Kevin Critchley, Gig Review. Strings And Things, Studio 2, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Time is both cruel and unusual, as well being the well thought of great healer. It asks so much of us and in many ways offers so little in return. To be able to find time to watch all the great bands that come your way, that visit your nearest venue is an almost an impossible ask; to follow round every possible staging post one of the great young acts that the city has nurtured over the last few years is sadly unworkable in the modern age, to do deprives your attention from others, just as deserving, just as enjoyable, and yet when Kevin Critchley comes on stage, Time does its best to hold back the constant ticking.

It is with almost unseen pleasure that Kevin Critchley and his band, Alex Williams, Graeme Runeckles, Wei Ping Wee, Amy Chalmers and Rachel Allen, who was making her debut as backing vocalist, took to the stage as the main act of Strings and Things April event at Studio 2 and for those who felt the passion of the evening reach a crescendo with Kevin Critchley performing with almost carefree but precise and well thought abandon, it was something to let the heart revel within.

At times, even the thought of what is to come is enough to send the odd chill of keen anticipation down the spine, the mixture of Film-Noir like experience transposed into musical score is fascinating, the cunning use of the notes so well placed that the songs with a type of gnawing hunger, they ache as if being pursued by the true criminal of the piece and only the hard-boiled anti-hero can save the day.

With songs such as Saboteur, As I Disappear, C Song, the brand new additions to the arc supplied by Kevin and the rest of the band in Fighter and the heart thumping Stand Together, Whisper Your Name and the sublime Ghosts all making their grand entrances and formidable exits, all being performed with the cutting drama that would make a modern film score green with envy. There was much to take home and relish having been in Studio 2 on any night, let alone the day after the biggest weekend in the yearly sporting calendar.

Rachel Allen deserves great thanks for adding that little something extra to the set, it may have been her debut, but in one of the great twists in how music can bring out the best in people, she sounded not only sounded terrific, but also as if she had been working with Mr. Critchley for years.

Time may not be the most hospitable of hosts, but when it allows the tick to hold for a while, great things happen, and in Kevin Critchley and his band can attest, great things do truly happen to those willing to seek it out.

Ian D. Hall