The Orielles brought their dreamy surf-pop sounds in a performance that helped transform a wet and windy Friday night in northern Liverpool into a brilliant celebration of funky psychedelia.
Support for the band came from local artists Brad Stank and SPILT, with Brad giving the people at IWF a rather relaxing rendition of his low-key, bedroom-pop back catalogue. This was followed by SPILT, a band that defines themselves as ‘an infusion of grunge and psychedelia’, who demonstrated to the crowd just how loud their instruments can go, no doubt impressing everyone with their heavy guitar tones and the ever-so-slightly crazed performance of their lead singer, who seemed to be channelling his inner Ian Curtis with his actions on stage. I have to give props to whoever booked the support for the gig as these two acts are, in terms of both musical style and all-round aesthetic, about as far from one another on the alternative/indie spectrum as you can possibly get, yet, for some strange reason, back-to-back they worked extremely well together, and perfectly prepared the crowd for the range of musical genres The Orielles would go on to explore with their performance.
The main band came on stage to fan favourite Old Stuff, New Glass which kicked things off with its infectious bassline and second half instrumental breakdown which saw the band make use of the more obscure instruments available, such as a whistle, bongos and with even a cowbell thrown into the mix (because you can never have enough cowbell, right?). The four-piece then continued through the majority of the songs off their new album, the particular high point for me being their performance of their woozy, sunny-Sunday-afternoon-sounding song Sunflower Seeds, before ending things with Sugar Tastes Like Salt. This adventurous, 8+ minute long song turned the initially fairly subdued crowd at the IWF into a writhing mass of long hair, second-hand clothes and old Reeboks (of which I gladly got involved with), showing to me at least that regardless of how much new music The Orielles go on to release in the future, this 2017 single will always be a firm staple on their set list.
Apart from the quality of the music, the main thing that struck me was the strong sense of community at the gig, both on stage and off. From the smiles of the faces of the band on stage I got the sense that these are just four great friends (Esme, the lead singer and bassist, and Sid, the drummer, are sisters which is sure to help) who genuinely enjoy making and playing music together, and just so happen to be extremely good at it. This strong bond was evident in the crowd too, with one girl I talked to recently getting an Orielles tattoo, showing that this DIY band from Halifax have just as much of a devoted fanbase as any global superstar.
The night tipped off a stellar year for The Orielles, with 2018 seeing them release their debut album, Silver Dollar Moment, a third EP, Bobbi’s Second World, the addition of a new member, Alex Stephens on keys (aka the man who never stops jumping, just get yourself to an Orielles gig to see what I mean), as well tour dates all around Europe. Their album has been met with rave reviews across the board, and has been given prestigious titles such as a place in BBC radio 6 music’s albums of the year, as well as it physically being touched by the man, myth, legend that is Louis Theroux (you can decide for yourself which one is more important, I know which one I’d prefer).