A huge part of Liverpool Music Week is bringing your attention to the hottest new musical talents, and with DIY’s Breaking Out series kicking off, Getintothis’ Jake Marley was there to witness the future.
Do you ever just take a moment and reflect on why you fell in love with music all them years ago? Times before NME had mid-cast Harry Potter actors on their front page. Times before Kanye West headlined Glastonbury. Times when you could get a pint for under £4. Good times. When we take that said moment of reflection, we glance back to the days of dragging yourself down to a mid-week gig after college/work to see a host of bands that you’ve only heard a lead single from on Soundcloud. The gigs you have to ransom note yourself to even go to but then end up having fond memories of.
These nights are a dying breed. It seems couples have stopped breeding the gig going kind or at least the gig going kind who don’t watch an entire gig from their illuminated smartphone screen. We’re not going to sit here and bore you to death with the ‘people need to support new music’ anthology but surely that feeling of finding the next big thing, still wet behind the ears, full of nervous patter, songs scribbled in biro on a scrap of paper held down by a bottle of Stella must live on? Surely.
DIY teamed up with Liverpool Music Week to put on six nights mixing the hottest breakthrough artists with Liverpool’s finest in support. The first five of which The Shipping Forecast played host to, (The Arts Club hosted night six.)
The Shipping Forecast is a crazily underrated venue in this writer’s humble opinion. Its intimacy is one to bring comfort to a new act. That said, opening is never easy, going on before 8pm is a huge challenge for an artist or band. People filtering in throughout your set and chatting to their mates. The challenge here however was made easier for the understated yet powerfully entrancing AJHD, with Liverpool coming out in their droves to set a healthy scene for the atmospheric low-key enchantment that followed. Reflecting early on you could say the perfect opening build.
They were soon followed up in style by Jessie Robinson fronted, airy pop-punk quartet Scarlet. Boasting bags of stage energy and punchy choruses they pushed the bar up a notch for the nights co-headliners, the first of which was The Amazons. The Reading four-piece were totally at home losing their shit on stage amongst thrashing fuzzy guitars, creating euphoric noise that often echoed around our dingy basement surroundings. Toning things down as a headliner is unusual but that’s the natural go to for Londoners Palace. Still in their infancy they dipped into stoner-rock and alt-blues led tones from their two EPs to date before unearthing their fresh lo-fi, visceral selves to close a night that drifted between atmospheric reflection and full on hair-shaking pulses.
After a weekend break DIY Presents at Liverpool Music Week returned for night two and pop was all over the menu. Still painfully cold outside yet quickly turning summery and warm inside, the reason being Idle Frets kicking off with their now customary jaunty indie-pop lashes. Lead singer Ben Davies‘ raspy vocal sits contently within the confines of The Shipping Forecast walls as their autumn is the new summer jams, such as the chorus kicking swagger of Lifeline put smiles on previously glum, cold faces. Colour were soon passed the baton and kept the mood at dreamy, pop-rock, led by their pulsy single Strangers before showing their recent progression with several as yet un-released songs of varying vibe and depth.
Following these two was a difficult task but one took on by Whitecliff who’ve been killing it of late. Recently wowing when supporting indie favourites Black Honey at Studio 2 they weren’t going to be outdone here. Ice-cold guitars and uplifting vocals shouldn’t really work together in the grander scheme of things but in this instance they strangely do. One thing staggers us with these DIY nights and that’s the sheer volume of talent. Three fantastic bands and the headline was still to come. Tonight’s top billing, all the way from Ireland, indie/synth-pop duo All Tvvins. Kicking straight into gear, it’s lyrical hooks galore. Anthemic trances bouncing from ceiling to floor as if intermingled with nearby Heebies basement drawl, a very apt way to close a well executed pop friendly jaunt.
Seeing a band labelled alongside mega names such as The La’s, Oasis and Cast instantly sets your mind to work. Surely they can’t be the real deal you say to yourself, over and over. Well… DMA‘s the name, Australia’s to blame.
Headlining night three for DIY at Liverpool Music Week, the aussies had Liverpool in the palm of their hand. Another healthy crowd, clearly spurred on by our own charges who’d warmed their palms earlier. The Protagonists opened, somewhat veterans of the Liverpool scene now yet refreshingly dissimilar to anything else on this bill. Energy championed by city ringleaders Circa Waves with confident vocal delivery the key to their hearty scouseland indie-rock, you can’t go wrong. The Cheap Thrills also never fail live, led by the ever blossoming lead of Lewi Pike they’re a quartet with no strings attached and play every show as if it’s their last, thankfully that’s not the case and they’re sticking around for a bit, so I’m told. VYNCE‘s jangly indie-pop vibe caters to those stuck somewhere in-between punchy guitars and Strawberry Daiquiri pop liquor and is chirpy if not somewhat misled on this line-up.
Now, you’ve read on this far for one reason, the big answer to the big question, are DMA’s the next Oasis? Is Brit-pop coming back? Sadly not. However, they’re best away from the perils of that namecheck in my honest opinion. Don’t get me wrong I can see were the comparisons come from, there’s a vocal very reminiscent of our very own Lee Mavers. An energy that cries Cast in their prime. An energy somewhere in between The Twang and Oasis. All good nods for a relatively new band and nods that if they get their heads down, could go somewhere.
There’s plenty of potential here, which ones take the next step, only time will tell but one thing is for sure underground gigs are still alive and kicking.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tom Adam and Michael Kirkham.