True Widow deliver luxuriant melodic interplay between bass and guitar, Getintothis’ Nick Lodge pops his cherry on a dirty yet uplifting experience.
Texan trio True Widow are new to Getintothis‘ ears; their slowcore melodic grind ducking beneath our radar, until now.
They’re an intriguing proposition, and it speaks volumes for bookers Bam! Bam! Bam!, and Liverpool itself as a desirable destination for ambitious bands, that they can bring a group this niche almost 5,000 miles to play in The Ship‘s cellar.
I’m So Tired sings frontman Dan Phillips on the opening number, the 33 1/3 RPM pace masking a sweet tune. By the song’s end they seem on the verge of dropping off. Conversely, my eyes are being slowly opened.
The band consist of well-groomed singer/guitarist Phillips, although the tattoos creeping from beneath his sleeves suggest a less clean-cut history, Nicole Estill on bass, rocking the classic look in black leather, and drummer ‘Slim’ Tim Starks sporting some impressive facial hair.
Together they create slow motion rock that is brooding, swaggering, languorous, sweet and menacing by turns. It’s mesmerising stuff, and the crowd nod along, gripped by some seriously strong aural narcotics.
True Widow playing live at The Shipping Forecast
As with many a three-piece, Estill‘s bass is more than just a rhythm instrument, taking the lead on some songs, regularly leaving the band and the audience quaking in its wake.
Occasionally they resemble a half-asleep Nirvana, at other times the songs are dirge-like, full of dread. Phillips could be singing about feeding the ducks for all we can make out, but if that’s the case we’d be pretty wary of accepting his offerings too readily.
Towards the end of the set the relentless tug of these dark songs threatens to overwhelm and pull us under, but a chink of light appears in the shape of Estill‘s softly sweet vocal. Her nursery rhyme rhythm offers refuge as she momentarily takes the lead from Phillips, and delivers something you could conceivably hum on the way home.
It would be an unrepresentatively upbeat end to the show, so the heavy chords return, played at volume, and plunging us back into the gloomy half light, and True Widow‘s ambiguous nature. And our patience is again rewarded, as the deceptive tunefulness of their songwriting is revealed once more, and we’re sent away sated, but intrigued.
These slow songs demand to be heard again, digested properly. Our patience will reveal their virtue.
Earlier in the proceedings, Buffalo Riot provide a stampede of guitars, peddling pleasant, country-tinged tunes whose spiritual homes lie on the American plains. There’s some skilful harmonising, but this is essentially AOR, a UK take on US guitar-based rock.
Buffalo Riot playing live at The Shipping Forecast
Broken DC playing live at The Shipping Forecast
London outfit Broken DC‘s spiritual home could well be Seattle, and home to legendary Sub Pop Records.
Incidental rock trivia corner: Drummer Ben Savigear once played for All About Eve in one of their later incarnations.
Their menacing instrumentals, interspersed with occasional angry-sounding vocals, at times bring to mind Afghan Whigs, despite guitarist Ivona Behalova‘s great Johnny Ramone impression, hair curtaining her face as she and frontman Kevin Williams create a maelstrom of electrified fretwork, studded with moments of dexterity, subtlety and melody to wrong-foot the listener.
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Tomas Adam
Further reading on Getintothis:
Liverpool Sound City 2014: Getintothis presents Jon Hopkins and stellar Merseyside show at Nation
INKbeat: 24 Kitchen Street, Liverpool
Woods: With Light And With Love
Linda Perhacs returns from wilderness for Liverpool show at Leaf