LIVE REVIEW: The People Versus, Pecq, Tall Shaves @ Bobik’s, Newcastle (19.10.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: The People Versus by Laura Venus

Upstairs at Bobik’s, in a decadent and distressed space with deep blue walls and warm gold lights, Kieran from the neo-folk Tall Shaves opened the night sans-band with just his guitar, having no problem filling the stage on his own with a rich acoustic set of romantic lyrics.

Pecq came next, an alt. pop band introducing us to dreamy songs, soundscapes and DIY electronics. Hannah delighted with smooth vocals and keys while Nikò held the energy on drums and both were joined by Larry: an anthropomorphised third member composed of a box made of wires.

After that eclectic warm-up, an amalgam of suited musicians took to the ultraviolet-lit stage carrying guitar, bass, cello, drums and keys. Like a vision, The People Versus’ Alice Edwards glided through the crowd, taking to the small stage bathed in an ethereal glow and clad in white tulle with sparkling eyes to match.

Act one opened with Pretty Words, followed by Again and Again. Next, they brought us my favourite, Witch. Maybe it was the chilly, dark and breezy October night, or maybe it was the mystical movements of Alice’s hands, but it felt as though a spell was cast across this intimate crowd, captivating us all from beginning to end.

Act two opened with a mellow tale of Ground Opening followed by the sapphic story of Dandelion. Lonely Teen (video coming soon), a song about difficult conversations, closed this second part. Act three started with their newest single, Ocean Family.

During the first verse of Calypso—a song written after reading the adulterous tale of Homer’s Odyssey—a worrying crackle emitted from the speakers, resulting in a blown fuse that turned the band into something akin to a vintage silent movie for a few beats before the show was paused. Guitarist and self-defined ‘heavy metronome’ of a man Jack exuded charismatic crowd control throughout, until Benedict cracked out Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G from the other side of the stage. Somehow, the difference in each of the band members’ reaction to the tech issues made this night all the more interesting.

As the show revived, the crowd demanded Calypso again from the beginning. Barefoot (a song written in the bath) got our feet stomping, and the final act started with A Little Bit Of Love, leading to the penultimate song Driftwood. The intelligent lyrics of this and their other songs could almost be intimating for keen ears that haven’t read works like The Tempest which inspired their music, yet they were delivered with such warmth, sincerity and whimsy all at the same time that listening to The People Versus remained as accessible as it was stimulating.

They ended with the gorgeous Charybdis, and, in a blink, Alice was gone and the spell was broken. The lights returned to a steady warm glow, and the air was left with a buzzing electric hum and murmuring acknowledgement that we all have witnessed something special. I have high hopes this will be affirmed when The People Versus hit the level of recognition they deserve. This night was pure magic.

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