As King No-One make a welcome return to Liverpool Arts Club, Getintothis’ Cath Bore witnesses another stage of their ascent towards indie pop royalty.
For a band who only played live for the first time less than a month ago, Liverpool’s The Irenes have pulled together a following pretty damn quick. There’s a rush for the stage in the Arts Club before they, tonight’s openers, set foot on it themselves.
Starting off with Jennifer, their indie-rock is still a little raw, but the audience hang on every note and word. Singer Jake Hoffman has a stab at an almost-there Chuck Berry duck walk; an admirable attempt.
But, baby steps first, Jake; baby steps.
Dedicating The Sky Is Blue Today to anyone who’s experienced bullying went down a storm. ‘If you’re going to mosh, mosh to this one,’ grins Jake next.
So everyone does. The Irenes headline at Liverpool O2 Academy in December. ‘Remember it,’ he says. We have a feeling that everyone here tonight will do exactly that.
Kalpa, from Bath, on next follow the indie pop rulebook faithfully, but the songs swell into unexpectedly big, emotional choruses. It would be good to see them back in town supporting a band with a slightly older fanbase.
The rise of King No-One over the past couple of years has been impressive. The York five piece, headed by the charismatic Zack Lount, made their name busking during the day and playing conventional venues by night; the two pronged approach has paid off.
The band’s success is due also in no small part to an teenage audience which has built up through sheer word of mouth, and fan enthusiasm. As that fanbase has grown, so have King No-One; early releases, whilst not frothy or lightweight, erred on the side of pop caution; tonight, we witness something quite different.
Lount, bounding onto the stage in white jeans, bare chested in a silk frock coat with strips of tape covering his nipples, is quite a sight. ‘I feel that we’re in for a good one, Liverpool’, and launches straight into new single Systematic.
King No-One reign at punchy power-pop, Lount is the consummate front man, twirling his microphone in ways that would make Mick Jagger blush, scrambling on top of the highest speakers and standing there like a pop god. Health and safety, someone!
But there’s a real substance under the theatrics. King No-One, he explains are called such because ‘no one is king, we are all born equal’ and, whipping off his frock coat, dedicates the synth-led Antichrist from last year to ‘anyone who has ever been looked down upon.’
Constellations, the harmless and upbeat single from a couple of years ago, takes on extra muscle and punch tonight, showing how far King No-One have come. And there’s a ‘phone ban’ for a new song, the anthemic even on first listen Toxic Love; new single material if ever we hear it. Two Islands is simple and sincere and reflective and classy. Incredibly heartfelt.
So, yes. King No-One have grown up, in massive leaps.
‘Last time we were here a year ago,’ Zach Lount reflects, possibly thinking the exact same thing, as he looks around the room in some awe. ‘There was one row (of people), right the front. Now there is a second row, a third row… there are many rows.’
Photos: Getintothis’ Martin Waters