Live music. We all miss it. We all love it. And this weekend I had the pleasure of finally getting to a small, not so sweaty, gig, in the humble seaside town of Scarborough. All I can say is, it was bloody brilliant.
The Feens were the hosts and headliners for the night at Vibe Bar in Scarborough and they’d crafted a great evening of entertainment including ex-Page FortyFive lead Nick Tudor and one of H2N’s favourite’s, Tom Lumley and the Brave Liaison. Excited didn’t cut it as I made the long drive over to the North Yorkshire coast.
Not to hark on about COVID-19 too much, Vibe bar had done a decent enough job of making it safe. Masks were worn unless sat down, 100% table service with some very attentive bar-staff, were we 1m+ away from each other, probably not but people were being careful enough to make it feel safe throughout. No singing, no dancing, all very different but the Vibe staff made it clear from the off, break the rules and you’re out. So…we reluctantly complied and tried not to sing throughout!
Tom Lumley and the Brave Liaison, kicked things off. The room was about half full for the set which was a shame, but Tom was a last minute addition to the evening show and people were probably waiting on a break in the seaside rain before heading down to Vibe. Tom and his band, known for their lively live sets had toned it down for this show. Still with an electric lead guitar and bass though, they could make enough noise for it to be extremely pleasing.
Rattling through all four songs on their recent EP “Sign of the Times”, the band were in fine form, with “Let Go” lending itself to the acoustic vibe and “New York Paranoia” opening the set, sounded on point slowed down a touch. From “Chardonnay” to “Casual” it didn’t feel like the band had been away and this format should be one they consider ongoing. Whilst not as fun, granted, as a full band set, they were tight, and Tom’s vocal actually suits this style more than expected. A great start to the show.
Next up, Nick Tudor of Page Forty Five. A bit of a Yorkshire her, Nick played a nice set of solo acoustic tracks from his back catalogue and it was a nice interlude from Tom to The Feens. I’ll be honest and say that other than one Page Forty Five track I gave a spin on radio a few months ago, I wasn’t familiar with Nick’s work – but I really enjoyed the set and it flew by. He had a charm and humour and you could tell he’d been playing music for some time as he had the audience in his palm for much of the set of tracks he played. I hope he can get his lead guitarist soon for the new band and I’ll be checking them out for sure.
The main event concluded the evening, and it was clear the room was full of family, friends and fans alike as the mood was instantly taken up a notch when Freddie, Adam, Sam and Perrie walked out on stage. I personally hadn’t seen The Feens before but have been playing them on the Halfway 2 Nowhere Radio Show for some time so was looking forward to the set. Their songs lend themselves well to the acoustic style, especially those led by Freddie and several of their biggest tracks weren’t affected by the style at all.
Latest single “Sunset” went down a treat and was without doubt the track of the set. Their sound has progressed significantly this year, and Sunset, for me, shows what this band could be about if they went down this route with their sound full time. It’s more mature, and I haven’t heard a band nail this style of rock in some time. The Snuts keep dabbling with it but always revert to their normal style so there’s a big opportunity for The Feens here.
I enjoyed the songs sung by co-lead Adam Lodge, including “Slip Away” and “Freedom” – his vocal range is excellent and although these songs are made for full live settings, they’d re-worked them well. These, in the future, will be good set-fillers, but I couldn’t help but think when compared to “Sunset” and some of the newer tracks the band played, these will slowly get phased out as their sound develops.
It was a highly enjoyable evening and the lads had clearly worked hard to make this a set to remember. Old, current and new songs all came together to form a well-rounded acoustic set. I’m looking forward to seeing them in a full-live setting hopefully soon, and can’t wait to get new music spinning on the radio very soon!