Only the brave and the stupid actually promote gigs… So to promote an entire festival you’d have to be braveheart and completely insane… The likes of Andy Gilbert, Krystian Yeah Buddy and company are absolutely bonkers… May their insanity continue…

Liverpool Calling, as is with similar events (Sound City, Focus Wales) are the best festivals you can attend… Venues dotted around the city, all weatherproof and accessible, no trudging through mud or worrying about your tent being robbed…

I’ve documented before about scenes and the need for people to run them… It only takes a small collective and this is what’s happening in Liverpool right now… It’s like a hardcore-grunge scene and Liverpool Calling allowed the organisers to invite the bands they like from around the UK. The headliners were Pulled Apart By Horses and The Wytches – gig commitments prevented us from seeing them. However we were blessed the first night by what I’d happily state was the best line up I’ve seen for years (if not ever).


From Crapsons to Sweet Deals On Surgery, every band we saw jumped out of the top drawer of quality and we gorged on their musical flesh and bones.
Crapsons [pic above by Tracey Howarth] were the first band of the opening evening, Andy Gilbert is one half of them and is involved with organising Liverpool Calling. Andy was evidently on pins, hoping the event was / is running smoothly, and he did question why he put themselves on the bill… I’m glad he did…
In the cavernous depths of EBGB’s this two-piece scally hating noise duo kicked in with Checking In To A&E, a song about people who check in on Facebook to A&E in order to get likes so friends can ask ‘What’s up hun?’ The semi-irony was that we couldn’t actually check-in to EBGB’s as the doors were locked..! We listened to this song outside! – Once the mistake was realised, we poured downstairs and joined the party atmosphere. Balloons and banners adorn the stage as Andy and Mike thrash out their humorous social commentary aided by a distorted bass and floor tom. They complete their fine set with You Don’t Know When You’re Going To Die, a philosophical statement I now quote when people ask where do I find the energy to do what I do…


Next door and in the basement of The Jacaranda, London’s Exoskeletons are making a beautiful psychedelic-grunged-up noise. They are here to make things better and possess bags of energy as they hammer out their disjointed songs strewn with shouty choruses and loud guitars. There’s a Seattle feel about them, about the whole evening… (website)


The line-up determines that Jacaranda is going to be the main port of call tonight and Society Of Losers signees Wife are so good, I’d happily be their spouse! I love this band; the pissed-off couldn’t give a fuck stance of the singer, the bleeding screaming of that guitar and the drum killer behind the kit. Wife are deep in Nirvana territory without actually stepping over any headless corpses and they are quite simply deathly divine. (bandcamp)


On the same roster as Wife come Forever In Debt, the advice was ‘You’ve gotta see them’ and their freshly released ‘Forget Me Knot EP’ demanded we saw them. There’s a buzz around the venue, kinetic energy seers from the stage through the crowd. Forever In Debt are bouncing off the walls, flailing limbs, screeching guitars and dripping sweat… Forever In Deaf would be more fitting, it was so loud. When you come from Widnes you have a reason to be this excited every time you manage to break from the border and run… FiD are on full throttle, the tank is full of gas and they’re spearheading the biggest motorway pile up in living memory. The bald head and moustache of the singer/guitarist brings up an image of a cartoon villain (the one with an eye-patch that’s riveted on). It doesn’t get much better than this… You can kill me now…


We take a wrong turn and end up in Phase One, Strange Bones take the stage by storm, it’s like Prodigy with punk guitars. The audience is big and the band lit the touchpaper and rocketed through their set, crowd surfing, stage diving and bruising. It’s good, but not my thing really, not tonight… Had I seen them at their own gig, I’d have lapped it all up, but the yearning of the low ceiling of The Jacaranda and blistering guitars was too much.


Chambers 
heeded that call. Only caught the final three songs from this two-piece sister-doom band from Manchester and Leeds. They had an array of guitar pedals and a caterwaul sound… They’re loud, fast and possess a ferocious side that makes you feel threatened. I like feeling threatened like this.


From Manchester, Sweet Deals On Surgery have us sucking on a fanny pack waiting for our tastebuds to grow back. They’re a Brian Jonestown Husker Du massacre where all the torn bits of brain and bones have been reassembled in to some kind of subhuman form and been made to play songs. Those songs are agitated and sometimes deranged. The cheeky looking bassist kept ribbing the drummer, almost to the point of them arguing; it was funny to watch and added, rather than distracted from the music. With song titles like Elvis Costello Is A Wanker and 100% Hitler Free you know you’re in for a good ride… (bandcamp)