LIVE REVIEW: DEAD POET SOCIETY

Dead Poet Society

Future Yard, Birkenhead, 31 August 2021

Words and Photos by Gary Lambert

One of the biggest losses to gig going at the moment is the difficulty that foreign acts have to come to our shores to tour.  So many festival slots have been altered as bands and their teams have found it impossible or unaffordable to come here.  Quarantine rules here and in their homelands make things pretty tough.  A two week tour of England could become six weeks away from your family, your job, and your real life.  With that in mind, it was brilliant to see that Dead Poet Society have been able to come over to the UK to play Reading-Leeds and do their own tour afterwards.

If the tour comes to your town, go to see it.  This is a talented band who reminded me of early Muse (but with the falsettos and space being replaced by a healthy love of the blues).  I loved how tight and honest they were on stage even playing in front of a crowd mostly unfamiliar with their material – apart from a good-sized bunch of fans who sang along with every word which must have been lovely to see so far from home.  I’ve been listening to tracks like .CoDA. and .AmericanBlood. since the show.  Dead Poet Society are a cracker of a band and one with a well-honed stage presence; singer/guitarist Jack Underkofler had the whole audience under his control like a puppeteer throughout their set.

The two support acts on the bill were chosen because of the blues influence on their sounds which made it a perfectly curated gig too.  The Heavy North are building up to the release of their debut album Electric Soul Machine in January 2022, and with sets like this it fills you with excited hope as to what that is going to sound like.  The Heavy North fill the room with the blues growl from each of their instruments, but it is lead singer Kenny’s more soulful vocal which makes the band stand out.  The mix of styles creates a sound that is The Heavy North rather than an expression of their influences.

Cult Icon are still playing their first gigs, but they are a band who will throw everything they have into their set to make sure the audience remembers who they are.  A tight rhythm and blues band they could take the easier option and fill out pubs on a Friday night playing staple covers to hardened drinkers, but instead they are trying to make their way with their own songs – and a brilliant set finisher cover of Born Slippy.  It’s great to see, and hopefully the “Oh Birkenhead…” songs when in the audience watching another band will have been killed off after this show.

It’s been a tough time for everybody, so when you get the chance to cheer on a band thousands of miles from home do it – and if you can afford to, buy some merch and help them get breakfast the next day.

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