Away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger acts of Liverpool Music Week, there was something quite interesting happening over on the Breaking Out Stage. It would be hard to say whether the array of acts over the five days combined made for a more enjoyable spectacle than some of the bigger acts, but it was intriguing to see how some of the newcomers from the city would offer against the other acts.
The East Village Arts Club’s loft is where the series of intimate gigs took place, and it saw some of the country and city’s exciting new acts. Honourable mentions would have to go to the sound guy who was a bit trigger happy with the fog machine, and the £5 pints that some of the bands made note of on stage.
A lot of the time, the venue was filled with industry types, if not journalists looking for the next hotly tipped bands. Here, we bring you our freshest finds from the Breaking Out Stage, and some of them you will no doubt be thanking us for.
The whole scenario, in which VYNCE took to the stage, is an interesting one to say the least. Tickets for this gig in particular said 7:30 doors, whilst as the first band of the night, they were billed for 7:20. Even more disconcerting was the lack of a soundcheck, yet, as the Bebbington based boys proved, the show must go on, and that it did.
VYNCE, up until recently have been noted as guitar pop. But what this set showed, and indeed their latest cut, ‘Shoot For Something’, proved, was that the band are coming of age. Under a fairly interesting management company, the band seem to have found a more tasteful direction. They also clearly believe in that as they have now dropped what once were fan favourites in, ‘Not Your Girlfriend’, and, ‘April Showers’.
Though the band was often forced to ask for more of their instruments on stage, justice prevailed. Playing their final song, ‘Lust’, you can simply see as to why those Spotify plays have been racking up so highly.
Trudy and The Romance
Trudy and The Romance are one of a kind. A complete show stealer. There are no words to describe what it is that makes this band so great.
Live, things take a turn for the more surreal. Too often now, there are new bands polished in the studio that struggle to bring it to a live setting. It would appear that Trudy have made a point of having slightly rugged recordings, to ensure that their live performances match up.
The crowd were as thankful for them being there as the band were for them watching. A quick cameo was made by local Riot Grrrls Pink Kink too (who we’ll get to later), for an incredibly off-kilter but beautiful rendition of The Beatles’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. One does not simply like Trudy after seeing them, one simply adores, and is completely infatuated with them after seeing them.
This was when the fog machine was at its peak annoyance for everyone including poor Mary Miller. Her music embodies a current trend of a mixture between an emotive troubadour and a multi-instrumentalist. Whilst Miller was genuinely fantastic, it was glaringly obvious that the bass was far too loud in the mix, and everything was quite quiet.
The fog machine, in all its annoyance, kept going off every five minutes, and would come out just as loud, if not louder than the music. For that reason you could often see her looking bemused into the corner of the stage behind her. Though that is annoying, Miller’s performance, had all the intimacy of an open mic performance, yet with the professionalism added of a well-seasoned pro.
It was plush electro pop, mostly overwrought with evocative samples, and tremolo ridden guitar, done perfectly. Miller’s vocals were of a high quality, and it would appear that she is following in the same steps of fellow city dweller, Natalie McCool. And they are some impressive steps to be following.
Haarm have been oh so quiet and mysterious. The two singles they have released in, ‘Foxglove’, and, ‘In The Wild’, have been received well, and then some. The band have also been plugged on Radio 1. But you would not believe that this was in fact their first gig. And they were supporting Let’s Eat Grandma, who had just been given a slot on Jools Holland.
It’s no surprise then, that the room was absolutely heaving. But what was a surprise, is how ludicrously good they were. Each and every member were on form. From the moment they opened with their latest single, ‘In The Wild’, to the moment they finished, there was not an unentertained person in the room.
They were more self-assured than arrogant. There was confidence, but a shy smile here and there reassured everyone that this was actually their first gig. It’s the kiss of death to say a band are going to be huge, but one inkling of this, and it’s the elephant in the room, is how tight the constant harmonies between both singers are. Completely flawless. What a debut gig.
This band was so under-appreciated it was a crime. They had it all, even including weird spacey leggings. They were an odd mix of people, but that odd mix has come together to make a sound, that is huge, and wholly encapsulating all the same.
Seawitches, are a band that would probably send the stress levels of any sound tech through the roof, but they only played three (or four, hard to tell, really) songs, which would have alleviated the pressure off of him. They were somewhat reminiscent of Sonic Youth, yet lost in the cross hairs of the recent stuff The Duke Spirit have released.
Seawitches really are a band full of punks, but in New Order-esque style, a band that are pushing limits. It’s fairly experimental, but incredibly progressive. They are offering something different, and by doing so are a challenging listen. But try and not get lost in their music – it’s impossible.
Pink Kink is the band the UK has been crying out for, and they are the band that are going to change the whole DIY scene in the city, if not the country. Clad in glitter and some sequins, the band launched into a song that featured a kazoo, and it only got weirder.
Funnily enough, some ignorant punter decided to take a phone call during the gig, to which the keyboard player called him out on. Fair play. Then another group of lads decided to talk through some of the bands softer moments. The rest of the crowd did not take to so lightly and told them, quite rightly, to shut up.
They say Liverpool has always had a strange link with New York. In Pink Kink you have that link between the often forgotten punk scene in Liverpool of the 80s, and the reenergised Riot Grrrl scene of New York. Pink Kink, when they finally release something, will be your new favourite band.
Dream Wife are an interesting lot to say the least. It would appear that off of the back of Sløtface’s relative success the market has opened wide for this kind of punk-pop. Dream Wife are no different, if anything, they are just more accessible.
Prior to the gig they released a candid version of, ‘Fuck The Pain Away’, which, in all fairness, was probably the highlight of the band’s set. Whilst their music didn’t leave much to be desired, it just wasn’t as familiar as the statement the band decided to make with that cover.
Aside from the usefulness of such a cover, the glaringly obvious comparisons that can be drawn are the work of the guitarist being incredibly similar to that of a young Ryan Jarman. It’s an uncomplicated style of play, but something that a song can be formed around. Dream Wife, for their guitarist alone are an incredibly promising outfit.
Queen Zee and The Sasstones
Some would say that punk is dead. Some would also say that it was a complete farce to begin with. Some of those things are right. Yet, occasionally, you see the by-product of a punk movement that still has life in it yet. Queen Zee and The Sasstones are the result of a destitute north and a slow realisation of LGBT rights.
The three-piece took to the stage in a flurry of anger and a singer in a skirt, top and bra. But it wasn’t done to make a point of being noticeable, nor to be ironic, it was done because that’s what he believes in. And that there is punk. That there is the essence of punk.
Punk is not the Top Man clad Slaves, who tweet sarcastic references to pop culture. In fact, Queen Zee were the complete opposite. They just got on with it. One of their guitars broke mid-set. Any other band would call it a day, they launched in to a cover of Electric Six’s, ‘Gay Bar’, and danced around in the crowd. The punk scene should rejoice in this band’s existence. They are accessible enough to make it big, and outspoken enough to make a point.
The five-piece band is part of a growing prog-rock scene in Liverpool, and whilst the idea of a prog band at the moment may seem odd, Indigo Moon have quality in abundance that simply cannot be ignored. Better yet, another parallel can be drawn by the fact that their name would suggest a twiddly throwaway indie band, whilst their sound is an awful lot bigger.
They started the set with a galore of riffs and didn’t really step off from that mark during their whole set. Indigo Moon also have a nack of writing songs in fascinating time signatures which often makes their set stop-start, but only for the sake of keeping things fresh.
Honourable mentions would of course have to be the lead singer whose voice has that staunch capability of filling a room. Another would be the drummer, who was either in her element this occasion, or just really up for it. They are a band that has that air of professionalism, before it’s even necessary to have it.
Abattoir Blues closed the night they were playing, as well as, rounding off the whole breaking out series. It was a crying shame that at the point they took to the stage the room had emptied out, leaving only a few by-standers. Yet the charm, and self-deprecating wit of the front man, showed they are not a band that are completely deluded.
They were aware the room was empty and so made passing jokes. But what was actually great about the whole set, is that the bands evocative music, and indeed emotive lyricism, in this scenario of but a few in the crowd made for an intense performance and an even more intense spectacle.
It could be said that this kind of intimacy between the band and only a few audience members actually worked for the band. They are, soon enough, going to be a band that can fill such a room. They sound as miserable as Hindsights did, whilst having the pop-laden exterior of the likes of Tiger’s Jaw.