Coffee and Cakes for Funerals, Esco Williams, Manukah, Jay Alexzander: The Kazimier, Liverpool


Coffee and Cakes for funerals live kazimier.jpg
Coffee and Cakes for Funerals have certainly whipped up some hype over the last few months in Liverpool but Getintothis’ Emma Walsh wonders if they’ve enough in the tunes bag to match their contemporaries.

It’s been almost impossible to avoid the Merseyside hype surrounding Coffee and Cakes for Funerals during the last few months.
So, their recent EP launch showcase gig at the Kazimier provided an opportune moment to see if they could live up to the clamour.
The band’s collective ego must have been floating somewhere above cloud nine as their support acts laid on further praise, as if the idea of following Liverpool hip hop heavyweights such Esco Williams and Manukah wasn’t daunting enough.
Jay Alexzander eased the crowd into the evening, setting a sweet, upbeat tone for what was to come.
Esco Williams brought his usual punch to the stage with a rock-star attitude and new age soul sounds. Esco is a breath of fresh air with the perfect mix of groove, melodies and humour, dubbing the headliners ‘Coffee and Cupcakes‘.
He could really be compèring this gig, demanding the full attention of the Kazimier‘s full house with a musically blessed band and his endearing cool-geek character.
With his own album So Far So Sexy due to be released at the end of June, he gave the audience a mouth watering taste with little gems such as Challenger that was so good they started it twice, thankfully without the technical glitches second time round.

But far from stealing the limelight on CCFF, Esco grabbed the audience by the eardrums and, having warmed them up nicely, passed them on to Manukah.
We can never say enough good things about Manukah, but we couldn’t help but feel the whole affair was a little more muted than their usual performances.
That is not to say that the nine-piece didn’t bound on stage with their usual bounce and groove. With so many sounds on stage competing for attention it’s truly impressive how easily they seem to blend together.
Lauren Spink‘s gritty lyrics find a balance with smooth guitar and keys while the drums and bass carry the groove throughout. The Manukah Horns, who seem to have taken on a whole personality for themselves, call on shades of The Specials as they dip in and out of every song with upbeat tones, but it all serves to compliment the tight, funky attitude which Manukah bring to the stage.
The audience welcome Manukah staples such as Freezing Hands, Gimme Some Sounds, and the explosively good (and aptly named) Big Tasty Riffs with huge applause and a collective bounce throughout The Kaz.

By the time the men of the hour finally take to the stage it does feel a little like they have just been pinned on at the end haphazardly, like giving a sub a run out in the last five minutes of the match, but Coffee and Cakes For Funerals were here to prove that they were headliners.
As first impressions go, their dress code of black hoodies backs up the stereotypical comment we overheard from one wag that they may in fact be breaching the terms of ASBOs being out so late.
CCFF describe themselves as a ‘creative mix of Dr. Dre and Radiohead and while they may look like young cubs it’s clear they haven’t just thrown this together, there’s musical precision behind all this.
A mix of heavy bass, hard-hitting beats and unbelievably good rhythmic licks on guitar, it all leaves you with a kind of awe-struck scowl on your face.
Singer Joe Hazzlett brings another dimension to the mix with a melancholic voice that sits somewhere between Thom Yorke and Justin Timberlake. It’s a combination of sounds and influences that on paper you can’t really envisage, but somehow it all just clicks and despite their obvious influences it’s hard to think of anyone you could really compare them to. They are, musically, something special.
And they have the attitude to back it all up. They seem to reel off song after song with a justified arrogance, basking in the audience’s adoration as though they’ve been doing it for years. But I can’t help but feel that there is still something missing here.
Tracks such as I’m Fine and Trust a Fool, which feature on the self-titled EP are sublime, but we’re left with the impression that perhaps the band are still holding back.
The aforementioned I’m Fine is already a crowd pleaser, but it is the final song Next Lover which really hits home.
After a rather disjointed exit-encore routine, the audience finally sees a glimpse of real character and personality behind the band’s bold attitude, as drummer Andrew Finney makes an unnecessary roundtrip and achieves the first real interaction with the audience. And perhaps that’s what I’ve found wanting with their otherwise flawless performance.
Yes they’ve got undoubted tunes but it’s still unclear if they can follow big, bold characters such as Esco and Ms Spink.