The Mysterines live in Liverpool: a raucous return for hometown heroes

Invisible Wind Factory, April 2: following a Top Ten album, the rockers’ Saturday night homecoming is a celebration of the city’s flourishing scene

If you’ve been tuned into NME’s Radar section lately, you’ll know we’ve spoken at length about the “mighty noise whipping around the banks of the Mersey right now”. We’ve witnessed Crawlers, Courting, Stone and more reclaim Liverpool’s standing as one of the UK – and the world’s – greatest music scenes. Few have done more for it as The Mysterines, as their debut album, the sleazy, grungy ‘Reeling’, landed at Number Nine in the UK Album Charts just last month.

So their return to Liverpool (April 2) is particularly special, and, like most hometown shows, one brimming with local pride. It’s best summed up by the man next to NME who shouts “yes George mate! Go on!” to the sauntering bassist George Favager as soon as he’s in eyeshot. Now that’s friendship. With The Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus in Furs’ pulsating in the background, vocalist Lia Metcalfe launches roses into an adoring crowd and kicks off with the trashy ‘The Bad Thing’. These are their people, and this is their night.

The Mysterines live in Liverpool
Credit: Sam Crowston


Like most rock bands, they sound even better than they do on record – the songs on ‘Reeling’ were designed to be played at ear-splitting levels. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the deep waver of Metcalfe’s voice, or the ease with which guitarist Callum Thompson flails about on stage while maintaining control over his instrument. They’re intense, dedicated and powerful performers. The chugging bassline of ‘Reeling’ loosens the crowd up and has fans chanting the riff, while ‘Old Friends / Die Hard’ inspires a mosh pit (albeit a very polite one), to which Metcalfe watches like an amused, appreciative mother. For ‘Under Your Skin’ she stands like a cult-leader with her hands behind her back and a self-assured grin on her face. As she should, as they all should.

The lively ‘Life’s a Bitch (But I Like it So Much)’ ought to earn them a big stadium support slot, as a crowd-baiting momentum is built with every line and riff. No more timidity for the moshers – now they’re frantic, thrashing and expanding. The encore is a short respite from the intensity. A lone Metcalfe is accompanied by a spotlight and an acoustic guitar for a soft rendition of ‘Still Call You Home’, then joined by Joni Samuels of support act Fräulein for a charming cover of The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’. Every side of this versatile band is on show.

Earlier in the evening Metcalfe tells the audience that “we’re very glad to be home.” As the crowd dissipates, they buzz with enthusiasm for the band that are flying the flag of the city. As the crowd scuttles out, multiple fans breathlessly turn to whoever’s next to them to confirm: “that was fucking brilliant”. Lia, we are more than glad to have you back.

The Mysterines played:

‘The Bad Thing’
‘In My Head’
‘Old Friends Die Hard’
‘On The Run’
‘Under Your Skin’
‘Means To Bleed’
‘Life’s A Bitch’
‘All These Things’
‘Confession Song’
‘Still Call You Home’
‘Be My Baby’
‘Hung Up’