Sunday night gig turnouts are always a bit iffy – hangovers , reduced services via public transport and the appeal of an early night before the working week arrives like a massive big shit on the pavement of life. Which is a shame because a bill as good as September Girls, Telegram and Scarlet should really be enough to blast away the apathetic languor of Sunday and break the magnetic pull of a “Country File” and “Antiques Roadshow” double header.
Local favourites Scarlet kicked off proceedings in Liverpool’s Arts Club with an energetic and perfectly executed set. The band have grown since we last caught them live. They appeared more confident in their stagecraft, as they delivered a fine performance of charged energetic guitar-driven indie pop, that certainly invigorated and uplifted the senses.
Telegram arrived on stage looking part Ramones, part Stooges and part Stones . Their glammed up krautrock aesthetic replete with driving motorik rhythms, big choruses and punky garage-glam rock guitar thrash certainly proved there is plenty of substance behind the style, as they gave an edgy swaggering performance. All the more impressive after singer Tom informed us after the show that it came on the back of zero hours sleep due to a heavy session at Manchester’s psychfest the night before.
Dublin quintet September Girls are the main draw, with an audience that included 99% of Manchester band PINS and Brooklyn’s Beverly. One of the crucial elements to the September Girls live experience is getting the sound mix totally on point, “if it’s not right it can turn to mush” remarked bassist Paula Cullen after the show. Thankfully the sound at Liverpool Arts Club was pretty much perfect, ensuring that the walls of guitars never overwhelmed the layered vocals and it made for a mesmerising and immersive set.
There’s always been something sinister and slightly off-kilter about the atmosphere September Girls sound conjures up and these feelings of being slightly disorientated were compounded when the set opened with keyboardist Lauren playing the drums and drummer Sarah stepping out from the shadows with a microphone in her hand to take lead vocals on ‘Wolves’ . The set which comprised in the main of tracks from the band’s superb second album ‘Age Of Indignation’ saw lead vocals switch between band members (who also seem to have switched hair colours and hairstyles) with dazzling efficiency as guitars chimed with a sinister dark shimmer and spectral haunted fairground keyboards swirled about the venue, creating a nebulous sense of foreboding.
‘Age Of Indignation’ is a more vociferous album than their sublime debut ‘Cursing The Sea’. It would perhaps be a misreading of September Girls to suggest that ‘Age Of Indignation’ is a massively more political statement than their debut, (which tackled heavyweight subjects such as societal to attitudes towards woman, victim blaming and rape.) However there does appear to be a more sustained sense of fury and indeed a genuine sense of indignation throughout,as it hones in on it’s targets with eloquence, clarity and deadly clear-eyed precision. In the live setting the new songs worked perfectly and saw the band expanding their sonic palette whilst still retaining their monochromatic glitter. And when they are on this sort of sparkling spiky form Matt Baker and his wellies were soon but a distant memory and it’s always worth making the effort to catch September Girls, whatever day of the week it is.
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