It was with some trepidation that SevenStreets headed down to the Kazimier on Saturday. This had nothing to do with what was in store once there, and everything to do with the rain and gale force winds awaiting us outside our front door. Frankly, turnout was a concern, but our fears were allayed: one of Liverpool’s most vibrant venues attracted a healthy number of hardy folk for this – hotly anticipated – first show of the year from Harvest Sun Promotions.

Local lads Owls* (apparently, they have the asterisk there because ‘it looks different’. Nice) got the night off to an encouraging start, combining strong musicianship with a satisfying assuredness to their set. The confidence wasn’t misplaced, with the boys bucking the trend of Liverpool bands playing forgettable jangly guitar pop in favour of a richer, more ambitious garage rock sound. Ones to watch.

There was a palpable sense of expectation for the next band. Indeed, Liverpool-based all girl trio Stealing Sheep were recently interviewed here ahead of their Valentine’s Day release of new EP ‘The Mountain Dogs’. The girls’ presence on stage brings with it a leavening effect, their brand of electro-folk providing a lift we hadn’t realised was missing so far. Working their way through a tight set, the Sheep charm and beguile their audience in equal measure, doubtless picking up an army of new fans along the way. On this evidence, Stealing Sheep walk the walk, and should surely be harbouring ambitions beyond settling for being a ‘name’ Liverpool band.

Perhaps it was this strong showing from the fresh and upbeat Stealing Sheep, but by the time Paul Marshall, aka Lone Wolf (not so lonesome as it turns out, supported by a full complement of band members) hit the stage, the mood had somehow dipped. While there could be no doubting the band’s finely tuned professionalism, and clear commitment to their craft, there remained a nagging sense that something was lacking. There is a certain dryness to the songs and delivery that is difficult to quantify, the set only really escaping this when Lone Wolf break into an old Scott Walker number – the band to their immense credit doing the song real justice. But after this we’re back down to earth and, come the end of the show, there is no shaking the feeling of having been left underwhelmed by the visiting team.

Review Mike Pinnington, pic Laura Robertson

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