Mamatung, Reid Anderson, Eve Goodman, Lou, Nana Funk: Studio 2, Liverpool

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Mamatung

Mamatung took Studio 2 by storm, literally, Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody was there to join in the celebration.

Mamatung are in celebratory mood.

There’s a new EP to launch, initially only available at gigs. There’s also less than a week to go before Samhain, in recognition of which this gig is happening.

Yes, we had to look it up, we’ll admit. It’s a Gaelic festival that spans October 31 to  November 1 and marks the beginning of the darker half of the year. It signals the end of the harvest and the time when the livestock are brought down from the summer pastures.

Samhain is also the time when spirits and fairies can most easily cross from their world into ours. That Mamatung should promote this gig on Facebook as a Samhain bash seems entirely in keeping with a band who conform to few, if any, norms.

Their psych folk mash doesn’t sound like much else we’ve ever heard anywhere else, save at a Mamatung gig.

We’re promised all manner of witchery and weird goings on for tonight’s gig, such that we really don’t quite know what to expect. Apart from the fact this doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be the usual three bands doing their thing and then getting off to the bar with their mates.

Perhaps, fittingly, it’s also cold and proper pissing down outside. Mamatung maybe celebrating Samhain a few days early, but they sure as hell picked the appropriate environmental backdrop for this gig.

Studio 2 is suitably decorated with candles and pumpkins on the stage, a fluffy spider climbing one of the pillars, another hanging from the roof and a smattering of the audience wearing ghoulish make up.

And copies of the EP are free. So, we’re doing ok so far.

Nana Funk is playing the role of compère for tonight’s proceedings. She kicks it off by introducing our first act of the night, looking crazy in her outlandish grey wig.

Eve Goodman is a Welsh singer songwriter. Most of the set is sung in English, but her second number, Angor (Anchor), was a standout.

Born from a project where she took up residence in a caravan and invited people to come and tell stories. From these she would create songs. This is one she kept from that exercise and it was really rather beautiful, made more affecting, perhaps, because it was sung in Welsh.

We can only guess at the story which inspired the song.

A lot of her songs are about water or the sea. This is deliberate we are told, for Eve plans to record an EP next year in which all the songs are based on this theme. We look forward to it.

This was Eve’s first Liverpool gig, having first met Mamatung in a field in North Wales for a full moon party. Now, why does that not surprise us?

There was a spoken word interlude from Lou, only the second time she’s been on stage performing her own work. That there were nerves was therefore perhaps not surprising and her voice was suffering.

But we’re big fans of spoken word at gigs and Lou’s deeply personal tale about love, solitude, lost words and red wine were well received by an attentive audience. It’s quite something to see a performer lay their soul bare on stage for all to see. We can only admire her courage.

Reid Anderson starts with a cover of Rickie Nelson’s Lonesome Town. “There you go. I’ve cheered you up with a song about depression“.

In truth, it was a mostly pretty melancholic set, but that’s not always a bad thing. Reid’s songs are measured and definitely pitched at the less energetic end of the rock spectrum. They require you to pay heed. Sometimes it’s good just to pause and draw breath.

How long have I got?” He asks our favourite question of the sound guy. “One or two?” The consensus is, naturally, for the brace. And in what is becoming something of a watery theme for the evening, at least, thus far, we get a kind of more upbeat sea shanty before the last of the set being a song about The Titanic.

Anderson has class and this was right up there.

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The evening loses it’s gravitas for a while as Nana Funk does a number with a banjo and a bit of burlesque cabaret, as only she can. Illuminated bra and all.

She moves on to the raffle draw and announces with great delight the first ticket she pulls out is number 69. And so it goes on for a while. Ticket number 94 is apparently a match to the age she lost her virginity. Yeah, right.

It’s an amusing interlude before the serious business of Mamatung and the main reason we’re all here.

Straight away Studio 2 is on its feet and making shapes. Where previously we’d had a restrained bistro style layout with chairs and tables, this was quickly abandoned by most, who just wanted to dance.

For, Mamatung is a band that brings that out in an audience. They use unconventional instruments, such as the Autoharp, most of the time and they make noises with which you may not be entirely familiar.

But everyone gets the underlying message. Let’s have a good time together.

The normal rules of engagement don’t really apply to Mamatung. And that would appear to be the case for much of the audience here tonight as well.

It’s completely off the wall, unconventional and freakish.

And we’re all cool with that. The perfect Samhain party.

Images by Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody

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