Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Live Review :: Boy Azooga + Seatbelts + Tracky :: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool - Jun 7 2018


Boy Azooga + Seatbelts+ Tracky 

The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool 

June 7 2018

Words/Pictures: Jane Davies

Down in the Hold, aka the downstairs venue at Liverpool’s Shipping Forecast, things were heating up so much that the walls were perspiring along with the audience for this sold-out show.

First to set sail for the evening was Tracky, aka Mike Poynton, formerly of Youth Hostel, now resurgent as an all-singing, one-man band and his projector. Tracky has a unique gift for making tales of modern drudgery sound marvellous with funky pop beats and clever wordsmithery. The Adidas clad livewire sailed close to the wind with some very cheeky projections, which included cheeks - not of the facial variety - and clearly delighted and animated the early crowd.

Departure was delayed for passengers about to enjoy Seatbelts, The Hooton Tennis Club side project, due to sound issues. Unflustered and totally laid back, they relaxed into their eclectic set which painted a collage of different genres across the ages. As the audience drank in the music they found hints of Talking Heads and Neil Young. ‘Song for Vonnegut’, taken from their recently released EP of the same name, got the crowd on side and swaying, only to slow things down with ‘It Is As If I Am A.I’. Lengthy and atmospheric, perhaps more suited as a soundtrack to a deep late night post-pub discussion than as a live set inclusion.

‘This is how we do things’ had the essence of the latter work of the Beatles and synth work that chimed along and engaged with the audience again. The “pah pah pah” on Spanish songs was a bit ‘Make Me smile’ and kept the audience smiling and on side. ‘Capitalist Confession’, drew on the combined vocal talents of Abi Woods, Ryan Murphy and James Madden and some interesting cowbells work, signing off with their previous single release ‘Hey, Hey Tiger!’ which had justifiably been received with a plethora of positive reviews. Seatbelts have no signature sound, it is loosely structured patchwork quilt of experimental styles which makes them so alluring.

Full steam ahead to headliners Boy Azooga. A now very tightly packed, capacity audience inside the hold had assembled, buoyed by the fact that this Cardiff band had recorded a Maida Vale session and had been on the Jools Holland show the week previously, not to mention having played three Great Escape festival sets that has all seen queues snaking around the block. A promoter in town recently told me that people just won’t turn up for unheard bands at the moment, even when it costs less than the price of a cocktail. Word had clearly got round that something on the cusp of greatness was in town.

Tonight it was evident it was going to get lively when get drink got spilt over me before the band has even played a note. Boy Azooga frontman Davey Newington stepped out on stage all smiles, and kept up his cheery persona throughout, interacting with the audience all night long - much to their delight. The evening’s proceedings started with a taxi, to be precise ‘A Taxi To Your Head’ and ‘Shake It Like A Tambourine’, before cranking it up further with ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’, bringing the vocal fans to join in and sing back the guitar riff. Our enigmatic frontman reminded us that his new album ‘1, 2 Kung Fu!’ was due out in the morning and revealed that he felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve. Someone shouted back ‘Merry Christmas!’ although this evening was more like a New Year's Eve party in Liverpool with much merriment and revelry, and good music, of course.

From here in the dancing got wilder and outbreaks of pogoing at the front ensued. We were not informed as to who the tracks ‘Jerry’ and ‘Jaqi' were dedicated to (though the differently spelt, Jackie Chan Davey has revealed in interview was a childhood hero), but they must have been lively people as they kept the audience buoyant. The bassy ‘Loner Boogie’ topped off a flawless set that had delighted fans and newly affirmed fans in the audience. Boy Azooga was riding on a crest of a wave in Liverpool and is destined to go places.

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