15/12/11 @ The Kazimier - The Hummingbirds/Luke Fenlon/The Francis Jetty/The Grande/Ratty Little Fingers
The Kazimier is rapidly becoming THE place to play in Liverpool…… or so it seems. Down to the demise of such other great venues, its setting and acoustics are a great option for upcoming bands and it is great to see a venue such as supporting local unsigned acts as much as it does. Let’s hope this continues…
I only got to see the mighty Hummingbirds a few weeks ago for the first time, in the tiny Bier on Bold St, performing an acoustic set that was impressive. So I had already decided to get along to this when I got the call to review it, top trumps! Even better when I hear a couple of my favourite local bands were on the bill. Merry Crimbo Phil!
Sadly, I missed one of those bands due to so many acts being on the bill (are yous getting used to me being ‘’fashionably late’’?) Which was a bit of a downer, but I’m sure I will see the amazing Ratty Little Fingers again soon. The energetic, makeshift three piece who knock Mumford-esque tunes out willy nilly and brighten any dreary place up. I imagine these must have been a great opening act for the night. Shows you the depth of quality that was to come. Ratty Little Fingers have a new E.P. out which you should all listen to. More importantly, get to see them, you will be glad you did.
So the first band I walked into was The Grande. Hailing from Liverpool but sounding like they come from Nashville. This band are quietly chipping away at the (sometimes) clichéd Liverpool scene with their brand of country influenced twang. Beautiful harmonies weave songs of love and lust, loneliness and longsome together. I have seen and reviewed this band before and this was the best I have seen them. Maybe it’s because it’s nearly Christmas and everyone’s in a festive mood. Maybe it’s because they are just getting better and better. Who knows, but something tells me this band could be around for a while. Especially if they get over to the good ol’ US of A, they would go down a storm.
Next up, a band hailing from the relatively tropical climes of Northampton, The Francis Jetty. Now it is safe to say that these boys have not got much of a following up here, until now that is. Not even a year old, they have been doing the rounds down south with their 60’s inspired bluesy rock and roll. Heavily influenced by that classic British Mod sound that keeps coming back throughout the ages and all looking the part too. Their music is fresh and familiar at the same time. Bright and energetic, tales about working classes and their shenanigans. Adam Franklin (Lead Vocals) has the crowd warming to him immediately with his cheeky little quips in between songs that we scousers love. But it’s the music that grabs everyones attention. It’s tight, well arranged and driven. No wonder then that we find out the reason for these boys gracing the shores of the Mersey is to play Liam Gallghers new shop, Pretty Green the following day. Nice one Liam. The Francis Jetty will hopefully become a regular feature on the local scene. They are back supporting the wonderful Steve Cradock in February at Eric’s (26/02/12) so put that date in your diaries kids.
The crowd are buzzing now and the Kaz really has a great vibe about it tonight. So the next act, Luke Fenlon, has a lot to play up to. Luke is one of the most talked about local artists doing the rounds at the moment. I’ve heard him described as the next Bob Dylan (there will never be another Mr Zimmerman), or the next big thing. I have also heard him being slated by so called ‘’musos’’. Is it jealousy? Or do they have a valid point? Well I have seen Mr Fenlon quite a few times now and my own take on things is he was better as a solo acoustic act than with a band. His songs become more sincere when he is on his own and take on a new identity. That’s not to say his band are poor by any means, because they aren’t. I just think that he is more interesting as a performer on his own. Not so tonight, because Mr Fenlon has stolen the strings section out of the amazing Fifth Movement and forced them to play with him. What a difference. I have to put my tail between my legs and say this young scamp pulled it off tonight. His songs had a new fervour about them, a confidence that I haven’t seen before. The crowd that was nearly at capacity was clearly here to see him and knew the words to most of his songs. So one-nil to Luke on that performance. Well in lad.
(Luke Fenlon by Michelle Roberts)
The Hummingbirds are the epitome of what is happening in Liverpool on the music scene at the moment. Acoustic driven folk with the ‘sea shanty’ style of so many scouse folk bands to have pleasured our aural receptors over the decades. Jay Davies leads the vocals as part of a three piece harmony section and has a distinct, sort of working class dialect which emphasises the subject of the songs even more. Tales of distant memories and the streets of Liverpool, imagined in a time when you could still play out in the street, leave your door open and a key with the neighbours. The simple, bluesy style of guitars, never overplayed and used more as accompaniments than lead instruments, add to the familiarity of what you can hear. Sometimes the songs can stray in to Beatles-esque land but not in a plagiarist way, more as a nod to the more direct influences of this group. So it was no surprise when the band broke into ‘Day Tripper’ for a verse and a chorus. The crowd lapping it up, which, by the way was nearing capacity now. The final piece of this jigsaw, the percussionist Rich Smith, has done away with the traditional drum kit and has opted for the ultra cool Cajon drum with a hi hat and crash cymbal thrown in. His understated style of rhythmic beats just adds to the simplicity of this band. This is probably what makes them stand out from the increasing number of folk band doing the rounds in Liverpool at the moment. Their songs are arranged in a sort of clean, no nonsense way. With lots of space, thus being able to create powerful dynamics and conjure emotive responses. The Hummingbirds create polite and polished music that you could take home and introduce to the folks to keep them happy while you secretly listen to debauched and spineless punk and rock horrors. In short, this band rock, without actually rocking out.
The Hummingbirds are back in the studio in Jan to follow up their first EP release ‘Talking of Tomorrow’. You can also catch them down at Eric’s with The Francis Jetty on 26/02/12 supporting The Steve Cradock Band. Look forward to that one.