Monday 3 July 2017

LIINES / Scarlet / Katie O'Malley - Manchester Gullivers - 2nd July 2017

Sonder Fest took place last weekend over three nights in Manchester's Northern Quarter. We headed to Gulliver's on Sunday night to catch three very contrasting but excellent performances by Katie O'Malley, LIINES and Scarlet.

First up is Katie, performing both solo and with her band a set of songs that have love as their central theme as she tells us whilst introducing them. It's her voice though that makes her stand out, expressively caressing the words she's singing and imparting them with the sense that you're living the songs with her. There's no airs and graces; the band are understated in their approach which again simply accentuates the fragile beauty of songs like To Be A Woman and If You Let Me.

Next up are LIINES and this is the first time we've seen them since the departure of bassist Steph. Tamsin from Mr Heart has stepped in (temporarily) to the breach and does an admirable job in both retaining the spirit and intent of the songs whilst adding her own style to them. The set is made up of songs from their forthcoming debut album - some familiar like singles Be Here, Disappear, Blackout and set closer Never There, others less so. The likes of Shallow, Hold Your Breath and Never Wanted This however leave us convinced that we're in album of the year contender territory here.

LIINES are all about a brutal centrifugal force whipped up by Leila's through the pain barrier drumming that sets the beat over which Zoe's guitar shrieks out jagged piercing shapes whilst Tamsin's bass twists and turns songs in a heartbeat. The power of what the three of them create contrasts with the vulnerability of some of the heart on the line lyrics that Zoe breathlessly reveals to us. LIINES are a genuinely special band, following their own path with a dedicated core of fans that should be much bigger than it is.

The same applies to Scarlet, the four piece led by Jessie Robinson. Their debut album Effigy has been released in Japan and crowdfunding but now sits precisely nowhere on the internet due to the machinations of the business. It's a travesty because Scarlet are one of the most genuinely engaging, intelligent and fun bands out there.

Jessie pours every inch of her heart and soul into their six song set even though there's only around twenty people in the room and her bandmates, including their stand in drummer Tom who does a fine job, all let loose in their own particular way but it all comes together gloriously on Effigy's lead single Your Control, the magnificently energetic My Way and the fabulously titled Who Left The Iron On? Our friends, who stayed on our recommendation / insistence, are mightily (and not easily) impressed. Scarlet deserve so much more than they've been given so far, but hopefully their time will come.

LIINES' official website can be found here.  They are also on TwitterFacebook and Soundcloud.

Scarlet are on Facebook and Twitter.

Katie O'Malley is on Facebook and Twitter.

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