Tommy Villiers has a fresh and funky sound. It’s smooth, like the best kind of peanut butter with tones that stick with you long after you have had a taste of his too short of a set. He reminds me of Louis Cole of the band Knower. Tommy’s noodling around the guitar is accentuated by an electronic beat. He dishes out plenty of lustrous guitar licks over non- stop groovy bass lines and begins the evening on a high.

Pip Fluteman leads the night in a different direction. He wields only a guitar, unashamedly his own merch t-shirt, and a brilliant wit. There is a lot of chatter during the beginning of Pip’s set, but he deals with these like a seasoned comedy pro, bringing their chatter level down by playing quieter and quieter until they feel too awkward to continue talking. He manages to win the whole crowd over soon after, as we delight in songs such as ‘Do What You Want’ and my favourite ‘Catherine Wheel’. He has a mixture of rough but technical guitar playing with flamenco sweeps and finger picking, hearty songs and comedic crowd banter.

Manchester’s own Darcie is playing her first ever headline show at Gullivers tonight and the excitement of this achievement is palpable. Her brand of low-fi soul-pop is a perfect way to start welcoming in the lighter, warmer months, and when it’s played with the joy of headlining your first show, the evening is even brighter.

Darcie is Zigi Porter, with previous bandmate Tom Donaldson having left earlier this year. Zigi is joined on stage by guitarist Felix Donovon and drummer George Purnell to make up for the void the departure has made. Zigi has also stepped up to the task of handling keyboards on a few songs and a light backing track is used to fill in the other gaps. But it is in Zigi’s effortless vocals that the music really shines. It is the sonic equivalent of a hazy summer glow. Her affability wraps the room for tracks like 2018 breakout hit ‘Litter’ and the slower paced ‘How Was She’. The perky beats of Darcie’s latest release, ‘Mango’ gets more than a few feet moving, as do the overlaid lazy-day keys that flow over the track.

A few new songs are showcased over the half hour set, teasing at an upcoming E.P and they are lapped up by the crowd. 2019 holds big things for Darcie.

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