Gig Review: Jarpsy / Kickin Lilies / Lost Fiction
Neatly tucked away in a row of varying old shops and pubs, The Independent is quiet and inconspicuous in Sunderland’s city center.
There was no whisper of a hint at how many people were to be attending the evening’s show.
What I do see as I walk in however, is that the darkness is offset by a flashing centre piece in the form of a colourful light board commanding the backdrop of the spacious yet somewhat disarrayed stage.
Little did I know that the evening would be the equivalent of a roller coaster ride of energy and first impressions. The three bands on show were Lost Fiction, Kickin Lilies and Jarpsy, all three of which are relative newcomers to the local scene and I was curious to see how they fared on stage.
Lost Fiction were first up, and the group of smartly dressed, fresh faced youths in white shirts and black ties emerged.
Not long after they started playing however, it became apparent that they had not yet fully managed to master the intricacies of stage performance.
Their set was rife with some glaring drumming hiccups and the guitarist was not always in control of the ambitious solos that would have sounded great if he’d perhaps practiced more.
As mistakes are usually inevitable in these circumstances, glossing over them takes a certain amount of bravado and familiarity with live performance which they do not possess as of yet.
Although their frontman does display a good amount of energy and drive, the jarring inconsistencies in vocal pitch and lack of connection with the audience showcases a need for more experience and a lot more onstage comfort.
They have a long way to go yet, but they are certainly able to do so if they are willing to put in the hard work.
A bit of a bumpy start to the evening, yet I was intrigued about heavy rockers Kickin Lilies who were up next.
The night’s gig was only their second since they formed in early 2019 and, for a group that is in its infancy without any track releases, I was very pleasantly surprised.
They took over the stage with the confidence of a band that is well used to gigging and has been doing it for a while. It was amazing to witness the air of tenacity emanating from them and the amount of talent they have to back it all up.
Their booming vocals were both powerful and fearless. Meanwhile, impressive guitar solos and diligent drumming caused a wave of thrills that enveloped the audience and didn’t settle until the very last note they played.
Most of their set consisted of original songs that showcase their strengths really well. From heavy hard hitters like ‘Kick the Writer’ to the lighter and more emotional ‘Alone’, this evening more than proves that they are on the right track. I strongly encourage these lads to get recording and releasing their music as it would be a huge shame for them not to be listened to and appreciated as far as I’m concerned!
Last but not least were headliners Jarpsy. Off the bat I could easily tell they were capable musicians as the sound they produced was smooth and effortless, which is a huge plus.
Starting off with ‘Bitten by the Lion’ from their debut EP ‘The Come up’, the band evoked a chilled out indie mood that was drastically different to Kickin Lilies’ in your face powerhouse rock.
This contrast in genre brought the previously high energy levels to a tactile plummet, but it was easy to get over and adjust to. After a few songs however, I did find the band’s demeanor a tad too relaxed and realised that I wanted a more animated display from them with more gusto.
The zing that they could have projected was lacking and their performance bordered on looking subdued, despite the amazing sound they produce. It was also difficult to figure out the essence or niche sound they represent as it became apparent that their setlist contained numerous cover songs as fillers in their hour long set.
Although they were pretty entertaining for the crowd, the issue is that cover songs can easily blur out a band’s identity when there are too many of them roaming around, which was the case in this instance.
Nonetheless, Jarpsy end up giving not one, but two encores to roaring applause and cheering.
This made their performance a huge success and, with a bit more honing of their skills, I reckon they will be able to further refine and improve their stage presence.
Cover Photo: Jarpsy
Credit: Jonny Lavery