From the very beginning, this was a night assured to be mixed in its emotive output . KYC, bastions of the up-and-coming in Liverpool over the last year, always guarantee a night of surprises. Last year’s gigs varied from the sweaty box of Maguire’s back room, to the further sweatier basement of 96 Seal Street, and crescendo’d in the triumphant Light Night gig in the Bombed Out Church – regardless of setting, the calibre of the artist is always a constant.
The only sadness from tonight comes from the venue. The Kazimier, modest to the extreme from the outside, hides one of the cities’ most beloved performance spaces. The lower central platform – already full when I arrive – is surrounded by a periphery of raised sections and balconies, almost like the building itself is shrugging in disbelief that it will soon be no more.
Odanata are a couple of songs in when I find a space near the stairs. The frontman swigs from a bottle of wine, and in similar commitment to recklessness, shouts and thrashes through a track as if time were an invaluable resource. New track Abdominal Pain writhes and haunches over its considerably bassy frame, drums hissing through clenched teeth; a moment where track name and content align perfectly. It is also their best track in an opening set of blistering noise.
In typically KYC dedication to varied tastes, Her’s arrive and begin to provide something completely different. Opening track Dorothy sees the two piece, comprised of Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading, lay technicolour rhythms over an electronic drum machine beat. Next track, David Seaman, fantastically lurid once more, bares no readily discernible semblance to the former England captain – perhaps for the better. Some naysayers behind me can be heard suggesting a third member would not go amiss, but the two on stage are entertaining enough during and between songs to pull it off.
What I initially thought was an incredibly slow transition between acts, was soon explained by both members of Her’s, also being members of next band, Sundogs. Marking another seismic shift in sound, tracks like To Be My Girl sacrifice the vivid exuberance of Her’s for a melancholy inflected, rumbling baritone that runs through most of their tracks. Sandwiched between two bands of entirely jarring sound to their own, Sundogs’ callous disregard for just about everything means they are received raucously by the swelling crowd below.
The Orielle’s are on stage far sooner than should be possible, so I miss the first half of their opening track, *definitely not buying a drink at the bar. Every time I get the chance to see The Orielles, their live set up seems to get tighter and more accomplished to watch. Tonight was no different. For fans of the heavier end of the Surf Pop spectrum they are a treat both live and recorded. The admittedly lethargic sound loses nothing in comparison to other band’s energetic output – in fact, every band tonight seemed utterly dedicated to treating this like a headline show.
So naturally, things were getting quite exciting as we waited for actual headliners, Pink Kink. Pink Kink are not only new to the Kazimier, but they reveal that this is actually their ‘first real gig’. The opening track is moody, powerful, perhaps even a tiny bit terrifying in it’s ability to draw your eyes – the only possible thing marking them as newcomers to the Kazimier’s tropical climate seems to be their dedication to a heavy winter jacket dress code.
Although the jackets are soon lost, the set progresses, pulsing and grin provoking, and I begin to find it incredibly difficult to believe this is their first gig. Each word, movement and foray around the stage – which happens frequently – occurs with a sense of conviction, wholly dedicated to their performance. But they never get lost in themselves or in a sense of false profundity. Sha la la Oh Oh (or something to that effect, I apologise) is somehow unsurprising when, mid-set, a Kazoo takes a starring role.
From the audience pit, people are on shoulders and haplessly swaying sidewards as they jump. It is a sight the Kazimier has seen many times in the past, but made special by the very fact it is a new, largely unknown, band causing it. For all the lush backdrop and bright inflections of their music, there still lingers a prevailing blue: that of the Kazimier’s inevitable future. New bands stirring such huge reactions in this space are becoming increasingly endangered. This is no fault of KYC, Pink Kink or any of the band’s that played tonight, of course.
In fact, the night is another one which will endure in the memory of everyone present, now buzzing into the autumnal crisp of Wolstenholme Square. Perhaps the most succinct praise I can offer is that, from the very first moment I arrived, there was nowhere good left to bloody stand.