Liberation Day is always a busy one when it comes to live music and 2019 was no different, however in the past the night before has often been a rather quiet one. This year though that was different as The Imperial Hotel at Rocquaine chose Wednesday the 8th to kick off a potential new series of live music events in their recently refurbished restaurant overlooking the bay, and it being the day before Liberation Day meant no one had to worry about work the next morning so there was a real party atmosphere from the start.
Recently returned from a festival appearance in Liverpool and not far removed from a mini-tour of the UK and some time in the famed Rockfield Studios in Wales, Track Not Found continued to show what’s made their name as they launched into a set of riotgrrrl inspired grunge and punk rock with an ever growing confidence.
Their performance here was as relaxed as I’ve seen them, balancing the right level of precision and slight sloppiness to get the feeling of the style of music they specialise in.
Along with the now familiar songs some new ones made it into the set, highlighted by one that evolved as it went on from being reminiscent of The Runaways to ending up somewhat like Nirvana.
Both guitarist Grace and bassist Maisie wasted no time in using all the available space, including heading off the ‘stage’ before the dancefloor began to fill up, showing a new growth in the performance side of their playing.
Drummer Emma meanwhile, possibly even more so, appeared as relaxed as I’ve seen making for a third focal point while providing the driving backbeat, particularly on the newer songs.
All three balanced rawness with a tight performance to great effect here making for one of the best performances I’ve seen from them yet, and I hope any recordings they’ve made manage to find that same balance which is so integral to who they are as a band.
With the crowd ready and warmed up (thanks as much to the layout of the room as Track Not Found I suspect) The Honest Crooks kicked off to a packed dancefloor and didn’t look back.
While maybe no their tightest outing that didn’t seem to matter as the combination of highly skankable ska punk and freely flowing beer was the perfect combination for a celebratory night like this.
It was clear that we are heading out of the winter hibernation season as The Crooks too unveiled some new tunes with one in particular having a nicely rabble rousing feel that I could see making it another highlight of their set in the future.
It’s hard to argue that with a set like this from The Honest Crooks and, whatever the weather is doing, I think this now means summer is well and truly here.
While headlining a sold out show is never a small thing this one had something extra for The Recks as it marked the start of their tour that, over the next two weeks, sees them play all over the south of England.
If there were any nerves they didn’t show as they were firing on all cylinders from the start.
With a few familiar favourites starting things the psychedelic indie folk quintet also debuted some new songs tonight that built on some firmly established foundations to create something new but undeniable still The Recks.
One in particular had a strongly danceable feel to it that went down a storm and as they closed on triumphant trio of Train Wreck, Valentine and encore favourite Porcupine that saw Richey Powers hand his guitar to Lord Vapour’s Henry Fears and head out into the crowd, they were given quite the send off.
If their upcoming shows further afield are even half as good as tonight then the tour will be something special as, following recent changes, the band are clearly back to full power and I came away not wanting to wait to see the band again (thankfully they’ve just announced a show back in Guernsey for mid-June that can’t some soon enough)!
Before I wrap up, with this being a new venue, a few thoughts on The Imperial.
Certainly it doesn’t feel like a music venue and the layout makes the dancefloor into a sweat box very quickly, especially when it’s as busy as it was tonight.
For this show at least though it worked a treat with a great atmosphere from an energetic crowd and music with a crossover appeal showing that, while it’s never going to be a full time, cutting edge venue, it has potential to add something new to the scene in a new location – and what a way to kick off the Liberation Day celebrations.