Red Rum Club have just released a stirring new single ‘Alone Together’, Phil Greenhalgh caught them recently at their sold out gig in Liverpool and left suitably enamoured
Red Rum Club. Zanzibar 22/1/17
Support, Bad Habits. NYTCLUB, Little triggers
Early arrivals in a rapidly filling Zanzibar were met by indie-rock 4 piece BAD HABITS. And ‘early’ was perhaps the operative word for the band too, as it certainly felt like a band beginning their musical adventures rather than a fully formed unit. It was hard not to shake the feeling that this was college-boy indie band doing perhaps what they feel is expected of them before they branch out and find their own direction. But despite these vague misgivings, it was a solid performance and there were certainly sparks of individuality that suggest they could develop into something very good indeed, but obviously at this stage it’s potential rather than realisation. Rather Like catching Hooton Tennis Club in the early days, you sense something’s there but you’re quite not sure what it is yet, then you see them months later and suddenly there’s a light bulb moment. It’ll be worth watching out for them honing their craft on the circuit, to see if that spark they certainly have develops into something more fully formed
Second on the bill, NYTCLUB, which let’s face it is an awful band name and one which almost distracts and takes away from the fact that they are a band who seem to fit neatly into the current crop of magnolia-indie, a la Blossoms, Catfish, (insert generic indie band here). And they were good at it, very good in fact, the front man, save for an ill-advised attempt at audience participation, was as charismatic as any you’ll see playing to an iphone waving sea of adoring teens. Get past the name and someone, somewhere could see their nascent potential and tout these on a bigger stage and they’d perhaps prosper, although the competition out there is stiff for this sort of musical set up
Having seen the third band LITTLE TRIGGERS open FestEvol to the scant midday crowd drifting into the cavernous Camp and Furnace hall last May, there was a feeling of knowing what to expect; fresh faced, competent but slightly naive guitar pop, and a sense that a few pre-written words would slot into a quick review, right?
Wrong! What a difference 9 months can make! Little Triggers crashed into a set of unabashed, raw, trouser splitting raucous rock and roll. Sporting Bolan curls and Daltrey circa ‘69 garb, lead singer/lead guitar Tom Hamilton-Hughes powered the band through a set somewhere between Led Zep and the Fratellis. Peppered with Jam-heel kicks and on the knees guitar licks, the set felt like the birth of a bona fide rockstar. Add to your list of ones to catch soon.
Recently there was a post on social media by a music journalist asking the question ‘what do people mean when they say a band has ‘songs?’ It’s a valid question for what has become an often thrown about phrase, and I think can be answered with reference to headliners RED RUM CLUB.
It’s possible to come away from the gig of a band you are unfamiliar with, blown away and yet not being recall a single song from the set. Not so with Red Rum Club; At Sound City last year, there was a couple of lines from one song, the hook ‘are you trying to, trying to please me…’ locked into the inner ear. That tune was ‘ Alone together’ and was Red Rum Club’s, second in the set tonight, it remains one of the stand out tunes of 2016. Their only other release to-date ‘Everybody’s Friend’, is of course part of their set is another crowd-pleaser and is a similar earworm. From seeing them for the first time, it’s a challenge to come away without at the very least one of those songs reverberating through your head.
And this is where Red Rum Club excel. Massive, hooky, well-crafted songs, infectious and highly polished pieces of structured verse, chorus and melody, belted out with rockstar assurance, and that oh-so-memorable gloss of mariachi trumpet. There are hints of the Bunnymen and the Manics in places, and from this set alone you can see the potential for an ‘all killer’ album in the making.
For the wont of being critical for it’s own sake, you could suggest that Red Rum Club aren’t producing edgy, groundbreaking rock; rather the kind of wholesome boy-next-door pop-rock, the type which it became deriguer to regard with sniffy indifference at the inevitable whiff of success. ‘The-Killers-and-Kaiser-Chiefs-eventual-lack-of-muso-credibility’ rock, the ‘not-esoteric-enough-for-critical-acclaim-too-mainstream’ rock, the ‘easy-to-knock-radio-friendly’ rock.
But on this night, esoteric was playing at the other end of town, the Zanzibar belonged to ‘packed-house-Saturday-night-in-town’ rock, ‘grin-on-your-face’ rock. I don’t think anyone there; the bands, promoter, the venue and least of all the audience will have been disappointed by a wonderful nights entertainment
Promoters Evol once again demonstrated the knack of compiling a bill of well-matched bands from top to bottom. Well timed, well placed and demonstrating the need to keep venues like Zanzibar in the hub of the Saturday night main drag. It was packed from the off, even the girls you see with the rollers in town on a Saturday afternoon were there (sans rollers). There was a feel good party atmosphere, with the DJ between sets catching the spirit of the night with a well participated sing-song ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’. Ok admittedly sing-alongs may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but in a town that sometimes struggles to half fill venues, it’s great to see a packed house enjoing decent live original music. Not a tribute band in sight!
Words and Pictures Phil Greenhalgh