I had the pleasure of attending the first of what’s planned to be a new series of nights in Liverpool showcasing a mixture of local bands and those on tour. There is a strange atmosphere tonight as one may expect during the unprecedented times, we are all currently enduring. I am left retrospectively questioning my passion for supporting a local promoter’s fresh outing and the need for a night of entertainment, time will tell how great a decision it was.

Outpost (formally Maguires Pizza Bar) is a fantastic DIY venue offering an impressive array of beers, pizza and punk rock, what more is needed eh? I have had over the years the pleasure of seeing numerous great bands here notably The Cavemen and tonight is no different.

First up is Manchester based three-piece Tio Rico self-described as Noise Grunk, a very apt way of describing their in limbo style on this bill. Tio Rico definitely benefitted from having the best sound of the night, allowing the frontman’s lead guitar and vocals to shine through sitting on top of a faultless foundation laid down by the rhythm section. Mixing elements of New Day Rising era Husker Du and Nirvana’s Bleach, the band deliver a sound reminiscent of the harder edge of late 90’s Brit Rock. Think of Cable and heavier Six by Seven.

Local garage stalwarts Dry Retch kick off the next instalment, less Stooges but more reminiscent of the Sonic Rendezvous Band. The frontman gives the crowd between song banter, quipping on the current crisis in reliable Australian fashion. The sound is a bit rough for the guys tonight, despite this the solid four-piece still hold court and the crowd’s attention. Clearly the band of the night, persuading everyone to brave a small but busy venue. My only criticism would be to turn the lead guitar up in future as what wasn’t drowned out by the bass lines was absolutely Ron Ashton mind blowing shit! Certainly, check these guys out on their Bandcamp page, a great catalogue of material if you’re fan of guitar scuzz such as Mudhoney and Radio Birdman.

And finally, the Headliner Witchpunks Rites of Hadda. A very likable and animated band, engaging with the crowd at every opportunity. The make up of the band makes me think of parts of The Pop Group mixed with X-ray Spex, a post punk tour de force whether you want it or not… On paper I love this band, it ticks many boxes, in the flesh though I just can’t get past the vocalist. It takes real guts to front a band without any natural vocal ability or ferocity (I sincerely mean that), but unfortunately it does turn into a chore tonight. With art school none-vocals that would make Eddie Argos blush, I’m afraid I will not be going out of my way to catch Rites of Hadda again.

I spend my downtime currently anticipating a second Funhouse installment, or indeed any gig in the foreseeable future in hope of breaking life’s current monotony and to be safe in doing so. I hope you all stay safe too.

Tio Rico Bandcamp

The Dry Retch Bandcamp

Rites Of Hadda Bandcamp

Author: Dan Kasm