Live (The Little Flames)
Having sat on the cold stone steps of Southampton Guildhall for some 15 minutes while waiting for my mate to turn up, I decided to grab some fliers off of the collection of band hangers-on in order to avoid an embarrassing doctors appointment in the morning.
Some colourful Zutons postcards, a sticker for the band I had just missed and an invitation to a ‘massive dance night’ are all laid out in front of me. However, with no intention of doing anything with these glossy bits of paper, except recycle them of course, my mate turns up I finally entered the Guildhall just in time to catch the second band of the night, Liverpool’s The Little Flames.
Things were choppy in the first track, which was promising indeed with it’s pick and mix of 80s punk, rock and roll and 90s alternative. Eva Petersen’s vocal got an unintentional Siouxie Sioux flavour, thanks to the incredible echo bouncing off of the myriad of flat surfaces the Guildhall had on offer.
The performance wasn’t bad, but it could have been a bit more engaging – it never hurts to make a bit of a connection with the crowd and to do that, you probably need to get a lot closer to them and maybe even make eye contact. It’s not a major problem for this band, as there was still plenty going on, but I’m pretty sure they would have won more people over with a few brief visits to the edge of the stage.
The up tempo tracks were really working out well, but the corker of the night was ‘Put Your Dukes Up John’, which, unlike the rest of the set, utilised all the backing vocals that The Little Flames had to offer – and they sung their big hearts out.
The Zutons appeared in a dramatic curtain raising moment and worked the crowd from start to finish (‘Why Don’t You Give Me Your Love’ to ‘Confusion’) with a mobile performance and a series of cracking songs. The new material takes a slightly heavier path than their first album, but the jazzy indie-pop is still at the heart of their sound.
The big sing-along moment came with ‘You Will, You Won’t’, which was slightly interrupted for me by the strange ‘masturbation-dance’ being performed by the chap in front of me, who was so caught up in the music he didn’t quite realise what it looked like he was doing, but this didn’t detract from distinct and energetic climax of the show.
The Zutons seem to be doing very well while remaining arguably underplayed on radio stations and music television alike (in fact, I’d only ever seen their most recent video on Saturday morning television before this show.)
I left the venue with an inherent sense of optimism. Music can be daring without being self-indulgent, harmonious and intellectual without being boring.
Written by Fenton on