In the midst of a busy music week, Getintothis’ Amaan Khan takes in the sounds from the leftfield sphere with Veyu, RongoRongo and L U M E N.
It is a musically busy week for the city and among the many places (most notably the Threshold Festival) to experience live gigs on the first weekend is Leaf on Bold Street, where loyal fans are trickling down to experience the post-punk and electronica offerings of VEYU, RongoRongo and L U M E N.
An hour after the doors open, half the upper floor of the venue, with its several disco balls and multicoloured lights, is already filled and drinking to the beats of Bido Lito DJs who describe their sound as “Albanian funk and catastrophic gypsy tape throb”. With two GIT award nominees supporting one of the most positively received emerging bands of Liverpool, tonight’s event is a carefully planned ride of increasing intensity.
Kicking off this ride is the young electronica songwriter from Aintree, Liam Brown aka L U M E N. Armed with a guitar and electronic backing tracks, he offers us a performance of reverb-heavy guitar riffs and echoing vocals. While mostly sounding akin to Bombay Bicycle Club, he also forays into grittier punk – bellowing along with a heartfelt rendition of Sleep Don’t Wait For Me amidst an otherwise similar sounding set. The GIT award nominee, nonetheless, manages to keep the crowd attention as he tries to establish a live act as ambitious as his records.
RongoRongo, the second GIT nominee on the bill take, soon take charge and give a clear indication that the night will only get more interesting with time. With the audience standing a few metres away from the stage, there is just enough space for the eccentric energetic force that is the frontman Mick Chrysalid, to play with.
The band not only carries on with the chiming reverb-heavy ambience offered by the previous act but also adds some seriously loud thumping of the drums with 80’s punk basslines. Thereby, making a suitable transition between the previous act and the upcoming set of VEYU while leaving their own unique mark in the process.
RongoRongo have been around for a while now and have not only got comfortable with the limelight of a gig but also learnt to utilize it well. While the band of three guitarists, a bass and drummer maintain and introvert focus to give a wall of post-punk and dark sound, Mick likes to take responsibility for the performer-to-audience communication and does not hesitate to come off the stage to talk to and hug the members of the audience between a song. The eccentricity and entertainment offered by the band can be clearly seen as Mick, with a back-and-forth hip swivel, sings ‘Hey George Michael, I know you pretty well’.
The vibes have been established and the standards set for the main act to match by the time VEYU takes the stage. While the audience openly appreciated both the preceding acts, the applause makes it clear that what actually brought them to the venue was a loyal love for VEYU. The show is considered as a ‘return’ by many, including the band, as they come back with perfected material to the live scene of the city. The occasion also includes the relaunching of their I/O events, which feature the very beneficial element of performing to a visual backdrop.
VEYU started out with intricate riffs and bass lines that remind us of The Cure and proceed to become as intense as Sonic Youth. Drummer Tom McCabe and bassist Ash Hopkins like to lay down grooves and riffs that people can dance to. On this occasion, it works perfectly and the aforementioned space between the audience and the stage was filled with people dancing to a post-punk band. On top of this riffing and grooving, sat the flowing layers of synths and guitars and the dark baritone of the vocals that perfectly came together as the band belted out their crowd-pleaser Everytime. The sonically mesmerizing experience was further augmented with the backdrop of psychedelic visuals provided by Mike Isted.
The band let the music do the talking with an exception of a moment, which they took to thank the fans for persevering with them. The band ended the night with their song Blue Voices and left the audience asking for an encore. The band’s courageous explorations, both audio and visual, are clear proof that they are a force that will keep their fans wanting more in the long run as well.
Photography by Getintothis’ Simon Lewis