CLEAN CUT KID
- Declan McKenna
- Lying B*st*rds
On first are local lads, LYING B*ST*RDS. Despite only having a handful of gigs under this name, many of you will recognise familiar faces from local heroes such as Broken Men, 69 Watts and Jimmy and the Revolvers. The blues-rocking foursome come across like The Stone Roses drenched in filth and scuzz, playing harsh lo-fi in its most beautiful form. With beautifully raucous guitar solos, the raw, howling banshee-like vocals of frontman Henry Pulp, and the ever present fuzz, this eclectic mix of scouse heroes clearly know what they’re doing and it makes for exhilarating listening and viewing.
Appropriately setting the mood for the evening, Lying B*st*rds make way for bandana-clad youngster DECLAN MCKENNA. At only sixteen, he has already won Glastonbury’s 2015 Emerging Talent Competition, showing promise with his incredible ability to become a whole band with just himself, a synth, a loop pedal and his trusty Fender. Despite suggesting his voice is hindered by a cold, the mop-topped teen blows the audience away with a set well beyond his years. Unlike most singer-songwriters, this exciting newcomer writes less about love and teenage angst in favour of tackling world issues such as corruption and the avarices of capitalism. All of this is wrapped up in catchy, clued-up tunes with everything from reverb-filled shoegaze guitar to Atari-like synth. The new kid on the block’s modesty is almost as great as his talent and, with record labels tearing each other limb from limb for him, his destiny is hardly misty in any crystal ball.
CLEAN CUT KID have a radioactive brightness about them which exudes from every pore. They arrive on stage to the adulation of a packed room: faces peer out from every possible extremity of the basement, proving the sheer weight of their hometown popularity. They’re a band that can make the dingy and brutalist scenery of the infamous Hold look like its walls are made of candyfloss. Having recently shot into the limelight with single Vitamin C – with its infectious electro vibe and throbbing beat – the single keeps the listener radiant despite the distinct lack of vitamin D in the dark, sun-deprived cellar of the Shipping Forecast. In fact, it’s hard not to feel positive when listening to it.
Blasting out their upbeat electro indie, the Liverpool-based art rockers balance synthetic modern elements with classic guitar riffs which wouldn’t sound out of place on a power rock ballad by the likes of Journey or Boston. At one point the guitarist even jokes of going “pure Slash”. However, all is driven by Ross Higginson’s expert drumming, which is reminiscent of the primal euphoric heartbeat of The Jesus and Mary Chain.
The bright quartet entertain the audience throughout the whole set, both in and out of song, bringing smiles to all faces in sight. Who needs vitamins when you have great music?