Sweet Baboo, Silent Sleep, Year Of The Fiery Horse: Leaf, Liverpool

Sweet Baboo

Sweet Baboo

Another warm welcome of well crafted pop, and a trio of well matched acts by Harvest Sun. Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald headed up Bold Street and found himself both intrigued and delighted, in equal measure.

Year Of The Fiery Horse opened proceedings at Leaf tonight, with their tight, wonky pop, at times reminiscent of 80s darlings Felt and Orange Juice. The analogue synths sounds and plucky guitar lines gave their set of well thought out tunes more than a hint of the Postcard label days, and the sound of a band comfortable in their sonic skin, and happily working their own way. There’ll be more, and soon, we hope.

Silent Sleep really couldn’t fail to impress even if they wanted to (which they clearly don’t). As anyone who’s seen them previously will tell, these are tales of accomplished songs delivered with a keen passion, and a serene sincerity. Tonight, their honeyed harmonies rose to the fore, and again, the delivery of those harmonies is both warming and natural. The songs are well crafted, and as such, make for the perfect set up for Sweet Baboo‘s set.

From the minute Steven Black‘s Sweet Baboo take the stage, he’s puzzled by the fact that there are people seated around the front of the stage while others gather, standing, at the back. Its a puzzle he refers to on several occasions, in that typical langorous dry humour which seems to come so naturally to Welsh lead singers.

He’s spent much time in the company of people like Euros Childs and Gruff Rhys, that much is clear. But he’s happy to be here this evening, under the Leaf fairground lights, and alternating between guitar and saxophone. The songs are stories, beautifully put together, and though at times Black looks wary, and worried, he pulls these cool vignettes off easily.

Songs about the stuff of life. Playing records, love, relationships, getting stoned and driving motor homes from North Wales to Northumberland for no apparent reason (he got a whole EP out of that one). That kinda thing.

Motorhome is a beautiful song, and we kind of wished we’d gone on the trip too. A little Syd Barrett in parts, his arrangements frequently step outside of whatever ‘the norm’ is. There’s a number of songs from new album, The Boombox Ballads. You Be Gentle is introduced as a ‘mid pace tempo jam‘, and is another chance for him to remind the people in the seats to ‘in no way stand up and enjoy yourselves‘.

Obviously, we all know that every artist should have a piano ballad about their girlfriend being a part time impressionist, that’s a given. But Sweet Baboo‘s Two Lucky Magpies is a piece of sweet and shimmering class songwriting. He finishes the set confronting his enemies, standing in the crowd with those we now know only as ‘the seated‘, and singing to them with a warm smile.

Another Harvest Sun triumph, in one of Liverpool’s great venues, so utterly and so perfectly suited to nights like this.


Photos by Getintothis’ Martin Waters