The Clause at Blackpool Cover Shot


January, the time of discount sales, bargains galore and too good to be true deals.

Last night’s bargain was The Lilacs, Stanleys and The Clause, in an intimate venue, in the ‘Vegas of the north. (and no Stalybridge, I’m not talking ‘bout you, I’m talking about Blackpool!) Bargain or what? Certainly, one I couldn’t resist.

The venue was the wonderful Bootleg Social on Blackpool’s Topping Street. It’s not a venue I’d been to before but one I will certainly visit again. The basement club is one of those wonderful grassroots music venues that are so important to the UK music scene. The desperate plight of venues such as this has been in the spotlight recently and The Clauses’s short January tour is in support of Independent Venue Week 2024. I’d encourage all music lovers to check out the IVW website for a full list of venues and bands participating this year. 

Wigan band The Lilacs got the evening going, Shit Shirt Dave (it was a delightful olive green flowery number for the shit shirt spotters out there) ceremoniously kicking off with his drum solo and as Ollie and the rest of the lads walked on stage, the by now packed venue erupted with delight, such is the love for these boys. 

It was a blistering, short, sharp set. Kicking off with ‘Sticky Dancefloors’, it was a superb, but all too brief resume of the boy’s uptempo, perfect, indie-pop repertoire. The crowd are loving every minute, singing away the January blues but before we know it, it’s very nearly over.  The boys lead the crowd through ‘Grace’ and wrap up with the anthem ‘Vicarage Road’. The crowd are left delighted, what an opener. 

Next up was fellow Wigan band Stanleys, a band I always seemed to have missed in the past so it was great to finally be able to catch them live. Again, this was another all too brief set, Tom Concannon swaggering around the stage to blissful tune after blissful tune., all jangly guitar riffs, and melodic bass. Just as with The Lilacs, the repertoire of this band is astounding. Singles ‘Look Back’, ‘I’ll Try’, and ‘Why Would I’ are a pretty punchy opener to any set, let alone a short, seven-song set.

Any band that’s prepared to walk on stage and follow two of the best young guitar bands around gets my utmost respect and so it was that to the strains of Dexys ‘Geno’, The Clause entered the fray.

Guitars start crunching and we’re into ‘Time of Our Lives’, straight away the crowds off. Frontman Pearce Macca has the crowd from minute one, they love him. ‘Blackpool….are we all going out on the piss and making a night of after?”  

The rhythm section Jonny Fyffe and and Niall Fennell are ever so solid, add the guitars of Pearce and lead guitarist Liam Deakin and the sound is much heavier and dirtier than on record. It is superb. This is a band that is so incredibly tight but yet manages to make it appear haphazard, off-the-cuff almost. Truly exceptional stuff. 

‘Fake It’ “I Don’t Care’ ‘Hate The Player’ and ‘Forever Young’ are all here, ‘I Don’t Care ‘ in particular is a crowd pleaser. The band’s stage presence hits another level, it’s all windmills, jumps, and proper rock n roll posturing from now until the end of the gig! 

‘Forever Young’ is a hands-in-the-air chant-along moment for the crowd… ‘Where Are You Now’ introduced for ‘… anyone who’s ever lost anyone’ is quite a moment as Pearce encourages everyone to whip out their mobiles to light the room…. It’s beautiful and, no doubt, welcome rest for the band and crowd.

‘Sixteen’ kicks it off again, I’m trapped in the tiniest photo pit in history and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be as that riff from ‘In My Element’ sends the crowd apeshit. Pearce, Jonny and Liam are straddling the photo pit. It’s a sea of sweat and beer and it’s so good Pearce announces ‘Fuck it…we’re doing it again Blackpool’ and the band kick straight into another couple of choruses. 

I’m not quite sure what happened to those uber-cool kids from Birmingham who walked on stage in all their retro clobber earlier, all I can see at the end of the show is full-on rock’n’fuckin’ roll stars.

Find out about Independent Venue Week here

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Follow Stanleys on Facebook // X // Instagram


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