The night’s host was The Eagle Inn. A pub that is nestled within the back streets of Salford. You’ll find the live room confined to the back quarters of the watering hole, which is where we convened for the night’s festivities. The room is modest in its scale but it holds just enough eagle-eyed patrons, that it feels cosy.
Opening the night was Dry the River, previously tour buddies and friends of the headliners. Two members of the band, Pete and Matt, joined us for a one-off acoustic set, only announcing the day before that they were playing the intimate venue. The duo’s set was just as spontaneous, as they plucked songs from their back catalogue as they went on. All of which were loaded with sincerity and delivered with an aching passion.
They closed their set on a beautiful rendition of ‘Weights & Measures’, where they took the meaning of ‘stripped back’ to its fullest. Choosing to ditch their mics and sing acapella, sending the already bewildered audience to the limits of adoring fandom. It’s moments like this that are the true definition of what live music is all about. The honesty and community of standing together in a room taking in the aural pleasures that come along with the experience. It’s a beautiful thing.
Liu Bei’s roaring atmospheric sound swallowed up the lofty room until it was nothing more than a dusty plain. The backdrop to the night’s jaw-dropping performance from the fledgling London band. For a band that sprung up in quite an ambiguous fashion, their songs are the comforting remedy to that mystery: open and honest with a burning passion.
Opening with the stunning slumber of ‘Atlas World’ the band instantly strike up a connection with the audience on a visceral and emotional level. After a strong introduction, we meet new song ‘Knotweed’, the showstopper of the set, which follows the title track of their new EP ‘Goodness’, proving that what we’ve heard from them so far has only been a warm-up for what’s to come next.
A heartfelt memoriam to the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman, self-titled after the actor, followed shortly after. Finishing their set on their haunting début release ‘Infatuation’ – a grand cinematic sprawl of melancholy. All I can say is, it’s spellbinding watching Liu Bei perform live.
For a fairly new band, Liu Bei already have a lot of skill behind them. They have jelled as a unit in this short amount of time and are unstoppable because of it. Live, they will only astound and impress.
Liu Bei’s ‘Goodness’ EP is out now. You can purchase a limited edition CD here.