Fang Island bring high-five power pop to the Kazimier, Getintothis’ Joseph Viney air guitars at will.
As we drift helplessly and happily into that whole long day/short night routine, padding your way to a gig in brazen daylight after a few timely jars feels as if you’re already on the way home after a long night’s partying; singing with the birds and inwardly chuckling at early risers dragging their way into their hellishly under-ventilated work environment of choice. T’was not to be, as the night was only just beginning.
The Kazimier‘s interior brings to mind that of a circus. Its high ceiling and elevated gallery, complete with stylish art-deco balcony that brings it all together feels Tsarist in its conception.
So it’s Soviet imagery we’re after; suspense, suspicion, wintry landscapes and craggy mountain ranges surrounding rich, decadent urban sprawls. Clang Boom Steam (yes, they’re named after the Tom Waits song, everybody else has said that already) tick all of the aforementioned synaesthetic boxes with raucous tunes that slip, slide and sleaze their way all over your synapses.
Eschewing the obvious Waitsian influences in favour of something with more roots within Nick Cave‘s poisoned pen, the four-piece proffer something more simple at first, but underneath is where the real reward lies.
Songs like The Good Ship, with its rollicking, boozy sea shanty noise just makes you wanna forge a life for yourself on the sea.
A self-assured vocalist with accomplishment on guitar and a barrel-chested rhythm player with background vocals that don’t even need a microphone to be carried show that in an era of knob-twiddling and introspection (or as Danny Baker called it in the 80s, “the age of the FACT, not the OPINION“), the world still craves and creates something more organic.
Throw some more coal on the furnace, coz Clang Boom Steam are rolling into your station soon.
Alpha Male Tea Party live at the Kazimier supporting Fang Island
Alpha Male Tea Party (AMTP) are a fairly straightforward pop-rock combo that plough a furrow in 4/4 and…wait, sorry, what am I talking about? AMTP are ceaselessly excellent, mesmerising and deserving of more attention in a city that seems to have a certain reservation about elevating them to where they belong.
No matter, because whatever the weather they put on a great show. Bedecked in their now-trademark (see-through) biohazard suits they launch immediately into the buzzsaw death of “Mutha Hubbard Wha’ Choo Doin’ In Ma Cupboard?!” and a fuller crowd, some otherwise occupied, have now all turned around to witness what many a desperate artist would call a “happening.”
Yeah, but this isn’t just a happening, it might be pre-meditated but damned if it isn’t one of the most natural things you could witness right now. Greg Chapman on drums bangs away (ladies…) as if some reincarnation of the multi-limbed deity Vishnu and Ben Griffiths, giant of a man on bass duties, makes with the ironic rock poses but imbued with the genuine conviction of talent.
They might have tracks with kerazy names like Depressingly Shit Lunchtime Sandwich (more like a club sandwich with a side of Waitrose kettle chips) but don’t let that cloud your judgement.
A mild-mannered and good-natured heckler described AMTP as “unusual.” Replies guitarist Tom Peters ‘…and what is your standard of usual, exactly?‘ EXACTLY.
No Spill Blood live at the Kazimier
Featuring members of Elk and Adebisi Shank, No Spill Blood are to music what Genghis Khan was to warfare; loud, fearsome and bloody.
Jeff Wayne‘s musical version of The War Of The Worlds might be the barometer in sci-fi musical epics, but No Spill Blood, with their other-worldly keyboard magic, thudding fuzz bass, outrageously great drumming and guttural vocals that could scare even the most feral of children play as if in the midst of a real intergalactic invasion.
From the moment they land, take away subjects to probe and experiment on and disappear into the starry sky with reckless abandon, you realise it’s not the Earth that has been invaded. No, it’s far worse than that; it’s your mind. You’ll want more, guaranteed.
Fang Island live at the Kazimier
A night of eclecticism reached its natural conclusion with the arrival of Brooklyn boys Fang Island.
Not long of a few dates at SXSW and touring in support of their second LP Major, Fang Island capped off one of the most memorable shows in Liverpool for a good while in real style.
Mixing grind, sheer volume and dazzling effects with classic guitar-pop mores, these Yankee Doodles gave the crowd even more bang for their buck. Tracks like Make Me and Never Understand contrived to collide among themselves with sharp vocal harmonies, winding and tasteful solos and a constant chugging rhythm of intricate intensity.
Fang Island in full effect at the Kazimier
A packed floor below the group sought to get as close as possible and take in what they could, as a very excitable young man right at the front threw down some of the most erratic yet carefree shapes not seen since the heyday of Ian Curtis.
We can’t fault the guy though; it was hard not to get carried away by tunes that are replete with a maddening amount of euphoria.
The Rhode Island outfits’ two guitarists traded vocal duties, keyboard runs and guitar lines with the speed and ferocity of a top-level tennis match.
The band themselves describe their music ‘as the sound of everyone high-fiving each other‘ – a simplistic modus operandi, but don’t it lull you into a false sense of security, they really mean business.
Their debut Liverpool show was one to behold and commit to memory. If we ask nicely enough, then they may just come back.
Photography by Getintothis’ Michelle Roberts.
Further reading on Getintothis
Fang Island‘s Major features in Getintothis‘ top 100 albums of 2012
Fang Island sink their teeth into Kazimier date
Getintothis reviews Fang Island‘s eponymous debut.
Fang Island in the top 5 of Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2011.