Listener @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Wednesday 7th August 2013

Steve Gerrard Photography

Something a little bit special happened in The Flapper on Wednesday evening and I imagine the 100 or so lucky people who were there will agree; it’s not often you get to witness such an honest and inspiring performance from a trio of musicians – but Listener provided just that. Unfortunately I only caught the last song of Outlander but what I heard I liked, plus kudos for the Old Gray t-shirt.

Steve Gerrard Photography

Fallacies have been away for a while and as well as undergoing a few line up changes they’ve also mixed things up a bit musically. The new tunes sound huge, layers of guitars, bass and drums makes for a huge wall of noise which washes over the audience. At previous shows you’d often find lead singer Mark writhing around on the floor and getting out into the audience. Tonight though he is slightly more reserved probably due to the fact he now plays guitar but you can still see the raw emotion. Hopefully we will get to hear more new music soon.

Soon enough it was time for Listener to take to the stage, Christian threw down a few ground rules before the set making it clear that they don’t smoke weed and that they don’t have the bus or train timetables, its also apparently 2012! It turns out, not only do they make music but they also provide light comedy relief between songs.

Steve Gerrard Photography Steve Gerrard Photography
To play your new album in its entirety at a show is a pretty brave move but Listener’s latest offering Time is a Machine is something a little bit special. First track ‘Eye’s to the ground for change’ wouldn’t be out of place as the theme tune for a Western as its layers of guitars and drums take you somewhere new. Dan’s vocal delivery is slightly more reserved on this song but the passion is evident. As they make their way through the set the crowd listen attentively, not a single person in the room talks during the set apart from when encouraged to by Dan. I have never experienced such respect for an artist and it made the night even better.

Steve Gerrard Photography

We were treated to tales of talking, lying dogs named Bradbury, comparisons of Christian to Kiefer Sutherland, fashion advice from Dan and an impromptu cover of ‘My Sharona’; not exactly your normal Wednesday evening. ‘There Are Wrecking Balls Inside Us’ sees Dan pick up his rather large trumpet to play the intro before spitting the lyrics into the microphone, his face wrought with the power of his words. It’s nearing the end of the set and with two songs to go they blast out a cover of a Joy Division song, well and truly giving it the Listener treatment, Dan’s trademark vocals making it more than your average cover.

Steve Gerrard Photography

The last song on Time is a Machine and the last song of the set is the emotionally raw ‘It will all happen the way it should’. Every word that comes out of Dan’s mouth has such purpose, they linger in the air as he pours out his soul one last time. The lyrics are hard hitting but they still have a sense of positivity “There is a plan, there’s a way out. It’s all happening the way it should. If you’re behind bars inside your mind there is a plan” . The crescendo of drums and guitar is almost deafening as the song reaches it peak, Kris is hitting the drums so hard I’m surprised they don’t break. He ends the song exhausted, draping himself across his kit trying to catch his breath. As they all embrace each other on stage you realise that you witnessed something very special, there was a real sense of community in the room tonight and Listener cemented their place as one of my favourite live acts.

Review by Hannah Sebestjanowicz

Photos by Steve Gerrard

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