The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
10 October 2012
Venues don’t come much more intimate than The Shipping Forecast. Barely enough room to swing a mouse, let alone a cat, in here. This turns out to be a facet which, thankfully, more than works to the advantage of opening act Wet Mouth.
A Liverpool-based band of impressive mixed nationality, boasting members hailing from England, Norway, Los Angeles and Canada, Wet Mouth are a wildly sexual, nail bitingly intense nu-new wave outfit, a towering inferno of lust, despair, love, hate, anger and everything in the middle.
The band all look like stars in the making; lead vocalist/bass player Veslemoy Holseter just commands your attention from the moment she steps onto the stage, a strikingly attractive frontwoman with a disarmingly powerful singing voice, an amalgamation of Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and Ari Up of The Slits and with the conviction and self-belief to match.
Guitarist Sophie Ellison is a perfect counterpart to Holseter, blessed with a more restrained yet equally captivating stage persona; her chiming backing vocals bring to mind Kim Deal, particularly on the Slint/Breeders flavoured poetry of ‘White Light’, whilst Bjorn Bancel on guitar and David Stobie on drums are almost bursting at the seams with manic energy and a devil-may-care, live for the moment rock ‘n’ roll fury; Stobie’s relentless assault on his drum kit, in particular, is a genuinely unnerving sight!
Wet Mouth are a highly exciting proposition; an underpants-soiling, lip-smacking, head-scratching, er, mouth-wetting 21st century art/pop/rock/poetry collective, their nods to the past kept in check by their eyes which are firmly fixed towards the future. Ones to watch out for.
There has been much hype surrounding Bird. They have been played on the radio by DJ’s such as Mark Radcliffe and Tom Robinson, and were recently featured as Louder Than War’s “New Band Of The Day“.
Dressed head-to-toe in black, and with matching black guitars, vocalists Adele Emmas and Sian Williams look the part before they’ve played a single note. When they do start playing….. oh my, what a truly exquisite sound they come out with!
A disarming, often foreboding, yet undeniably beautiful compound of folk, new age, Gregorian church music and the best bits of the late ’70s / early ’80s goth movement.
Theirs is the sound of childhood stories of wandering through dark forests, of discovering hidden caves laced with cobwebs, of hearing wolves howling in the dead of night, all those stories you were told as a small child before you went to sleep at night, The Company Of Wolves coming to life through music. This really is music to get completely lost in, proven by the virtual silence from the audience by the time of the second song.
The aerial vocals on ‘Shadows’, the title track of their new EP, and new song ‘Ophelia’ vibrate and echo throughout your entire body like a ghostly clarion call from a spectral presence trapped in a distant century, a sinister yet compelling force which transports you back to a time of castles and moats, of pine forests and ruined churches.
Ending with a winsome cover of Bauhaus’ ‘Bela Lugosi’s dead’, Bird stir up an astonishing gamut of emotions, feelings and gut instincts, a quietly revolutionary act whose subtle insurrection is surely only a few months away from coming into action. Believe.
Which brings us to our headlining act. Pins. Another band who have enjoyed some considerable critical acclaim in recent months, this all-girl four piece from Manchester are playing the first night of a UK tour in support of their debut EP, LUVU4LYF.
Right from the word ‘go’ they are a riot; a bacchic, capricious aural sugar rush of a band, burning with an infectious confidence and refusal to play by the rules which is surely apparent to all but the most slack eyed of audience members.
You can hear a few influences here and there; the distorted fuzz of My Bloody Valentine, the scuzzy pop melodies of Jesus And Mary Chain, but the songs all fizz with a character and gleeful sense of abandon that can only be the group’s doing.
The catchy, addictive single ‘Shoot You’ sounds like The Shangri-La’s covering ‘Voodoo Ray’, whilst ‘Eleventh Hour’ is a shoegazing anthem written and produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman with The Pastels providing the musical backdrop!
All the while the band burn with an eternally youthful exuberance, smiling at each other throughout with a knowing, unaffected look on their faces. Vocalist Faith Holgate is an achingly cool, self assured frontwoman, blessed with a big voice which irreverently runs from one emotional high to emotional low and back again like a badly oiled ’70s merry-go-round. Bandmates Anna Donigan (bass) and Lara Williams (guitar) joining in the chaos with similarly ebullient backing vox and an awesomely speedy high voltage punk/pop/new wave guitar meltdown, with Lois Mcdonald’s skeletal backbeat acting as a kind of director to the mayhem (albeit a highly irresponsible one).
A brilliant, female dominated night of music which kept the old flames of ’70s new wave/riot grrl/girl power burning in a new, digitally powered 21st century furnace, stoked by the rock ‘n’ roll children of tomorrow. Who said feminism was dead?
You can catch Pins live on these dates.
All words by Sean Diamond. You can read more from Sean on LTW here.