Three Of A Kind

Unity Theatre
Thursday 30th January, 2014

Reviewed by Joe Coventry

The Unity's smaller performance space was pretty full for this evening's gig. Bands and fans, so close together that the separation – although uncomfortable, but not off-putting enough to prevent enjoyment – added to proceedings. Such was the proximity that both bands on before the interval said it was like performing in front of the X-Factor judges. Thankfully this evening of jazz and blues, if at times stretching the boundaries, still passed the test.

On stage first were The Roscoes, formed in the University of Liverpool. They displayed the brash impetuosity of youth by thrashing their way through Give her what she wants. The vocalist stood out for his outrageous mop of lopsided blond hair and white-banded pumps as he struggled to be heard above the backing of striving electric guitars and drums. They continued with Feel it and go and On the way down. It was a halfway house of pretty formulaic rock before the more nuanced Caroline – a dirge on unrequited love – ended their set.

Next up was guitar virtuoso Ben Hughes with a backing of drums, guitars and keyboard. These were used sparingly after some self-roadie adjustments; the photogenic lead being particularly vigilant over his array of instruments. This fivesome were more seasoned performers and they all joined in with Sidhartta - the river in me, Dumped again and Run it by me. Then it was the turn of the photogenic lead with Snakes and ladders, before a burst of solo jazz improvisation for hand-slapped, microphone-bashed and drum-sashed guitar – the most inventive piece of the night. Getting the sound desk to show respect for his £3000 instruments only added to the occasion, before the stage filled for a final collective offering.

After the interval came the headlining Dave O'Grady Trio. Dublin born, but now domiciled in Liverpool, he fronted a collectively tight unit sporting the only female on show that night, Sian Monaghan on drums, while the line-up was completed by Chris Nicholls on bass. Their edgy brand of rock and roll come blues was ably demonstrated on Send me down the river and Bones, the singer-songwriter's greying straggly hair and nose-ring adding to the touchy venom in the music. Only desultory foot tapping appreciation enjoined the acerbic lyrics and devil-may-care attitude attending this set, which ended on a heartfelt ramble about life being a bitch.

Perhaps eventually, the auditorium's limitations left a question mark over whether a local pub venue would have allowed more freedom of expression, both on stage and for the battened down audience. That said, although it was not quite what it said on the tin, tonight was a good honest fare non-the-less.

Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed