Spector, Tom Low, Spring King: O2 Academy 2, Liverpool



As Spector play to a packed out O2 Academy 2, Getintothis’ Del Pike finds them perhaps a bit too similar to another indie band.

We’re not sure if it was a coincidence or sheer luck that Spector are touring bang in the middle of the much publicised new James Bond release, or whether it has even nudged the odd subconscious to leave the house on match night, but by the time they emerged onstage the room was packed.

They were ably supported tonight too. First up is Tom Low; a floppy haired keyboard player/vocalist, assisted by a couple of compliant guitarists. There was something instantly appealing about Tom Low, probably his shameless drive to be Paul McCartney, which works well in his defence. The post Beatles/early Wings breeziness that can also be detected in bands like Badfinger, Jellyfish and in Liam Gallagher’s more soppy moments are all evident here.

One word songs like Phone, Origami, Hunger and Cellular are delivered with chin up positivity and added bird twittering/twinkly bell sound effects that can only encourage huge grins all round. Any doubt as to Tom’s fan club yearnings for Macca can be dispelled as he bundles his keyboard leads into a Beatles holdall after the gig. The psychedelic blow out of the final song, “a song about Balloons” we are told, borrows heavily from Magical Mystery Tour’s distorted production and is followed in the break by Blue Jay Way from that very EP, which seems apt.

Post-punkers Spring King follow, a band who should possibly change their name to The Namedropper as we are reminded between every song by the ever cheerful drummer/lead vocalist, Tarek Musa of how great it is to hang out with Spector, what great drinking buddies they are, how great life has been on the road with them and how one of the band went to uni with one of Spector, “Fun Fact!”

Between these reminders hide some great little songs, all in the style of The Clash, basically. This leaves not a great deal else to say as they really do emulate that early Clash sound with frantic dub rock and high velocity shouting vocals. They offer little beyond this but are hugely enjoyable and appear to have brought a substantial fan base along with them. Fans particularly enjoy Mumma with its obvious sing-a-long aspect and new single, City offers the promise of a slight change of direction.

When Spector take to the stage we are immediately drawn to their white shirts and T shirts, they could be sponsored by Persil. Looking not unlike the piss-take band that Peace appear as in their video for Lost On Me. One of the engaging aspects of Spector is front man Fred MacPherson’s tweedy, twittish appearance, found somewhere in-between Matt Smith’s Doctor Who and Morrissey, but his current Post-Beatle Lennon hair and glasses look is less appealing and they lose some of their identity in the transition.

Bad Boyfriend is a great place to start with its recurring “Turning myself down” coda, the room is engaged immediately and remain so for the rest of the night. There’s nothing like a sing-a-long to get this lot going. Familiar favourites Stay High and Decade of Decay continue in this vein and before we know it fans are climbing onto amps, crowd surfing and swaying together like they’ve known each other for years.

The anthemic quality of these songs is infectious but the curse of Spector cannot be ignored – they just sound so much like The VaccinesTwenty Nothing and Chevy Thunder, even their names recall the tragi-bubblegum pop of that first Vaccines album. Before we have a chance to point the finger at them for being so damn obvious they break into a chorus of The VaccinesIf You Wanna. A white flag of surrender if ever there was one.

Fred likes to remind us that they are from London and often comes across as a bit of a posh boy, which doesn’t seem to irk anyone too much. He does however profess his love of Liverpool telling the crowd (whether they believe it or not) that Cocktail Party was written in Liverpool following a day at the docks… ”I went back to the Holiday Inn and fired up my laptop”. Hardly Keith Moon trashing whole hotel floors but we’re sure the rock and roll lifestyle still has its moments. Then it’s back down south with Don’t Make Me Try dedicated to all the Londoners tonight –“Try Not to Cry” pleads Fred. We don’t.

True Love comes across as a dreamy eyed classic, once again in the bubblegum mode of 50s pop and Spector wind down with guaranteed crowd pleasers Never Fade Away and Zane Lowe approved All the Sad Young Men. No encore tonight, just how we like it – a solid set of songs and the last train home. Spector have a strong following and attract a wide demographic. A woman in her fifties was heard to shout  as we left the venue “Its my fifth time seeing these…I prefer the Vaccines.”  Oh Liverpool, how we love you.

Photography by Getintothis’ Martin Waters.




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