Liverpool is a city full of rooms that are hidden gems and we found another last night. Well, it’s a room that is used every week for something quintessentially Scouse, to be fair. However, the cabaret, karaoke and live cover bands that pack out the back room of ‘The Big House’ each Saturday and Sunday offer a very different fayre to what was in the air on Lime Street last night.
Seafoam Green, the Americana outfit led by Dublin-born, Liverpool-based Dave O’Grady, continued their steady march towards a much-anticipated debut album with a gig that defined cool. The vibe was cool, the instruments were cool, the five-piece band were cool and the songs meandered on melodies that get to where they want to go in their own time. It was like punk never happened. In a good way…
Musicianship and craft are not dirty words and, in surroundings that brought San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom and ‘The Last Waltz’ to mind, Seafoam Green gave a masterclass in riffs and restraint, reminiscent of The Band. The drums played notes and not just beats, the bass was authoritative and in the pocket, while the lead guitar was scintillating at times. Indeed, guitarist Adrian Gautrey excelled on triple duties – impressing on watertight pedal steel and raging Hammond organ, too. Talk of telecasters, steel guitar lines and organs bring thoughts of ‘The Last Waltz’ front and centre again… as did the beautiful harmonies displayed throughout the band’s 45 minute set.
Covers of The Band and John Prine sat superbly well within said set, the pace set by the languid frontman and his west coast vibe. O’Grady is back and forth to the US these days, working alongside Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes fame, and the former ‘Hard To Handle’ rockers are a good reference point for Seafoam Green, as they move from groove-based rockers to country laments with ease and precision.
The Irish songwriter has surrounded himself with class and this latest decision to rejuvenate the grand old ballroom in The Vines for a showcase was inspired. Sure, the lights were low and the sound wasn’t pristine, but the atmosphere and performance more than made up for that. After all, true perfection has to be imperfect…
Mellowtone and Seafoam Green present ‘The Last Waltz’
Friday November 25th 2016, The Music Room, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
Pic by Martin Saleh