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Gig Review – Divorce, supporting Willie J Healey (11th November 2023, Hangar 34)

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Divorce Liverpool

Tiger Cohen-Towell, Felix Mackenzie-Barrow, Adam Peter Smith and Kasper Sandstrøm are four very talented musicians who sound like they’ve been playing together forever. But don’t be fooled – despite all being veterans of the Nottingham music scene, Divorce only really came into existence in 2021. 

Tonight, they grace Hangar 34 with their grungy, countrified alt-rock, clever lyrics and undeniable stage presence, supporting Willie J Healey on tour before heading out on one of their own and releasing a new EP.  

The Liverpool crowd is certainly ready for the Divorce proceedings to start, and so the quartet kick off their set. The first thing I notice is the blended vocals of Cohen-Towell and Mackenzie-Barrow; their voices sound fantastic together and they pull off effortless harmonies that are so tight and definitely scratch that itch in your brain. The second is just how difficult it is to define or categorise their music. After listening to a couple of tracks, you realise that this is not a band that is afraid of crossing genre lines. Despite my brief attempt in the previous paragraph, you can’t really fit Divorce’s sound neatly into one box – and I think that’s a good thing. Apparently so does the rest of the audience at Hangar 34, who know talent when they see it and, despite probably not knowing about Divorce before tonight, will go home and put tracks like ‘Scratch Your Metal’ and ‘Eat My Words’ on repeat. 

I actually stumbled across ‘Eat My Words’ a week or so ago (the chorus has been stuck in my head ever since) and thought it sounded a little bit like some other Notts natives, the band Do Nothing – a funny coincidence, since I learned yesterday that the two bands share joint custody of Sandstrøm. 

Willie J Healey
Willie J Healey @ Hanger 34

My favourite track of the night was probably ‘Checking Out’, a simultaneously euphoric and gut-wrenching masterpiece which they played before making way for Mr Healey and his band.

To no one’s surprise, the singer-songwriter absolutely knocked it out of the park. With his endless charisma and warm, classic sound, he had the crowd hooked from the moment he took to the stage. They danced and sang along to every track, loving every second. His setlist was the perfect mix of songs taken from Bunny (his latest album) and old favourites like the heartfelt ‘We Should Hang’. For this final track, his band left the stage, leaving him to finish an outstanding performance alone.

Willie J Healey is genuinely one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. As much as I think most of his studio output is good, I can now tell you from experience that it doesn’t do him justice. 

I also think he made a great decision in choosing Divorce as his support. Be sure to check out their new stuff (Heady Metal EP out 17th November) and catch them on tour later this month! I’m really looking forward to seeing (and hearing) what’s next for them.

Looks like matrimony is out, everyone – Divorce is in.

 

Review by: Ayla Hewitt

Images credit: Ayla Hewitt

Follow Ayla on Insta@aylagoestogigs   @aylaratesalbums  

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