Red Sails, Nick Ellis, John Canning Yates: The Nordic Church, Liverpool

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Red Sails

Red Sails

Performing in the picturesque setting of Liverpool’s Nordic Church, Getintothis’ Zach Jones  sees the genre spanning Red Sails on top form.

We first came across Red Sails at Liverpool Calling, where they were booked to play the awkward ‘outdoor stage’ at The Kazimier. No, not the Kazimier Garden, but the smoking area between the two known as Rat Alley. As much as this DIY approach has its merits, tonight is a completely different affair with the Nordic Church offering up spectacular visuals upon entrance, and as the crowd start to file in to DJ Bernie Connors’ eclectic and eccentric mix, the mood is certainly set for opener John Canning Yates.

Stepping into the derlorian and traveling back to 2004, Ella Guru were one of the most promising outfits rising from the murky waters of the Mersey. With their aptly titled the First Album matching the beautiful intertwining understated lines of folk goodness, it was frontman John Canning Yates’ soft and harrowing voice that resonated throughout. Tonight is no exception, and accompanied by simple piano lines, Yates is nothing short of phenomenal, with the atmosphere from the backdrop of the church playing to his advantage. His set is quiet, and a hushed audience are forced to listen. There’s no background chatter and no bar to rustle around. The crowd slip into a trance as Yate’s dark melodies of heartbreak and hard times descend.

As the crowd sit and wait, sipping beer indiscreetly from Tesco carrier bags, Nick Ellis takes to the stage. As soon as the impressive singer/songwriter starts his short but diverse set, it’s apparent that even before the headline act, Mellowtone have assembled some of the finest acts the city has to offer.

Ellis is a brilliant songwriter, with a total disregard for the genre boundaries that can so often restrict acoustic artists. Ellis brings forth song after song of cohesively chill provoking material that spans from blues, folk and country yet continuously remains in Nick Ellis’ unique style. He is more upbeat than our previous act, yet still maintains a dark brooding ambience that echoes throughout the church.

After another break and another treat from Bernie Connors’ Sound of Music, we reach the pinnacle of the night, headliners Red Sails. Tonight is their night.

Confidence brims from the band as they play, every song performed with conviction and the prowess of an experienced band. It is a solid headline set and sees the band move between realms we’ve already seen tonight, be it folk inspired guitar lines or intricate melodies, into the alternative and psychedelic. Red Sails are a nuclear missile heading for the top of Liverpool scene. You can’t deny quality, but only prolong the waiting time until they explode. For us, Red Sails have been waiting long enough.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Saleh.

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