Live Review: Valeras – Liverpool

Valeras

Liverpool, Sound, 28th January 2020

Words & Photos: Elena Katrina 

That’s it then, the first gig of 2020 out of the way. I always find it hard to step out into the cold after going home after a long day at work. You know, the ones when you went out in the bitter dark morning and go home in the bitter dark too. But this was one gig I didn’t want to miss. I’d seen Valeras a few times before and the last time was to a home crowd at Reading Festival, where, I recall thinking “fuck me, they’ve come a long way since the dingy top floor dive bar in Manchester where I last saw them.” So it was time to put on my gigging head and get my arse down to Sound basement in Liverpool and see what kind of a crowd they’d be pulling here.

alignersIt wasn’t just Valeras who had a crowd out though. Nope. This was a great little lineup. First on were Aligners, a pure breed indie guitar band from Warrington, who warmed up the crowd but also had their own fandom in tow – no mean feat for a band first on in January, I can tell you. Their fans were keen and energetic and made their way to the front of the stage to leap around and dance – as all good fans and friends do. For a new band they certainly showed promise and I imagine left with a fair few potential new fans. I felt like their lead guitarist was the star of the show and their lead singer showcased his talents best with the more fast-paced tracks. Plenty of room for them to grow and develop their songwriting and performance skills  (I felt the slower songs left the singers vocals a little bit vulnerable) but for an opening act with their own team onboard I feel rest assured they’re going to keep bringing it until they’re headlining someday in the not too distant future.

novcubNext up was Nova Cub – aka – Elena’s new favourite new band. OH MY GEEE! I had not heard them before, despite having seen the name floating around and ugh I’m so annoyed at this because now I’m late to the party and I’m an early-doors kinda gal. Again, they had with them their own crowd, who’d swapped placed with the Aligners gang and had their spots right where they wanted them. “They’re from London and Essex” I was told, ” Tony is the best!” – Man in crowd tells me and I withheld judgement. He wasn’t far wrong though to be fair. With this band comes a wealth of performance experience and a clear style of sound and songwriting ability. If I’d not have had my camera and have been in need to get “just that shot!”, in a very poorly lit venue – I’d probably have absolutely lost my shit dancing to these. Nova Cub have skipped the current trend of Britpop 2020 and it’s 2005 with mad nu-rave guitar effects all over again and I’m IN. As we left the venue I mused out loud “hmm, I wonder how many times  I will manage to see them this year” – challenge accepted!

Valeras are a band who look like they’re still in college but write smart sassy songs as though they have been around forever and have lived through way more than their years might suggest- they’re seasoned pros with absolute killer tracks and they became that way relatively quickly (after a hard slog of course!) They know who they are and as their latest single,  Hear Me Out!, suggests  – they ‘re not afraid to shout about it. We were treated to new material from their forthcoming debut album as well as crowd-pleasers such as Your Honey and Louder. I know they have a bigger remit of tracks than they played and I would have loved to have heard some more but I know they have to save some back for the next tour dates and also to showcase their newer material  – it’s the unspoken law, but I’ll always be disappointed to not hear a band perform my favourites.
Valeras recently lost a member (who left, nothing sinister here!) and I was wondering how they’d sound a woman down, yet it didn’t impact on them and they still had a great connection on stage. I love to catch rueful smiles when people think no one’s watching or paying attention.

Singer/bassist Rose is a natural-born performer and she certainly seems to revel in it. She moves to the beats of her bass, flicks her hair, gets the crowd just where she wants them and then she jumps on in there too – no better way to make your audience feel more engaged than actually actively encourage them to be a part of your show, even if just temporarily, and Sound is a good space for that. Taking a moment to look away from her and back to the band performing on stage they kind of came into their element too – more room to move around, to strut to not worry maybe about outperforming the main focal point of the band. They shouldn’t worry though there’s certainly scope for bands to all have personalities on stage and for me personally, the more the better – not to the point that it’s distracting or jostling for attention, but yeah, loved this moment when I saw everyone just doing their thing and really living in that moment. An absolutely cracking band who will absolutely win fans across the tour, without a shadow of a doubt.

 

 

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