Popped Music Presents: Headclouds / The Magnet, Liverpool | 27th of October

Popped Music Presents: Headclouds / The Magnet, Liverpool | 27th of October


If you’ve ever marched on down to The Magnet, previously, you already know you’re in for a laugh. The building screams rock and roll and the ale is reasonably priced. Couple those factors with ace sound (and a smoke machine OOO FANCY)- you’ve got yourself a true music venue; capable of delivering a platform to both up-coming and established musos. I loved it.

First up, were the dreamy, creamy, quartet Forrest yeah that’s right, the second ‘r’ is for extra edge. Minus a few beginner mistakes (I think the front man forgot his lyrics at one point), these guys presented a superb starter for our musical 4-course-meal. There were hints of Joy Division entwined with glistening fender-type guitar sounds and a general loveliness pervaded their song structures. In-spite of their incredibly charismatic leader, the real hero of this ensemble was the bass boy; tied everyone in and not a note wrong on his part. What made Forrest stand out was a natural charm that is missed in many bands. These gentlemen weren’t trying too hard; just making good music together. I really didn’t like the drummer’s choice of snare sound though- it’s got to go “pop” or “crack” for my money. Other than that, it felt like I was listening to a record- so good guys!

We Were Glue lit up the stage for the second installment of DIY musical bossness. These guys seemed to have something of a following at their disposal and were definitely deserving of it. Though, the dynamics were poor at times. Mr drum man, we don’t need to hear your crash at the end of every bar. It nearly took my ears clean-off and it knocked out the mid-range so we couldn’t hear the fancy-pants guitar work, that your musical brother has so clearly put time and effort into! Irrespective of amateur moments, this band were just indie-supremacy top to bottom. The ensemble projected stalwart pop vocals, catchy guitar work and superb harmonies throughout their set. My girl was definitely a highlight; a perfect blend of serenity and adrenaline. Additionally, their newest track Birthday had audience members old and young shaking their hips as shimmers of joy swept over the crowd. People were smiling uncontrollably with adoration when these guys took to the stage and that’s something special.

The third set of the night was provided by Shiners. Oh yes. Now we’re talking. Thoroughly enjoyable to listen to from the first note played to the farewell. So many bands try to emulate older sounds with a trite outcome but not this time. Madness, The Doors, The Jam, Dr Feelgood were definitely in there, but with enough modern accessibility to not sound out of place in the indie crowd. I don’t know what I liked more, their opening track (which was simply a banger) or lead man Jamie Delaney’s mental haircut. There was no way I was expecting to feel such a range of emotions from a cheap local gig. The start of the song Goosebumps actually made me laugh out loud like a drooling moron. The frustrated staccato goodness often borders on the absurd with these guys, but you’re always brought back into the game with tagline choruses and 16ths on the hi-hats. Making you want to dance like you’ve just escaped the asylum with 10 bottles of prescription goodies. Conversely, the audience was brought crashing down to an existential, hungover, low when they played (I feel so) Blunt. What a song. Structurally perfect and so much more. My heart was heavy when listening to this and it created a sense of melancholic wonderment that people wouldn’t soon forget. It’s a shame to see a band like this not headlining festivals, but I’m sure that’s only a matter of time. Please keep making music.

A change of pace came over the stage as Newcastle five-piece Headclouds took up their positions. I generally have a soft spot for progressive artists and these troubadours did not disappoint. Dreamy, shoegaze-ambience textured the room and the audience were definitely keen on the vibe. They took control of the stage as only veterans could, then lead the audience on an allegorical journey- all the while bathing the listener in saturated reverb and beautiful melodic sequencing. You could be mistaken for thinking of Headclouds as another generic ‘hippie-space-jam’ group, but there was an obvious passion in their playing that cut through any pretense. Though, I personally loved the heavier sections and favoured the strange chord voicings, I feel this may be their downfall in terms of commercial appeal in the long run.

All of the artists who played this evening deserved a larger crowd to play to and it’s up to us as listeners to support our local music scenes more diligently. A massive thank you to everyone involved.

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