‘Evil Is Is Always One Step Behind’ was a recent and ‘Bodies’ an earlier introduction, but a simple reminder outside the venue earlier that day was enough to get focused and ready to even enthuse a little. It had been an hectic day, even my football team lost again, A night in Sunderland city centre watching Pale Seas et al, represents the perfect tonic, I’ve never found any answers from the bottom of a glass. Sadly tonight marks the 10th anniversary of John Peel’s passing and I’m saddened that Jack Bruce also is now no longer with us, Fair to say that upstairs at the Independent in comfortable surroundings feels where I should indeed be, enjoying music.
The only hitch of the night was that only one of a possible 4 of Sunderland’s Montagues turned up to begin with, later to be joined by the bassist Connor for a couple of songs. Luckily for all the one member was singer Liam who made a valiant attempt to open the night’s proceedings and before the covers, he did not sound too bad, but the original band songs easily worked better. Guess it was a gig too far for the indie-rockers Montagues tonight. 7/10
Singer-songwriter Trev Gibb played an entertaining strong half hour set. After ten year playing live, it’s clear from the start his comfortable in his own skin, his obvious talents betrayed that he forgot to bring a tuner, so inbetween songs everything was by ear, a pain in one sense that most of his set had alternate guitar settings, a minor problem. The future looks good with the airing of new track ‘Skinny Arms’ which will appear on a February EP, songs like the healthy ‘Primitive Horses’ or ‘The Last Greatest Psychedelic Band’ are delivered and played well, any song that cites band like Jefferson Airplane, Billie Holiday and the Penguin Cafe in the lyrics wins me over by default. ‘I Can’t Stop Thinking Of You’ also persuades. It comes as a surprise that he is not playing tents at many a festival, at the very least something like the Cambridge Folk Festival, Bestival and the like, seems like a no-brainer after a quality set. 8.8/10
Pale Seas tonight’s headliners are a tight south coast quartet, promoting their enjoyable ‘Places to Haunt’ debut EP (above) and far more besides. ‘Animal Tongue’ a song I had not heard before was quickly followed by early highlight of ‘Wicked Dreams’ from the aforementioned EP. then to a favourite, ‘Bodies’ sounds as good as ever live, and I for one am starting to feel in safe hands. the Southampton based band try out a new song in ‘Deep Sea Diver’ that goes well. ‘Blood Return’ goes by before seductive three song blend that should convince the majority of their chemistry. ‘Star Gazing’ bleeds into ‘My Own Mind’ then show finale ‘Evil Is Always One Step Behind’ is a match winner, which seals an impressive set, seems that pale seas star is rising. 8.8/10