As Liverpool Music Week saw Godspeed, Best Coast and Josh T Pearson grabbing the headlines, Getintothis’ Jake Marley was dutifully picking out those under the radar gems in the second batch of ‘Breaking Out’ shows.
At a time when everyone is looking at their wallets with anxious, glum faces, there’s a real solace to be found in being treated to a great night of music for a mere £3 admission. Answers on a postcard for better value things for three increasingly valuable British pounds please?
Anyway, when you reach a halfway point in anything it’s only natural to step back and look both ways. Backwards to what’s been before and forwards to what is still to come. Wednesday marked the halfway point in DIY’s Breaking Out gigs at Liverpool Music Week so naturally we glanced back on the experiences of the previous three days, and what a three days they were. However, looking ahead to what was still to come. Wednesday’s headline spot boasted much hyped London quartet Telegram (who staggeringly haven’t released their much anticipated debut record yet, although it’s well in the works we’re told.) The week would then take a much needed female turn to it’s close with the mesmerizing talents of 19-year old lyricist Pixx and new wave champion Shura.
Wednesday held ridiculous promise, not only did it mean a return to the intimately beautiful cauldron of Liverpool music The Shipping Forecast, but a Liverpool welcome to London’s Anglo-Welch big hitters Telegram was in order. The stage for their Liverpool debut was set as with every other night on this forever blossoming musical spree by the finest Liverpool has to offer. Step forward The Floormen who took to the floor and instantly raised expectation levels with their celestial grooves. Slurry vocals chucked amongst raucous psychedelic revelry , effective despite being at times distant and hazy. Their set needed no introduction and they’d clearly decided it needed no closing speech either shuffling of stage abruptly without even a mutter to say for themselves.
An ever growing crowd then welcomed Ohmns to the forefront of attention. Intense, almost personal vocal screams were shouldered by heavy distorted feedback from the amps which hovered between mind-numbing and un-comfortable, but that seems their style. There’s no doubting Ohms have the power to burst three sets of amps a week and I guess that’s why the new music lovers at Liverpool Music Week took quite a shine to them regardless. Sweat-ridden guitar mayhem with a side order of Ohmns is not for the faint hearted mind so check the terms and conditions before entry!
Strange Collective are a strange one in more ways than the name. Releasing just a solo tune this year they’re a rather mysterious band, live shows aside. Having given only a small taster of what the future may hold in debut hit Sun the psych-rock foursome who have a fierce set at this years Liverpool Psych Fest to their name, pose many more questions than subsequent answers. It’s a bit like filling in a crossword puzzle, thinking you’ve got a few right but having a rip in the page on the answers you were a bit 50/50 on. Listening to them live however it’s easy to see why they’ve been booked to support Yak at the Liverpool date of their tour this year, hallucinogenic trips galore amongst punchy distorted amp energy.
It’s also pretty easy to see why the internet was rallying for a debut Telegram LP before its eventual unveiling earlier this week, everyone clearly wants more scuzz in their lives. The now London based four-piece create noise that makes even the hushed confines of The Shipping Forecast basement stand on edge, although at times forcing their own vocal delivery to become strained in unnatural ways. That said there’s enough going for them musically, think a more sweaty, lively Temples. They’ve also grown increasingly tight live and now boast a solid live set that’s a few years in the making. All in all Telegram left Liverpool with some new followers on board and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?
The final two evenings saw two female lyricists of slightly different styles take up the headline berths. Pixx in the now rather customary Shipping Forecast basement slot and Shura in the relatively larger East Village Arts Club loft space alongside the likes of coverted 2015 GIT Award nominee & LIMF Summer Jam line-upee Xam Volo.
The Shipping Forecast hosted a relatively low-key affair with hushed vocals heavy on the menu. The opening sets came from the beautifully fleeting Faded Gold a songstress who shakes you softly into a lull amongst her key-led vocal longing. Warm, dreamy and above all else an utterly pleasant experience. The same can be said for Luna who followed, never attempting to stir the room beyond her means and ultimately captivating by use of sheer vocal power, quite something. Challenged with settling the scene for Pixx‘s headline was fellow 19-year-old prodigy Cloves who looked far beyond her years when belting out tracks such as recent premiere Don’t You Wait. A vocal that never dwindles or becomes a weight on your shoulders, instead one that chooses to softly rests its head against you with slow, swaying rhythm.
So, the tone was set rather impeccably for 19-year-old sensation Pixx to take to the stage. It took her frankly minutes to charm all in attendance with the lush cotton-wool cushioned vocals and captivating guitar strokes of her Fall In EP. This considering her age is quite staggering and she looked totally at home closing out a night full of promising stars all singing from the same hymn sheet.
East Village Arts Club‘s solo run out for LMW was a slightly more electro-pop meets jazz affair. AGP or Andrew Gordon Parry (who’s band may or may not have played at this years LMW already) opened up. Throughout his set it felt as if you were either riding the crest of a wave to a greater land or had your head stuck in the sand. Even he seemed to be grappling with his own mysticism at times throwing in the odd thrilling finale to an otherwise chilled and at times seemingly dark, painful set. Uplifting pop followed in the form of local outfit When I Am King who’s smooth, effortlessly tight, if not a little safe set, went down well with the Liverpool faithful. The much lauded Xam Volo‘s barrage of soul however went down a storm, boasting several accolades to his name already his colossal sound left vibes flooding through the venue. Headliner Shura closed in fitting style with hypnotic pulses of 80s in-fused synth-pop, breaking the mainstream pop mould with expansive twists and underlying assurance in her own abilities.
DIY and Liverpool Music Week have put on a catalogue of ‘Breaking Out‘ shows here at LMW 2015 that not only showcase a diverse variety of musical backgrounds, paths and passions to people who may not have seen them before but injected even more new life into a musical city that loved every minute of it. We can only hope that this isn’t a one-off and more people get the pleasure of experiencing events like it.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tom Adam