All industries have as their essential framework a need to network in order to survive and grow. They also have an element of gossip about them. For “music scenes”, national, regional, and specifically local, gossip and intrigue as very important. Word of mouth is essential, for recommendation, the next big thing, and the busted flush. So its fun to be able to get in earlier and check out the latest buzz band that is starting to generate interest amongst the local music scene “shaker-makers”.
Word is, one such band from Widnes is fast becoming the latest opening conversational gambit in local musical circles. For a small musical outpost in Merseyside, Widnes has punched consistently above its weight: bands such as Great and Lady Soul, Halfway to Eddies, 35 Summers, Zen Baseball Bat have all released music on independent or major labels. And let’s not forget Jane Weaver – the present undisputed Queen of Space Pop. So now, enter The Racket.
This four piece of early twenty-something’s kicked off last night with a blistering eight song set, full of musical dynamism, creativity and sheer passion, which was truly breath-taking. This group actually look like a group – they have probably grown up together, drunk together, fought together, and now want to take on the music world. Together. Some bands look uncomfortable on stage, and by extension, we the audience find it hard to buy into them. But with The Racket, they literally own the stage, bristling with confidence and attitude. They can play too; the twin guitar attack of lead singer and guitarist Callum, coupled with the backing vocals of rhythm guitarist Mikey, manages to add an extra edge to their more muscular songs. And they interact well together on stage, which is entertaining to watch. Callum the wistful street poet with a sharp eye for a phrase, darting around, safe in the knowledge that Mikey is at his shoulder, covering his every move. The songs are anchored by the rock steady drum and bass combination of Dom and Colby, providing an interesting counterpoint to the guitar led aggression in front of them.
The short set bristled with tunes, lyrically covering the usual themes of love and relationships – “The White Ace”, as well as what it’s going to be like growing up in Post-Brexit Britain – “Faded Days”. Their songs have an anthemic quality to them, the crystallisation of youth frustration, bearing witness to the lack of opportunity. Glimpses of hope amongst the mundane are likened to “a shit class A”. The Racket speak with authority and precision as they publicly discuss their life in their songs, and this full-on attitude and purpose demands engagement. They are heralding a call to arms, constructing musical barricades with a 1976 sensibility. A four-man musical manifesto.
And after thirty fast -forwarded minutes, they were gone, leaving the 60 strong audience exhausted. The Racket are now embarking on a steep career curve; by this time next year they will have certainly developed a formidable local following, and probably much, much more. It’s going to be interesting to see how they develop. Its time to buckle up.