Caught Live: Psychords, Lennon’s Bar Liverpool 7th December 2017

I came along to this gig on the recommendation of several Facebook friends, three of whom are involved in gig promotions themselves and were touring with this band, an all-girl punk rock trio hailing from Italy. This date was part of a multi-band bill held at Lennon’s Bar, a tiny basement bar in Mathew Street (yards from the Cavern and also Eric’s), an event dubbed ‘LOUD Lennon’. What I had been unaware of was that this had been a regular event and that this was to be the last one held there! A pity if that means no more live (original) music there, but probably a sign of the times as this street is still synonymous with a certain band, one of whose members this place is named for.

I did catch two of the other bands on the bill; local four-piece Nesh gave a short, enjoyable set of what they term ‘alternative, melodic driven rock’, playing in Santa gear and displaying some welcome humour among the guitar riffing. Closing out the evening were St. Helens outfit Last Reserves, a band I’ve seen before and whose frontwoman Alice Nancy acted as compere for the evening. They’re a loud, enthusiastic quartet, they are not entirely my bag however I was impressed by nimble-fingered bassist Matt Bonnell.

The reason I was here though was to check out Psychords; taking to the tiny stage after Nesh’s set they had a few technical issues to begin with, as a techie was despatched to the small console to tweak a few dials, so that guitarist/vocalist Violet Burns could actually hear herself! Once they got things sorted out, they showed us why they were so highly rated. Meaty guitar riffs, accompanied by nifty bass fills from Gio’ Highlander and driving the whole thing along was drummer Claudia Lo. She was the basis for their hard-hitting sound, powerful and expressive. Contrasting this heavy sound was Violet Burns’ somewhat gentler vocal sat atop all this racket. Their songs are short snappy bashabouts, and those Ramones comparisons were totally justified.  They had your correspondent playing air guitar, bass AND air drums throughout!

The attendance was small, but did include an American tourist who only chanced upon this gig, looking for a bar playing something other than the Beatles fare offered almost everywhere else in this part of the city. He was happy to see such a lively gig and was also impressed with this band. This was the band’s third-last UK date before heading back to continental Europe, fingers crossed they’ll be able to return for more dates in 2018. Even better if they could find their way back to this city when they do!

Facebook page for Psychords

Facebook page Last Reserves

Facebook page for NESH

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

 

Advertisements

The 27 Club: A new and much-needed Liverpool venue

I found myself in the centre of Liverpool last night after finding out about not only a new venue, but that it was launching (officially) that evening with four bands, headlined by Glam Skanks, a Californian all-girl quartet about whom I knew little. However judging by the name and that at least two people in my Facebook list had already checked them out, it looked like it would be a good night out.

First challenge was to find the place: I knew it was on Victoria Street, but not exactly whereabouts. I actually walked the whole length of the street, going past it before retracing my steps and discovering that the venue was actually in the former L1 KTV karaoke bar on the corner of Peter Street; it even had the old sign outside still. Only on closer inspection did I spot the small ‘The 27 Club’ sign in the window. Having found the venue and furthermore, discovering it was free entry (!) I entered to find a small, dimly-lit room with the bar to the right as you go in, and the stage area (such as it was) to the left. A band was already on, it turned out to be a four-band bill. The main lighting was behind the performers – an array of multicoloured flourescent tubes. I suspect that this is a remnant from the place’s previous life, and the whole set up looked like it had only just been put together. I had no idea at the time, that it had!

The band playing were called Figures, formed in Liverpool but with personnel hailing from the Preston area. The set was grunge-inspired hard rock, their chief asset was singer Carrie who had a powerful voice. The next band up were St Helens crew Last Reserves, who were energetic with powerful bass lines and some enthusiastic jumping about from frontwoman Alice Nancy, not really my cup of tea to be completely honest. Following this came Novacrow, the only band on the bill I had prior knowledge of, having seen them last year also in Liverpool. A four-piece fronted by the purple-tressed Kitty, they’re a lively bunch. Kitty is singer/guitarist, something along the lines of Lzzy Hale but with a more expressive performance; when she puts the guitar down for a series of numbers mid-set she is all over the stage, occasionally off it and into the audience! Not to be outdone, bassist Federico ‘Freddy’ Spera is leaping about the place, all over the fittings,  out on the floor, and memorably running out into the street mid-song while continuing to play! His radio link makes that possible of course, he is totally untamed. Next to this, guitarist Jonyx’s own ventures off the stage seem gentle by comparison! The liveliest of live bands you’ll see, they are well worth checking out and play regularly in the area, as they are based in Merseyside.

I found out while the other bands were playing that Glam Skanks were actually playing a double-header this night; when doors opened at the 27 Club the girls were actually 35 miles up the road in Manchester, opening for veteran punkers The Skids at the o2 Ritz. They must have packed up in record time and shot down the M62 then, as they arrived just before Novacrow started their set. I’d not heard a note from them prior to their arrival on this stage, but they were exactly what I expected. Introduced by an older guy in a trilby (presumably their manager) they looked as expected too, glittery costumes and guitars aplenty. They opened with ‘G.L.A.M.’, with singer Ali Cat looking like a cheerleader, the song is a definite nod to that and got the punters in the mood. They beckoned us up to the stage and ran through a short set of hard rocking glam punk, played with humour. One of their songs, whose title is direct and to the point, shall we say (!) is a more profane take on the Beatles ‘Please Please Me’. (Get their album, you’ll soon identify the track in question!)

It was an enjoyable set of riff-heavy glam rock, watching them reminded me a little of London combo The Featherz but with a more Hollywood twist. I was amused to find their bassist was called Millie, and they have a song called ‘Bad Bitch’ – but the links to The SoapGirls (a South African sister act I have seen on several occasions, whose bassist is also called Mille) ended there. Ali Cat was an endearing frontwoman, easily getting this crowd clapping and singing along. Following their set, their manager was hawking their CD ‘Glitter City’ (featuring many of the songs played in the set) and so I treated myself to a copy.

All in all this was a successful launch night for a venue that this city has needed for some time. The people who run the place also offer rehearsal space for bands, and live music will be on offer most nights. I often travel even to see small gigs in venues such as this, and this place looks ideal for several bands from other parts of the country that I know. Only thing was, with the lighting minimal to non-existent, I didn’t take any pics of the proceedings so you’ll just have to content yourself with this snap of yours truly with three of the Glam Skanks! 🙂

glamskanksme

I wish the 27 Club every success with this venture and look forward to seeing many more up-and-coming bands play here.

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

Facebook Pages:

The 27 Club

The Glam Skanks

Novacrow

Last Reserves

Figures