Supporting Spector on this chilly October night in Liverpool was Mancunian quartet Spring King, led by producer, drummer and singer Tarek Musa. They’ve been a busy band this year, supporting bands at massive shows all over the UK, playing some decent headlines themselves and being selected by BBC Introducing to showcase new British music at SXSW in Austin, Texas alongside the likes of Blossoms and Gengahr. Also becoming the first band to be played on Apple’s Beats 1 by Zane Lowe. The Manchester lads played a set a raucous set of upbeat, in-your-face, garage indie rock songs. They brought their incredibly infectious energy to the stage as they played rough but authentic songs such as ‘City’ and ‘Mumma’. They certainly did their job of warming up the crowd. After seeing them supporting Jaws at the Manchester Academy in March, I said that they were the best support act I’ve seen live, and I’m sticking by that.
Taking to the stage, Spector, dressed all in monochrome, kicked off their set with the unexpected opener of ‘Bad Boyfriend’. Frontman Fred Macpherson, encouraging audience participation from the off, showcased his flawless and distinctive baritone vocals in this well-written song from new album ‘Moth Boys’. Going straight into another fantastic song from Moth Boys, Fred took centre stage again singing his heart out to the anthemic ‘Stay High’, sure to become a fan favourite, with lines like ‘one socket left, I let you charge your phone / These are the ways that we show our love’. Next up was a song Spector released back in 2013, a year after the release of their debut album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’. However this song, ‘Decade Of Decay’, has found its way onto the new album. And why not. With its catchy chorus and driving guitar riff, t’s too good to be forgotten about. Then, bringing the tempo down a notch, yet not losing their momentum, they played ‘Using’- A fourth track from the new album. Since it’s successful release in August, these Spector fans have had plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the new material and none of it feels out-of-place on the set list.
The London outfit’s next track of the night was feel-good indie pop banger ‘Twenty Nothing’- one of the defining songs of Enjoy It While It Lasts. With Fred hopping down from the stage and clambering along the barrier, a massive sing-along ensued. With fans grabbing at him, he sings the lyrics back to them. Another upbeat, feel-good song followed. This time was Moth Boys’ ‘West End’ with its wonderfully catchy chorus: ‘Living in the West End, trynna make it all worth while’. ‘True Love For Now’, brought the tempo down again during the slightly melancholy yet warm 2012 song. Another first album track ‘Grey Shirt And Tie’ followed suit, continuing the build the same atmosphere that True Love For Now had. It’s synth-heavy sounds and melodic vocals pleased the Liverpool crowd. The building atmosphere seemingly came to a euphoric climax when Spector went into Moth Boys song ‘Don’t Make Me Try’- a slightly more upbeat track which encouraged the crowd to shout the lyrics back at Fred.
After this, an extended intro kept the audience guessing what song was next. ‘This is… a song… called’ stalled Fred, but fans of Enjoy It While It Lasts might have recognised the beginning of this song: ‘Celestine. Ploughing into the epic first line; ‘Celestine, my self-esteem is at an all time low!’, Fred jumped onto a speaker on the edge of the stage, sending the crowd into a frenzy and maintaining his constant connection with the crowd. Not holding anything back, the four-piece ploughed straight into sing-along classic ‘Friday Night, Don’t Ever Let It End’, encouraging everyone in the venue to clap and sing. These two songs alone had turned a happy crowd into an ecstatic one. The noise level was raised and the inside of the intimate venue became increasly humid and sweaty. The band formed a little huddle in the centre of the stage- presumably do discuss the next song the were playing. No one knew what it was going to be but I don’t think anyone saw it coming. The song was a cover of The Vaccines’ 2011 hit ‘If You Wanna’. Spector will have been relieved to find that they had a few Vaccines fans in as the crowd screamed and sang along excitedly.
Spector played Moth Boys track ‘Cocktail Party’ next which brought a euphoric atmosphere to the room with its tropical house, Ibiza vibes complemented by colourful lighting that washed the stage in a green and yellow haze. It blended absolutely seamlessly into one minute track ‘Heads Interlude’, with its repetitive lyrics: ‘I can’t keep up with the money that you’re making / I can’t keep up with all the drugs you’re taking’. It left the set in the perfect place for them to play a song which is nothing less than an indie anthem: ‘Chevy Thunder’. With Fred jumping around on stage and the audience singing and dancing like their lives depended on it, this was an exciting moment. With no security around to stand in their way, a few fans (including myself admittedly) jumped the barrier and joined the band on stage- still smiling as they were pushed off by an unhappy roadie.
Although it may have seemed a daunting task to follow up the brilliance of Chevy Thunder, Spector undoubtedly pulled it off with ‘Never Fade Away’. Taking audience participation to another level, Fred held the mic up to fans mouths to let them sing the familiar lyrics and climbing onto a towering speaker and crowd-surfing off it. Bassist Tom Shickle sat on the other speaker at the opposite end of the stage to play through most of the track. Ironically, the final song of the night was the opening song of the Moth Boys album. ‘All The Sad Young Men’ has become an incredible live song since this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. The sentimental, powerful track impressed an ecstatic O2 Academy crowd who climbed on the barrier and speakers to sing along to the simple yet genius lyrics of All The Sad Young Men. Fred Macpherson, stood, at the edge of the stage, with such passion, stage presence and style is basically the next best thing to Morrissey.
Raising his fist to the ceiling in triumph and thanking the audience for coming, Fred Macpherson and the Spector boys ended a memorable night and an extremely sweaty and captivating live show. Spector are an intelligent band and natural-born performers. I would highly recommend them as a live band, especially in the intimate venues they so often play in. Spector sure know how to put on a show.