The Post Romantics, Nocturnal Coast, Munkey Junkey, Charity Shop Pop: Zanzibar, Liverpool

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The Post Romantics

The Post Romantics ushered in the autumn with a hot gig at Zanzibar, Getintothis’ Lee Grimsditch had his dancing shoes on.

The students are back, and by-Christ, we’re plonked right into Fresher’s Week bedlam to watch local boys The Post Romantics play a long-due hometown gig at the Zanzibar.

They’ve gained interest and admiration over the past couple of years for their unique collision of electronic music, hip-hop beats and a dark, indie aesthetic.

First, however, we have three support acts to enjoy. Up first is Charity Shop Pop.

Dave Hughes is a one-man-band of jangling guitar over whistful, 80s synth-pop. His songs lean nostalgically towards subjects of ideal love and heartbreak, and he has a good line in catchy hooks to which the crowd confidently back him up on vocal duties.

At times the performance feels a little under-rehearsed which results in a few false starts. But he finesses over the bumps with self-deprecation and a bedroom indie-pop charm, where a second-take seems just part of the course.

Next up Munkey Junkey. Frontman (Kurran Karbal) brings an eclectic mix of RnB, urban, hip-hop, and electronic pop to the stage tonight.

It’s hot and heaving, and two songs in, Kurran has gone tops off.

Tonight’s set ranges from laid-back RnB to a harder, more urban sound that at times reminds us a little of Mattafix. Kurran is a physical performer – constantly gyrating and muscle posing along to the music’s emotive moments, and It’s impossible to disguise his raw and soulful voice at the heart of the deliberately, auto-tuned vocals.

Deep into the set, Munkey Junkey throw us a curveball in the form of a cover of Cher’s 90s dancefloor banger Believe, but somehow even this works.

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Nocturnal Coast, a local Indie Rock band are third up tonight.

They launch into their first song that’s more traditional guitar-based indie rock and it becomes apparent they’re a bit out of place considering the other bands on tonight. Their sound, however, is given depth with the addition of some synth organ and at their best, we hear a little welcome, local flavour with hints of Space and The Coral.

It’s fair to say that throughout we can hear smatterings of influences from Pink Floyd to the Arctic Monkeys. There’s even a section we swear is the same chord progression as Sultans of Swing. But they never seem to conjure anything inspired from this rich mix, and melodically it sounds drab and second hand.

However, they end on high with the final song which is by far their best of the night. Spooky, Wurlitzer keys with a funky, eccentric beat that convulses delightfully along as their frontman chants, ‘you’ll find me, you’ll find me in the basement…you’ll find me close to death.’ More of this, please, we love it when you’re weird.

So finally we get to the main act of the night, and it becomes apparent The Post Romantics love an entrance.

A strange, Gregorian chant synth plays as they make the walk to the stage. It’s something that sits between Depeche Mode and Spinal Tap but it elicits a genuinely impressive, if girly, scream from the filled room.

By the first few songs, it’s clear that this band made up of three brothers, Connor Cockbain, Cameron Cockbain and Liam Cockbain along with their childhood friend Sam Barton have a well-developed sound.

The vocals, sometimes soulful, sometimes vulnerable are backed by a full rhythmic kick and occasional harder edge that reminds us at times of Placebo, Sleeping With Ghosts era. That’s not to say tonight’s set is without songs that sit in the poppier territory, it’s just that live an intense, brooding complexion to the music is evident that doesn’t come across on record in the same way.

Their latest single, Ride comes early in the set. It’s one of their songs that’s closer to the mainstream in tone and the crowd love it. Yet it’s good to experience it dipped in the inkier shade of their seductive live tone.

Throughout, The Post Romantic’s dictate the mood expertly to keep the crowd enthralled.

There are intimacy and rawness in the vocals and enough skill to move through trip-hop, emo, electro and still retain the core of their signature identity.

By far one of the best local bands I’ve reviewed this year. Nobody else is doing quite what they’re doing – it’s raw, on the line, and oh so danceable.

Images by Getintothis’ Chris Everett

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