- Brad Stank
On the opening track of their second album Las Dunas BEACH SKULLS plead, “Sun, when will you come?” The Liverpool surf-rock trio are ensuring the California sunshine returns this summer with their follow up to 2016’s Slow Grind.
Away from the sunshine and first on in the dimly-lit basement of The Shipping Forecast we have the most politically charged act of the night in EYESORE AND THE JINX. Despite only releasing one single, Gated Community, the Liverpool post-punk trio are a tight outfit, blending the ferocious rockabilly punk of The Gun Club with Peter Hook-esque basslines. Vocalist and bassist Josh Miller leads the band through whiplash-inducing time changes like the jolt of an aging roller coaster. The band is able to rocket between breakneck blues-tinged punk and a screwed up 1950s twist with incredible precision. The highlights of the set are a rendition their furious single and Shitbag, the band’s answer to Nazi Punks Fuck Off by the Dead Kennedys. It is always a pleasure to see punk alive and kicking in 2018.
Trudy And The Romance’s drummer Brad Mullins has a work ethic to be admired. In between touring with Trudy, Brad has been steadily dropping tracks for his solo dream-funk project BRAD STANK which sees him out from behind the kit to play his first Liverpool show tonight. Brad takes things down a notch, delivering neo-soul soaked grooves that serve as the perfect soundtrack for a smoky post-sex cry. Wearing an Erykah Badu T-shirt and lefty Strat in hand, Brad and band drift through singles Pond Weed, Daddy Blue, and O.T.D; lazy grooves comparable to Homeshake, but stretching further to 1970s jazz and soul influences. The set culminates with a steamy rendition of his slow jam Flirting In Space, which exploded online since its release last year. Brad’s unique brand of lo-fi baby-making music translates extremely well out of the bedroom and onto the stage and he’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Channelling the 1960s psychedelia of The 13th Floor Elevators and shoving it through a cathedral-sized amount of reverb, Beach Skulls start with the slow-burner Ain’t Easy, akin to the dream pop of The XX’s Intro, albeit with the dark, beachy vibe that the band’s name suggests. Both Ain’t Easy and new single That’s Not Me, the second song tonight, share an insanely catchy guitar riff prompting those at the front to join in a sing-along.
The set is a mix of old and new, including some of the fan favourites that helped them carve out their sound on the first record, such as Heavy Pound and Baby’s A Liar. The band is never fixed on one tempo and the set is filled with wild time changes, which gives the set a spontaneous, almost punk feel. The highlight comes from the ballad Love And Sex for which they enlist the help of backing singer Lara Boundy to perform Brian Wilson style vocal harmonies. It’s a clear crowd favourite, despite only being released two weeks earlier. For me, Las Dunas is the sound of Liverpool’s summer.