Having never been to a live show at Pilgrim Street’s aptly named venue the Pilgrim, the upstairs room and its understated charm (combined with an ever-welcomed £2 pint) created the perfect setting for my proverbial socks to be well and truly blown off.
It was an expectedly steady start from the three-piece, seemingly easing their way into their groove – a groove which cannot be hard to find given the melodic, yet powerful make-up of their songs – as each track was performed. By the time they introduced ‘6.50’ – the illustrative tale of a dedicated and wholly unsuccessful gambler from Kirby – each attendee at the Pilgrim, band and audience alike, had become united by Last Heart’s indiscriminate and hugely successful demand for their attention. The swift change in tempo from chorus to solo kept the crowd on their toes and showed a real display of craftsmanship from singer and guitarist Thomas Benson, who juggles the musical responsibilities that come with being the front-man of a three-piece with such ease and ability that, when combined with the infallible performances from bassist Jordan Wright and percussionist Danny Levey, creates an extreme and unique chemistry that allows the band to play with self-expression and freedom which, in turn, allows the crowd the freedom to enjoy the music as it is, rather than having to hear it past a pretentiously outfitted front-man or an unnecessarily topless drummer.
Seeing this band in a live setting creates a certain perspective towards their songs that simply cannot be reconstructed through just listening to their recorded material. This fact alone speaks volumes for the importance of live music throughout all levels of the popular music hierarchy and the different dimension that it can add to one’s music; not only for the benefit of the individual bands and fans, but for the maintenance of the core principles of the industry itself. Last Heart’s embrace of these principles should be lauded and, combined with the power and confidence invoked through their songs, this is a band that anyone proclaiming to be a part of the Liverpool music scene can learn a lot from, by way of attitude, ability and passion.
Benson’s futile attempt to abide by the 11pm curfew; undeniably quashed by the crowd’s yearning for ‘one more’, led to what was initially supposed to be a solo performance of the slide guitar dominated ‘Say Please’, that rather ended up as an impromptu 10 minute epic (and a personal highlight of the night) that painted the Pilgrim blue, instigated by the entrance of a brave crowd member with a great knowledge of Benson & co.’s songs and an even better knowledge of a drum-kit.
Stripped down and understated, last Friday’s gig was an excellent display of ability, hard work and appreciation of live music from all parties involved. Last Heart’s time off has undoubtedly served them well, as they have returned with an eagerness and a sharpness that when combined with their omni-present scouse charm, will always be a pleasure to be a part of.