Joel Leary spends a night in the Jacaranda to witness some horn drenched Carlisle rockers head to Liverpool with a bluesy edge.

Carlisle may not be the rock & roll capital of the world, but Hardwicke Circus are starting to put them on the map.

With their horn-drenched sound, they are drawing comparisons to Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, as well as their old friends Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes.

They headed to the Jacaranda on a Wednesday night in May, but first off we have Leeds-based Bad Bug.

Don’t let the name fool you, this collective kicked off proceedings with an interesting catalogue of bass heavy songs, with jangly guitar riffs cutting through the distortion. You could be forgiven for being reminded of Mac Demarco at some points; they’re the soundtrack to those dreams you never want to wake from.

There’s only one male member of the band. He’s up front with a quirky style and attractive vocals reminiscent of The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas. Moving about the stage with confidence, and charisma, he was certainly no stranger to performing and the message was certainly received.

Next up was Liverpool based Little Triggers. Their set was an energetic mix of fast paced, blues influenced songs, and lead singer Thomas Hamilton Hughes’ wild stage performance.

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Seeing him standing still was a rare sight. The relationships between the members was clear to see too, with the onstage banter being almost non-stop, and their ability to interact with each other and the crowd with ease.

Even when a string was snapped, it wasn’t a problem for anybody, and didn’t impact their ability to deliver a truly incredible set of tunes that sounded very Led Zeppelin-esque in some parts, but with a slightly more modern edge. Thankfully, though, they weren’t rip off artists. Their sound is very much their own.

Finishing up was Hardwicke Circus, a sextet hailing from Carlisle.

Using multiple guitars to get the most out of their sound, these lads knew exactly what to do. Their blues heavy set was reeled in by a few slow burners that by no stretch of the imagination held them too far back.

With Lewis BT on keyboards and Andy Phillips and Nick Kent on horns, they have them a rarely seen edge in an industry full of beige indie-pop bands, and served to make sure you couldn’t possibly forget them. The Jagger style persona of front man Jonny Foster was a refreshing change of pace too, commanding both the stage and the audience with a confident, and enigmatic presence.

Hopefully Hardwicke Circus will return to Liverpool with their eclectic mix of material but for a chance to see Little Triggers you don’t have to wait long as they return to home ground on 27th June to play the Cavern.

Pictures by Gary Dougherty