The band lay bare their emotions and feelings right from the very start tonight.  Entering the stage they begin with their pre-show pep talk with the crowd as witness, hugging in a circle, laughing, warming up and getting in the mood.  I have never seen this before, usually done out of sight, it is a nice experience, breaking the usual barrier between the band personally; their show and the audience.   It helps to create an air of unity, a bond for which an impassioned dialogue can form between the group and the listeners.

Listener are a three piece comprising of Dan Smith on vocals, bass and trumpet, Jon Terry on guitar and Kris Rochelle on drums.  The band had its roots playing house shows across America and Europe and you can tell they feel at home in intimate venues such as Gulliver’s tonight.  The intensity of the show is mirrored by the dark red walls, soft light and the heat of the moment, although as Dan points out the air conditioning isn’t really flowing. They are pioneers and innovators of talk music, the poetry of Dan Smith spoken, shouted and belted over the captivating and evocative thunder of Jon and Kris, the music pounding your heart as the poignant lyrics delve deep into it.

The room is passionate throughout the set as fan favourites are played such as ‘You Were A House On Fire’, ‘ and ‘Wooden Heart’, as well as a few new tracks from their upcoming album. Some songs are played slightly different to how the recordings play out but are equally as beautiful, interesting and often explosive.  Dan’s erratic cadence sparks excitement, sorrow and hopefulness as he paints pictures in your mind and moves your soul with lyrics such as : “She would always show us her dreams, they were crumpled up like leaves from holding on too tight, scattered in her shoebox coffin on the cardboard walls covered in butterflies” from the astounding track ‘Seatbelt Hands’.

The audience falls silent for songs like these, shivers felt across the room… even with the air con crisis, but Dan brings about many moods, joking and chatting with anyone else who wants to speak during the brief interludes between songs.

You can feel the audience’s enthused delight as Dan brings out his trumpet for my personal favourite ‘Falling In Love With Glaciers’, a wonderful track that feels like a journey with it’s expanding parts and constant build provoking an almost sing-along to the looping final lines.

Their appeal is the honesty of their music, a thing of value; welcomed while looking for new bands to inspire you and I will be on the lookout for the new album on its release.  You can tell the band truly means it when they thank us for the hospitality shown and for just being there in the moment.  Dan has been around all night signing what he affectionately calls keepsakes and gifts at the merchandise area and chatting to anyone who wants to throughout the evening.

The night closes with the fitting track, ‘It Will All Happen The Way It Should’. And it ends as it started, the band embraces, the reverberation of the guitars laying against their amps and our thoughts resonating against our wooden hearts.

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