A Night of Hard Hitting Blues Rock and More as The Heavy North Play Their Biggest Headline Show to Date  

Live Review

The Heavy North. Photo by Terry Marland.

By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Manchester

Live Review: The Heavy North-The Heavy North  with Jay Lewis –Camp and Furnace LiverpoolFriday, 1st December 2023 

 Tonight’s gig is being performed in what’s known  as the Baltic Triangle, a cultural quarter of Liverpool that  hosts a wealth of creative spaces, eateries and music venues. Tonight “The Heavy North” perform the biggest headline show of their career at the Camp and Furnace venue.  

Before The Heavy North take to the stage there are performances from three support artists. Unfortunately I missed Embedo Blue and Ellis Murphy but caught the tail end of the set from the highly engaging Jay Lewis who has previously played with a string of Merseyside bands including Cast, The Zutons and The La’s. His blues rock performance was a great scene setter for the headline act. 

The Heavy North 

The Heavy North- Andrew Horrock and Jack Birch. Photo by Terry Marland.

Formed in 2018, Liverpool band The Heavy North is hotly tipped for success on a large scale. Their first two albums Electric Soul Machine  and this year’s Delta Shakedown have been well received by the music press and single releases from the album have been played extensively on national radio.   

Normally consisting of six members, the band performs tonight as a twelve piece incorporating a horn section, backing singers and  the Northern String Quartet. This is a special one off show and not part of a tour. The band is playing their home town at a packed Camp and Furnace where crowd expectations are high.  

The Heavy North – Jose Ibanez and Kenny StuartPhoto by Terry Marland.

As the lights dim, Blind Willy Dixon’s “John the Revelator” plays before the band takes to the stage. Front man and singer Kenny Stuart is the last to arrive and with a wave to the gathered masses they kick off their set with a smouldering  “Delta Shakedown”, the title track from their most recent album. 

 The band describes their  music as Garage Blues Rock and  they wear their influences on their sleeves with shades of Cream, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, Free and the Black Keys  permeating through the highly authentic vibe they create. While the honeyed and  soulful vocals of Kenny Stuart are reminiscent of some of the legendary Stax label vocalists of the sixties. It’s an intoxicating mix. 

The Heavy North- Ste Penn. Photo by Terry Marland.

The first six songs, including rousing versions of “Satisfy You” and “Round Again” are delivered as a six piece and from the off it’s apparent what a finely tuned machine they are. The musicianship is top notch and for the most part the band keeps to the recorded renditions, with slight deviations, but never resorting to over-long solos to fill in time. They don’t need to. 

The six members of the extended band are welcomed on stage and for the rest of the show we experience the full-on sound incorporating a full string section, female backing vocals and a horn section.  Starting with “Genie” and ending the main set with “Forever Without You”, the delivery is polished and vibrant. Considering that the extended band doesn’t perform together on a regular basis, there is an on-stage chemistry that delivers a high quality product.  The powerhouse backing vocals combined with a dynamic horn section and strings just take the performance off the scale. 

The Heavy North-Ste Penn and Jose Ibanez. Photo by Terry Marland.

Tonight, by my reckoning , the Heavy North played almost every song they have recorded in the studio and given the strength of the set they deliver it’s a testament to the quality of their work since they formed in 2018.  

As the encores conclude the twelve piece band, that extends to the full width of the stage, take a well earned bow. This was the biggest show in the band’s relatively short career and when you hear the quality of what is, almost, their full body of work in one concert you can only conclude that they are on an upward trajectory.  

 You can find more info and videos of the band here https://www.theheavynorth.com/ 



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Terry Marland

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