The Heavy North, The Sway, Banshees, Pleasure Island, Rivver: Jacaranda Phase One, Liverpool

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Heavy North

The Heavy North hit Phase One hard for Independent Venue Week, Getintothis’ Howard Doupé takes cover.

It’s come round quick eh.

With the New Year still just visible in the rear-view mirror, without a months-held breath we’re slap bang into Independent Venue Week.

We love it here over at Getintothis. What has become the finest week for live music up and down the country, smaller venues (often overlooked in a world of corporate sponsors and arenas) have a light shone on them, elevating them to the position they so rightly deserve.

It’s very early doors down at Phase One when Wigan’s Rivver kick things off with some pretty solid indie-rock.

Ernest lyrics and sweeping guitar hooks dominate most of the set. These songs are big, It’s a shame so few were here to witness.

We’re Pleasure Island, here’s a song,’ as direct an intro as you’ll ever hear. It’s a fair noise from this duo. Angular guitars rip through the air like buzzard blades, it’s fierce.

With too many references to list, it’s a magpie mix of Brit guitar indie in the melting pot.

With enough twists in tracks to keep you intrigued to hear the next. There’s not many who’ll write a song called Smile ‘that’s about doing loads of coke at a funeral!’

Banshees are up next and live up to their name- hard hitting, roots grit band of merry men.

Plenty of riffs and high energy performance here. With some nifty guitar work there’s a driven groove that’s both determined and infectious.

They’re certainly a band that have cut their teeth and know how to please a crowd. As soon as they’ve started the set’s over. Let them wanting more, these boys have done their homework.

London noise duo Scrounge head up February Deep Cuts at Phase One

The Sway are fresh faced and eager for the limelight.

With firm Scouse sensibilities their storytelling swagger is a well worn path. Entertaining and foot tapping, the boys are up there having a ball.

Once described as ‘dive bar blues’ The Heavy North take to the stage with a southern afternoon breeze. There’s Plant-esqe vocals screaming from the off.

There a hardcore crawl through an Arizona desert, whiskey-soaked and ready to roll. The grooves keep coming and every blues loving groovester in the house is blowing their minds.

The swamp-king throws some impressive moves as the songs bubble and flow. There’s liquid Jack in these throats, drenching the walls and screaming down the house.

Three songs in and the dance floor has become just that. All we need are peace signs and incense to make this a full on love-in. The shapes are wild and uninhibited.

Summoning the spirit of Ray Manzarek on I Won’t Hesitate echoes a raw soundtrack to the fourth Austin Powers film they never made. Stepping Stone anyone?

As the set comes to an end the set has been a quick stomp through affair. THN have flown the flag proudly for all those West Coast rockers living out there.

As Independent Venue Week gets off to a blistering start in Liverpool, venues up and down the country can celebrate with the news landing today of a Government decision, after much campaigning by Music Venue Trust, from April 1 independent venues will see a 50% reduction in their business rates.

Independent Venue Week’s future is looking rosy for many a year to come.

Images by Getintothis’ Lauren Cowdall

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