Strange Collective, D R O H N E, Queen Maud, Bill Ryder-Jones, Sophia Ben-Yousef, Lo Five: The Kazimier Garden, Liverpool

Party People

Party People and Bill Ryder-Jones

Getintothis hosts an evening of superlative new music following the relaunch of our website, Peter Guy toasts a new beginning.

We’ve had the same conversation with the same group of people for sometime – why do we do it? And just hours before this evening’s soiree we were having the same thoughts once again – specially having read Sleaford Mods‘ profoundly incisive first column for Vice. Incubated in an office, drinking the kind of coffee which makes your throat feel like it’s being injected with soil made of styrofoam while your insides twist, your eyes glaze, your mind disengages and your body just aches for a Slow. Wind. Down. This cycle of music kills. But the daily machine you’re tied to, is intent on breaking you even more.

But, then, just when you think ‘fuck this’ – the phone rings, the heart skips and that feeling the first time you heard that awesome new song which brings back all those awesome memories in the first place kicks in and takes you back to the start. And you’re ready to forget. And do it all again.

Tonight, in the Kazimier Garden, we had that feeling of why we started Getintothis in the first place. To search out new music, to unearth new talent, to get involved. And as it was our new beginning as an independent website, it was only fitting to give a platform to those just starting over. One such artist, is Neil Grant, aka Lo Five. Specialising in the kind of tripped-out, playful electronica that Four Tet was peddling circa-Rounds, Grant marries choppy riffs and looped guitar plucks to beats with just enough hooks to keep the pulse dancing. And while inevitably wary opening up proceedings as the Garden begins to welcome in the first few dozens of punters, he eases into a seductive slow waltz of cyclical, steady glowers which seem ideally suited to the warm evening sun. It’s a mini delight which left us hungry for more.

After an introductory welcome from Jack-All Productions presenter, Kelly Forshaw from the stage, Sophia Ben-Yousef came to deliver to a wider audience what we’ve been shouting about all year; she’s more than mere potential. Backed by a four-strong outfit who provide subtle instrumentation, Ben-Yousef, lays down 20 minutes of deft soul imbued with a hint of hip-hop balladry and the kind of confident sass that only comes with hammering the tour circuit insisting the rising clamour of voices stem their noise and pay close attention. For the most part they do, and it’s a credit to her charisma that the delicate electric piano crackles amid soaring vocal thunder on the likes of All I Need and sensational closer, I’m Yours. There’s still work to be done here, a little levity and fun (she’s 17-years-old!) could be injected amid all the super-serious balladry but for now we’re satiated.

That aforementioned phone call transpires to a special guest appearance of Bill Ryder-Jones. Providing a 15 minute cameo, complete with characteristic nonchalance, Ryder-Jones flirts with Stone Roses, Hendrix, Stooges and various other riffs, insisting ‘he can play ’em all‘ but settles on a quartet of tracks from A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart. He Took You In His Arms tees up The Lemon Trees #3  as a small chorus from the crowd sing it all back to him.

Queen Maud are tonight’s revelation. And we’ll be honest, we didn’t see it coming. Which perhaps makes it all the sweeter. These pages have championed them from the off, but various line up switches, changes in direction and the fact we’d never even caught a whiff of them live makes for an altogether anything could happen scenario, but boy, did they deliver. A duo set up with an armoury of equipment can sometimes result in disaster but these guys were like technicians at work; bleak white-noise beats cleverly trade with big, dramatic silences before incoming slabs of distorted vocal (they sound *nothing* like vocals) smash you in face. They sound like no other band on Merseyside, and it’s telling afterwards they talk of their fondness for metal and the heavier end of the spectrum. They’re twisted, mechanical, hypnotic, compulsive to watch – but also head-noddingly brilliant. A mini, nasty spectacle – with a theremin howling into your ear sockets – just for good measure.

We’ll be honest, we were also quite worried about another duo, D R O H N E. When you turn up to a venue at 5.30am and find two souls who appear to have not slept in four days and politely ask you for some chips before you’ve even said ‘hello‘, you’d be cool in thinking will they last the distance. D R O H N E did, and then some. Tall, swaying Luke McCulloch lays a foundation of snarling, looped rhythms interspersed with cannoning vocal pangs while mini, deadened Richard Craddock adds layer upon layer of subtle guitars and more textured synths – the effect carries the same hypnotic vibe as Queen Maud and yet wills the body to dance as opposed to curl up in a ball in a darkened room. D R O H N E  are made for a bigger stage, their music is rabid, terrifying and electric.

With DJ Bernie Connor applying what sounded like African disco and Hamburg soul deep into the night, it was left to our favourite gang on the Merseyside block, Strange Collective to tear down the house. They duly obliged. With a precursor of beats, soul, and death disco, the capacity Kazimier crowd was warmed up, and from the first hammering power chord, Alex Wynne‘s boys kick-started a rock & roll riot. Trading barnstorming Ali Horn riffs, incessant Andrew Parry percussion, tumbling Michael Robinson bass runs (that solo on the penultimate track was so fucking horny!) all wrapped up in a sheet of reverb it will be little surprise if the noise abatement clowns were on the scene come morning. And yet, amid all this ferocious bombast, the greatest thing about this great new band, is that what seems like carnage is glorious orchestrated precision – you simply don’t get this good by accident – Strange Collective are sickeningly good at what they do. They brought a storm, a glorious fist-in-the-air storm. And as the lights dimmed, and the band played on, noise echoing all around the Ropewalks, it left us feeling truly thankful for what we do.

Pictures by GetintothisMichael Sheerin and Gaz Jones