Overthrow @ The Kazimier
10th April 2015

Reviewed by Richard Lewis
Photographs by Andrew AB

Having (almost literally) ran the gauntlet up Bold St. swerving past the ever-increasing Grand National crowds descending on the city centre, The Kazimier provides welcome respite as ever.

With the balconies decked out in white fairy lights and with Mirror Moves’ faultless New Wave soundtrack greeting visitors upon arrival, something of an event is clearly in the offing. A dry political jibe at a certain event coming up on May 7th (you may have heard about it on the news), Overthrow pitches three of the city’s finest ascendent bands together on the same bill.

Opening proceedings the first full show by Esa Shields in eons sees the pop polymath on daunting form. Alone onstage with only an electric piano and an obelisk of a 16 track recorder for accompaniment, the predominantly seated audience are treated to the singer’s idiosyncratic Sci-Fi Torch Songs. ‘Finally Dimitri’ and ‘Shelley Duval’ superbly showcase the wayward melodies found at the heart of all of the songwriter’s tracks, while the longer the set progresses, the more the singer relaxes, with a pleasing hint of Scott Walker-style theatrical flourishes towards the close.

Buoyed by an excellent mix that picks out every detail of the group’s elegiac tracks, gloom-pop architects Tear Talk essay the bulk this year’s excellent Ruins EP. Masters of understated elegiac songcraft, the metronomic melodicism of ‘Decades’ exemplify the quintet’s ability to wring the absolute maximum out of sparse arrangements. Downbeat confessional ‘Realise’ supplies the set’s summit, lead singer Josh Miller’s stark lyrics set against an atmospheric wash of synth and tick-tocking guitar arpeggio.

The first headline performance by the quartet in The Kaz, the motorik thrum of ‘Spacegun’ signals the arrival of SeaWitches. The band’s self avowed mission to create ‘epic angst disco’ is writ large, the sonorous vocals of talismanic lead singer Jo Herring guiding the quartet’s excursions through jittery post-punk, Afrobeat and alt. rock.

Steered by sticksman Tilo Pinbaum’s estimable beats that interlock seamlessly with bassist Laura Cauldwell’s redoubtable foundation lines and Jamie Jenkin’s controlled guitar squall the likes of ‘Sleepkill’ and fiery new track ‘Tempest’ nimbly shoot past.

Backed by scrolling projections in keeping with the title of the evening various aphorisms flash up on the screen including Rosa Lee Parks’ ‘You must never be fearful about what you are doing when you know it is right’ statement alongside images of Malcolm X.

The atmospheric ‘Starlight Love’ and the corrosive pop ‘Fathead’ point the way forward for the group, matching the dreamy melodicism of luscious indie pop debut 45 ‘Stars’ with a tougher, more febrile energy. A hugely welcome evening’s diversion from endless analysis by pointy-headed political pundits unlike the 2010 ballot, this result here was a decisive one Overthow win by a landslide.

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