Live Review: Freak Scene 2, Liverpool

Freak Scene 2

EBGBs, Liverpool, 4 April 2019

Words and Photographs by Gary Lambert

Regardless of the morality, The Grand National is a massive event on Merseyside and is watched all over the world. For the geeks and noiseniks there was a much more important event going on in the city centre about six miles from the race course, Freak Scene 2. This expanded gig (it’s not a festival if it’s one day and one location, I don’t care) promised to be noisy, discomforting, and an island of black t-shirts, leather jackets, and indecipherable vocals. Admittedly it’s not the most obvious show for Popped Music to attend, but it was full of our blog buddies like Elevant and False Advertising, and I think it is important to mix things up in terms of the music I take in. Otherwise you end up cementing yourself into a set way of listening, reviewing and enjoying music.

I arrived seconds before the first band of the day started, and I was warned by the promoter on the door about how loud they are. Luckily I don’t go anywhere without my earplugs. And they were definitely necessary, but rather than heavy metal the sound provided by Blanchard was more heavy blues with a rounded warm power to their music. More duum than raaar to put it in onomatopoeic terms. Although they’d probably hate it, I found the music of Takotsubo Men to be much closer to indie on the guitar music spectrum than the rawer, rougher end. Even songs like Cancer Is A Cunt and their even swearier take on Incy Wincy Spider, sounded more like an indie rock band going relatively wild at the end of a set.

Unfortunately I missed Lonesaw due to a combination of needing to eat some early evening poutine, and having to find my car to add an extra twenty minutes of parking on the pay and display. I returned just in time to be blown away by Chupa Cabra. Like the love child of The Ramones and The Fall, this three piece are the band you have been waiting for without knowing about it. I spent most of their set stood at the front staring at the three guys on stage like they’d turned water into gold. I love how their music mixes awkwardness, an undercooked expansive sound, and sheer danceable tunes from the first moment to the last. Seriously they could become a massive act if they continue like this as their songs fit in so many different moods, clubs, festivals…. They could be the middle of the afternoon leftfield act on a mainstream festival’s largest stage, and you could have entire leftfield festivals designed around their music. I absolutely love Chupa Cabra.

Rongorongo are a band that take the bass down into the gutter and provide a level of showmanship through their frontman Mick that you would not expect given their quite sombre and sensible tone. One part rock star, two parts Shakespearean actor, he makes sure that you are drawn in to his web freeing up the musicians surrounding him to do whatever they so wish. For a band that started life as a jam session for a bit of a laugh but found out they were quite good, this fits quite well. Nobody seems desperate for attention, just happy to be playing music for people who enjoy it.

Following up from Rongorongo was Elevant. They have recently added a fourth member to their tribe, and rather than upset the apple cart, it seems the new guitarist has added excitement back to their gig lives. I have never seen them performing their heavy rock in such a joyous and carefree manner. Considering they were also on promotional and door minding duties at this event, you could forgive them if they were drained by the time it came for them to take to the stage. What we were treated to instead was infectious fun with serious music.

The event was headlined by False Advertising who managed to take all the energy that had built up through the day and somehow channel it through their amplifiers. This three-piece are a very special proposition, and this gig was a special set. I used to think that when Jen and Chris swapped places so that Chris became the frontman for a few songs rather than being on sticks that the band lost momentum as Jen is the superior frontperson. But whilst Jen is still imperious when she’s at the mic, Chris has definitely upped his game and leads with a fresh intensity whilst Josh on bass just gets on with the job of tying it all together immaculately.

They even managed to add a third vocalist as Michael Edward from Elevant joined them for a raucous version of Dozer as their penultimate track. It was a set that thinking about it a few days later still brings a smile to my face. There is definitely an element within the sound of False Advertising which suggests that if they wanted to write a blinding pop song that would get played to death then they could, but they just want to make music that makes them happy. And I’m all for it. I would listen to this band if they put a shopping list to music.

Freak Scene 2 was a great day in a cracking venue with some ace bands. Really what more could you want for a Saturday?

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  • About Popped Music

    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

    I'm very happy if you love what I've done enough or love the bands I've written about and want to share - go for it, but please be blog friendly and share the link or hit the reblog button. Thank you.

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