The rejuvenated basement room at the iconic Jacaranda now features a decent stage and a comfortable, laid-back vibe. This re-jig of the layout means space is tight but the comfortable intimacy is no bad thing and is lacking in many Liverpool venues.
The opening act was on which was totally unexpected. Classical pianist Andrew Barney brought an elegance and virtuosity rarely experienced outside the concert hall. Performing two pieces by Rachmaninov, excerpts from Piano Concerto Nos. 2 and 3 and Prelude in G minor and two other more modern classical pieces, he gave a performance as beautiful as it was unexpected. An extremely talented artist.
By their own admission, Darma were from a very different part of the musical spectrum. They started their set with some fine grungy, punky rock tunes that filled the room with sound and and quickened the heart rates of the appreciative crowd. The Manchester trio were electric on stage, the music loud enough to be felt as well as heard. With an EP, Milk, due out on 8 July, containing the excellent Shadow and What Are You Waiting For? these boys are ones to watch.
Novacrow had good stage presence and when the duel male and female vocals kicked in they were at their best. They had a theatricality and humour to their stage show which included tracks like The Mantra, Fever Swamp and Laughing Gas.
Flying through a number of musical styles in their set, The Butes lived up to their name. A real crowd pleaser, the band was as good as good during their louder numbers like Love is on Your Back as they were in quieter parts of the performance. They were lively and really enjoyable to watch, as well as being musically great throughout. Another band with a bright musical future.
Last act, The Slumdogs from Blackpool, had all the energy to finish the night in style. They brought the audience a mix of their own material and a few covers, which included Twist and Shout and Let’s Dance. Their own material included Lost and Found and Jumping Up the Last Step, all of which had the crowd dancing. Energetic and whole hearted, the performance had the crowd shouting for more throughout. A fitting end to a great evening.