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Another great Williamson Tunnels wheeze

Helen Clifton looks ahead to a concert by the rather rhythmic “The Clientele” this weekend

Published on April 21st 2010.


Another great Williamson Tunnels wheeze

HARVEST Sun Promotions are bestowing us with an pre-summer gem of an gig this Saturday, set in the ethereal surroundings of the 18th century Williamson Tunnels.

These guys know how to programme an event and we are lucky to have them in the city. Tapping straight into the zeitgeist, they have booked cult London-based act The Clientele, supported by folked-up local heroes Sparkwood & 21 and Martin McGuffie.

The Clientele - who, according to Harvest Sun, are one of the UK's best-kept musical secrets - offer the soaring melodies and sweet-tempered irony of Sandy Denny coupled with the jingly jangly psych-rock influences of Love.

Strangely, the melodies of sixties Bacharach and The Zombies segue way in there too. The whole effect is like a lazy punt down a sleepy English river on a summer's day. With a picnic of Pimm's and special strawberries.

The band's late 90s debut album, Suburban Light, is now hailed as one of the finest records of the decade. Their latest offering, Bonfires on the Heath is, according to the band, a return to their musical roots, as well as the dreamlike suburban landscapes first encountered in the early singles.

Recent support slots have seen them play alongside Vetiver and Wilco - US acts at the vanguard of a revival in the high production values and woodsman aesthetic of the great guitar-soaked folk rock sounds of the seventies.

The Williamson Tunnels is one of two exclusive gigs The Clientele are playing to promote their new, yet to be released EP. The band are currently batting off rumours of a possible split - so this may be one of your last chances to see them live, in surely one of the most suitable settings for their sound. If you haven't heard of them, go. If you have, you'll be there.

Harvest Sun tell us to expect a night where the ale is cheap and the vibe is 'chilled'. But they are keen to reassure us that they are referring to the atmosphere, not temperature.

"We have a sneaky feeling this is going to be a night to remember," they say. "Plus it won't be cold, so that will please those of you who were at the John Bramwell gig when the heating went off."

Coupled with the luscious, harmony-driven melodies of Sparkwood & 21, who recently released their debut album, By The Water's Edge, and Southport's Martin McGuffie, whose new album has been described as 'somewhere between a gentler Jimi Hendrix and late period Blue Nile', the night promises to be a real scorcher. Phew.

*The Clientele + Sparkwood & 21 + Martin McGuffie, 7.30pm, Saturday, 24 April @ The Williamson Tunnels. Tickets £14 available from ticketline.co.uk, skiddle.com and Probe Records, Slater Street, Liverpool.

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Ray DiosixApril 21st 2010.

Why are pop groups always so po-faced in their photographs?

Riff RaffertyApril 21st 2010.

My music has been described as somewhere between a more epic Russ Conway and a less irritating Roy Castle with a dash of Larry Adler.

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