If there’s a common thread in tonight’s offerings it’s the promise of a host of blues-inspired rock with razor-sharp riffs, rough vocals and driving drum beats. Perhaps the greatest example of this is SANKOFA: the Liverpool lads channel the spirit of Leadbelly on acid with their psychedelic blues rock. Stephen Wall’s vocals have a honey-over-hot-gravel feel to them as he laments soulfully into the mic, backed by Joel Whitehead’s wailing guitar, which howls beautifully through the tracks, with an eclectic mix of influences from the blues right through to shoegaze and distortion-filled fuzz. The psychedelic Scousers provide a trippy blues explosion despite having to cut their set short due to technical difficulties.
Having got the audience suitably pumped, Sankofa make way for SUGARMEN. Another local band, Sugarmen have become somewhat of a buzz name on the scene. Embarking on their first UK tour, the prodigal sons of Liverpool indie set off with style, well and truly smashing the bottle against the ship with their catchy ditties. With obvious influence from their producer, Mick Jones, they play raucous punk-inspired tunes with sing-along choruses and ringing guitar solos. Dirt resonates through the room with elements taken from everyone from The Cure to The Courteeners, and will surely become utilised as an anthem for them as they get bigger and bigger. Despite Pete Doherty getting fat and Alex Turner adopting an American accent, Sugarmen prove indie still has something to give.
THE BOHICAS first graced the streets of Liverpool back in 2013, playing on the NME Radar Tour alongside punks Cerebral Ballzy and The Amazing Snakeheads. The lads have come a long way since then, proving to be more than just a band that would merely come and go. Two years on and having just released their first album, the four-piece are back to show what they have to offer. Clad in leather jackets, skinny jeans and fitted shirts, Domino Records’ new sweethearts arrive on stage to applause from the extremely diverse crowd, an eclectic mixture of middle-aged rockers and indie kids. The crowd reflects the Essex boys’ style, playing indie that genuflects to the giants of classic rock. With tight basslines and rapid guitar solos, these Southerners play no nonsense, good ol’ fashioned music. When the band erupts into the hedonistic To Die For, the crowd goes wild: a sea of heads bop furiously amongst the notes flying towards them. No one can deny the sheer pleasure gained from the tune, and this is followed up with their other hits, including Where You At, The Making Of and Only You. There isn’t anything deep or meaningful about the songs that pour out of the mouth of frontman Dominic McGuiness but, when it sounds this good, who cares?