Sunday, 1 April 2012

Review: Spotlight Kid at The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, 6th March

Spotlight Kid at The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, 6th March
A rather grim, cold night, and the streets around this part of Liverpool city centre are pretty much both dark and deserted. The basement venue is welcoming, though, with a nice guy at the reception table making us feel that we belong.

The downstairs space has a straggle of people listening to the first band, Chemistry Lane, who are immediately ear-catching for their depth of sound, rather than just loudness, and the quizzical tunes (my comrade Steve mentions a possible Can influence - between the numbers, not during, of course). This is good stuff indeed, and this Chester based five piece do themselves proud, exhibiting an undercurrent of menace, whilst keeping the melody quotient pretty high.

Despite the appalling turn out they create a buzz amongst the near dozen of us who are listening, and they manage to continue this without actually playing music in any particular genre. They’re hard to pin down, and it’s such a good live performance I find myself applauding each song with an enthusiasm that I usually reserve for the headline act.

Chemistry Lane set list:
Pitch Black
Doe-eyed Coil
Lonely Bride
Darkened Smile

After a lame interlude with a band whose name I was not aware of (and I didn’t attempt to find out) we got to the main event. On came Spotlight Kid, four guitarists and a drummer, who immediately launch into a five-minute intro of measured escalation, to an almost damaging level of guitar attack, before Katty Heath takes the stage, and despite the guitar opposition, she takes it. A rather diminutive figure to begin with, she’d look even smaller surrounded by the four guitar players if it wasn't for her stage presence and her ability to command attention. It was straightaway quite obvious that she has a voice to match this presence, despite the absurdly loud guitars.

They are a really impressive bunch of musicians. This is shoegaze with a high reverb and semi-squall quotient, a psychedelic edge, and some alt. rock thrown in, so that it isn't always finding a path through MBV territory, which is also helped by the flawless vocals of Katty. They could have been playing to tens of thousands, rather than ten, for all they seemed to care. Each guitarist was lost in what he was doing, without veering away from the band's intentions, and with the drummer keeping superb time (being a superb drummer, a certain Chris Davis, ex-Six By Seven lynchpin) this outfit just let rip. What a tour de force this so nearly was. It was a pity that the sound technician(s) couldn’t judge it better, which would have ensured that we got a delightful earful, and not an earbleed.

Spotlight Kid set list:
Budge Up
Forget Yours
All Is Real
See Feel
Haunting Me

Incidently, do check out their two splendid albums, 2006's 'Departure' and the new release 'Disaster Tourist'... you won't be disappointed.
Kev A.

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