In late 2011, Oklahoma quintet Other Lives played a show at Leaf in Liverpool. My friend managed to get us on the guest list, so we hopped on a train at Manchester Piccadilly and made our way over there. It turned out to be a great night, we got drunk and made a nuisance of ourselves in the best possible way.
Other Lives were all lovely people and chatted with us over cigarettes outside the venue on Bold Street before their set. We met their manager, Phil Costello - a quirky-looking, well connected gent, lanky with big glasses. He told us stories about guys he knew like Paul Westerberg, to my euphoria - I'm a massive fan of The Replacements.
In 1997 Phil was the marketing guy at Capitol Records who'd had the bright idea of super-gluing promo cassettes of Radiohead's OK Computer into tape machines and sending them to press and radio people in advance of the albums release. The aim was to encourage them to listen to the album repeatedly - the label considered the record a grower and not the ideal commercial follow up to The Bends. Phil's innovative strategy was developed to give OK Computer a head start and in the end the album performed way better than the 500,000 units the label had initially projected it would shift - funny how things turn out.
I remember Other Lives played a great set in Liverpool that night, tearing through songs from their brilliant second album Tamer Animals - imagine Ennio Morricone with a twist of Radiohead and a hint of folk. We were stood among a throng of fans at the foot of the stage in Leaf's spacious and characterful upstairs room with its ornate high ceiling. After the show and the drunken shenanigans that followed, the band invited us to come and see them perform at Manchester's The Deaf Institute the following week.
It turned out to be one of the best shows I've seen. The band were even better than they were in Liverpool the week before and the sound in The Deaf Institute was glorious. That nightfront-man Jesse Tabish and cellist Jenny Hsu told us they'd just got the exciting news that they were going on tour with Radiohead in America - a few of the Radiohead guys had attended their show in Oxford a few days earlier. They explained how nervous they'd all been about it, knowing that members of Radiohead were in the audience and that it had completely blown their minds to meet Thom Yorke and discover he was a fan of their band. I wasn't surprised by this, as we said our goodbyes - if you've heard Tamer Animals or attended an Other Lives show you won't be either.