Issue 53 / March 2015

bidolito

March 2015 issue of Bido Lito! Featuring HOOTON TENNIS CLUB, A LOVELY WAR, MOTHERS, TUNE-YARDS, OPEN MIC CULTURE and much more.

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Issue 53

March 2015

Hooton Tennis Club by Nata Moraru

Hooton Tennis

Club

A Lovely War

Mothers

tUnE-yArDs

Open Mic

Culture


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Bido Lito! March 2015

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! March 2015

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Bido Lito!

Issue Fifty Three / March 2015

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Static Gallery

23 Roscoe Lane

Liverpool

L1 9JD

Editor

Christopher Torpey - chris@bidolito.co.uk

Editor-In-Chief / Publisher

Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk

Keith Ainsworth

WORDS ARE WIND

Editorial

Some of the greatest political debate in the land takes place our in pubs and music venues, fuelled as much by a sense of indignation as

by a couple of pints of Erdinger. Gassing off about how we think things should be run is natural, and should be encouraged in all instances –

even from those idiots we’d rather not hear much from, and certainly not just during Question Time. Having said that, I do find it amusing to

watch the Twitter spike on Thursday night when QT is in full flow, while David Dimbleby is doing his best circus ringmaster routine. Even then

most of the armchair politicians settle for cramming their once-weekly rants in to 140 characters, and are happy if they just get a couple of

retweets. Any contribution to political discussion is welcome, of course, no matter what the means of expression, but what does it all lead to?

There was a time when people would be so moved by their political views that they’d arrange meetings with like-minded individuals and

act on their shared beliefs. Marches were staged, protests dreamt up, and the prospect of bringing about change was real. This was an era in

which self-made fanzines and flyers, not social media, were the primary methods of expression. Nowadays our digital activists will only take

to the streets if the cause has an accompanying hashtag.

Bido Lito!’s humble beginnings can be traced back to that zine culture of pouring your heart out on to a page, backed only by the conviction

to stand beside what you believe in. We all want everyone to agree with us (mainly because we all think we’re the only one who can see ‘The

Truth’), and the idea of sharing your dearly held views with whoever will listen is as old as time itself. This democratic approach is a key pillar

of our society. Whether you tweet it, Facebook it, Instagram it, or write it down in a letter that you send to your MP, it is your right as a citizen

to give a shit and make sure everyone knows about it.

With this year's general election – on 7th May – taking on more importance as each day passes, we thought it was high time we started

addressing the wider issues that could ultimately affect the independent creative culture that is our cocoon. Starting with Emma Brady's

comment piece this month (The Final Say, page 46), we are going to be having our say – and we want you to join us in this debate.

The dingy, smoke-filled bar rooms and basement clubs of yesteryear were not only places where political debate was fermented, but also

places where ideas came to fruition. Open Mic culture has long been a backbone of music communities across the world, serving as the ideal

place for our would-be musical heroes to cut their teeth. The ubiquity of Open Mic nights means we can sometimes take them for granted;

but, as our feature this month shows, Open Mic nights are an institution we must cling on to, for the raft of opportunities such nights throw

up. Personally, I've never stepped up at an Open Mic night and bared my soul in front of a room of musicians, but I can only assume it's a

terrifying experience; give me the interval quiz to read out any day of the week. But to all those of you who do get up, week in and week out,

we salute you.

Moving on; it’s been a long while since we had a mention of Tranmere in these pages, so I thought I’d bring you up to speed. The Palios

regime is now in full flow, with Micky Adams leading the team away from the foot of the table, point by hard-earned point. Iain Hume is

back home too, after a stint playing cricket in the Indian Premier League (at least I think that’s what he was doing). Things are steady if

unspectacular, but at least they’ve sorted the hot dogs out. I just wish they’d have a similar revolution with the half-time music.

We'd also like to say a huge thanks to Jack for stepping in for Luke this month on design/layout duties. It's been a pleasure working

alongside him on this issue – I just hope my obsession over apostrophes hasn’t been too much of a burden!

Christopher Torpey / @BidoLito

Editor

Reviews Editor

Sam Turner - live@bidolito.co.uk

Designer

Jack Ehlen - jackehlendesign.com

Proofreading

Debra Williams - debra@wordsanddeeds.co.uk

Sales And Partnerships Manager

Naters Philip - naters@bidolito.co.uk

Digital Content Manager

Natalie Williams - online@bidolito.co.uk

Words

Christopher Torpey, Craig G Pennington, Phil Gwyn, Paddy

Clarke, Richard Lewis, Jennifer Perkin, Paddy Hughes,

Dan Brown, Josh Potts, Josh Ray, Sam Turner, Emma

Brady, Maurice Stewart, Dave Tate, Alastair Dunn, Laurie

Cheeseman, Naters P, Howl Rama, Christopher Carr, Chris

Hughes.

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Jack Ehlen, Nata Moraru, Robin Clewley, Adam Edwards,

Mook Loxley, Lucy Roberts, Nick Booton, Oliver Catherall,

Keith Ainsworth, Jack McVann, Mark McNulty, Paul

Hitchmough, Glyn Akroyd, Gaz Jones, Aaron McManus,

Stuart Moulding, Christian Davies.

Adverts

To advertise please contact ads@bidolito.co.uk

Distributed By Middle Distance

Print, distribution and events support across Merseyside

and the North West.

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The views expressed in Bido Lito! are those of the respective contributors

and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine, its staff or the

publishers. All rights reserved.

bidolito.co.uk


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Bido Lito! March 2015

Words: Phil Gwyn / notmanyexperts.com

Photography: Nata Moraru

Holed up in front of a fire near their hometown of Little

Sutton, a suburb sandwiched incongruously between

Ellesmere Port’s industrial spires and the bucolic village

of Willaston, HOOTON TENNIS CLUB, the Heavenly-signed

next great hope for gloriously shambolic guitar music, are

trying to explain what it is that makes them sound so

distinctly like themselves. “You always want to struggle

against your ineptitude,” offers James (Guitar), which

sees his band-mates dissolve into laughter. Unperturbed,

he continues, “That said, perfect’s boring. Perfect’s dull.

It’s always the little mistakes that make it good.” Harry

(Drums) has another explanation: “We have an old Tascam

8-track. It’s got character, you know. It’s got limitations.”

Having been friends since secondary school, the

quartet (completed by frontman Ry and bassist Cal)

have that tendency of old friends to alternate between

completing each other’s sentences and laughing at each

other’s explanations, but both James and Harry’s ideas

make a lot of sense. Having been in bands together

before disbanding and heading to Uni, they returned and

began Hooton Tennis Club almost by chance. “We had a

free house, and that’s where the drums were, so we could

make loads of noise. So we thought, let’s get some food,

get some beers, and just make some music.” As perfectly

disarming as mission statements come, that ramshackle

charm easily slipped into their early tunes. “Those

songs got played by Dave Monks [on BBC Introducing

Merseyside] really soon after we recorded them.” For all

of those rasping imperfections, maybe amplified by their

battered old 8-track, their harmonies were unmistakeable

enough to not be missed by at least one listener to that

radio show.

“I remember Carl [Hunter, bassist in the Farm and

creative director of The Label Recordings, the not-for-profit

record label run by Edge Hill University] saying he had

a load of tracks and was trying to sift through them all

to find the two bands he was going to release. They’d

already decided on one, but he was struggling to find

another, so he went home on the Friday kind of deflated,

then he heard our session on Dave Monks, and he went

in on the Monday and said, ‘Right, I’ve found them!’” That

was January 2014, and it was just a few months later

that The Label Recordings released Kathleen Sat On The

Arm Of Her Favourite Chair, a lethargic ode to travelling

around Europe, cloaked in fuzz-saturated guitars and

a raw intimacy that made a mockery of manufactured

perfection.

The wider world agreed; support slots for Childhood

and Night Beats cemented their reputation in Liverpool,

before Carl Hunter’s enthusiasm rubbed off on Heavenly

Recordings’ (Manic Street Preachers, Stealing Sheep) boss

Jeff Barrett, who signed them to his label in September.

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Bido Lito! March 2015

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It’s the sort of meteoric rise that could overwhelm a young

band still discovering themselves, but new single Jasper

is proof of a band galvanised; it’s their most personal,

effusive and infectious work to date. Crucially, it was

conceived and recorded in the way that all of their other

tracks have been – an initial spark of inspiration fleshed

out in snatched hours, before battering out the whole

thing on their trusty old Tascam 8-track in their bedrooms.

Although the track seems like a strangely euphoric

eulogy from the first line of “we lost a great, great man

today,” Ry insists that “it’s really a celebration of life.

Basically, my granddad passed away maybe a year ago

now. I was really sad about it because I was really close

to him, and then that song just came along. He was called

Jasper when he was at school – I wanted to write about it,

but I didn’t want to write something that was depressing.”

True to their intentions, Jasper has a melancholic edge,

but its dreamy melodies and rapturous guitar parts have

their own lethargic energy, and they’re rightly proud of

it. Ry continues: “The take went really well, it was just

one take! It was one of those moments when we were

all waiting for the last note to die, and when we pressed

stop on the old 8-track we were just like ‘Yes! That was

amazing! Is this really happening?’” Backed by the dense

fog of Standing Knees – all stormy guitars and worldweary

delivery worthy of Parquet Courts – it makes a

strong claim for the city’s first great single of the year.

So, how do they follow it up? A boundary-pushing collab

with electronic auteur and part-time Yeezus-producer

Evian Christ, who James has let slip was his next-door

neighbour in the musical mecca of Little Sutton? Evidently

not; instead, the band have been trekking up to the other

end of the Wirral to seek the wisdom of Bill Ryder-Jones

after a stressful visit to Parr Street Studios. As James says,

“I don’t think we were ready to go into the studio proper;

we didn’t know what we were doing. The version of the

next single [a punchier version of Kathleen…] that we did

there wasn’t very good, so Bill was more than happy to

re-do all the guitars at his place. Everyone can relax a bit

more, instead of being in this big studio where you’re

wasting everybody’s time.”

But, as Ry interjects, this is exactly what you’d expect

of a band who only released their debut single within the

past year: “I remember Bill saying that we needed to go

through that, to go to a professional studio and realise

that that’s not what we needed to do at that time. I think

we’re still finding out what we want to sound like.” That

said, there’s already an emerging Hooton Tennis Club

sound that’s perfectly encapsulated by the next single

that they’re plotting (Kathleen..., backed by the swampy

dissonance of a cut entitled New Shoes), even if they’re

still exploring the outer limits of their sound and how

best to get there.

Asked if they’ve got further plans to record, they become

surprisingly quiet for a quartet who can talk for hours

with minimal encouragement. Eventually comes Ry’s noncommittal

response: “In March we’re going into the studio

with Bill. We’re going to be putting down tracks to maybe

make a thing longer than an EP...” A piece of work formerly

known as the Long Player? “Well, we’ve got thirty tracks to

go into the studio with...”

Despite the band’s youth and their ongoing search for

the boundaries of their capabilities, they already seem

like they’ve developed a depth that warrants an album.

Crucially, they seem to want to actually say something,

even if their message is as indistinct as their soaring

melodies. Take the middle passage from Standing Knees,

on which they sigh over furious, biting guitars: “Working

every hour/ I’m not sure what I’m meant to do anymore/

This feeling’s so heavy/ it might hit the floor.” Coming as

it does straight after Jasper, their interrogation of death,

(the sobering second line that follows the news is “it’s

just another Wednesday”), I ask whether it would be too

much to describe the heart of Hooton Tennis Club as that

grim mid-20s existential angst where the discovery of

mortality comes in uncomfortable proximity to the slow

realisation of the mundanity of parts of modern life. “It’s

that existential crisis down to a tee,” comes the reply.

“It’s a huge question. But we’re trying to draw the line

between being cheeky and chirpy and being ‘serious

artists’ who wear black clothes and sunglasses inside.”

“Someone might listen to Kathleen... and think it’s

just about swimming on a nice day, someone else

might think it’s about the nature of things. It’s all down

to taste. We can’t comment on what it’s about once it’s

out there; whatever people think is right,” says Harry in

summation. Whatever conclusions you draw from their

uncomfortably relatable lyrics, though, the point is that

there is something there, however you choose to interpret

it. Taken as a whole, wrapped in their towering washes

of guitar and their impassioned lethargy, it’s an infinite

variety of relatable messages that prove impossible to

ignore. And with that, they might just have pipped Evian

Christ to the title of Little Sutton’s most exciting musical

export.

Jasper b/w Standing Knees is released on 23rd February on

Heavenly Recordings.

hootontennisclub.tumblr.com

bidolito.co.uk


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Bido Lito! March 2015

C H I B U K U

Words: Jennifer Perkin / jenniferperkin.com

Illustration: Oliver Catherall / olivercatherall.co.uk

In a just world the Arts Club Theatre in full CHIBUKU swing – DJ

and audience bouncing in beautiful unison – will take its place

alongside the Cavern in Liverpool’s musical lore. Our city might be

globally synonymous with jangly guitar music, but its lesser-known

status as a hub for dance music has been, and remains, firm. Chibuku,

along with Cream and Circus, are examples of Liverpool clubs done

good, and have set the stage for the emergence of newer clubs like

Abandon Silence, Waxxx, mUmU, Motion and Freeze.

Fifteen years since its inception, Chibuku is ready to embrace this

well-earned status in the only way it knows how: with a massive

fourteen-hour party. What’s more, in a fast-moving, often fickle

industry, the club night has achieved – if not the impossible – then

at least the very difficult: not only is it still going strong, but it is also

still cool. Says veteran DJ Annie Mac, who will be headlining the 15th

anniversary celebrations on 14th March: “I’ve had some of my best

nights out ever in the Theatre at Chibuku, both on the dance floor

and on the stage. I’ve been attending the club night for over ten

years and it’s still as exciting and atmospheric as ever.” Similarly,

DnB don Andy C told us that he can’t wait to get stuck in to the

anniversary show. “Chibuku throw some of the best parties around,

and the energy from the crowd is guaranteed to be on fire. I always

look forward to playing there.”

From its humble beginnings right up to the present day, the lineups

have remained on-trend without being trend-led, and have

covered an incredibly wide remit within the dance genre, limited only

by the criterion of being good. This is the kind of uncompromising

passion for music that you can’t fake, and the kind that earns true

affection and loyalty. Affection and loyalty from some pretty high

places. Head Promoter Sean Stephenson has been working on

Chibuku for longer than he cares to remember, and believes part

of its longevity has been down to its forward-moving ethos. “Being

able to anticipate what is going to be musically successful has been

key to Chibuku over the years. Sometimes an artist takes off and

sometimes they don’t, but we’ve broken many a DJ over the years

and we’ve always been able to be ahead of the musical curve.”

It probably has something to do with the fact that, although the

club has spread its wings, it has still stayed close to its roots – as

Sean says, Liverpool will always be the club’s “spiritual home”. But

it’s also that the club has stayed true to the reasons the founding

friends of Chibuku got together fifteen years ago: to hold the kind

of party they would want to go to, free of the “Lycra and kebabs” of

mainstream clubbing at the time. As Sean says: “If you want to go to

an event which has lasers, ice cannons and enormous production,

then you’ll inevitably be drawn to that type of event. If you want

bidolito.co.uk

to go to an event which focuses a little bit more on the music and

is less about the bells and whistles, then you’ll go to that event

instead.”

The organic growth of the club is well known: graduating from

a too-full room above a pub, to the intimate Lemon Lounge on

Berry Street, through to its most famous home – what is now the

Arts Club, formerly known as the Masque and the Barfly. It’s at this

venue that none other than the much-missed John Peel played a

now-legendary show for Chibuku’s 4th birthday celebrations, which

he went on to describe as “just one of the best nights ever”.

The magical combination of Chibuku and the Arts Club is one

that clubbers and DJs alike have waxed lyrical about, but what is

it that makes it so special? “Probably because the Theatre has to

be one of the most intimidating main rooms in the UK,” explains

Sean. “Looking out to a one thousand-strong swell of people going

mad at 2am in that room with that special Liverpool vibe has got to

be pretty scary. Only a handful of DJs can successfully handle that

room, but those that do reap the rewards!”

Fifteen years in and the club is gearing up to celebrate the

milestone in style, but in no way is it winding down. In fact,

Chibuku is looking towards the future with the injection of new

blood, with Sean recently instated as partner and head promoter.

Although Sean is relatively new to the role, he is in no way new

to the Chibuku family, having started out by flyering and postering

for the club, before gradually working his way up through the

ranks. “My first ever Chibuku was in late 2003 when I moved to

Liverpool for university,” he remembers, the memories seared in to

his consciousness. “I walked into the Theatre at the old Barfly and

was greeted by UNKLE playing In A State and I’ve been hooked ever

since.”

Under Sean’s direction the club will continue to do what it

does best – show people a good time while confounding their

expectations. The club has already featured on such renowned

stages as Global Gathering, Parklife, Hideout Festival and Fabric,

as well as more unusual locations on boats, trains and in barns in

remote woodland. Sean says, “We want to spread our approach to

parties as far and wide as possible over the coming years”. Chibuku

will be hosting a stage at Parklife Festival in Manchester for the third

time this year, and Sean says to look out for similar collaborations

in the future.

Chibuku will also continue their legacy of throwing a hell

of a birthday party, with the three-part fifteen-year celebration

scheduled to be their biggest yet. It will start with the main event

at Camp and Furnace featuring three stages of typically Chibukueclectic

programming headlined by Annie Mac (Furnace stage), Four

Tet (Camp stage, with Abandon Silence) and Benji B (Blade Factory

stage). At 10pm the festivities will move over to the Arts Club (where

else), for a famous Chibuku after party. Those who are still standing

can head to the after-after party at the Magnet from 4am. Though

he won’t divulge the Arts Club line-up – “too big to be announced” –

Sean promises big things. “You know we mean business when it’s

got a nine-hour warehouse rave warm up.”

When asked to sum up the club in a sentence, Sean pauses to

consider his response. When he finally comes back with “expect a

minor riot”, you know you’ve got no choice but to believe him.

Chibuku’s 15th Birthday event takes place on Saturday 14th

March, at Camp and Furnace (2pm – 11pm) and Arts Club (10pm

– 4am).

Head to bidolito.co.uk now to read an exclusive interview with

one of the event’s performers, DJ Craze, and a series of guest mixes

from Chibuku residents.

chibuku.com


idolito.co.uk


10

Bido Lito! March 2015

MOT HER S

parental involvement. “I think if Oasis ever reformed, the only way he wanted us to have a fight,” Lewis explains with glee. “Me and

Words: Dan Brown / @danbrownnn

Photography: Adam Edwards / @AdamEdwardsFoto

I’d ever end up liking it was if all their mums re-joined the band

with them.”

Mothers may initially seem like a classic MTV2 noise rock act

Jack went to primary school together and once had a fight in the

playground because I stood on Jack’s Beyblade. That’s stuck with

him for life and he thought that I was finally going to go down for

through and through, but at heart their songs illustrate a stellar it… I think one thing we’d all hate is to make a cheesy video where

In contrast to the psychological intricacies of artists’ self-portraits,

bands giving a description of their own work is often clunky and best

avoided all together. In the case of Widnes-raised, Liverpool-based

act MOTHERS, the self-penned tag “noise rock power-trio” actually

suits them down to the ground, and has survived a recent name

change. Jack Evans (Guitar), Roanne Wood (Guitar) and Lewis O’Neill

(Drums) had previously been going under the name Aeroplane Flies

High, but felt strongly for a long time that a shift in emphasis was

needed. “We kinda got sick of the whole Smashing Pumpkins thing,”

says Lewis of their old name (also the title of a Smashing Pumpkins

song). “Also, when we told people what we were called they’d just

be like ‘…what? Ha!’ So we wanted something short, sweet and

snappy.”

The trio are signed to London-based label Snaketown Records,

with whom they released an EP – Honey – in 2014, in a relationship

that came largely from their rapidly-expanding reputation in alt.rock

circles. The group’s fuzzy brand of US college rock draws inspiration

from the likes of Mudhoney, The Breeders, Electric Wizard and METZ,

but one of their key influences is perhaps a more unlikely one. “We

wouldn’t be here without our mothers. We definitely miss our mums

the most on tour. Well, mums and dads really,” a sentimental Lewis

tells us. “We called [the band] Mothers as a tribute to the fine ladies

that all brought us here… Most of the time all our mothers are at

the rehearsals. There are actually four guitar tracks in our songs and

two drum tracks. My mum plays drums as well as me, and Roanne’s

mum and Jack’s mum play guitar with them. That’s why it sounds so

big.” Flights of fancy like this, where a joke is stretched to madcap

lengths, are a regular occurrence of sitting down and talking with

Mothers. Their attention spans aren’t suited to serious interviews,

and it seems as though they’ve no inclination to resort to chinstroking

musings on something they find to be an enjoyable way

of spending their time. Lewis, in particular, can’t let go of the idea of

ability at being able to pile on all the fuzz without losing sight of the

amazing melodies buried underneath. “I think there will always be

a bit of a doom or stoner-rock element to the music that comes from

our influences,” Lewis explains, “but we also like fast, nice, happy

pop songs. The two just kind of intertwine and make sweet, sweet

love.”

When it comes to recording, the trio have a bracingly simple

approach which plays to their strengths. “No metronomes or

nothing, we just get in there and play our songs as if we we’re

playing them live.” While hardly revolutionary, this method of

recording ensures that the group don’t sacrifice the energy that

made the tracks so great in the first place, as they feel that recording

each component in the track separately would result in more a rigid,

robotic feel. Lewis: “As much as we like big-sounding songs, we’re

all for a bit of sloppiness and being a bit lo-fi… I sometimes think we

sound better live than on recordings, so we just try and capture a bit

of that in the studio."

Their live performances can best be described as genuinely brutal,

but that’s not to say that the band aren’t tight and disciplined; Lewis

tells us that they still feel that their greatest strength lies in their

live act. “Jack’s a really good performer and his voice is amazing

for a heavy rock band. Jack and Roanne are both really passionate

actually. It’s funny because I’m there sat at the back of the stage

on drums but we just click as a three-piece.” A communal approach

to all aspects of their work ensures that there are no egos in the

band, which Lewis believes is for the greater good. “One of the

kind of unwritten rules is if there’s one of us who isn’t happy with

something then it doesn’t go ahead.”

With care not to have their tongue lodged too firmly in cheek,

the group’s low budget, almost DIY way of making videos has both

incredible and disarmingly hilarious results. “We were filming the

video for Honey dressed up as bees and the director said at the end

the band acts all moody, with misty effects and sitting around being

all arty-farty.”

As well as avoiding the expectations of a tired genre, Mothers

aren’t afraid to just get out there and play their music to new

audiences, so it’s common for the band to simply organise their own

tours. “It’s funny when you tell people at home or at work that you’re

going on tour and they’re like ‘Ohh, hotels! Tour buses!’” says Lewis.

“But it’s actually an old postman’s van and we just sleep on people’s

floors with no heating on. But it’s the most amazing holiday you’ll

ever have. Most people, when they hear the aggressive music, will

think it’s all smoking dope and partying; but for us a party is just

pizza and adventure time.”

Their next stint on the road in the postman’s van is coming up

in June, in the form of a six-date tour with their current labelmates

Stilts. “They’re definitely one of my favourite underground bands.

The four guys in Stilts are all super-nice dudes,” Lewis tells us,

evidently excited about getting out on the circuit again. Prior to

this (5th April), the band have a date with Stilts closer to home, at

Maguire’s Pizza Bar. Maguire’s is a venue that the group are fond

of for its very hands-off approach to its events. “It’s all very DIY and

you get the freedom of setting-up your own gear and doing your

own lighting. I know it sounds weird, but when you can choose the

bands who are on with you and run your own night, it’s much easier

and much more enjoyable… and, of course, there’s pizza,” explains

Lewis.

It could be said that Mothers are making noise rock fun again,

by striking the balance of making great tunes whilst not taking

themselves too seriously. With a full length album due out by the

summer, if anyone should be taking the band seriously, it’s us.

facebook.com/motherstheband

bidolito.co.uk


THE MAGNET

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

THE SHIPPING FORECAST

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

11.05 THE POP GROUP

22.05 THE VACCINES

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER


12

Bido Lito! March 2015

Words: Josh Ray / @josh5446ray

Illustration: Mook Loxley / mookloxley.tumblr.com

In 1927, Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung had a vision of

Liverpool in a dream that would go on to forever reshape the

psyche of a city he’d never actually visited. Recounted in Memories,

Dreams and Reflections, Jung describes “a broad square dimly

illuminated by street lights, into which many streets converged.”

His attention was drawn to a magnolia tree on an island in the

centre of a pool, which “stood in the sunlight and was at the same

time the source of light”. Jung’s companions – seemingly oblivious

to the magnolia – were scratching their heads as to why one of

their Swiss friends had settled in Liverpool, given the abominable

weather. Taken by the beauty of the flowering tree, Jung noted, “I

know very well why he has settled here.” Then he awoke.

That’s the thing with synchronicity: some people are more

amenable to it than others, and it was no coincidence that Jung

dreamed of Liverpool. When the book ended up in the hands of

local entrepreneur Peter O’Halligan, it quickly became apparent

that the city was more than willing to buy into the idea of

synchronicity, the collective unconscious and the Liverpool dream.

It was a bleak time for the area: the recession gripping the rest

of the country particularly resonated in a Liverpool yet to recover

from the blitz and the “Four Lads Who Shook the World” had

left little behind; the shortsighted council had even filled in the

Cavern.

The Bootle dream merchant wasn’t going to need any help from

the council, however, far from it. Taking to where Mathew Street,

Rainford Square and Temple Court meet – the place he interpreted

Jung’s dream to be – Peter leased an old fruit warehouse in 1974

and moved in with his cousin Sean. The modern incarnation of

Jung’s Liverpool dream was born and, long before the Sex Pistols

declared there to be “No Future”, the first signs of punk started

to emerge – not the trouser-obsessed punk of London but a very

scouse, DIY ethos in the face of an obtuse and oppressive council.

Lack of opportunity no longer became a limitation as the city’s

youth began making their own and O’Halligan’s warehouse soon

became a hub for free thinkers. With a thick stench of patchouli in

the air, Aunt Twacky’s offered up a response to Kensington Market

and, upstairs, O’Halligan’s parlour-cum-café became a meeting

place where unemployed dreamers and schemers could mill

around over one pot of tea all day. “It was a space where you could

talk, dream and think the impossible,” recalls Larry Sidorczuk, who

moved into the parlour soon after Peter. “Just having a cup of tea

and a sandwich became an event,” explains Deaf School manager

and co-founder of Eric’s Ken Testi. “It was served in a nautical

fashion because the O’Halligan boys and Charlie Alexander were

all wearing Swiss navy uniform.”

When faced with opposition, the response was often surreal.

Called into court for refusing to pay business rates on the

warehouse, Peter O’Halligan appeared at the stand dressed in his

finest prison garb, complete with ball and chain. Unfortunately

the judge didn’t have a sense of humour – not even cracking as

much as a smirk when Peter pleaded not guilty… So O’Halligan

faced six weeks in Walton prison. When he returned, however, the

debt was wiped. And as his warehouse parlour became THE place

to go for cutting edge poetry, music, art and comedy, it became

known as the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and

Pun.

“We pretty much moved in on Peter’s invitation,” recalls Enrico

Cadillac, frontman of the seminal Deaf School. “It became our new

rehearsal place and general hangout.” These rehearsals became

gigs in their own right and it was there that the band struck their

lucrative deal with Warner Bros. “Derek Taylor sat on a wooden

THE LIVER

ue, Mic Language, Music

chair in front of us with tears in his eyes,” Enrico explains. “I guess

[it was] because he fell in love with Deaf School right there but

also because of the street we were in, maybe [it was] his first time

back there since his Beatles days.”

There definitely was a sense that something had been

reawakened on that street, particularly on 6th June 1976. On a

blisteringly hot morning, Peter and Sean married Jeannie and

Lynn before a plaque was unveiled which read, “Liverpool is the

pool of life C.G. JUNG. 1927.” A bust of the man himself was atop,

naturally. The Mathew Street Woodwind Ensemble, the Mathew

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! March 2015

13

POOL DREAM

, Dream and Pun ue, Mic

Street Brass Band, Deaf School and Yachts then took to an outdoor “It was all so postmodern it was untrue; it was Monty Python,

stage set up on the street. This was the first of three annual it was the League of Gentlemen,” remarks Chris Bernard. “Peter

Jung Festivals that brought the idiosyncratic shenanigans of the O’Halligan is the funniest fuck that’s ever walked the streets of

Liverpool School out onto Mathew Street. At the final festival in Liverpool when it comes to surreal, avant-garde comedy.” It was

1978, the Bridewell Studio’s Charlie Alexander jumped from a fifthfloor

loading bay into a giant can (painted skip) of Bird’s custard. in Liverpool and set up the Science Fiction Theatre, making

towards the end of the summer of ‘76 that Ken Campbell arrived

Chris

stage manager. They would go on to create “the most remarkable

play staged on Planet Earth”, but that’s another story for another

day.

Even though there was an incredible will to push art to

its limits, there still needed to be some money coming in and

a certain bank manager – now on the board at the Everyman –

proved key. “Everybody who was sensible enough banked at the

same NatWest at the time. You’d never on the whole planet find

a bank manager like Mike Carney, he’d back virtually anything,”

explains David Knopov, recollecting the time he paid off his

overdraft with a piece of artwork.

Now, Jung would have been the first to tell you that as all this

was happening, the idea had entered the collective unconscious,

so it is highly imaginable that similar creative pockets were

springing up across the world. However, you need only take a look

at the school alumni to see that there was something particularly

special about this place. From Bill Drummond to Ian Broudie, Holly

Johnson to Jayne Casey, everyone who frequented the warehouse

seems to have found some kind of divine inspiration and it wasn’t

just in the arts either: one resident, Andrew Chamberlain, went

on to become a renowned palaeontologist/archaeologist at

Sheffield University.

Even more profound however, was the influence the Liverpool

School had on the city. “There’s always a spin-off. Each one

spawns the next,” Urban Strawberry Lunch’s Ambrose Reynolds

explains. “I would have never dared to do the Bombed Out Church

thing, but when I saw O’Halligan saying ‘We wanna do this – if

the council don’t like it they can fuck off’, it sparked something

in my mind.”

Taken over by Martin Cooper (now head chef at Delifonseca),

O’Halligan’s parlour became the Armadillo Tea Rooms and took

on a new life. “The Armadillo, Probe and Eric’s were like the

Golden Triangle of Liverpool punk,” notes Bernie Connor, whose

early years were shaped by his time in Aunt Twacky’s. “At an age of

discovery it was just incredible; I learned more there in a fucking

afternoon than I did in five years at secondary school.”

Move forward to the early eighties and Kif Higgin’s Urban

Stress and Earthbeat carried the baton for the Liverpool School

but in a much more politicised way; healing many of the scars

of the Toxteth riots with music, community work and fervent

activism. Comparisons between the Liverpool School and

MelloMello would be more than superficial, too. When Ken

Campbell’s carpenter, Greg Scott Gurner, dreamed up the idea of

a multi-hub café, he was instructed to come to Liverpool by the

late great playwright. When MelloMello closed in 2014, it was only

a matter of months before a new creative space in Water Street

was revealed. And that’s the thing: no matter how hard it gets

squeezed, the Liverpool dream never relents. The city continues

to attract those with an insatiable desire to create something,

and the punk, DIY ethos born in O’Halligan’s warehouse still

permeates almost every corner of the city’s creative underbelly

today.

Go to bidlito.co.uk now to see a gallery of Larry Sidorczuk’s

photos from the Liverpool School Of Language, Music, Dream And

Pun.

bidolito.co.uk


14

Bido Lito! March 2015

VFor Threshold

SECRET SOUNDS

feat. Natalie McCool / D R O H N E / Silent Cities

Words: Josh Potts / @joshpjpotts

Hark, what beast comes to drag our neighbours through the gates of

spring into joyous pastures? Why it’s only the fifth annual THRESHOLD

FESTIVAL, an event that’s becoming something of a trendsetter in

Liverpool, a three-day celebration of our smartest grassroots creatives

and an excuse to legitimately knock back enough craft beer to

permanently curl a moustache. Last year’s sci-fi theme had its moments,

but this time the organisers are letting the line-up speak for itself,

broadening the reach of their enviable tendrils to ensure our dynamic

locality is more present than ever. This home-cooked confection of

music, art and performance, spread across half a dozen venues in the

Baltic Triangle, announces the festival season before anyone’s had the

chance to shake off those winter blues. So start shaking! Here are a few

of the highlights you can look forward to . . .

MUSIC

With a mightily impressive roster of local artists packed in to the

bill, headline status at Threshold V falls to a few pesky out-of-towners.

AKALA (pictured) is sure to be a major draw for the casual urbanite and

anyone else with a penchant for smart, tongue-boggling hip hop. Having

long ago trashed the label of Ms Dynamite’s brother with his emotional

intelligence and amazing freestyle skills, the London-born rapper is

now a pillar of the UK scene. His 2013 album The Thieves Banquet was a

cogent attack on the evils of dictatorship and political hypocrisy without

sacrificing his famed lyricism, while his follow-up, a graphic novel/

performance hybrid, was nothing less than a trawl through entire aeons

of societal corruption.

Another big name making their mark will be NUBIYAN TWIST, a

twelve-piece mash-up of musicians and DJs walking a thin stylistic

tightrope through jazz, Latino and Caribbean-inflected funk. Fronted by

the timelessly effervescent Nubiya Brandon, their raison d’être borrows

from so many corners of world music that you’d be forgiven for checking

your passport stamps before turning up. Luckily, Nubiyan Twist are just

too damn to be ignored, since they’re practically unable to turn in a show

that doesn’t leave people grinning like loons. Of course, if you’re a true

regional patriot, LIMF Academy Ones To Watch SUB BLUE and SOPHIA BEN

YOUSEF will be knocking out their neo-soul arsenal as they’re fixed ever

closer by the bright eyes of stardom, just as ETCHES and MUTANT VINYL

hope to further their rise to the top of the city’s musical chain. Elsewhere,

VYNCE, BLUE SAINT and the uncategorisable PADDY STEER offer depth and

assurance to a busy programme.

Words: Josh Potts / @joshpjpotts

VISUAL ARTS

Because bashed livers and eardrums are not everything in this world,

Threshold V is giving our peepers a bit of a treat, too. The new Liverpool

Craft Beer space will be hosting work from some of our finest local

artists, including ROBERT FLYNN’s ongoing Metamorphosis series. Having

dabbled in a number of solo and group shows in the past, Flynn’s current

muse resides in our modern anxiety with body image and the thankless

quest for perfection. His photographs tap into the surreal quality of

transcending one’s physical form as the demons of insecurity nip at our

backs. Meanwhile, RADAR COMMUNICATION, or Mark Chapman to the

alias adverse, will be returning to exhibit his latest digital collages. As

Flynn interprets hidden desires of the mind, Chapman turns his attention

outward, finding accidental beauty in what many would consider prosaic.

Inspired by creative renovation in warehouses and bygone industrial

spaces – a perfect match, then, for Threshold’s pop-up mentality – his art

is swamped with texture, symmetry, and abstraction, filtering materials

through the eyes of someone in love with urbanity. For the Threshold

crowd, that might just be a lens we already share. Heartily recommended.

FILM

As if Threshold’s chest-beating wasn’t loud enough, it’s roped in

someone else to do it for them. Brett Gregory’s third documentary in

his Beyond… collection, Liverpool – Beyond The Beatles, aims to hold a

spotlight to Liverpool’s music scene as it stands today, combining talkinghead

interviews, lush panning shots of that distinctive waterfront, and

discussions about whether bands are still trying to live up to You Know

Who. Rest assured that the soundtrack, video footage and interviewees

will all be top notch (look out for Bido Lito!’s very own Craig G Pennington

in full pontification mode). After its well-received premiere, those who

missed out can expect a portrait of the familiar from the inside, spliced

with the same affection Serious Feather Productions imparted on

Manchester and Iceland in other cinematic scrapbooks.

Threshold Festival takes place between 27th and 29th March across a

variety of venues in The Baltic Triangle. Full line-up and ticketing details

can be found at thresholdfestival.co.uk.

What do you get when you combine an acclaimed solo artist,

a pair of ambient electro-heads, and one of the most purely

gorgeous songwriters to come out of Liverpool in a decade? Fuck

knows. But this collaboration, taking place in an undisclosed

venue, has got us seriously excited. Since our hands would be

hacked off and fed to monkeys if we said any more, we asked

NATALIE MCCOOL if she could spill the proverbial beans.

Bido Lito!: Obviously there’s an element of secrecy

surrounding exactly what’ll go down at this gig, but can you

give us any clues? Will it be improvised or rehearsed diligently

beforehand?

Natalie McCool: An element of both, I think. We'll be having

a few rehearsals to lay the groundwork for sure, but it's always

good to keep things fresh

BL!: When did you first come up with the idea of

collaborating?

NMcC: It was Sally Nulty who initially approached me to

collaborate with D R O H N E and I thought that would be a

really great experience. Then [festival organisers] Chris and

Kaya approached myself and Simon [Madison, Silent Cities] –

they heard about our collaboration on the Daydream track and

really wanted us on board for Threshold, too.

BL!: I’m interested to know what can be gained from

combining all of your different styles – D R O H N E, for example,

are quite separate from yourself on the musical spectrum.

NMcC: I think collaboration is really important – I actually

think we are all very different from each other and I think that

will really work. It's good to experiment as much as possible

outside of the sphere of your own project, and to be versatile in

that way. I believe it opens more doors of possibility.

BL!: Would you agree that Threshold’s laid-back, communal

atmosphere is something special for performers to witness?

NMcC: Threshold is a fantastic event – it's unique because

it combines arts with music, which attracts quite a wide

audience. Last year's show was brilliant – I played solo, which is

something I really enjoy because it enables me to connect with

the audience in a different way. There was a great atmosphere,

which goes across all the Threshold events I've attended.

BL!: In the spirit of the piece, tell us a secret…

NMcC: I used to speak about myself in the third person when

I was a baby, calling myself “the baby”. When I woke up in my

cot I would stand up and shout down the stairs: "COME AND

GET THE BABY!"


2015 HIGHLIGHTS

THE UNTHANKS

Sunday 1 March 7.30pm


RUMOURS OF

FLEETWOOD MAC

Thursday 5 March 7.30pm


‘A CURIOUS LIFE’

& LEVELLERS -

(acoustic)

Friday 6 March 7.30pm


DR JOHN

and the Nite Trippers

Monday 9 March 7.30pm

ONE MAN

BREAKING BAD

performed by Miles Allen

Tuesday 24 March 7.30pm


CALEXICO

Friday 1 May 8pm


DYLAN MORAN

Saturday 2 May 8pm


THE FULL

ENGLISH

Tuesday 5 May 7.30pm

REGINALD

D HUNTER

Sunday 10 May 8pm


STEWART

LEE

Tuesday 2 June 8pm

Wednesday 3 June 8pm


ELVIS

COSTELLO -

DETOUR

Monday 15 June 8pm

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Box Office 0151 709 3789

liverpoolphil.com

Image The Unthanks

bidolito.co.uk


To take A LOVELY WAR on face value is a deceptive approach. Shy,

understated and purveyors of the kind of post-Belle & Sebastian

blend of self-effacing indie pop so often maligned as twee, it’s easy

to place them firmly amidst that tedious huddle of the gratingly

timorous – the kind of artificial ‘alternative’ concocted by a satchelwearing,

ironically-bearded 44-year-old charged with sucking any

hint of personality from Renault’s latest ad campaign. This fourpiece

are profoundly not so. Rather, their early recorded work and

embryonic live performances show signs of an assertive zealousness;

an enthralling absorption of left-field musical tradition from Bush to

Bowie to Banhart, distilled into a firm individualism that’s anything

but imitation.

In short, there aren’t many bands that sound much like A Lovely War

– in their native Merseyside, essentially none – and on the subject of

their contemporaries the band are more naturally drawn to discussing

what they’re not. “Well we’re not really indie rock, are we?” muses

guitarist Chris Keogh on the subject. “[The music] is in opposition to a

Words: Patrick Clarke / @Paddyclarke

Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uK

bidolito.co.uk


lot of the Liverpool scene.”

“I don’t think we’ll ever be singing about the Liver

Birds,” says bassist Patrick Hughes on their place as a

‘Liverpool band’, “but I think you do get a lot [from the

city] subconsciously; as opposed to just singing about

the city, you pick up a lot just from being here. There’s

always music, there’s always gigs in Liverpool, always

things to see; you can have Africa Oyé, then you can go

out and see metal gigs. You pick it up.”

The result on record is in a sense indefinable; on

their debut EP proper – November’s self-titled fourtrack

effort – the group careen from synth to accordion

to frenetic, vaudevillian stretches and off-kilter hits to

the heartstrings, and they themselves struggle for the

catch-all adjective. “It’s quite poppy, but it’s not pop…”

offers Patrick. “The influences are quite mixed,” his

brother and drummer Liam adds. Ultimately it’s singer,

keyboardist and chief-songwriter Sean Keogh, brother

to Chris, who makes the best stab at it. “I think we just

want to be weird. Different. There’s no point in not

doing that musically… When we started I just wanted to

be doing something I thought was interesting.”

Interesting is certainly the word, and the group are

unafraid when it comes to flexing their offbeat muscles.

In their younger days Patrick, Sean and Chris were

members of a live ska group, and cut their teeth across

a series of inconsequential toilet-circuit gigs. “We were

all fairly young at that point; we were all under 20. We’d

have to sell X amount of tickets and pay to play. Thinking

of it now it was crazy; they were just taking advantage

of us as we were so young.” The long-term results have

still impacted on their sound, however, particularly in a

ska-influenced offbeat tone to a lot of the tunes. “With

Autumn Leaves Us Blue [lead single from the recent EP],

the time signature is just… weird. Sean’s played it on his

own a few times and people have got up to dance, and

they’ve just not been able to. I like that, though; there’s

gotta be some sort of confusion,” remembers Patrick.

The sense of idiosyncrasy surrounding the group

doesn’t dent their passion for their peers either. As if

their sound wasn’t indefinable enough, there’s the

potential of the group hooking up with a local hip

hop artist; though at the moment it’s a collaboration

that’s in its formative stages. “We’ve been talking about

getting involved with him,” says Patrick of the potential

plans, “maybe jam with him. Just jamming, then we’ll

see what happens. I think it’ll be quite interesting with

our poppy kind of sound and his vocals. That’d be kinda

nice.”

It’s fair to say the group have come a fairly long

way since those early days of ska. Now with a couple

of gigs as a full band under their belts, the group are

fast ascending to the top of the local radar. “It’s good to

have recorded the music, got the buzz and then started

playing it live as opposed to what we used to do in

Liverpool,” points out Patrick of their approach. “We

spent a lot of time doing these crappy gigs – they were

good fun but just in front of our mates. We’d play them

every week and nothing would really happen.”

Until university scattered the group, the two pairs

of brothers had spent almost their entire lives in each

other’s company. “All of us were into music; we all

played in different bands. We all played different gigs

together but people went to uni and stuff and the

bands just stopped,” recalls Patrick. Time passed, shortlived

student bands came and went, until, as Patrick

continues, “There was this time when we were all in the

same place and we started A Lovely War. We did some

gigs together, just me and Sean. It was really good fun

but we needed a band – it felt like there was a lot more

we could do – so it was really good to get Chris playing

guitar and singing, and Liam on drums.”

The fortunes of A Lovely War are undeniably on the

rise, yet the group still retain an animosity for the state

of Britain’s cultural opportunities for unestablished

artists. “Music and art isn’t treated as a commodity like

any other job is, and that’s a problem,” says Sean on

the subject. “We put so much work into this band, and

people can assume that that somehow doesn’t count,”

agrees Patrick. “We’re making money for other people,

and somewhere along the way it’s become acceptable

that that’s just the way it is.” “It’s sold to the bands as if

they’re being given all these opportunities, rather than

‘you’re making us money’,” his brother adds.

“It’s so much easier now to record yourself and get

yourself out there; that’s changed things a lot,” Liam

continues, and it’s a state of affairs that’s helped

immeasurably with his own outfit. It was the video for

Autumn Leaves Us Blue that saw ears initially pricked,

even though they barely had a finalised line-up; since

then, their EP has become a fast favourite for all of

an alternative sensibility, representing the quartet’s

steady rise. As a live backbone begins to assert itself,

we can only hope that ascent is a long and continued

one for these understated instigators of the kind of

individualism this city sorely needs.

soundcloud.com/alovelywar

bidolito.co.uk


18

Bido Lito! March 2015

GIT

Award

2015

Now in to its fourth year, the GIT AWARD is set

bidolito.co.uk

to once again applaud the cream of Liverpool’s

latest musical exports, while also shining a light

on some of the city’s lesser-known gems. Behold,

on the page opposite, the twelve nominees who’ve

been shortlisted for the 2015 Award. Ahead of the

ceremony – set to be held at The Kazimier on 4th

April – we catch up with a few of the accolade’s

national judging panel, to find out how the

city’s current musical crop are perceived outside

Merseyside.

By way of celebrating what has been another fine

year of musical creativity on Merseyside, the 2015

edition of the GIT Award has left no stone unturned

in compiling its final shortlist. These twelve nominees

represent a fine cross-section of where they city is

at right now, and the list boasts some pretty major

players. And it took a crack team of judges, with both

local knowhow and national expertise, to finally decide

on who would be in the GIT Award 2015’s dirty dozen.

As a member of the sixteen-strong judging panel this

year, let me assure you that it was far from an easy task.

When I joined the panel – as a local judge alongside

head judge and Award chief Peter Guy, Mike Deane

(Liverpool Music Week director), Victoria Smith (Arts

Club manager), Yaw Owusu (LIMF creative director) and

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Steve Miller (EVOL and Sound City booker) – I thought I

had a pretty good idea of what was going on and who

I’d likely be voting for. But even I was surprised at the

strength and breadth of the two hundred-plus long

list that was circulated around the judging panel as a

starting point for our deliberations. And I wasn’t the

only one pleasantly surprised.

“The sheer diversity on display in Liverpool is

incredible,” says Clash Magazine’s Deputy Online Editor

Robin Murray, one of the Award’s national judges. “Truly,

there's little I can say to do it justice. The breadth and

depth of talent is intimidating and I just hope that we

– as the judging panel – can give the wider world a

flavour of what's going on in the city.” Award-winning

music journalist Simon Price was also impressed by

the variety of music presented to him on the long list

this time round. “I didn't realise there was such a strong

scene [on Merseyside] for hip hop/R&B/grime until

I got involved with this process. A lot of my favourite

nominees came from that side of things.”

Having attended the GIT Award Final for the last

couple of years and been “passionate about its ethos”,

journalist, blogger and Amazing Radio show host

Shell Zenner was delighted to be part of the judging

process this year, and has been heartened not just

by what she’s heard, but also by the platform the GIT

Award has become. “The process to me has solidified

the confidence that it's not where you're at, it's the

potential you have, too – whatever the genre, whatever

the type of music or artist you are,” Shell tells me,

evidently brimming with enthusiasm. “You will be heard

and considered. This year we've pitched commercially

viable artists against leftfield heroes, and even those

taking their tentative first steps into the industry. It's

seriously heart-warming and exciting to see what will

happen in the future.”

Music journalism has come a long way in the past

decade, and regional stereotypes – in terms of sound

at least – are gradually becoming a thing of the past.

The erosion of the idea that certain regions only

produce certain types of musicians is a welcome one,

with Merseyside a prime example. “I don't think there's

any one dominating flavour in Liverpool's music scene,

which is partly why it's so creative,” agrees Robin

Murray. “It feels like right now the city is a great place to

make music, with musicians supporting one another in

whatever bizarre concoctions they dream up. Sure, The

La's and The Coral were great bands, but there's more

to Liverpool than that.” Shell Zenner agrees, and is

proud of the final shortlist that the judging panel have

settled on. “To say all the artists from the area sound

like [The La’s and The Coral] is completely incorrect:

Circa Waves are a stadium indie band in the making;

Låpsley is an electronic genius who’s carrying the

electronic torch forward from last year’s winner Forest

Swords; Esa Shields is completely far-out and it fills me

with excitement to see his live show; and then you've

got the stunning sound of the incredible Jane Weaver,

whose latest album topped the Piccadilly Records

album of the year list in 2014. Liverpool and its music

are not to be pigeonholed!”

Dot Levine – Head of Campaigns and Communications

at UK Music, which represents the collective interests of

the UK’s commercial music industry – has got to know

Liverpool pretty well over recent months, thanks to her

dad (record producer Steve) setting up his new home

in the city. Her experiences judging this year’s process

have instilled in her a renewed vigour for a region that’s

always been proud of its musical chops. “Liverpool is

a city full of music lovers and music makers – people

who are always trying to listen for something new and

exciting, and music makers creating something new

and exciting. Liverpool’s scene breathes life into the

industry – it’s full of people who are the lifeblood of

our vibrant and diverse UK music industry,” she reveals.

From my own point of view, selecting the final

twelve artists to be shortlisted has been a satisfying

experience. I’m as convinced as anyone else that this

city is as good as any other at creating and nurturing

musical talent; what the GIT Award nominees for 2015

show is that we have deep reserves of high-class skill

in our midst, and we’re right to praise it. Now we’ve just

got to pick a winner. Any ideas?

The GIT Award final ceremony takes place at The

Kazimier on 4th April.


Circa Waves

Circa Waves have marked themselves

as one of the UK’s biggest music

sensations, with a nomination for Best

New Band in the 2014 NME Awards.

D R O H N E

A subversive mystique adds a dissonant edge

to the work of this electronic duo, who have

signed with O Genesis Recordings and supported

Factory Floor in the past twelve months.

All We Are

The lithe, rhythmic grooves on this

trio’s debut, self-titled LP have not

only won them a legion of fans, but

also heaps of international praise.

Esa Shields

Gulf

Hooton Tennis Club

An acid pop polymath who has long been

a fixture of Liverpool’s underground music

community, Esa Shields’ experimentalism

is finally getting the praise it deserves.

A quintet with the music world at their

feet, Gulf ’s light-as-a-feather cosmic pop

has had the music press and industry

buzzing about where they’ll go next.

Close friendships and swaggering,

lo-fi warmth are part of the fabric of

this quartet, who are signed up to the

respected label Heavenly Recordings.

Låpsley

Jane Weaver

Roxanne L Jones

Widnes-born Jane Weaver has found

her groove with sixth solo album The

Silver Globe, which meshes celestial

shoegaze with a touch of krautrock.

Holly Låpsley Fletcher’s sparse, dubby

compositions have seen the Formby

teenager sign with XL Recordings and win

the inaugural Blog Sound award for 2015.

A bold, sassy delivery typifies the

approach of this Toxteth-born singersongwriter,

who fuses vintage soul

sensibilities with contemporary pop.

We Are Catchers

The Sundowners

These five Wirral musicians channel a

vintage, summery vibe in their hip-shaking

rock revivalism, which has seen them

play Glastonbury’s Introducing Stage.

The Domino-released debut album

of melancholic Scouse troubadour

Peter Jackson is a wistful collection of

Beach Boys-esque yearning pop.

Xam Volo

Twenty-one-year-old Sam Folorunsho

is a fast-rising star soul star whose selfproduced

EP Binary In Blue showed a

flair for super-slick hip hop beats.


20

Bido Lito! March 2015

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! March 2015

21

“…Expect Surprises…”

Words: Paddy Hughes / @paddyhughes89

Illustration: Lucy Roberts / lucyannerobertsillustration.co.uk

The stately setting of the Anglican Cathedral is preparing for a

riot of colour on Friday 6th March, when Merrill Garbus brings her

Day-Glo outfit TUNE-YARDS for a party that seems at odds with

the venerable building’s sombre atmosphere. Being at odds with

things is Garbus’ default setting, however, so it would actually

seem like the perfect setting. Ahead of this show, which comes in

the middle of a massive UK tour, the New England experimentalist

took time out of her busy schedule to talk business.

Bido Lito!: When did tUnE-yArDs start and were you in other

bands when you were younger and growing up?

Merrill Garbus: I had actually been thinking recently about

those old bands. tUnE-yArDs started in about 2007. In about

2006 I started writing songs on a ukulele, songs which I was

originally using for a puppet show because I was originally a

puppeteer. So I was writing these songs with just me and a

uke, and then tUnE-yArDs sort of grew out of that. Before that

I used to live in Vermont and I was in a number of bands with

lots of different people. I was the back-up ukulele player, if

that is even a thing, in a Vermont reggae band called Baked

Earth. Eventually I moved from Vermont up to Montréal and

from there I took music a bit more seriously, touring round

the country with lots of different Montréal bands and, yeah,

that was basically the start of me wanting to make music my

full-time job.

BL!: You mentioned that you’re a puppeteer… Are there any

crossovers with that and your current role in tUnE-yArDs??

MG: First of all, for me both jobs are about being a performer

and that in itself is its own career type. A lot of musicians come

into music without having a lot of experience of being on

stage but you can really tell when you see the ones that do. It

makes you really pay attention to the visual side of things and

that is how we build our shows, with a connection between

performance art and music. In the first tUnE-yArDs gigs I did in

Montréal, there was always other stuff going on besides the

music, but no puppets at that point. Now I realise how much I

have learnt from my puppeteer mentors who taught me about

being on stage and how to approach performance, and I feel

that have carried all of that with me. Whether it be on small

stages or whether it be in the big festivals that we get to play

these days, it’s all about a performance-based experience for

me.

BL!: Who were your influences when you were getting into

music?

MG: Early on, Deerhoof were a band that I felt were doing

something that was really connected to performance art. As

much as I have also grown up listening to The Beatles and

The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, they are the bands that

everyone has heard of; whereas Deerhoof and other bands

really connected personally to what I was doing and what

I could be doing, and they gave me a new view on rock and

roll. Dirty Projectors were defiantly one of those bands too

who were also just experimenting with rock music; you know,

doing weird and out-there things? But whenever people ask

this question I know that I have a lot of influences but I never

know what to say. I actually think that the first tUnE-yArDs

album had a lot of Cindy Lauper and other 80s stuff as well

as rock and roll. It helped create that kind of lo-fi sound, you

know?

BL!: Can you explain a bit more of how you go about

creating your music?

MG: The truth is that the music is always changing and

it’s all a big mess. I wish there was a formula that worked

every time but it’s usually just some sort of rhythm that

starts everything and then that’s when I know we’re starting

something… A lot of it basically starts with how I want to

move to a song. With Water Fountain it began with the

chorus. I had that tune in my head and had to get it out. It’s

like little shards, little tiny things that need to be put into a

bigger place. The lyric “No water in the water fountain” was

a clue to the rest of the song and I followed it. At that point

Nate Brenner, who also writes the songs, usually comes in

and reflects what I have been working on, and I’ll say “this

is going to work”, to which he’ll say “what about this?”, and

we’ll go back and forth. One thing that puppeteering gave

me was the sense of a world that you are trying to create, so

the big question for me is always “What kind of world am I

trying to create?”

BL!: So you mention performance and space. How are you

approaching the show at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral then?

MG: These days people should expect a lot of bright colours,

which is really fun. I think also a dynamic feel, and we’re

going to bring a tonne of energy, which doesn’t just come

from the musical performance. We are going to be theatrical

and all-encompassing. I’ve really been enjoying making our

performance something that people can lose themselves in,

you know? People should come to the show and forget about

their normal lives. What more do we want than to forget our

normal lives for an hour a week? But it isn’t about numbing

out; it’s about feeling different and changed. Maybe that is a

really pompous thing to say, but it is what I think.

BL!: Is it a different experience for you playing in the UK

compared to the US?

MG: Oh yeah. The UK has been one of our strongest allies,

in the way that UK audiences are so open to different types

of music and strange stuff. It’s hard to shock UK audiences.

I also think that if you smash a performance and are clearly

committed to your music, UK audiences will be right there

with you with their energy and spirit. I think there’s a strong

musical culture, especially in Liverpool, that has been going

for a long time so people are very excited about new work. I

love Liverpool and it’s an honour to be playing there.

BL!: Festival season is also on the horizon. Do you enjoy

doing lots of musical festivals or do you find them hectic?

MG: Oh, both. It is a shit show in so many ways. You have

to be ready for this whole new style of “one, two, three, go!”

instead of a sound check and prep for the show. It can be very

panicked and last minute but that adds to the energy and

electricity that’s part of the performance. It isn’t the easiest

thing for your system to take on but it is always rewarding

for us. It feels like being in a new band sometimes, as you

have a little bit more to prove in festivals, but that’s always

a good thing for us.

BL!: Your most recent album, Nikki Nack, seems to have

been really well received. Did you approach this album

differently from the other ones?

MG: Well, we had more resources and I was a little more

fearless with what I could try and get away with. There was

room to go a little bit bigger with the sound for this album. I

really wanted to challenge myself and to write differently, not

just write songs on a looping pedal like the previous albums.

So I tried to write longer and more composed pop songs. I

also wanted to leave a lot of room for other elements that we

had never used before to come alive within the record, and I

think we achieved that with the record.

BL!: Do you have a clear plan for what you want to achieve

next?

MG: I have no idea. If I knew, I would tell you. I want

surprises; I want to keep surprising myself. We’ll be on the

road till the end of the summer and then who knows? It

could be anything. I literally have no idea… but surprises are

good. Expect surprises.

tUnE-yArDs play Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on 6th March.

tune-yards.com

bidolito.co.uk


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Bido Lito! March 2015

bidolito.co.uk


pass

the

Illustration: Nick Booton

Words: Richard Lewis

/ bruisedstudio.com

Photography:

Keith Ainsworth

/ arkimages.co.uk

Bido Lito! March 2015

23

rediscovering

open mic culture

in liverpool

While a plethora of new technology has provided fledgling

musicians with the opportunity to get their material out into

the world over the past decade, what has this meant for the

grass roots mainstay of the humble Open Mic night? In times

gone by, these simple but celebratory affairs would be the

first platform on which embryonic artists shared their creative

labours; they provided an invaluable role in celebrating and

nurturing new talent. It seems that Liverpool, thankfully, still

has a particular fondness and insatiable appetite for the

form, as on any given weeknight scores of events take place

in venues scattered across the city centre and out into the

suburbs.

The movement today builds on the tradition immortalised

at cult New York hangouts The Bitter End, Cafe Wha?, Gerde's

Folk City and, perhaps most famously, The Gaslight Cafe, and

is the world depicted in the Cohen Brothers’ 2013 film Inside

Llewyn Davis. Liverpool is no different; our music culture

is rooted in coffee houses and jazz clubs and their open,

collaborative, silo-like nature has helped create the music

scene we love today. Contrary to popular belief, Open Mics

are not synonymous with endless off-key renditions of Stuck

In The Middle With You and ill-advised Ed Sheeran warbling;

this is a dynamic, creative subculture and one which has

flourished over recent years in Liverpool.

Longest serving of the current nights, Out Of The Bedroom,

hosted by Johnny Sands at Leaf, has run on Tuesday evenings

for the past half-decade (Rufus Wainwright famously attended

the evening following his performance at the Philharmonic a

few years ago). The night has flourished in to a stalwart of

the Open Mic scene, and Johnny, with his inimitable hosting,

has become somewhat of a flame-bearer for the form. Out Of

The Bedroom is now joined by his weekly Saturday afternoon

session at Heebie Jeebies Courtyard. “There was a bit of a

stigma with Open Mic, the kind of ‘It’s a gig for a musician

who can’t get a gig’ attitude,” Johnny states. “I wanted to take

Open Mic out of what was a pub – covers, kinda anything goes

– and make it into a more London-type setup. The first thing

was to set out a load of rules of how I’d run the night: original

material, make sure the PA was the equivalent of any good

gig. In London it was the same principal but it was far more

high profile, people were getting up and singing their songs

and record industry people were watching them.” The singer

also curates a sister event to Out Of The Bedroom, which is

held every couple of months and is more of a showcase.

“The performers at Maison Johnny are cherry picked.

Everyone who’s either played at the Heebies Acoustic Club

on a Saturday afternoon, or Leaf on a Tuesday, they go on

hat

there.”

“Over the years of doing it you see people progress from

being an aspiring musician to an accomplished player; you

can see them get that feeling of ‘this is what I want to do’,”

he continues. “Because not nearly as many acts are getting

signed and lower-level musicians aren’t given a chance, the

local scene has become even stronger. Liverpool’s probably

the best city in the country for this kind of scene, the way

all the venues are close together. When I lived in Newcastle

there were tonnes of bands in practice rooms but there were

“Liverpool’s probably the best

city in the country for this

kind of scene, the way all the

venues are close together.”

johnny sands

no venues. Nowhere to play and only one open mic while I

was there.”

Over at The Brink, as part of the organisation’s

accompanying events programme an Open Mic night has

been run in-house by David Barnicle for the past two years.

“It’s an integral part of the musical landscape,” David states,

not just of the Brink’s Thursday night sessions, but of Open

Mic culture in general. “When you have songs coming out of

their initial conception and you just want to go somewhere

and get a bit of stage time and perform it, you use the stage

as a means of practising. It’s essential to have that means

of performing. Not everyone who plays at an Open Mic is

gonna get to a great level, but it can be important for people

who start there to learn basic skills. It’s not as if the music

scene wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for Open Mics, but it’s

part of that organism.”

“The Open Mic is a reflection of the way the whole place

works, it’s not just people in recovery,” David emphasises

of The Brink, which is a recovery social enterprise, meaning

that all profits go directly back into the community to fund

support for those who have suffered through alcoholism and

addiction. “Out of all the people who come to our Open Mic,

there are probably more people who aren’t in recovery that

those in it. People who may be in short-term or long-term

recovery who don’t want to play anywhere else, they only

come and play here. Because we do the young musicians

showcase here for under-eighteens, and because we’re a

dry bar, they find their way to the Open Mic as well. To be in

people’s minds you only get that through continuity, that’s

what gives it the profile.”

Newly revived Slater Street landmark The Jacaranda,

meanwhile, has recently inaugurated a night dedicated to

Open Mic in the basement of the pub. “Some of the acts

who get invited down to play will play a half-hour set,” Thom

Morecroft – who hosts and runs the event alongside Joe

Maryanji on Thursdays and Sundays – explains. “No-one’s

got up and played Wonderwall so far, and it’s not like we’re

going to say to people ‘Can you only play stuff from this really

cool list of tracks’, because that would defeat the object of

an Open Mic. Some nights will be in very hushed tones with

people sat round sipping pints listening to music; others

are more frenetic and everyone will get up and play three

songs. Some of them go on until half-one in the morning.”

Thom also believes that musicians raised in the digital age

aren’t afraid of descending in to these basement venues,

even when it might be outside their natural comfort zone.

“SoundCloud – and the internet generally – has given a lot

more confidence to the bedroom musician and has made it

more likely for them to emerge from the house. However, the

internet, in its infinite wisdom, hasn’t been that kind to the

bar scene. You’ve got to be a bit more creative – not just for

Open Mics, but if you’re putting on gigs. I think SoundCloud

culture and Open Mics are natural allies.”

An accompanying venture to the Jacaranda session is held

at Parr Street Studio 2. “The Parr Street Acoustic Sessions is

held once a month on a Wednesday. It’s a lot more formal

than The Jacaranda; it’s free entry but it’s always the case

that we’ll have eight acts on who’ll play twenty minutes

each and the audience has to be silent. It’s more of a

showcase.” Warming to the theme, Thom goes to say: “There

are now way more Open Mics in Liverpool than there were

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24

Bido Lito! March 2015

“perseverance

ten to fifteen years ago. People will play a good

Open Mic – even if the

connotations of that are ‘Oh, it’s an Open Mic’ –

rather than play a crap gig. A good Open Mic scene

helps people avoid doing rubbish gigs.”

The Bridewell, off Duke Street, has held an Open

Mic night since November 2013, run by Iain Morley and Ben

Singleton of The Buffalo Riot. “We didn’t realise there was

that much of a scene out there, that people wanted it,”

Iain explains. “Edgar Jones came down when we started

to help kick it off. What we found was there were a lot of

people booking acts, which isn’t really an Open Mic. We try

and make it so that people know where you are; a constant

every week to try and build up a community. Perseverance

is the key,” the singer states. “People might go to an Open

Mic night and realise it’s not for them; it’s all relative. It has

to exist as a conduit for people playing acoustic music to get

feedback, or even for someone to do it and say ‘this isn’t for

me’. In between shows you’ll get singers from bands coming

to Open Mics, and we’re even getting people from the first

year of LIPA coming to perform. What we understood when

we started doing it was that there’s already a community

of people doing the Open Mics, and the more people the

better.”

At the other end of the city centre, the Monday Club has

been a fixture of The Cavern Pub’s programme since 2011.

“The Cavern came to me almost four years ago and asked

if I wanted to do an Open Mic in the Cavern Pub and gave

me a six-week slot,” organiser and host Ian Prowse recalls.

Observing a strict ‘no covers’ policy – “I don’t wanna hear

covers of Wonderwall or Sex On Fire ever again,” Ian

grimaces – the emphasis on musicians’ own material steers

the event away from being a tribute to the band who once

played at the street’s most famous address opposite, and

has become a key platform for nurturing emerging new

talent. Millie Courtney, the Liverpool teenager who enjoyed

a meteoric rise to top the country charts in Nashville

last year, cut her teeth at the Monday Club. And the

bidolito.co.uk

“the internet has given a lot

more confidence to the bedroom

musician and has made it more

likely for them to emerge from the

house. I think SoundCloud culture

and open Mics are natural allies.”

thom morecroft

is the

key”

comparison with New York also recurs: “We’ve had loads of

people come over who’ve done the Open Mic scene in New

York and said it was a similar thing,” Ian notes.

Elsewhere, The Magnet is the newest arrival on the circuit,

establishing an Open Mic night alongside evergreen citybased

promoters Mellowtone. Hosted by Dave O’Grady

– alongside a rotating gabble of storied musicians – the

setup is so new the night is still only a few weeks old. “Dave

McTague at Mellowtone got me down to play at the first one

with a view of hosting it maybe once a month, but it turned

out well [and is now weekly],” Dave O’Grady explains of the

venture. Hosted “upstairs” (i.e. the street level bar of the

venue) on Wednesdays from 8pm, Dave thinks that “Open

Mics are the only avenue for young singer-songwriters to get

in to the scene. No-one’s gonna come and book their first

iain morley

headline gig for them before they’ve got their shit together.”

Nipping around the corner from Hardman Street onto

Hope Street, you find the Bistro of the venerated Everyman

Theatre, location for A Lovely Word, an Open Mic night that

caters exclusively for spoken word and poetry. Taking place

on every second Monday of the month and run by Bido

Lito! contributor Paddy Hughes, the night continues the

lineage of the Liverpool Poets (Henri, McGough, Patten et

al), whose 1967 anthology The Mersey Sound became one

of the bestselling poetry collections ever released. “I think

diversity of Open Mic nights is crucial; they give people the

chance to put themselves outside of their comfort zones

and express themselves in front of a crowd,” Paddy states.

“Everyone has different ways of expressing themselves, be it

through singing or be it through spoken word.”

With “verse, sonnets, spoken word, rap and beat poetry,”

all represented on a typical night’s line-up, Paddy thinks that

the aim of any Open Mic night “shouldn’t be a platform for

the host to show how great he is, instead it should be a safe

plinth for experienced and inexperienced artists to thrive

and grow. It is vital to learn from others in order to progress

as an artist. Liverpool is a hub of creative talent so it would

be crazy not to tap into it.”

Bido Lito! will be out and about across Liverpool’s

Open Mic scene this month. Keep up to date by following

@BidoLito and share your Open Mic experiences with

#OpenMicLiverpool.


Bido Lito! March 2015

25

bidolito.co.uk


26

Bido Lito! March 2015

MARCH IN BRIEF

ABANDON SILENCE 5.4

The penultimate event of a five-part fifth birthday celebration sees ABANDON SILENCE notch up a truly earth-shaking double billing. Novel Sound label

boss LEVON VINCENT (pictured) has a New York upbringing to thank for his raw brand of dubbed-out beats, which have been refined in his new home of

Berlin. One of Vincent’s staunchest fans, CRAIG RICHARDS, joins him in the main room for this stellar night. Richards has realised worldwide recognition

for his quirky, abstract style due to the wild successes of his fabric residency in London.

The Kazimier / 6th March

BC CAMPLIGHT

Proving that hidden gems don’t need to come from the distant past, BC CAMPLIGHT returns from a psychologically bruising seven-year wilderness with

one hell of a story to tell. His third LP, How To Die In The North, feels more like a spiritual re-birth, veering from blue-eyed soul to haunting piano balladry

with all the charm of Harry Nilsson. Released by Bella Union in January, the album documents Brain Christinzio’s relocation to Manchester from the fertile

pastures of Philly, and shows that “the man who blew it” still retains a few of the old tricks.

Leaf / 11th March

DUKE SPECIAL

The UK’s answer to Rufus Wainwright, DUKE SPECIAL brings a cerebral edge to his typically Vaudevillian style of piano balladry. The Belfast-based musician’s

theatrical style, which often sees his live sets incorporating the sounds of old 78s played through a gramophone, is steeped in the warm romanticism of

music hall tradition. Since completing a year-long residency at Belfast’s Empire Hall, Duke has been running a Pledge Music campaign to help bring his

new album, Look Out Machines!, to fruition. Now complete, March sees him hit the road to bring the record to life for the fans who helped him create it.

Arts Club / 13th March

FRANCESCO DI FIORE

Italian pianist and composer FRANCESCO DI FIORE has been performing as a concert pianist since the mid-90s, but his more recent work has seen him turn his eye

towards abstract performance of his own compositions. VISUAL PIANO is a multimedia project that Di Fiore has developed with his partner, the visual artist Valeria

Di Matteo, which weaves shape-shifting visuals around the live performance of contemporary and classical pieces. This fascinating collision of worlds is part of the

Capstone’s Contemporary Piano Series, which brings a host of world-class performers to the venue this spring.

The Capstone Theatre / 5th March

GORGEOUS BULLY

A stalwart of the tremendous indie label Art Is Hard, GORGEOUS BULLY is the work of musician Thomas Crang. Since moving from the south coast in 2013,

Crang has recruited a full band to help flesh out his grungey self-loathing ditties, and the results have been mightily impressive. Now based in Manchester,

Gorgeous Bully have followed up their gorgeously clattering EP Nobody Hates You As Much As You Hate Yourself with a string of tour dates with Cymbals

and Joanna Gruesome.

Maguire’s Pizza Bar / 12th March

HAPPILY EVER AFTER?

Prepare your flask of strong coffee and dust off that side-reinforcing corset: Impropriety’s annual IMPROVATHON is back. The theme for this year’s thirtythree-and-a-half-hour

bout of non-stop, improvised comedy – Happily Ever After? – comes with a fairytale slant to it: so expect weird twists on those wellworn

childhood stories, as the action flits from enchanted forests to troll-infested bridges and God knows what else. Step inside the wickedly strange

imaginations of some of the UK's best improvvers in this brilliant exploration of storytelling.

The Kazimier / 21st and 22nd March

IAN MCCULLOCH

Even in a city with a music history as storied as Liverpool’s, musical icons don’t come much bigger than IAN MCCULLOCH. Famed for his laconic wit

and dismissive attitude to most other music makers, Mac’s embodiment of the post-punk spirit made him a magnetic character during one of the most

culturally important periods in the city’s recent history. His contribution to rock music’s pantheon of great hits will be on show here, with stripped-down

versions of both his Bunnymen and solo material taking centre stage.

Floral Pavilion / 19th March

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! March 2015

27

KILL IT KID

Supping pints of Stella with music-biz legend Seymour Stein and hanging with Jack White, discussing the finer points of Blind Willie McTell, is

all part of the life for KILL IT KID these days. The four-piece draw on a mean range of American deep South influences in their rootsy blues rock –

Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, My Morning Jacket – blending them in to the kind of stadium rock anthems that’ll keep even Black Keys fans happy.

Third album You Owe Nothing is their first release on Seymour Stein’s Sire Records, showing a grittier, more muscular edge.

O2 Academy / 30th March

LIVERPOOL ACOUSTIC FESTIVAL

As a celebration of rootsy, acoustic-based music, the Unity Theatre’s ACOUSTIC FESTIVAL has a fair few highlights away from the headline performances

of the multi award-winning MARKETA IRGLOVA (pictured), and THE LOST BROTHERS. Workshops and masterclasses take place across both days of the

event, allowing curious minds to get advice on subjects like songwriting from the festival’s performers. A record fair and a seminar series complete the

programme, alongside a healthy showcasing of Merseyside’s finest roots musicians on the Liverpool Acoustic and Liverpool Live TV stages.

Unity Theatre / 20th and 21st March

OXJAM CALLOUT

Do you love music and want to make a difference? Well you can do so by becoming an Oxjam Takeover Manager and leading a series of fundraising

events which culminate in a festival-style musical takeover of the city. The annual Oxjam takeover events have raised over £1m for Oxfam over the past

eight years, helping to make a real change in the lives of people living in poverty across the world. If you want to be a part of a team responsible for

delivering these stunning multi-venue celebrations, you must apply by Sunday 1st March at bit.ly/theoxjamtakeover.

RYAN ADAMS

North Carolina’s alt. rock/country godfather swaps the red carpet scrutiny for his own bit of flashbulb exposure as he tours the UK in February and March.

Fresh from an album that saw him serving up some introverted acoustica alongside his trademark radio-ready thumpers (2014’s self-titled effort), RYAN

ADAMS has alleviated any fears that a three-year period of inactivity would see him return ring rusty. Alongside this fourteenth studio album comes an EP

titled 1984, which shows that Adams’ gobbier punk leanings are alive and well, too.

Mountford Hall / 1st March

SLEAFORD MODS

What do Miles Kane, Oasis, Kasabian and Madchester dance trio Candy Flip have in common? They’ve all copped some rather eloquent flak from SLEAFORD

MODS’ gobby lyricist Jason Williamson on Twitter. This lyrical wit is a feature of Sleaford Mods’ 2014 record Divide And Exit, accompanied by Andrew Fearn’s

spiky beats. What stops the whole thing from descending into John Cooper Clarke-fronting-The Streets territory is the sharply observational nature of

Williamson’s vitriol: the broken and bleeding country he sees himself wading through.

The Kazimier / 3rd March

SOUND CITY LATEST

LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY’s new home of Bramley Moore Dock looks set to have a fine introduction to action over the long weekend of 21st-24th May, with

a line-up that’s already causing our mouths to water. THE VACCINES have been confirmed as headliners alongside BELLE AND SEBASTIAN and THE FLAMING

LIPS (pictured), while UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, DUM DUM GIRLS and FUCKED UP also join the line-up. The Flaming Lips’ WAYNE COYNE will also be

delivering a keynote address at the Sound City conference, where he’ll join former Slits guitarist VIV ALBERTINE and arch droog JULIAN COPE.

liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

THE UNTHANKS

Taking the rugged British folk of their native Northumbria as a starting point, sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank approach their music as a way of bringing

to life the oral traditions of storytelling that have passed down over the generations. THE UNTHANKS have crafted an astonishing body of work since first

appearing as Rachel Unthank And The Winterset in 2004, which includes a Mercury Prize nomination and a place on both Uncut’s and The Guardian’s list

of best albums of the last decade. Their latest effort, Mount The Air, is another fine addition to this catalogue.

Philharmonic Hall / 1st March

YOUNG FATHERS

As part of the Get It Loud In Libraries programme, Mercury Award-winners YOUNG FATHERS open up their 2015 touring programme with a special show in

Skelmersdale Library. With old school hip hop acts still popular on the gig circuit, Young Fathers’ neo-soul touches bring a finesse to the genre that’s as refreshing

as it is compelling. Shortly after receiving their Mercury gong, the Edinburgh-based trio hopped over to Berlin to record their follow-up record to 2014’s Dead, so

expect this set to showcase some of their newer material.

Skelmersdale Library / 13th March

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Bido Lito! March 2015

Reviews

Julian Cope (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

JULIAN COPE

The Epstein Theatre

First of all, apologies are due to Urthona.

Owing to phone difficulties I miss what I’m

sure is a twisty half-hour of considerable

noise. The West Country outfit were billed

to play Atlantis?, their newest conceptual

drone piece, and from what I can gather the

performance has left people in an amiable

mood; everywhere, fathers and sons are

cracking wise in old tour shirts, bending to

their neighbours, awash in the proximity of

the 1980s. It’s hard to find a seat and, though

it’s hard to see this kind of crowd ruining the

upholstery, you’d imagine they did once, and

are keen to be reminded of it. This, JULIAN

COPE knows. He trades his entire shtick

on the troglodyte factor of rock n’ roll, the

primitive urge to beat our brains in the night.

For some, his Jeff Bridges/Axl Rose getup

would be as subtle as a beard in a Vice

exposé, fossilising his Dude credentials

whilst nodding towards his hellraising

leadership of iconic Liverpool troupe The

Teardrop Explodes. The setting, and his

opening confession to weaving out of

several traffic accidents to make it here on

time, suggest this will be more in the vein

of An Evening With Julian Cope than your

standard show. On this front, he delivers.

“I’m not one for reunions,” he says, “but I’m

a solo artist now. If Kate Bush can get back

together, so can I.”

He is droll and self-deprecating, but also

effortlessly able to enliven the stories of

his back catalogue. Whether reminiscing

about Ian McCulloch’s fondness for stitching

acid tabs to his belt, taking the piss out of

his 1984 album Fried (the cover of which

has Cope zonked out in a tortoise shell), or

introducing a track with research titbits from

his bestselling history book, we are never far

away from another touching insight into the

twilight of cult stardom.

Predictably, old favourites get the most

attention. Sunspots bounds along on a

shore of grateful voices, and Soul Desert

resurrects the spirit of caravan philosophy,

unashamedly aping the mysticism of

West Coast psychedelics. Grizzled and

gregarious, Cope can afford to let us wait

for the big moments – his fascination with

his former Merseyside home has long been

documented, and he moves between eras

like an attentive uncle keeping relatives up

to date on his mischief. When he observes

that rebellion makes him either get lost “in

a rustic, bucolic haze” or look at a penis,

it’s strangely liberating: here is a man who

covets the mind as much as anybody, able to

slip into the role of leather-panted guru and

ask ‘How did this happen?’

Inevitably, a lot of his post-90s material is

only lifted by the flippancy of its execution. A

long preamble to Cunts Can Fuck Off doesn’t

disguise the song’s rather deliberate lack of

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Bido Lito! March 2015

Reviews

substance; likewise, Psychedelic Revolution

sounds like a dated new-age bonding

weekend, all but implying a campfire on the

featureless stage. Cope’s current mandate

to release an album name-checking his

drinking spots around the UK is reflective of

his ‘been there, done that’ attitude, and why

shouldn’t it be? As a rock star, he has snorted

his share of success, and as a monument, he

is in full control of his legacy. We’re invited

to think of a funeral – “a casket” in particular

– then throwing ourselves on top. Who

wouldn’t enjoy the right to say that?

night run at The Kazimier, it's clear that the

creative minds of the future have come to

hear what PEACE have to say.

Before that we have THE VRYLL SOCIETY,

who open with what can only be described

Peace (Gaz Jones / @GJMPhoto)

as a squall of feedback that morphs into a riff

(bearing more than a passing resemblance

to Avon by Queens Of The Stone Age) which

hangs over the audience like a muggy cloud.

Their version of what I imagine they call psych

is more 1989 than 1969, with crisp, Maniesque

basslines propelling them forward,

and a baby Bobby Gillespie on vocals. While

it appears that all of their inspiration went on

picking a name, this passionate – if limited –

performance is well received by their peers.

Peace have inspiration to burn, and are

keen to bring a sense of occasion to this

opening night of a massive UK tour. Singer

Harry Koisser descends the stairs to the stage

like a debutante, and is greeted with by the

kind of screaming Harry Styles still hears in

his sleep.

“First night of the tour… anything could

happen,” he coos as he straps on his guitar.

As you'd expect from a show that sold out in

hours, elbowroom is an alien concept. A sea of

heads are already rising and crashing as one.

It's clear that this band have all the necessary

tools for promotion to the big leagues: every

song has a natural launch pad for abandon,

arguably none better than Higher Than The

Sun, with its muscular drum breaks and

soaring chorus. And in Float Forever Peace

have a bona fide festival weapon, a fact that

will certainly be proved later in the summer.

New song Someday – from the band’s

latest LP Happy People – is pretty standard

balladry, most remarkable for the DayGlo

Danelectro guitar Koisser chooses to wield

for its live debut. Koisser dominates the

stage, but he's not the only member worthy

of our attention. Guitarist Doug Castle plays

the starring role in the swirling, eight-minute

epic that is 1998, while Harry's bassist brother

Sam is Alex James reborn – hopefully without

the cheese obsession or hosting parties

for Diamond Dave Cameron, but more as a

Josh Potts / @joshpjpotts

Your Bag?

Catch Ian McCulloch @

Floral Pavilion on 19th March

PEACE

The Vryll Society

EVOL @ The Kazimier

So this is what the Zeitgeist looks like.

I’ve seen many packed shows over the last

eighteen months, but it's been a while since

we've been confronted by such youth. On

this opening night of an unprecedented two-

Peace (Gaz Jones / @GJMPhoto)

bidolito.co.uk


foppish palm tree swaying left of stage while

effortlessly controlling the tempo in harness

with drummer Dom Boyce. Sam's moment

in the sun arrives during the breakdown

of incendiary closer World Pleasure, where

his bass solo comes amid a clumsy stage

invasion.

Peace may ultimately sound like an

amalgamation of all of our favourite 90s

bands – a dash of Suede, a dollop of Mansun,

a heavy slice of Blur – but if, as this ecstatic

crowd suggests, they're destined to be at

the forefront of British rock for the next few

years, they have enough about them to make

it interesting.

Maurice Stewart /

theviewfromthebooth.tumblr.com

Your Bag?

Catch Glass Animals @ The

Kazimier on 13th March

equipment are ironed out, the quintet’s wintry

missives hit the spot. With recent EP Ruins

brilliantly capturing the band’s trademark

approach of being poised at the exact point

between defeatism and optimism, their

elegiac minor-key synth pop translates well

to the stage through spacious arrangements.

Lyrically well suited to the present season

of lonely, rain-lashed pavements and street

lamps reflected in gutters, the deep pop

of Realise successfully pulls off the same

sighing ennui live as on record. Two promising

new cuts make their debut appearance here

too: Hotel pulses with a more pronounced

electronic feel than previous material, while

accompanying flipside Home maintains

the five-piece’s fondness for a deep-rooted

melody. With the EP and single formats now

mastered meanwhile, the appearance of

the quintet’s debut LP on the horizon will

hopefully be imminent.

Richard Lewis

TEAR TALK

Death at Sea – Kingsley

Chapman & The Murder

War Room Records @ Scandinavian Church

In the purple-lit glow of the Scandinavian

Church, KINGSLEY CHAPMAN & THE MURDER

are brilliantly well suited to delivering a series

of confessionals, albeit at ear-shredding

volume. This outfit sees the erstwhile

frontman of The Chapman Family move into

more grandiose territory than the seething

indie rock his previous underrated band

specialised in. Opening with a vast, theatrical

piece that almost touches ten minutes, the

melodramatic flourishes hinted at by TCF are

given full reign here. Bringing greater focus

to the singer’s surprisingly effective baritone

croon, the dark night of the soul lyrics are

well matched by the gothic melodrama of

the music. Draped with see-sawing violin

accompaniments, the new material has more

than a hint of Nick Cave’s doomy narratives

about them; impressive stuff for a band yet to

commit anything to record.

Taking to the stage to the strains of indie

disco classic Rip It Up (And Start Again), DEATH

AT SEA to some considerable relief have done

nothing of the sort. Continuing to explore the

rich seam of US indie rock that prospered in

the early nineties, the quartet’s alternately

tight/loose, sloppy/well-drilled sound is in fine

fettle, despite their long absence from the gig

circuit. Sea Foam Green, the track that first got

them noticed back in (gulp) early 2012, opens

proceedings. With Drag sounding predictably

wonderful as ever alongside the A and B sides

of last year’s excellent Glimmer b/w Shy Kids

single, we have positive proof that Death At

Sea are on robustly assured form.

With the congregation at full capacity come

10 pm, TEAR TALK take up position underneath

the stained-glass windows. Unfortunately

beset by technical gremlins at the top of their

set, once the problems with recalcitrant sound

Your Bag?

Catch Rhodes @ Arts Club

on 3rd March

SLIMKID3 & DJ NUMARK

Parkertron – No Fakin’ DJs

Bam!Bam!Bam! @ 24 Kitchen St

One thing about the Baltic Triangle is

that you never quite know what to expect.

The area is testament to the fact that, quite

often, not everything is as it seems. Down

an unassuming narrow entry and through

the doors of a badly aged building lies 24

Kitchen St, one of the best new venues

in the city. It has a raw appearance and a

vibrant atmosphere, the perfect setting for an

evening of pure hip hop.

NO FAKIN’ DJs underpin the night and build

solid foundations much like those steadying

this old warehouse. Old school hip hop and

soul sounds are the main ingredients in this

potent mix and before long every head in the

room is nodding. If this set is in any way telling

of how the rest of the night’s performances

will sound then, by midnight, we may have

some neck injuries on our hands.

Up walks PARKERTRON onto the stage.

The Fingathing DJ, in a rare solo set, gives

us a demonstration of his skills on the MPC

and turntables. There are disparate styles

in the mix, with trip hop and contemporary

electronica entering the fray. All of the room

is captivated by Parkertron’s mixing style and

eclectic sample palette which makes one

wonder whether he’s taken inspiration from

DJ Abilities or DJ Downlow. His talent with the

MPC is immense and a solo attracts every pair

of eyes and ears in the room. The set is full of

raw energy and originality, with Parkertron a

perfect fit for tonight’s bill.

It may be easy to forget just how influential

SLIMKID3 and DJ NUMARK have been in the


34

Bido Lito! March 2015

Reviews

Binkbeats (Nata Moraru)

year and haven’t touched since. Inkarta is sort

of like that. After months hibernating away,

the only night to cater to the more esoteric

dance-but-not-dance makes a stylish return

in a venue increasingly used for niche nights.

The (temporary?) move from The Kazimier

to the Blade Factory is also an interesting

choice. Whereas the Kaz lends a carnivalesque

atmosphere to any occasion, the closer,

sweatier confines of the Blade Factory tends

to give any event a more… DIY feeling.

And for Wolverhampton-by-way-of-Leeds

opening act PAPER TIGER, this works well.

Their “future bass music” translates live into

Warp and Ninja Tunes-infused, sparkling posteverything

electronica. Jazz flourishes? Check.

Glitchy hip hop beats? Check. Errant MC? Check.

True to the Inkarta style, Paper Tiger stay close

to head-nodding and gentle bopping vibes,

rather than the outright rave zest preferred

by the venue’s new upstairs residents Haus.

While conceptually interesting at first, this is

a case of artists proving more interesting on

record than on stage; while the music itself is

good, it doesn’t quite have enough gravity to

pull through in the live arena.

The main man, BINKBEATS, is a different

kettle of fish entirely. Famed of late for tearing

apart and rebuilding from the ground up

tracks by other dance-not-dance heroes (from

Caribou to Lapalux and Shigeto), Binkbeats has

landed himself a Beats Deconstructed series

for Boiler Room. Live he uses a dizzying array

of instruments and equipment to tweak and

rearrange to giddy effect. Once again, however,

this proves to be conceptually more intriguing

than in the flesh; watching a man in a dark

room hunched over his contraptions only

works if the music itself moves you in some

way beyond the intellectual. Previous Inkarta

visitor Shigeto managed this through heavy

use of percussive experimentation, but with

Binkbeats it winds up feeling insubstantial.

Considering Inkarta’s previous efforts, this

night winds up a little underwhelming, but

then they have been away for the best part of

the year, so we can forgive them the odd wet

kipper of an event.

Laurie Cheeseman / @lauriecheeseman

history of hip hop. Any self-respecting hip

hop head will surely own copies of The

Pharcyde’s Labcabincalifornia and Jurassic 5’s

Quality Control. These artists have released

and produced some of the most important

music of their genre. There’s also the fact that

Slimkid3’s The Pharcyde were collaborators

with probably the most important figure in

modern hip hop: the late, great J Dilla. This

show is happening on the eve of Dilla Day,

and feels like a monumental tribute to such

an inspiring musician.

DJ Numark makes an impact on the

turntables as he runs through about an hour’s

worth of hip hop history. His scratching skills

are a treat, and the guy clearly knows how

to work a crowd. He drops tracks from artists

such as A Tribe Called Quest, The Fugees, DJ

Shadow and, of course, Jurassic 5 and The

Pharcyde. It is a fevered party as Numark

makes the whole venue move and, without

saying a word, has the entire crowd at his

fingertips.

Slimkid3 joins Numark on stage, finally,

and breaks into a fierce spat of conscious,

effortlessly delivered verses. Tracks such as

I Know, Didn’t I, Bom Bom Fiya and What

Are Words For propel the intense energy of

the crowd. This duo carry a chemistry that is

brotherly. This is hip hop how it should be:

raw and honest with the power to unify all

who listen. Slimkid3 and DJ Numark prove

that they are masters of their trade in a

flawless, cathartic show.

Christopher Carr

BINKBEATS

Paper Tiger

INKARTA @ Blade Factory

Some things taste better when you come

back to them after a while away: last night’s

pizza, that novel you started a month ago,

whatever album you were raving about last

PAPERHEAD

Holy Thursday

Harvest Sun @ The Shipping Forecast

It has become something of a recent rarity

to wander into a venue in Liverpool and

not be greeted with the familiar strains of

repetition and effects-laden guitars. Despite

the neo-psych movement's many pros, it is

all perhaps becoming a bit much. However,

in recent months the furore appears to have

died down slightly, and so it’s with fresh ears

and an open, willing mind that I head to the

Shipping Forecast to take in PAPERHEAD.

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36

Bido Lito! March 2015 Reviews

Local four-piece HOLY THURSDAY make for

an impressive prelude to the headliners. With

luscious, two-part vocal harmonies laid over

infectiously rhythmic melodies, and off-kilter

organ parts, it is hard not to be drawn in. Their

Beatles-esque vocal parts add a lightness to

what is otherwise a dark, swaggering sound,

serving as breaks for the long, cyclical jams.

She stands out as a good example of the

band's aesthetic, encapsulating both the raw

clarity of songwriting and expressive use of

psychedelic convention (a phrase which may

seem incredibly contradictory) that has made

their performance tonight so enjoyable. They

will be a hard act to follow.

Considering Paperhead had to cancel a

show in London the night before due to

some vehicle difficulties, you’d imagine

that they would be raring to go tonight.

However, the band seem somewhat

subdued and reluctant; perhaps a hangover

of disappointment still permeates the

group after having to abandon what would

probably have been the biggest gig on this

leg of the tour. This lack of motivation soon

spreads to the crowd, and there are a number

of indifferent faces gradually moving towards

the back of the Hold where they can drink

and talk without having to pay too much

attention to the band. Regardless of all this

the songs still emerge, and there is far from

anything lacking in the way the Trouble In

Mind-signees sound. They appear more full

and aggressive live than on record, with the

vocals sinking lower in the mix and the other

instruments gaining prominence. Do You Ever

Think Of Me? is a well-crafted and engaging

track that could have been penned by Ray

Davies, and exhibits the group's well-honed

songwriting dynamic, as well as their clear,

musical ability.

Towards the end of the set things become

a bit more lively, and those on stage seem

to be coming to terms with the previous

night's debacle. It has been a restrained

but still enjoyable performance, but it’s

probably reasonable to predict that most of

the audience will head home with the words

“Holy Thursday” resonating more in their

brains than a head full of paper.

Alastair Dunn

Your Bag?

Catch Purling Hiss @ The

Shipping Forecast on 24th March

NILS LOFGREN

Philharmonic Hall

In the pantheon of rock and roll's great

backing bands, there are few that can lay

claim to being as widely respected as the

Nils Lofgren (Stuart Moulding / @OohShootStu)

inimitable E-Street Band. Alongside The

Bad Seeds, The Wailers, The Band and,

indeed, Crazy Horse, The E-Street Band have

proven themselves time and again to be

an indispensable cadre, remaining humble

in the line of duty and doing their utmost

to allow the headline act to shine. They

receive few plaudits from the outside world

and bask in a slightly more reflective glow,

but their contribution is undeniable

As a solo artist, NILS LOFGREN never

reached the heights of the stages he was

used to playing alongside Springsteen.

Beginning his career with Grin and

continuing to release under his own name,

he has, over the years, garnered a strong

and loyal fan base, evidenced by the nearcapacity

Philharmonic Hall tonight. Opening

the show at the harp, Lofgren proves

himself to be a charismatic performer.

Shrouded in darkness, his ageing – but just

as strong – voice resonates throughout

the theatre, complementing his deft harp

playing. Performing alongside multiinstrumentalist

Greg Varlotta, Lofgren’s

show runs through his own musical history,

all accompanied with anecdotes that would

impress anyone: the time Janis Joplin got

him drunk underage; how he shoehorned

a polka beat into Southern Man aged 17;

and the story behind his impromptu – and

now renowned – solo in Because The Night.

Though a capable enough songwriter in his


Bido Lito! March 2015

37


own right, Lofgren’s real talents lie behind a

guitar. His liberal use of loop pedals, reverb

and other various effects belie his lack of

backing band and the sound fills the venue.

He has a unique playing style, wringing

the notes from the neck of his guitar as he

dances around the stage with the real joy of

a born entertainer. But, whilst we're on the

subject of dancing, it would be remiss of me

to ignore the not one but two tap-dancing

interludes in tonight’s performance. The

show so far has not been without its fair

share of mildly odd moments: the Lynchian

backing synths, the quasi-awkward

namedropping and THAT hat, but all of these

can more or less be glossed over by the

talent of his guitar work. The tap dancing,

however, pushes the show into the twilight

zone. Why anyone, let alone a 63-year-old

with a hip replacement, would feel the need

to inject a tap-dance solo into the middle of

a show is beyond me. I suppose in a way it

speaks volumes for Lofgren’s capacity and

determination for performance though –

two qualities he possesses in abundance.

Dave Tate

Your Bag?

Catch Gretchen Peters @

Epstein Theatre on 29th March

styles employed in the making of this truly

distinctive album. As the man behind Clap!

Clap!, Cristiano Crisci, begins the set, there’s

a palpable air of anticipation in the room.

From the beginning it’s evident that this

man is a seasoned live performer: the mix is

furious and propulsive, where album tracks

are mixed with fevered beats and abstract

samples. In an engaging palette of sonic

delicacies, standout tracks The Holy Cave

and Conqueror come to the surface.

Every crowd member in attendance is

lapping up the dynamics of the set; even

those who aren’t flailing wildly seem to be

mesmerised by the mesh of styles. If Tayi

Bebba proves anything, it’s that the cultural

diaspora of the human race can be linked.

Our art, even if geographically unrelated,

carries an instinctual human murmur.

Tonight, Clap! Clap! nods his head towards

just about every musical culture on the

globe. He puts a tastefully contemporary

slant on afro funk rhythms and African folk

music, brings elements of electronica to the

table and adds a mix of soul, hip hop, world,

jazz and pop to the mix. Tonight is not just

an excuse for dancing and inebriation – it’s

also, in many ways, a musical education.

The set grinds to an end after a good few

hours of pure fun. Constellations has just

witnessed a spectacle.

Christopher Carr

CLAP!CLAP!

Ambionic Being

Rebel Soul @ Constellations

Your Bag?

Catch Al Dobson Jr. @ 24

Kitchen Street on 7th March

Constellations offers a welcome pocket

of warmth on this icy evening as AMBIONIC

BEING provides an eclectic mix of soul, funk

and electronica as people file into the room.

At first it seems that Ambionic is a mere

house DJ; someone to greet the punters. It’s

simply the tragedy of being the first act of

the night: you start by playing to an empty

room until it inevitably fills. Sure enough,

when Constellations does start to fill up,

people respond to the sounds. It’s a solid

mix and a bold start to the night.

The following two support DJs (Josh Ray

and Trueself) follow in the footsteps of

Ambionic but quicken the standard pace

and don some new footwear. Odd spats

of afro funk horn and drum samples enter

the fray and are poured into the ears of

the crowd as more bodies contort in front

of the speakers. A colourful myriad of

images is projected on to the walls; an apt,

almost tropical, abstract complement to the

dynamic mix. Both sets prove to be perfect

warm-ups for what is to come.

Last year’s Tayi Bebba LP from CLAP!

CLAP! offered a conceptual sonic tour of

a fictional island. The body of work was

a novel melding of seemingly disparate

genres: hip hop, pop, world, jazz, funk and

dubstep were just a few of the musical

THE

MIDNIGHT RAMBLE

Dave O’Grady – John McGrath

The Unity Theatre

I love gigs at The Unity. There, I said it.

In fact anywhere that is also a theatre

is a great place for a gig, in my opinion.

Why? Simply because the space offers

a completely different dimension for

musicians to perform in. Some can’t handle

the change of the vibe and others flourish

and give a more theatrical performance. I

hope tonight will be the latter. It’s a sell-out

show, so that’s a good start…

First up is JOHN MCGRATH, a young Irish

buck armed with complex instrumentals

and an array of effects pedals. The few

songs he trots out from his Lanterns EP are

intricate and show real skill. If he were to

lay vocals over a couple of them too, I’m

sure the harmonies would be delightful. As

his set continues, it strikes me that we’re

watching a very talented guitarist, but I’m

not swept away. In fact, McGrath’s technical

ability is unquestionable even if his live


40

Bido Lito! March 2015 Reviews

The Midnight Ramble ( Aaron McManus / ampix.co.uk)

performance somewhat lacks heart. And I

just can’t help but notice how lost he looks

amongst all of the kit in the background.

As the night rolls forward to act two, we

are taken to what feels like the American

Deep South: it’s DAVE O’GRADY time. The

Irishman is joined on stage by a couple

of stellar cohorts, including his resident

harmony wonder, Mersey Wylie, and Kev

Mooney (bassist to Bill Ryder-Jones, among

others).

O’Grady’s deep mixture of funk/blues/

soul is not to everyone’s taste, but it always

conjures up strong imagery of dusty roads

and dark New Orleans passageways. Most

of his songs tonight are from his upcoming

album, Sister, full of organ-esque backing

music and Led Zeppelin guitar noise. Keep

an ear out for Tell Me What I Want if you

enjoy any kind of sonic rendering of Hunter

S. Thompson’s unique style.

As O’Grady and his filthy blues scarper

off the stage, it’s time for the main event,

THE MIDNIGHT RAMBLE, who I haven’t

seen live in over two years. I’m curious

to see how their performance will have

changed. The first thing that strikes me is

their entrance: led on by smoke and music,

they’re all dressed-up smart in black; think

Reservoir Dogs without the Ray-Bans. As

soon as Paul Dunbar (Vocals, Guitar) starts

up, I relax into his husky voice and let the

saxophone solo in Something’s Wrong

carry me into the rest of their Americana

vignette.

They look comfortable in The Unity’s

space, with a performance that is together

and professional. The audience join me

in revelling in several tracks from their

previous album, Sink The Pieces, and their

upcoming album, The Cruel Blue Sky, in

a set that produces such a full sound. An

a capella version of High Time, which

manages to stay on the right side of

barbershop quartet, is another highlight.

South Paw Billy is a guttural gem, and

Darkest Part Of A Moment, a song written

for Paul Dunbar’s grandfather, carries a

heartfelt honesty through its melody.

If there’s a negative thing to say about

The Midnight Ramble tonight, it’s that

the space seems too small for them and

their Jools Holland-style show. Fellow

Jools Holland fans will love The Midnight

Ramble and their mix of rock and boogie

woogie.

Naters P / @natersp

BLACKALICIOUS

Vursatyl - DJ Format

Think Tank @ The Kazimier

Rich in beats and with a verbal dexterity

that could eclipse any poxy review written


42

Bido Lito! March 2015 Reviews

Blackalicous (Glyn Akroyd)

about them, BLACKALICIOUS are here in

Liverpool to shake the foundations of

the Kazimier and promote their fourth LP,

Emoni.

The night starts with DJ FORMAT playing

tracks that have audience members

grinding, dropping and salivating for

some live hip hop. Before we’re allowed

to get stuck in to the main act though,

we’re treated to an unexpected set from

VURSATYL, a rapper whose threads and

spectacles have a distinct look of Stevie

Kenarban’s Dad from Malcolm In The

Middle. Vursatyl’s a charming act, a skilled

lyricist with deep vocals, creating the

perfect hype for when Blackalicious’ MC,

Gift Of Gab, carefully makes it down those

high stairs to an eruption of applause.

There’s only one way Blackalicious can

get started and that’s with a vocal aerobics

exercise: you know it, the one recently

rejuvenated by a scarred-up wizard on

Jimmy Fallon. Alphabet Aerobics live is

likely to leave most with their mouths

wide open, and as the tempo increases

they only get wider. So many words, so

little time – all expertly delivered and

clearly enunciated.

Gift of Gab stands more modestly than

many hip hop acts. He doesn’t pour Wild

Turkey down fans’ shirts, he doesn’t have

a swagger that draws attention, just a

simple confidence that he is going to lay

shit down and you are going to listen.

He calls the crowd “Crazy ass Scousers”,

who love the small recognition of local

culture, and goes on to tell how “his man”

Chris (Durham-born Chris Tyler, one of

the night’s promoters) said “Liverpool is

ghetto as fuck”. Now, do that in a Geordie

accent and try not to grin.

Youthful hype-men Vursatyl and Jumbo

The Garbageman fill in when Gab takes

a break, but he’s not all puffed out. Gab

may not be as fit as he used to be, but

he’s still able to rock a Freddie-Mercuryat-Wembley

style “day-oh” intro to fanfavourite

Deception.

Make You Feel That Way and Swan Lake

receive warm receptions before Gift Of Gab

shows his true genius by launching into a

freestyle finish, the likes of which will be

hard to forget. Speaking at a million miles

an hour, his face jiggling with a G-Force

similar to what is experienced by fighter

jet pilots, Gab shows that, for a big guy,

he’s still lightning fast.

As the show reaches its climax, the

group encourage what turns out to be a

pretty awful stage invasion, cut short from

the moment it begins for fear of the decks

getting knocked over. Their hellraising


44

Bido Lito! March 2015 Reviews

days may well be behind them, but

Blackalicious prove that an act that are

getting on a bit but can still put on one

helluva show.

Howl Rama

THE WAVE PICTURES

Sugarmen

Harvest Sun and Bam!Bam!Bam!

@ The Kazimier

With their slicked-back hair, leather

jackets and rolled-up Strummer sleeves,

you can guess what SUGARMEN are

all about before they strike a chord.

They are a coiled spring of a band that

unleash every ounce of their garage rock

stormers with unharnessed exuberance.

Looks-wise, lead singer Luke Fenlon

is an exact amalgamation of the

aforementioned Clash frontman and

a young Bob Dylan – and sure enough

these are songs which take direct aim

at ‘the man’ but with enough passion to

forgive any cringe-inducing lyric.

While Sugarmen obviously have

enough commitment and sincerity, there

is no mistaking where their ambitions

lie. Every song catches the impressed

Kazimier crowd with at least a couple

of sizeable hooks, paired with anthemic

choruses that are destined to be sang

back to them from front rows of arena

crowds. It’s a different story, however,

when considering tonight’s main event.

THE WAVE PICTURES have been around

for six years prolifically churning out

enchanting, off-beat indie gems which

subvert genre and are packed with

imagination and charisma. By rights,

they should be where Sugarmen think

they are: Wembley Arena. But they’re

not, despite loyal commitment from the

likes of 6 Music aficionado Marc Riley;

they remain in the shadowy realm of the

cultish. Their cult following is faithfully

represented tonight by a mixture of the

young and decidedly middle-aged.

It is perhaps The Waves Pictures’ postpunk

stylings which attract the yonder

end of the age range this evening,

but there is much more to love. Their

latest album – featuring another figure

who embodies the qualities of cult,

Billy Childish – is well represented

tonight. Opener Pea Green Coat piles

surreal image upon surreal image over

a wonky garage rock hook; and I Can

Hear the Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)

is introduced by singer David Tattersall

with typical tongue-in-cheek selfdeprecation

as currently “storming up

the charts”.

Bassist Franic Rozycki remains silent

throughout while Tattersall and drummer

The Wave Pictures (Glyn Akroyd)

Jonny Helm exchange engaging

between-song anecdotes. There’s clearly

a lot of love in the room for the Londonbased

three-piece and this is expressed

most vociferously in the reception for

Friday Night In Loughborough from the

2008 debut album Instant Coffee Baby.

This vignette of small town England

offers an excellent example of how The

Wave Pictures fit nicely into a lineage of

The Kinks, Scritti Politti and The Smiths.

Helm steps from behind the kits for

the oddly touching Sleepy Eye in which

he moves away from the mic and sings

a cappella – the song fitting into the

set, Tattersall claims, to demonstrate

that the band aren’t all about “macho

rock”. It’s clear The Wave Pictures are

as comfortable as Tattersall’s ill-fitting

slacks in their place on the fringes and

their call of “see you again” is met with

glee by their devoted cult following, of

whom I am now glad to be a part.

Sam Turner / @samturner1984

Your Bag?

Catch The Readymades @

Leaf on 19th March


46

Bido Lito! March 2015 Reviews

DIGGING A LITTLE DEEPER

with Dig Vinyl

Bold Street’s latest wax junkies DIG VINYL know a thing or two about the weird and wonderful

depths of people’s record collections, and each month they’ll be rifling through their racks and

picking out four of their favourite in-stock records. Keep digging…

ELIVIS PRESLEY

ELVIS PRESLEY

What can we say about this, the record that propelled an exarmy

private to the first global superstar of rock and roll? The album

that defined a genre spent ten weeks at the top of the US charts

and made pop music THE big player in the major labels industry.

In the year of what would have been ELVIS’ 80th birthday, we’re

privileged to stock a HMV first UK press of this masterpiece. With a

sleeve that has been echoed on other album covers for decades, and is as timelessly iconic as the

man himself, this is a true statement piece that should command a place on any collector’s shelf.

Long live The King!

THE

FINAL

SAY

Words: Emma Brady / @emmabraydee

Illustration: Christian Davies

On Thursday 7th May our country will be taking to the ballot boxes and polling stations for a

general election that many are viewing as the most important for many years. Faced with the

prospect of a hung parliament and five more years of coalition rule, we think the time is ripe for us to

re-consider the value of our individual voices. Emma Brady gives us her thoughts on why we should

make our votes count this time round.

HORACE SILVER

HORACE SILVER AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS

This 1955 Blue Note Records release was an essential

milestone in the formation of the hard bop style that became

such an important part of American jazz. The genre had started

to become exclusively associated with intellectuals and those of

high social standing, but HORACE SILVER and his quartet played a

huge part in returning jazz to its gutbucket bar room roots whilst

still ensuring evolution in a new direction. This bluesy classic is packed full of soul, and is an

aural delight that will never age.

STEREOLAB

ALUMINIUM TUNES

This double album of EPs and rarities from the post-rock

pioneers has something for new and hardcore fans alike.

Cataloguing the band’s early and formative years from 1990 to

1998, it serves as an ideal introduction to the group’s motorik

lounge synth sound, and has enough hidden gems to keep

the most avid listener hooked. Vocalist and keyboardist Lætitia

Sadier’s French roots weave into STEREOLAB’s sound, one that is dreamily reminiscent of 60s

yé-yé pop. We love their use of vintage Moog synthesisers too – keeping the old sounds alive!

THE MONKS

BLACK MONK TIME

Retrospectively described as “the first punk record” and “a

missing link of alternative music history”, this now-legendary

album is the godfather of garage rock. As American GIs stationed

in Germany, the group had little need to clean up the record’s

riotous musical discordance as The Beatles and other commercial

hits of the time had to after returning home from European tours.

The result is a hard-hitting and still unique unity of proto-punk power beats, sliding krautrock

bass and counter-culture sermons delivered by a satanic Beach Boys. Radical for its time and still

inspiring new musicians worldwide, this sometimes nightmarish, always unpredictable classic

deserves a place in any collection.

Head to bidolito.co.uk now to stream the latest Dig Vinyl Podcast, featuring a mixture of new,

old and half-forgotten classics.

I have to stop myself screaming every

time I hear someone say they won't vote in

the upcoming general election. Every time I

hear another case of under-excused political

apathy, I think of our loved ones under NHS

care: a bandage that won't quite stretch, a

level of care that falls short of peace of

mind. I think of children fed from food banks,

libraries closing down. All the while, the

older Labour-voting members of my family

will lament the lack of money in the system.

But no, there's plenty of money. The bankers

intermingling far too comfortably with the

politicians who make these decisions, they

have plenty of money. It's enough to make

you incensed. Incensed enough to vote.

They, the richest in our country, hope

that we believe this charade, that there's

no money in the system. They rely on us to

be dumb. The division between the rich and

poor, how this appears to be consensus,

how confounding this is – they're counting

on us to give up. Meanwhile, emerging leftwing

parties Syriza and Podemos, in Greece

and Spain respectively, are the loudest

voices there. They are heard when they say

that austerity isn't necessary, isn't working,

isn't fair. The consternation amongst

Spaniards is coming from the same place

in which our own fears lie, but there's little

emergence of a coordinated leftist response

in this country – our beautiful, fragile NHS

is being dismantled and we're not out in

the streets, right now, shouting about it.

And that time that we did, the broadcasting

company we own barely reported it. It does

feel impossible. But holding government to

account doesn't stop at the ballot box – it

turns into paying attention, understanding

the system a little more, imploring your MP

to attend parliamentary votes.

In Liverpool we have our roots in leftwing

political activism, with a strong social

conscience. But I checked – an alarming

number of people voted for Ukip in the

last European election (they received

27.4% of the North West vote – from a

33.5% turnout.) Ukip’s cavalier attitude to

women’s issues is alarming, even if they

have now parted company with former

whip Godfrey Bloom, who wanted to leave

it up to individual employers whether or

not they offer maternity leave. It doesn’t get

much better for the Conservatives, whose

employment minister Esther McVey, MP for

Wirral West, was embroiled in a row about

the link between benefit sanctions and the

deaths of people like David Clapson, who

died because sanctions meant he couldn't

pay for the electricity that kept his insulin

refrigerated. I sometimes imagine that Ukip

was created by the Tories to make them

look good. But they're real, and people

support their rhetoric that the only way we

can move forward is to remove that which

helps the most vulnerable people in society,

as well as the immigrant population. There

are people in this country who believe that

immigrants, not bankers, have destroyed

their entitlement to comfortable living. So

you have to vote, because they will. We

love our NHS, our children, our women, our

elderly, and our disadvantaged. We have to

vote, for them. As compassionate people, we

have to win this election.

If you’ve not registered to vote in the General

Election on 7th May, sign up now at gov.uk/

register-to-vote.

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