Saturday 12th November 2011

White Heath, Mervin Gersh, Run/Lucky/Free, Maydays


They open with a thumping Rolling Stones tom drum and Beach Boys harmonies, matched with what sounded like Eagles lyrics – “lines on the mirrors, lines on their faces…” They filter California sunshine through the drizzle of Britain, epitomised by ‘Eternal Optimist’, warning that despite a cheery outlook, “You might find yourself on the shelf.”

Along with a standard two-guitar/bass/drums set-up, they complete the instrumentation with a Hammond organ, which they use sparingly. Or maybe it’s just not turned up enough. In any case, they sound good – like homemade Houmous for your ears.

The singer wears black jeans and polo neck. Very 60s chic, which is slightly odd when you match it with 90s indie, much like a heavier Belle and Sebastien or Aberfeldy. The Kooks, effectively. Nonetheless, they are superb at the job of being musicians – faultlessly polite with the soundman, and good at promoting their Bandcamp – download some songs there.



Another singer dressed in black – this time in a t-shirt/dress and leggings, finishing off the look with a crucifix necklace. She has a stunning voice – enough bite to cut through the other instruments, but enough body to back it up.

Meanwhile, the band confound what at first sounds like standard 4-4 driving balladry with interesting instrumentation and occasional unusual time signatures. The drums are constantly in motion with snare paradiddles. Meanwhile the guitar produces beautiful, swirling tones. It sounds like Incubus at times, complete with all the inventiveness.

They present a compelling show – stunning female vocals and a rock solid backing. Look out for these.


Mervin Gersh

A joyous, riotous racket. They look spectacular, mixing novelty porkpie hats, waistcoats, and what may have been intended to be a pirate headband, but instead looks positively Python-esque. The man who cannot be bettered is the trumpet player, resplendent in dinner suit, tartan bow tie and matching hankercheif. The dress is telling of their approach – they are a joy to watch as well as hear. They have clearly done their time in Liverpool pubs, and bring with them not only significant experience, but a sizeable following as well. The Scouser bonhomie is complemented with excellent promo work – look up ‘Home Again’ on Youtube.

Their sound is somewhere around ‘Smooth’ era Santana, but with more gay abandon. Even their tuning-up is more entertaining than most bands will ever be – the drummer and bassist have a jam, while the trumpet player tells a joke. You can’t help but warm to a band that would clearly be fantastic drinking buddies. On ‘Same Old Saturday’ they reveal their hometown roots – it sounds like ‘Love Me Do’ vs ‘Rocky Racoon’. If only The Beatles were this much fun.

To sum up, here’s some testimony from devoted fan Megan:

“A fuckin riot, tell it like it is la these guys know it f to the u to the n know it la and getting it on yeh lid like tell me ma omegad like its friction amazon go an buy their tunes like now or ill deck ya ma”


White Heath

Suited and booted with intent. Their’s is a glorious menagerie of sound comprising super-fuzz guitar, violin, keyboards, trombone and our singer pounding the living hell out of a floor-tom. But, what gives effectiveness is the ability to drop the intensity in an instant – it makes the the loud bits louder and adds importance to vocal delivery. Indeed, the singer is replete with Mark E Smith gurning and intensity.

The real strength is the bits they don’t play – quite typically, only two of the many instruments on stage will be playing together. The space shows real confidence in the songs, and lets them breathe. It turns a standard delivery into a performance.

Also effective is the unpredictability of the songs – they seem positively schizophrenic at times. We waltz between lullaby and danse macabre, but they are underpinned by strong melodic themes, and this ties everything together.

An assured performance from a band that simply grows with every outing. You’ll be seeing them on Jools.


To end the night, a final word from our sponsor….

Amazing Yorkshire lass, Laura: “This is my first experience of the Voodoo Rooms and being a true Yorkshire lassie, I am very impressed. Tonight I have discovered that Irn-Bru is the national drink and outsells coca-cola, it also is a delight with vodka. As I write this I am on m 5th and the E numbers are controlling my brains (yes that is plural, I am a clever girl!). Now I am enjoying the tunes and it is time to do some more spotty dogs on the stage! If you need me, I will be the nutter in the middle of the dance floor! Over and out from the Yorkshire girl! Big up the Yorkshire MASSIF!!!! “

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