Lilygun Upstairs@The Garage

4 stars (out of 5)

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OK, I apologise in advance; this isn’t just a Lilygun review although, if you want me to cut to the chase, they were great and even better than the first time I saw them a few weeks ago.  The gig at “Upstairs at the Garage” on Sunday night highlighted issues with today’s music scene that we all need to think about.  But I’ll tell you about the gig before I get on my soapbox.

The four bands on the bill all have female singers but that’s just about all they have in common.  The first two bands, Cryogenica and Riot in Paradise, didn’t really do anything that I loved instantly but they got a good audience response, so fair play to them.  Your Army livened things up a bit with some good songs and energetic playing and powerful lead vocals.  Their set moved the night up a gear towards Lilygun’s headline slot.

I know this is a Lilygun live review, but I’m not actually going to say too much about the show.  I’ve reviewed the album and interviewed Anna-Christina and if you’ve read those, then you’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s going on.  The band are dynamic, well-rehearsed and on top of their game.  The set is basically the songs from the album and when the band play this well, they’re a force of nature.  The line-up is a bit of a surprise tonight (if any Lilygun line-up is ever a surprise) because Aaron John has taken over lead guitar duties while David Ryder Prangley plays bass and Belle Star (of course) is drumming.  The personnel change certainly doesn’t have any negative effect on the band; if anything, they’re a tighter more focussed unit because all of them have already been involved at some stage in the band’s history.

It’s difficult to pick out any highlights because the band was on fire, the songs were great and there was a bit of an edge to the performance as well.  You can see “Sunlight Dream”, “Conversations” and “Diamonds” here but my personal favourite was “Scum”, the song which disses all the haters, with an even more personal edge tonight (especially when Anna-Christina made a point of asking Aaron to introduce it).

 So why wasn’t the venue absolutely packed out?  Four bands to see at a pretty good price; even on a Sunday night, I was shocked at the low turnout.  When Lilygun play bigger gigs, they always go down well so why isn’t that audience turning up to a smaller show?

It certainly isn’t because of a lack of commitment on the band’s part.  I’ve met Anna-Christina a few times and I’ve never met anyone more passionate about and committed to their music and getting people to listen to it.  Maybe it’s London, maybe it’s the recession, maybe everyone’s staying in to watch Downton Abbey.  Let’s get real everyone; if we don’t go to these gigs, they won’t happen.

OK, rant over; back to Lilygun.  They have a great set of songs with a wonderful sense of dynamics, they’re playing really well as a unit and Anna-Christina is an incredibly charismatic leader.  They’ve done the album now and they’re ready to take on the world.  All it needs is one little spark and the whole thing will lift off.  One synch opportunity, one radio play in the right place or one well-placed support slot is all they need to launch them; they’re ready.