Cheatahs: East Village Arts Club, Liverpool

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cheatahs
Cheatahs pounced on a willing audience and dined out, Getintothis’ Nick Lodge ran with the herd.


Ah, this gig took us back. Back to about 1990, to be more precise.
Ride were leaving their shoegazing contemporaries in the vapour trail, and grunge pioneers like Lemonheads, Sugar and Dinosaur Jr. were starting to make an impact on this side of the Atlantic. It’s a decent musical circle to move in, by any standards.
And fittingly it was a good old fashioned gig – forty minutes of four men playing all the songs they have, mumbling the odd line of introduction or thanks, but mostly letting their tunes do the talking.
And, having been around the block, ultimately Cheatahs are more than the sum of their influences.
They kick off with a Ride impersonation worthy of Phil Cool (to continue the retro references, and minus any rubber-faced gurning), complete with trademark harmonised sighs.
We can’t hear a word they’re saying, but it sounds suitably yearning and lovelorn.
cheatahs
Cheatahs at East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
Having said that, the band themselves produce their sound with the minimum of fuss, and with a knack for conjuring a poppy chorus from their guitar-heavy stew, and there’s only a little shoe-gazing, but that may be down to singer Nathan Hewitt’s retina-melting day-glo yellow trainers.
As the set progresses, Cheatahs sprint away from Ride, and sink their teeth into Dinosaur Jr. and Lemonheads, showcasing their musical chops with some heavy guitar work allied with more deft fretwork from guitarist James Wignall.
H conjures effects that sound at once like sirens (always a thrilling addition to a song) and a synthesised organ. It gives these songs an epic dimension. More of that, please.
Towards the end Cheatahs really show their teeth, and themselves, becoming much more than just a very efficient tribute act.
They start enjoying themselves as they expand on their musical template, finally breaking free to create their very own taken on shimmering, hazy pop-tinged loveliness.
cheatahs
Cheatahs at East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
Their inspirations may be old-skool, but Cheatahs are quick learners, and within forty, very quick minutes have gone from gifted pupils to top of the class.
They may crib answers from some illustrious predecessors, but they show real potential to turn the tables.
Reaching for gold stars, even while gazing at their somewhat garish footwear.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tom Adam.
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