Filthy Tricks

The Snig, Widnes, 22nd August 2020

Words and Photos by Gary Lambert

It took a while, but after one hundred and sixty days I was finally at a gig once more.  I had spent a lot of time imagining my first gig back, but I don’t think that I expected it to be on the banks of the River Mersey overlooked by the towering Runcorn-Widnes Bridge.  But that’s where I found myself, in the garden of The Snig / Mersey Hotel watching some well spoken about young acts.

Whilst it was unlikely that Widnes would have come up in my gig imagination, I can guarantee that the concept of a swastika being part of the backdrop for the acts definitely would not have emerged from a mental fog, however that is what I was facing at The Snig.  It may have been part of a punk mural backdrop, but there are many more iconic images of punk which could have been used than that of Sid Vicious wearing Nazi insignia.  It was at best tacky and at worst well let’s not go there.  And I won’t be going back to The Snig as a result.  I felt sorry for the artists performing who could easily have ended up with images of themselves with a red, white and black background which they would not want to be associated with.

Jessica Luise

Anyway, on with the music.  Opening up the event was Dylan Rodrigues playing very laidback acoustic numbers.  The tempo and tone of his work turned the blustery banks of the Mersey into a warm, tranquil beach which was no easy task.  Continuing in the solo
singer with acoustic guitar style we had Jessica Luise performing.  I was interested to see her set as I wanted to see how her big sounding single, Television Mister, would transfer to a stripped back live set.  Jessica let her voice do the hard work and managed to sound big and bold despite the gentle acoustic backing.

The first electrified act was Liam Hillyer and his band.  A local lad, his music and lyrics connected with people who didn’t know him, and was pretty entertaining.  It’s hard to criticise after everybody has been out of the game so long, but I would like to see Liam dominate the performance a little bit more and make it stand out that he’s the leader rather than another player in the band.  But with songs like Marquee and This Town, he obviously has a talent for constructing songs that people enjoy.


Next up came Aligners who had managed to squeeze in two gigs in the one day.  Aligners in the words of their Facebook page are “no nonsense indie” and that’s exactly what we were presented with.  


Abi Rose KellyUltimately, and a bit disappointingly, that’s exactly how it came across to me.  Their style right now is going to entertain people and be in demand, but there are a lot of acts offering the same so they are going to need to get their music to punch home a bit harder
so they can stand out against their contemporaries.


I had heard a lot of good things about Abi Rose Kelly over the last few months, and I was not disappointed in her set.  Leading from the front, Abi has a voice and presence which belies her youthfulness.  You would think with the power and life which come through her songs without being heavy that this was an old head who has learned to build tracks like the wonderfully named Polaroids and Violence through decades of playing to rooms where she had to fight for attention.  Abi Rose Kelly is definitely one to watch.

The headline act was Filthy Tricks, and they sounded filthy in the best possible way.  A stompy, bluesy storm was kicked up as the band more than surpassed my expectations

Filthy Tricks

and brought the socially distant crowd to their feet and even out from under their beer garden umbrellas as they danced their way to the cordon to keep band and fans apart.  A tight, rocky performance like this was what I had been waiting to see.  For me, the set was a bit Jekyll-and-Hyde though as the more crowd-pleasing elements of the finale like recent single Leah and a cover of naughties French disco favourite Lady – Hear Me Tonight were less daring and electrifying than the opening thirty minutes of their slot which was pulsating and kinetic.  But that is my opinion, and there were plenty of people dancing in the rain who would disagree with me.

Now who wants to entertain me next?

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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