Live Review: In Concert: FestEvol Express and Jimmy’s Last Blast, Liverpool

Photography by Fraser Lester 

Sometimes there are venues that capture something special. Somewhere that, every once in a while, you feel like you are in the right place at the right time. For many Liverpudlians, that place was Jimmy’s. Announcing their closure just a few days prior, it’s fair to say that anyone who knows the venue was gutted. Perched at the top of Bold Street, a collection of neon lights illuminates the bar, filling up with gig-goers one final time for Evol’s FestEvol’s Express, a showcase of Liverpool’s local talent. 

The first act, Luvcat (AKA Sophie Morgan) performing ‘Bad Books’ 

Down the dimly lit stairs, the ticket office builds a steady queue. With drinks in hand, everyone begins to gather around the stage. The lights come on and the audiences’ excited murmurs break into the first of many cheers, welcoming the opening act and her entourage, Luvcat. Although this is a new project, singer-songwriter Sophie Morgan is no stranger to Jimmy’s. Amidst the applause, the band begins their first song. Luvcat’s sound is one of melancholy, romance and with an air of the macabre reminiscent of Alexandra Savior or Nick Cave. Smoke machines fill the room and Morgan’s swaying silhouette haunts the microphone, her ensemble sliding effortlessly from song to song. The final ballad, ‘Bad Books’, ends with an homage to her namesake, echoing The Cure’s famous melody. 

Martha Goddard takes to the piano 

Next up is newcomer Martha Goddard. A member of The Hushtones, Goddard struck out on her own in March last year with her catchy synth-pop single ‘Mirror Vision’ and has hardly rested on her laurels, releasing an abundance of singles since. While Goddard’s is a smaller outfit, consisting only of a drummer and guitarist, their understated presence juxtaposed with Goddard’s soaring vocals ensnare the audience. The live debut of Goddard’s recently released track, ‘Circles’ serves as her standout track. Serenade after serenade, the crows is mesmerised as Goddard closes out her set. My only gripe was that it ended. An ethereal performance which, unsurprisingly, yielded high praise all round. Martha Goddard has easily proven herself an artist worth keeping an eye on. 

Ambedo Blue 

During a quick rush at to the bar, the penultimate act Ambedo Blue begin to set up. An elusive bunch of local lads, Ambedo Blue currently have no music released and seemingly have no plans to. Despite this, they are a powerful, guitar-driven group who opened their set with a bang. Thundering drums underpin the punky, raw wall of sound that emanates from the stage. A blend between the edge of The Doors and the intensity of Oasis, Ambedo Blue brought a bullish and unrelenting energy to the room. 

The headline act, Zuzu 

By now the atmosphere is electric. The headline act brings a burst of applause which rings throughout the venue. Wearing a silver Barbarella dress and a smirk, Zuzu struts onto stage, picking up her weapon of choice, a Fender Stratocaster. Riding the high of having released ‘Not Myself’, the opening title theme for the new Adventure Time spinoff, ‘Fionna and Cake’, Zuzu smashes through her most renowned tracks to the audience’s delight, with the live rendition of ‘The Van Is Evil’ from her second album, ‘Queensway Tunnel’ an explosive performance. As the anthemic ‘My Old Life’ finishes, the shimmering scouser laughs, “I was fuckin’ ragin’ then”. The lights turn deep blue and the opening riff of Zuzu’s hit single, ‘I’m Good’ begins to play. It seemed like everyone in the room knew the lyrics, and the band relished every moment, launching into a double chorus to conclude. 

And with that, the lights go down and the cheers go up for the very last time. As the crowd bustles out cheerily, necking the last dregs of their drinks, there’s a hint of sadness in the air, surpassed only by the feeling that no night could have been a better send-off. From Public Enemy to Red Rum Club, Jimmy’s had almost seen it all. Just one of many music venues to succumb to post-pandemic costs, Jimmy’s will forever hold a special place in the hearts of its patrons.