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Live Review: The Cheap Thrills, The Kairos – Hangar 34, Liverpool, 6/8/2022.

I hate missing the support acts so apologies to TRAITS and Lee Ford. A combination of poorly organised TV football fixtures, a bad injury to Ben Godfrey, and some shocking time wasting tactics from Chelsea F.C. meant that despite ‘flying down County’ I still could only get into Liverpool’s Hangar 34 in time to see the last support act of The Cheap Thrills self promoted home town gig – The Kairos.

The Kairos at Hangar 34.

When I first saw The Kairos a few years ago, you could tell immediately that they had something about them – Iggy Pop walk-on music, bristling with attitude and energy they looked like they wanted to own the stage. Watching them now, the aggressive edges have smoothed, they appear more relaxed, singer Tom Dempsey smiles a lot more, and now they actually do own the stage. The band did appear to enjoy themselves as they treated the packed crowd to a rowdy set that included Money Mind and Round The Bend as well as recent release Lazy Lethargic. There was an outing for new song All the Same To Me which saw The Kairos successfully branching out from their post-Brit-pop indie rock sound into more gnarly late 60’s garage rock territory. They ended their powerful, thoroughly enjoyable set with the brooding Teetotal.

The Cheap Thrills walk-on to The Clash‘s punk/funk classic Train in Vain, singer Lewis Pike declares, ‘Let’s fuckin’ have it!’ and the band launch into Same Old Faces. Perhaps this was a reference to the make up of the crowd which contained the familiar faces of band members from local artists like The Sway and Spinn! Next came the rousing Cheap Thrills staples Sentimentality, Smile When You Sleep, and Give Me More. Everyone a winner.

Lewis Pike at Hangar 34.

I always have trouble describing The Cheap Thrills sound, and that is a good thing. There is no lazy shorthand, one-stop shop comparison point that you can just throw out there. They reside in some indie-guitar-rock, synth-driven, Alt-pop space all of their own. Anton Eager (drums) and Callum Fitzpatrick (bass) are a dynamic rhythm section, Terry Eaves is the multi-instrumentalist riff and hook provider, and Lewis Pike supplies the eloquent, emotional vocals. They write pulsing anthems with synth-hooks that you want to dance to. In that way The Cheap Thrills are a bit like The Wombats. Where they differ greatly is in subject matter. While the latter sings about lemons, vampires, wolves and Tokyo; The Cheap Thrills deal in tales of County Road parties, sofa-beds and self-doubt.

The middle of the set consisted of the punchy Heart Attack, and spacey Muse-like Tides, and Machine. There was room in the set for the obligatory cover song. I was pleased to see that last year’s fad for covering Abba tunes has abated, and amused to see a packed Hangar 32 crowd bounce and sing along to Tiffany‘s 1987 hit I Think We’re Alone Now. There was a debut for a couple of new songs – Last Orders and Too Many Questions – that as well as having The Cheap Thrills signature sound contained elements of Spanish guitar and Primal Scream, Lost Memphis tapes style rock ‘n’ soul.

The Cheap Thrills at Hangar 34.

Party and Saint or Sinner headed-up the building climax to The Cheap Thrills’ set which culminated, quite rightly with Codependence, a song that reflects the band’s symbiotic relationship with their supporters. Following on from last years Arts Club show, this was the second sold-out, self promoted home town gig by the band, and the 750 people who crammed into Hangar 34 gave as good as they got. Feel the groove inside a bend…it’s always good to codepend.

Ian Dunphy

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