Issue 55 / May 2015

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May 2015 issue of Bido Lito! Featuring STEALING SHEEP, a GENERAL ELECTION 2015 discussion, CAPAC, ADY SULEIMAN, LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY 2015, BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, LAU, AD HOC CREATIVITY, JOHN DORAN and much more.

FREE

Issue 55

May 2015

Stealing Sheep by Nata Moraru

Stealing Sheep

Capac

Ad Suleiman

Liverpool Sound

City Preview

Election Special


FRI 1 MAY

JACK ROCKS THE

ROAD TO THE

GREAT ESCAPE

FT. LONELY THE BRAVE

& SEAWITCHES

SAT 23 MAY

SAT 23 MAY

DUBABUSE

FT. DUBATEERS

THE UKRANIANS

SAT 2 MAY

SUN 3 MAY

FURY FEST

SATURDAY:

MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK

SUNDAY: MAN OVERBOARD

& TRASH TALK.

ALSO CONFIRMED:

MOOSE BLOOD,

ASTROID BOYS, ROAM,

BLOOD YOUTH (EX CLIMATES),

BOSTON MANOR,

TRASHBOAT,

WASTER, MILESTONES,

PLEASE HEAD NORTH,

BEARING LOSS

THURS 28 MAY

THURS 4 JUNE

FRI 12 JUNE

SAT 13 JUNE

DAR WILLIAMS

ITCHY FEET

KIDS ON BRIDGES

WAVE WEEKENDER

SUN 3 MAY

TUES 5 MAY

CIRCUS

ARCANE ROOTS

TUES 23 JUNE

SAT 4 JULY

REBELUTION

GOLDIE

LOOKIN CHAIN

WEDS 6 MAY

FRI 8 MAY

FRI 15 MAY

INME

LZY

LUCY SPRAGGAN

SAT 11 JULY

TUES 14 JULY

X&Y FESTIVAL FT.

HUDSON TAYLOR

MARTHA REEVES

& THE VANDELLAS

SAT 16 MAY

URBAN VOODOO

MACHINE

FRI 16 OCT

THE SMITHS

INDEED

SUN 17 MAY

MON 18 MAY

THEATRE OF HATE

WE ARE

THE OCEAN

SAT 24 OCT

THURS 12 NOV

GENTLEMAN’S

DUB CLUB

BERNIE TORMÉ

WEDS 20 MAY

PITY SEX

& CREEPOID

SAT 5 DEC

IAN PROWSE

& AMSTERDAM

90

SEEL STREET, LIVERPOOL, L1 4BH


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Fri 24th Apr • £8 adv

Amber Run

Sat 25th Apr • £14 adv

The Interrupters

Fri 1st May • £15 adv / £40 VIP

Damage

+ Rough Copy + Sub Blue

Sat 2nd May • £12.50 adv

Bless This

Beatology

DJ FOOD Live AV Set

+ DJ Kiddology

Fri 8th May • £26.50 adv

Mobb Deep

“The Infamous…”

20th Anniversary Tour + Rodney P + DJ 279

+ No Fakin DJs

Fri 8th May • £9 adv

Sunset Sons

Sat 9th May • £18.50 adv

I Am Kloot

Sat 9th May • £7 adv

Polar States

Wed 13th May • £9 adv

Fearless

Vampire Killers

+ Annisokay + Myth City

Sat 16th May • £10 adv

As It Is &

This Wild Life

+ Seaway + Boston Manor

Tues 19th May • £15 adv

Ozric Tentacles

Wed 20th May • £15 adv

Swervedriver

Mon 25th May • £20 adv

Chas & Dave

Tues 26th May • £20 adv

James Arthur

Fri 29th May • £12 adv

Cloudbusting

(Kate Bush Tribute)

Sat 30th May • £25 adv

9pm - 3am • over 18s only

De La Soul

+ Pete Rock

Sat 30th May • £20 adv

The Undertones

Thurs 4th Jun • £10 adv

Coasts

Fri 5th Jun • £15 adv

ChameleonsVox

What Does Anything Mean? Basically? Tour

Fri 12th Jun • £21 adv

Atomic Kitten

15 Years - Greatest Hits Tour

Sat 13th Jun • £12.50 adv

The Godfathers

Thurs 18th Jun • £9 adv

Electric Eel Shock

+ Bob Slayer

+ Super Fast Girlie Show

+ Saltwater Injection

Thurs 18th Jun • £20 adv

Tony Visconti &

Woody Woodmansey

with Glenn Gregory

perform David Bowie’s

‘The Man Who Sold The World’

+ Jessica Lee Morgan

+ Philip Rambow

Sat 27th Jun • £10 adv

Novana

The Ultimate Nirvana Tribute

+ The Holy Orders

Thurs 9th Jul • £21.50 adv

Alkaline Trio

+ Strung Out

Fri 17th Jul • £15 adv

One Life -

Phil Jones Live

Fri 24th Jul • £15 adv

Jake Quickenden

Sat 25th Jul • £17 adv

Tyketto

Sun 16th Aug • £14 adv

The Fall Of Troy

+ Rolo Tomassi

+ Chon

Wed 19th Aug • £17 adv

Slim Jim Phantom

of The Stray Cats

Sat 5th Sept • £14 adv

Cud

Fri 18th Sept • £18 adv

The English Beat starring

Dave Wakeling

Sat 19th Sept • £11 adv

Definitely Mightbe

(Oasis Tribute)

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of

“(What’s The Story)

Morning Glory?”

Thurs 24th Sept • £15 adv

Peace

+ Splashh

+ Yak

Sat 26th Sept • £24 adv

Over 18s only

The Burlesque Ball

UK Tour

Fri 2nd Oct • £10 adv

Knotslip

Sat 3rd Oct • £15 adv

9pm - 4am • over 21s only

Drome

ft. Rob Tissera

+ Stu Allen

+ MC Cyanide

Sat 10th Oct • £12 adv

The Smyths

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary

of ‘Meat Is Murder’

plus the hits

Sat 17th Oct • £23.50 adv

911 The Journey 20

Fri 13th Nov • £28.50 adv

Happy Mondays

Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches

25th Anniversary Tour

Fri 13th Nov • £11 adv

Antarctic Monkeys

Sat 14th Nov • £12.50 adv

UK Foo Fighters

Sat 21st Nov • £13 adv

8pm - 1am • over 18s only

Quadrophenia Night

Fri 27th Nov • £12 adv

The Doors Alive

Thurs 3rd Dec • £12.50 adv

Electric Six

Sat 12th Dec • £25 adv

Echo & The Bunnymen

Sat 23rd May • £9 adv

UpSurge

Fri 26th Jun • £17.50 adv

Dead Kennedys

Sat 26th Sept • £15 adv

The Icicle Works

Sat 19th Dec • £16 adv

The Beat

Fri 8th May • £26.50 adv

Mobb Deep

Sat 30th May • £25 adv

De La Soul

Fri 26th Jun • £17.50 adv

Dead Kennedys

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Bido Lito! May 2015 5

Bido Lito!

Issue Fifty Five / May 2015

bidolito.co.uk

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

RACE TO THE POLLS

Editorial

There are some things that always jump to mind when I think of General Elections in this country, and Monty Python’s Election Night Special sketch

is high on that list. In recent years, however, that list has come to be less about the swing to the Silly Party, and more about the mundane memories

that are related to my own personal experience of elections past. I’ll never forget the stern look given to me by the woman in the Polling Station

the first time I went to vote, as if she was assessing my quivering, youthful eligibility. And then came the fumbling with the ballot paper, the horror

that I might put the cross in the wrong box, and the mild terror I felt when I looked the returning officer in the eye and saw that he’d noticed that I

hadn’t folded the slip properly. I’m much better at it now, and in 2010 I was so pleased with my electoral prowess that, encouraged by a few pints, I

boldly ventured down to Wallasey Town Hall at midnight to check how the count was going. If either of those two police officers on duty that night

are reading this, I’m still sorry for scaring you.

I also remember sitting in school on election day in 1997 and hearing the parties’ cars driving round Wallasey Village parping out their final

exhortations to vote. There was a feeling of excitement in the air then, when New Labour swept to power and we thought it was all going to be

groovy. That’s a far cry from the media onslaught a General Election brings us today. My increasingly cynical mind now can’t see past the positioning

of it all – the televised debates, interviews with leaders and leaders’ partners in the paper, the guest appearances on Have I Got News For You, the

battle buses – as part of an electioneering process that only connects with the electorate once every five years. “Where are you for the other four?” I

feel like shouting at the telly, even as I’m thinking that I want my own battle bus.

This year’s election is going to be fought on more fronts than ever before, and it’s sometimes difficult to sift through all the arguments when

they’re coming thick and fast from every angle. I personally think that the waters have been muddied over issues that aren’t worth wasting breath

on: immigration (such a non-issue, and the sole preserve of UKIP) and the NHS (keep it, protect it and fund it properly, even if it means raising taxes

elsewhere). One of the messages that has been given little voice during these debates is what to do with arts and culture: how we look after and

nurture those creative people who bring a bit of inspiration in times of harsh austerity. In a recent column he wrote for The Guardian, the commentator

Owen Jones said that it works the other way, too: “Music… can reach us where modern formal politics often does not: our hearts. And because of its raw

emotional power, music has the potential to make us contemplate social injustice more effectively than any column the likes of me can churn out.”

In that spirit, we have decided to look more closely at the policies put forward by the five main parties in England that will directly affect our

independent creative community; the plans and proposals that will impact the livelihoods of so many of our country’s treasured creators long after

the 7th May election date has passed. Go to page 16 now to read Phil Morris’ ‘Which One Of You Is The Arty Party?’ article – and make sure you vote!

We were also sad to hear that The Kazimier club is to close on 1st January 2016, meaning that we’ve only got seven months left to enjoy a venue that

is about more than just bricks and mortar. The Kaz, and the amazingly inventive people behind it, has been an integral part of Liverpool music over the

past seven years. The invention and care with which they’ve curated their own nights over this time has been stunning, and their sense of adventure

has undoubtedly spurred on countless musicians, artists, costume designers and krunk fiends who’ve passed through its doors.

The Kazimier is, and history will recall it as, part of a community within a community – reaching out from the club to the Kazimier Garden to The

Invisible Wind Factory, and to the now departed Wolstenholme Creative Space and MelloMello – that nurtured this month’s cover artists Stealing

Sheep, and rubbed off on countless others. When we had our own office in Mello it was just above Stealing Sheep’s studio. I’d walk past the room

most days and hear the sounds drifting out on to the landing of the three hard at work on their new album. How, and where, will our community’s

next creative melting pots be formed? Well, that’s something that only we can decide. Liverpool, it’s over to you.

Christopher Torpey / @BidoLito

Editor

Photo: Keith Ainsworth

Reviews Editor

Sam Turner - live@bidolito.co.uk

Designer

Luke Avery - info@luke-avery.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,

Dave Tate, Paddy Clarke, Jack Graysmark, Phil

Morris, Peter Shilton, Jennifer Perkin, Laurie

Cheeseman, Paul Fitzgerald, Richard Lewis,

Alastair Dunn, Sam Turner, Glyn Akroyd,

Christopher Carr, Maurice Stewart, Ben

Lynch, Paddy Hughes, Debra Williams, Jamie

Carragher, Matthew Cooper, Naters Philip, Chris

Hughes.

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Luke Avery, Nata Moraru, Keith Ainsworth,

Hannah Cassidy, Christian Davies, Marco

Lawrence, Krent Able, Lloyd Pursall, Glyn Akroyd,

James Tweedale, Antonio Franco, Jack Thompson.

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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


6

Bido Lito! May 2015

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Photography: Nata Moraru

STEALING SHEEP are at work. Today is the day they are filming

the video for new single Deadlock in front of the green screen

in their new studio home at Vessel, and we’ve been invited in to

be behind the scenes on the process (which seems to mainly be

about trying not to laugh while lip-syncing to the track). Having

toiled hard over the past eighteen months to produce their

latest album, Not Real, this is the fun part that adds yet another

colourful dimension to an already cerebral record. It’s a bit of a

laugh watching the trio chop and change between outfits and

brash make-up styles, even if it is occasionally a little chore-like batch of sounds that won out, even after a bit of tinkering. “We got

for the band, but they approach it with a business-like cheeriness. loads of interesting live performances in the demo process and I

Under the direction of Cardiff-born filmmaker Ewan Jones Morris think that was based on this quite aloof approach that you have

– who’s previously produced videos for Gulp and Cate Le Bon – when you’re demoing,” say Becky. “You’re not trying to perfect

Becky Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer are steadily creating something at the time, you’re just doing it. And that… naivety,

the next visual chapter of their Not Real world, and there’s only almost, was characterful. That was what we wanted to keep.” The

Stealing

so much room for frivolity.

“Visual themes of illusions and

surrealism: they’re the things that we’ve

been feeding on for the past year and a

half, and [the title] Not Real sums it up

a lot,” Becky explains when we catch up

with them properly later on, the crisp

afternoon sunlight shining on three

musicians in the bloom of a creative

purple patch. The artificial surrealism that

the video dials in to is the unifying theme

of their new record, which sees them

taking a considerable step forward from

their 2012 debut Into The Diamond Sun.

Not Real is a discourse on the interplay

of fact and fiction, investigated using

the aid of 80s-style synths and Stealing

Sheep’s own distinct brand of weirdo

pop. As a whole, it’s a dynamic and

always evolving piece, with all manner of

textures snaking in between the primitive

rhythms and chant-like harmonies. It’s

also less of a niche concern than Into The

Diamond Sun, and the band are content

with its more overt pop stylings. “I think

we wanted to not be so whimsical and

folky and dreamy,” says Emily. “I mean, I

still like that – but it’s just more defined

now.”

“You have to go somewhere with

it; you can’t remain in that world you

were initially in,” says Becky, picking

up the thread. “Giving ourselves more

space mentally was important to us as

well, to help bring out all the individual

personalities. It was creating impact

through creating more space,” to which

Lucy adds: “sometimes to make [a

song] more powerful you’ve got to take

something out, to let it speak.”

The record has its roots in MelloMello’s

now defunct creative hive, where the

three cultivated a space that was more

like a mad musical menagerie than a

conventional studio. In amongst the

instruments, mannequins, racks of

clothes and ice dragons scattered about

the room, Becky, Emily and Lucy wrote

and demoed the tracks that became Not Real. Becky explains

carefree original performances captured in the demoing process

add a sprinkling of freshness to its base of inorganic sounds, and

also a humanness

that

prevents

the whole thing

from getting too

robotic.

“I think there’s

a bit of robotic

stuff though that

was intentional,”

Becky adds to

this. “We do like

listening to quite

mechanical

pop

music – Kraftwerk

and the more

krauty, electronic

stuff. That ‘not

real’

element

was intended, or

something

that

we found that we

liked.”

Though

‘not

real’ is a strong

conceptual

thread that runs

through it – the

idea of distorting

reality, or skewing

your

of

notion

perception

– Not Real is

most

definitely

not a concept

album. “I think

it

summarises

the whole record

and loads of the

themes that are

in it lyrically, and

also the way that

we’ve

produced

it,” Becky tells

me, adding “it’s

retrospective,

think. You’ve got

a collected and

that this work became the basis for all the sounds you hear on informed piece of

the album. “We ended up retrospectively producing the record work and then afterwards [you] look at it and think ‘what are the

ourselves, because we did the demos and they organically threads in it, what’s the core of it?’, instead of trying to create them

transformed into the real deal. So it’s kind of self-produced, but in the beginning. This way it gives you three different directions

it wasn’t intended to be!” Although they did get by with a little and personalities.” At this, Emily chips in to give a bit of clarity

help from some friends – Joe Wills assisted on some production in to what the idea of ‘not real’ means to the band. “I think there

his home studio, and Sam Crombie also helped in a consultancy are so many personal reasons for us all for it being Not Real. All

capacity, doing a bit of mixing and co-producing – it was this initial three of us have different perceptions of what reality is or what

I

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! May 2015 7

everything means. Everyone’s different, and their reality is theirs.”

This three-way perspective is something that becomes apparent

after listening to the album a few times; you begin to hear that

there’s not just one voice speaking to us but three individual

ones. This could be construed as offering a fractured message,

but it in fact makes for a far more compelling one, dispersing the

message through the prism of three fascinating artistic minds.

The record sounds more complicated in arrangement than

Into The Diamond

Sun; the tracks on

Not Real are much

better structured in

their simplicity, most

notably the title track

Not Real and latest

an exotica train at one point, which definitely informed some

of the sounds that we’ve used. I suppose that’s based on ‘not

real’ as well. Exotica music was born in the 50s, in that postwar

period when people needed their spirits lifted. They were

thinking of these magic lands and inventing worlds and tropical

paradises. I guess we were listening to that kind of music and it

was informing Not Real.” This doesn’t sound a million miles away

from the underlying themes on Into The Diamond Sun, and Emily

explains that it was something they refined when crafting the

new songs. “You realise that maybe

that was just a bit too conceptual, and

not that accessible in some ways. You

think ‘hang on, we’re going down this

route here’, and see that you need to

get back on to actually writing songs,

single Greed. This and doing that well.”

pared-back approach Given the success of their first

gives the album album – which saw them credited

expanses of spacey

elements, in which

with instigating a “medieval pagan

pop revival” and pegged as folky

the Sheepiness hippies – I wonder if they felt pressure

can work. Lucy from anywhere to produce something

believes that this

structure

SHEEP

makes

the whole thing a

much calmer affair.

“I think it’s definitely

more direct. That’s a

conscious thing that

we wanted to do,

just to let each of

our voices actually

speak, and to be

more direct with

what we were trying

to communicate as

well.”

Where Into The

Diamond Sun was

characterised

by

an overt fantastical

approach,

the

references to the

mystical on this

record are more

oblique. On Not

Real, the band’s

inherent – and

frankly

endearing

– weirdness comes

through in the

secondary or tertiary

levels of the songs

this time, rather than

parading up front

slightly different on this second

record, or to move the whole Stealing

Sheep thing on.

“I certainly felt some pressure

from myself to be… generally better!”

admits Lucy. “I wanted to improve

my drumming technique in some

way, and my songwriting skills. I felt

challenged by the industry as well – I

wasn’t sure what it wanted from me.

And I wasn’t sure how to apply myself

to it. But now I realise that none of

that matters! [laughs] You can only

give what you’ve got. Now I feel like

we’ve done a really good record and

it’s what we wanted to do.” Again

Becky picks up the thread and offers

her own view on outside pressures to

create. “This is our artistic intention,

but it’s also a career. That industry

reflection does hit you when you’re

writing, thinking if what you’re doing

will be accepted by people. I listen to

music and I listen out for authenticity

– if that’s what I’m looking for from

music then we should stick to our

guns and be like that too.”

Stealing Sheep could never be

accused of selling out or taking the

easy road, and the fact that they’re

continuing with their outlandish

Mythopoeia nights shows that they’re

not leaving their past behind entirely.

in cloaked whimsy. In 2014 they took the Mythopoeia

They play with the weirdness in more intelligent ways, within extravaganza to End Of The Road

the inorganic sounds and metronomic patterns of percussion. In festival, and this year the band are doing it at Festival No. 6. But

bendy synth parts and guitar parts on Apparition and Sunk you its, and Stealing Sheep’s, unofficial home is The Kazimier, and

can hear them toying with both their new-found and characteristic it seems fitting that they’ll be giving it one final send-off in the

audio signatures.

club’s penultimate show in December. Becky: “It’s such a massive

This undercurrent of exotic oddness is something that Becky part of our history and our inspiration that it’s quite relevant that

believes is a cornerstone of the new album’s theme. “We got on we do something like that.”

Filmmaker Maya Deren said that the function of art is to create

an experience – that is, constructing a form of reality for people to

slip inside. Stealing Sheep are uncannily adept at doing this with

the musical tableaux they create. What Not Real shows is that

they can do so in different musical guises, while still allowing

their work to ask real questions about our perceptions of life. That

they do so with such style is just the cherry on top of a very large

and freaky cake.

Not Real is out now on Heavenly Records. Stealing Sheep play

Liverpool Sound City on 23rd May.

stealingsheep.co.uk

bidolito.co.uk


8

Bido Lito! May 2015

LIVERPOOL

SOUND CITY 2015

Words: Laurie Cheeseman / @lauriecheeseman

May’s perennial signifiers – a slight raising of the

temperature and a giddy end-of-football-season fervour

– bring an optimistic air of

shorts, flip-flops and the

hunt for Cup Final tickets

festival set designers STAX Creations, along with help from

LJMU’s Spatial Design Programme and co-founder/curator of

Festival No. 6 Luke Bainbridge, the Bramley-Moore

Dock site will turned into a post-apocalyptic

environment that reflects the area’s former

rushing through the

glory days. Speaking of this year’s reload,

streets of town. Since

Sound City CEO Dave Pichilingi promised

2008 we’ve been

a massive and credible line-up, and boy

able to add to that

a rush of hazy

have they delivered. With enough

music to keep you occupied for three

revelry that

months never mind three days, it

greets the

is our job at Bido Lito! Towers to

arrival of

guide you through the myriad

LIVERPOOL

SOUND CITY,

transforming

the city centre

strands of Sound City’s 2015

programme and pick

out some highlights

for you.

into a musical

Of all the bands

metropolis that’s

tagged by certain

bursting at the seams

quarters of the music

with sounds. Well,

press as “saviours

it’s all change this year

of real rock’n’roll”,

as Sound City’s annual

party moves to a whole new

The Flaming Lips Friday night Atlantic

Stage headliners THE

setting with a whole new set-up. Gone is the SXSW-style

metropolitan venue orgy with which the festival made its

name, as the festival site moves north of the city centre to

Bramley-Moore Dock, in the deserted expanses of the oncebustling

Vauxhall area. Bramley-Moore Dock was once one

of the many thriving docks that line the banks of the Mersey,

importing and exporting goods from and to the Empire and

beyond; opened in 1851 as a coal dock, it closed in 1988 after

Thatcher’s closure of South Lancashire’s coal

mines. Now a part of the Liverpool Waters

regeneration scheme, this semi-derelict

post-industrial dockland will be

transformed between 21st and 24th

May as the home of the new-look

Sound City.

The site at Bramley-Moore

Dock is perfectly situated to

give commanding views

over the river Mersey,

and the main Atlantic

Stage will have the perfect

backdrop in the city’s iconic

skyline. Warehouses will be

pressed back into action to

house the festival’s array of musical

talent, with more tents and openair

stages erected across the site to

house all that Sound City has to offer

this year. Under the direction of acclaimed

VACCINES are the ones with

the most punch. With their first

two albums they made their

name crafting uncomplicated,

slick CBGBs approximations, not the

lumpen lad rock usually associated

with the messianic tag. They continue

their one-band garage rock revival with

album number

three, English

Grafitti (released

on 26th May).

Finishing Saturday’s

proceedings on the

main stage are glitterball

psych maestros

THE FLAMING LIPS,

apparently “one

of the fifty

bands you must

see before you

die”. Most recently

the Oklahoma troupe

have been reworking

classic albums and

collaborating with a host

of “Heady Fwends” on various

Fucked Up projects, including their mildly

controversial hook-up with Miley

Cyrus. Wayne Coyne’s crazed antics – and indeed ticker-tape

cannons and giant zorbing ball – are perfectly suited to

festival send-offs, so make sure you’re well positioned to

soak it all up. Indie darlings is a label applied to far too many

bands, but if any one group is deserving of the label it’s

Sound City’s third and final headliner, BELLE AND SEBASTIAN

– but more about them over the page.

If heavier, abrasive elements are more your schtick, then

look no further than NYC’s premier avant-garde noiseniks

SWANS on the Baltic Stage. Survivors of the brief but fertile

no-wave scene, they have even been found bothering the UK

Top 40 with last year’s decibel-heavy To Be Kind. Contenders

for one of the best hardcore acts in the business, FUCKED UP

were last seen wreaking havoc in Liverpool in the not-longfor-this-world

Kaz at Sound

City in 2011. Mr Damian

et al are therefore no

strangers to the wanton

hedonism that Sound

City crowds thrive

on. After slaying

the Garage

two years

ago, fellow

Sound City

veterans

UNKNOWN

MORTAL

ORCHESTRA

bring some of the

hazy psych sounds

required at any event

in Liverpool, making

them an act not to miss.

The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger Other Sound City returnees

include Mercury and Ivor

Novello nominees EVERYTHING EVERYTHING – whose

constant quest to bring a touch of ambition back to pop has

paid off on their supremely anticipated third album Get To

Heaven – while Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl’s

THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER received plenty of love

when they played in the city in September, and you can only

see that love-in increasing in intensity here.

There’s also ample room on Sound City’s stages this

years for some rock music veterans to show the new

crowd that they’ve still got more than enough to bring to

the table. Following on from his keynote address at the

2014 Sound City Conference, Sonic Youth guru THURSTON

MOORE brings his band with him this time for an earscreeching

ride. THE CRIBS are still plugging away on the

sweaty venue circuit, albeit without as much vigour as

they used to be able to muster. The sibling trio released

their sixth album, For All My Sisters, in March, showing

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! May 2015 9

signs that they’re not letting up yet. GAZ COOMBES has

continued his post-Supergrass run of form, with this year’s

solo record Matador proving to be a slow-burning hit with

critics and fans.

Liverpool is of course well known for its clubbing culture,

so the powers that be at Sound City have obliged with a Late

Night Warehouse Party that

runs until 3am on each night

of the festival this year.

Punks du jour FAT WHITE

but the world seemingly can’t get enough of two-man bluesy

grunge right now. The comparisons with Royal Blood end

right there though, as these chaps are a whole other visceral

kettle of fish. Standing head and shoulders above a hypersaturated

market in the recent resurgence of rock’s harder

side are ALLUSONDRUGS, and Leeds-based upstarts FIZZY

BLOOD, who return to Liverpool after their raucous

debut in the city at Maguire’s in April. Brooklynite TEI

SHEI provides some respite from the noise with

her Noisey- and Annie Mac-approved glacial

FAMILY bring their

loops and elegantly-blurred melodies.

“truly obnoxious

King of the hype, however, is GEORGE

stage shows” and

onstage nudity

THE POET, whose live performances

muddy the line between spoken

to Sunday’s

word performance and lecture. His

late night

skilled oratory is full of biting social

event,

helping to

commentary on his inner city

upbringing, and has caught the

prove that

eye of the public and a Brit Award

rock music

judging panel (make of that what

can still mean

something more

existentially in an

age when it feels like

you will). We’ve also got outsider tips of

gems to catch on the Saturday: pastoral

rock quarter FOSSA (Cargo Stage) and French

noise diviners AQUASERGE (North Stage).

everything’s already

There’s so much music on offer that you could

been done before.

get lost in it for days, but you’ve got to remember

Ellesmere Port lad and

Yeezy affiliate EVIAN CHRIST –

Roni Size and Reprazent

Sound City packs a load of non-music offerings in

to its festival experience. Tim Burgess and Howling

a man who is yet to put a foot wrong no matter where he plays

– brings the party to the warehouse on Saturday night, while

the legendary RONI SIZE is charged with setting the tempo for

Friday night’s early-hours raving.

It wouldn’t be a Liverpool festival without a super healthy

dose of local acts, and there is an inordinate amount of gems

to check out over the three days, not least of which being

festival regulars, GIT Award winners and Domino signees

ALL WE ARE, who’ll be bringing the blissed-out Abba-on-acid

vibes. They are joined by local darlings VEYU and HOOTON

TENNIS CLUB, experimental weirdos and all-round good eggs

STRANGE COLLECTIVE, up-and-comers THE VRYLL

SOCIETY and GULF and tonnes more. It’s May, so

obviously you are gonna want something that

goes down smoothly with the sunshine, and

THE SUNDOWNERS are worth a punt if you

like Skelly brothers-approved summerof-love

folk rock. But if you prefer your

tunes to come with a healthy dose

of otherworldliness and brooding

darkness, look no further than

scene stalwart JANE WEAVER. It’s

always nice to see a familiar face

in the veritable sea of bands, and

that’s the case here as a few former

Deltasonic Records lynchpins rock up

to the party in shiny new guises. SERPENT

POWER (the current project of The Coral’s

Ian Skelly and The Zutons’ Paul Molloy) and

DAVE MCCABE AND THE RAMIFICATIONS both

have brand-new albums out in the summer,

and there’s no place like home when it comes to

introducing your new material to the world.

One thing Sound City has always had a reputation for

is breaking the next wave of huge acts, and 2015’s bill isn’t

short of buzzy acts ready to be embraced by your ears. Radio 1

regulars SLAVES may not quite fit in to this category any more,

Rhythm have curated a whole raft of activity around the

TIM PEAKS DINER housed in the Baltic Warehouse, where a

Northern Soul Dance Class and damn fine cups of coffee will

be served alongside DJ and live sets. SCREENADELICA’s popup

gig poster shop will be on hand too, this year hosting a

retrospective of main man Gary ‘Horse’ McGarvey’s work. The

now traditional JOHN PEEL WORLD CUP football tournament

will be contested on the Sunday afternoon, on a drop-in

Theatre Of Dreams within the festival site. There’s also comedy

on offer, and THE RECORD STORE are hosting, well, a record

store, which will feature live performances from breaking acts.

And watch out for the daily

spectacles and processions,

from BRAZILICA and the

LANTERN and SPACE

CADET parades, which

will light up the site

in a whole new

way.

So yeah,

they’re just

some of the

highlights

for Sound

City this year,

but there is so,

so much more to

check out. Only a fool

would miss it, and we

know that none of you

are fools…

Tei Shi

Liverpool Sound City runs

from 21st – 24th May. Pick up your copy of the Bido Lito! Sound

City Daily every morning of the festival for up-to-date news,

interviews and reviews.

liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

CONFERENCE

Edwin Collins

Each year Sound City's conference hosts a high-quality

series of conversations and keynotes, with industry

insiders chewing the cud of what's going on in the music

business today. Taking place in the Titanic Hotel over

Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd May, the general theme

of the eighth year of the Sound City Conference is the

Unsung Hero.

Auteur, experimentalist and leader of festival headliners

The Flaming Lips, WAYNE COYNE delivers one of the

Conference’s keynote speeches, discussing a freewheeling

career of pushing the envelope in terms of musical and

artistic performance. Former Orange Juice man and indie

hero EDWYN COLLINS will deliver the other keynote address

alongside his wife Grace, who helped him return to form

after a debilitating stroke in 2005. Collins will leave no

stone unturned in talking of his life making music and

the inordinate influence he has had on generations of

indie poppers, as well as his incredible comeback from the

setbacks he has faced.

The Conference will also feature talks from some of

the music world’s most intriguing minds. Acerbic wit and

journalists’ nightmare MARK E. SMITH will be having his say

during his In Conversation event, and Cream founder and

director JAMES BARTON will be talking from his status as

one of EDM’s most influential voices. Musician and artist VIV

ALBERTINE will also be bringing her thoughts on the maledominated

punk era in which she was working when The

Slits were at their peak.

As well as performing at the festival, a host of musicians

will be taking part in various In Conversation and How To?

sessions, giving an insight in to their own experiences of

the industry. The Vaccines’ Justin Young and Freddie Cowan

will be taking part, as well as Everything Everything and

Renaissance woman Jane Weaver.

Beyond these conversations, industry veterans and

various experts from across the music spectrum will be

sitting down to lock horns on panels that look to discuss

and dissect the nuts and bolts of life in the business, as

well as a wide range of hot topics.

bidolito.co.uk


10

Bido Lito! May 2015

BELLE AND

SEBASTIAN

Words:

Paddy

Clarke / @

paddyclarke

It is testament to

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN’s

supremacy of reputation

that the explosion of public excitement around the line-up

announcement for this year’s bigger, beefier Sound City almost

seems to have been revolving solely around their name, especially

when compared with fellow headliners The Flaming Lips. They

are, in short, a special band; inspirers of a distinct kind of Smithsesque

devotion that seizes on sensitivity and transforms it into

a kind of self-conscious sublimity, and most incredibly of all they

continue to do so as they approach their third decade as a group.

“I’m sure there are people that have grown out of us, but

there are other people that have grown up and into us, and

that’s maybe the thing,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist

Sarah Martin when we catch up, speaking of the lasting love that

still lingers for the Glasgow twee-poppers. “We’re reasonably

young at heart, too, I suppose… I think the thing is that [the

music is still] relevant to us. If we were trying to consciously be

something specific, trying to consciously be relevant, we’d just

be transparent. I think that if what you’re playing and singing

about is relevant to you, then it’s probably going to be relevant

to somebody else.”

It’s been years – a decade in fact – since the love-in came

Liverpool’s way. “I think it might have been as far back as 2004,” she

remembers, and that might have something to do with the fervour

that surrounds this clamorous local build-up for what feels like a

bidolito.co.uk

gig

on a

level

beyond

most. So

what exactly

can we expect

from the Belles on

their long-awaited return then? “I just couldn’t predict it!” says

Martin of the prospective setlist. “It’s always done on the day,

pretty much,” she continues. “Usually pre-soundcheck there’ll be

a kind of ‘draft set’, and then after we’ve soundchecked we’ll nail

it down properly.”

It’s a prospective setlist that’s got a veritable indie pop

goldmine to draw on, a bounty of classics that’s only bolstered

by their latest album Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, which

saw the six-piece make a full foray into crisp, modish electronica.

Yet that marked shift in style seems to have slotted right in with

their back catalogue on stage. “We’ve not really had to change

anything, everything [new on that album] has kind of been there

all along. I mean, I don’t think it’s that huge of a change of sound.

It’s a change of producer, and that brings a certain energy in, but

we’ve not actually had to bring in any actual new instruments

apart from the keytar that Stuart [Murdoch, Belle And Sebastian

frontman] is playing these days!”

Hitting the right mix between the classics and new material

seems little problem too, according to Martin, who explains that,

“The more variety we have the better. It’s easy to get ebb and flow

and a shape to the set if you’ve got plenty of variety. It’d be very

boring if everything sounded like Fox In The Snow or something,

or if everything was just exactly the same palette. I think it’s easy,

really. We draw on everything throughout the

set. Some of the new songs when we first

played them actually felt like they had an energy

similar to a lot of the older ones as well, so it’s not

been a struggle at all, really.”

Given the length of wait the city has had for a Belle

And Sebastian headline show, it’ll be fair to assume

there will a be core of “Scotland’s For Me” die-hards in the

crowd come the final night of Sound City, and the band are

lining up some rarities especially for them. “Because of the two

compilation records – Push Barman [To Open Old Wounds] and

The Third Eye Centre – there’s quite a lot of singles that weren’t on

albums, B-sides and stuff, and a lot of them are favourites to do

live now, actually,” Martin confirms. And as for her own personal

favourites? “Oh God… it’s just too hard… I really love doing We

Are The Sleepyheads at the moment, which is on The Life Pursuit.

I also love Women’s Realm, and I love doing Enter Sylvia Plath,

which is an amazing one to play.”

It’s worth remembering, too, that the group will have been

constantly touring their new material for over half a year come

that fateful May weekend, after a US tour that preceded the new

album release saw the new tunes get their debut airings. “When

we first played the new ones on tour that was last year, maybe

like September and October, in the States. Enter Sylvia Plath went

down really well,” Sarah remembers. “Ally could have been on

any of our records really, that’s such a strum-along, it really fits in.

I remember the first time we did The Book Of You and that felt like

we were doing an old tune, really.”

“We’re still kind of figuring out which of the new ones really

work best,” Martin continues. “We did five songs when we were

in America last October before the record was out, but on the

recent tour we were in the Far East and Australia, and we didn’t

really get soundchecks, so we didn’t really have the opportunity

to dig in and explore a little bit with the new songs.” Fortunately

for us the band’s current tour is already well underway, so they

should be in a good groove to find the perfect blend for Sound

City 2015’s closing performance. “On the tour I think things will

develop quite a bit,” Sarah agrees, before adding “so I think we’ll

be firing on all cylinders by Liverpool. We’ll have been solidly at it

for eight weeks by that point – we should be quite good by then!”

Belle And Sebastian play Liverpool Sound City on Sunday 24th

May. Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance is out now on Matador

Records.

belleandsebastian.com


NEW GIGS

Liverpool Philharmonic

April - September

Reginald D Hunter

Sunday 10 May

from £24


Magic Of Motown

Sunday 31 May

from £26.50


Stewart Lee

Tuesday 2 & Wednesday 3

June from £21


Giant³ Sand

Wednesday 3 June £16.50

St George’s Hall

Concert Room


Holly Johnson

Thursday 4 June £21.50


Heritage Blues

Orchestra

Friday 5 June

from £19.50


Elvis Costello

Monday 15 June

from £37.50

Suzanne Vega

Thursday 16 June £28.50


Fotheringay

Monday 22 June £22.50

St George’s Hall

Concert Room


Kevin Bridges

Monday 22 June £25

Tuesday 23 June

SOLD OUT


Mavis Staples

Sunday 28 June

from £22.50


Rufus

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Monday 13 July

from £37.50


Rosanne Cash

Sunday 19 July

from £19.50

EXTRA DATE

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liverpoolphil.com

0151 709 3789

Image Rufus Wainwright


12

Bido Lito! May 2015

Words: Dave Tate

Illustration: Hannah Cassidy / hannahcassidycreative.tumblr.com

For many musicians the catalogue of difficult situations that

befall them are seen to be just an inextricable part of being in a

band. Running out of money, breaking equipment, injuries and

unresponsive crowds are just a small selection of the obstacles

that bands are expected to encounter and, ideally, overcome. But

if you were to ask anyone who’s been in a band which is the

biggest of all of these struggles, I can assure you that there’s

usually only one answer. Overcoming crippling self-doubt, creative

droughts and getting people to listen to what you’re doing are

all nothing compared to the perennial struggle of getting four

people in a room for long enough to spark some magic. How,

then, does a band spread across four cities cope? Well, for a start,

they change the way they work.

Despite the not inconsiderable distance between them (the

quartet are based variously in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and

London), CAPAC are a band who utilise technology to bridge the

physical space between them: a cyberspace version of The Postal

Service if you will. The idiosyncratic writing style Capac have

developed over this long-distance relationship has enabled them

to explore new methods and styles for writing, yielding a glacially

electronic sound that is as unique as the process by which it

was made. By bouncing tracks between themselves, each band

member – Stuart Cook, Kate Smith, Matt Parker and Gary Salomon

– is afforded the opportunity to add to the song in whichever way

they see fit. Songs mutate across the wires, and often the files

they receive back are in turns unexpected and inspiring.

Capac have undergone a catalogue of changes since they

formed in Liverpool almost six years ago. Different names,

different members and different cities have all been part of the

mix, and only now have they found their niche in the incredibly

fertile world of ambient electronica. “As an entity Capac has

been around for a while,” Stuart explains to me down the wire,

“but I think this iteration of it is the first time it’s felt like it’s

what we want it to be.” From their first EP, Pastels – released in

2010 – the band have slowly developed not only their sound

but their approach to writing. At the time they released the

critically acclaimed first EP, the members were all living under

the same roof, writing and rehearsing together: what you

might call a conventional set-up. Fast forward to today and they

have a different set of contributors who are spread across the

country, which inherently calls for an unconventional approach.

An unconventional approach which produced two EPs in 2014

(Nested, and its iterative sibling Nested – The Other Branch), and

at last a full-length LP titled Sea Freeze, which is set for release

this month. “Writing the album at a distance has been really...

different,” says Stuart. “Difficult at times but worthwhile. We all

have ideas or feelings for a track and we keep sending them back

and forth. It's almost like Chinese whispers in a way. By the time

it gets back to me it's a different beast.”

A good example of this process in action is found on the

album track Nine3Nine. “On that track we had this really beautiful

tremolo guitar melody written by Kate,” says Stuart, “but as the

song evolved we ended up taking it out and it went on to become

the basis for the next track on the album. It’s a good example of

where we take something, rip it apart and it becomes something

else. You can have an idea, then someone else can come in and

turn it into something else.” Working in this way has completely

altered the dynamics of the group when it comes to writing.

No longer does each member fill a specific role: instead, each

member is given the freedom to evolve and mutate the songs as

they see fit. “It’s really great to have the time to develop ideas by

yourself and mull things over. Working on things remotely really

accentuates the individual’s input into the track.”

Writing in this way means that the songs exist within their

own feedback loop. By allowing the songs to grow outwards

from wherever they like – as opposed to a more traditional

linear writing style – they twist and turn as they're written. They

begin to influence themselves, and there’s no better evidence

for this than the album’s title track. Inspired by the idea of a

catastrophic meteorological event, the track slowly revealed

itself in the constant email exchange back and forth between the

four, as Stuart explains: “We came up with the track at the time

when there were reports of the sea freezing over and we had

this working title, Sea Freeze. When Kate heard this she starting

writing the lyrics with this idea in mind. Hearing the lyrics in turn

led us to adding these icy textures to the track.”

This is songwriting by mutation, inter-band collaboration of

an entirely different form. While fully embracing the elasticity

of this method, Capac kept an event horizon on the possibilities

of Sea Freeze by sticking to a few core ideas during the writing

process. Prompted in part by Oblique Strategies – Brian Eno’s

deck of cards containing aphorisms to encourage lateral

thinking – the band kept in mind certain ideas or beliefs when

writing. One of these was a commitment to working “off

grid”. Inspired by the unpredictability of drone and ambient

music, the band wanted to ensure they avoided becoming

too obvious. “We wanted to make sure we moved away from

anything that was sixteen-bar structured or formulaic. It makes

it a much more interesting listen if you're not sure what's going

to happen next,” Stuart explains.

“An album should be more than a collection of songs,” Stuart

continues, as if to counterbalance this point. “Sea Freeze aims to

present itself as a cohesive work, exploring related ideas across

the album instead of any one song. We were really keen to tell

a story in the sense of an album: not necessarily a narrative, but

through recurring motifs and ideas.” The album deals with themes

of loss, paranoia and isolation, and is presided over by the spectre

of global warming. These themes are present not only in the

lyrical content of the songs, but interwoven into their structures,

production and sonic palette. The arrangements, constantly

shifting structures and glacial pads all heighten these ideas of

uncertainty, isolation and loss. Throughout Sea Freeze’s ten

tracks, the choice of sounds is deliberately cold and unforgiving.

Ahead of the album’s launch, the band have been exploring

ways of performing in a bid to work out what the Capac live

show is. After much assessment and refining, their on-stage

operation is now much closer to a traditional band model. While

there is inevitably a heavy use of electronics, the fusion with live

instrumentation helps the band maintain an unpredictability

within their performances. Instead of relying on sequenced

patterns or loops, songs are allowed to flow in whichever

direction feels right for that performance, shifting and riding

the wave. “If you're going to play something live, you want that

human touch,” says Stuart. “Something that makes it worth a live

show.” Projectionist and videomaker Michael James Lewis is part

of this vision, making him the fifth part of Capac’s live dimension.

Lewis has worked extensively with the band to develop the live

output of their sound to the point where their shows become a

sensory experience, capable of overwhelming audiences.

For Stuart, this marriage of the live and processed world is

the ultimate endpoint of Capac’s laborious creative process,

making all the to-ing and fro-ing worthwhile. “We want to create

something special. We want it to be an experience.”

Sea Freeze is released on 4th May on This Is It Forever Records.

capac.bandcamp.com

bidolito.co.uk


LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL of PSYCHEDELIA

25th + 26th September 2015

CAMP AND FURNACE / BLADE FACTORY / DISTRICT

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14

Bido Lito! May 2015

ADY SULEIMAN

A Tale Of Two Cities

Words: Jack Graysmark / @ZeppelinG1993

Photography: Lloyd Pursall

For his twenty-first birthday, ADY SULEIMAN found himself facing

not only a crowd, but an immense opportunity brought about by

inconceivable fate. He was on a stage in Sète in the south of

France, staring out to the sea from a magnificent amphitheatre

called Théatre de la Mer. He was performing as part of Worldwide

Festival, which fuses acoustic performances with club-oriented

beats to form an enticing exuberance that carefully simmers

under the scorching sun. Suleiman had been asked to play by the

festival’s curator and BBC 6Music multi-genre aficionado Gilles

Peterson, who had been pestered by the plucky LIPA graduate

after his show in The Shipping Forecast.

“I remember telling him my name and he had actually heard of

me through one of his friends – or at least that’s what he said!”

laughs Suleiman, as he remembers the fortuitous encounter. “He

said to send some stuff though by email.

I didn’t think he would even get back to

me, but then he replied saying he loved it

and asked if I wanted to play his festival,

completely out of the blue! It’s a weird

feeling when you meet someone you

have so much respect for, only to find

out they respect what you’re doing – I

mean I still listen to everything his label

Brownswood puts out.” It’s fair to say his

performance was a resounding success:

Suleiman went on to win Breakthrough

Act of the Year at Peterson’s Worldwide

Awards.

But what was it about Suleiman that

made Peterson so enamoured with the

twenty-something songwriter? Perhaps

it’s the sincerity of his stirring melodies

that harmonise dabs of soul, jazz and

even hip hop? Maybe it’s the carefully

subdued production that complements

the overall sound rather than overriding

it? Or maybe it’s the sense of honesty

that permeates Suleiman’s lyrics, drawing on his own experiences

or that of his family and friends? It’s likely that Peterson has seen

and appreciated all these aspects – as have the followers who

have been drawn to Suleiman since he graduated last year. It’s

been quite a transformation for the artist, especially as he used

to hate one of his biggest influences.

“My dad really encouraged me to listen to Jimi Hendrix, but the

psychedelic vibe just wasn’t doing anything for me,” confesses

Suleiman. “But I was on a family holiday and listening to Axis:

Bold As Love, and when I got to Little Wing, everything clicked.

After all the manufactured pop I was hearing on the radio, I finally

understood where the music was coming from, and its sense of

purpose.” From there, Suleiman was determined to explore artists

whose music strove for a genuine connection with its listeners,

and he immersed himself in acts that have defined their genre –

from Lauryn Hill to Stevie Wonder to Ray Charles – all of whom

have influenced him to some degree.

bidolito.co.uk

However, it was Amy Winehouse’s status in the mid-noughties

that hit him at full force and aroused his dedication to the cause.

“I was listening to a lot of her first album, Frank, where she was

mixing hip hop and jazz into her own style, and then how she drew

on soul more for Back To Black; vocally, it was just incredible. I

couldn’t believe she was doing music like that and being successful

[with] it, truly changing the landscape of British popular music in

the process. Before seeing her, I never really thought I could make

music I wanted to make and be successful from it.”

Half Tanzanian on his father’s side, Suleiman grew up in the

market town of Grantham, outside of Nottingham, and only

ventured into the city for the occasional gig. Rather than stay

close to home after finishing school, he chose to move up to

Liverpool to study at LIPA because of the emphasis the course

placed on performing. “A lot of the courses I applied for asked

for Grade 5 theory at least, and I was a bit apprehensive to study

music at university anyway because I thought I would be out of

my depth! With the course at LIPA, I felt comfortable with what it

wanted to achieve with me.”

The sheer variety of sounds that characterised the city’s music

scene also caught Suleiman’s ear, particularly the more alternative

bands. He became good friends with former Ninetails frontman

Ed Black, who now performs with Suleiman’s band. Sumptuous

sets at The Kazimier and MelloMello prompted him to explore

his old roots, and after contacting an old school friend he found

himself on a train back home to attend a gig in Nottingham. “The

line-up included Natalie Duncan, Liam Bailey and Harley Blue –

local acts celebrating Nottingham’s blossoming soul and hip hop

scene, and their emphasis on utilising vocals was similar to what

I was trying achieve.”

Suleiman emphasises the importance of using your origins

to find inspiration for your music, and a set he performed at

Nottingham’s Rock City remains one of his favourite live shows

as a personal achievement, but his music does not feel confined

to a particular location. The ominous lyrics on So Lost, which are

unashamedly direct with their sense of hopelessness and the

despair of being hooked on medication, are even more striking

against the gentle bounce of funky horns and buoyant beats that

transform it into a delightfully playful number.

Ease your ears into Suleiman’s other material and you realise

that each track is focused on the direction it wants to take. Take

State Of Mind, which questions the motivation behind religion

and political alliances, or Out Of Luck, with its bleak account of

drug addiction. “I wrote that about a friend from back home,”

Suleiman recalls, “because I remember so vividly how everyone

felt about it at the time; it truly became the talk of the town. I find

it really difficult to write about things that I haven’t experienced

or heard from first-hand because your opinion’s probably not

going to be right, so it’s difficult to put something out there and

stand behind it.”

What’s interesting though is that Suleiman does not equate

having a message in music with having

to tell people what to do. He prefers to

simply offer a commentary on his own

experiences in the hope that others

can relate to it. He points to garage

authority Mike Skinner’s work as The

Streets as a fantastic example. “He

was amazing at representing a specific

era of the UK, and some people who

listen to it can appreciate that there is

music talking directly to them. It’s nice

to crank on a tune that does that – it’s

not specifically telling me I need to

change my life, but it shows a sense of

understanding about how I’m living.”

Aside from bringing out his new

EP State Of Mind in May, Suleiman’s

aim for 2015 is to refine his writing

technique (lately he has been spotted

in the studio with spoken word mindboggler

George The Poet), and, more

importantly, bring his live sound up

to the same standard as his recorded

material. “It’s a completely different kettle of fish for me,” he

admits with a slight hesitation, “but I’ve already got a few live

shows coming up so I need to work on perfecting my sound. You

want both the live show and the recorded material to be at a level

when they can rival each other.”

With an aim that is so specifically on target, Suleiman’s

determination is highly encouraging because it all points to an

understanding of longevity. As long as events around him spur

on his creativity, his music will continue to have a strong narrative

and, in being so specific about the details, it will only become

more attractive to listeners, fascinated by what he has to say. With

his LIPA musical education taking him to the south of France, we

can only wonder at what direction he’ll take for the rest of 2015.

State Of Mind is released on 24th May on Ady’s own Pemba

Records label.

soundcloud.com/adysuleiman


16

Bido Lito! May 2015

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! May 2015 17

GENERAL

ELECTION 2015

Words: Phil Morris / @mauricedesade

Illustration: Christian Davies / @christianbeardavies

The time for poring over televised debates, exit polls and the BBC’s

swingometer is nearly over: on Thursday 7th May the bluster stops, and

we go to the polls for what will surely be one of the most closelycontested

General Elections in recent history. But who is going to

be pulling for our artists, musicians, performers, venue owners and

creators? Phil Morris has climbed aboard our own pink battle bus to

ask some questions and find out which political parties are making

provisions for our independent creative sector.

We’re constantly being told that the election battle lines are drawn

over immigration and tax policies – but how do they affect the microeconomy

that fuels our creative community? Over the five years of the

last Con-Dem government, Arts Council England – one of the biggest

funders of the arts – had its central funding cut by £459m. And while

our booming “Northern Powerhouse” economy has been eulogised,

especially for its contributions from creative sectors, funding remains

highly disproportionate here compared to the capital – unjustly

favouring the ‘nationals’ of opera, theatre and ballet. Who is sticking up

for the regions’ allocations? Where are our champions?

Against a backdrop of austerity and the looming threat of NHS

privatisation, it seems odd that the 2015 General Election could well

be dominated by socially divisive debates around immigration, EU

membership and the state of the union. An unlikely anti-hero has

emerged for those irrationally threatened by a newly-enfranchised

Eastern-European contingent. Nigel Farage, a public school-educated

former banker, has succeeded in shifting the boundaries of political

debate from an ideological battle for our country’s most valued

institutions, to a climate of xenophobic fear-mongering aimed at

scapegoating immigrants. The cultural normalisation of their spouted

bigotry has enabled the UKIPers to inflict damage on all major parties,

not least the Conservatives.

Simultaneously, an under-promising Labour party have had

their hopes of a parliamentary majority all but extinguished by a

resurgent SNP. As Ed Miliband remains a prisoner of his own aesthetic

shortcomings, Nicola Sturgeon has galvanised the unifying optimism

harnessed during last year’s Scottish Independence referendum.

The erosion of Labour's partisan support has also continued south

of the border: a blossoming Green party have presented a genuinely

progressive alternative to the centre-ground status quo. No longer

viewed as single-issue environmentalists, the Greens are now the

third most popular UK-wide party (if any of the recent polls are to be

believed). Predictably, support for the once conventional recipients of

a protest vote, the Liberal Democrats, has also diminished. The tainted

figure of Nick Clegg is odds-on to lose his Sheffield Hallam seat in

sensationally karmic fashion.

“Which One Of You Is

The Arty Party?”

One thing is clear, the British political landscape has never been

so fractured. We are witnessing the end of two-party politics and

embarking upon an era of unprecedented coalition. Despite Russell

Brand’s infamous prescription of conscientious apathy, there are now

a multitude of parties and policies compelling the electorate. You may,

for instance, be attracted to Labour’s commitment to end exploitative

zero-hour contracts; but also titivated by the Greens’ pledge of returning

railways to public ownership. Presumably there are those, too, who

want to reconcile UKIP's promise to legalise handguns, or with a desire

to back the Conservatives' deficit elimination agenda.

In an election grappling with the profound issues of our time, we’ve

elected to look beyond polarising pledges and emotive soundbites,

instead focusing our policy critique through the lens of Arts and Culture.

The case for the vibrant, yet under-appreciated, sector is persuasive.

The creative and cultural industries have boomed as a result of

sustained government investment. Combined, they are the fastestgrowing

industry, worth £71.4bn per year, amounting to 5% of the UK

economy. Alongside their cultural and economic values, not only do the

arts contribute to a flourishing society, they also play a pivotal role in

education; teaching us empathy through creativity and understanding.

The continued public funding of Arts and Culture is vital to safeguarding

our local creative communities. To put that in a regional context:

Liverpool Music Week, Sound City, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Society and Liverpool International Music Festival benefitted from just

under half a million pounds of Arts Council funding in 2014. These are

but a few local examples of the many who rely on cultural funding in

order to enrich our lives and bring communities closer together. There is

a genuine concern that funding cuts will not only undermine the worldclass

quality of culture that Liverpool currently offers but also threaten

to have a negative effect on our regeneration process.

Liverpool’s model of culture-driven regeneration demonstrates

how public spending on the creative and cultural industries plays an

important role in re-energising the UK economy. Substantial returns

are generated for the comparably modest amount of public investment

offered to the sector – equivalent to 0.7% of total government spending.

Our tenure as European Capital Of Culture in 2008 highlights this

return, as it generated an economic impact of £753.8m of additional

visitor spend in the region, and continues to help raise our profile

internationally. Cultural investment has therefore been instrumental in

making the city viable through its cross-sector effects on tourism, talent

retention and attracting inward business investment.

If Ed Balls is to be believed, the Conservatives are planning public

spending cuts in the region of £70bn. The reality is that both parties

that are able to form a government are committed to a programme of

austerity by the Budgetary Responsibility Bill. Difficult decisions about

what level of public subsidy for the arts is necessary and sustainable

will have to be taken in the next parliament. Addressing the London vs

regional funding imbalance is also a matter of urgency. The regions are

struggling to maintain the arts infrastructure they have been building

for generations. This is unsurprising when you consider current arts

spending in the capital is £68.99 per person, compared with £4.58 in

the rest of the UK.

GUEST

COLUMN

Peter Shilton - Merseyside Arts

Foundation Project Manager

MERSEYSIDE ARTS FOUNDATION is an

independent development organisation supporting

engagement in the arts and creative industries.

The next big record label may not be a

record label.

In times gone by record labels were the stewards

responsible for overseeing the development of new

music and the artists that produce them, sourcing

the best new talent and backing them over the

long term. Today, for the most part, it would seem

the major labels are unwilling to invest and the

independents are unable to. The result? An industry

tendency to favour low-risk, high-yield music which

rapidly reduces opportunities for emerging artists

to promote and develop their work.

Whilst there is a status quo of public investment

in so-called “high arts”, the idea of making similar

investment in UK popular music is somewhat alien,

largely due to a pre-internet age of success where

record companies actually sold music. But given

its undoubted social and economic value, coupled

with the seismic shift of its business model in a

post-internet age, the question of giving parity

to popular music in public investment terms is

becoming increasingly pertinent.

In other parts of the world such investment isn't

even a question but is standard practice. Canada,

through its Ontario Music Fund, for example,

currently invests over $14m a year into grassroots

music. Given that their national population stands

at 35 million, that’s 40 Canadian cents for every man,

woman and child invested in the music industry.

Justifiable too, as it generates more than 80% of

total music industry revenue. In Sweden, another

country which has a large public investment

in national music talent, their Kulturrådet is

responsible for making the country one of only four

worldwide whose net export of music exceeds their

net import. And they didn't have The Beatles or The

Stones.

Clearly then, if the UK is to retain its enviable

position in the global music marketplace the

perceived success of its music industry must be

revised along with our country's approach to

investment in arts and creative industries. This is

doubly difficult to imagine given the likelihood of

forthcoming public spending cuts, but given the

sector's contribution to our social and economic

vitality it's a revision which demands to be made.

Not least for the UK music industry when record

labels won't or can't invest.

Merseyside Arts Foundation is currently waiting

on a funding application.

merseysideartsfoundation.org.uk

bidolito.co.uk


18

Bido Lito! May 2015

more autonomy to develop sponsored revenue. It’s about being

creative. It’s also about finding other ways to generate income.”

The zero-sum economy that has emerged from austerity

demands that the arts demonstrate the quantifiable value

they provide. In the face of stiff competition for diminishing

public funds, the arts are now expected to state their case

alongside basic services such as health, education and public

administration. With this in mind, we canvassed the views of the

respective UK parties on how they rate the economic contribution

of arts and culture, and what they would do to ensure that

thriving, non-London-based creative communities are funded in

parity with those in the capital. Tragically, the Conservative and

UKIP representatives we contacted decided not to respond, so we

posed the following questions to some Green Party candidates, a

Labour MP and a Liberal life peer:

Question 1 - Arts and culture generate more per-pound

invested than the health, wholesale and retail, and professional

and business services sectors. How do your parties’ policies

value and sustain this return?

Question 2 - Public Arts spending in the capital is 15 times

higher than in the rest of the UK. What would your party do to

re-address this London bias? Particularly, with regards to cultural

activities in our region.

LABOUR

On 23rd April 2015, Ed Miliband boldly affirmed that Labour

would put “arts policy at the heart of government”. On balance,

they do have a credible history on arts and culture: free entrance

to museums, ensuring fair access and trebling Arts Council

funding demonstrated their commitment to the imperative

“the arts must be a right for all”. STEVE ROTHERAM incumbent

Labour MP for Walton, shares a proven track record on the issue.

Rotherham, shaped by his experience as Lord Mayor of Liverpool

during the 2008 ECOC, views culture in relation to its value to

tourism, believing them to be “co-dependent”:

"Tourism is extremely important to local economies with 3.1

million jobs and 9% of GDP being generated via the sector. Tourism

can also be used as a catalyst for the physical transformation of an

area. With proper planning there can be long-term regeneration,

as well as short-term economic benefits."

Enhancing cultural tourism through cross-sector collaboration

is obviously going to be key to making the most out of dwindling

public subsidy. Rotherham’s views are equally pragmatic on the

issue of funding imbalance:

“London receives more grant in aid than the rest of the country

put together and additionally benefits from almost £9 in every £10

of philanthropic giving. London needs to do a lot more to assist

secondary destinations and we would ensure there is a joinedup

approach and improved linkages between regions so that

international visitors to London are made aware of the offer from

other parts of the country.”

LIBERAL

DEMOCRATS

Like Labour, the Liberal Democrats tend to prioritise fair access

with regards to arts and culture, taking a specific party interest

in education and supporting the creative industries. However,

on the face of it, they mustered few achievements in coalition,

beyond the modest victory in the disclosure of Government Art

Collections. To improve our understanding, we interviewed MIKE

STOREY, who became a life peer in 2010, speaking on behalf of

the party for education, arts and regeneration matters in the

Lords. He immediately acknowledged the economic return of the

sector, asserting “arts and culture account for 0.4% of GDP.” Lord

Storey, a head teacher before entering politics through Liverpool

City Council, states:

"We’ve got to encourage the nurturing of interest in creative

subjects at school. There’s a great danger that creative subjects

will become lost if schools don't focus on them; that would be a

huge pity. It’s important that schools who have a creative bent feel

they can pursue that without being penalised by doing so.”

His concern arrives on the heels of dramatic falls in the number

of students taking GCSEs in craft-related subjects, and reflects a

cross-party consensus towards supporting intersection between

arts and education. Lord Storey also elaborates on his parties’

inclinations towards supporting creative businesses:

"The manufacturing industries have a manufacturing advice

service; we as a party would want to see the same for the creative

industries. This service would be and could be funded jointly by

government and industry.”

Since the creative industries have effectively replaced the

manufacturing industries, an industrial strategy is a welcome

proposal. Lord Storey is more philosophical about re-balancing

the London-centric funding issue:

"We don’t want to see the funding stop for some of our national

institutions, so we would identify those and the remaining funding

needs to be more equitably distributed... We would want to keep

entry to [regional] museums and art galleries free but give them

GREEN

In sharp contrast, the Green party have pinned perhaps the

greatest significance on their commitment to arts funding, seeking

policies that “promote the widest participation in culture.” Not

ones to underestimate the value of the sector, the Green party

view arts and culture as “essential for the future development of

the human race”. Indeed, the arts may have found their political

champions. JULIAN PRATT, Green party parliamentary candidate

for Wallasey, affirms the party’s intentions for progressive reform

of the sector:

"As examples of our short- to mid-term policies we would

encourage the growth of local arts associations made up of

practising artists; we would modify the licensing regulations to

ensure that small-scale live performance in pubs, clubs and similar

venues is not stifled; and we would zero-rate live performance for

VAT purposes."

The Green party are clearly optimistic about what they could

achieve for the sector in the interim, but the most winsome

piece of their arts strategy is a long-term policy to devolve

responsibility for arts funding from regional to local levels;

in essence “democratising arts funding”. PAUL CARTLIDGE,

a Green party parliamentary candidate for Wirral South, is

indicative of the culturally-endowed candidates the party are

fielding, practising as an actor, producer and musician. Cartlidge

draws on his involvement with Birkenhead’s Little Theatre to

determine that:

"the regions must have their budgets increased to match

London's. After all, a lot of London talent finds its feet in the

regions. And I would like to see government grants to London

Arts requiring that London galleries and shows leave the capital

more often and tour the regions so we can all share in the artistic

experience."

CONSERVATIVE

The Conservatives have, to their credit, balanced harsh

spending cuts with increased Lottery Funding to the arts.

However, their continued onus on improving “philanthropic

giving” is symptomatic of a Victorian mentality towards state

subsidy; one that serves only to inflate the mismatch of Londoncentric

funding.

UKIP

Meanwhile, UKIP are predictably unabashed in ending the

“failed policy of multi-culturalism”. If elected, Mike Read’s UKIP

Calypso would presumably be used to spearhead the campaign,

at the expense of public funding.

The Creative Industries Federation recently streamed a Cultural

Debate live from The Royal Opera House. In a moment that

captured the essence of why arts and culture funding access

should be primary to voter concerns, Liberal Democrat Baroness

Bonham-Carter paraphrased Palestinian intellectual Edward

Said, and hit upon a tellingly prescient point: “Rather than the

manufactured clash of civilisations, we need to concentrate on

the slow working together of cultures that overlap, borrow from

each other, and live together.”

If you want to find out anything about this year’s General

Election, head to aboutmyvote.co.uk.

bidolito.co.uk


B

“ tiger tiger burning bright, in the forest of the night “

seel street liverpool

may 2015


20

Bido Lito! May 2015

Commonwealth Games in

Glasgow] we wanted to work with a string quartet and they

were the obvious choice. The writing process was different for

that piece: normally we write all the music together, very slowly,

jamming things out and piecing it together, but that doesn't work

so well when you are writing parts for other musicians to play. We

wrote five minutes each, and Aidan and I have some experience

writing string parts, so we did the instrumental bits, and Kris

wrote the song in the middle. Then we gave it to the Elysians,

who then improvised to that song and eventually made a solid

part for themselves out from that.

BL!: Your festival, Lau-Land, is fast approaching and will take

place in Bristol at the end of May. It doesn't seem right somehow

to describe Lau-Land as just a festival, as it appears to be much

more than just a bunch of gigs. What's the thinking behind it?

MG: We get easily excited by all kinds of music and people

making stuff in general, we like things to happen, so we try and

make Lau-Land quite hands on. We have discussions and open

jam sessions and workshops of various kinds. At the next Lau-

Land, you can come and make your own synthesiser and join in a

discussion about whether the folk revival has been damaging or

beneficial for traditional music; play an interactive table jigsaw;

have a machine write music based on your whisky-drinking

memories; learn to play old-time American fiddle; and meet some

of the country’s most remarkable instrument inventors. And go to

some rockin’ gigs. It's gonna be ace!

Lau play The Epstein Theatre on 16th May, and The Bell That

Never Rang is released on 4th May on Reveal Records.

lau-music.co.uk

WEL-

COME

TO

LAU-LAU

LAND

Words: Paul Fitzgerald / @NothingvilleMusic

Since their inception in 2007, LAU have received the Radio 2

Folk Award for Best Group on no fewer than four occasions, as

well as receiving critical acclaim for their many individual solo

works. Comprising Kris Drever (Vocals, Guitar), Martin Green

(Accordion, Wurlitzer, Electronics) and Aidan OʼRourke (Fiddle), they

effortlessly straddle the great divide between traditional acoustic

folk music and electronica – worlds which, outside of Lau-world,

should never converge. This remarkable and adventurous trio

release their much-anticipated fourth album – The Bell That

Never Rang – this month, a record that is marked by several new

developments in the way it was pieced together, not least the

input and involvement of Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Policewoman)

as producer. That, coupled with the necessary changes to the

songwriting and recording process brought about by Drever’s

recent relocation to the wilds of Shetland, has brought new

freedoms and more space for ideas to be developed and realised.

Ahead of their appearance at The Epstein Theatre on 16th May,

Martin Green speaks to us about those freedoms, the process,

collaboration and their plans for Lau-Land, the festival they’re

curating in Bristol at the end of May.

Bido Lito!: You brought Joan Wasser in as producer for this new

album, which gives the listener a sense of you having a greater

freedom with the writing and recording processes. Would that

be right?

Martin Green: Yeah, one of the things about being in a band

that’s so small is that, from time to time, you need that outside

influence, and it’s a really great thing to have, you know? Four

minds is better than three. So, what we were able to do with Joan,

was to present her with things that weren’t completely finished,

and ask her what she would do with them. That’s something

we’ve never done before. In the past, we’ve always rehearsed

everything in a lot of detail, and then just recorded it quickly. With

this, we left it a little more open,

and did much more experimentation

in the studio. And having an external producer

kind of gives you permission to try new things. I don’t

know how the psychology of that works, but it just seems to free

everybody up. I mean, Joan’s an incredible woman, you know,

obviously an amazing artist in her own right, but just as a person

to be around, she’s endlessly enthusiastic, energetic and positive,

which is just a brilliant thing to keep everyone excited. It’s a great

way to work.

BL!: Kris Drever recently moved to Shetland, and it’s intriguing

to guess as to how that would alter the dynamic, and the writing

process. Does the distance make things difficult?

MG: It does in a way. It means that, where previously we’d grab

the odd afternoon to rehearse, that has to be planned a little

more in advance. But in some ways, that’s good as well, because

it forces you to make the most of that time and focus. When Kris

is around, we really need to use that time constructively. We have

our studio in Edinburgh, where myself and Aidan are based, so,

with this album, it was a case of spending more time in the studio

experimenting and writing some bits in the studio together.

BL!: Collaboration plays an important part in all folk music, and

is obviously important to Lau. The title track, and central piece,

of The Bell That Never Rang is an epic seventeen-minute piece,

written in conjunction with The Elysian Quartet. How did that link

come about? And how did you approach writing this piece, Is it

a long-drawn-out process of rehearsal and improvisation or a

more structured approach?

MG: The Elysians are good friends of Adem [with whom Lau made

an EP a few years ago], and the Elysian offshoot Geese we love very

much and booked for Lau-Land in London. So there was a good

social connection, and when the commission came up [the piece

was commissioned by Celtic Connections Festival as part of the

bidolito.co.uk


Words: Richard Lewis

Illustration: Krent Able / krentable.com


Bido Lito! May 2015 23

“You can write about whatever you want but it can’t be about

music”. A simple enough writing brief, but one that becomes

far tougher when the writer in question is the editor of a music

website. This was the invitation extended by VICE to JOHN DORAN

– editor and co-founder of the Quietus – in 2011 when they

asked the Liverpool-born writer to contribute a weekly column

to their site. Sixty-six chapters of MENK (Merseyside slang for

intellectually feeble) followed between 2011 and spring 2014,

covering a particularly explosive period in Doran’s life that took

in drink, drugs, a nervous breakdown and various musings on

subjects as far apart as ghosts and regional bus timetables.

Doran has spent the time since then re-shaping the columns

into a narrative, with the resulting volume – Jolly Lad – effectively

serving as an autobiography.

“When VICE came to me and said ‘you can do a column’,

professionally that’s probably the most flattering thing that’s ever

happened to me,” Doran explains on the phone from his London

home. “I hadn’t written about anything other than music for

donkeys’ years until I started doing MENK.” Covering fatherhood,

class structure, combating alcoholism, drug use, his subsequent

diagnosis and dealing with bi-polar disorder, and the nature of

addiction – while swerving away from any kind of ‘My Drink and

Drug Hell’ confessional – the subjects were tackled with, at times,

searing candour.

That almost all of the columns ended by being autobiographical

wasn’t by design, however. “The book was born essentially out of

a failure of the imagination. It was like ‘Brilliant, I’m gonna be

a writer for VICE!’, and I couldn’t think of a single idea. The only

ideas I came up with were properly… ‘Monkey Tennis’,” he says,

obviously wincing at the thought. “I didn’t have a really killer idea

so I started writing about myself. Cos my son was six weeks old

at the time I wasn’t going out, it took about two months before I

cracked and wrote a really revealing story about myself.”

Drawing from a rich repository of anecdotes, when he finally

opened up Doran had a deep well of material for the columns.

Inspired by Harvey Pekar’s autobiographical comic book series

American Splendor, Charles Bukowski’s poetry and documentary

filmmaker Carol Morley, the columns took an unflinching look

at Doran’s past. Given how personal some of the pieces were,

I wonder if he always planned to be so honest. “No, and that’s

been a cause of some really deep regret for me,” Doran admits.

“Especially over the last twelve months. It’s been a hallmark of

my adult life to act first and think about the consequences later.

I don’t mean that in any kind of nasty way – I’ve never started a

fight in my life.”

“I spotted an amazing quote the other day by the German

playwright Frank Wedekind,” Doran continues. “‘Any fool can have

bad luck; the art consists in knowing how to exploit it.’ At first I

almost justified my ability to go out every night and get absolutely

leathered; I was a bit like a pub raconteur. Then something

happened that was weird, it was a bit distressing, actually. I

started dreading the deadlines coming around. I got the feeling

it was more popular when I would reveal something about my

nature as an addict, especially something on depression. It wasn’t

a voyeuristic thing,” he stresses, keen to quash the idea that

people were revelling in his suffering, or that he was demeaning

a serious illness for cheap laughs. “I was getting a lot of emails

from people saying they were the same.”

“It’s weird, [the column] is one of the few things I’ve written

that I’ve not had much negative feedback about. With music it’s

the other way round: I still get death threats about a piece I wrote

slagging off the fans of Bill Hicks. I’m not complaining about it.

If you attack a sacred cow, you should expect the criticism that

comes your way. People get very passionate about culture, I get

it, I don’t mind.”

Once there were over fifty pieces online at VICE, the next step

was to collect them together in print form. “First I wanted to do

an anthology. The reason I wanted to do a book was because I

had this period where I’d been caning it every day and I realised I

couldn’t do it anymore,” he confesses. “I couldn’t be like a trendy

Dad in a Primal Scream T-shirt who goes to [London nightclub]

Fabric once a year. It was no decision to make; my son comes

before everything. The way that I coped when I gave up drinking

was I threw all of my effort into the Quietus, that’s what helped

me kick it. I need something like that with drugs and I thought

‘what better thing than to write a book?’ Now, that was the

theory but it turned out to be a fucking nightmare, to be honest.

I wouldn’t wish writing a book on my worst enemy. It was bad

enough writing the columns. At first I was in this kind of pub

storytelling mode where you laugh. The story might involve

getting beaten up, or it might involve a night in the cells, but

you tell it in a way that’s funny. Then I started seeing the bleaker

undercurrent in it.”

In marked contrast to the immediacy of writing a column, the

long process of shaping the pieces into a narrative proved to be

near-harrowing. “I had no idea how arduous the editing process

would be,” Doran explains. “You write a story about how you got

beaten up by squaddies in Hull and have to have part of your face

rebuilt. Once you’ve re-written it fifty times in a row there isn’t any

humour left in it; it’s not cathartic. Catharsis is like vomiting up

bad stuff – you’re really rapidly getting something out of yourself.

With a book you’re dredging through the coals time after time

and with each time the bleaker and more horrible it gets. My

girlfriend, Maria, always used to hate the way I’d laugh in the face

of these things that would happen to me and turn them all into

jokes. I was like ‘No, that’s the healthy thing to do’. It was only

with writing this book that I realised that I was wrong and she

was right. By making a joke out of it was I was refusing to face up

to how grim some of these things were.”

Music is still never far away from Doran’s thoughts, and his

upcoming national tour to promote the book is comprised of a

series of gig-like events where he’ll be reading extracts from the

book set to music. The Liverpool leg of the tour takes place at The

Kazimier on 18th May, with Doran joined by Norwegian Grammywinning

noise metal punks ÅRABROT, and featuring a live set from

Liverpool’s mental jazzcore drumming trio BARBEROS. The events

re-create the CD that accompanies early editions of the book,

where Doran’s readings are backed by music created by artists as

diverse as Nicky Wire, Teeth Of The Sea and Grumbling Fur. One of

the acts on the disc, Mancunian krautrock troupe Gnod, provided

the initial inspiration behind the collection. “I was at Supersonic

Festival in Birmingham and I was fucked,” Doran explains. “They

were amazing, playing this song called Genocider, and behind

them on the stage I could see this black hole whirling away and

they all looked like characters out of Mad Max 2.”

Doran continues: “I met Paddy from the band and said ‘I loved

that, can I join your band and do some poetry about black holes?’

Normally, that’s such a stupid thing to say, cos you’re high or

whatever, but instead of laughing at me like most bands would he

said, ‘Yeah man, just do it’. I was laughing some time later with

Paddy and the band and I thought ‘Is it such a stupid idea after all?’”

“It isn’t really like being in a band; it’s a reading and you’ve

got music going at the same time,” Doran says of the upcoming

dates. “Having me on stage doing readings from my books while

experimental musicians [are] performing musique concrète,

ambient or noise music – that’s more like an atmosphere, that’s

more my cup of tea.”

The concept of poetry or fiction backed by psychedelic music

has a storied past. Sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock supplied lyrics

to, and appeared onstage with, seminal space rockers Hawkwind,

including on the classic 1972 live LP Space Ritual, half of which

was recorded in Liverpool. “After the meeting I had with Gnod,

that was the common ground we both had,” Doran enthuses.

“More bands should be like Hawkwind and take more chances.”

While the chances of a sequel to Jolly Lad at the present time

are less than slim (“Only an idiot would say never, but I can’t

think of anything I wanna do less at the moment”), the timing

of the book tour is serendipitous. With the most closely fought

General Election campaign in decades as a backdrop to his

travels, one possible project Doran suggests is a series of pieces

on politics from across England. Is a UK-bound version of Hunter

S. Thompson’s Fear And Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ’72 in the

offing maybe? It would take more than a jolly lad to say no to that.

John Doran appears at The Kazimier on 18th May, giving

readings from his book with live accompaniment from Årabrot. The

night also features a live set from Barberos and a special version

of Krautrock Karaoke featuring a host of local musicians. Tickets

are available now from seetickets.com.

Jolly Lad is out in June and is available to pre-order now from

strangeattractor.co.uk.

bidolito.co.uk


24

Bido Lito! May 2015

Reviews

AD HOC CREATIVITY

Words: Jennifer Perkin

Illustration: Marco Lawrence / marcolawrence.com

Imagine how many works of art were never crafted, how many

pieces of music were never written, how many creative business

ideas never came to fruition because the people involved were

too busy trying to pay their rent? It’s probably fair to say the Ad

Hoc Property Guardian scheme has saved at least a few of them.

Ad Hoc connects the dots between unused properties across

the country – churches, flats, sports halls, stately homes – and

people who would like to live in them, at low cost. By putting

these buildings back into use, their programme of pairing-up

Property Guardians with these empty spaces provides a service

that is of benefit to both property owner and those looking for

low-cost accommodation. Even though the guardian scheme isn’t

specifically aimed at people working in creative industries, it has

naturally attracted a very diverse collective of them, from circus

performers to architects to some not insignificant musicians.

Richard O’Flynn, of Liverpool’s latest musical darlings All We Are,

has been an Ad Hoc Property Guardian in a disused building in

Toxteth for a number of years, capitalising on the freedom given

to him by turning part of the space into the band’s rehearsal-cumrecording

studio.

The scheme has given rise to a buoyant artistic community

within Ad Hoc properties across the UK and Europe, creating a

world of new ideas within re-imagined spaces. To this end, Bido

Lito! have collaborated with Ad Hoc to set up AD HOC CREATIVE,

which celebrates the talents of some of these guardians across

the country via a series of profile features on adhoccreative.

co.uk. And on 28th May we are delighted to announce that

we’ll be hosting the first of our Ad Hoc Creative Expos, bringing

to life an exciting and unique artistic collaboration in one of

the more interesting properties involved in Ad Hoc’s guardian

scheme. The beautiful Mansion House in Calderstones Park

will be the setting for this first Ad Hoc Creative Expo, hosting a

remarkable multimedia collaboration between the crown jewel

of Merseyside music, BILL RYDER-JONES, and London-based

artist and screenprinter MARCO LAWRENCE. The main focus of

the event will be an interactive musical and visual piece created

jointly by Ryder-Jones and Lawrence, which will be presented

in the form of an immersive installation in one of the Mansion

House’s gallery spaces. Since 2012, the collection of Grade II

listed buildings that surround the neo-classical Mansion House

have been home to The Reader Organisation, an award-winning

charitable social enterprise working to connect people with

great literature through shared reading. They have developed

their Centre for Reading and Wellbeing into an internationally

renowned initiative dedicated to sharing the joys of reading in

the community. By way of connecting these two great schemes,

we have tasked Bill and Marco to take the inspiration for their

collaboration from a piece of literature selected from one of The

Reader Organisation’s core anthologies.

Ryder-Jones, who first came to fame as guitarist with The Coral

and has since gone on to great acclaim as a solo artist, composer

and producer, will be composing a unique piece of music especially

for this event, and his enthusiasm for the project is clear. “The

world I’m in is fantastic and I love my job, but it can get stale if

you don’t change things up every now and then. I’ve been jumping

between producing, playing shows and working on the next album

for over a year now, so I’ve been hoping something like this would

turn up. The chance to revisit a different way of writing – and also to

indulge a side of myself – was too good to pass up.”

Marco Lawrence, who heads up London’s Print Club studio

and whose personal style includes colourful geometric prints, is

also excited to experiment with this collaboration. “I’m always

interested in incorporating rhythm and narrative in some way

into my work, so I’ll be seeking to expand on these themes. And

I’m interested in what this new platform allows me to achieve.

Equally, I’m excited to be making work with Bill Ryder-Jones. His

work is beautiful, thought-provoking and even eerie sometimes.

It’ll be tough to match and marry visuals to his audio, but I’m

looking forward to it.” When asked for a hint of what we might

expect, Lawrence is cagey: “Well I can’t reveal too many secrets,

and it’s still early in the project, but I reckon we can be sure of a

rich mass of geometric, flexing, sliding-pattern work.”

Lawrence has been an Ad Hoc Property Guardian for over five

years, and is currently guardian of an ex-council flat near Old

Street in London. “I’ve come to value the freedom to make the

buildings I’ve occupied homes in a way you just can’t do as a

traditional tenant,” he tells me of the scheme. Having lived in four

houses since being a guardian, Lawrence describes the role as

“unlike that of owner or tenant. You have a responsibility for the

building you occupy that gives a sense of belonging. Often the

buildings are condemned, so just how you decorate or modify

your living space is entirely up to you. This combines to give a

homely feeling in some quite surprising places.”

For a creative person the reduced costs of Ad Hoc properties can

provide a degree of freedom, as can the unique spaces available.

Many guardians use the properties as studios as well as dwellings.

The questions of how much financial realities can stand in the

way of an artist being able to create is an interesting one. “I think

it’s a sad reality that we don’t respect or reward creative output

as we should,” says Lawrence on the subject. “The benefits of a

vibrant artistic culture are too intangible to be deemed worthy

of the same monetary investment as other sectors or industries.

This means that to make a living as a creative you have be very

good and very lucky. Most artists support themselves with jobs

unrelated to their creative work and sacrifice time and energy

in doing so. Reducing financial burdens like rent hopefully

makes things a little easier and allows more talented people to

concentrate a little more time on their creative endeavours.”

Balancing artistic endeavour with provision for living is an

ages-old dilemma, to which Ryder-Jones adds his own perspective

from within the music industry: “I often tell people who ask that

it’s best not to view it as a career, you’ve got to need to do it

because there’s few people who get the chance to make it work

as a living. On the other hand, I think it’s a real shame that art isn’t

given more importance in this country. The benefits of expression

can’t be understated, and I think if it was respected more then

there would be more money in it for honest musicians.”

There must be hundreds of buildings standing empty in

Liverpool, creaking monuments to their own glory days of

usefulness; and we know for a fact that this is a city teeming with

makers, doers and creators. The breadth of creativity incubated by

a scheme such as Ad Hoc’s is testament not just to the amount of

talent in this country, but to what can be achieved when working

towards the same goals.

The first Ad Hoc Creative Expo, featuring exclusive work by Bill

Ryder-Jones and Marco Lawrence, takes place on 28th May at the

Mansion House, Calderstones Park. The event is free to attend, and

register now via bidolito.co.uk

adhoccreative.co.uk

bidolito.co.uk


26

Bido Lito! May 2015

May IN BRIEF

GOLDEN TEACHER

Mega-hyped Glaswegian six-piece GOLDEN TEACHER are a band currently on the lips of every music journalist in the land, and they make their Liverpool

debut here having already performed with a host of lofty acts such as LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. Their mix of disco, world and techno beats has

been captivating rooms across the country and now fans in the city have a chance to hear it in person. They will also be joined by GALAXIANS, who have

recently shared stages with Tom Tom Club and Zombie Zombie, and GAME_PROGRAM, the brand new solo project of Hookworms’ Jon Nash.

The Kazimier / 21st May

Edited by Alastair Dunn

MOBB DEEP

Regarded by many to be one of the best and most influential acts in hip hop, MOBB DEEP roll out their classic 1995 album The Infamous for a 20th

anniversary tour. The record re-defined East coast rap with its dark, macabre qualities and established its two core members – Havoc and Prodigy – as

mainstays of the hip hop community. As is often the case when two huge personalities collide, the group dissolved due to inter-party feuds: thankfully,

these disputes were put aside to record their latest effort, The Infamous Mobb Deep, and to embark on a hugely anticipated run of shows.

O2 Academy / 8th May

JUAN MARTIN

A real treat for those of the six-stringed persuasion as this flamenco guitar legend graces the intimate Capstone Theatre for what should be a memorable

evening. Voted as one of the top three guitar players on Earth by Guitar Magazine, JUAN MARTIN provided the music for Picasso's 90th birthday (an audience

as impressive as they come), and he has also performed on stage with Miles Davis. Having written several instructional books, he is also an authoritative

voice on the subject of classical guitar music, and for anyone interested in this style the event is an absolute must-see.

The Capstone Theatre / 9th May

LIGHTNIGHT

A mind-boggling array of events take place across the city on 15th May as part of this year's annual LIGHTNIGHT, as we are implored to “do something

brilliant on a Friday night”. With over fifty locations open until late, it will be impossible to take it all in so it's best to witness a varied cross-section of

what's on offer: from the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 175th Birthday performance (6.30pm), to family-friendly printing workshops at Constellations

(beginning at 4pm), to a host of art, performance and light installations from 5.30pm at the Anglican Cathedral, the city comes alive with action. A more

in-depth set of listings can be found at lightnightliverpool.co.uk.

WRITING ON THE WALL FESTIVAL

Another annual city-wide festival that brings an exciting programme of events to venues across the city is WRITING ON THE WALL, which focuses on

spoken word, film, theatre and discussion. The festival runs from May through to July, and this year its theme will be Liverpool's cultural connections with

the USA and in particular New York City. On 14th May TRACEY THORN will host an evening in Leaf to discuss her new book, which explores the art and power

of singing. On 24th May best-selling author JON RONSON gives a talk at the Central Library about his latest work, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, and

the nature of social media. writingonthewall.org.uk

FOXYGEN

After their sophomore album We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic (2013) gained them near universal acclaim and a large following,

the follow-up from the Californian duo, ...And Star Power, looks to be more ambitious and expansive. Slant magazine described the record as a “dense and

rewarding listen”, meaning live interpretations should be interesting. With their new look and sound FOXYGEN recently took the Late Show With David

Letterman by storm, prompting high praise from the host himself, who probably sees more contemporary bands than most critics can claim to.

The Kazimier / 7th May

VIPERS IN THE PALM HOUSE

This annual showcase between Mellowtone and storied Liverpool institution The Viper Label sees four live acts – TOMMY SCOTT (Space), EDGAR JONES

(pictured), EMILY PORTMAN, and CHRIS ELLIOTT – perform in the idyllic surroundings of the Palm House in Sefton Park. Local legend Edgar Jones stands

out on the bill, especially with rumours abounding about more new material, but the soft folk sounds of Portman, whose new single Coracle was

recently debuted on BBC Radio 2, should also not to be missed. The Beaten Tracks DJs will be on hand to round off the evening in fine fashion.

The Palm House / 14th May

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Bido Lito! May Lito! May 2015 2015 27

FREEZE 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Iconic club night FREEZE is celebrating its tenth birthday in style, with several shows throughout May and June at the Bombed Out Church

coming hot on the heels of stunning events at The Asylum in Newsham Park. The first of these (3rd May) sees influential electronic musician

BONOBO (pictured) take to the stage in this famous Liverpool landmark, and he is followed by a Young Turks showcase night on 23rd May

(headed up by JAMIE XX), and CRAZY P on 24th May. The bill-topping performance from TODD TERJE on 13th June tops off an amazing run of dates.

St. Luke’s Bombed Out Church / Various Dates

CALEXICO

The almost twenty-year career of CALEXICO has been one marked by frequent experimentations in sound and genre, as well as the incorporation of a vast

array of instrumentation and personnel. It is unsurprising, then, that their latest LP Edge Of The Sun has such a long list of esteemed collaborators. This list

includes Ben Bridwell (Band Of Horses), Nick Urata (Devotchka) and Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), to name just three. An all-star cast for what looks to be an

exciting record and an enthralling live show.

Philharmonic Hall / 1st May

BIRTHDAY BREWS ON BOLD STREET

BOLD STREET COFFEE, aficionados of all things bean related, are celebrating their fifth birthday with a day of bacon, beer, coffee, music, avocado and DJs on 9th May.

A selection of regulars and friends - including Serious Sam Barrett, Bill Ryder-Jones, Stan Ambrose and Carl Combover - are lined up to play live and DJ sets throughout

the day and night, and the Bido Lito! DJs are honoured to have been asked to be one of the turns. We’re chuffed to be involved, not just because BSC is one of our

favourite places, but also because it also marks our own fifth birthday (ish)! On top of that 50% of the takings will be donated to the Marie Curie Cancer Charity.

Bold Street Coffee / 9th May

REN HARVIEU

Whilst recording her debut album Through The Night in 2012, REN HARVIEU was involved in a freak accident which resulted in a broken back and several

months in hospital. During this time the LP was released by Island Records, debuting at No.5 in the UK charts. She was then nominated for the BBC Sound

of 2012 competition, but has since withdrawn somewhat from the limelight. Currently working on her second album, this performance at Leaf offers fans

to see Harvieu in the midst of a creative period, and may be one of the last chances to see her in an intimate setting.

Leaf / 10th May

DIRTY FENCES

Scuzzy, New York rock 'n' rollers DIRTY FENCES bring their raucous live show to the modest and perfectly-suited venue of Maguire's. Their new self-titled

LP is a continuation of the fast-paced, fun-loving output they are known for, and it makes for a joyous listening experience. With a cult following in the US

the band are looking to extend their popularity across the Atlantic, and the intimate DIY environs of Maguire's should be the perfect place to take them

in for the first time.

Maguire's Pizza Bar / 1st May

INPRINT EXHIBITION CALL OUT

The Manchester/Liverpool-based INPRINT collective are bringing their latest INPRINT Festival to Camp and Furnace on 31st May, which is expanding this

year to feature a set of discussions and DJ sets around the usual bustling print fair. There will also be a chance to get your hands inky with a series of

screen-printing workshops. For the event’s showpiece Post + Print open exhibition, the team are taking submissions from local artists and designers who

are encouraged to put their flair in to designing an A6 postcard of their ideal place (real or imaginary), to show that the art of the postcard is not a dying

one. Submissions should be sent to inprintliverpool@gmail.com by 25th May, and all submissions will be printed and put on display during the event.

COUSIN JAC ALBUM LAUNCH

After the disappointment of last year's postponed album release, COUSIN JAC return to the historical Scandinavian Church to finally get round to

giving the LP Believe Me To Remain the launch it deserves. Jez Wing leads the ten-piece band for a performance of the record in its entirety, and

with such a perfect venue and BYOB in place there should be a brilliant atmosphere for this one. Given the delayed release date the band will be

raring to go, so expect a carnival atmosphere of much folkie boot-stomping and such.

Scandinavian Church / 1st May

WIRRAL FESTIVAL OF FIRSTS

The WIRRAL FESTIVAL OF FIRSTS was established in Hoylake in 2011, and aims to offer the community access to some of the best local art, poetry and music at

its various events. Running from 27th June until 12th July, this year experimental jazz band POLAR BEAR (pictured) will be performing alongside a host of other

talent. Also, for the second year running the festival's organisers are offering a £250 cash prize to the winner of their songwriting competition. The winning song

will be the one judged to be the best new and original piece. To enter, send a selection of your own music to festivaloffirsts@gmail.com. Full details can be

found at festivaloffirsts.com.

bidolito.co.uk


28

Bido Lito! May 2015

Reviews

Nightmares On Wax (Glyn Akroyd)

NIGHTMARES ON WAX

Hotplate and Madnice @ 24 Kitchen Street

Mention a garden party to the discerning

party-goer and manicured lawns and cucumber

sandwiches are not what spring to mind;

their eyes invariably light up in anticipation

of a heady and exotic mix of beats and brews.

Under a Garden Get Together banner, Hotplate

and Madnice have teamed up with Croatian

festival The Garden to put together a pretty

stellar line-up tonight in support of headliners

NIGHTMARES ON WAX, housed in the intimate

confines of 24 Kitchen Street, a venue which has

quickly established itself as a must-play on the

city’s thriving DJ circuit.

The headliners are represented tonight by

founder DJ Ease. Having been around since 1991

their live performances have varied in style over

the years, from solo DJ sets to performances

with a live band (minus a drummer, that is, as

Ease insists on maintaining a solid link to his

technological roots, stating that “the sound of

the beats is what makes Nightmares”).

He takes to the decks to great acclaim and

pronounces that “for the next two hours I’m

going to play music from my heart”. He launches

straight into a dub-heavy version of Bob

Marley’s Is This Love, provoking a great crowd

singalong, before launching into the Beatles’

Come Together, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser

around these parts. We roll through some

Jamaican dancehall, MC Kwasi skanking around

behind the decks, relishing every moment,

urging the crowd to greater heights, and into

another, very different, version of Inner City

Blues, prompting thoughts about the enduring

legacy of great music (and the incongruity of

the social consciousness of the 70s forming the

backdrop to today’s party tunes). Will tonight’s

sampled, cut and paste versions be around in

another forty years’ time?

Ease is a livewire performer, alternately

dancing and punching the air, or bent intently

over the decks, twisting, flicking, sliding the

controls – adding echo and reverb and all manner

of technical sleights of hand which subtly affect

the mood of a track. The back projections add

visual touches of social commentary in-between

some marvellous animation. The Magic

Roundabout footage is a highlight: Florence,

Zebedee, et al kaleidoscopically loom towards

us before sliding elusively off screen.

Throughout the set I catch snippets of lyrics,

melodies, and riffs that I know but whose

identity remains momentarily elusive (I know,

I know, get Shazam!). Ease slips Grace Jones,

James Brown, some heavy Clintonesque funk

and N.O.W. originals such as African Pirates into

the mix.

In the depths of my sobriety at 3.30am I do

find myself wondering why N.O.W. come on so

late and whether they should perhaps shave

thirty minutes off the set, but there’s not a

single other person in a pulsating Kitchen Street

who would agree with me.

Glyn Akroyd

THE DUNE RATS

The Orielles – Native Kings

Bam!Bam!Bam! @ The Shipping Forecast

The Maroon 5-meets-Royal Blood stylings of

NATIVE KINGS is met with a positive reception

by tonight’s crowd. It is clear that the half-full

Hold is packed with Easter revellers determined

to make the most of the longest weekend of

the year. Dave Knowles’ fat basslines are only

moderated slightly by singer Cameron Warren’s

sickly slick vocals, and the LIPA group’s riffs are

right on the money.

Sound problems during the first couple of

songs fail to dull the buzz which can be felt as

THE ORIELLES launch into their set. It’s unclear

whether frontwoman Esme-Dee Hand-Halford’s

ice cold presence is due to nerves or ambivalence

but either way it is more than made up for by

guitarist Henry Wade’s boundless energy. The

surf rockers capitalise on the excitement in

the room and look destined for a bright future.

Their set is finished with Wade wandering into

the crowd, almost initiating a circle pit as he

bounces off punters, all the while not missing

a stroke.

There is a clearly a requited love between THE

DUNE RATS and this rather sizeable chunk of

Liverpool’s gig-going fraternity. The Brisbanites

inform us that their first UK tour was christened

at Sound City in 2014 and they seem determined

to show their gratitude. Rock ‘n’ roll has long

been aligned with a degradation of brain

cells and these stoner punks will not do a lot

to counter this claim. But how much of this is

affectation is as unclear as it is irrelevant. Singer

Danny Deusa gurns his way through a breakneck

set of high-grade garage rock anthems with the

crowd’s chants of “Dunies, Dunies” punctuating

the songs.

The charm of The Dune Rats is best

exemplified in new album opener Dalai Lama,

bidolito.co.uk


DREAMING OF KATE

THU 17TH APR

VILLAGERS

SUN 19TH APR

WAITING FOR GATEAUX

22ND APR-2ND MAY

KATHERINE RYAN

THU 8TH MAY

EDDI READER

SUN 10TH MAY

SHANKLY’S DREAM CAME TRUE

FRI 15TH MAY

LAU

SAT 16TH MAY

MERSEY BEATLES

SAT 23RD MAY

THE TOMMY COOPER SHOW

SAT 20TH 2OTH JUN

MARTINI LOUNGE

SAT 27TH JUN

PATRICK KEILTY

FRI 9TH OCT

CARA DILLON

THU 21ST 26TH MAY NOV

08448884411

85 Hanover Street L1 3DZ

WWW.EPSTEINLIVERPOOL.CO.UK

@EpsteinTheatre

facebook.com/EpsteinTheatre


the two-short-planks chorus of “Dalai Lama,

big banana, marijuana” is not only excused but

elevated to the ranks of genius by the irresistible

melody, built-up structure and fearless stupidity.

The band are joined on stage by their on-tour

documentarian, who alternately hangs from the

rafters, moshes with the crowd, and wrestles

with band members as he captures everything

on a DIY GoPro and torch contraption. It all adds

to the feel that these are just a group of mates

who can’t believe their luck at getting out of the

garage and travelling the world. However, this

set seems to suggest that they deserve their

success.

Other set highlights include single Red Light

Green Light (the video for which features the

singer and bassist chain-smoking bongs – you

start to get an idea of the band’s raison d’être)

and a cover of the Violent Femmes classic Blister

In The Sun. Every song is gratefully received by

a boisterous crowd, many of which do their best

to crowd surf in the low-ceilinged confines of

the Shipping Forecast basement.

The Dunies’ frontman expresses his derision

at the artifice of encores and explains well in

advance at which point the band will leave the

stage. They are true to their word: this is a band

who are not trying to fool anybody.

Sam Turner / @samturner1984

SAMUEL KERRIDGE

DROHNE x Veed – Bodies On Everest

– Tomasu – Blenky – JC

Deep Hedonia @ 24 Kitchen Street

Is there any better way to kick-start the

Easter bank holiday weekend’s debauchery

than the full frontal assault hosted by AV

maestros Deep Hedonia? Knowing the night

can only get harder, starting proceedings with

JC is a savvy move. His Lynchian industrial

clicks, clangs and drones build and collapse;

the swelling soundscapes meander along,

coming to a head as BODIES ON EVEREST slink

on stage and bring the noise. Now the night

begins in earnest. Strobing lights cast the band

in silhouette as they prowl the floor, slowly

dismantling the drum kit. What would normally

appear painfully artsy actually complements

the delightfully abrasive sludge gushing out of

the speakers, providing the perfect set up for

big lad SAMUEL KERRIDGE.

Taking the place of rigid 4/4 beats in Kerridge’s

live set is a tightly focused percussion, built

methodically in real time, yet it is not necessarily

rhythmic. In actuality it feels more like a natural

fit to a krautrock set than a DJ set, given that

this is the role krautrock played in heavily

influencing the genre’s forebears in early-80s

Detroit. Taking his noise and metal influences

and running with them, velocity and intensity

ebbs and flows throughout Kerridge’s set. Yet

as soon as he seems to be bringing things to a

logical close, he wrong-foots you and takes the

music in another, equally interesting direction.

Nonetheless, he manages to capture the pure

ecstasy and sheer joy you only feel when nails

techno tracks really kick in.

A point of contention with the crowd tonight

is the sequencing of artists, as good as DROHNE

x VEED and TOMASU are, splicing them between

Kerridge and closing act BLENKY is somewhat

nonsensical. This stems from the fact that while

DROHNE, Veed and Tomasu all undoubtedly exist

on the techno continuum, they all heed more

to the minimalistic/dub end of things (yet still

keeping things suitably dark), while Cold Blooded

resident Blenky favours the same nails and noise

side of which Kerridge is a leading purveyor.

Channelling the likes of SHXCXCHCXSH, both

DROHNE x Veed and Tomasu provide a needed

breather between Kerridge and Blenky. With airraid

sirens and Red Place, it’s clear the glorious

mayhem Blenky provides underlines the night

and kick-starts yet another weekend of Bank

Holiday revelry with one of the smoothest sets

he’s played in Liverpool (well, smooth is the

wrong word when it comes to nails-down-theboard

techno, but you get the picture). Well done

Deep Hedonia, the question needn’t have been

asked.

Laurie Cheeseman / @lauriecheeseman

DEMOB HAPPY

Purple

Arts Club

The Texan three-piece PURPLE have

been taking audiences by storm with their

unrelenting, breathless take on rock 'n' roll and,

though the audience tonight may be lacking in

size, the band are met with much enthusiasm.

Hanna Brewer sits behind the kit and is a

furious sphere of energy throughout. Her vocal

delivery is like a rasping, demon-version of the

B-52s’ Cindy Wilson after a rough night, adding

a more interesting edge to what are at times

fairly conventional rock songs. Single Thirteen

is a short, raucous burst which encapsulates

Purple fairly well: a combination of discordant,

off-rhythm guitar and possessed drumming

that threatens to fall apart at any moment but

somehow doesn't. For those looking to satisfy a

cerebral urge for avant-garde pop music, Purple

are not the band to see. But for those looking to

have a fucking great house party, well, speak to

their booking agent.

Given the small amount of recorded music

that main band DEMOB HAPPY have available,

either online or physically, it is perhaps surprising

that they have embarked on a headline UK tour

already. Indeed, it appears that they are touring

on the back of a single, the newly released

Succubus, and, though the crowd at the Arts Club

has grown slightly as they walk on stage, wordof-mouth

has clearly not been as effective as

hoped for. However, after the manic intensity of

the support, there is a definite hunger amongst


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32

Bido Lito! May 2015

Reviews

Maybe it’s the strong meds (mine,

not theirs), but Mr and Mrs Sparks seem

extremely, hmmm, ‘sparky’ tonight. Although

it’s apparent that part of the ‘bickering couple

act’ – honed over 20 years of collaboration

– is just that, when, late on in the set, Brett

removes his Telecaster and threatens to walk

off, there is a slight ‘will he, won’t he?’ feel.

In-between, we are treated to the engrossing

spectacle of an intimate performance from

a couple (plus very good albeit uncredited

drummer) whose lyrics (Rennie) find beauty

and meaning in the everyday – frogs, owls,

onion rings, etc. – and take a theme and run

with it. They move from folk-blues melodies

to darker, reverb-laced numbers and back,

Rennie’s acoustic bass and autoharp

anchoring Brett’s wandering riffs.

Songs such as So Much Wine – a “true

story” of an alcohol-fuelled row – demonstrate

how perfectly their vocals (and personalities)

complement each other. A couple of songs

later, Brett has a short rant about downloaders

(“Here you go, motherfuckers – just take it all”)

in reference to their new album, highlighting

many artists’ frustration with this phenomenon.

His interjections are angrier than hers – she is

sometimes placatory, talking him down, and

also funnier – at one stage asking him, “Did you

those present for much of the same and that is

pretty much what they get.

Demob's songs are cleverly constructed,

fragmentary webs thinly disguised by abrasive

guitar tones and a penchant for heavy choruses.

Clearly influenced by 90s grunge and hardcore

punk, their use of dynamics is surprising and

interesting. Young And Numb is dissonantly

anthemic at times and perhaps the most

obviously Nirvana-inspired of the tracks on

display tonight, whilst also bearing some

resemblance to more contemporary influences

such as Ty Segall.

Comparisons aside they are an impressive

and entertaining live act and, despite some

issues with the sound in the venue (meaning

the bass is almost completely lost for two

songs), it has been a memorable performance.

The performance certainly whets the appetite

for something bigger from them in the future.

Whether that be an album or just some more

tracks up online remains to be seen. If this

current crop of songs is anything to go by, we

may be in for a treat.

Alastair Dunn

macabre and magnificent gothic Americana.

Before their set, the somewhat vaudevillian

DANIEL KNOX opens, accompanying himself

on piano, melodica and kazoo, with a number

of songs looking back on what seems a rather

unsettled childhood; they include By The

Venture, David Carmichael and what sounds like

an unsavoury sexual fantasy about a female

Demob Happy (Antonio Franco / antoniofranco.net)

teacher. His introductions seem longer and

more informative than the songs themselves,

which may be one reason why the crowd hold

back from full engagement, earning a “Will you

all shut the fuck up!” admonishment. Perhaps

he needs a good psychoanalyst to help him

work through his issues, rather than doing so in

front of an audience.

have that beard yesterday?”, then turning to the

audience and remarking: “We so rarely look at

each other – I could hardly pick him out of a

line-up”. Actually, if all the men in the room had

been asked to form a line-up, she might truly

have had a problem – I’ve never seen so many

beards in one place.

Weightless Again epitomises Rennie’s lyricwriting

approach: take the everyday (stopping

THE HANDSOME FAMILY

Daniel Knox

Harvest Sun @ Leaf

Now reaching a wider audience thanks to

the success of the excellent Far From Any Road

(theme tune to True Detective), THE HANDSOME

FAMILY hit Leaf tonight with their blend of

The Handsome Family (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

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for coffee in the redwood forest), add some

history (“Those poor lost Indians/When the white

man found them/Most died of TB/The rest went

insane”), and pull the strands together in the

modern-day with a suicide theme (“This is why

people OD on pills/And jump from the Golden

Gate Bridge/Anything to feel weightless again”).

At the encore, Rennie states, “My husband’s

gonna fight you all – bare-knuckle”. This threat

never materialises, and we are left to drift out

into the night, haunted by the gothic melodrama

in songs and words that we have witnessed.

THE MOUSE OUTFIT

Abdominal and The Obliques

Bam!Bam!Bam! @ The Kazimier

Debra Williams

It might not have received the fanfare of other

rap shows in the recent past, but this gig is very

important. Not only does it stand outside the

relative security of Liverpool's Tuesday hip hop

club, but THE MOUSE OUTFIT are an authentic

yardstick for the city's new-found prominence

within the genre. We can draw big numbers

for big names, but it's when we recognise and

champion the emerging talent that the city can

call itself a genuine hip hop hotbed.

The Manchester collective are an up-andcoming

local(ish) talent on the cusp of releasing

their second album, and they're backed by a

veteran of one of the UK's most seminal hip

hop albums, even if he is from Canada. MC

ABDOMINAL played a central role on DJ Format’s

Music For The Mature B-Boy, but looks more

like a farm boy tonight, perching on what could

easily be a milking stool in a cloth cap and

waders.

One song may feature the line “I love you hip

hop, but we need some time apart”, but a more

accurate analogy would have been: “I love you

hip hop so let's bring in some other people to

spice up this relationship”. Backing band THE

OBLIQUES serve this purpose perfectly, stripping

the rhymes back to their common denominator

of blues and jazz, while adding a sprinkling

of bluegrass upon which Abdominal's words

dance with dexterity. The slide guitar of Broken

thrillingly recalls the Breaking Bad theme, and

the band fit smoothly behind the DJ Format

medley, which is bellowed back with gusto by

80% of the audience.

A simple glance at the album titles will

show you the trajectory of The Mouse Outfit.

Graduating from Escape Music, latest effort

Step Steadier proves their ability to do just that,

flourishing outside of the pigeonhole of the

latest project of their most famous member, Dr.

Syntax. The good doctor is elsewhere tonight,

and the job of band leader passes to the

absurdly talented Sparkz, aided and abetted

by Truthos Mufasa, equally comfortable either

singing the dulcet hook of Sit Back or trading

bars on the raga-tinged Power. The ragga is

supplied by Fox, laying some lively patois on

the rumbling funk of the title track, and the

rollocking ska of debut hit Who Gwan Test.

With the set list adapted according to the MCs

present, the more abrasive elements of their back

catalogue come to the fore. Shak Out's menacing

double bass thickens the Kazimier air quicker

than the over-enthusiastic smoke machine, and

the always popular stoner anthem Blaze It Up

gets the heads nodding through the haze.

This is a performance to prove the persistent

Wu-Tang comparisons are more than journalistic

hyperbole; this is a cabal of talented MCs in their

own right, combining their energies to form an

even stronger entity. Having seen both, I would

even venture The Mouse Outfit as the more

impressive live act. Instead of being reliant

on a polymath producer like Rza, they revolve

around a seven-piece funk band, resulting in not

only a wider palette, but a spontaneous energy

beyond their New York counterparts. Every time

I watch this band they get better. No-one says

that about Wu-Tang.

Maurice Stewart /

theviewfromthebooth.tumblr.com

KALEIDOSCOPE

The Wicked Whispers

Harvest Sun @ Leaf

This particular evening at Leaf feels like a true

cult affair, for psych pioneers KALEIDOSCOPE

didn’t gain their sort of status through the usual

kind of mass-exposed “forgotten bands of the

60s you really need to hear” type clickbaitery,

but remain, rather, a gem still mostly buried in

the slag-heap of the decade’s cast-offs.

Before the main event, however, THE WICKED

WHISPERS open backed by appropriately

kaleidoscopic visuals, and seem apparently to

have brought a fanbase of their own in the form

of a gaggle of screaming devotees who lap up

every tune like they’ve just announced Zayn Malik

to join them on keytar. The band themselves are

fantastic performers, if slightly in the shadow

of their home city. Amanda Lavender feels like

a Coral B-side while frontman Michael Murphy

finds more than a touch of Gerry Marsden in

his vocal. To find sound-alikes in the city’s true

greats is no bad thing, however, and there’s

more than enough psych-pop brilliance here for

the set to be hugely enjoyable – particularly in

Steven Penn’s Nuggets-worthy organ.

There are two major problems with The

Wicked Whispers’ set, however, foremost the

fact that Murphy’s guitar isn’t actually switched

on. Though he poses and postures as fingers

appear to flick out flashes of incendiary rhythm

guitar, we just can’t actually hear anything, and

that the band themselves don’t actually notice

is both unfortunate and, if we’re being cruel,

hilariously farcical. As for the other problem,

we’ll get to that in a bit.

As the hour of their long-awaited set draws


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36

Bido Lito! May 2015

Reviews

nigh, those in attendance for the headliners –

and the gig is by no means a sell-out – seem

to be saying the same kind of things: “I can’t

believe I’m seeing this live”, “I never thought

this day would come” and other such rabid

expulsions of fawning adoration to befit a

music-smitten fanboy a third of most of their

ages. Although of course it’s a great shame that

Kaleidoscope never hit the heights of Floyd and

co there’s a silver lining of sorts in that they

can still get away with a low-key gig of such

intimacy.

Low-key is certainly the word – take for

example the visual accompaniment to the set:

quite literally a laptop slideshow of Google

images of the band in their prime. There’s

also the fact that there’s only one member

of the original band onstage, alongside four

far younger musicians: original leader Peter

Daltrey, garbed in a dapper velvet blazer and

cravat, to place him somewhere between

the best Doctor Who never cast and an acid

casualty Fagin.

All that pales into significance after an

opening rendition of Aries, however, Daltrey’s

voice still as woozily beautiful as ever, and as

he and his band – excellent musicians, it must

be said – drift through the legends’ stellar

catalogue with aplomb, the uncompromising

psychedelia of Snapdragon, Music and other

such outings holding their own alongside a

simply epic Sky Children.

With tributes paid to the late Cynthia Lennon

and Daltrey’s evident love for Liverpool quite

clearly reciprocated, it’s a truly heartening night;

save, that is, for that aforementioned second

problem: that the support’s small group of

fans decide to chat loudly and inanely for the

entirety of Kaleidoscope’s set. Though it’s clearly

no fault of The Wicked Whispers, it’s infuriating,

and frankly completely disrespectful that, were

it not for the headliners’ magisterial brilliance,

a transcendent night of psychedelia at its most

phenomenal may have been blunted.

GHOSTPOET

Palaces – James Canty

EVOL @ The Kazimier

Paddy Clarke

This evening The Kazimier seems very excited.

Doors having just opened, there are plenty of

people in the venue’s main space sipping beer

and talking in hushed whispers. Something

exciting is about to happen.

The first artist of the evening is JAMES CANTY,

whose guitar-driven solo musings provide foot

tapping and head nodding across the board.

The audience are appreciative and as the venue

fills up the set comes to a close. After Canty, we

have PALACES, who fill the room with reverbheavy

music that inflates the crowd like air in

balloons. They glide slickly through a set full

of lovely moments and brilliant ambiances,

and set the tone wonderfully for an evening

of musical delights. Palaces are a band with an

exciting future.

After a short break there is darkness… voices

Ghostpoet (Jack Thompson / m0nks.co.uk)

howl and scream as a figure appears on stage.

The figure is Obaro Ejimiwe aka GHOSTPOET, the

man of the moment. What is initially striking

about Ejimiwe is his stature: he is a big man

and he commands the stage with a melodic

brutality that is very exciting to watch. Without

a moment for breath, Ghostpoet storms through

the first couple of tracks from his new album

Shedding Skin. At first his vocals are lost under

a soundscape of guitar keyboards and bass but

luckily this is quickly fixed and his soft, croaky,

southern refrains become perfectly audible.

Ghostpoet has previously mentioned

an uncomfortable relationship with live

performance but as he gets into the swing of his

set this concept is hard to believe. Songs such

as Off Peak Dreams and X Marks The Spot show

why this is an artist on everybody’s musical radar.

His music brings a poetic sweetness to the gritty

painstaking routines of paying bills and going

to work. The performance has moments of real

intimacy with slow, musing tracks such as Be

Right Back Moving House which grab the heart

strings without resorting to crass clichés. It is

clear to see the transformation that Ghostpoet

has taken after his Mercury Award nomination a

few years ago. There is a swaggering confidence

about the man that slowly leaks into the wideeyed,

energised Liverpool audience. As the

evening progresses, tracks glide seamlessly into

each other as Ghostpoet leads his musicians

like a hip hop conductor. However, what is

most striking about the performance is that this

rapper is humble. Like some men who resemble

their dogs, Ejimiwe is an artist who takes after

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38

Bido Lito! May 2015

Reviews

Akala (James Tweedle / @jamestweedale)

his music: understated, very cool and evocative.

As he jumps into the crowd and walks towards

the bar, he almost says, “I am not a rock star, I

am one of you lot.” Bravo.

Pad Hughes

THRESHOLD FESTIVAL V

It’s Friday night, the first night of THRESHOLD

FESTIVAL V, and the air of anticipation is palpable.

The Baltic Quarter’s Unit 51 is packed from front

to back as the inaugural speeches take place.

Before long the pomp and ceremony gives way

to the start of the weekend’s festivities.

First off it’s over to the Liverpool Craft Beer

Space to catch CHEMISTRY LANE in their relatively

early set. After an awkward, fumbling start they

march into the show, laying waste to any doubts

that remain in the crowd. Their single Tearing

Wings Off A Butterfly provides a highlight of the

set. This band clearly understand the craft of

songwriting and, judging by this performance,

are poised for something big.

Over at District, JAZZHANDS are exploding

in their usual style: cacophonous drums with

sprinkles of chaos layered on by the keyboard,

saxophone and bass guitar; all played with

virtuosic skill. This troupe is a powerful sight

to behold. It would be a crime for musician or

music fan alike to miss the live spectacle of

Jazzhands as, even if the music isn’t to your

specific taste, the sheer energy and raw power

of the show will leave you emotionally scarred

but, somehow, hungry for more.

Friday night’s headliner at The Observatory

is the multi-limbed beast NUBIYAN TWIST. This

show comes just days before the release of their

debut album. They shake the stage with fervour,

paying musical homage to artists as diverse as

Fela Kuti and J Dilla. In the Nubiyan melting pot

there are heavy doses of hip hop, neo-soul, jazz,

afrobeat and dub. This is a strong, progressive

gang that can groove like you’ve never heard

before. Even though it is still the first night, we

appear to have witnessed the pick of the festival.

As day two arrives there is a deep well of

music still to explore. With that in mind, it’s an

early afternoon start with BLUE SAINT. The crowd

gathered at The Observatory may carry some

initial uncertainty around the rapper’s voice and

ethereal and conscious brand of hip hop but, by

the set’s end, they are unified as one body.

Booking a MOBO award winner was a

demonstrable coup for Threshold Festival. Hip

hop poet AKALA has re-established himself as

the sapient voice of social consciousness in

recent years. Having pruned his grime roots, he

now channels hyped and lyrical vexations into

critically concise analysis of race, class and the

establishment.

Beyond his righteous platitudes, Akala still

enjoys a live performance and tracks Absolute

Power and Malcolm Said It show that he knows

how to stimulate the crowd with liberal use of

call-and-response participation. Akala is most

lyrically impressive over faster beats, a trait

shared by big sister Miss Dynamite, and career

albatross Shakespeare indisputably showcases

this talent for rapid-fire spitting.

MONO SIDEBOARDS craft a compelling form

of alternative rock in front of a rapt audience

back at Unit 51. They weave in and out of

innocent pop balladry and heavier, darker

material. The band are a fairly new act to the

scene and, with songs as strong as For Laura, For

The Morning, it’s an exciting prospect to imagine

what the future holds for them.

Closing night two are psychedelic outfit

THE FLOORMEN, who enter us into the space

age with their lateral musical wanderings. It’s

a mesmerising affair comprising wild song

structures and charismatic musicianship.

They make short work of impressing their

audience and proving themselves as worthy

headliners.

The final day of the festival is laced with

promise and SEATTLE YACHT CLUB make certain

it will not disappoint when they start their set

at The Observatory. The duo draw attention

from even the most passive listeners as their

sunshine-laden electronica warms the room.

Theirs is not the most complex or even ambitious

style of music, but the simple innocence of a

well-written pop song such as I Hate Goodbyes

is enough to brighten anyone’s day.

XAM VOLO’s influence can be traced to seminal,

late-90s music collective The Soulquarians; a

dream team assortment of Grammy-scooping,

neo-soul aficionados that boasted D’Angelo and

Erykah Badu amongst its roster.

Bilal would be the appropriate comparison of

this era, as Volo delivers a kindred raw emotion,

evident on Lemme Not Waste My Breath. More

contemporary RnB influences, such as John

Legend and Outkast are crystallised in new

track Breathe Slowly.

The recently assembled backing band are

a surprising juxtaposition to the anticipated,

soulful jazz fusion. A proto-punk approach is

fostered; complete with band introductions and

Blockheads-style saxophone. Xam Volo remains

one to watch.

OPERATION LIGHTFOOT epitomise the spirit of

Threshold Festival. Both are cooperative projects,

focussed on developing emerging grassroots

potential. Driven by omnipresent composer

and arranger Luke Moore, Operation Lightfoot’s

material is a collaborative effort between its

musical director and featured guest performers,

some of whom included Sophia Ben-Yousef,

Vanessa Murray and festival director Kaya Herstad

Carney. This performance takes place in a clamorous

and bustling Lantern Theatre, which is soothed

across the weekend by an eclectic variety show of

lovingly-orchestrated feature performances.

The festival ends where it started, at Unit 51,

with BLACK MOUNTAIN LIGHTS. The alternative

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folk collective play a perfectly ambient set as

the night draws in; the warm vocal tones and

delicate instrumental tapestries create a scene

of serenity and peaceful attentiveness. Tracks

such as Submarine and Two Steps are definite

hits of the set. Black Mountain Lights deliver one

of the defining performances of the weekend.

Threshold Festival continues to prove

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ALRIGHT THE CAPTAIN

Chiyoda Ku – Memory Of Elephants

Yeah Buddy! @ Maguire’s Pizza Bar

Intimacy is something often treasured by gig

attendees. The close-quarters of such shows

generate the greatest sense of inclusion, making

it feel like the hours spent checking every back

catalogue and B-side the band has put out does,

in reality, matter. Unfortunately, even for a venue

like Maguire’s, having a twelve-strong crowd,

including the bands themselves, appears to go

beyond this sort of notion. The operative word

is, thankfully, ‘appears’, as ALRIGHT THE CAPTAIN

show no sign of feigned interest or blunted

passion in a showing which well and truly

qualifies their Facebook bio of “we like making

noise wherever we can”. The qualification

must also stretch to both of tonight’s support

acts. Where Alright The Captain certainly boast

aesthetics which tie them into the general mathrock

environment, their support pertain to both

the post- and jazz-rock descriptors.

MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS bombard the sparse

crowd with rich, frenetic post-rock tunes, forging

soundscapes which are at times as serene as

they can be brutal, against which the clean, more

dance-y sound of CHIYODA KU reflect similar

off-beat sentiments, just spoken in a different

language. No sign of streams of latecomers,

yet neither is there any notion of becoming lost

in the space, as both bands exercise a sense

of energy and presence which works to fill the

room out rather nicely.

Moving a table out from the stage and decking

it with a synth and their trademark glowing skull,

lovingly known as Barbara, Alright The Captain

present their elaboration on the inclusive feeling

of the gig from the off. Guitarist Marty Toner and

bassist Todd Wood hop frenziedly around the

table, fuelled by their meaty, frenetic riffs and

indefatigable time changes. The energy sizzles

around the room, with Barbara’s bright orange

glow the nucleus for the unfolding animation.

Alright The Captain, however, are never less

than one-hundred percent focused. Hooded and

rarely static, Toner’s face is that of a man truly

lost in his work; he lives and breathes every note,

and it translates effectively. Baltirific and Honey

Badger are sure highlights, the latter of which is

willingly initiated by crowd contribution. Toaster

Mouse sees a leaning towards Mogwai territory

as Wood turns his hand to the synth, though it

lacks none of the urgency in either Toner and

Wood’s movements or the music they create.

Drawn tight by the glue of Jamie Cattermole’s

drums, it is a performance which is both furious

in its intent and equally unrelenting in its

delivery.

Indicative of both their skill and work ethic,

the satisfaction of seeing Alright The Captain

at work is barely diminished by the meagre

crowd. Masters in their field, the hectic nature

of most of their live shows may have been

dented somewhat, but the vigour and sense of

scope certainly isn’t. With Barbara as our beacon,

Alright The Captain take us by the hand and

direct us through each and every inspired riff

and drum beat. The fact there were fewer hands

certainly didn’t bother any of those assembled;

on the contrary, the personal tutorage made the

experience that bit more satisfying.

Ben Lynch / @benlynch07

DÉBRUIT

Brewski Beats

Afrocentrism @ Constellations

The entrance to The Observatory at

Constellations, with its Georgian window frames

and traditional, dark green paintwork, may look

like the Old Curiosity Shop but over the threshold

all is the epitome of urban/industrial chic – even

the heating units are throwing great, abstract

shapes. Reclaimed timber and candlelight

combine to provide a solid, minimal vibe. A

solitary Indian wall-hanging hints at the exoticism

of some of the music that The Observatory has

hosted in the resurgent Baltic Quarter of late. Their

calendar is choc-full of slightly leftfield acts, and

tonight’s headliner is no exception.

DÉBRUIT (Xavier Thomas) hails from the west

coast of France and is, along with so many of his

contemporaries, a musician, producer and DJ, a

musical alchemist mixing up a potent blend of

synth funk, hip hop, highlife and the Maghrebian

styles of North Africa.

After support DJs warm the growing crowd

to near Saharan standards, Debruit hits the

decks and the remaining spaces on the floor

are immediately filled. He goes straight into

a pulsing synth-led overture which would

not have been out of place in the early 80s

before a droning oud takes us into more exotic

territory. Some quick thinking and flexibility

by the staff sees the removal of tables and

benches, allowing for greater expression on the

dancefloor, and the extra space is immediately

utilised. Débruit’s website refers to a journey,

to musical exploration, his collaboration with

Alsarah is called Aljawal (The Traveller) and, as

we move from the sounds of the Mahgreb to the

more rapid-fire percussion and highlife guitars


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WIRE Wednesday 29th April

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Lazy Habits Thursday 7th May (Ruby Lounge)

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Sleaford Mods Friday 15th May

Ozric Tentacles Friday 22nd May

Hunter Hayes Friday 22nd May

Bad Manners Saturday 13th June

Jace Everett Friday 26th June

Black Grape Friday 3rd July

Snakecharmer Saturday 4th July

Jimmy Cliff Saturday 25th July

Mordred Thursday 6th August

Sugarhill Gang Saturday 8th August

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Buzzcocks Saturday 10th October

Peter Hook & The Light Friday 30th October

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Dan Baird & Homemade Sin Sunday 31st October

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Aynsley Lister Friday 4th December

New Model Army Saturday 5th December

Big Country Saturday 12th December

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of Ghana and Nigeria, it is apparent that, if last

night’s Nightmares On Wax set down the road

was a journey through musical time zones,

tonight we are travelling through space. From

the Eurocentric opener we have moved directly

south, through mountain and desert, until

we reach Central Africa; a serendipitous aural

tapestry is being woven from the old colonial

trade routes.

This may not be the largest crowd he has

played to but there is a vibrant energy in the

room, reflected by Débruit himself as he moves

ceaselessly behind the decks, rocking to the

beats, tweaking and retouching his sonic palette.

After a quick trip over to Latin America he brings

the set to a rousing, horn-fuelled finale, receiving

rapturous applause.

BREWSKI BEAT take to the decks to take it

home. This slot could be the musical equivalent

of the post-match warm-down, but not a bit of it:

Brewski Beat keep the energy high with a vibrant

mix of pop, electro and dub, the journey continues

and the crowd respond – the dancers keep on

dancing. Perhaps they’ll reach their destination.

COLLECTORS CLUB

High Tyde – Vynce – Whitecliffe

Moonshine @ Arts Club

Glyn Akroyd

Monday night, a Mersey equivalent of

a monsoon outside, and the second-ever

Moonshine night at Arts Club is by no means

threatening to turn vintage. Numbers are low

enough to pass for an average to poor Sunday

League crowd, only more drenched and less

enthusiastic.

So it’s not in the best circumstances that

WHITECLIFFE take to the stage and the LIPAformed

five-piece get off to a shaky start. The

unsure opening must be partly attributed to a

less than flattering sound mix. As the evening

transpires not one of the four acts fail to express

their displeasure with the levels.

Whitecliffe get stronger as the set goes on.

Songs like The Talk see everything fall into

place thanks to some swishing riffs and driving

drums. Lead singer Oliver Nagy certainly has a

way with the microphone stand. Or rather, he

has his way with the microphone stand. It’s not

quite Bond-girl silhouette but it’s not far off,

either. With single Everybody Knows, Oliver pulls

it off, channelling Brandon Flowers with aplomb.

Beware ye of becoming Ricky Martin, though.

Fresh from Threshold Festival, VYNCE put their

best foot forward with opening number Lust, a

catchy rocker laden with “hey”s and backed up

with some cracking harmonies. They struggle for

momentum in the middle of their set though,

as the technical difficulties come home to roost,

and decent songs dwindle flat. Vynce manage to

drag it back with closer Belly Ache, a tune that

calls up the best of Kasabian, with shades of

Come Together.

Headliners COLLECTORS CLUB were making

waves back in 2011. Since then, their peers have

moved on, making this year an important one

then as they look to release their debut EP under

the proven auspices of producer Steve Levine.

The early signs are promising, with new material

roaming delightfully into Graceland territory. But

tonight the indie outfit don't properly hit their

groove until tucking into covers of Girls Just Want

To Have Fun and Everywhere. Definitely a group

to keep your eye on in the coming months.

But it's third act HIGH TYDE who lay down

a marker on the night. At 17 years old, all four

lads fall into the demographic referred to by

Clearasil executives as “the kill zone”. Never

fear, dermatologically the group are good and

musically they’re on the money too. Founded

on the inventive beats of polka-dotted drummer

Louis Semlekan-Faith (shirt, not skin), their tunes

are built for dancing. Their repertoire is packed

with doldrums-dashers such as the irresistible

Milkshake and it's easy to see this lot storming

the festivals in the summer. There’ll come a day

when young High Tyde frontman Cody Thomas-

Matthews won’t get away with quite so many

dedications to “the ladies”, but it’s not this day.

His irrepressible bravado and barrier-hopping

antics are the perfect antidote for any Monday

night blues. On lead single Talk To Frank he sings

“It won’t be long/till you’re singing my song” and,

honestly, you can’t help but believe him.

Jamie Carragher / @carragherjamie

BIPOLAR SUNSHINE

August+Us

EVOL @ The Kazimier

The Kazimier isn’t quite full tonight, but

attendance is healthy. AUGUST+US provide

support and the Manchester trio easily hold the

room’s attention as they provide a slice of sunny

alt pop with a roughened edge that singles them

out as something different in an overly-saturated

market of summer-ready bands.

When BIPOLAR SUNSHINE take the stage,

there is almost a confusion as to whether this

is the same Adio Marchant we’re familiar with as

he bounces onto the stage emanating optimism.

While Love More Worry Less is the sort of

gloomy half-baked social commentary that has

been doing the rounds for years and is hardly

ground-breaking, tonight in front of a live audience

it has a much more heartfelt approach. To counter

this emotion the rendition comes complete with

a throbbing sexual kick drum torn straight from

the pages of The Weeknd’s early work, the then

bench-mark for promiscuous future RnB.

This sets the tone for an evening that is

genre-bending throughout. Those who have

listened to Bipolar Sunshine’s work would be

forgiven for expecting a subdued and slightly

sullen experience but it is quite the opposite.

Opening with Future (Part 1) is a sultry starting

point and the All Night Long dance-fuelled hook


LIVERPOOL’S INTERNATIONAL ARTS VENUE

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Marius Neset

Friday 17th April,

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Gwilym Simcock

Wednesday 22nd

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Vein

Friday 24th April,

7.30pm

£11.50

Max Luthert Sextet

Friday 1st May,

7.30pm

£11.50

Stretch Trio

Friday 8th May,

7.30pm

£11.50

Juan Martín with

Chaparro de Málaga

Saturday 9th May,

7.30pm, £16.50

The Weave

Friday 15th May,

7.30pm

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Ant Law Quintet

Friday 22nd May,

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44

Bido Lito! May 2015

Reviews

Duke Special (Jack Thompson / m0nks.co.uk)

is delivered in a woozy manner that highlights

how versatile Marchant’s vocals can be.

Sonically speaking he may not have the most

impressive voice but the delivery changes on

nearly every track to great effect: the sullen

drawl of Love More Worry Less gives way to the

reserved approach of Deckchairs On The Moon,

which explodes into an array of optimism and

glitter when the monumental chorus kick in.

Marchant’s three-piece live band also deserve

enormous credit for ensuring that the more

deeply layered songs from Bipolar’s Sunshine’s

catalogue are just as detailed when performed

live. And then some.

There are multiple song covers too: Mad

World makes an appearance, but their rendition

of Rihanna, Paul McCartney and Kanye West’s

recent Four Five Seconds is so organic it almost

takes the room a minute or two to realise they

are singing someone else’s song.

Chatter is kept to a minimum throughout

the night except for some very appreciative

“thank you”s. Marchant does however instruct

the crowd to take two steps towards the stage,

presumably to get everyone in attendance on

backing vocals which he calls out for frequently

over the course of the forty-five-minute set.

On record Bipolar Sunshine have a tendency

to lean towards a delicate approach that can be

construed as a little underwhelming but the live

incarnations of these tracks take on a character that

is hugely explosive and absorbing. If this formula

can be bottled and applied to their forthcoming

debut album then Marchant just might make the

breakthrough that Kid British (his previous band)

always promised but never achieved.

Matthew Cooper / @C00pasaurus

DUKE SPECIAL

Arts Club

DUKE SPECIAL is one of those performers who

has been around the music circuit for a long,

long time but still remains an underground

artist. Instead of having an exorbitant fanbase,

he has staunch followers who keep one beady

eye on announcements for new work and

one ear turned towards the radio, hoping for

Freewheel to come out of the speakers.

Eager anticipation fills Arts Club tonight as

people are craning their necks to see through

the wings of the stage. When Duke Special

finally fumbles onto the stage, in standard

Victorian-cum-hipster attire with dreadlocks

falling all over the shop, the opening could be

described as inauspicious. The track – Elephant’s

Graveyard from new album Look Out Machines!

– pays homage to early Placebo, which is an

unexpected diversion and perhaps not an

altogether welcome one.

Thankfully, things get back on track with

No Cover Up, and later Duke takes some

classic requests and does a memory-jogging

performance of Last Night I Nearly Died. It’s

these songs in particular that remind you how

good a live proposition Duke is; you don’t

just get songs regurgitated from his albums,

instead, each one is slightly different from the

recorded version.

The theatrical surroundings perfectly reflect

the interesting listening tonight and the crowd

respond accordingly. Duke always brings

something peculiar to the table and this evening

is no different when he announces he’s going

to perform three covers of songs from surrealist

poet Ivor Cutler. I Am Going In A Field makes for

a welcome whimsical interlude.

A highlight is his stripped-back version of

Freewheel; tearing my eyes from the pianoclad

performer, I see people wiping their eyes

and it’s understandable. This, perhaps his most

famous song, is incredibly moving. More readily

recognised as an anthem-sized tune from the

Songs From The Deep Forest album, tonight it

is gentle, with a sadness that could even have

me shed a tear.

Duke is constantly changing the tempo of

the evening and follows up the emotion of

Freewheel with a cover of Kurt Vile’s Applejack.

The various covers which smatter tonight’s set

allow us to see from where the Irish troubadour

drawers his inspiration – from the quirky

performance style of Tim Minchin to the oddness

of Kurt Vile and Ivor Cutler. I beseech everyone

to take in a Duke Special show. The Placebo

influence could perhaps be left out, however.

Naters P / @natersp

BROOKE SHARKEY

Adam Beattie

The Caledonia

Stepping into the Cali on a foggy Easter

Sunday evening as ADAM BEATTIE, long-time

collaborator of headliner BROOKE SHARKEY,

takes to the stage, offers some welcome respite

from a hectic Bank Holiday weekend. Soaked in

the flavours of East Coast 1920s blues, and with

a voice to match, Beattie’s strong and laconic

melodies seem just as suited to a cross-country

hobo boxcar ride as to the busy confines of

Liverpool’s greatest music pub. He finishes

with a song about his grandfather, The Song

Of A Hundred Years, a stunning end to a set of

sublime beauties.

London-based singer-songwriter Brooke

Sharkey was born in England and spent her

teenage years in France. At the age of sixteen,

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46

Bido Lito! May 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. This month they’ve picked out some of their favourite

politically-charged cuts to get you in the mood for the General Election (7th May). Keep digging…

bidolito.co.uk

BOB DYLAN

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

The USA, circa 1964, was a place of immense social and political

upheaval. By then BOB DYLAN was already renowned as an accomplished

protest singer, pouring out thoughtful folk ballads at a rate of a dozen per

cigarette. This, his third studio album (and the first record he wrote every

song on), sees a dark pessimism creep into his lyrics. Challenging issues

that are just as prevalent today as they were back then – racial inequality,

social strife and economic woe – the album became an American anthem. The title track was seen to

perfectly capture the spirit and youthful abandon of the time, and is often hailed as one of Dylan’s best.

MARVIN GAYE

WHAT’S GOING ON

Widely considered his masterpiece and one of the greatest pieces

in popular music, What’s Going On follows the story of a Vietnam

veteran who has returned home in 1971 to find his beloved country

in turmoil, reflecting MARVIN GAYE’s own experience of stepping back

into the world after a period of depressive seclusion. Racial hatred and

an economy crippled by the war meant riots were commonplace right

through the States – and Gaye’s frail falsetto guides us through the

soldiers’ outrage, despair and soulful laments. Although far from being the first soul singer to tackle

these issues, Gaye brought abstract terms right down to Earth and made them poignantly personal.

THE CLASH

THE CLASH

It’s easy to overlook that, before becoming synonymous with

dabbles in dub, ska and rockabilly, THE CLASH were as straight-up

punk as they come. Their self-titled 1977 debut release is packed with

riotous guitars, galloping drums and cockney vocals, all smashed

into a storm of two-minute anthems. Confronting the concerns of 70s

Britain – complacency, capitalist greed and dead-end jobs – The Clash

produced an album that gave the populace something to shout about, and undoubtedly changed

lives. This a must-have record for old punks, young activists and audiophiles alike.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

It’s difficult to imagine the mention of any sort of political

music without RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’s eponymous debut LP.

Exploding onto the scene in 1992, the band’s now-signature sounds

of Tom Morello’s guitar acrobatics, Zach De La Rocha’s hip hopinfused

raps and head-banging riffs are now seen as the stamp of

alternative metal. Screaming “fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”

in the face of issues such as government-controlled media, cops as Klansmen and the FBI tracking

of black activists, the record is as relentlessly robust now as it was 23 years ago. It also has one

of the most iconic and powerful covers of all time – a Buddhist monk making the ultimate protest

against oppression in Vietnam.

Head to bidolito.co.uk now to stream the latest Dig Vinyl Podcast, featuring a mixture of new, old

and half-forgotten classics.

she was advised by her musician father that

the best way to hone her skills as a writer

was to go out on the streets busking and

developing the first batch of songs she’d

penned. She clearly listened to Dad’s wise

advice. She’s backed here tonight by Beattie on

guitar and Jez Horton on French horn. There’s a

simple beauty to these songs, and particularly

Sharkey’s voice, which can stop you in your

tracks, and together with that voice, the

guitars and horn, they somehow manage to

create intricate soundscapes for the delicate

and fascinating melodies. Sharkey’s voice

leaps in a moment from fragile delicacy to

strong and assured, and she effortlessly floats

from singing in English to French, lending a

welcome hint of the back street bars of the

Pigalle to the otherwise sparse and strippedbare

arrangements of the songs.

Dad was right. All that busking clearly

paid off, as it’s given her the confidence to

experiment with the voice and guitar, as it

did to singers like Karen Dalton, who shows

herself as an influence tonight, as do Nick

Drake and Tom Waits. Sharkey’s songs deftly

work themselves through smoky French gypsy

jazz, to the classic blues folk of 60s Greenwich

Village and, somehow, the thickening fog

outside seems to suit these songs, these

harmonies, these structures, perfectly.

Songs such as The Sailor’s Wife, from last

year’s shimmering I Crossed The Line EP, which

she sings at the end of tonight’s set, backing

herself with only a shaker, show the broad

dynamic range and simple beauty of Sharkey’s

voice, and the harmonies that Beattie delivers

only serve to enhance the sound of that

dynamic. It’s a picture-perfect scene in The

Cali, that’s for sure. The crowd are warm and

welcoming, and her comfort tonight is plain

to see as she fingerpicks and waltzes her way

comfortably through this, the first of a 28-day

UK tour, and, after an all too short set, we

saunter off through the foggy streets of Easter

in Liverpool.

Paul Fitzgerald

HANG THE BASTARD

Desert Storm – Oceanis

Monster Sound Collective @

The Shipping Forecast

You can’t deny it, there’s something that

extra bit gratifying when our more carnal

desires are satisfied. It’s a well-known fact

of human nature that we often want that

which is lurking in the dark, something

which promises to be as hellish as it is

enthralling. It’s no great mystery why

people love the likes of horror movies; the

sense of risk, even if it’s artificial, is enough

to get the blood pumping. For anyone who

feels like they need to explore this avenue

further however, there are three words I’d

strongly suggest looking up, namely, HANG

THE BASTARD.

The confines of the Shipping Forecast’s

basement itself evoke notions of restriction

and degradation, so when coupled with

the volatility of the opening act OCEANIS, it

quickly evolves into a cavern of unstable metal

hedonism. Live, Joe Mariyanji (Vocals) is an

imposing frontman, flitting between ominous

inter-crowd pacing and possessed screaming/

growling. Intense doesn’t really tick the box;

there’s a satisfying sense of unease in their

performance, the sort that makes metal oh-so

engrossing and addictive.

The overt outward expressionism is swapped

for a more introspective showing from DESERT

STORM, though that doesn’t mean there is a

sacrifice in substance. Tracks such as closer

Enslaved In The Icy Tundra see the band forge

a sound which is dense, dirty, and ticking nearenough

every depraved notion you could

possibly yearn for.

However, if Oceanis and Desert Storm

reflect differing ideals of deranged volatility,

then Hang The Bastard take that concoction

and multiply it to a dangerous degree. Their

most recent release, Sex In The Seventh

Circle, revels in the depths, a conflation of

classic metal riffs, admittedly given a darker

makeover, and Tomas Hubbard’s demonic

vocal performance. For the majority of the set

Hubbard is hidden behind a curtain of long,

brown hair, every bit the maniacal frontman,

every so often an opening developing in the

mesh through which emanates his piercing

screams. Sweet Mother sees Hubbard at his

most demented, a sight which is as intriguing

as it is terrifying.

Unlike the previous two acts, indeed

unlike most acts, Hang The Bastard avoid

any personable engagement with the crowd.

Theirs is a performance which relies very much

on recognising them strictly as performers,

protecting the barrier behind which they are

able to maintain their unhinged and wildly

satisfying front. Hornfel, a highlight both of the

new record and the evening, epitomises the

repetitive and dark aesthetics on which Hang

The Bastard have made their name, the band

descending into riff after riff in a cataclysmic

display of brute force, all revolving around the

wailing centrepiece of Hubbard. When his eyes

do present themselves from behind the rug of

hair they are every bit what one expects, truly

windows into the manic soul of exactly what it

is that makes this great band tick.

The notion is, at least in part, one of relief

when Hubbard and co take their leave to join

their merch stand. More notable however is a

feeling of release, a sort of cleansing, if you

will. Amid the electrifying décor, what Hang The

Bastard really offer is a chance to let go. And

when it’s as thorough and consuming as this, I

certainly won’t be complaining.

Ben Lynch / @benlynch07

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