• James Booton

Strange Collective All-Dayer: PREVIEW


A city is defined by its culture. The artistic backdrop that a city’s inhabitants create, carve out a city landscape unique to them. However, it is not the major stadium concerts or nationwide cultural icons that define this, it is the underground circuit of live music and artistic events that perpetuate the constant buzz of city life. For a place such as Liverpool, with such a rich musical history, this is even more true, and over the years various sub-cultures have formed amongst the tangled streets, that maintain Liverpool's status as one of the nations most exciting cities for new music. One of the latest genres to a emerge as a Scouse favourite is the symbiotic blend of Garage-Rock and Psychedelia. This sub-culture has been present in the city for a while now but has really began to thrive in the past few years with a nationwide growth in the popularity of the genre, and the success of Liverpool Psych Fest. At the forefront of this movement are the mysteriously allusive Strange Collective. After their 2016 EP 'Super Touchy', the four-piece have been lurking in the shadows, quietly concocting some mind melting sounds. Now, two years later, they have emerged ready to release their debut album and host another 'All-Dayer' packed full of the best garage and Psych from Liverpool and beyond. We've concocted a guide to our favourite picks from this years event.

THE HEADLINERS

The main headliners of the evening, Sunflowers travel all the way from Portugal to Liverpool's secluded Constellations venue to bring their blend of Psych and Surf. From certain songs off their first album, you would get the impression that the Porto based duo were a laid-back stoner band from California. They conatin upbeat, infectious grooves reminiscent of the mid 60's, and hazy melodies that can be shouted or sung any which way, 'Charlie Don't Surf' (below) and 'Post breakup Stoner' are the best example of this...well the clue is in their names! Yet, the new album is injected with a more abstract vibe. They have taken the heavier elements from their debut release and added a more loose fitting and unstructured feel, best heard on the single 'Castle Spell'. Disjointed guitars are met with a primal chant and a mind bending solo that leaves spaces only for the listener to get lost inside. Whichever of their two slightly differing styles you prefer, you are sure to be engulfed by the inescapable trance of their hypnotic sounds. Just stand their, let the airwaves wash around you and feel yourself becoming stoned just off their music.

The other headliners, Table Scraps, offer a more intense, full-throttle experience. Hailing from Birmingham, they are coming to grace the sweaty walls with their pulsing garage-rock. You can feel the energy and arrogance pour out of their tracks such as 'Electricity', with their sonic rumble being interrupted by Poppy's piercing vocals. If you love a high-intensity gig full of moshing then this should be your dream! Expect to have your ears fully cleaned out by the angst-driven set of these three.

LOCAL TALENT

Apart from these two tantalising headliners, the guys at Strange Collective have also sourced some of their favourite local talent to whet your appetite. Not quite 'local' but still in the parameter are Runcorn based Grunge three-piece, SPILT. They are the highest of the local support on the bill, and after watching the video below you will probably see why! Taking inspiration from the likes of Nirvana who they grew up with, they blend heavy, head-banging riffs with haunting vocals ('Saliva') and top it all of with some insane endings ('Acid Baby'). If Sunflowers give you the musical equivalent of smoking weed, SPILT deliver a musical acid trip like no other and will get even the most conservative, stand-at-the-back music go-ers flinging themselves into the pit.

In a similar vain, the Liverpool based Mincemeat will be joining the line-up. Unfortunately they have no music on Spotify or Youtube for us to share with you, but we feel as though there anonymity makes their sets even better! When we saw them support The Gories, we didn't know what to expect from them but were blown away! Each song captures the rawest elements of the psych, punk and garage movements creating a super-charged performance right up their with Liverpool's best. However, it is the stage presence of lead singer Ste Lewin that really takes them above the majority of live acts. He thrives off compact venues (using his height to his advantage!), thrashing around the stage and created one of the best bits of showmanship we have reviewed by getting a crowd member to sing some parts of one song into his guitar, causing a crazy distorted vocal effect. They may not have the biggest following as of yet but there's almost something tribal about the euphoric feeling you receive from watching their set so are not to be missed!

Also featuring on the line-up are two more bands from the heart of the city, SPQR and Hannah's Little Sister. The former offer a rest-bite from the grunge intensity of the line-up by providing a more laid-back and alternative sound based on dream-like rhythms. However, they don't lack a certain amount of bite. On some tracks this false sense of security is broken by soaring instrumentals, comparable to Wolf Alice with the clean finish stripped off. Hannah's Little Sister bring a new sound all together. They don't seem out of place amongst the others, yet there is something really unique behind their music. It's like the lazy lyrical contemplations of Courtney Barnett blended with the bitter-sweet, roaring chorus' of the likes of Pulp and Radiohead. If you can get there in time to catch the earlier bands, these two are definitely worth seeing.

STRANGE COLLECTIVE

On top of these other great acts is, of course, the band behind the night, Strange Collective. To coincide with the All-Dayer is their album launch. In terms of how it will sound, it's tricky to call as their electrifying EP was 2 years ago and so we don't know how much they have changed in that time. The EP was packed full of influences from all areas seen in this years line-up. Psych, Surf and Garage all infused with that Scouse energy and topped with a couple of raucous crescendos, a particular trait of theirs.

Yet all we have to go off for the album is their one new single, 'So What', a no nonsense, heavy-hitting Grunge-Punk song. This is another one for the moshers! A packed out local venue full of music lovers (with a few pints down them at this point) is a pretty sweet concoction, and with this track playing, the room is going to fucking going off! So our advice is to grab a ticket in advance (for only £8 via SKIDDLE here - tickets also available for £10 OTD), learn the words, and get down to witness one of the most exciting nights for music there has been in Liverpool for a while. Even if not for the incredible line-up, just for the people. Both the band and the venue play such an important role amongst Liverpool's music scene, so to be a part of that gives you a new love for music, and a real sense of belonging. As we said, a city's culture is defined by events like these, so get down to Constellations this Saturday and become a part of what makes Liverpool the best music city in the world!

You can listen to the best of all the bands on the line-up via our Spotify playlist.

And you can keep up to date with the event via Facebook here.

#gig #Artist #album