast leaving Getintothis’ Amy Roberts wanting more.


There’s nothing as delightfully uniting as being squeezed into a magnetic sweat fest of a basement for a gig.
In the beautifully dank Hold of the Shipping Forecast, a myriad of weekend revellers elbow their way through a fervent crowd to pitch out the best spot to witness the return of local legend Pop Levi.
And although there always seems to be one unfeasibly tall git who manages to squirm his way in front of you when you do finally manage to find a prize placement (seriously, the etiquette should be the same as it was for school photos – don’t stand at the bloody front if you’re double the height of everyone else – jerk), spirits are high and the anticipation for Poppa himself seems to calm everyones urge to get lairy on those determined enough to bombard themselves to the front.
Entering on a prolonged slayer of an intro, Pop Levi stares seductively into the audience, doing things with his guitar which look and sound borderline deviant – his facial expression providing the kind of drowsy with ecstasy facial expressions which drive the gig straight into third base territory.
He’s what Holden Caulfield would describe, with nihilistic distrust, as ‘one sexy b*****d‘.
A man who within two minutes of playing already has the audience in the palm of his hand, totally entranced and throwing shapes which ebbs the flow of the crowd into a united throb. If you were to back seat it with him, you wouldn’t stand a sodding chance of purity.
His backing band too, are utterly blazing. Particularly his drummer who flagellates fever tempo rhythms out of his kit with all the blast of a full on bomb attack.
The real star of the show though, is the chemistry of the music – the manipulation of notes, bombastic distortions and feedback, the sly slither of a chord elongated and bent on with the delirious slam of a whammy bar.
There’s a bizarre sexual chemistry between Pop Levi and his guitar which borders on full on fetishism, and our gratified voyeurism of the musical flirtation only adds fuel to the pairing.
Songs Blue Honey and Pick-Me-Up Uppercut are perfect highlights of this – dominating the audience into uncontrollable spasms of charged motion.
Perfect psychedelia-pop triumphs, their infectious nature is even more euphoric live, and it comes as no surprise that at least a third of the audience know every word and are chiming lovingly along.
Whilst his guitar appears to mess up somewhere towards the end of the set (a boohoo ending to the love story of the performance, surely), Poppa soldiers on regardless, replacing guitar thrum quirks with a bombardment of dance moves which would probably make Prince feel inadequate.
And then it’s over.
The crowd beckons and begs – perhaps a little over enthusiastically considering the room’s at boiling point, the mans in a boiler suit, and his 5-string lover is busted – for more, more, more.
But it’s made pretty clear that it’s not going to happen.
Which, all fetishism considered, is probably the perfect ending to the performance. Tease them up into a wild, pertinent lather, and then withdraw right before the anticipated climax.

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