Dinosaur Pile Up - The Shipping Forecast
Live Review

Dinosaur Pile Up – The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool

It’s a gloriously hot summer’s day and I agree to go to a small, cramped basement to watch a bunch of musicians and myself get hella sweaty. I know, I know I’m a genius, but the cold beer is flowing and the array of artists shows some definite signs of potential. The Shipping Forecast, a trendy Liverpool student bar looks like a promising place for a venue. Its suave looking interior, with exposed brickwork and rustic tables, gives you the idea of some rooftop terrace venue with a jungle of plants and crown green bowls. Unfortunately my somewhat far-fetched dreams are indeed just that, and we end up in the same converted city basement with little by way of amenities and an almost makeshift bar. However, it’s cosy, the crowds up for it and so am I.

Tigercub are the first to take the stage and I’ll hold my hands up here and say that I didn’t expect much from the opening act of a basement show. That’s probably an unjust prejudice on my part but I’ve been to enough gigs and seen enough newly formed bands who are still trying to find themselves to know the odds of getting a good band first. Tigercub are something different, something unexpected, and something that on paper I shouldn’t really like. The three piece, based in Brighton, approach the stage like they have a hundred times before and as soon as the first track begins to play I am suitably impressed.

They mix an old school New Wave sound in with a modern rock rhythm and slice it apart with some sharp and gritty Brit Pop vocals. They’re strong, powerful but reserved in their stage demeanour offering up a bit of mystery but hitting with the force of a thousand bricks. Musically really tight and making the most out of their instruments, Tigerclub have the thirty strong crowd bopping away in no time. As they move through the set they continue to impress and it becomes obvious that if this band are in the right place at the right time they have the potential to be huge. Keep an eye on these guys, they are definitely one to watch.

Max Raptor are next up and you have to titter at the choice of support; it’s a dinosaur themed show. Max Raptor are popping up all over the place at the minute with Burn Out Fest and Truck Fest coming up and another high profile gig in the works that I think I promised not to mention, it’s nice to be able to get a sneak peak of what’s in store. These guys are a four piece rock outfit and they take the sub pop crowd by surprise. They thrash into the first track and lead singer Will Ray doesn’t mess about. He’s straight out into the crowd to get in people’s faces.

Max Raptor sound like the love child of Billy Talent and early Rise Against and that is not a bad thing. Taking in the band’s quirkiness, the gang vocals, the politics, the storytelling and the loud and easy to repeat lyrics, Max Raptor possess a heck of a lot of good. Will Ray’s aggressive floor play gets a few people moving, as well as scaring a few others to the back of the room and midway through their set people (including myself) feel a little bit more comfortable moving around and making mini pits to rock out to what is quite an enjoyable sound. They are sure to have some lively crowds watching them at the festivals this year and it’ll be worth braving the pits to see.

By the time Dinosaur Pile Up come on the room is packed from front to back. It makes a welcome change to watching them at Lower Than Atlantis earlier in the year where very few people knew of them or what to expect. They have drawn a crowd of fans who are ready to sing every word and dance the rest of the night away. They seem a lot more comfortable in a more intimate setting and the size of the gig lends itself to more movement in their stage show than I’ve seen before.

It’s almost a different band to the quiet natured statues I thought I’d see and they are throwing themselves into it at a more frantic pace. This band was built for venues like this and they are lapping up the crowd participation and are fuelled from it. Their connection to the audience is better and there is a bit more banter coming from it. If you don’t know anything about Dinosaur Pile Up they look like Empire Records employees and play a mix of 90’s grunge and rock. They have a really great nostalgic sound to them with enough modern relevance to not be a nirvana tribute band.

Their upbeat twang is really going down well with the crowd tonight and there is a much more light-hearted feel to tonight’s show, allowing some mid set memory problems from lead vocalist Matt Bigland to be laughed off and cheered. I would one hundred percent recommend seeing Dinosaur Pile Up in a small venue like this because the intimacy lends itself to their personality and style and they have the crowd eating out of their hands by the end.

Words – Alex Fisher

Venue: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
Support Band: Max Raptor, Tigercub

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