Saint Motel played a debut gig in Liverpool and Getintothis’ Daniel Bundy was there for a space mission through their imaginations.
When Facebook lists only twelve people going to a gig, you’re forgiven for thinking it’ll be ‘intimate’.
Yet quality bands will fill out quality venues and with a repertoire of catchy funk pop tunes, Saint Motel wowed a busy O2 this past Wednesday night.
Fun filled the atmosphere before the show even started as some girls abandoned their spot in the queue to mob an arriving car. Was this a Saint Motel member turning up fashionably late? No. The resourceful fans ordered pizza to the venue in a stroke of absolute genius.
Inside as the night started, the support acts wasted no time hyping the loud Liverpool crowd. Floral Scene leaped into their high energy set, dedicated to a friend who passed away that morning, and woke the crowd up in anticipation of the night’s headliners. Their lyrics about problems with women to a beach rock sound invokes adolescence and late summer nights and in particular, new track ‘Esteem‘ stands out amongst a strong set list.
Between songs, the vocalist invited the crowd to “Check us out if you want to listen. If you don’t, that’s cool” and judging by the crowd’s cheers, they’re most definitely worth a listen.
Floral Scene then gave way to Hanover who performed well, despite technical difficulties and some ghastly feedback at the start. When the vocalist proudly declared ‘Something’s changing‘, it really did.
He confidently commanded his audience clap, wave their hands and throw themselves about to heavy drums with minimalist beats. They also ramped up the positivity, getting cheers for Floral Scene and building anticipation for Saint Motel.
Something that struck us as odd, however, with both these acts was a staticness in the crowd. Both Floral Scene and Hanover were solid performers with lively music, easy to dance to and yet the crowd were still. It wasn’t until Saint Motel came on that it became apparent why. They were saving their energy.
As Saint Motel took their positions, a pre-recorded voice promised to take the O2 on a space mission through their imaginations and wow did they deliver.
With enough horn to keep Keith Mansfield happy, ‘Move‘ got the crowd jumping. ‘Sweet Talk‘ slowed them down but maintained the buzz, and ‘My Type‘, their biggest hit, set the place ablaze as vocalist AJ Jackson sauntered through his crowd. He needed no invitation, his body language enough to get arms swaying and hands clapping and even the slightest pause was punctuated by chants for Saint Motel.
Their songs have featured in a number of adverts and video games, probably because they’re so incredibly catchy and upbeat. To hear them live however is an altogether different beast.
AJ’s permanent, full toothed smile and masterful stage presence injected a huge dose of Californian warmth into Liverpool and capped off a truly fun-filled Wednesday evening. It might’ve been Saint Motel’s first time playing in Liverpool but with a promise to come back soon and such a great sense of cheer in their sound, their rapturous crowd will come back too.
Photos by Getintothis’ Keith Ainsworth