‘The band have secured their place in our hearts, not as mere city-buskers, but as a kick-up the arse for British music.’
Following a rather deep existentialist reading group, I found myself approaching the Zanzibar with a somewhat darker-than-life outlook – in need of some great musical prodigy to lift my spirits. The odds were in my favour as tonight the Zanzibar did not disappoint. You may have spotted Glass Caves busking around Liverpool city centre, and with their Americana-indie infused rock, you most certainly will have heard them reverberating around the cobbles of Liverpool One. With a collection of support acts that saw the Zanzibar almost host their own miniature musical festival, I prepared myself for one BIG musical feast.
I start with offering a word of advice when gig-going; you may have paid to see the headliner, but the support acts are more than capable of throwing out a hidden gem. Though the venue was quiet (being quite early in the night) Acre Tarn, an electronic duo based in Manchester, took to the stage and spoilt us with a sweet dessert before we had even had a chance to have dinner. Their sound was stripped back, allowing for Bush-Bjork style vocals to shine through, with the mastery of electronic beats, samples and vocal echoes amalgamating into a beautiful craft of otherworldliness. With their self-released debut EP Clasp & Shake out now, I challenge anyone to find an excuse not to invest, as I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
Up next was the young indie-boppers from Leeds, Vitamin who delighted us with upbeat, catchy and tropical sounds that rekindled more of a Caribbean sunshine than Yorkshire snow. A collective of roll-necks, the trippy riffs and stand-out chorus’ reflected an affinity with the likes of Peace and Tropic of Youth. Though at times I felt the performance contained some scripted indie gestures, Vitamin did provide a fresh sound and their youthful glow can only add to their prospects, as they have the components to truly find their feet. Like a good starter should, Vitamin provided a satisfying warm-up, and left us hungry for more.
The night was fully underway, and it was Mancunian band Girl Friend to provide us with the much needed appertif before headliners Glass Caves. Delivering a strong hit of synth-filtered indie with an edge, the Manchester quintet demanded the full attention of the capacity crowd. Polished and elegant, the band’s sound is perfected to an ultimate pop-grandeur, complete with lyrical concepts of unhealthy obsession and desire. With a rich falsetto filtering throughout the performance, Girl Friend demonstrated that the pop landscape can be refined and genteel, without lacking in substance. One’s to keep an eye on, it won’t be long until we all have an obsession for the evocative capabilities of Girl Friend.
The time had come for our main, and despite the musical treats we had witnessed already, the crowd were ravenous to see their beloved Glass Caves. Showcasing tracks off their newly recorded album Alive, Glass Caves held the audience like putty in their hands. Favourites included new single ‘’Go’’, which frontman Matt declared as “waltz music”, perhaps with a more Queens of the Stone Age edge. Powerful vocals, with driving riffs and manic drum beats, Glass Caves do not mess about with their music, or their volumes of curly hair, and showed that British rock and roll can be great, when done with dignity and without a Gallagher brother legacy. It’s this sort of approach which has ensured the band have secured their place in our hearts, not as mere city-buskers, but as a kick-up the arse for British music. With the music industry rapidly changing the way it is, Glass Caves prove the overriding need of hard work, and the fantastic results of when it pays off.
Local lads Red Rum Club, who were added to the bill after witnessing an impressive set by Glass Caves in the city centre, closed the evening in a raucous style, the perfect closer for tonight’s gig, and leaving me full, bloated and in need of a good kip. The night was a pleasant surprise and enabled me to leave my existentialist cynicism at the door, as the music showcased tonight highlighted the great variety our isle continues to produce, to the best of standards. Thank you Zanzibar, for giving us a dinner party for the senses, one that not even Come Dine With Me could live up to.
Words: Katie Tysoe