A festival, A Parade, Liar Liar, Josh Vine and James Leonard Hewitson – The Finsbury – March 10th 2020

When time allows, it’s always worth making the effort to get to a gig right from the kick-off. It’s also worth staying until the final whistle has been blown. Following such a principle certainly paid dividends on Tuesday evening up at The Finsbury when two acts from the North East book-ended a Killing Moon’s New Moons bill with startling skill.

Up first was James Leonard Hewitson and band. Hailing from Hartlepool, this young four piece make a fine racket; a bubblegum post-punk that draws obvious influence from Jonathan Richman and The Ramones before veering away from that course with Gang Of Four like noise.  James could double as Josh Widdecombe but don’t let that put you off. They’re promoting an album and, on first listen, the songs transition into a live setting well. The thrusting complacency within ‘Shy of Hard Work’ gives way to ‘The Screen’, a song about looking at your mobile too much, before James jumps from the stage and plays his prostate guitar from the floor. A great way to kickstart the evening. 

 

Josh Vine doesn’t have the comfort of a full band and it’s arguably a challenge to follow one but with an electric guitar and a rich, strong rock voice he has a damn good try. Though not entirely my thing, it would be churlish to not see that this tall lad has talent. A smidge of Springsteen-like influence is discernible in Josh’s best tune, ‘The Losing Side’.

 

Liar Liar take a while to get into their stride. Perhaps the initial technical hitches get in the way but when they do all press go it all seems off kilter. A trio, it’s not obvious what they want to be with two hirsute chaps providing instrumentation over which a girl sings. The chaps want to rock when the songs might be better treated to less bang and clutter. The sexy, slap-laden funk of a tune that might be called ‘ I don’t want to take it easy with you’ hits some heights but ultimately I expect that Liar Liar will have better days than this.

A festival, A Parade have been steadily raising their profile and it’s clear to see why. With guitars and effect pedals a-plenty, the lads from Newcastle have more kit than kat and provide a fine take on Americana indie-rock. The National influences are there for all to see but I pick out more than a faint nod to Murmur era R.EM.. Things get intense when a e-bow is utilised on the lead guitar but the songs continue to stand up to scrutiny. Their complete sound and confident performance will win them many more  fans in festival fields this summer.

That’s if we don’t all die first. Let’s hope that’s not the case eh?