HOPE Fest Poster


After the success of the evening at Brink on Friday, I was looking forward to seeing what Saturday night at The Baltic Social had in store. I arrived early to drop some more goodies for the homeless, which was the true point of the whole exercise, then went to meet a friend who needed a little help to find the venue, which is on the edge of town and relatively unknown to those not from Liverpool itself.

We came back to the venue to find the first band in full swing. Steve Thompson and the Incidents were filling the venue with their fine Liverpool sound, reminiscent of some of the best music to come out of Liverpool in the 1990’s but with an extra depth and some amazing guitar work.

I was lucky enough to catch Steve Thompson and some of his friends after the set had finished. He told me that the band had been together for about 2 and a half years. I mentioned that I could hear the influence of the 90’s Liverpool sound in their music and he confirmed that as one of his influences, along with 60’s bands, such as The Doors, The Beatles and Pink Floyd, saying ‘ If we could get away with doing 10-15 minute songs, we would’. If you fancy checking out the band, they have a single called ‘Rainbows’ out on 30th called Arno told me ‘They are everything I like about music encapsulated in a band’. All in all an excellent addition to the Liverpool scene. of November. To sum up what they mean to their fans, a guy called Arno told me ‘They are everything I like about music encapsulated in a band’. All in all an excellent addition to the Liverpool scene.

Black Neon Knights

Black Neon Knights

The Rock/Metal of Black Neon Knights formed another contrast, showing accomplished guitar riffs and tempo changes, never letting the audience become too complacent. The music on tracks such as ‘Loaded Gun’ and ‘Burn it Down’ never faltered and the delivery was faultless. At times, the vocals added a softening note to the music, especially on the slower tracks, with the lyrics taking centre stage. Some of the bands influences shone through at times, with Sabbathesque riffs and overtones of The Chilli Peppers finding their way into the rich tapestry of sound. All in all, an excellent addition to the genre.

It was obvious that a lot of people had come to see Western Promise, a local band who proudly trumpet their working class roots. The first track had a sixties feel reminiscent of The Doors, whilst much of the later set was strongly Ska influenced with the soaring vocals holding the music together. The music had a slightly chaotic element, atmospheric and unstructured at times, but none the worse for that. The heavy Ska beats had people dancing and ‘Justice for the 96’ was an anthemic crowd pleaser. The singer often wore his influences on his sleeve, peppering the later tracks with Bunnymen and Chilli Peppers lyrics. The only down side to the set was the length of time between tracks, filled with slightly obscure ramblings from the singer.

The Jackobins are a personal favourite, but they seemed to have a battle on their hands. The crowd had dispersed and they seemed to be having some fairly serious sound problems at the beginning of their set, which the sound engineers at the venue struggled to sort out. However, the band gave an excellent performance, rising above the difficulties like the true professionals they are. Dominic Bassnett’s soaring vocals were a little muted through no fault of his own, but their usual excellence managed to shine through. Tracks like the atmospheric classic ‘How do You Face Life?’, with its spine-tingling guitar riff, never fail to please. Ending with the amazing ‘Prussia’, they still got my best band of the night award and had me looking forward to their next EP due later in the year. Biased? Hell, yeah I am. So check them out and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

Roxy Gillespie