An expansive line up for an expansive setting, the first in a series of Urchin Sessions arrives in Liverpool’s disused spaces. Getintothis’ Andy Minnis enters the Baltic Triangle.
The Urchin Sessions is a new series of events, aiming to breathe new life into disused spaces, holding gigs in unusual venues off the beaten track, featuring the cream of local bands and others from further afield.
Tonight’s first session is in a warehouse off Jamaica Street, in the Baltic Triangle.
It’s certainly an alternative night out, as we pass through the quiet inner city streets and by deserted industrial units. The sound coming from Warehouse 59 guides us to our destination and as we arrive, the first band – The Sundowners – have just stepped on stage.
They look good and sound great, with tight lyrics, tight guitars and quite tight jeans… rounded with fantastic bass lines and some great drumming.
Their bio cites Fleetwood Mac as an influence and that’s right on the button, I was transported right back to the 70s. The crowd is quite small at this stage, but everyone’s attention is held through the course of the set.
I’m left with a sneaking feeling this warehouse isn’t the best setting for their act, but I can imagine I’ll be seeing their name a lot more around the city.
Next on stage are trio All We Are. The name conjures up an image of putting everything into their performance, putting it all on the line, yet tonight’s performance didn’t quite feel that way.
There’s genuine talent on display, with subtle percussion and some top vocals; their sound reminiscent of Stealing Sheep but with little more honing they could mature into something special.
Hot Light Fiesta follow with their distinctly tropical feel. Warming up the warehouse with fast, full on percussion, the band are dressed as Droogs but this ended up distracting from the music rather than adding to the atmosphere; such that I remember wondering why the drummer was wearing a jester’s hat more than I remember what the songs were about!
With tracks veering in different directions, my friend points out it seems some of the band would rather be playing Paul Simon than their math-pop self-labelling.
With the warehouse is lubricated by alcohol and enhanced by a larger crowd, Rhodes open with an instrumental; all intricate and beguiling rock, before their new vocalist appears on stage and the set switches up a notch.
He brings an energy and a modicum of audience interaction to the skilled guitars, bass and drums on show, however, there’s a feeling the band need an extra bit of confidence in order to turn good playing into great stage presence.
As the band rounds off an impressive set, the crowd – like my hairline – begins to thin at the back, but for sure Rhodes have added new fans to their growing crowd of admirers tonight.
Loved Ones, though relatively new as a band, the members are well established on Merseyside.
It should be of no surprise then that their sound feels well put together with sweet glockenspiel and guitar melodies, laced with loops and hooks; the band creates a gentle soundscape which washes over the audience and brings us into a warm embrace.
There’s an epic quality, but without bombast or self-consciousness. As the buzz of cider and beer begins to hit, we’re sucked deeper into the mix.
The gentle sound of Loved Ones creates a jarring juxtaposition to the kind of music headliners Dog Show play and the music leaves me ready to drift home instead of ready to dance my little legs off; which is how I should be feeling as the night reaches it’s climax.
However, whilst the effects of alcohol start to get the better of my friend, I’m determined to stay and see this through and so, in a cloud of smoke and a gathering crowd, Dog Show arrive to bring Urchin Sessions No. 1 to a close.
Infectious and anarchic tunes, Sam and Laurie Crombie use live drums, synth and all manner of pre-recorded sounds in a glorious wall of dance/psych/klezmer/gabber which transports a little piece of Kazimier magic straight into the Baltic Triangle.
The chaotic beats can’t help but force you to move as the crowd is worked into an intoxicated frenzy of flailing arms and smiling faces; bringing an old skool rave feel with a post-modern chaotic twist to this little warehouse.
They were at their best when I saw them in a packed little room inside the Wolstenholme Creative Space and tonight would have been something special if the warehouse was full. However, even with the small group that are left, Dog Show was a perfect way to end to the night. Roll on the next session.
Pictures by Brian Roberts and Matt Thomas.