I got to the venue shortly before the first band were due on, getting a pint of Exmoor Ale in a plastic glass, so I could take it downstairs to where the bands were on.
As I got down into the gig space, I realised that I was literally the only audience member at that time! Fortunately, a handful of other people soon arrived, as the DJ spun 80’s electro and hop hop.
Local band Milo Seabird were on first, making an immediately tuneful, indie pop-ish impression, with late period Teenage Fanclub coming to mind straight away.
Can’t Blame Me featured some lovely guitar work, and then a harmonica solo by guitarist Jamie Maguire, but was less interesting vocally than the previous two songs.
Ollie Hawes took on vocals for some of the songs, instead of usual frontman Nico Hercules. My favourite number in their set was Submarine Song, which reminded me of the country-tinged Lowgold, whom I saw four times in the early 2000’s. This one featured some nice submarine ‘pings’ played by Maguire.
Drummer Wez Clarke went through two different pairs of brushes across their set, as well as a traditional pair of drum-sticks, with the line-up completed by Dave Pye on bass.
Final song I Lie Low was one of the most upbeat in the set, leaving things on something of a high.
Next up were Irene And The Disappointments, whom I was really looking forward to seeing having listened to a few songs of theirs online. Somehow, despite being a local band of some standing (including two actual albums!), they’d previously escaped my attention.
What I’d heard led me to expect indie pop that was a bit shoegaze-y, with their own bio describing them as “dream-pop”, but they were much more forceful live than that makes them sound, although I have a feeling I’m going to like the records more than their (still very engaging) live show.
I’m not entirely sure exactly where they come from, but I’ve now seen references to them being “Sefton’s finest”, as well as mentions of previous shows at the Liver Hotel, literally the closest pub to home for me, so I shall now be paying closer attention to their social media!
The singer was sporting a Cocteau Twins t-shirt, but their influence was well hidden, and sadly they didn’t perform their cover of Iceblink Luck on the night, which can be found online (as well as their version of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby). Here it is anyway:
Early highlights were the wailing Why? and another song about “lying, mortifying” with some great drum work, after which came one of the best heckles I’ve heard in a while, when someone shouted out “that was fucking boss”.
There was a nice jangly start from John on guitar to a song featuring the lyric “tip of my tongue”, while a new song, possibly called Breaking Your Heart, featured some fab “ooo”s from the bassist and military drums.
I enjoyed them enough to order both of their albums on CD when I got home, but they’ve not yet arrived, hence my sketchy knowledge of track names.
Headlining were shoegaze-jangly indie popsters Tallies from Toronto, who reminded me most of Pale Saints (who, by the way, have a truly bizarre website!) in the flesh, despite their album really reminding me a lot of The Sundays.
First track was Beat The Heart, which was the first evidence of the less notable Harriet Wheeler vocal sound from Sarah Cogan than on record, further exemplified by the subsequent Trouble and Mother, which are both very similar to The Sundays on record to my ears.
Guitarist Dylan Frankland looked like a cross between the late lamented Her’s bassist Audun Laading and Ruban Nielson from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, while Patrick McCormack on bass brought to mind Rob Styner from the MC5.
Their set consisted of nine of the ten tracks from this year’s eponymous debut album – one that I had planned on being pretty familiar with before the gig, but due to ordering from an overseas store, didn’t actually arrive until the day afterwards! I had at least listened to it once online before the show, though.
Rocks was the only cut off the album not to get an airing, a shame as it’s a rather lovely song, but I didn’t feel its absence on the night.
Perhaps the most Sundays-like song in person was Midnight with its swooping vocals a la Here’s Where The Story Ends. Eden featured some very melodic bass work and they ended with album closer Easy Enough.
The crowd was rather sparse sadly for this gig, as they are clearly a band who could go reasonably far. All in all, it was a trilogy of top indie pop, as hoped for.
I wore my dark green Flying Nun Records t-shirt, to keep the indie pop vibe. There were quite a few other band tees in evidence, including someone in a Honeyblood one who has a David Bowie Low screensaver on his phone. Others were Blonde Redhead, James and David Byrne.
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Here is a very brief sampling of the music from the night on Spotify: