Photography: Tomas Adam / @TomasAdamphotos

Protomartyr

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  • Suana Youth
  • Eyesore And The Jinx
EVOL - O2 Academy2 Liverpool 30/8/18

Regular visitors to this parish should already know about EYESORE AND THE JINX. They are possibly the best new band in the region. Their potential is huge, almost as big of the sound they create. It’s gnarly, angry, bass-driven slabs of damaged guitar pop. It evokes a hybrid of the Blues Explosion, Grinderman and The Voidz. The early arrivals are here just for them, they know and play like their lives depend on it. It’s incredible. Nurture them with your presence.

SAUNA YOUTH are three albums in. They were asked by the headliners to support which is always a good sign. Two songs in and you can see why. There’s an early 90s vibe to this London-based four-piece. It’s edgy with a healthy dollop of anorak fanzine chic. The stage is overly littered with various pot plants, which doesn’t really give a homely feel to proceedings. It distracts from what is a very tight and fluid set of rather excellent dark indie pop tunes. New Fear is brash and swarthy, while Monotony is anything but with its yelping and repetitive chorus. Jen Calleja cuts a slightly nervous figure as a lead but her voice is a great instrument and by the time they reach the high-point of Transmitters, her fragile confidence is scowling into the mic, her eyes at one with the crowd. After 13 songs, which is apparently “loads”, they scuttle off back to their transit van and a four-hour slog to that London, safe in the knowledge that Liverpool really took to them, and their plants.

Protomartyr Image 3

After the greenery has been painstakingly cleared, the sparseness of the stage is making the room feel like the Echo Arena and Detroit’s PROTOMARTYR have just the sound to fill it. Having had their third album released by Domino, the four-piece seem like they’ve been doing this for decades. Although you could be fooled by that assumption as lead ‘singer’ Joe Casey lurches onto the stage, drink in hand and shirt nicely ironed. Maybe the right word is ‘staggered’ as the opener is pure Mark E. Smith. The diction, the prose and the delivery screams ‘FALL’. Thankfully, that’s where it ends as the 15-song set gets better and better and better.

There’s performance here that seems part planned and part shambles. Casey is every inch the anti-frontman. Slurping from a can of nasty lager as the band veers between The Jesus Lizard and Hüsker Dü, he is prowling the front line like a disheveled comedian who has fallen from grace. Eager to get one more laugh from the crowd, failing and not caring, all the while with an air of that bloke at closing time that won’t leave you alone. Windsor Hum is a highlight, its choppy guitar lines feeding Casey with the energy to rant and leer, his erratic movements becoming more intense as the lager kicks in. Why Does It Shake? gets the plaudits, though, for ending the set on a heavy and driving skull-pounding noise as Casey is virtually screaming.

It’s a surprise success for this writer; it’s entertainment on the rocks, methodically interwoven with absolute chaos and fair play to the enthusiastic Thursday night town crowd for helping it along. The sound of new Detroit is guitar-heavy and a bit pissed. Or is that pissed off? No matter. It’s a beautiful noise.

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