FOR SEVEN STREETS MAGAZINE
Rhodes is a musical talent you may not have heard of until recently. The five-piece indie rock outfit played a stellar set at Mello Mello on Friday 30th September to finish off a week-long national tour, with ear-ringingly impressive results. They just released an EP with Liverpool’s original E.D.i.L.S. Records alongside the talents of Moonlit Sailor and Elk, and are now heading back into the shadows of songwriting.
Built on lifelong friendships, the group’s synergy onstage truly brings this sentiment alive. Newly reunited with their singer, Alan Croft, who spent the past year on the West Coast of British Columbia, the group rocked out together and delivered one of the most blisteringly loud gigs I’ve experienced. In fact, two days later, the ears are still ringing.
Drummer Michael Davies, despite his off-stage reserve, lets loose on his kit and brings to mind the mathematical side of his craft, with technical beats and jams. Bassist Jon Papavasiliou performs fluidly and dynamically on his chosen weapon, and with the half Greek connotation it’s hard to put Poseidon out of your mind when you’re watching him perform. Guitarists Aaron Noroozi and Michael Connor might have a bit of rivalry going on, staunchly placed on opposite sides of the stage, but the melding of their distorted, melodic sounds is an act of love.
Rhodes is a band that, despite their complex rhythms and math-rock tendencies, they manage to offset the brainy aspects of music writing by fleshing out natural sounds and rich harmonies. Caught somewhere between the brainy tendencies of Foals, and the catchiness of Two Door Cinema Club, their polished sound is bound to take these boys far.
FOR BIDO LITO MAGAZINE
The Velcro Teddybears
EP Release Party @ Leaf
Unexpectedly for the passerby, Leaf Tea Shop is a gorgeous place for a deafeningly loud punk show. Hosting THE THESPIANS’ debut EP release party, TWENTYTHREE/FOUR/ELEVEN, the place was buzzing with the addictive afterglow of vicious rock and roll that left everyone’s ears ringing on Bold Street.
Openers THE VELCRO TEDDYBEARS delivered a soulful set, rich with the bucolic feel of their rural hometown, Penistone. The duo, Chaddy (Vocals, Guitar) and Griff (Guitar), met in grammar school during a time when the music of the Spice Girls and Take That were dominating the charts, and their music is a spirited, jaunty kind of rebellion rife with schoolboy charm. Singing tales of corrupting posh young girls, the acoustic plucking lulled the listeners into a full fledged experience of the eclectic countryside and the mischeif that sometimes happens there. One particularly bluesy song, Mad Man by the River, had vocalist Chaddy crooning about the local drunk who provided endless entertainment for the village children. Despite his slender frame and boyish good looks, Chaddy’s powerful vocals sounded like something that could have been belted out by a 20 stone trucker.
Headliners The Thespians are a different breed altogether. The Liverpool punk quartet shredded it with their special blend of revolutionary fervour and intellectual spirit of rebellion that somehow gives off an air of composure and nonchalance all at once. Self-described as “young ruffians making music,” the band channels the intensity of vintage UK punk, but with a brazen social consciousness and sensitivity far beyond their years.
Frontman and rhythm guitarist Paul Thespian’s voice, despite the oft-abrasive lyrical content, remains velvety and rich, bringing to mind the lusciousness of Julian Casablancas. With contemplative lyrics like “am I too young to fight/ too young to die/ too young to fall in love,” The Thespians are deeply self-reflective and sensitive of their social context. While it’s almost expected for a brooding punk group to express apathy and the feeling that life’s just “so so,” The Thespians escape the cliché by remaining instrospective and socially aware.
Guitarist Jess Branney, who also provides melodic vocals, brings a sexy feminine touch to this otherwise testosterone-heavy outfit, with Danny Hall drumming furiously like a machine and bassist Phil Gornall not being afraid of getting a bit crazy. Alltogether, they are a great-looking band and have a natural synergy onstage despite the fact that they’ve only been together for a year.
Coupled with huge talent and a tendency for chaos, The Thespians are sure to garner even more attention with their honest, emotionally charged music that defines this time in Liverpool music.