An evening of delicate song is played out at Kazimier, Getintothis’ Emma Walsh dodges drunken audience shambolics for some mini Welsh wonders.
If there’s one thing Mellowtone can’t be accused of, it’s false advertising.
Their evenings are mellow to the absolute dictionary definition. Curled up in an armchair in The Kazimier with a pint of cider and some tasty tunes from Beaten Tracks DJs, the only thing I was missing was the slippers.
Cousin Jac began the easygoing vibes with his own affecting taste of Cornish folk and bluegrass roots brought to being through church organ keys, double bass (played in sock soles for extra oomph!) and the combination of fiddle and acoustic guitar.
Cousin Jac, with Jez Wing at the head of the family
There’s something a touch Ben Folds Five about Cousin Jac, in the theatrical storytelling play of the keys, a hint of a sham American accent, and just the slightest taste of melodrama.
Standout tunes include Atlanta, Waterwitch (originally recorded with a string quartet) and Kitty Armstrong – a pretty little folksy foot tapper written for his niece, directly after which the fiddler made a quick exit, due at a bluegrass night at The Pilgrim – working musicians, eh?
Welsh lovelies Paper Aeroplanes opened their set with the slow burning lush vocals of Sarah Howell, low key but attention grabbing all the same. There is something undeniably breathtaking about the way a double bass glides into a song and causes a ripple effect throughout.
With shades of Kate Walsh, Gemma Hayes and Laura Marling, Paper Aeroplanes would not be out of place on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack – but in a really good way, of course.
Another questionable comparison that jumped to mind was that Howell could genuinely be the long lost fourth Corrs sister, she even had her very own Jim on electric guitar.
Apparently the little midweek gathering had a greater crowd than their last Liverpool outing, but it was still criminally under-attended considering the sheer talent on display, but a larger crowd would also have been appreciated for their additional body warmth.
Howell offered an open invitation for someone to massage her freezing fingers and suggested everyone cuddle a stranger to keep toasty.
With a bit more of a kick behind them, Paper Aeroplanes upped their game with Safe Hands, written when Howell served her time working in cafes and bars, lusting after a charming but unattainable regular customer – an endless source of material, let me assure you.
Fan favourite Winter Never Comes received a typically enthusiastic welcome, and Howell, bless her, did her best to get through it despite the onset of a croaky throat. She battled through (take note Foxes) and as compensation offered a free CD to everyone – with the suggested donation of £4. We’re not sure if anyone actually took that offer seriously.
Serious isn’t the first word that jumps to mind when speaking of Howell. She sardonically compared herself to Cat Power who has actually used the phrase ‘can you please not look at me while I sing this song‘ without any hint of self-deprecation. She too suffers for her art, but it’s mostly phlegm.
Tunes of note include We Are Ghosts, Fable and Skies on Fire, although every song could be listed off in that case, Little Letters, Multiple Love, take your pick. The encore was made extra special with a second, unplugged, croak-free rendition of Winter Never Comes out on the floor and your new favourite Welshy song Newport Beach that elicited a beautiful little sing-along.
Paper Aeroplanes live at The Kazimier for Mellowtone
The delicate tones of Sarah Howell
Howell did risk a genuine diva moment just before the last song when she requested that nobody talk during the final song, as her voice was on its last legs and her mum’s friend was here. A request Getintothis thoroughly appreciated having spent the last 10 minutes subjected to the drunken, borderline racist blathering of two middle aged men obviously on day release from their wives.
They didn’t quite manage to remain mute for the entirety of the song but even we couldn’t muster up any rage on such a mellow occasion. The band themselves summed up the night perfectly ‘Shambolic, but kind of fun as well‘.
Pictures by Getintothis’ John Johnson.
Further reading on Getintothis:
Mellowtone cook up series of intimate gems including I Am Kloots John Bramwell.
Parquet Courts set for Liverpool summer outing at Kazimier.
Brian Jonestown Massacre to decamp in East Village Arts Club.
Andrew WK to party hard in Liverpool’s East Village Arts Club.
Arctic Monkeys cover Lou Reed‘s Walk On The Wild Side: Echo Arena, Liverpool
Sugarmen, The Black Tambourines, Go Fiasco, Leon Fender Walker: District, Liverpool