LOUDER LIVE: Woes + supports @ Jimmys, Liverpool, 31.01.20
Endings are never an easy occasion, and the departure of one of the UK pop punk world’s most prolific touring bands of the past few years was always going to be a blow. Edinburgh quartet Woes have shattered the mould of the scene in recent years: on their only full-length album, ‘Awful Truth’, they wove rocky guitars in amongst trap beats, hazed-out electronica and wistful ballads, and brought their fresh new blend of sounds to stages across the continent. But the time has come to say farewell to this stalwart unit- although not without a suitably roof-raising final encore first!
Opening the night’s proceedings were the first of the next wave of young bands to follow in the headliner’s footsteps, before venturing out into the beyond- local boys, Overset. Emo melancholy dripped from the plaintive guitar chords, which was mirrored in the impressively constructed yet candid lyricism. Muddling through the lack of acoustic option on their recent single ‘Hard Truth’ with an endearing humour and impressive resolution that usually takes a great deal of experience to perfect, and with the promise of new music lurking in the shadows of the not-too-distant future, these talented lads are definitely ones to keep on your radar.
Keeping things close to home, Liverpool’s immense pool of musical talent then produced another delight in the form of Melwood. Another band still very much in their infancy, yet they too did not show it, with sweeping melodies on the likes of ‘Sombre’, the poetic lyricism on ‘Self Worth’, and a devil-may-care stage presence that was a nod and a wink to the happy-go-lucky demeanour of the northern lad. Indeed, their set was so tightly threaded together, that it came as a shock to discover that they still had several weeks to go before the release of their debut EP! So your record collection should be getting a new addition very soon if you want to stay ahead of one of the next wave’s rising stars.
Bringing it for the girls as always was the night’s penultimate contributor, Bronnie. Corralling a group of young women to the front and centre of the room on an entrancing, seemingly magnetic pull, the infectious pop structures and hair-flicking badassery sent surges of power coiling through the room. Fists waved and heads bounced through ‘Jaded’, with it’s biting chorus, to the desperation-filled ‘Run and Hide’- fiercely unapologetic and raucously fun, this is the kind of powerful woman we all aspire towards being!
Ducking and diving through every phase of their short-but-sweet discography, Woes ensured that no part of their whirlwind career as an outfit was left untouched. From the heady heights of the loss-borne ‘Be Alone’, to the intoxicatingly luxuriant ‘Fancy’, the band crowned tracks from each of their releases, holding them up to the light and letting them shimmer. The tiny basement felt simultaneously grander, and yet more intimate than it appeared- the sense of momentous occasion and cluster of swaying hips and waving hands completely enveloping, and yet powerfully indicative of just how far this small band’s influence has reached. The vigour with which the crowd sung each line of ‘Losing Time’, with it’s uplifting chorus line and horizon-gazing zest floated like a haze on the air. The hip-swinging groove and persistent hope that underpins ‘Moneyshoe’. The fiercely heartfelt sentiments of ‘Winter Sun’. Each felt more vibrant than they ever had before, and the finale of each one, whilst riding on the wonderful high that comes only with packed-out, sweaty club shows, also fell with a dull thunk of finality.
Not that the band were content to let this final victory lap become a sombre affair. Oh no. From the off, bassist Sean’s screams to turn up the bass, which already pulsated from the subs at the rear of the stage, was matched only by vocalist DJ’s sizzling energy, which the tiny stage was barely able to contain- and which, by the end of the set, had spilled out into the moshing crowd. The room responded in equal measure, fans and fellow musicians alike piling into the centre of the room, the mosh pit expanding like the oncoming tide throughout the set.
Something about the show felt different. Though anyone who has seen live any band whose roots lie in the pop punk scene in the last few years will have undoubtedly seen Woes perform at least once on their travels, the atmosphere that hung in the room felt heavier, and somehow sweeter, than all those other shows. Whether it was the realisation of the finality of the occasion, or the camaraderie between the bands and fans, the sense of belonging was as strong as I had ever felt.
At last, we reached the arrival of closer – and ‘the one that started it all’- ‘Worst Friend’. It was the song that catapulted Woes into the epicentre of the pop punk and alternative music spheres, a mere four years ago. The one that had since graced so many stages across the UK and beyond. The one we all knew must come, and as much as we always yearn to hear it, this was the only time the crowd would have happily made their peace with it never having come. But come it did, and as the final crashing notes rang out across the room, and the band said their fond goodbyes to the resolute crowd, you could be easily forgiven for feeling tears prickling at the corner of your eyes. Though they may still have one final hurrah left to conquer, in their home country of Scotland, for those who has travelled from Liverpool and beyond, it was done. Woes were over…
… Well, almost, because despite the show’s unusually early finish time, venue security were still herding people from the room a good hour later! That tenacity that had seen Woes smash through the glass ceiling that is the ‘pop punk’ mould remained wholly intact.
‘Guess I’m stuck in my ways, guess I’ll never change’. Sounds about right!
Woes' final album, 'Awful Truth', is out now via UNFD.
Check out the video for 'Fancy' below:
Woes' final ever show will be held on February 29th at Cathouse Rock Club in Glasgow- final tickets are available here.