Live review: The Sunshine Underground – Liverpool O2 Academy

Posted on 11 February 2010
By Danny Keightley
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‘Sunshine, you are my sunshine, you make me happy when skies are greyyy. You never know dear how much I love you. So please don’t take my sunshine awayyy’

Scream the crowd. And welcome to Liverpool Academy. Or Manchester Academy as drunken Sunshine Underground frontman Craig Wellington addresses the audience mid way through the set.

Had this been any other band, then we’d be right to expect beer flying through towards the stage and heckles galore, but no — the yobbish chanting of ‘TSU! TSU!’ continue, led by a group of energetic scallies who get about three songs dedicated to them (you know..for being the life and the soul n that).

Though before TSU tonight, is a half-hour performance from sickeningly talented adolescent (love him or hate him) Cosmo Jarvis.

A seemingly unhinged lad from New Jersey, he charms the onlookers with his cheeky boyish smile and entertains with lyrical content which explore everything from sexual awakenings to gay pirates; each song is sheer lunacy.

He is backed tonight by a three-piece band who’re all dressed in black forensic science uniforms for some reason.

Cosmo is the star of course, with a repertoire of instruments at his disposal, he circulates through ukuleles, guitars, and (at one point) a recorder before hastily and awkwardly addressing the audience that they can buy some of his shit at the merch store. Upcoming indie sensation? We’ll see.

After that — the crowd have ants in their pants, ready for the headliners who playfully bounce on stage and set tone and pace with ease. It’s clear from the opening tracks ‘Coming To Save You’ and ‘Wake Up’ that TSU are more akin to indie rock giants Muse and Arctic Monkeys than any ‘new-rave’ Klaxons bollocks; they have an authentic and heartfelt aura about them.

Genuinely intriguing, they leave the crowd with not much space to breathe between songs. TSU make an stunning impression from the word ‘go’.

Craig lets the songs do the talking the majority of the time, remaining tentative behind the mic stand when TSU’s cosmic blends of dance-inducing pop rock come to their respective halts.

An atmosphere such as this is a rare thing by any standards; it feels almost completely generated by the crowd — you can almost taste the sweat as everybody in at least the first 10 rows rave like a school of electrified primates; arms flail, beer spills, elbows connect with faces.

A photographer manages to invite a girl into the pit, snogging her face off mid-song without being shooed away. Gross? Rock n roll? Does anyone care? We love it. Sunshine Underground inspire fun times and that’s what tonight is all about.

Guitarist Stuart Jones grins uncontrollably as the whole venue chant ‘TSU! TSU!’ repeatedly whilst Craig attempts to get a word in (he is pissed after all). He stumbles around the stage, but manages to hit notes effortlessly with such heartfelt deliverance, it’s impossible to criticise.

All minor flaws aside, the band give a mammoth 70 minute performance and two song encore with everyone having the time of their lives. With We Are The Ocean headlining upstairs and unrestrained chaos in the heavily packed venue below, the O2 academy is the place to be tonight. Brilliant stuff.