My friends and I reached The Zanzibar half way through the set by The Polyvelds. Apologies to the band for missing the first songs, as the enjoyable Indie type rock that greeted us deserved our full attention. Catchy and up-beat, the music was a perfect start to the evening.
Creeps are a band I reviewed after their set at The Magnet during Hope Fest. Nothing has changed. They remain the excellent grunge-inspired band I reviewed at their first gig, playing so well that you might think they had been together for much longer. Material like ‘On My Mind’ and ‘Die’ show just how good this band is for such a new collaboration. With more songs recently added to Soundcloud, I would strongly advise giving them a listen.
Next we had Last Line Out whose clean cut looks left me ill prepared for the music that issued forth from the band. Although the first track ‘Going Loco’ had a rock/ power-pop feel, the guitar licks were surprisingly heavy. I instantly took to the band, who played with a virtuosity and polished ease I found impressive. Different musical influences made themselves apparent during the set, with reggae beats and some fine blues slide guitar putting in an appearance. There were riffs that would not have felt out of place in a set by Gary Moore, building on a proper rhythm and blues base, adroitly supplied by the drummer and bassist of the group. They brought the tempo down a little towards the end of the set, with tracks like ‘Reap What You Sow’, showing that Last Line Out could produce just as high a quality product with a mellow vibe as the punchier sound that had characterised the earlier part of the set.
Hegarty were a very different type of band. Featuring a singer with an acoustic guitar with an electric pick up, they produced a more laid back sound. The singer’s dusky vocals had a distinctly Liverpool feel, and at times there was a slight country edge to the music. The other members of the band provided ample back up to the vocalist, with songs such as ‘Sink or Swim’ featuring soft, wailing guitar licks, perfectly fitted to the mood of the piece. The introduction of the harmonica into the music left me thinking about Dylan and the bands of the 1960s. The music had no rough edges and seemed to go down well with the crowd, who took the opportunity to make use of the dance floor in front of the stage.
By this time, The Zanzibar was full and the crowd were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Choc Electrique to the stage. This was a band I had not seen before, but I could see I was in the minority. When they began playing it was obvious why this was the reason everyone had come to the venue. The singer, Greedy Jesus, had the best rapport with the audience I have seen in a good while and spent a lot of the time producing his throaty, Jim Morrisonesque vocals from within the middle of the crowd itself. This was a night of celebration, love and thanks to the fans who had supported the production of the album, ‘The Looking Glass Self’, via Crowdfunder and a triumphant rendition of the fine tracks found on it.
Video By Will Kelly
The inventiveness and sheer musical aplomb shown by the band on tracks such as ‘Sugarcoated’ and ‘Can’t Save You’ had the audience dancing and singing along in a frenzy of appreciation. The addition of a brass section borrowed from the band The Fire Beneath the Sea filled out the sound even further. The music was just dirty enough round the edges to capture my heart, so by the middle of the set I was there with them, thankful that I had a copy of the album, which I would recommend, so that I would be one of the crowd singing along the next time with this accomplished and unusual band.
Although there was another band to come and an after party, I’m afraid my evening ended there, on a high note I think. Sorry to Stereo Electric Mistress, will try to catch you again. I owe you a band feature. I’m sure the rest of the evening went on to be as successful as the part I saw, which was a real blow-your-socks-off celebration of the power of real fans willing to put their money into a project to fund music they believe in and, deservedly, love.