Timo Tierney has a point:“I don’t really see it being a change in direction, I’m still playing my guitar with me mates and we’re creating music that were all really into making.”

Well, he has a point, of sorts. But when one of the city’s best loved, straight-up rock’n’roll outfits evolves into a loops and synths act booked to play Creamfields, you know you’re looking at an evolution far more shape-shifting than Oasis to Beady Eye.

Whatever labels you care to throw at them, there’s no denying it – The Tea Street Band, formed from the embers of graffiti-rockers The Maybes? last summer, are making a much bigger noise these days. And it’s one SevenStreets wholeheartedly approves of.

“We just felt we needed an uplift,” Tierney says, “and upbeat euphoric music seemed to be an idea that we wanted to work towards. It wasn’t about change just for the sake of it. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in the past, we had ten great years…”

Somehow, though, despite the Maybes? critical success, the well-received album and nationwide tour, there’s a sense that the next few years are set to be even better. The band’s first single, the hypnotic rush of ‘Push The Feelin’, saw to that: setting their stall out in a defiant manner.

“We really couldn’t have asked for a better response,” Tierney says. “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the people who are coming to the gigs, and we’ve had great support from Bido Lito, Waxxx Mag and Harvest Sun, helping us to reach out to the right audience.”

We imagine any advance publicity is needed – if only to explain that, despite their name, The Tea Street Band are no fiddle-totin’ purveyors of barnstorming hoe-downs.

“Yeah, it’s good to let people know that we’re not a folk band!” Tierney admits.

And, with every new gig notched up, The Tea Street Band’s manifesto seeps ever deeper into the city’s musical consciousness. The band are living proof that guitars and dance music can forge a meaningful relationship in this musically divisive city.

“It’s hard to find the right nights to play and to play to the right audience,” Tierney admits. There’s always good bands in Liverpool. It’s what we breed, I suppose, but I’m just not in the mood for whacking me amp up, I just want to feel good. To be fair though I can’t think of any good rock and roll bands knocking around the city now,” he pauses… “Nah, nothing local has caught my imagination recently…”

Depressing? Not a bit of it. It’s this quest to forge something new, to re-write the rule book, that’s been the driving force behind most of this city’s sonic success stories.

Maybe that’s why, we ask, that despite the beat-driven loops, and squelching basslines, you’re not about to see the band disappear behind a glowing bank of laptops any time soon.

“We can’t afford them anyway!” Tierney admits.

“We like to mix it up. That’s why The Maybe’s were always rock’n’roll without the leathers and aggression.”

Citing the band’s use of drum pad’s instead of programmed beats, real instruments and songs borne out of ‘proper’ jams, Tierney makes a convincing argument that, maybe, they haven’t moved all that far at all. The point? The Tea Street Band may dream of electric sheep, but they still have a human heart.

“Nick and Dominic will always lock into a boss groove then maybe the guitars and the keys will combine to exchange melodies and chords. It’s the best way to do things it gives us all freedom. It’s about being happy, and playing in a band with your mates!”

Next up, the band plan to record an E.P (“We’re in the process of doing it at the minute. What’s it like? New, fresh and very eclectic.”)

The band’s eclecticism might be a result of the band’s diverse taste in influences…

“Shack are me favourite band,” Tierney says. “I think Mick Head is probably the best songwriter I’ve ever heard. James likes Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, I’d say Nick likes feelgood music, he’s a positive person so… Dom likes Tribal dance music…. Lee’s life has changed now he’s a Dad, so he probably loves Rod Stewart now…Nah, it’s great to see one of your mates so happy, it’s boss…” Tierney smiles.

If there’s one thing The Tea Street Band categorically prove – change is good.

And finally…

What’s right about Liverpool now?

Andy Carroll and Suarez and the new road on Hall Lane, Kensington it looks great although it’s not finished.

What’s wrong about Liverpool now?

Places like the Kensington Community Centre getting shut down and giving people in an area no where to go and socialise!
The Tea Street Band
Novas Centre as part of Threshold festival, 12 February

Bido Lito Social
Shipping Forecast, 17 February

pic: John Johnson

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