Marisa And The Moths

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Marisa has such a brilliant voice and is an extremely personable band leader

MARISA AND THE MOTHS, BASTETTE, LIAM BARNES
Liverpool : Zanzibar Club - 25th November 2021

Pre-gig drinks in a bar just round the corner from the venue are accompanied by some great jukebox music, and on any other night I'd be tempted to avoid going back out into the cold and rain. On this night though I'm excited to be seeing Marisa And The Moths for the very first time. The Zanzibar Club only re-opened again at the beginning of November 2021 and this is my first visit. First impressions are very good and the reasonable beer prices merely reinforce that opinion.

Liam Barnes is the bass player for the headliners and his solo spot is something of a last-minute addition to the bill. With just an acoustic guitar, his twenty-five minute opening performance is perfectly delivered and makes you wonder why his profile is not higher. His take on Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall' gets things under way and showcases a bluesy and soulful voice. When he is joined by Marisa Rodriguez for a song called simply 'Porch' their voices blend so well that I got actually got goosebumps.

Bastette are a female-fronted Modern Rock band from Blackburn in the North West of England. Lead-singer Caroline Eve Kenyon has a fantastic voice and is clearly the band's focal point. Musically there is a strong Halestorm comparison and Caroline actually bears a resemblance to Lzzy Hale. She has great energy and is constantly on the move, without losing any vocal quality. The band play with lots of enthusiasm and act as a great foil for the singer. Songs taken from the recently released 'Exposed' EP (purchased following the set) have even more clout in the live environment and it is difficult not imagine big things coming their way with the right exposure and maybe higher profile support slots in front of larger audiences.

I had only good things to say about the debut Marisa And The Moths album when it found its way to me for review at the beginning of 2020. I described the MATM style as a Halestorm/No Doubt hybrid. The songs made an immediate impact and are highly melodic with an "independent" undercurrent and edge. The band have suffered several line-up changes since the album was released with only Marisa and the aforementioned Liam the only ones remaining. They are also down to a four-piece now, with lead-guitarist Alez and drummer Alex the most recent additions to the ranks. Despite the disappointingly meagre turnout for the show MATM look as though they are having great fun throughout the set and play as though there are twenty thousand in attendance. Nearly all thirteen tracks from the album get an airing and they have an even more in-your-face identity when played live. Marisa has such a brilliant voice and is an extremely personable band leader, but everyone puts in a proper shift. The energy levels are constantly high and despite the small numbers the atmosphere is infectious and toasty and in stark contrast to the temperatures outside. There is a new album to look forward to in 2022 and I really hope more shows to follow.

That MATM and Bastette should be playing in front of bigger crowds is a no-brainer and tonight we got three fantastic sets for a ridiculously low-priced ticket. This was my ninth gig post-lockdown and, along with Mason Hill's Liverpool show early in October (also poorly attended), my favourite so far.

Dave Bott

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