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Perfect Blue Sky + Dolly Mavies

Venue: The Zanzibar Club
Town: Liverpool
Date: 16/11/17

It must be somewhat disheartening if you are a band which enjoys considerable success in your home country and you play a gig in a major city in the UK where the audience fails to make double figures. Such was the situation when Perfect Blue Sky [PBS] , from Stockholm , played the Zanzibar in Liverpool tonight.

Nevertheless, PBS ,being the true professionals that they are , graciously accepted their “humble beginnings” in the UK and played a storming set ,as if they were performing for thousands of fans, as they often do in their homeland of Sweden.

PBS are Swedish folk/metal guitarist Pontus [or pna as he prefers to be called] Andersson and Australian singer Jane Kitto. Jane is a powerful blues/rock singer in the mould of Janis Joplin. Indeed, I first saw Jane perform when she was fronting Janis’ legendary band Big Brother and The Holding Company back in 2006. Big Brother’s rhythm section of Dave Getz and Peter Albin have also played with PBS ,as has former Fairport Convention/Fotheringay guitarist Jerry Donahue.

PBS describe their music as “genuinely reminiscent of the uninhibited vibes of the 60’s /70’s psychedelic rock era” and I certainly wouldn’t dissent from that description.

Opening for PBS was the excellent singer songwriter Dolly Mavies [aka Molly Davies] who had travelled all the way from Oxfordshire . Dolly is blessed with a sublime ,ethereal voice and a talent for writing thoughtful, personal songs.

Dolly gave the small but select audience several “non-linear” songs from her EP “Behind Closed Eyes”, including “Wait For Me”, “Old Shoes” and, a particular favourite of mine, “The Rain”- check out the rather lovely video on YouTube. Dolly also gave us her upbeat “Radio 2 song” called “The Other Side” which was in stark contrast to the somewhat bleaker “Losing My Mind”from her forthcoming new EP ,which hopefully will bring the music of Dolly Mavies to a wider audience.

Perfect Blue Sky played a most impressive set ,mainly made up of songs from their superb, recently released second album “The Eye Of Tilos”. With pna on electric lead guitar and vocals and Jane on vocals and acoustic guitar they brought the near-empty Zanzibar to life with their appealing brand of melodic, sometimes heavy , rock with pna’s phased guitar riffs complementing Jane’s bluesy vocals.

From the excellent “The Eye Of Tilos” ,we had the singles “Astronaut” and “Give You My Love” together with the heavy-riffed “Fiction Man” , which sounds like Led Zeppelin with Janis Joplin on vocals. In contrast , PBS gave us a couple of gentler tracks from their first album “Emerald”, namely the acoustic ballad “Science Man” and “Phoenix Starlight” ,with its exquisite CSN-like harmonies.

Finally, pna took lead vocals on the wistful “Wasteland” , which concluded an excellent set by Perfect Blue Sky.

Peter Cowley

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