Live Review: Sisteray – Liverpool


The Jacaranda Club, 12 October 2018


Words & Photos: Gary Lambert

Every legendary band has a tale which may or may not be true about playing a gig to just the barman or old Bill who drank in the pub every night of his life from aged 7. Which sounds cool, but I never want to be there for it as I feel like I’d have to give up my statuesque and aloof gig persona to something more extroverted. So I was terrified down in the historic basement of The Jacaranda Club waiting for the bands to arrive being the only member of the audience. My anxiety popped like a balloon though when a healthy number of people walked in. They had just been using the upstairs bar with its draught ale and you know people having fun.

I don’t think that Beaten John Lip was any member of the band unless they’ve disappointingly healed, but the unexplained and curious name gets a thumbs up from me. As to does the way the band plays. There are a lot of bands at the moment who are taking their cues naturally from the Britpop era which would have resonated through their upbringings, and Beaten Lip John definitely had that. But refreshingly, the songs from 1994-1998 that were brought to mind were Breaking Into Heaven from Second Coming and Fade In-Out from Be Here Now as the band took a gentle nudge from the blues into their tracks.


Now I don’t know if I had John Squire on my mind when Arno took to the stage, but I cannot remember the last time a guitarist rather than a singer had me so transfixed. Don’t take this as a method of criticism of any member of the band who were excellent as a unit with a strong, confident and un-intimidating approach to songwriting which made the audience feel at home with them. Even the bloke I overheard express his disappointment that it wasn’t a covers band he’d paid to come to see was able to let his guard down and move closer to the stage. But whoever this young guitarist is has a special talent that allows him to propel a track along in support of the lyrics and melody, but with enough licks, riffs and short solo moments to lift Arno from a support band to a support band to make a note of.


It is a twenty five minute journey from The Jacaranda Club to my front door, yet I managed to get home over two hours after I left the venue. The reason for this was the exhilarating, thrilling, heart racing set from Sisteray. Even now as I type the next morning, I feel lifted from what I watched. Often I find that punk bands attempt to forgo song construction in exchange for vitriol and cacophony, but with Sisteray that energy was harnessed to be masterly tuneful whilst working to pulsate and invigorate their audience.

The political tone of Sisteray’s lyrics fitted perfectly with the occasion too with it being the celebratory day of the wedding of someone rich and posh to someone slightly less rich and posh. Sisteray provide beautiful social commentary and understanding of the tough lives that many, many people in the country face without coming across obscure, condescending or cashing in with sloganeering.

Another wonderful part of the Sisteray live performance is that each member of the band has freedom not just to perform and move around the stage (with the obvious exception of the guy on drums who just moved up and down throughout), but they also each speak to the audience – and they’re all very funny. This means that Sisteray created a bond between the entire band and the crowd.


Sisteray, they’re just fucking brilliant.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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