Sometimes you go to a gig and immediately sense that there is something a bit different going-on here. Entering the cellar space of EBGBS to see The Kairos perform their first hometown gig in two years was one of those occasions. Firstly, I was struck by the numbers of photographers that were there. There were probably less at the Premiere League football match I attended the next day. Secondly, on looking around the room I was able to pick out members of at least six other local bands, who had come to support, and weigh themselves up against The Kairos. By the end of the evening they must have come to the conclusion that they had better bring their A- Game if they want to compete.
Before we got to the evenings main course there were a couple of tasty appertisers to get through. Firstly there was Welsh singer/songwriter Megan Wyn, an artist I had been keen to see ever since I heard her debut single Polaroid featured on Volume 2 of the excellent Brits & Pieces compilation album. At the time I said – with the depth, range and feeling of her vocals Wyn would find it hard to avoid comparisons to Stevie Nicks. My initial impressions were reinforced by the choice of one of the two cover versions Wyn choose to play that night – Nicks‘ Edge of Seventeen. The other cover was the slightly less obvious, but equally well delivered and appreciated, Arctic Monkeys’ track – Why’d You Only Call Me When Your High.
Wyn‘s own material Lover, So Good – ‘a song about going on the piss’, and new single Better of You are beautifully constricted heartfelt songs sung with a genuine passion. She finished an excellent, well received set, during which she had to battle with the tuning idiosyncrasies of her Fender California guitar, with the song that first brought her to my attention – Polaroid.
Next up were a local four piece, who were new to me – Keyside Cassidy. It’s always intriguing when you see a band for the first time, you try and look for influences, or find some reference points to hang a few words on. Keyside Cassidy had my head swimming. Their set contained upbeat songs with springy walking basslines, 60’s beat group vocals, with at times Dylanesque delivery, swirling electric guitar riffs that touched on Marr and Squires, all delivered with poise and confidence. One song – Nikita had a reggae feel to it, delivered mainly through the bass rhythms, and felt like it could have been taken out of The Police‘s Reggatta de Blanc album. Keyside Cassidy‘s sound is unique, hard to pin down but simultaneously ubiquitous. Look out for their upcoming debut single She’s Always On Time, a bouncy little crowd pleaser if ever I’ve heard one.
The Kairos entered the stage to Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life to be faced by a packed, sea of heads from front to back of the venue. You can tell they’ve spent their long off-season well, honing their skills and polishing their songs. They open their set with a powerful, brooding, extended mash-up of their latest single Round The Bend and Led Zeppelin‘s Kashmir. What a way to kick off. Next up is one of only two songs to have survived the cull from The Kairos‘ last live performance on home turf, the vitriolic Money Mind. It’s a song that encapsulates two of The Kairos‘ early influences – the band are at their most Arctic Monkeys while singer Tom Dempsey is at his peak Liam Gallagher.
If I had one complaint about the evening, it would be aimed at certain male members of the crowd who, during the early part of The Kairos’ set were incessantly calling out ‘Chambers get your knob out’, which I took to be a request aimed at guitarist Lewis Chambers. There was a decent gender balance at the gig, it’s 2022, and we can do without it. Perhaps it was just a Liverpool thing and won’t be happening at out-of-town gigs. One can only hope so. Anyway part way through the gig Chambers’ solos and overall performance had overwhelmed the vocal minority.
The middle section of the set was comprised of completely new material. Thick of It has the energy of a Rage Against The Machine song. Price of Peace, Soaked, and Bone To Pick see The Kairos heading further back in time for their inspiration – ’68 era The Beatles, The Stones, there’s even a little homage to The Doors when Break on Through makes a fleeting, cameo appearance. Another new song – Better Late Than Never – has a real garage rock, Stooges feel to it, and was delivered in appropriate frenzied style. It has all the hallmarks of a future single. From the outset The Kairos had created a level of enthusiasm that never flagged and dragged the crowd right along with them. That energy and intensity continued through the new material, and The Kairos even managed to take it up a notch with a barnstorming finale with another mash-up, this time of Fat Boy Slim’s Praise You and the bands most streamed track to date – Teetotal.
Following the gig I read a comment on social media about The Kairos being the next big band from Liverpool off the rank. I can vouch for the fact that that particular rank is very busy and competitive, but jumping on board with The Kairos at the wheel threatens to be an exciting journey.