Space, Gig Review. The Liverpool Academy of Arts. Liverpool Sound City.
L.S. Media Rating *****
Liverpool Sound City would have continued into the small hours of the Sunday, with other venues offering different strands of the musical experience to those willing to finally get into their homes at four or five in the morning. It’s doubtful though that any of the bands would have had the pull or guile as Space at the Liverpool Academy for the Arts.
The crowd had built steadily during the evening to catch some of the earlier bands but by the time Tommy Scott, Jamie Murphy, Franny Griffiths, Phil Hartley, Ryan Clarke and Allan Jones took the stage, The Liverpool Academy for the Arts was heaving with an audience that anticipated one hell of a gig and ready to have one more hurrah on what had been an excellent Sound City.
When Space reformed last year, the excitement in the Merseyside area was tangible, it almost took on a life of its own as Liverpool audiences got ready to welcome back their most favourite sons and roll back the years. Now, six months on, the band are almost ready to unleash their new album onto an awaiting world and judging by some of the songs that were thrown into the set list, it’s going to be an absolute stunner.
From the opening notes of Mister Psycho, the band gave their all to the party goers and serious music lovers in Liverpool and it has to be said that there is quite possibly no greater sight than this band having fun in all sort of ways on stage. From the excellent Ryan Clarke bobbing and weaving along with his fez on his head and drummer Allan Jones to double bass supremo Phil Hartley stood behind him and grinning wildly as he takes in Ryan’s and the other members antics on stage. What is an absolute pleasure to see is the genuine affection that Tommy Scott, Jamie Murphy and Franny Griffiths have for each other and even when the odd technical hitch throws briefly a spanner in the works and the odd guitar on the stage. It is pure rock and roll and intense and as brilliant as you’re likely to see.
With older and much loved favourites alongside tracks from the new album, the crowd were treated to a gig that stood out for all the right reasons. With the title track of the new album, Attack of the Mutant 50 Foot Kebab, alongside the wonderful Avenging Angels and the song that encapsulates all that is good about the band, 1 o’clock they sextet could not a put a foot wrong.
A surprise from the new album with an incredible video acting as a backdrop for the band was played out for the crowd, it would be a shame if Crying on the Webcam wasn’t used as a single from the new album, from start to finish a social commentary on the state of use of technology to communicate, a superb song and an intensely brilliant video. Catatonia’s and radio 6 presenter, Cerys Matthews, was revealed during the song The Ballad of Tom Jones and although the footage was from a different era, it was testament to the band’s early tunes that the anti-ballad worked so well. Brainwaves and Guest List to Hell were excellently received. Brainwaves especially had the already excitable audience bouncing to the well-crafted beat and lyrics to die for.
The band finished one of the most enjoyable sets over the course of the weekend with Female of the Species and the ever loved Neighbourhood before coming back on stage to perform the encores which included a cracking version of Me and You V’s The World.
If there is a band that you want to finish a music festival within the heart of a city and that’s attended by all, you either get Amsterdam, Ian McNabb or Space and in having Space taking part, then the organisers would have got their wish and the fans got theirs.
Ian D. Hall