- Tear Talk
- Esa Shields
Having (almost literally) run the gauntlet up Bold St, swerving past the ever-increasing Grand National crowds descending on the city centre, The Kazimier provides us with welcome respite, as ever.
With the balconies decked out in white fairy lights and with Mirror Moves’ faultless New Wave soundtrack greeting visitors upon arrival, something of an event is clearly in the offing.
Opening proceedings, the first full show by ESA SHIELDS in eons sees the pop polymath on daunting form. Alone on stage with only an electric piano and an obelisk of a 16-track recorder for accompaniment, Shields treats the predominantly seated audience to his idiosyncratic sci-fi torch songs. Finally Dimitri and Shelley Duval superbly showcase the wayward melodies found at the heart of all of the singer-songwriter’s tracks, while, the longer the set progresses, the more he relaxes, with a pleasing hint of Scott Walker-style theatrical flourishes towards the close.
Buoyed by an excellent mix that picks out every detail of the group’s accomplished tracks, gloom-pop architects TEAR TALK essay the bulk of this year’s excellent Ruins EP. Masters of understated elegiac songcraft, the metronomic melodicism of Decades exemplifies the quintet’s ability to wring the absolute maximum out of sparse arrangements. Downbeat confessional Realise supplies the set’s summit, lead singer Josh Miller’s stark lyrics set against an atmospheric wash of synth and tick-tocking guitar arpeggio.
The motorik thrum of Spacegun signals the arrival of SEAWITCHES for their first headline performance at The Kaz. The band’s self-avowed mission to create “epic angst disco” is writ large, the sonorous vocals of talismanic lead singer Jo Herring guiding the quartet’s excursions through jittery post-punk, Afrobeat and alt. rock.
Steered by sticksman Tilo Pinbaum’s estimable beats, which interlock seamlessly with bassist Laura Cauldwell’s redoubtable foundation lines and Jamie Jenkin’s controlled guitar squall, the likes of Sleepkill and fiery new track Tempest nimbly shoot past.
Backed by scrolling projections in keeping with the title of the evening, various aphorisms flash up on the screen, including Rosa Lee Parks’ statement, “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when you know it is right”, alongside images of Malcolm X.
The atmospheric Starlight Love and the corrosive pop of Fathead point the way forward for the group, matching the dreamy melodicism of luscious indie-pop debut 45 Stars with a tougher, more febrile energy. A hugely welcome evening’s diversion from endless analysis by pointy-headed political pundits, then. Overthow wins by a landslide.