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LIVE: CVC / Casino – Arts Club, Liverpool, 10/05/2024

Church Village Collective, or CVC to their friends, are riding high on critical acclaim of both their debut album, last year’s Get Real and their live show, which has been polished over the last year of seemingly incessant touring. And tonight as they bring their particular Welsh strand of psychedelia to Liverpool, they come not alone.

Liverpool promoter EVOL prides himself on having the knack of finding these big bands with a selection of perfectly matched up-and-coming local talent – a prime example of this being tonight – with one of this writer’s big tips for 2024, a band carrying a lot of people’s hope for their future. Casino are fresh from both headlining a stage at the recent Liverpool Sound City, as well as supporting The Zutons on their recent UK tour. There seems to be a better future for bands around here who can bring something a little askew from the usual meat and two veg indie scene, and Casino’s twist is a very definite doff of the cap in the direction of Northern Soul.

They start with an old single ‘Love Goes On’, but then newer tracks abound, although you wouldn’t notice any difference looking at the crowded venue’s rapturous reaction to them. They know when to slow it right down on set highlight ‘Father I Stand’, and then build it straight back up again with the catchiest of the unreleased ones, ‘Stay Awhile’, closing their stardust-sprinkled set with singles ‘Fever’ and ‘Back In The Day’.

All they are lacking are some sort of suit-related uniform (a la The Commitments; one for the youngsters there), then they can record a classic sounding debut record and off to the big time they will go, mark my words.

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It’s always exciting watching a band that you’ve never seen live before, and part of that joy is watching the stage set-up take shape. And tonight is no different, “oooh keys”, “blimey they’ve got a saxophone” (that sort of thing; it passes the time) and at 9:15 to the strains of ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ , the 6-piece appear and kick into new song ‘Silver Blues’, but it’s on the already known album tracks where the eager crowd get much more involved, with the band having their 70’s sunny vibes sung back to them with such a volume.

And it’s not just the vocals. ‘Winston’ sees both the band and their audience indulge in that bobbing up and down thing they do at the Proms, and it’s a tune that encompasses why there’s so much chat about this band, why they are tailor made for large crowds to indulge in a Friday night boogie.

The majority of the set is from the debut album with a smattering of material looking towards record number two, but there also seems to be a contrast between the confidence and panache of the older tracks against the almost apologetic way they attack the new stuff, as if they don’t seem to have complete faith in it just yet (which will surely change over time), the exception being on the glorious ‘Blink Of An Eye’, where an acoustic guitar and gleaming vocal hold sway.

Once they’ve got the crowd to laud the keyboardist’s new haircut, they then commit one of the few pet peeves that I have about watching live music – it’s time for the unnecessary cover version, the frankly tedious ‘Lady – Hear Me Tonight’ by Modjo (come on lads have faith in your own material, you’re not The Feeling*).

Luckily, they’ve got comfortably more than enough to compensate for this, ‘Music Stuff’ and ‘Docking My Pay’ see the return of the sing/dancealongs, before ‘Knock Knock’ with it’s 70’s TV theme tune sax solo, and ‘Mademoiselle’, complete with it’s stunning drum wig-out, a powerful, note-perfect penultimate salvo precede tonight’s closer Sophie’ which builds to such a degree that there are people on shoulders and the whole venue seems to be screaming the “Sophie won’t sing but when she does she sings, ooh la la la” at quite the volume.

Sadly, we get the lights up and the theme to The Bill rather than an encore, but there’s been plenty there to enjoy this evening. The weather’s hot, there’s a packed sweaty venue full of smiling people, and we have all just witnessed two bands on the up, both looking like they were enjoying themselves greatly. What more could you ask for?

They will both be coming to a festival field near you in the next few months. They are a do-not-miss.

(*I once saw The Feeling and their encore was just a medley of covers. Shocking).

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.