Around four years ago I remember first hearing ‘Adultery’ by the then-relatively new Little Comets. To those of you unfamiliar with the song, it tells a cautionary tale about the dangers of philandery from a third person perspective. Now, well cemented into the indie music scene with 2 albums under their belt, the lads from Newcastle are coming to the end of their April tour. I was lucky enough to see them play their Liverpool date this Monday.
The gig was at a club that a great deal of us students here in Liverpool know and love. Known still to many as The Masque it has been home to a ridiculous amount of great events in its time including Abandon Silence, Circus and countless gigs. The venue went through a rocky patch last year when it shut down but fortunately the permanent loss of this two hundred year old theatre has been averted. Now under new management and with 1.5 million pounds invested in it the venue has been completely revamped, repainted and it reopened this month as ‘The East Village Arts Club’.
The elusive Little Comets were as I expected. Brilliant. Robert’s high pitched voice cut through the instrumental backdrop keeping its place as one of the most distinctive elements of their sound. The band played a good mix of old and new songs from both albums. ‘A Little Opus’ was anything but, showing their ability as a band to nail tastefully engineered three part harmonies. ‘Joanna’, a classic with its catchy chorus lyrics had everyone singing and ‘Isles’, another from their first album, is a lesson on how to pair trebly, slightly delayed guitar with a solid distinct bass line. For me though the highlight of the evening was when they played ‘Waiting in the Shadows in the Dead of Night’ my personal favourite from ‘Life is Elswhere’. At face value it just seems like another one of their upbeat songs, which in that respect it is, but the subject matter of the lyrics is incredibly dark. The song deals with an issue in life that we all have to deal with; loss and the fragility of our own existence. The depth of their lyrics, juxtaposed with their ability as a band to create a distinct and upbeat sound, is what makes them such intelligent songwriters or in their own words ‘Intelligent Animals’.
Personally I was let down by the lack of energy at the gig. The venue was perfect but the crowd seemed to be quite young and lacking in energy and as a result the atmosphere didn’t seem quite right. There wasn’t as lavish a spread of pots and pans as I’ve seen them play with previously and they seemed to have a slight dip in rowdiness from the guys who would crash lectures all in the name of music. Maybe the stresses of fatherhood are taking their toll on the Coles brothers, which is understandable. They are a band who put so much time and effort into their raw sound, publicity, artwork and performance that it must be frustrating to see the culmination of that go toward an unresponsive audience. In my opinion their musical style hasn’t changed much since their first album which initially bothered me but I’m sure with their life experience growing as a band they’ll find more and more to draw influence from. Besides, why spoil a good thing?