Lupen Crook, Eugene McGuinness

Tiffany Daniels 27/09/2006

Considering the appeal of both artists playing tonight you'd expect the basement of Korova to be packed from wall to wall. After releasing his debut album “Petals Fresh From Road Kill” just a month ago, Lupen Crook has emerged from London after a good stint of hiding and rarely visits the North West, let alone Liverpool. Yet stumbling down the steps a good two hours after the door time advertised on TicketWeb it's obvious even the shortest of my friends is not going to have to stand on their tip toes to see the performance. The football could be to blame, yet given that it's 10pm on a Wednesday night, that's hardly a good excuse. More likely, as is revealed later on in the night, the lack of management and thus promotion is the problem. Having narrowly missed the gig myself despite the fact that Lupen and Eugene have been on my “To See” list for quite some time, I assume a fair few Lupen Crook fans will be kicking themselves when they realise what they've missed.

Ironically Eugene McGuinness pulls more of a crowd than the headlining act; an established local artist in Liverpool, he is keenly placed at the top of his game despite his split from the original line up of Karmen Vega earlier this year. Far from the definitively rock sound he previously delivered, his solo music has been adapted to suit his characteristically alternative voice and is all the better for it. With quirky and undeniable talent he manages to deliver fashionably witty lyrics in song “Ooohhhh!” but constantly plays his acoustic guitar in a way not dissimilar to Lupen Crook himself. Besides the music and important to every good gig, he also has enough charisma and confidence to assert himself on stage and concludes with an admirable applause.

Without the tedium of a sound check the audience is usually forced to bare Lupen Crook takes to the stage and launches straight into his set, full of both old and new songs. Frequently introducing the concept behind them before he plays, the friends that I blackmailed into attending the gig and any one else not familiar to his style are quickly introduced to his bizarre if not clinically insane ways. Although he apologises for his cold the performance is flawless and energetic, the man himself coming across as a genuine, decent being, despite the twisted personality and tales the media often portray of him. Although as I was there and so am partly to blame, the only let down is that the audience shy away from the stage and hide behind the wooden bench at the back, cautiously standing by the bar and stairs. With any luck the next time Lupen visits Scouseville the venue he plays will be rightfully promoted and packed.