The performance space at Liverpool’s Leaf on Bold Street is something of a hidden gem. Whilst the downstairs venue is a simple, yet pretty tea house, the upstairs is a more than fairly sized auditorium, adorned with potted foliage and potentially the best sound I have encountered in some months. I was not sure what to expect in all honesty as a gig in a tea house filled me with all sorts of fears of overt pretension but thankfully they were for naught. Somehow the venue manages to be both classy and humble without straddling that tacky barrier in the middle we have all come to loath. Sober. Drunk, we could not give a crap.
The first band to claim the room did so without even an introduction. I’m lead to believe that they are in fact Tear Talk as mentioned on the gig’s poster, but I would not swear it in court. With quite an attractive shoegaze borders prog-rock flavour, these guys were heavily complimented by the venue’s superior sound. Certainly a strong opening act for the evening, these boys poured heart and soul into a cascade of retro sounding downbeat synth riffs and moody vocals.
Echo Lake took to the stage with an impressively dramatic crescendo. With a rhythmic, almost neo-new age sound, Echo Lake have crafted a style of music I can only really describe as “power chill,” and fall somewhere between, though not sounding particularly similar to, Frou Frou and Origa. ‘Fitty McPurplebum,’ as I’d come to refer to the lead singer throughout my notes, possess a beautifully haunting array of vocal commands that came out as well live as you’d expect to hear from a studio performance. A hugely motivational sound all wrapped up in an eerie twin synth and rapid drum line, Echo Lake promoted their new release with confidence and sturdy talent – very nearly ruined by their horribly drawn out outro but I’m a nice guy, I let things slide.
Sweet in their approach, there’s something almost childlike and innocent about the way in which headliners By the Sea approach psychedelic synth pop. With a 90’s flavour and a melancholy tone, there was something familiar and comfortable about the band – as though they’d been around forever. Catchy, confident and a little bit camp. Although not as attractive to me personally as their support acts, By the Sea drew their eclectic crowd to the very base of stage and had them swaying from start to finish. And when your fans are happy, so are your reviewers.
Reviewer: Dan Berryman
Editor: Joe ManGone
All of the above is to be taken as nothing but opinion and comment. The views expressed do not reflect the views of anyone else at ManGoneBlog or otherwise.