This HEALTH article was written by Lorna Gray, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Sam Forsdick. Lead photo by www.sig-photogaphie.com
If there’s one thing that makes Liverpool Music Week stand out from other inner city festivals, it’s their carefully curated lineups; they put bands together that just make sense. Alternative L.A group HEALTH played an extensive back catalogue of euphoric anthems with grunge undertones and were joined by the best of Liverpool’s electronic and alternative acts, creating a unique night of danceable yet noisy tracks. The scouse stereotype of acoustic guitar and catchy singsong lyrics can be forgotten, so long Merseybeat; Liverpool Music Week is here to show that Liverpool’s a city with a variety of versatile sounds.
Dressed all in white, Liverpool’s own eccentric contemporary group A.P.A.t.T. started off the night with a sound that can only be described as Madness on acid. Heavy drones of guitar and distinctive drumbeats are clashed with softer tones of keys, synth, flute and violin and their unique take on pop-y dance music is completed with a jazzy saxophone. The audience didn’t seem sure what to make of this complete assault on the senses, but one thing is for certain, and that’s how talented each member of the group is. They frequently swapped instruments and still playedd each one flawlessly. No two songs sounded the same as they indulge in a number of genres, keeping an unexpecting audience on their toes, from ska-punk style beats to heavy metal guitars. The set ended with a complete surprise in their cover of Hall and Oate‘s ‘Maneater’, which had the crowd joining in with the woah-oh’s.
As two drum kits were set up parallel to each other, fans of the Liverpool music scene knew what was coming next, yet they still shared excitement with those who didn’t know what to expect. As the venue became completely packed out and the space near the stage filled, electronic trio Barberos took to the stage sporting their signature morph suits (I don’t know if HEALTH missed the fancy dress memo). The trio ripped through fast paced, distorted synth melodies of beeps and trills while the two drummers alternated between playing in perfect sync with each other, and playing separate beats that compliment each other. The overall effect is a monstrous takeover of percussion. The combination of complex drumbeats and dark, dirty, electronic sounds made their set a heavy affair that is enough to make your ears bleed.
There’s not much time to recover though as finally, it’s time for L.A pioneers of noise HEALTH to show Liverpool that anything you can do, they can do better, and louder. The four-piece were received with cheers and applause almost as loud as the noisy music. They kicked off their set with Crystal Castles collaborated track ‘Crimewaves’ but in the live setting the song took an alternative heavy spin that made it almost unrecognizable. Popular tracks such as ‘Die Slow’ were performed with great attention to detail and not a single pulse was missed with bassist, John Famiglietti swinging his head and flicking his hair from side to side to the steady beats in an almost hypnotic way. The band then stopped abruptly and nodded at each other before front man and beau of Alice Glass, Jupiter Keyes said, “we were going to go off and come back on to do an encore but this stage is so difficult to get around” before once again smashing through another mix of heavy guitar, noisy electronica and effect drenched vocals. Health performed an entirely intense and impressive set that left the crowds’ ears ringing yet still wanting more.