Phantom Band, By The Sea: The Bluecoat, Liverpool


BOOM! Scottish krautouts and seaside singalongs sends the Bluecoat into a sonic supernova. BOOM!

Getintothis has championed numerous times over the last few years how Liverpool’s promoters have upped their game and much of this is due to the experimental nature of the venues.
Fiesta Obscenic, Wolstenholme Creative Space, Williamson Tunnels, Never Records and the newly launched Don’t Drop the Dumbells collective (based within the old Picket) have all contributed to this feeling of the unexpected and exhilarating.
Add to this list, The Bluecoat. While the recent Harvest Sun/Evol showcase wasn’t the first gig to be held within the refurbished Chambers on School Lane, it was certainly the best.
From the crackle in the air pre-showtime, to witnessing one of the city’s bright young prospects through to our Glaswegian headliners and the quite brilliant sonics of the Bluecoat, it was a night were seemingly everything clicked.
Speaking of clicks, The Phantom Band do this a lot. Bobble hats aside – clicks, clops, claps and chik-chik-chik motorik rhythms are their specialised subject.
Decorated with wood blocks, blow organs, six-string spacerock and even the odd pluck of a banjo, their cycles of musical momentum gush forth swallowing up the listener into a vacuum of head nodding and body bobbing. And together with vocalist Rick Anthony‘s (sporting the Carhartt tramp chic, en vogue in 2003), wry musings it’s a recipe for good times.

Tried and tested kraut-campfire winners The Howling and a particularly storming Crocodile – complete with all manner of chattering percussive elements – send a gaggle of girls twisting shapes at the lip of the stage while the nifty curve ball of O finds Anthony adopting a funky falsetto worming his vocals around high-pitched keys squeals.
Sure there’s a snippet of fat round the edges from last year’s second album Wants, as tracks fare less favourably than those from debut Checkmate Savage – the emotive epic Island perhaps the pick of the bunch – but as the Bluecoat reverberates to another KALAAAANG it’s more than job done for Scotland’s ragtag pirate purveyors of the pulse.
The pulses were already going early doors when all manner of cats (members of The Coral, The View and numerous other Liverpool heads) gathered to check By The Sea; a name already making considerable waves.
Puns aside, the six-piece could hardly have picked a more suitable name, what with the odes to their Liverpool maritime heritage, dusty windswept tropicana and influences cherrypicked from the cream of Merseyside forefathers.
Shack, skiffle, the aforementioned Skelly clan and even a bit of skippety-pop Lightning Seeds-style are thrown into the mix.
But before you throw yourself overboard screaming ‘PLEASE, NO MORE PSYCHEDELIC RETRO SCOUSERS!,’ this lot maybe rooted in all that’s been before, yet there’s no doubt they have the personal touch which implores you to persevere.
Old Coast chimes like The Byrds tugging on a series of church bells and forthcoming seven inch Always An End recalls prime Head brothers backed by Turns Into Stone-era Roses. It’s a glorious tune begging to be pumped out of open windows come summer.
Once too often vocalist Liam tentatively tells us we can go the bar if we’re bored. A little bit more belief, a little bit more breaking of the mould and By The Sea could be riding on a tidal wave of attention.