Sic Alps bid farewell the only way they know how; amid a whirlwind of noise, light and raw energy. Getintothis’ Will Fitzpatrick was there to scale the heights one last time.
“You’ve got what it takes to be a great audience,” smirks The Shook-Ups’ livewire frontman, taunting us jovially as we shuffle our feet.
You know what? He’s right! We’re totally sold on their manic take on 60s garage punk.
If it was a little later and we were a little drunker than hell, we’d probably take a cue from their toe-tappin’ party and head straight down the front for a dance.
Sadly it’s not yet 9pm and Getintothis is distressingly sober, so we’ll have to make do with the cheek-straining grins on our faces – there are nods to faves like The Seeds and The Sonics.
Crucially The Shook-Ups have got a fuzz-driven personality of their own – camp in the best way possible, and almost endlessly fun. They’re a real good time alright.
The Shook Ups provide a real good time at Blade Factory
The Lucid Dream are slightly less engaging.
They sound incredible, dense clouds of atonal, psychoactive noise, layered over taut, cyclical rhythms… all de rigeur as far as psych goes in 2013.
Sometimes they dabble with Spacemen 3, other times they’re reaching for Loop. Very tasteful, very now, very impressive in some respects.
Of course, the danger with this stuff comes in rocking perilously near to dull ol’ meat’n’potatoes Oasis territory, and there’s a couple of moments in tonight’s set where we skirt close to that edge, were their effects pedals ever be confiscated.
It’s not technique they’re missing, just urgency, and lord knows we’re not short of other bands doing this sort of thing at the minute so some shaping up is in order.
They’ve nailed the sound; hopefully the songs will follow.
The Lucid Dream bathed in light at the Blade Factory
As for the evening’s headliners, ‘magnificent’ would be over-selling ’em.
With last year’s self-titled LP still fresh in the memory, we’re expecting a set chock-full of stoned, fragmented r’n’b from Sic Alps; like a half-asleep Kinks trying desperately to find the snooze button.
It turns out that this their final tour; their return to San Francisco will see the band split up to indulge in an array of solo projects and new bands. So instead we’re treated to a full-on greatest hits set.
OK, ‘hits’ really is pushing it, but their slacker-punk take on what dem ‘mericans call the ‘British Invasion‘ really delivers the goods.
Hearts race to the head-nodding groove of God Bless Her, I Miss Her, but it’s Do You Want To Give Money? that really gets the Blade Factory’s juices flowing.
All the while, Mike Donovan (three times a string-breaker tonight) and Noel von Harmonson wrench ear-splitting screams from their guitars, adding to the instant hooks with such ferocity that one wonders why the whole venue hasn’t burned down in the process.
Yessir, it’s clear why they call ’em ‘face-melters’, and it’s one helluva noise that Sic Alps make together. We’ll miss em.
Sic Alps say goodbye in style at the Blade Factory
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tom Adam.
Further reading on Getintothis:
K-X-P, Gigantes, EYES: Blade Factory, Liverpool
NAAM, Mind Mountain, Big Naturals: Blade Factory, Camp and Furnace, Liverpool
Blade Factory: Cutting edge sounds from Liverpool’s white room