Liverpool Music Week update – Thursday

The highlights of Thursday 6th December

Partyshank, Dan Deacon, Heads of State, Paul McDowell, Friendly Fires, Dog Show, The Delta Fiasco.

You are not ready for this, planet Earth. Partyshank have landed, ripped out the insides of cow stuck a 1/4 inch jack in AND learned to play it. Atari and Nintendo? F**k that! This is Fisher Price hybrid s**t, f**king with the evolution of Matel toys. Those sick beat mutants that crawl out from under the mattress in Toy Story. Stuggling? Think DJ Scotch Egg with screamo vocals. Quadruple the beats and in the words of Ren and Stimpy; it’s a “happy happy joy joy” to behold.

The party duo of Partyshank survived a car crash on the way to the venue apparently. “What colour was the car you crashed into?” cries a member of the audience, and the conversation is over, everyone left scratching their heads.

While this takes place notices there is a man in the audience who resembles a crimefit of a paedophile. Dressed in baggy red sweats and Tshirt, a pair of unnecessarily oversized Timmy Mallet spectacles, sporting a grand bushy beard. Welcome to the surreal world of Dan Deacon. Musician, artist, entertainer. Banned from children’s parties. Available for adult gigs.

Little is known of this electronic God in the UK. Youtube revealed plenty of US TV appearances. As Dan Deacon crouches behind his table of electronic goods connecting wires, a feeling that is not the normal gig setup begins to fill the room. In the centre of the dancefloor, rather than on stage, the table on wheels contains all the servings of electronic goodies Deacon requires. The rattling trolley has a fully extended mic stand with a glowing green skull attached to the summit. At times during the set the screaming skull is all that lights the large venue hall. Rather than being scary we are drawn to it like moths round an electric heater.

It’s not the most complex music in the world. A 'modern post electro cyber satire' as one fan describes it over a ciggie. You can imagine Deacon let loose in a Toys r Us, and watching him test the toys before buying a trolley full and taking them home to dismantle, if security didn’t evict him first.

When he plays he encourages things, an encourager. Seeming to talk more than he plays, appearing to create from the fabric of thin air stories about hair, incest and hair. Nonsense drivel or moral lessons? You decide. It’s entirely what you make it at a Dan Deacon concert. The audience are as imperitive as the performer.

Who loves yer Dan? Liverpool does. “This has been the best show of the tour. Seriously, the best sound, the best atmosphere. You guys have been great. Thank you Dan Deacon for transforming the Barfly loft into a playroom of Maccy D’s or a Wacky Warehouse.

Everyone is game, even the reluctant among us to partake in the party games, being swept up in the childish fun that accompanies the music. It’s a laugh a minute.

Later in the Bumper we're catching the last few bars of The Delta Fiasco set (we've already reviewed them), witnessing the sweaty yet altogether powerful sound of simply stated ‘a three-piece wall of electro’.

The smoking ban for all it's fascism has increased the clear air enabling greater sight. However, the Bumper tonight for this super duper electro bill is like a foggy morning on the docks, invaded by countless smoke machines generating a real club vibe. The joy of Liverpool Music Week is the diversity of acts which sees whole different crowds decend on the host venue each night.

Dog Show are on stage and they have problems. It's definitely not their dress sense, nor is it the visuals, the 'mad scientist' hypnotic lightshow nor is it the music they play. It's the sound quality of the front room in the Bumper, which cuts out halfway through and never really recovers. Like Bulgarian illusionists, top hated and coat tailed, this caberat of electro dance, muffled by unexplained problems jam on keyboard riffs and drum beats for a good fifteen minutes. The only magic here is the flat sound they create.

A flawless performance can often be overlooked on a night of great expectations and it can sometimes take the odd mistake to really create divided opinions and ultimately, interest in a new band. We now have that interest in Dog Show. Until next time ole hounds.

Friendly Fires have no such problems however, they are excellent. Combining the LCD cowbell and the rhythmic Klaxons nudge, their greatest strengths are energy and melody. Attributes of a great live act, the excitement they ejaculate from the stage is soaked up by the crowd like scavaging whores. The Fires display an aptitude, a sheer quality, justifying support slots with Interpol SMD and Klaxons. Another Moshi Moshi headliner with real promise.

Heads of State rock man! You guys rock! Stumbling around the stage is John Hughes who drops his bass, his cable, falls over the monitors. Playing the antithesis of a good band member, his one saving grace is he is enjoying himself. Tom George, lead vocals, struts like Iggy Pop, hand on hip, insinuating eyeline. Brother Richie Motorohemp on guitar proves that despite his advanced years nothing is lost on the wizard as he thrashes his SG into submission, proving that the guitar lead isn’t dead by regularly playing them much to the audiences delight. Very Tom on drums powers like there’s no tomorrow and manages to puncture his snare skin. It’s fine line between catastrophic punk rock and the proverbial punk rock catastrophe. Whatever the difference this band rock back and forth over the borders.

In from the rain Paul MacDowell creates a warm living room vibe of the Metropolitan tonight. The hanging lamps and the pleasant manner of his vocal delivery encourages friendship in the crowd. As Paul plays some of his better known tunes to a group of drying people we see the ethereal live quality of the Liverpool-based international performer. MacDowell has toured the world and until this point it has remained a mystery how it has been possible. He has a beautiful voice and songwriting ability. Everything else is immaterial. He tells of the disaster of all disasters that befell his recent European tour which saw the axle break on his car forcing him to hire a replacement only to later discover all his musical equipment stolen from the hire car, grumbling something about insurance companies. After hearing the new CD and watching MacDowell live he may one of the finest acoustic performers you have never heard of.

Picture: Jonathan Lloyd

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