After a long and winding tour of the UK with Sleaford Mods, Manchester three-piece, LIINES, could be forgiven for having a bit of feet-up time with a cup of hot coco and a good book. But no! Like the grizzled, newly road hardened grafters they are, the band are heading out on their own mini jaunt, preaching to the already converted, and hoping to capture new hearts and minds with their ferociously spiky brand of post-punk. Tonight, Nottingham!
The Bodega is already healthily rammed by the time Nottingham’s own Dacodac hit the stage. With meaty bass lines and choppy, riffs, Dacodac sound like early REM, funnelled through the whispered whimsy of The Sundays. The Bodega crowd sway and swoon in appreciation of the superior indie pop thrills on offer, and who can blame them? Dacodac are really rather brilliant.
As long term stalwarts of the Nottingham music scene, I am Lono, are a band who always seem to be on the cusp of making the jump from local appreciation to wider adoration. With their ranks swelled in recent times, I am Lono have gone from being a synth pop duo to a four piece band. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the quality of the songs. Gloom laden pop gems are turned into muscular, steroid ravaged beasts by drum patterns and bass lines that sound like they want to push you over and grind you into fucking mincemeat. ‘Lovers’, from last year’s ‘Hunt Us Down Like The Dogs We Are‘ EP is especially ferocious, and demonstrates why I am Lono should be bigger than Jesus.
Pet Crow are the last of tonight’s support acts, and from the get go, absolutely blow the bloody doors off The Bodega with songs that thrill, excite and stupefy. Lurching from the wilful rockabilly repetition of The Fall, to the bouncy bass joyfulness of Elastica, Pet Crow don’t as much wear their influences on there sleeves, as squash them together at an atomic level to create something surprisingly fresh and original.
In a set list of all killer/no filler, it’s perhaps ‘Pressure Sores’ that best exemplifies the appeal of Pet Crow. Off kilter vocals grind against spidery guitar lines, whilst a big bastard of a rhythm section pummel your ear drums in the most glorious way imaginable. Christ. I think I’m in love!
With the support acts done and dusted, all focus is now on LIINES. As they take to the Bodega stage, bathed in blue ethereal light, there’s almost a collective holding of breath from the packed-to-the-rafters audience. Expectation hangs heavily in the air , but from the first melt-yer-face-off barrage of noise, it’s clear that Liines have got this covered, and are going to deliver something really rather wonderful.
Throbbing with the mechanical precision of a high-end German automobile, new single ‘On and On’ is a mournful thrill ride. Primal howls of despair are tempered by a life affirming barrage of drums and bass guitar that gnaw and nibble at you like those fucking spa fish that eat dead skin off your feet. Even better is ‘Be Here’, an aural manifestation of having a really bad migraine whilst on E. Your head may be breaking open, but the clattering bass line and twitchy guitars compel you to dance and gurn like a twat anyway.
LIINES are clearly ploughing their own sonic furrow, but slivers of ‘Dry‘ era PJ Harvey, Bikini Kill and even Manc Godheads Joy Division bleed through into their sound. Just like label mates Pet Crow though (both are on the rather wonderful, Derby based Reckless Yes), influences are used to forge something new and extraordinary, not to create carbon copies of the past. The shimmering brick-shit-house of a track that is ‘Shallow’ shows this to great effect. The ghosts of Polly Jean and Hooky may be lurking, but this this is all unmistakably LIINES, and is without a doubt one of the highlights of the evening.
As LIINES finish their set to rapturous applause and a blur of red and blue stage lights, it feels like the beginning of a bigger story. Whilst they may not have won a recent competition to play this year’s Glastonbury festival, I suspect it hardly matters. Based on tonights performance, they’re going stratospheric anyway, without the need for any gimmicks or flimflammery.
Best new(ish) band in Britain? No fucking question.
Photos: Stephen Murphy