No Hot Ashes / Zanzibar, Liverpool | 27th of April

No Hot Ashes / Zanzibar, Liverpool | 27th of April

No Hot Ashes deliver on the 27th of April 2018 a night of funk fused with alternative rock at Liverpool’s own Zanzibar. The event is presented by This Feeling and includes support from fellow indie-rockers Big Bambora, Azura Kings, and Vida.

Big Bambora initiate their opening set with playful informality, joking and bantering with members of the audience as they set up. It’s obvious from the moment they begin playing that though they may not be serious as people, their music is something that they are completely serious about. It fits loosely into indie-rock, erring more on the side of straight-up alternative rock in their heavier numbers liked Tamed. The frontman’s voice is pleasantly versatile, delving in to nice growls and screams here and there when the music calls for it, and the guitar work is a pleasant surprise, easily surpassing what’s normally expected of the genre.

Azura Kings have a somewhat tense start but it stands as a testimony to how much the audience are rooting for the band when there’s a loud cheer as their frontman’s guitar finally connects to the amp properly.  He’s visibly relieved, wiping the sweat from his face and commenting on how ‘it’s about time’. They’re very much indie-rock, maintaining the high standard of instrumental work and solos set by Big Bambora, although the quality of the vocals seems to fall slightly short. The audience doesn’t seem to mind at all though, cheering and clapping along with enthusiasm.

Vida are absolute professionals in their delivery, bringing a mixture of a sound audibly influenced by The Verve and old-school Artic Monkeys, with a bit of added Scottishness sprinkled on top. The frontman’s voice has a distinctive tone to it, like it’s glazed in honey, and its gentleness soothes the senses without inducing lethargy. It’s the first time the crowd begins to sing along.

No Hot Ashes are chaotic balls of energy but despite the chaos, there’s control. Their frontman is never still, bopping to the jaunty riffs and ridding himself of his guitar on one occasion for the sole purpose of dancing. It’s only after this that it becomes apparent that what he was doing before was something he didn’t class as dancing – not true dancing anyway. It’s unscripted choreography, the motion purely directed by the music, compiled of jerking arm and leg movements timed to the staccato guitars. The lead guitarist is quieter in his movements but his playing is anything but quiet. Distinguished by a combination of funk and a down-to-earth ethos, they throw themselves into their performance and so does the crowd. They adopt the frontman’s signature brand of movement almost sub-consciously, their dancing echoing it more and more as the night progresses. Isaac Taylor, lead singer and guitarist, has the kind of voice that would be well suited to a punk band; unabashed, slightly rough around the edges, and it’s got a gritty level of accessibility too. He moves himself with the confidence of a punk frontman too, never tiring from dancing and saving his best moves until last when he shows off by playing his guitar behind his head. It’s kind of impressive that all that moving around barely seems to impact his voice and the crowd eats it all up.

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