Those who have ventured into LEAF will understand the consonance between the aesthetic and the atmosphere of the venue; the coloured lights draped from the ceiling, the fairy lights at the side of the room – and downstairs: cosy sofas, refills of green tea and bunting. Lots of bunting. Therefore, it was a pleasant change of pace when Canadian Americana-blues rockers Timber Timbre came, conquered and most importantly, kept on ‘creeping on’.
With a reputation for bringing important up and coming names to Liverpool (next month the likes of The War on Drugs and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard reach our vibrant shores), Harvest Sun in many ways outdid themselves on the night of the 16th. The support band, two piece Last Ex, happens to be made up of Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield – half of Timber Timbre’s line-up. In between alternating guitar and bass guitar throughout their set, the instrumental post punk/drone duo had very little to share with the audience other than their music. In fact, in many instances it seemed to take the form of a finely tuned jamming session, rather than a live show. Delay heavy, thundering drums, ever varying dynamics and twanging guitar, it seemed oddly reminiscent of a less erratic Three Trapped Tigers. It would be interesting to see what Last Ex could do in a smaller, more intimate venue, given a headline position.
Once the crowd was readily warmed up, the final members, Mathieu Charbonneau and Taylor Kirk ascended the stage. Halfway through the first song, all the coloured lights in the room went out (along with the air conditioning, I can only assume) and Timber Timbre seemingly towered over the crowd as silhouetted enigmas. Numerous reviews of the band have cited their new material and performances as something that would not be out of place in a David Lynch film – and this is not a million miles from the truth, especially given the lit theatrical red curtains that hung behind them. However, it seemed more fitting to consider the night as one not too dissimilar from a Nick Cave concert. With sinister and undeniably swooning undertones, Taylor Kirk loomed over the front row with his tectonic plate-moving baritone. Songs such as Run From Me, could be easily hidden in Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s classic album, Murder Ballads.
Then came the declaration: “This next one is a special one, you can slow dance to this one.” Hot Dreams, the title track from their latest album followed. The improvised first line “I want to dance with a Liverpool woman” was greeted with cheers and applause to a point where it genuinely didn’t seem ironic anymore. Crooning over the slow guitar as it reverberated around the room, the crowd pleaser Magic Arrow came next, accompanied with a slight off-hand comment at someone in the crowd – “get the fuck out of here”. I must admit, I admired the professionalism of the group and how clean cut their performance was, and the show was in fact so captivating that even if it was me they were asking to leave (it wasn’t, at least I hope), I’d have forgiven them in a guitar strum. Innovative, distinctive and constantly inventing a new collectively orientated sound – I can only hope that Timber Timbre will return to Liverpool again soon.