On a cold night at Liverpool’s East Village Arts Club the Irish 5 piece band, Villagers, fronted by Conor O’Brien started the UK leg of their European tour.
The warm up act, We Were Evergreen, set the pace with their upbeat blend of indie poptronica, equatorial rhythm loops and vocal harmonies. Villagers came out and played a lovely heart-warming set, starting with a couple of crowd favourites ‘Becoming a Jackal’ and the single ‘Nothing Arrived’ from their new album. These immediately created an intimate atmosphere in the impressive East Village Arts Club which definitely holds a case for keeping the smaller gig venues alive.
The majority of the set weighted heavily in favour of their new album including songs such as, ‘The Bell’, ‘The Waves’ and ‘Judgement Call’. There was a striking contrast between the rhythmical acoustic guitar, the pulsating deep bass line and the driving electric guitar which created a resonance that differs from the sound of the album. The hard-hitting chorus line highlighted Conor O’Brien’s song writing prowess and the band’s overall energy for a live performance combined with O’Brien’s stage presence and voice set the platform for a tight overall performance from the Villagers.
Following with popular songs such as ‘The Pact’ ,striking the right chord with the crowd, and bringing back another old song ‘Home’ from their first album created a great blend between old and new.
Finishing with songs dedicated to the Beatles showed their humbleness and honesty, portrayed throughout the performance and O’Brien’s interaction with the crowd. The encore took a slightly different note, with the tempo dropping as the band pulled out two songs from their debut album ‘Twenty Seven Strangers’ and ‘To be Counted Among Men’, which really showed how their songs have developed over time and the bands ability to change tempo, returning to their folk roots which had initiated their success.
They showed no sign of letting up; with a live performance that many like them would be unable to surpass. With the tour continuing on to Edinburgh and then Europe, they are clearly a band in high demand. Catch them while you can.
Dom Williams and Will Lewis