Rue Royale, Silent Sleep, Richie Vegas: Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool
Mellowtone kicks off 2013 at Leaf on Bold Street with two acts exuding an altogether different take on folk melancholia, Getintothis Sam Roberts leaves positively uplifted.
Mellowtone has been steadily building a reputation for exquisite nights of live music in Leaf's laidback setting and they kicked off 2013 with another belter.
Liverpool's Silent Sleep and Anglo-American duo Rue Royale delivered the goods alongside long standing resident Richie Vegas manning the decks.
With an air of vulnerability, Rue Royale's husband and wife duo of Brookln and Ruth Dekker open with Guide to an Escape which sets the tone for rest of the evening.
Brookln's voice is sometimes soft, sometimes rustic, but always on the money and is supported beautifully by his wife's textured tones.
Juggling around five instruments, including the keyboard and snare drum, Ruth applies a meticulous charm which is almost scientific in its approach.
Each song sounds so complex and layered that as it built to its climax, the music seemed to physically expand from the stage and reach every corner of the room.
Highlights include UFO, where Brookln displayed his more powerful vocals, and We'll Go On Alright which had even the sofas tapping their feet.
The duo bravely showed some of their nameless work in progress which displayed a departure from the high-art tone of their music to a more pop-oriented style. This was not a bad thing, it sounded intriguing and clever.
Silent Sleep at Leaf
Earlier in the evening, Chris McIntosh took to the stage alone with his guitar to open the evening, before the full strength of Silent Sleep joined him.
Seven of them in total, playing everything from the drums to the xylophone, Silent Sleep are a force to be reckoned with.
Onstage they look quite the dysfunctional family, musicians of all ages thrown together a bit haphazardly but it works surprisingly well with the use of trumpet ,in particular, adding plenty of character and an almost movie-like grandeur.
The set consisted (as McIntosh unabashedly confessed) of songs about heartbreak, loss and betrayal - It Breaks Me and Black Tide were just some of the cheery song titles thrown about.
Down to earth and armed with a mocking humour, the power of Silent Sleep lies in the simplicity and accessibility of their songs; lyrically and structurally, while at the same time demonstrating clever phrasing and dexterity.
Their music does little to push the proverbial boundaries, but the band is a more than welcome asset Liverpool music.
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