“I’m sure you’ve come here to see Spector, but this is the bit you’ll remember” and thus signals the slight Johnny Borrell-esque chords (that is where the Razorlight similarity stops) of Liberty Vessels‘ first song. Liverpool’s latest band and already one of its best, are here tonight at The Kazimier supporting Spector on their current tour, and lacking in confidence they’re not. With already having a wealth of experience behind them (see Latitude festival and support slots with Echo and The Bunnymen), Liberty Vessels take to the stage as if it’s their own headline tour, with the voice and self-assurance of frontman Oscar Valentine-Reddrop to match. Despite only being barely eighteen, he has the voice of someone fifteen years his senior, much bigger than the confines of the Kazimier.
Set-starter ‘How You Gonna Make Me Cry’ sees both the aforementioned Borrell-like guitar sweep into more of a Strokes-territory, and with the deep, strong vocals of Reddrop, we are treated to a fantastically powerful opening to the set.
Often annoyingly compared to The Smiths, Liberty Vessels go beyond that boring, almost monotonous sound that has become synonymous with the Mancunians (scousersFTM) and instead fuse the indie-jangle pop of the likes of Albert Hammond Jr with deep drawls more comparable to Orlando Weeks than Morrissey. This juxtaposition provides a fresh take on amalgamating the two genres, and is particularly effective during ‘Teenage Games’ and ‘This Can’t Wait’.
“This song is about shitty lessons with a shitty teacher in a shitty school…rather just be in a band” and so begins the Killers like chanting of ‘I’m better than this’, and though only half way through the set, we for sure can tell they’re better…who needs an education?
Penultimate song, ‘We’re Not Working Anymore’ is highly evocative of The Cribs- minus Johnny Marr, of course. Again, the guitar of Sam Downes and the throbbing bass of Jack Stanley contrasts magnificently with the vocals. Final song, ‘Youth’ (about “how Simon Cowell is a cunt”) even though it didn’t seem possible, elevated their set to even higher levels. Probably their heaviest song in terms of percussion, the frustration at ‘the industry’ is unambiguous- “we are the psycho youth and we’re coming for you, we won’t do what you tell us to'” and binds the set together to end it perfectly.
Amidst thrown mic stands and leather jackets, spilt drinks and the wrecking of drummer Zak White’s pretty hair, Liverpool’s most exciting band performed at their best, and proved that despite their age and the huge misconceptions of arrogance and cockniess, Liberty Vessels are most definitely ones you need to watch out for.
Second support ‘band’ David’s Lyre were next up. Paul Dixon, as he’s otherwise known, is usually complete with backing band, but tonight he is here alone, to ‘experiment’ with his solo sound. Gone away was the reverb and the percussion, leaving a stripped back set- as listenable as his original sound is, it can’t be denied that without the heavy reminiscence of Two Door Cinema Club, he seems more interesting, especially when seeing the difference between set highlight ‘This Time’.
Anticipation and expectations were high whilst waiting for the London (and Sheffield) band to take the stage. Whilst there seems to be a considerable amount of hype surrounding them recently, and tales of Fred Macpherson’s hilarity on stage ‘witty bantah’ (I detest that phrase) the real treasure of Spector lies in their 80s tinged romantic pop songs. A bit like One Direction or The Beatles.
They finally arrive and dive straight into perfectly polished ‘What You Wanted’ and ‘Friday Night’- “Apt on a Wednesday” (see what he did there?)
After opening with this burst of energy, they take it down a notch with ‘Grey Shirt and Tie’ which sees the frontman take on an introspective, almost astral role and the vocals are complemented by swirling synthesizers and a despondency quite different to the Spector we’ve seen so far.
Next up is ‘Twenty Nothing’, a song from the forthcoming debut album with a catchy call and response chorus to involve the already enthusiastic crowd even more. After the song finishes, Macpherson continues his inbetween-song interaction, glancing at the front row to state that one member of the audience knew the words better than him, but before he could finish…”OH my dayz! This guy has a hand made Spector T-Shirt – he’s actually drawn the faces…but he’s too embarrassed so he’s buttoned his shirt up over it…incredible,” with this he brought the poor guy on stage to make him strip and thus ensued a good chunk of their 40 minute set taking pictures with fans. “What! Why do you have Faris from the Horrors as your background? That’s offensive…’
They then returned to a slower song in the form of ‘Lay Low’, an anthemic ballad with spectacular guitar during the latter half of the song coming from Christopher Burman. Announcing that they only had three songs left, the obligatory appraisal for Liverpool came, provoking both cheers and groans, before launching into other upbeat songs, the truly fantastic ‘Celestine’ and latest single ‘Chevy Thunder’.
Set highlight came in the form of final song and first ever single, ‘Never Fade Away’. Beginning with hand claps and some reverb, the song layers up with gradual percussion and strings, culminating in the powerful vocals almost shouting ‘Whatever you ask of me I will obey, just give me the word, I’ll start fading away,” without a doubt providing a perfect ending to a sublime set.
Though Spector’s performance seemed exceptionally short, it was nevertheless inspiring. From sharp suits and even sharper cheekbones, to melodious synths and quite potentially one of the most charismatic frontmen, Spector demonstrated why there is such hype around them, and they won’t be ‘Fading Away’ (witty!) anytime soon.
Words by Emily Arc