Thumpers Gig Review / 30th May 2014 / St. Helens Library
On a Friday night in May, St Helens library, usually a place of utmost calm and order, was turned utterly upon it’s head with the invasion of Thumpers and their adoring fans. Yes, St Helens Library was to become the latest library to be struck by the marvelous, space-transforming Get It Loud In Libraries scheme – an Arts project that sees libraries across the North West converted (for one night only) into performance spaces for live music. Speaking on the night about the gig, Kathryn Boothroyd from St. Helens Libraries explained it’s sudden transition:
“We wanted to get involved with it to open our doors to a new kind of activity, to attract new people, people who maybe haven’t been to the library for a while, to enjoy quality music in a nice setting… I think it’s really great to see out library space being used this way.”
The creative vision and founder of Get It Loud In Libraries, Stewart Parsons, went onto to explain that the project is “designed to deliver pop culture today and showcase the very best of libraries with full amplification. The best bands, plus cultural opportunity for young people is what we’re all about.”
The first group to climb the library stage, framed beautifully against the majestic library arches, was The Lottery Winners, a cordial Salford-born quartet who granted us insight into their upbeat, indie-pop melodies, taking every opportunity to converse with the audience. Their informal, intimate performances, along with frequent jests regarding the peculiar library scenery (it’s ornate statues for example being hardly commonplace in most concert halls) evoked an amiable response from the concert-goers below.
The crowd-warming continued with the Cut Ribbons, a Welsh Alternative band who are currently in the midst of supporting Thumpers on their tour around the UK, introduced us to their repertoire of passionate songs. Particularly impressive was the stunning vocal range of the singers. Their ballads incorporated unusual but nonetheless fantastic harmonies between the male and female vocalists and were coupled with innovative tambourine and cymbal rhythms.
By the time Thumpers emerged on the scene, the crowd were indeed verily hyped up for the alt-pop sensation. A key part of their music is the synth keyboard element of their songs and despite its quietness, this element forms the backbone of Thumpers’ sound. This combined with soul-adding backing singers, and even some psychedelic rock influences allows Thumpers to avoid categorisation into any particular genre, and may well be the key to their success. It definitely makes them unique.
During the performance of their latest release, Unkinder, Thumpers showcased their use of tribal drum reminiscent rhythms, and even, to the audience’s delight, briefly left the stage mid-song to mix with their fans. Post-gig, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the artists stayed behind to socialise with their fans, demonstrating once again the intimacy enjoyed by both fans and artists in performing in such a marvelous space as a library… long may it continue!
Luke Needham, Young Digital Producer, Get It Loud In Libraries
Thumpers interview (extended version):