This was one of my favourite types of gigs – a free one! I made it into town with just enough time for a quick pint before heading into the venue which I assumed would have beer of a lower quality and higher price.
I then made my way into the Cavern, finding a seat as I waited for the first band, while supping an acceptable, cooling pint of Hop House 13 Lager.
BBC Radio Merseyside DJ Dave Monks finally emerged to introduce the first band, Priestley from Warrington, who had certainly brought plenty of their own friends and family along, with Youth Hostel singer Mike also watching much of the set from the back of the room.
Their folky Americana isn’t on Spotify, so here’s their second number, Hurricane:
American perma-grinning singer/guitarist Sam Allen, with his James Taylor looks, oddly often balanced on one leg while performing, while keyboard player Matthew Morley somehow reminded me of a daytime TV chef and drummer James Morris made me think of Phil Tufnell.
Songs (some of whose names are guesses) included Freight Train that started quite 70’s before going a bit Laurel Canyon, the jaunty Hummingbirds-esque No More Wasting Time, the very Bob Harris/Radio 2 country Horizon and the piano ballad that was Kauto Star.
They were my least favourite of the three bands playing on the night, but the ones that probably went down the best with the crowd. I think that Priestley have a good chance to go on to much bigger things, with their combination of good looks, winning bonhomie and catchy tunes.
Dave Monks returned to introduce the second act, boundlessly enthusiastic local garage punk band Little Triggers. Presumably they were named after this excellent track off Elvis Costello’s 1978 album This Years Model:
The Pete Doherty-meets-Temples looking singer and bassist complete with hipster beard were both stick thin, while the keyboard player sported a Libertines-alike jacket. As well as the visual link, there’s certainly a Libertines element to their music – but they’re much better and more exciting than those over-rated chancers.
Later on in the set, hints of Dr Feelgood and Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers came through – great influences. There were a couple of slower numbers, including Girl that was drily introduced as “this next song’s about a girl, it’s called ‘Girl’”.
They were joined on stage for most of the set by a cameraman filming them. The band was as tight as anything, but the singer is the real star, throwing himself around and drawing all eyes to him.
The set closed with a rousing cover of Small Faces’ fabulous 1965 debut single Whatcha Gonna Do About It:
The song also incorporated a quote from Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, originally by Solomon Burke in 1964 but perhaps best known these days from The Blue Brothers film.
Little Triggers tore the roof off the venue, and I really look forward to encountering them again. Here’s an actual proper video of one of their songs, Giving Me Up:
I hadn’t realised until this night that I had seen their first ever gig. And that I was then about to see their second ever one! I was pleased to see that they were all wearing their lurid Hawaiian-esque shirts again, while Mike was doing his usual “is right, Cavern Club” and other scousisms.
They kicked off with Spade Around His Head – again, song titles are to a large extent guesses. New song Make The Most Of It was introduced in their usual self-aggrandising way as “this is a fucking tune as well”.
Mike mentioned that single Out Of My Mouth was an Edwin Starr rip-off as he did the previous time I saw them, though it’s still less than obvious to me. Waiting To Exhale was Pete Wylie-esque, while Bifters, about getting people to buy you ciggies from the shop when underage had a strong hip hop influence and mention of a “twat hat” that always makes me think of the young Beatles.
Love song Whoever Said featured some great Hollies harmonies, with the final song being Follow What You Believe In, meaning we sadly didn’t get their excellent cover of Julian Cope’s World Shut Your Mouth.
All in all this was a top night of free music, with some nice variety in the bands, including revisiting one I had liked a lot previously and discovering a new favourite.
I wore my red Parlophone t-shirt in honour of the venue, with the only other one I spotted being Led Zeppelin.
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Here is hardly any of the relevant music from the night on Spotify: