Getintothis’ Jasmine Joel captures the action as the Attic is left shaking from a night of staggering new Liverpool pop headed by GIT Award nominee Esco Williams.
For those out of the loop, a baptism recently took place, slap bang in the centre of the city.
Without wishing to exaggerate – it was without doubt the funkiest, mercilessly soulful baptism of newy music this city has seen for time.
Held in the venue formerly known as 3345, and now reborn in its renovated glory as Attic, it was the setting for Esco Williams‘ Pledge Party, an event organised by the gifted vocalist to raise awareness for his highly anticipated debut album while tying in with his Pledge campaign – which is now funded at 103% (and rising).
Opening the event, the packed out Attic bore witness to the supremely talented Taylor Fowlis.
For many artists, it takes a few songs for an audience to really grasp how talented they are. This was certainly not the case for 13-year-old Taylor, who left jaws nailed to the floor with her rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae‘s Like A Star. For those perhaps a little nervous at how such a young singer would cope with such a technically difficult song, Taylor proved her ability ten times over.
Next up was the soulful five-piece Mic Lowry, who’s harmonies are orchestrated by mentor Esco Williams.
Esco had reason to be proud of his young protégés as the guys, backed by a sweet and soulful acoustic guitar swept through two songs including a Frank Ocean cover.
It was great to witness these young men whose confidence and ability has shown astonishing development. With an original sound and impressively tight harmonies, Mic Lowry are another reflection of the fine new talent that Liverpool has to offer.
Clarity, like the previous two acts is also a shining reflection of the talent coming out of L8 based youth arts project Positive Impact.
Clarity treated us to a new song from an upcoming release. Her jazz-inflected voice bringing a smooth, mellow vibe to the evening with her new song Lemons.
Lemons were the last thing this audience were getting on this night however, especially when Coffee and Cakes for Funerals took to the stage; a funky minimalist band that brought to mind the famous production of early Neptunes material mixed with mid-era Prince and Dre beats.
Grinding out 25 minutes of unashamedly funky and at times mellow jams it was the intricate fretboard work on show by Michael Blackburn – using his guitar like a piano with one-note precision – interplaying with vocalist Joe Hazlett‘s soulful timbre which left the crowd scraping their jaws from the floor.
Speaking of funky – you ever heard of Manukah? Jheez… they took funk so far, ‘funky’ doesn’t even seem to do them justice.
This jazz influenced outfit incorporated splashes of hip hop while weaving in between crazysexycool jams of monstrous, unapologetic funkiness. Manukah educated every soul in the room on tight housequakin’ music.
Backed up by a three-piece horn section, the grooves where quaking throughout the whole building, bouncing off the walls and sizzling in the atmosphere. Yeah, in case I didn’t make this clear, we really love this band.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better. Yeah…it was his turn. You know…the new challenger; the self professed love geek and the reason why every artist and audience member was in the building.
Backed up by the newly christened Kontrollers, GIT Award nominee Esco Williams played a half hour set which only served to bring the excitement and appreciation for real music to dizzying heights.
Taking the opportunity to preview some of his new material, which will be featured on the upcoming album, Esco and the Kontrollers tore through a tight, soulful and thoroughly delicious set.
As if his own jams weren’t good enough (think the catchy funk of New Challenger and the old school audience involving funkfest I Want You More), his much loved mash up of Estelle‘s American Boy, and Blackstreets No Diggity were thrown into the mix completing a night of high musical drama.
To those out of the loop: Esco Williams is something special. And this night should really prove that he really isn’t alone. Part of the excitement from the audience came from the fact that nights which support music’s such as soul, R&B, hip-hop and jazz are sadly rare in this city.
These artists need more support from Liverpool. So wake up and celebrate the real diversity and talent the city has to offer.
Esco’s Pledge Party was a wildly exciting and funky representation of the crazy talent – it didn’t start with The Beatles and it won’t end with them. Trust us.
For a full interview and in depth profile with GIT Award nominee Esco Williams visit here.
Pictures courtesy of Jasmine Joel. For more coverage from Liverpool’s thriving urban scene visit Upfront.