Liverpool Sound City offers up two very different groups with an emphasis on the dramatic – Getintothis’ Andy Kelly takes centre stage.
London-based Revere kick things off in the Kazimier and do a bloody good job of it as well.
They start with a small gathering which builds considerably as the show goes on, always a good sign.
The seven-piece deliver a set which stretches from string-laden epics to hand-clap gypsy stompalongs, all led by a natural frontman in Stephen Ellis.
Vocalist Ellis has a highly strung, wrought character to his voice which instantly reminds me of Editors although with a hint of Gene‘s Martin Rossiter too.
He and his fellow guitarist almost fight for space on the stage as they throw everything at their instruments, all intensity and conviction. They mean it man! A string section of cello and violin add a certain grandeur to proceedings while a last minute internet plea has also delivered a two-piece local brass section which fills out an impressive sound even more. Ace.
Spring Offensive live at Bold Street Coffee and main image at Wolstenholme Creative Space.
I wondered what Peter Crouch would get up to now he missed out on Roy’s squad for the Euros and now I know – he’s leading hotly tipped Oxford five-piece Spring Offensive.
Band frontman Lucas Whitworth is a dead ringer for the beanpole striker and at one point in Bold St Coffee I thought he would even launch into a robot dance.
Spring Offensive are essentially a vocal harmony group, something so out of fashion that it’s genuinely exciting to hear someone with the talent to pull it off. Inside a packed coffee shop, their harmonies are as intoxicating as the divine smells of mocha and expresso drifting through the venue.
The set in Bold St Coffee is a stripped down acoustic take, something which always puts a great emphasis on the quality of the songs.
But we needn’t worry with Spring Offensive as they seem to have some modern classics already in their repertoire.
There’s undoubtedly a folk influence on the band and at times the great Jim Moray springs to mind. It’s when they get bitter when they’re at their best: ‘Why don’t you slip into the river to find your lover..like the rat that you are‘ they sing powerfully on I Found Myself Smiling while Every Coin Must Be Swallowed is the best indictment of greed/the filthy rich I’ve heard in a long time and qualifies as my song of the festival.
Later at Wolstenholme Creative Space the band play a full electric set to a similarly adoring audience packed into the living-room style venue.
Somehow the band find the room to actually head into the middle of the audience to deliver Warm-blooded Mammal much to everyone’s delight while the latest single seems to be worried about the day to day weariness of unemployment and grim austerity.
Whitworth has a great voice and this band are probably on the cusp of great things.
Pictures by Marie Hazelwood.