Live Review: Saint Agnes – Liverpool

Saint Agnes

The Shipping Forecast, 17th October 2018

Words and photography: Gary Lambert

Saint Agnes climbing the walls

There are times that you come across gigs which leave you with a profound feeling beyond enjoyment. Watching Saint Agnes’ mix of witchcraft and (guitar) wizardry was one of those nights.

I have been rather fortunate of late that I have been able to take in a number of excellent gig nights, so it does always feel that the most recent one was the best as the emotion and excitement is still with you.

However, Saint Agnes taking over The Hold at The Shipping Forecast is going to go down as one of those nights which I will be able to look back over in years to come, think of it and feel all the worries of the world disappear.

Starting off the night down in the basement was Hannah and The Wick Effect. This band has quickly become one of my favourites gigging around Liverpool at present, indeed they are supporting Wyldest at our forthcoming Popped Music Presents… night. I love how they have quickly found a sound for themselves, which is not uncomfortable for the audience coming to them new, yet without feeling like they have squeezed together all their favourite albums in the musical mixer. In Hannah they have an unassuming and talented frontperson, who is a lot more charming and amusing on stage than she gives herself credit for between tracks whilst working the audience with her subtle voice brilliantly whenever the band plays.

If Hannah’s performance was subtle like the flavours in your gin of choice, then the eponymous Gen of Gen and the Degenerates (I love that name) hit as hard as the hangover following a night of drinking gin. This band makes songs that would be used in a cop show when a detective was being seduced in a neon-lit bar by a femme fatale.

There is sex, danger and the temptation in the grooves and riffs. And Gen makes sure that even if the music doesn’t work for you (there is always one person without taste at a gig, or an arena full of them…), there is no way you are risking taking your eyes from the stage when she is delivering the goods.

The contrast in the style of the opening acts was a risky move as you can end up with the opposing musical tribes feeling left out by the conflicting performances and an awkward balance within the crowd. However, the atmosphere was more of a party celebrating for any excuse. It was also brilliant to see that both Hannah and Gen stayed at the gig with their bands and friends to cheer on the headliners.

Kitty Arabella Austen with Gen to the left of her and Hannah to the right

Even now, as I go to write about Saint Agnes, I’ve had to take a moment to breathe, think, and compose myself before typing. The gig was a whirlwind of rock n roll.

Musically, I would say that they were closest to The White Stripes. If The White Stripes had been created to make the soundtrack to a Hammer Horror film directed by Quentin Tarantino that is.

It doesn’t seem right that they are from London when all of them look like they have had rebellious upbringings in the Bible Belt of the USA. Listen to the six-minute epic slice of scuzz that is ‘The Witching Hour’ and tell me that it isn’t the most exciting theme song you’ve heard in years.

Musically, Saint Agnes sound dirty and fire tracks laden with bass so deeply grooved that you could fall down into the beat and never make it back up. Whilst Kitty Arabella Austen is the undoubted star and figurehead, there is a lot to be said for the work carried out by John Tufnell who adds delicate flicks and licks to the riffs and rock n roll with guitar, and then a brilliantly competitive vocal to challenge Kitty. Every time the pair of them sing against each other, the air feels charged with cordite and lust, and it felt like it would have been infecting for anybody else who was nearby.

Saint Agnes

When Saint Agnes get bigger, and they are going to get bigger no doubt about it, watch out for baby booms nine months after they come to town. Songs like ‘Diablo Take Me Home’ and ‘I Feel Dangerous Around You’ are aural aphrodisiacs make no mistake.

Even your writer/photographer was suckered into the atmosphere and went home with an additional passenger in the car. Well an EP does count as a passenger if you put a seatbelt on it because it is beautiful white vinyl and you don’t want anything bad to happen to it.

The Death or Glory Gang have that feeling of being outlaws on stage. There is no cartoon rebellion, rather you feel that by stepping foot inside you have become part of their outfit and it is you against the rest of the world. And God help the rest of them as you’re coming out all guns a-blazing.

Saint Agnes

Death or Glory, it’s just another story as The Clash sang. Well I cannot wait for the next book in the series. Saint Agnes and The Festival Headline Slot will be here soon enough.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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