Awooga, awooga, it’s Boy Azooga – Getintothis’ David Hall caught the four piece surely for the last time in a venue as small as The Shipping Forecast.
There’s a palpable swell of support behind Cardiff quartet Boy Azooga right now.
Perhaps a Later…. With Jools Holland appearance doesn’t quite carry the gravitas it once did. But a live national TV session weeks before an album release is still a coup. You can see the Heavenly-signed Boy Azooga gaining momentum, hear their music on the radio. You could definitely feel it too, at The Shipping Forecast.
First up on the night however was the scally-pop of Tracky. One man, a guitar and a tracky top, singing innocent songs about your wages arriving on payday, then blowing the whole lot on booze and drugs.
He reached touchstones including Daft Punk with squeaky clean guitar tones and squelching, backflipping bass. Grainy but effective animated homemade VHS style visuals were projected behind him as he played looked great to anyone in the crowd brought up on Danger Mouse. That’s the cartoon, not the producer.
Seatbelts meanwhile pitched themselves somewhere in between Talking Heads and The Doors. Add a little of The Beatles’ psych phase and Neil Young’s desert-scorched charm (think Tonight’s The Night, or Zuma) and round it off with some pristine drumming and you’re there.
Seatbelts sound like few other bands, and their laid-back, American-influenced sound is not just unique on the Merseyside scene, but further afield too. Keyboards which often sound like guitars gave that sound great depth, and Abi Woods’ voice often found the gaps between notes, before hitting a raw one hard.
Perhaps The Shipping Forecast wasn’t the most enthralled we’ve ever seen by a set in which some of the more wandering tracks felt unfocused. But if you’ve heard the poppy Hey, Hey Tiger!, know that it’s just the beginning of Seatbelts’ joyride.
Onto Boy Azooga, who assembled onstage in front of a packed house. Shaking into the loose, funky Taxi To Your Head, they quickly got a primed crowd moving. By the time they launched into Face Behind Her Cigarette, the band exchanged massive grins as the audience chanted the song’s riff back at them, both during and after playing it.
It really was a refreshing pleasure to see a band enjoying a gig for a change. Main man Davey Newington barely stopped smiling the whole show. There’s a touch of the McCartneys about him, as he goofily promised to down his beer, but only after playing a song he needed to concentrate on. You can tell their appreciation is earnest however, and the band seemed genuinely blown away by Liverpool’s reception.
They dedicated a cover of The Keys’ I Tried To Find It In Books to Getintothis‘ own Cath Bore, who Newington thanked for her interview about literature. This sincerity is certainly not contrition. So when Newington called the impending release of Boy Azooga’s album 1, 2, Kung Fu! as feeling like Christmas Eve, before breaking into the moody guitar riffs and collapsing drum fills of Breakfast Epiphany, he really meant it.
He seemed caught in moments of untamed excitement throughout. Running back and forth to high five the front row of a rowdy audience. Dishing out sleigh bells and diving into the crowd during an impromptu cover of Runnin’ Down A Dream amongst latest single Jerry.
There were plenty of crowd-fuelled moments like these. The night really prompted it, and Boy Azooga played plenty of music that doesn’t appear on their just-released album. Heavy, technical riffs were chucked about, bringing an even further level of eclecticism to proceedings. Many songs even seemed to morph between our very eyes. So if the chorus to Shake It Like A Tambourine seemed a bit flat, a riffy breakdown soon hit and sparked things back to life.
At times the show was heavy and frenetic, but always danceable. So it proved when the crowd went absolutely – and appropriately – ballistic for last song Loner Boogie. Bodies pogoed. Fists slammed against The Shipping Forecast ceiling. Shapes were thrown. Boy Azooga were superb.
Photos by Getintothis’ Martin Saleh.