There’s nothing like a stacked all-dayer to kick off the year good and proper. Admittedly, I was at a show the night before, but for the purposes of this review and the previous sentence, the CLUB.THE.MAMMOTH. all-dayer in Liverpool marked the first big blowout of the year.
A line-up that’s had us salivating here for months, not only were the folks at C.T.M. putting on Northern leg-ends THE FALL, but they had peppered the bill with some of the biggest and brightest on these shores looking to make a name for themselves (if they hadn’t already).
Kicking off proceedings between the two rooms were local noise-makers Pink Kink and Strange Collective, the latter giving us our first taste of the picturesque auditorium.
Pink Kink have got near enough nothing online to wet one’s whistle, so it was pretty refreshing catching them up first without much of a clue of their sound. Dipping in and out of genres and warping minds throughout the huge crowd, I particularly liked the song they closed on – Psyched out, dancey as anything and complimented with dead cutesy/bratty, cheerleader-esque shouts in the chorus and the closing stretch. It’s clear why they’re racking up a bit of a following around Liverpool!
Strange Collective continued on the psychedelic hype, smashing out a barrage of wigged out, fuzzy belters that suddenly make me realise I’d just smashed four cans on the train up from Manchester. A dip in tempo on the closer offered up a false sense of security, before they ramped it back up again, making way for an unrelenting wall-of-noise.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after Strange Collective that we had to duck out to find a watering hole that wasn’t taking the piss. Sadly this meant sacrificing Goat Girl, who I’d wanted to catch again before their upcoming meteoric rise, but I didn’t feel up to the challenge of paying five quid for a pint of Carlsberg. You’d expect an ‘arts club’ to sell craft beers and all manner of hipster joys, rather than just pints of Carling, cans of Guiness and bog-standard whiskey and cokes. Their loss ended up being our loss as well, sadly.
Suitably re-charged after a few scoops from round the corner, it was back in the venue and straight to the front for the arrival of Tigercub. For a while now, the Brighton trio have been edging ever closer to receiving the recognition they so rightly deserve. Following a storming EP release in 2015 (‘Repressed Semantics’), Tigercub hooked up with super indie label Alcopop! Records for the release of their debut album ‘Abstract Figures In The Dark’ late last year. Receiving great reviews across the board and a daft amount of radio play from all the big dogs, it’s had the Tigercub flag flying high.
In Liverpool, the new album tracks sounded huge, with the incredibly infectious new single ‘Control’ kicking off with a belting intro. It wasn’t the only track to receive such a treatment, with Tigercub getting into that really great spot of playing about with their material in a live setting, adding little quirks here and there and knocking the norm on its head. ‘Antiseptic’ kicks in with a proper DOOM intro, whilst ‘Destroy’ closes on a mammoth wig-out. The vocal interplay between the two leads is terrific, creating a pop edge to their raucous sound. There’s no point saying they’re ones to watch as they’ve already surpassed that (and we’ve been at it for a while), but if you don’t yet know, you’re one of the few!
I still find it mad that Eagulls went big Stateside for 10 minutes, popping up on The Late Show with David Letterman for their “Network Television debut”. Surreal.
It’s always good to catch the Northern collective live. The last time I caught Eagulls (supporting Parquet Courts up the road in Manchester), your man up front was clutching a bottle of red. This time, it’s no different.
Along with a bottle of plonk, they boast an infectious 80’s post-punk wall of sound, wearing their influences clearly on their collective sleeves. But for me, they don’t give off the air of kids pretending to be something they’re not, with clobber from Pop Boutique, COW and the like, but actually the genuine article. They pack in a massive crowd at the Arts Club, smashing through gems from newest record ‘Ullages’, with a few choice cuts from their self-titled debut. The juddering rhythm and shimmering, 80’s sounding guitar permeates big single ‘Tough Luck’ and it hits fucking hard!
Back upstairs and it’s time for one of the marquee names that first caught my eye: Kagoule. The trio from Nottingham have just put to bed their latest album, the follow up to 2015’s ‘Urth’. Produced in Suburban Home Studio with MJ of Hookworms (more on them later), it’s a record that makes up half the set, with the incredible ‘Magnified’ opening up proceedings. From there we’re treated to more from the upcoming album, each one sounding more immense than the next. Noisy and dabbling in a throwback sound, the songs are stupidly catchy with really intelligent writing, aiding them in standing out against their grungier, 90’s inspired contemporaries. Following their tremendous debut, expectations are high for album number two from Kagoule. After their performance in Liverpool, something tells me they’ll surpass these hopes.
With the mood suitably set and revellers liquored up (but only from Jack Daniels or Smirnoff, given the meagre options), penultimate band of the evening Hookworms drew a huge crowd into the auditorium. Featuring a mental, throbbing backdrop and prolonged beats evoking muntered-faced-grins, their set gave one the feeling that they’d just dropped a handful of eccies, rather than one of those aforementioned 5 pound single whiskey and cokes… Complete sensory overload was the name of the game and Hookworms excelled, putting on a particularly breath taking performance to an unhinged, baying mass of punters.
After a lengthy wait and a few stop-starts, it finally looked like we might be getting a glimpse of Mark E. Smith and his mates. Then we waited a little bit longer. Unfortunately, when the time did come, it was more of a dribble than a geyser, with Mark E. Smith eventually pulling back the stage curtain and waddling out on stage. Fair fucks to him for keeping it going and drawing a huge, enamoured crowd. I would have loved to have pretended I was into it, but it just wasn’t for me.
THE FALL have had their day, and will clearly continue to have their day for years to come if the crowd is there. But from the minute that line-up went live, boasting back to back performances of Eagulls, Hookworms, Kagoule and Tigercub, I had Liverpool in my sights and knew I had to be at the Arts Club come January 21st. The headliner might’ve been lacking, but all that meant was a sour cherry on top.