Dave McCabe, Hello Operator: Pirate Studios, Liverpool

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Dave McCabe

Dave McCabe

At the launch of Liverpool’s new rehearsal space Pirate Studios, Getintothis’ Josh McMahon was left in awe of the showmanship and wit of Dave McCabe.

As the frontman of the Zutons, writing partner of Mark Ronson, and a formidable solo artist, it would be safe to say Dave McCabe is a legend of the Liverpool scene.

With heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics, guttural delivery and lovable scouse patriotism, it’s hard not to be drawn into his world – Much like the free drinks available tonight at Pirate Studios. With such a repertoire, what’s not to love? That’s even before we get to the ‘V’ word.

But there’s much more to Dave McCabe than Valerie.

Dave and his band took to the stage and after a brief rendition of Blanety Blank, the trio proceeded to take the room by storm, engulfing everyone in this intimate space in the astral charisma of the man himself. Bongos, keys and drones electrified the room, flowing from one banger to another with songs like You Will You Won’t eagerly recieved, his voice cracking with passion.

It’s hard to find a way in which the band could have created a better atmosphere, improvising between songs and a running commentary from Dave, often breaking down his well-known hits to show the room how well he can spit bars about Knowsley and Canny Farm or exclaim about how his “breath is terrible but has the charm of a prince”. His fun loving attitude shows – aside from being an awesome musician – how much of a showman and genuinely funny guy Dave McCabe is.

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Finishing off his triumphant set, Dave dropped the obligatory bomb that is Valerie, to the immediate explosion of the audience. With songs this big and so influential, it’s easy to see how the room descended into chaotic excitement and raw joy in the midst of this almost reverent scene. The set fades to its end as Dave banters with the crowd, threatening to smash up his equipment or take on the whole room guitar in hand. What a guy, what a set, what a night.

Support was provided by Hello Operator who provided the night with serious guitar raunch. The guys swagger into position and emanate confidence from the outset. Their punk ethos and security in their own skin was displayed by the fact that their lead guitarist was unfazed that he’d lost his jeans, opting for a pair of women’s leggings – it’s not like it was getting filmed or anything.

Fuzzy hair, fuzzy guitars and Yorkshire accents; the band reinvent the classic rock format into something that felt tight, exciting and fresh. Huge riffs are slung all over the show, with flavours of Zeppelin, the Black Keys and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in abundance. However, these guys are no imitation. This is big guitar rock for the here and now that is far from stuck in the 70s. Hello Operator, goodbye “guitar rock is dead”.

Pirate Studios is a new rehearsal space for musicians with the aim of supporting emerging talent. Dave McCabe himself spoke very highly of the studios: “This is the kind of place that’s great for bands that want to be locked away or for bands that want to speak to each other and be part of a scene”.

With rooms available 24 a day and a full backline of pro-standard equipment at your disposal, Pirate Studios is certainly somewhere to keep an eye on for new artists. It certainly was a great venue tonight.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Gary Coughlan.

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