Live review: Eva Peterson, Johnny Sands @ Mello Mello

Posted on 23 May 2010
By Dom Martin
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Mello Mello was the perfect setting for a night of Sound City acoustic action. A balmy spring breeze provided some respite from the oppressive heat in the bar, and soft, amber lights bathed the stage in a warm glow.

Eva Petersen has been off the Liverpool music radar for a couple of years now. Former lead singer of indie scamps The Little Flames, Eva’s new material signals a marked change in direction from what she did with her former band.

Stripped back to just her and a fella on acoustic guitar, her ability to hold the attention of the audience has not diminished. What can not be doubted is that she has a beautiful voice, pitched somewhere between Dusty Springfield and Nico.

Kindly taking a request from an enthusiastic, beer addled punter, she ends on ‘Don’t Be Shy’, a lilting number asking an introverted gent to step out of the shadows and introduce himself. Several male singletons embolden, as Eva departs the stage to a round of well-deserved applause. It remains to be seen whether or not Eva will be backed by a full band, but from tonight’s evidence, it might not even matter.

You should never judge a book by its cover. Or so my Mum tells me. And judging by Johnny Sands’ attire (Breton shirt, tousled blonde hair and tassled loafers), there was a high likelihood of Kinks/Kooks inspired guitar pop.

However, with a blues-drenched, moody opening number about vampires, Johnny came out fighting. On this evidence, Johnny, should he choose to follow this route, could carve himself a nice little niche on the Liverpool scene. However, the rest of the set seemed too peppered with cliché.

The guy’s got a great voice, and interacts very well with the audience. But to truly set himself apart from the crowd, Johnny needs to offer something different from an already swollen crowd of lovelorn singer-songwriters with a battered straw hat and a worn copy of Grace.