By DJ Astrocreep

Poster for Attic Theory album launch @ Zanzibar 19 April 2024An evening of local entertainment for not just local people awaits, as Attic Theory finally get around to releasing their new album, ‘What We Fear The Most’. The Scouse groove rockers are formed from several older Liverpool bands, so full of experienced musicians, as well as having their own side project covering Stone Temple Pilots tracks, meaning it should be an absolute treat to hear live. Slightly bemoaning the 6.30pm first band, I head down to check out all the acts.

We start the evening off rather early, meaning while there are a few people in for our opening acoustic act, Róisín McCauley, there are not so many as you may like. Those that have come down early are in for a treat, as the precocious young talent performs some excellent singer-songwriter tracks. She has an excellent voice, with a good knowledge of her own range and capabilities, as she pushes herself a few times, but backs off where it makes sense. She gets 25 minutes to demonstrate her talents and uses it well, garnering a good amount of applause for her efforts. A good opening set.

Lucy Ellen is next on stage and I was not ready for quite what was about to hit me. While I spoke of the precocious nature of the previous singer, this young four piece absolutely blew me away. Lucy Ellen, taking guitar and keys, does a good job, though her vocals do keep getting lost in the mix somewhat. We also have a keys player, who keeps it fairly simple and provides added texture and depth to the sound, though it’s the bass player that absolutely shines through.

Lilah comes across as a clear driving force for the band, going between an aggressive playing style, a la Billy Sheehan and even into some slap bass more like Les Claypool for their last track. Their sound has a very funky and heavy groove aspect, early on sounding like some of the more musical KISS tracks and they rip through their set with ease, the time absolutely flying by. They have time to include a decent cover of ‘Rebel Yell’ as their penultimate track and more than earn the loud applause they get as scant reward for an excellent set.

White Lightning take to the stage to some classic ’80s style hard rock and they’re actually pretty good stuff along the same lines, or at least the bits I can hear are. Sadly, the sound engineer disappears just as they start and their set is ruined by poor sound. The vocals keep disappearing into the mix, the lead guitar keeps overpowering everything the second any pedals are touched, drowning out almost everything else from the band and making it into an unintentional wall of noise. It’s a real shame, as they otherwise do come across well in a Dokken hard rock sense, they are just let down by the sound engineer deciding to take his break during their set.

Bliss are our main support and come to the stage to little fanfare, before building their own wall of noise to introduce themselves. The sound is generally a lot better than with White Lightning previously, bar where one guitarist cannot tune his own guitar, costing the band a song and meaning the vocalist has to pass his guitar over instead. Tim from Attic Theory comes on stage to collect and retune the guitar himself, ready for use with the next track.

There is definitely a strong influence of Nirvana in their approach, further evidenced by a cover of ‘Territorial Pissings’, both in the frontman’s approach and demeanour and the general sound of the band, although hints of early Beastie Boys and similar peek through at times. It’s a decent set, the guitarist not being able to tune his guitar apart, and they get a good round of applause for what is not a bad set.

Headliner and album launch time then and local veterans Attic Theory are back with a vengeance after a writing and recording induced break. Although it takes the sound engineer a few tracks to properly get to grips with their sound, as we initially have the same earlier issue of a guitar overpowering the rest when using pedals, once they settle into gear, they’re back on top form. New bassist Lucy Ellen, whose own band so wowed me earlier in the show with her skills on vox and six string, is introduced properly to cheers and gets to show off her bass work as the band do an early set cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’.

As you would expect, the new album takes up a good portion of the set, with ‘Your Light’ one of the other tracks included, which Wright dedicates to his wife and daughter, being a particular high point. ‘Dare To Dream’ comes with a hiccup, as guitarist Cunningham gets the song wrong, to the mirth of those around me, but it’s all in good spirit. While they don’t get the time their material deserves, due to adding in other acts and giving them also the chance to shine, there is enough to whet the appetite of their fans for their acoustic set a week later and for the album itself.

A great set from a talented act.

  • What We Fear The Most‘ is released on Friday (26 April).
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