Live review: Merry Hell
Date: Friday 13th January 2017
Venue: Music Room, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Support: Jimmy Rae and the Moonshine Girls
Reviewer: Ian D Hall, Liverpool Sound and Vision
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
It is a crime to miss out on a filled room with like mind, appreciative people, a crime which is exonerated if the venue is sold out but not when things such as television, just things, unwarranted intrusions in to the life of going out and being social, of supporting musical talent in any form or guise; it is a misdeed, a felony to miss out on the man with the pencil neck tie and a smile as broad as the Mersey, Jimmy Rae and the Moonshine Girls.
Being reminded of Time, of the fast and fleeting whirring hands is one thing but as Jimmy Rae announced to the Philharmonic Music that his new album, due out in February was recorded in the space of 24 hours, of electric that information was passed between the full room of admiring music lovers; Time is to be seen in such circumstances as a mockery, one day or 9 years, if the music flows as beautifully and with such vibrant chemistry as it did on stage for his support slot to the much loved Merry Hell, it only goes to serve Time notice that nobody really is aware of the tic and the tock, only the absence of great and genuine music.
Jimmy Rae & the Moonshine Girls, Izzy Ryder and Sara Lou Fletcher, Time matters only in that it means that moments such as performing to a crowd is taken very much to heart and the sound they love is heard. It is a sound that the once pristine Teddy Boy is very much open with his heart with and there is no denying that the Moonshine Girls have added an extra dimension to the music.
The Philharmonic Music Rooms was left with nothing but the buoyed up spirit of a support that was charming, upbeat, powerful and firm in its delivery and passion, this was Jimmy Rae at his most magnificent and in tracks such as Four in the Morning, Where is The Love, When We’re Old, the excellent Stick Your Rotten Job, Eddie’s Guitar, The Girl From Wisconsin and the elegant and serene Under The Mersey Moon, the crowd at the Philharmonic Music Rooms were treated to a set of undisguised joy which was to carry the flavour throughout the remainder of the evening.
Excellent to have Jimmy Rae back this side of the Mersey, a man of enormous talent and one who looks set to thrill with his new album.
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
The bench mark so keenly set out by the month of January is normally set at a medium position, the year to come not wanting to have to work so hard to leap past records as if produced by the great Lyn Davies or Jonathan Edwards, the quick jump into the musical express never one to be truly expected as the audience and band alike always find themselves unravelling their web like bones from a season of warmth and inside festivities.
If the year was going to wake with a bang, if within the first two weeks of a 12 month calendar which could only, hopefully, be kinder to art than it was in 2016, then who better than arguably a band that gives Wigan an even better name in history than its famous F.A. Cup Final win and one that stands shoulder to shoulder with George Orwell’s keen eyed observations which did so much for English Literature then who better than Merry Hell.
A band oozing the scintillating and the joy of performance, a group of eight musicians who take apart what it means to have Folk Rock music playing around in your head and who like The Levellers spin a tale so devastating you cannot help but be entranced by both its lyrics and the way it is presented on stage, for Merry Hell the two are like a marriage and one that is wholesome and full of endearing love, it is impossible not to wish them well and hope they stay in your life for a long, long time.
The evening inside the Philharmonic Music Rooms was one that didn’t just blow the dust off the post Christmas bones, it sprinkled some much needed life into the coming months, all gigs it seems could be judged, rightly or wrongly against Merry Hell’s appearance in Liverpool this year.
With songs such as Loving The Skin You’re In, Summer Is A-Comin’ the fantastic Bury Me Naked with its incredible adept and surreal spade and shovel backing, We Need Each Other Now, Stand Down, Emerald Green, the fast paced The Butcher and the Vegan, The Baker’s Daughter and Fear of Falling all tied into the mix, this was a set of grandeur, of collective spirit and one that made that bench mark normally set to somewhere around average for January, feel like the most colossal and important notch possible. A night of undisputed foot tapping set to its extreme, Merry Hell indeed.
Ian D Hall
All photos © 2017 Graham Holland
Live review: Merry Hell @ Music Room 13/01/2017
Ian D. Hall was brought up in Birmingham and spent the vast majority of his teenage years in Bicester, near Oxford. He grew up loving music from a very early years. In the last ten years Ian has written reviews for the Birmingham Evening Mail, Liverpool Live, Chris High and the University of Liverpool’s L.S. Media web site. For the last year of his graduate degree he was joint Arts Editor for L.S. Media and it has been his privilege to write on many of the arts in Liverpool, Merseyside, the U.K. and the rest of the World, having reviewed gigs as far as away as Poland and Canada. Liverpool has been his home for the last eight years and is without doubt the most vibrant, most cultural part of the UK. His love of music and theatre has led him to see great bands and plays, not just in Liverpool but the wider artistic community. His dearest music loves are Punk, Progressive Rock, Metal, Rock, folk and pop. Ian D. Hall graduated from the University of Liverpool in June 2012 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English. He now edits the Liverpool Sound and Vision website.
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