It’s always a pleasant evening when you can attend a free show by a band you’ve liked but never seen (Stricken City) and get introduced to an interesting new band (Screaming Lights) in the process. Stricken City’s single Tak o Tak was one of my faves of ’08, so I was quite chuffed to finally get to see them live. Stricken City come across as a bit of a ramshackle but more rock’n version of Metric, sans electronic beats, combined with the indie ethos of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Rebekah Raa has a great stage presence and a captivating vocal style, which to my ears is a very palatable blend of the sweetness of Alison Statton (YMG), the straightforwardness of Amelia Fletcher (Talullah Gosh) with the occasional dash of that Mary Timony (Helium) sneer. All that, and she’s easy on the eyes.
Liverpool’s Screaming Lights were the unexpected highlight of the evening. Having just had a conversation about new bands referencing the sounds of bands that were clearly aping the sounds of bands from a by-gone era (mostly of the post-punk variety or New Romantic era), I immediately recognized the pastiche of influences pouring forth from the stage. Yet, despite my initial jaded reaction, I was won over by the second song. Screaming Lights tease bits from bands like Bloc Party, She Wants Revenge, Interpol, The Killers, Bravery, et al., stir in a bit of those catchy synth lines from the likes of Cut Copy and The Whip, and mix with confident (anthemic?) vocals, and the requisite driving bass and post-punk guitars, to create this entirely derivative stew that should be absolutely, positively disgusting, but oddly is quite entertaining.