Live at The Cluny, Newcastle
Sunderland folkies Lilliput made the short trip to Newcastle’s Cluny 2 to open up tonight, clean-cut, clinical and with an air of laddish swagger, they roll out a barrage of unyielding vocal harmonies that would make Mumford & Sons blush. I’d go so far as to say that if you love vocal harmonies then you’ll love this band, and if you don’t you most probably won’t. On the odd occasions where they move away from this formula, like on new song “All Honesty” which is a cut above the rest with its superior melody and killer guitar hook, they really show what they are capable of. In contrast, H. Hawkline is a revelation in the middle support slot, looking like a young Bob Dylan and sounding a lot like Jonathan Richman, he has an arsenal of captivating material to match his undoubted charisma. What starts off as an intimate solo performance ends with the entire Cate Le Bon band (which also includes Stephen Black AKA Sweet Baboo and Andy Fung) joining in for some inspired semi-improvised garage rock. The onstage banter would suggest that they are ill prepared for many of the songs that get an airing tonight but they sound great nonetheless. Everyone changes instruments for Cate Le Bon’s set but there’s the same sense of mischievous fun amongst the band. The raucous garage clout which littered her last few releases is particularly effective in such an intimate live space, at times they sound like The Beatles at their raw and daring best especially on tracks like “Julia” and “Seaside, Low Tide”, the latter with its astonishingly intense guitar shredding. They climax with “What Is Worse” (a particular highlight from the marvellous CYRK II) and a beautiful solo rendition of “Greta”.