Witch Fever, Spilt & More @ EBGBS, Liverpool 20/10/18

Last night, EBGBS, the basement of famous Liverpool nightlife spot Heebie Jeebies, was the venue for Capeesh‘s first birthday celebrations. Capeesh is a Merseyside-based community project that champions young musicians on the local scene. Their work involves putting on events like last night’s to give them the opportunity to perform in front of crowds and grow their skills and confidence.

The night ended with a chorus of ‘happy birthday’ for Capeesh as founder Mark Rowley thanked everyone for coming down, but before that, they had a line-up of top local talent (and some from a little further afield) for us.

Spinning techno-based tracks throughout the night was a young, local DJ called Ollie Cash who goes by the mystical name of Cosmic Shepherd. Through the Capeesh programme, he managed to secure a residency at the popular Sound Food & Drink venue round the corner on Duke Street.

https://www.facebook.com/coshep9/

Opening the show was an Ormskirk musician by the name of Charity Shop Pop. He’s a classic solo artist with DIY spirit, forging his tunes with an old laptop, guitar, synths and bedroom-recorded vocals.

Charity Shop Pop describes his music as ‘indie pop making you feel all warm like a lovely cup of hot chocolate on a cold winters day’. I wouldn’t argue with that but his set did incorporate more of a psych sound than I expected. It is a sound that’s very much in vogue on Merseyside with the likes of The Vryll Society, The Holograms and The Gear being big fans. Some of his material was reminiscent of early JAWS demos and the Milkshake EP.

He’s received a lot of well-deserved support this year from BBC Introducing in Lancashire and on Merseyside, and was recently included in a group of up-and-coming local artists for Merseyrail’s Sound Station 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/charityshoppop/

As the cellar filled up nicely, it was time for something a little bit different in the form of poetry from Wirral native Jack Haworth. The young poet delivered verse after verse of lightning quick spoken word that was impressively written. His poems consisted of observations from everyday life, witty puns and clever metaphors.

Jack’s set was a very entertaining addition to the line-up and didn’t seem out of place, as it so easily could have done, on a night headlined by a punk band. He aptly describes his material as ‘poems for people who don’t like poetry’.

https://www.facebook.com/jackdhaworth/

At around 8:30, Essex-born, Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Beija Flo took to the stage. A crowd of significant size had gathered to catch the creator of the song which recently claimed the top spot in Get Into This’ ‘Merseyside Music’s Top 25 Tracks of 2018‘.

With her face smeared in brightly coloured make-up and kitted out in a white leotard, Beija informed everyone she has been struggling with a chest infection. You wouldn’t have known it if not for the coughs and sips of her drink between each song. If this was not Beija at her best, then I’d certainly like to see her when she is.

Her songs are ballads of light and darkness – describing feelings of euphoria and melancholy musings over doomed relationships. Her stage presence is wonderfully weird and fantastically entertaining.

The prize-winning song ‘Mary’, released back in March, was the stand-out for me. It’s a two and a half minute pop song which throws together a sense of frustration and bursts of positivity. Beija’s strong vocals are captivating and seemingly effortless.

https://www.facebook.com/iamBeijaFlo/

The task of warming up the crowd for the headliners fell to Runcorn trio Spilt. Despite being around for a couple of years now, I was excited to see the band again after being very impressed seeing them live for the first time supporting FIDLAR in Manchester in the summer.

The three-piece didn’t disappoint as they managed to match the energy they showed at that sold out show at The Ritz. Before seemingly being forced to cut their set short due to time constraints, they played a handful of grungey noise-rock tunes that got the blood pumping.

Singles ‘Acid Baby‘ and ‘Lalka‘ were the stand-outs – songs rinsed in gloomy psychedelia in the vein of Brighton-based band The Wytches.

https://www.facebook.com/SPILTBAND/

Late in the night, headliners Witch Fever finally hit the stage. The four girls who make up the punk rock outfit are from all over but met in Manchester while studying at university. A chant of ‘Manchester, Manchester, Manchester’ from a group in the crowd was quickly halted by vocalist Amy Walpole who joked “maybe don’t sing that in Liverpool”.

I don’t agree that every all-girl band should be carelessly thrown into the ‘riot grrrl’ category, but there are some feminist themes to Witch Fever’s music. More importantly, they are a barrage of pure, unadultered rage. Everything punk should be.

Amy has a voice that makes you swear she was born to front a punk band, as she jumps down from the stage and wanders through the crowd along with bassist Alex Thompson. I’ve recently seen Black Sabbath noted among comparisons to this band, and while Amy didn’t bite the head off a bat, she did stop to snack on a banana.

Toothless‘ and ‘Carpet Asphyxiation‘ were the stand-out songs of a fantastic headline set. You would be a fool to miss Witch Fever live. Especially when they are playing as many shows as they are at the moment.

Keep an eye on their upcoming dates here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/witchfever/events/?ref=page_internal

Make sure to follow Trackdose for more live reviews and new music from Merseyside and the North West.

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