Photography: Matt Owen

Tigers and Flies

  • +
  • The Pelican Band
  • Roy
Outpost 7/10/21

A hot and sweaty, low-ceilinged backroom in a city centre bar on a Thursday night is how TIGERS AND FLIES chose to make their debut live appearance in Liverpool, a city which partly plays home to their label Violette Records. It’s a fine choice to make too. As is so often the case with things touched by the dependable, trustworthy hand of Violette, it sold out in short time. A new, unknown band from Brighton via Manchester selling out their first show in Liverpool being a sure-fire indication that we can trust a recommendation from Violette to bring us something new, something of high standard.

The bar is set from the off with the staggered appearance onstage of THE PELICAN BAND, each introduced by their band name. We welcomed Poncho on guitar and Bash Bash on drums. Tinky Winky was presumably having to isolate. Pelican Band are the sort of people who make something so very beautiful look so very easy to do. They deliver their own-brand country folk almost without effort, it seems. The melodies chime with familiarity, we feel we’ve heard them before, and they’re warmed by close harmonies and sweet, fragile vocals. These are songs that conjure up sun-dried landscapes and heartbreak. The aching in songs such as Friends carries some of that loneliness, evoking the feeling that you’ve stayed in the same place while others have moved forward. It’s a familiar theme to many, and the many gathered in Outpost tonight find it utterly beguiling.


There follows a performance by ROY. Roy is not a poet.


TIGERS AND FLIES were formed in Brighton by three young men with a healthy interest in their parents’ record collections. They bonded over too many cups of tea and the heady smell of old vinyl and started to form their own ideas of what a band should sound like. At this point, we must all give thanks for the musical taste of their parents, because what Tigers and Flies have brought together in their sound is truly exciting. No hyperbole here. They are absolutely bound for bigger stages, we’d stake our stick of Brighton rock on it.

This is a band with all the angles of Gang of Four, all the bounce of Orange Juice and all the beguiling charm of early Pale Fountains, the last reference thanks to the addition of a stonking brass section adding lift, optimism, and joy.

When you buy the album, as we feel sure you should, you’ll find glory in tracks like Bat and Ball, a swaggering, brassy pub tale, with hooks aplenty. Seen here onstage at Outpost, we’re reminded of the musicality on offer, what Tigers and Flies do is so well developed, there’s knowledge and talent here which belies their years. Ben sounds like it could’ve been released by Cherry Red in 1984, and that is no bad thing. In fact, come to think of it, Tigers and Flies live is a thrill which features no bad things. Only the good. See them.

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