Live Review: Mint – Liverpool


Liverpool, 20th May 2018

Words: Gary Lambert

Photos: Fi Carroll

The first band up of the evening were Monks, a distinctly loud and local presence with which to start the heart of the gig. A smile was brought to my face immediately with the use of a trumpet right at the forefront of their sound.  It instantly offered the traditional Liverpudlian Love-influence which has not been as prevalent as it once was.  Whilst Cosmic Scouse can be a bit overbearing and tedious after a while, it’s been a long enough chunk of time without hearing a new iteration of the style that I really appreciated what was on offer from Monks. Thankfully this was not just thirty minutes of copying The Coral’s debut album, although they’re not afraid of a heavy sonic swirl and a touch of the jangling guitars. One track, in particular, was very heavy on the psychedelic influence and made this reviewer bolt up straight from my position at the back of the room. Monks could be a very good prospect given time. At the moment there is an unrefined clunk a few times during the set.  I would not say that there is a hesitation to their musicality, but there is definitely a lack of smoothness which will only ever come from playing non-stop together. Also a big tick goes against Monks for repetition of their name during the set. As the gig was filling up whilst they played, it made sure that people dropping in knew exactly who they were applauding.  Image is important for a band and Monks had a noticeably good mix of haircuts on their band members, and the bravest trouser choice I’ve seen in a while with white leopardskin leggings / tights on the lead guitarist. Check out their single, it is on Spotify.  You might just end up pleasantly surprised.

Cave Party sounded great.  To be honest, everything beyond those four words is superfluous.  It is a treat to be able to take in such well constructed musical pieces.  And whilst they are relatively a traditionally set up four-piece, each number in their set is much more than a standard rock track.  It’s actually very easy to sit on the leather sofa and picture yourself at home with the record player turned up loud enough to require a good neighbour curfew and a luxurious drink in hand. The sound of this band is quite difficult to categorise, but why get trapped into a genre. The band unite to create music that is so textured and strong that the audience could almost drop to the floor and float on top of the sound waves. There is not a song in their repertoire which will force you to seek it out on Spotify on the way home from a gig to have a singalong in the car, but that’s due to their artistic sensibilities and the fact that this is more than verse-chorus-verse, meat and two veg rock.  That said the nah nah na na stompalong of  stands head and shoulders above the rest of their set.  It’s a cracker.

On a par with brown paper packages tied up with string, one of my favourite things is a band with an eye-catching pun for a name.  Persian Hugs made me smile when I saw their name on the bill.  By the time we had reached three songs into their set, my smile had forgotten about their name and was all about the music.  From an opening blaster which sounded LOUD from outside the venue where I was searching for a 4G signal, they had my attention.  Each song sounded distinct and unique despite following a loud-quiet-fast-slow juxtaposition routine.  Debut single, Lipstick Lover, sounded as though it could have been released any time between 1984 and yesterday.  It had a timeless freshness that made me think it could have been the first or thousandth time I had heard it.  I knew it was the first, but it felt so familiar to my senses.  This is definitely a band I want to watch again.

Firstly, a massive round of applause to the lady who had travelled from Japan to watch Mint.  When it’s a struggle to get people to jump on a bus for five minutes to watch a gig, commitment and effort like that deserves acknowledgement and applause.

Now on to the headline act who seemed to take the bricks and mortar of EBGBs as a personal insult to them and sought to shake the very foundations of this old building with some blissfully traditional rock n roll, which, sounded vital and passionate.  Every thunderous note reverberated through the floor to the top of my spine.  It was a tingly musical massage which left me feeling breathless and emboldened.

Whilst on paper the sound of Mint (wild, loud and fast) seems ideally suited to a basement venue such as this, there is an undercurrent of grandeur which makes a fifteen foot wide space feel as vast as the main stage at Reading or Leeds which is going to be their natural position over the next few years I’m certain.  In a way they do not sound like a British rock band, but there is more of the likes of Velvet Revolver and Wolfmother in the mix.  And it is such a heady mix.

Sunday night blues?  It doesn’t exist when you have amplified rock n roll to push Monday morning as far away as possible.  And getting sweaty in a room like this is much more fun than ironing shirts.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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