I’d be surprised if what happened last night has actually sunk into to The Lilacs yet. This wasn’t just another great gig, a Wigan boys big day out into Manchester or a couple of coach loads of friends and family obligingly filling the floor. Last nights Lilacs gig at an almost unbearably hot, sweaty, sold out Gorilla was a passing of rights, that ceremonial moment only a few bands are ever fortunate enough to experience.
From the first few kicks of Dave Gomersall getting the show started with with his wonderfully understated drum welcome (he’s not the kind of drummer who’d call it a solo) to the euphoric climax of Vicarage Road, the sea of bucket hats and ’on the sixty two’ T shirts bounced away to every single beat, sang every single lyric, this was a special moment, a very special moment in the Lilacs history.
Most bands would kill for a tune like ‘Sally’ to end a show but to the delight of the crowd, its ‘Sally’ that gets tonight underway, the band tear through a few more crowd pleasers including ‘Hopeless Romantic’ and ‘Something or Nothing’ before ripping into ‘Sticky Dancefloors’…. It all kicks off, Gorilla erupts, no amount of anything sticky on the dance floor will keep this crowd down!
After the chaos of sticky dance floors, Matty, Dave and Sam briefly leave the stage as Ollie delivers the only real tender moment of the night, a run through of ‘When Happy Hour Ends’ the crowd look on longingly, hanging onto every word of Ollie Anglesea’s beautiful delivery. Ollie is that rare breedof lyricist that can take the two most cliche genres….‘heart on your sleeve’ and ‘gritty northern kitchen sink melodrama’ and blend them into something new, something fresh, whilst at the same time something familiar, something welcome. His lyrics are something beautiful. The crowd adore him, the crowd adore The Lilacs..
The relative tranquility doesn’t last long, the furore resumes with an extended version of ‘Red Flags & Warning Signs’, Matty Johnson tightly locking his bass grooves in with drummer Daves hard shuffle…Sam Birchall clearly decides its guitar hero time and its riff after riff after riff. This carries on through ‘Act Your Age’ before a sublimely transcendental ‘Seen It All” ends the show..
This crowds not going anywhere….to chants of ‘Matty, Matty Johnson’ a clearly moved Ollie says his thanks on behalf of the band whilst Sam teases and jangles the riff the crowd have waited all night to hear….. the 600 strong crowd are not joining in, they’re leading this, Ollie gets as far as “there you were…” before the crowd overwhelm him and serenade the band with the classic ‘Grace’
The anthemic Vicarage Road ends a truly incredible evening. We are blessed, almost spoilt for choice at the moment when it comes to great guitar bands, but there is that something else about The Lilacs….
Local act The Cavs opened the evening, clearly delighted to be here on such an occasion, lead singer Elliot has the crowd onside from minute zero as the band rip through a compact high octane set. ‘Again’ and most recent release ‘Running’ complimenting tracks from last years ‘Music to My Madness’ release, all good stuff that goes down well with The Lilacs crowd.
The much lauded Shambolics are down from Fife for tonights show as guests and deliver a beautifully crafted set that reflects their melodic approach to pop. Oscillating between jangly bubblegum pop laced with ethereal synths to in your face, out and out.