COURTING’s sound is the future. A very near future, but a future nonetheless. Whether you like their staggered drum patterns or harsh vocals, it doesn’t matter. They conspire to drag you into their own vision of the 21st Century. Following similar sonic patterns as 2019 breakouts Black Midi, as well as sharing anthemic choruses with Shame, debut single Not Yr Man is as punk as it is rock. Tonight they’re sharing a stage with band who are similar but more mature. FEET, with their leather jacket look and determined presence on stage, are brutally honest in the type of music they produce. They’ve chopped between band members before finally settling on a group they feel most capable of producing their debut album – something they successfully did at the beginning of October, just a few weeks before they take centre stage here in Liverpool.
Courting strike first, hurling blankets of riffs across the cold concrete walls in the Sound basement. Tonight they are without a bass player, yet they still manage to create a bespoke atmosphere of “meandering sonic mess”. This self-prescribed genre tag is printed on their first batch of merchandise and they seem to deliver an ironic sensibility to the sentiment; the music is tight and they are captivating to watch. Courting catch their best moments when they feel visceral rather than cerebral; the panting and screaming on unreleased tracks leave breadcrumbs of multiple genres and it is up to the crowd tonight to follow them on their march. Luckily, they’re there every step of the way.
Four songs in and lead singer Sean Murphy-O’Neill has stepped into the crowd, (something he looks to have flirted with for a while, but finally plucked up the courage to do). He parades a cowbell and proceeds to hand it out to spectators as they try to keep the rhythm of the song intact. Coincidentally, it is in the fleeting manner that Courting attain the most telling moments of melodic cohesion. Equally, it is these moments that most resonate with their listeners.
Key to this connection is their stroke of lyrical humour: “I kinda wanna take the lads on tour and go to Pontins” Murphy-O’Neill chants. It is in these brief instances where he has the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the cowbell in the other.
Feet are here tonight in support of their new debut album What’s Inside Is More Than Just Ham. Despite the comical title, there is a dramatic sense of seriousness about this band; they sing with purpose. Each drum beat wraps around the stage and demands total involvement as they sway on the stand-out Good Richard’s Crash Landing. Even before they manage to whisper the first lyric, the crowd are primed to jump the gun and are hanging on every word.
There is plenty to admire here. The almost romantic red lights shine across the room, and it’s hard to tell whether they convey a feeling of love and lust, or resentment and anger. Perhaps both. Feet are a band that reside in the empowered juxtaposition. It’s their ability to dance effortlessly between a plethora of emotions makes their live shows so in demand, so enthralling.
Feet are definitely building momentum. Even for a handful of people gathered on a freezing Sunday night, it’s easy to see why. For now, it is their best kept secret.