Mangone Music: Edition 15 - Review: The Songbook Sessions Monthly Showcase
Review: The Songbook Sessions Monthly Showcase
The New Caldera| The Restless Venture | The Edwardian Picnic | The Big I Am - @ The Zanzibar – 24/03/12
This is the second Songbook Sessions night I have been to. The first being a thoroughly enjoyable experience and opened my eyes to a few of the more popular bands doing the rounds right now before they had gained their well deserved popularity (The Grande and Ratty Little Fingers being the two that spring to mind). This monthly event is a showcase for singer/songwriters, local and from further afield. Not strictly folk, but there is a certain ‘folkiness’ to the night and an undercurrent present in every one of the bands playing tonight…
The bill was a busy one and as is traditional for me, I was fashionably late. My hectic, rock and roll lifestyle has a lot to answer for! (I really wish I had a rock and roll lifestyle, it was more like – rush home from work, bite to eat then straight down to the Zanzi). Stepping out the limo (Delta cab), I swaggered in with my entourage of hangers on and groupies (erm, my sister and best mates) to see The New Caldera setting up. Many many moons ago I used to share a rehearsal room with a band called Iconoclast. The New Caldera is the new home of their drummer and bass player, the rest of the band coming from various set ups from around the city over the years. Beer bought, vantage point reached, let the show go on.
The New Caldera are your typical indie rock band, but with years of experience and technical talent under their belt. Their roots are firmly placed in blues and country style rock, with that familiar scouse vocal that has been made famous over the years by loads of Liverpool bands such as The La’s, The Coral, and the resurging Cast. It was refreshing to see a band like this. A few years ago this type of band were ten a penny but nowadays they are a dying breed. Perhaps there is going to be an uprising? Let’s hope so. The New Caldera have obviously worked hard on their harmonies and use them to great effect. What really stood out for me was the relationship between the two guitarists, Tom Crofts and Mick Marshall. These boys are clearly masters of their craft and complimented each other and the rest of the band in a sort of understated way. That is, they didn’t overplay as is so often the case in guitar based bands, but you still walked away thinking about all the little intricacies between the two and a greater respect for this type of playing.
Next up, The Restless Venture. A band I haven’t heard of before. A four piece hailing from various north westerly suburbs around Liverpool and Manchester. Without much to go on it was with tentative ears that I moved closer to the front to try and grab a piece of the action. Action, being a word to describe movement of some kind, well this band can certainly move. Sounding not too distant from a fresh faced Feeder, punchy, bright and crunchy distorted guitars are what drive this bands sound. It’s that quintessential British sounding Britpop/rock sound that did the rounds at the turn of the century. Fast, loud and confidently cocky. These boys are definitely into this genre and clearly have a lot of fun making music of this style. One to watch peeps.
For me, the next band are one of the finest at their craft. The Edwardian Picnic only did their first gig a few months ago and I have watched as these boys and girls nurture their stage presence and grow as a live act since their debut. How can I describe these? It would be easy to just label them as nu-folk, but I don’t think that does them justice. Upbeat and amusing onstage, they are a folk band who don’t take themselves too seriously. Think Mumford and Sons but having more of a laugh. Their songs are inspiring and lead vocalist Phil Collier is as much part of the background as he is frontman. Making you divert you eyes in many directions and smile in awe at the many talents present on stage. Now this wasn’t the best I have ever seen these guys. Some of the vocals were a bit off and in places they lacked that certain energy I am always banging on about. Everyone has a bad night though and you can’t be perfect everytime. The Edwardian Picnic are one of the finest new talents in the city at the moment and I would urge everyone who reads this to get down and see them before you can’t.
Sorry, never got to see The Big I Am due to pre arranged antics. The Zanzibar has a habit of letting bands over run and that has the downside of being a headline act who, more often than not will take stage after midnight. Ok if you are big enough to fill the venue with your own fans but if you are relying on the other bands fans for a bit of exposure then this is usually a hindrance as most people have already moved on to pastures new at this point. Something to think about if you are considering putting a show/gig together for the first time.
Words: Phil Oskoui
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