From the Laurel Canyon and back to Aigburth, The Big House bring West Coast melodies to the Kazimier, Getintothis’ Alan O’Hare reports on a live debut which shows glimpses of something special in the making.
There are no giant redwood trees in Aigburth.
But that didn’t stop The Big House opening their single launch gig with a song of the west coast at The Kazimier.
Acoustic guitars are rattling, drums are rolling and horns are raging, as we’re all transported from Wolstenholme Square to Laurel Canyon.
Candie Payne is shining bright and singing well, while partner Paul Molloy leads the eight piece band from the front.
It begs the question though: why do so many Scouse bands need to sound like they’re singing under the LA sun? The matter becomes irrelevant when the songs are good.
And The Big House have some crackers. But when the ensemble launch into a relentless, horn-driven take on The Merseys‘ classic Sorrow, a truly great song is revealed and the gig doesn’t recover.
The Big House‘s take on Scouser Billy Kinsley‘s glorious pop moment could have come from Elvis Costello‘s stax assault, Get Happy. That good. But the five or six songs that come immediately after it are left beaten and bruised. Ten or so tunes in and it’s all over.
The Big House’s Paul Molloy and Candie Payne making their live debut at the Kazimier
There were great moments. Debut single, Caught Up, revelled in the spotlight and was lit up by the fantastic horn section – including ex-Zuton, Abi Harding. A cover of former Byrd man Gene Clark‘s Here Without You was another highlight and the musicianship and singing was top drawer throughout.
The night had a celebratory feel. But a longer set was needed, alongside bigger tunes, to give us a truly great evening. Magic moments shone through though and the duo’s debut album is much-awaited.
Let’s hope that well-worn vinyl collection has a few more nuggets the size of Sorrow in it.
Pictures by Mark McNulty.