My day began with a tired yawn after Pixies the night before at Castlefield Bowl (which was incredible) and a super speedy get ready to catch the train into Liverpool from Manchester Piccadilly. I saw some amazing bands at X&Y but my favourites were easily Little Comets, Catfish & the Bottlemen, The Family Rain, Thomas J Speight and Run Tiger Run.
Thomas J Speight is a singer-songwriter from London, with a mellow voice and uplifting songs he fills the large hall incredibly. His set is comprised of songs from his previous EPs and the crowd joyfully clap along. Some occasional technical difficulties where the sound cuts out led to plenty of apologising, and when it happened just as Speight begins his final song, it’s clearly the last straw so he asks the crowd to form a pit and he comes down to perform his new single ‘Just Where I Want To Be’. We all join in with the “ooo”s and strain to hear Speight’s unamplified voice over 23 Fake Street rocking out in the next room. It was a lovely set and when chatting to him at the merch table he gives me a free CD, so a lovely guy too.
X&Y was a wonderful day but it was perfectly topped off by Little Comets headlining the 2nd stage. I somehow managed to get a spot right at the front after seeing The Family Rain which immediately improves my mood as I’m about 5 feet tall and not being stuck behind tall people is really great. After setting up all their own gear, Little Comets walk off the tiny little stage and then straight away walk back on to begin their set. The understated ‘Bridge Burn’ starts up yet midway through seamlessly becomes ‘W-O-E’ from their most recent album. An upbeat change from the beginning of ‘Bridge Burn’ with a catchy chorus makes for a perfect start to their set.
Rob does little chit chat throughout the set, saying that, “we haven’t got much time and we’d rather just play more music for you guys” which gets an enormous cheer from the crowd. Despite this, Rob prefaced the next song with, “this is a quiet one and kind of serious”. ‘The Blur, The Line And The Thickest Of Onions’ is Little Comets’ take on misogyny in today’s media culture and it’s simply an astonishing and superbly formed song. Most of the crowd listened intently or sung along, the acceptable thing to do, while one man decided it would be funny to cheer after the lyric “as violence towards women grows”. I’m quite a chilled out person and don’t take things too seriously overall, but that really annoyed me. That is the exact “laddish” behaviour that influences society and meant Rob had to write this song. Not cool, man.
Moving on, these Newcastle lads get better and better every time I see them. The crowd dance and cheer for their well-known songs such as ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Worry’ and even the newer singles from the band’s most recent EPs like Little Italy and Salt. These funky tunes get the crowd bopping and shouting the words along; I join in far too much and totally lose my voice at the end of the night.
Rob decides to ditch ‘Dancing Song’ which the crowd seem disappointed about but they finish on ‘In Blue Music We Trust’ because it’s “something a little more meaningful”. This song is empowering, dramatic and beautiful, and as Rob Coles’ incredible voice captures the entire room’s attention I realise Little Comets are easily one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. The overwhelming sound they create plus the fact they haven’t got a single bad song makes them a wonder to behold.