Issue 51 / Dec 2014/Jan 2015

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December 2014/January 2015 issue of Bido Lito! Featuring ED BLACK, CAVALRY, COUSIN JAC, LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK 2014 REVIEW and much more.

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Issue 51

Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Ed Black by Mike Brits

Ed Black

Cavalry

Cousin Jac

Liverpool Music

Week Review

Bold Street

Coffee Pullout


MON 24 NOV

7pm £15 adv

KATIE

ARMIGER

TUES 25 NOV

7pm £8 adv

THE CROOKES

WEDS 26 NOV

7pm £8 adv

COASTS

THURS 27 NOV

8.30pm

OPEN MIC

HOSTED BY IAN MCNABB

FRI 28 NOV

7pm £12 adv

3 DAFT

MONKEYS

FRI 28 NOV

11pm 18+

RAWKUS

LIVERPOOL’S BIGGEST

ALTERNATIVE, POP-PUNK

& HARDCORE PARTY

SAT 29 NOV

10pm 18+

CIRCUS

FT. TEN WALLS (LIVE), YOUSEF,

MATTHIAS TANZMANN,

PATRICK TOPPING, ACID MONDAYS

THURS 4 DEC

7.30pm £10 adv

JANET DEVLIN

THURS 4 DEC

8.30pm

OPEN MIC

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FRI 5 DEC

11pm 18+

RAWKUS

LIVERPOOL’S BIGGEST

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& HARDCORE PARTY

SAT 6 DEC

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ANDREW

METCALFE &

THE WESTERN

HILLS

SAT 6 DEC

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IAN PROWSE

& AMSTERDAM

SAT 6 DEC

11pm 18+

CHIBUKU

FT. SIGMA (+ JUSTYCE),

SHADOW CHILD, KRY WOLD,

DIMENSION

THURS 11 DEC

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BY THE RIVERS

THURS 11 DEC

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FRI 12 DEC

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THE ARTS CLUB

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& HARDCORE PARTY

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CIRCUS -

BOXING NIGHT

FT. YOUSEF B2B NIC FANCIULLI,

GEORGE FITZGERALD,

SCUBA, DARIUS SYROSSIAN,

PREMIESKU

(LIVIO, ROBY & GEORGE G),

LEWIS BOARDMAN,

DAVID GLASS & SCOTT LEWIS

WEDS 31 DEC

10pm 18+

CHIBUKU NYE

FT. JULIO BASHMORE,

ROUTE 94, B.TRAITS,

JESSE ROSE, MORE TBA

THURS 01 JAN 2015 10pm 18+

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FT. KERRI CHANDLER,

YOUSEF, RICHY AHMED,

COYU, DETROIT SWINDLE,

LEWIS BOARDMAN,

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MAGNUM

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MON 16 FEB 2015 7pm £12 adv

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- THE FINAL

90

SEEL STREET, LIVERPOOL, L1 4BH


Featuring over 200

outstanding examples

of writing combined

with moving image

13 November 2014

08 February 2015

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4

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Bido Lito!

Issue Fifty One / Dec 2014 / Jan 2014

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Words

Christopher Torpey, Craig G

Pennington, Joshua Potts, A.W. Wilde,

Jack Graysmark, Maurice Stewart,

Dave Tate, Richard Lewis, Alastair

Dunn, Paddy Clarke, Spike Beecham,

Emma Brady, Sam Turner, Paddy

Hughes, Christopher Carr, Rob Syme,

Naters P, Glyn Akroyd, Chris Hughes.

Photography, Illustration and

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Clewley, Gaz Jones, Keith Ainsworth,

Michelle Roberts, Nata Moraru,

Stuart Moulding, Glyn Akroyd, Dan

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views expressed in Bido Lito! are those

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necessarily reflect the opinions of the

magazine, its staff or the publishers. All

rights reserved.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF INDEPENDENC

Craig G Pennington

If nothing else, the recent furore around the proposed

enthuse about The Kazimier and the community around

development that would, if passed, have resigned The

it, a creative, collaborative sphere which has been central

Kazimier and Nation to dust should serve as a stone cold,

to Liverpool’s recent cultural renaissance. We can point

sobering wake-up call to us all: as a creative community, we

out the quite frankly laughable timing of a proposal that

need to collectively represent our interests.

would lead to the closure of Cream’s home, Nation, falling

We all know that the idea of culling The Kazimier and Nation

shortly after the superclub’s founder, James Barton, was

to make way for another mono-development of ‘luxury’

recognised by Billboard Magazine in the US as “the most

magnolia boxes is profoundly ludicrous, and we can bemoan

influential person in the world for electronic dance music”.

the lack of understanding and foresight from some within

Plainly, the idea of English Heritage placing a plaque

the corridors of power for even considering such proposals.

outside Nation and the building being listed seems more

We can point to Liverpool’s questionable track record when

fitting than forcing its closure. We can make all these

it comes to understanding, valuing and protecting its

assertions and arguments passionately, enthusiastically

cultural assets, and the inherent irony of tourism based on

those blundered cultural assets seemingly rising from the

ashes to take its place as our city’s golden goose. We can

and eloquently until we are blue in the face but, until we

find a way to have these sentiments understood on a city

level, and until we are a part of the ongoing process of

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 5

Wolstenholme Square by Robin Clewley / @robinscamera

E

consulting, strategising and decision-making, we will merely

be preaching to the converted, resigned to the margins.

Kaz-Nation-gate is the latest in a run of conflicts over recent

years between the powers that be and our grassroots creative

community: the noise abatement notices affecting hubs

such as Static, the whole ham-fisted drama around busking

licences, the removal of business rate relief. Imagine if the

grassroots creative community had been involved in policy

discussion before these episodes erupted. Would we have

ended up with the same flash points, the same decisions, the

same outcry?

Councils are – by their very nature – large, bureaucratic,

sluggish organisations. They have fixed and formulaic

processes and procedures by which decisions are taken. But

they are there to represent a cross-section of opinion and

interest from across the city. They need a way of consulting

and engaging with our grassroots creative sector in a way

that tessellates with their system. We need to be organised

and structured so that we’re not only involved in the

debate, but that we can lead

the debate. We can then have

the interests and concerns of our community represented,

forming and moulding policy along with the city’s other core

stakeholders.

Bemoaning ‘the man’ is, to be honest, tiresome and boring.

What is more interesting, to me anyway, is coming up with

a solution, taking it to him. And taking it to him in a form he

understands – us as a community serving it white-hot on a

plate that’s just impossible to ignore. It’s vital to be part of

that city process as an active participant, protecting what

needs to be protected and what makes this city the place

we love, but, more importantly, instigating positive, forwardthinking

change.

I suppose there is an inherent challenge to this within the

very notion of us all being independent; we all value the notion

of individualism, striding out, taking chances across our own

shoulders. To be blunt, fragmented grassroots communities such

as ours are made up of people who face enough challenges in

maintaining the day-to-day existence of their own endeavours,

without necessarily having the time or headspace to worry

about the cohesive whole. But it comes back to the point I made

in last month’s magazine: where do we sit as a community on

this competitive-collaborative matrix? If we are to have any

meaningful voice, if we are to play a part driving progressive

dialogue about our city, if we are to be understood and valued

as a sector, then we need collective representation.

bidolito.co.uk


6

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

EdBlack

Words: Joshua Potts / @joshpjpotts

Photography: Mike Brits / mikebrits.com

Loneliness is a funny thing. It can sit in the grandest or

smallest of rooms, ignore your friends, stride up to the furthest

corner of your heart and nestle there without giving you so

much as a compliment. Even when we’re on top form, quaffing

beer and anecdotes, the threat of silence lingers like hands

on a black clock. What awaits the loner? An empty bed, a walk

through that street only you have familiarised? Apologies for

this preamble: I’m managing to make songwriter and all-round

nimble musician ED BLACK sound like Morrissey with a migraine.

He’s not like this at all. He just knows that isolation is torture,

and he’s managed to find an ointment for it.

I’m speaking to him via Skype on an unremarkable November

afternoon. It’s our fourth interview; our first was eight months

ago, when he was eagerly explaining the pitfalls of being a

solo singer. There are the Jake Buggs and Ben Howards of the

world, who happen to play acoustic guitars and thus act as the

vanguard of ‘authenticity’ in pop music. People expect other

young men with quixotic haircuts to give them more of the same:

stability, recognisable packages, whatever you want to call it.

In our first conversation, Black was adamant that his ambitions

were greater than this, and I could tell he meant it. He’d just

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left Ninetails, a band constantly humming across Liverpool’s

fascination with the avant-garde. “They weren’t too keen on

gigging,” was one of the reasons Ed gave for doing so. The group

signed a management contract, but Ed has made his decision

to go it alone – it was the right thing to do, from a musical

perspective. He wanted to keep playing live, keep learning from

a raft of mentors, to visualise the off-kilter leanings of his own,

very personal, emotional exhibit.

Won’t Go Back

and

Mistakes are the glorious fruits of his

labours over the period since our first chat, which he is revealing

in the form of a double A-side single in December. And ‘labour’

is as apt a word as any to describe the brief spurts of writing

and recording that went into them. When these demos landed

in my Dropbox in mid-July, they hinted at panoramas through

infant eyes: gorgeously melodic, subtle and somewhat jarring

due to their fluid wavering between old-school instrumentation

and electronics. Synthesis and silence struck me then, and

now, as the tracks pull delicately at the edges of their structure,

lapping backwards and forwards to catch beats in the riptide. “I

see an ornament,” he says during our Skype call in the midst of

summer, when I ask him to come up with an image summarising

the mood of the EP. He links me to the cover of an old Coldplay

record: a stone or a shell in someone’s hand, swamped in velvet

light. “Definitely an ornament in blue,” he affirms. “Please don’t

think I’m into Coldplay by any means, but these colours would

work.” Listening to the final version of the tracks, where Ed’s

tender vocals seem to be balancing above a descent into the

internal, accepting the bliss of one’s own solitary headspace, my

mind’s eye can’t help but agree with him about the blue part.

Though occasionally an exercise in frustration, spending the

better part of a year on such scant material has enabled Ed

to realise, to the fullest extent, how good these songs could

be. Post-Ninetails, Black got an offer from Ady Suleiman (close

friend and prospective alt-RnB artist) to be his right-hand man

in London. He de-camped and got swiftly embroiled in new

commitments and the pleasures of the capital. For our final

Skype call in November, Ed is speaking from Suleiman’s shed.

Time away from the north has only cemented his opinion of the

music industry but “You have to move down here [London],”

Ed tells me. “I know it’s typical to say that. For the stage Ady’s

at, you have to have a connection to this city.” Living with that

reality didn’t stop him from spending long nights in with Logic,


Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 7

the digital software beloved by people with too little leisure

time. When he was “starving or need[ing] a piss”, he’d forgo the

demands of nature to spend hours at his digital workstation,

fiddling over modulations and EQ levels.

However, behind Black’s easy, tech-savvy veneer lurks an

artistic obsession – some would say insecurity – with being

alone. A breakup almost ruined him: he was nervous the ex in

question would turn up for his Sound City gig, and he actually

resurrected a song called Being Alone that night, drip-feeding

his audience glimpses of the New Ed, the one willing to bear

the scrutiny of an entire room and thrive in it. There’s been an

acoustic release on the cards for quite a while, reflecting the

shitload of Bon Iver he was listening to while trying to climb

out of his emotional quicksand. “I wouldn’t necessarily classify

[the acoustic tracks] as ‘of that mould’, but Justin Vernon was

undeniably a huge influence on their conception. I still haven’t

got round to doing them yet because I don’t want my tunes

muddled up, and I don’t want to spread myself too thin.” He

and the girl are back together after six months apart. “It’s a bit

weird working on something I wrote in a completely different

headspace. They’re a big thing for me, relationships. Since I was

16 I’ve always been in one, in some form or another. Whenever

I’m single I don’t enjoy it at all.”

If the delayed catharsis of a voice and whispered chords

could turn out to be Black’s For Emma, Forever Ago, then his

completed material imitates Bon Iver’s second album, along

with the spliced, sensual dub of FKA twigs and Baths’ child-like

melodic intuition. I ask whether the lushness and warmth of the

EP is an attempt to find solace in other people, or if it endorses

retreating inside one’s self completely. “Hmmm,” he says. “I

haven’t especially thought about that, but if I’d go one way, I’d

say it reaches out. Y’know, like the experience of realising the

layers and the textures of the thing with Jake.”

This is Jake King, Ninetails’ drummer and Black’s alchemic

totem. I visited Jake’s flat on Roscoe Street back in August to

see how they were getting on. Alongside a Mac or two, and

bunch of magnificent synth equipment, a board hung on the

wall, scrawled with ideas like ‘Longer opening section?’ or, more

simply, ‘BASS’. The lads sit me down and we listen to the halfcompleted

demos without speaking, bobbing our heads. “There

are elements of field recording in the percussion. I’ve just deleted

a few actually...” Jake explains. “There’s a rain sound I really

love: it was falling on a coal bunker outside my mum’s house.

I’ll chop that up and make it into a sensible beat.” I attempt to

make a link to Swedish philosopher Alain de Botton’s theory

on the symbolic effects of thunderstorms. They look perplexed.

Dammit, Josh, rein it in.

Another difficult question is thrown to Ed in our last

conversation: have you matured in the past year? He squints.

“Subconsciously... My hair’s matured.” What about plans for an

album in the near future? Would it be along the same lines (albeit

faster lines, one might wish) as these effervescent offerings?

“Again, I don’t think about it too much. There’s not a lot of

thinking behind what I manage to do here and there. It’s cool –

it’s why they’ve come out the way they have. But I’d say I’d lean

more towards conventional structures, despite the fact I love the

atmosphere I’ve already managed to capture.”

Here’s hoping an atmosphere of daring originality continues

to hang over Black’s career – it suits him down to the ground.

Won’t Go Back

b/w

Mistakes is streaming exclusively on

bidolito.co.uk now, and will be released in December.

edblack.bandcamp.com

bidolito.co.uk


8

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Cavalry

Words: Jack Graysmark / @ZeppelinG1993

Photography: Gaz Jones / @GJMPhoto

As much as I adore Liverpool, I am still occasionally hit by the

temptation to retreat to the countryside; lock yourself away in

a reclusive log cabin in North Wales and the lush surroundings

will delight you in abundance. But influence you? Well, it certainly

worked for Bon Iver, but how about closer to home? CAVALRY’s

guitarist Austin Logan was inspired enough to give it a try himself,

and came away reaping the rewards. With a track called Leaves

in their repertoire and an autumnal hue to their sound, you’d be

forgiven for thinking that Austin’s excursion brought a fairly literal

inspiration to the Cavalry aesthetic, but that’s where the parallel

falls short. In fact, he refers to the result of his casual excursion

– coming up with the band’s name – as a “happy accident”, one

of many that have permeated the band’s career since they came

together in late 2013.

Ambushing the quintet in the midst of a busy schedule of

meetings and rehearsals, I am keen to peer beneath the veneer

of this rugged indie band blooming with potential. Two demos

posted online back in January – Lament, and the aforementioned

Leaves – have garnered acclaim across the board, from BBC

Introducing in Merseyside to Radio 1’s new music heavyweight,

Huw Stephens, and Radio 2 darling, Janice Long. But instead of

rushing to respond to such praise, Cavalry have been carefully

planning their next move while perfecting their craft with regular

stints on the support-act circuit. There’s a charge coming, but

never underestimate the importance of tactics.

Their name even seems to personify the charge that’s also

present in their songs, with slow-burning, folk-tinged introductions

that increase in intensity as they march into grittier territory.

Frontman Alan Croft highlights this idea as one that captures

the essential tenet of the band, while bassist Paul James Jones

points to the meaning of the word cavalry in the military sense:

“It suggests the notion of being a last-minute rescue, a chance to

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escape – which I think reflects on how this project has taken us

all by surprise. The way we came together, it was a saviour-style

moment where we just decided to go with it.” Their criss-crossed

roots (childhood friends and university acquaintances) make for

a cosily fraternal relationship. Three of the band (Croft, Logan

and guitarist Steve Taylor) operate from a house they share on

Lark Lane, feeding off the area’s zealous bohemian spirit. It’s a

setting where you would naturally expect creativity to flourish,

but Logan admits that the lack of divide between a professional

and personal relationship can occasionally put a strain on certain

circumstances. “The positives outweigh the negatives though,”

butts in Croft. “We initially moved in to focus on getting the songs

to a certain standard. When you rent out a rehearsal space you

can often feel like you’re working to a strict deadline, but it’s not

so rigid when you’re living together.”

It might come off as a slightly romanticised idea, five selfsacrificing

figures putting in the overtime to iron out the fine details

all for the love of their craft. But put those glamorised notions aside

and think about it in terms of communication and collaboration –

suddenly it actually seems like an obvious choice. If the perfect

melody comes to you in a sudden moment of inspiration, then it’s

much easier to share it with your bandmate if he’s in the room

next door, and the best time to react to an idea and work on it is

while it is still fresh. This also encourages a democratic approach to

songwriting, allowing all five band members to amalgamate their

vast range of influences from their own individual experiences.

Jones has an invested interest in post-production through his

past experiments with electronic music, which bleeds into Cavalry

through the orchestration of different layers of sound. Croft spent

time in Canada prior to the band’s inception, but he finds hindsight

and reflection more fitting for inspiring his lyrics. “It’s been quite

turbulent in the past few years, but now I’m far more comfortable

writing knowing the situation that we’re in.”

With their penchant for balancing intricacy with intimacy,

likening Cavalry to elements of The National and Local Natives

would be deemed fair suggestions. But heads nod fervently

around the group when Croft mentions Paul Simon, citing

Graceland as an album upon which they all agree as a defining

influence. “He’s definitely someone I connect with lyrically,” Croft

argues, “but what also stands out for me is that a lot of the songs

are based around one man and his guitar; it’s then about how you

coordinate the other parts.”

There we have the tactic behind the charge; it is not just simply

“what” but “how.” The first few bars on their demos are pleasant

enough, but it’s the potency of the guitar on Leaves that stays

with you long after its swoons have ebbed from the speakers. And

then there are the harmonies from Logan and Taylor, which allow

the tension of Gareth Dawson’s elevated percussion to release.

There’s no denying its power, but it comes as a warm embrace

rather than a crushing blow. “When I write a song, it always starts

with an acoustic guitar,” Logan explains, “which can leave you

quite limited. The harmonies add another texture, a different layer

you can use to transform the melody.”

“I think if we’d known how much joy we would have had from

Lament and Leaves, we would have had more material lined up

to drip-feed the response,” admits Croft. “There’s more material

ready to go, enough to fill several albums, but it’s just picking the

right time.” Bassist Jones agrees, going on to offer: “I think it’s

been for the best though, because we’ve carved our identity into

our sound a lot more since then. When the new release comes

out, it’ll be the best representation of us as a band, because of

what we’ve learned in the live arena.”

Maybe it’s the harsh cold of the winter’s night that makes

Cavalry’s music so soothing at this time of year, but it’s the band’s

determination to evolve that pulls you back in. Change is natural

after all, but when you have this solid unit, each element equally

invested in the other, you know that any change will be balanced

by consistency. Brace yourself for the charge.

soundcloud.com/cavalryliverpool


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Hip Hop History tour -

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+ Grandmaster Flash

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Sat 29th Nov • £12 adv

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Sat 29th Nov • £10 adv

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Of Val Doonican

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Tickets £28.50 adv

Placebo

Tues 10th Mar 15 - Mountford Hall

Tickets £29.50 adv

Catfish &

The Bottlemen

Sun 5th Apr 15 - Mountford Hall

Tickets £12.50 adv

Ticketweb.co.uk • 0844 477 2000

liverpoolguild.org

Sun 14th Dec • £26.50

Method Man & Redman

Sat 20th Dec • £18 adv

Cast

+ John McCullagh & The Escorts

+ The Cheap Thrills

Mon 16th Feb 2015 • £16.50 adv

The War On Drugs

o2academyliverpool.co.uk

11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF • Doors 7pm unless stated

Venue box office opening hours: Mon - Sat 11.30am - 5.30pm • No booking fee on cash transactions

ticketweb.co.uk • seetickets.com • gigantic.com • ticketmaster.co.uk


10

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Run from

Fear

Words: A. W. Wilde / awwilde.co.uk

Don’t grow up: it’s a trap. As soon as you can read they’ve got

you by the balls and there’s not much you can do about it. From

that first day at little school in long socks you’ve been unwittingly

cursed, coerced into understanding rules, dissuaded from dive

bombing into swimming pools, exposed to the elucidating

wants that hide behind brand strap-lines, and then crushed by

the realisation that you didn’t-read-the-fucking-smallprint. Words

are weapons. Words aren’t actions. Words can be twisted.

When introduced to the first alphabet on a clear blue summer’s

day in the 5th Century BC, Plato was instantly distrustful. With

one white bushy eyebrow arched, he looked towards his pupil,

Aristotle, and exclaimed for all of Athens to hear: “This shit smells

real fishy to me. I oughta tear those Phoenicians a new asshole

for inventing it”. Unfazed, Aristotle returned his gaze and replied,

“Word is born”.

Or so the story goes. And words are, of course, at least partly

responsible for every great novel you’ve ever read and every

song lyric you can’t get out of your head. Words animate what

language depicts and can themselves be animated — all in the

good name of art. Now showing at FACT is an exhibition entitled

TYPE MOTION, a celebration of the creative possibilities of text

in a digital galaxy far, far beyond print. The basis for this artistic

vocabulary is nothing new: since the caves of Lascaux over 17,300

years ago we’ve been using text and image as a mode of artistic

expression. The printing press furthered this in 1439 and the

conceptual art of the 1960s subverted it by dragging language

into the field of painting.

Type Motion is a multimedia affair; films, title sequences,

pop videos and interactive screens all offer ample validation

for text as an individual art form. Suspended from the ceiling

in the downstairs gallery space are six screens on which films

run continuously, each with their own soundtrack. The room is

otherwise unlit and its walls are mirrored, the floor polished

to an obsidian kinda blackness. In this most optimal setting

the images reflect where they please, surrounding the viewer

with a ton of moving text from the likes of Saul Bass, Marcel

Duchamp and John Baldessari. It feels like walking into (and

not onto) the set of Blade Runner: an engulfing disorientation

of the most futuristic persuasion. Yet this feeling of being

adrift didn’t last — and that’s because I’ve spent most of my

life in cities, all of it as part of Generation X. In the modern

metropolis we become desensitised to text for the sole reason

that we’re bombarded by it: on buses, by fly-posters and from

the many backlit pulpits of Viacom and Clear Channel. Yet

for someone of my parents’ generation, I can imagine this

sensory assault is similar to being pushed out of a moving car

in 1950s Bootle only to land on the pavement in Tokyo 2020.

Times don’t stop changing: in the late nineteenth century, folk

from the outskirts of Paris would travel into the centre, arriving

at Place Saint-Medard just to look at the new phenomenon

of billboards. The same is true of Piccadilly Circus to post-

Blitzkrieg greater Londoners.

But what’s on show in this exhibition is art; it’s just very closely

related to its commercial cousin. The delineation between the

two has been expertly handled by the curators in this exhibition,

even if its line was already blurred by those that dug its popular

roots: text art royalty Ed Rushca worked as graphic designer at

an advertising agency and Andy Warhol was first a commercial

illustrator. In this most seriffed of worlds, profession and creative

inclination are two sides of the same canvas.

Upstairs, Type Motion invites you to get interactive on works

specially commissioned for the exhibition. Hovering above a

virtual cityscape, you navigate your flight via movement sensors

and land on buildings that launch videos of iconic moments of

text in motion. There is also the largest touch-screen device I’ve

seen that doesn’t come with Jamie Carragher attached. It houses

a diamond mine of information for the typographically minded:

an archive of such breadth and depth it’d exhaust you before you

exhaust it. My highlight of the exhibition is shown on the cinema

screen up here: a structuralist film from 1970 by Hollis Frampton

entitled Zorns Lemma. The film uses all the components of film:

image, sound, narrative, but applies to them a mathematically

devised structure (its title relates to the work of Max Zorn, a

German algebraist) so the film appears to be entirely abstract. It’s

not. It’s a beguiling, unravelling Ezra Pound poem of street signs,

alphabets, couples and meat being minced.

Fun from

Rear

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 11

Savour

Kindness

Because

And Type Motion is a wonderfully curious thing; with its

multitude of screens within screens it turns FACT into a set of

Russian Matryoshka dolls. It’s an exhibition of an art form too

new to have a retrospective, yet proving simultaneously that

the simulation of newness is often the artist’s BBF. Does the

exhibition prove that digital is the all-pervasive future? No.

And neither should it. To say that digital is the death knell is to

un-friend our future and to negate the influence of the many

artists that paved the way to it. The commonality with the artist

featured in Type Motion and their analogue forbearers is the

creation of visual languages. A visual language is much more

than just a style, although it is not itself unstylish. This next lot

have meaning and style by the truckload:

JENNY HOLTZER “borrows freely from mass culture to explore

some of the more pressing issues of our time”. Her medium is

text. Perhaps best known for her LED signs, her work takes many

forms but, be they T-shirts or sandstone benches, the weight of

what she’s saying is unquestionable.

ED RUSHCA and Los Angeles are umbilically linked and many

working in this field of art owe him a debt. An interrogation of

language from an exceptional painter. Oof.

BOB & ROBERTA SMITH is the work of one man who

favours a swift and direct communication with the viewer and

paints onto discarded wood and cardboard, the flotsam and

jetsam of Deptford’s streets. His work is a warm cuddle from

democracy itself.

THE GUILFORD 4 ARE INNOCENT was the first bit of political

graffiti I can remember seeing. As a 1970s child, it was everywhere

in the aftermath of the hooky conviction of four supposed IRA

terrorists. When each of their sentences were overturned sixteen

years later the graffiti returned, this time shouting: GUILFORD 4 –

POLICE 0. This is the simplistic epitome of text at its most potent

and reflexive: once you see it, you can’t help but read it and want

to understand the meaning behind it. And it is in protest that

text becomes nakedly polemic and unashamedly powerful. The

artwork of the Guerrilla Girls tackling sexism does for feminism

what the posters of Emory Douglas and the Black Panthers did

for racism. That is: force recognition of prejudice by spelling out

exactly how much state-sanctioned, power-crazed bullshit exists

in the world.

The Paris riots of Mai ‘68 are a prime example of the role

image, text and sloganeering can play in arming democracy and

effecting change. The posters of the Atelier Populaire plastered

Paris and were described as “weapons in the service of the

struggle and are an inseparable part of it”. The riots and resulting

ideology are credited by some as imbuing the French political

class with a new brace of ethics. And such was its resonance

in the popular culture that followed, describing its fetishistic

attributes as a soundclash between acid house and the Miners’

Strike doesn’t sound remotely odd.

The ’83-4 Miners’ Strike mobilised a mixture of text and

image that nodded to the rich artistic history of trade union and

working-class banners that pre-dates the Jarrow Crusade. The art

of the marching banner is celebrated in John Gorman’s definitive

book Banner Bright – in which the work of sign-writers and

coach-painters is given its rightful elevation. Needless to say, this

type of work wasn’t quick to produce and so posters, postcards

and badges became an excellent medium for making solidarity

visible in the day-to-day struggle against Thatcher’s clan.

So, how do we conclude where the role of text resides in the

arts this very second? Does digital artistry prove that the writing’s

on the wall for writing on the wall? Does it fuck. It does, however,

highlight the fact that the combination of images and text is now

the most frequent kind of reading we do in a www-world. It’s a

nightmare for novelists because it shortens the attention span.

Because we can't concentrate, we read the same line in a book

countless times. The same line in a book countless times. Same

line. Countless times. And because we can't concentrate, we read

the same line in a book countless times. Ahh, Buzzfeed.

The Type Motion exhibition at FACT runs until 8th February 2015.

fact.co.uk

A.W. Wilde’s latest publication is a collection of short stories

titled A Large Can Of Whoopass, which can be purchased from

awwilde.co.uk

Cruelty

Is Always

Possible Later

A QUICK ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR TEXT

IN ART, IN PROTEST AND ON WALLS

bidolito.co.uk


12

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Words: Joshua Potts / @joshpjpotts

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

“It’s not a fable,” he says, leaning forward with wide eyes. “It’s

an old truth.”

A letter is placed on the table. It could be a copy, although its

laminate covering suggests something precious and coveted. The

date reads 21st November, 1911. In elegant type, a Mr Fred Luke is

testifying about an organist. “Should you appoint him, I feel sure

you will never regret the choice,” it reads. “Believe me to remain.”

The letter ends at that, eschewing the traditional follow-up

(“your loyal companion”) and leaving the line as a bare bone of

poetic thought. It’s confident, romantic, and a little obtuse, and

chimes perfectly with how Jez Wing, the man on the other side

of the table to me, thinks. His great-grandfather, whose talents

have inadvertently inspired Wing to work on a new trilogy of

records as COUSIN JAC, happens to be the subject of Mr Luke’s

glowing recommendation. For Wing, there is sadness in never

knowing what has truly remained for our families and the history

they inhabit, generation after generation. One thing’s for sure: for

as much joy as that line gives him, you can bet there’s more in

tackling a “great big Victorian synthesiser” in St. George’s Hall.

He’s talking, of course, about the building’s grand concert organ,

built in 1855 by Henry Willis, and which featured on at least one

of the tracks on Cousin Jac’s first record, Believe Me To Remain.

Maybe some propensities are hard to ignore.

Cousin Jac has been a concept for a while, and not just in the

mind of Jez Wing. The name was given by Cornish miners to their

bidolito.co.uk

brethren looking for work across the Atlantic; now, it is Wing’s

three-year project shuffling to the end of a beginning, an alias on

which to launch his own voyage of personal conquest. Believe

Me To Remain is an album born out of escape, reconciliation and

jaunts to and from American airports with the smell of the ocean

still in your nose. The singer and keyboardist, who has been a

member of Echo & The Bunnymen’s live band since 2009, has

eulogised a corner of the past that is often idealised but rarely

articulated this well: the time of the New World, when making

a life could mean leaving a family, and the call of the horizon

was both noble and dangerous. Ships, ports and sacrifices drift

on the record’s lean course towards spiritual promise, casting a

long goodbye to an imagined shore where a lover stands waiting

for the pain of separation to be justified. “I started writing from

that point of view,” says Jez from the embrace of a suitably plush

armchair. “What I would call ‘auto-fiction’. Primarily, the sea ties

us all together. It also provides a life for people, which is why

it makes me think of my family. My granddad was a navy man.

It represents a life-blood, a lifeline.” One, then, that has crucially

never left him as unchartered experiences tried to lay claim to

his attention.

“Recently, I heard that the impact of these huge ice meteors

helped form the oceans we know today. I don’t necessarily believe

that’s true but it fascinates me! Essentially, the sea is an asteroid!”

he laughs, aware it sounds like bollocks.

His commitments to the Bunnymen occasionally come

between him and progress of his own work, although touring

with one of the most quietly admired bands of the last 30 years

sure has plenty of perks. A few weeks ago he performed in

front of an audience of millions on David Letterman’s late-night

show, and many of the musicians who contributed to Believe Me

To Remain were picked up on tours in the US. In fact, the last

couple of years have been vital for allowing Wing the security and

brashness to bring his baby to life. The story in his head never

got stale – on the contrary, the research he did in-between shows

added a wealth of depth to his barnacle odyssey. Waterwitch, a

favourite track of his, was written after he saw a framed painting

of a vessel in a Dutch hotel. Like his great-grandfather’s letter

from over a century ago, the combination of words sent ideas

careering through Wing’s head, even though he admits to not

knowing what the song is about exactly. Which is an unusual turn

for Believe Me To Remain: the majority of the record’s lyrics, from

the musings of Passing Place to Atlanta’s nostalgic longing for

home, are rooted in specificity. The same care translates to the

album’s cover, which was painted by one of Jez’s close friends.

It depicts a sooty hill crashing down towards a steeple and thin,

imposing houses, while a white-sailed ship grazes by, heading

out to the unknown.

Storytelling is so attached to this music that it’s sometimes hard

to talk to Wing about much else. To be frank, it’s a miracle that his

original inspiration carried him this far, that it didn’t sit and rot on

the shelf after so long. I wonder if the imagery he seems obsessed

by – the torrent of cannons, feathers, masts and setting suns – is

his tool for coping with reality, as all stories tend to be. “Yes, it is

our way of coping. But that doesn’t make it any less wonderful or

completely immersive. Who’s to say I’m not playing with reality

by spinning a yarn?” In particular, there is a recurring feminine

presence keeping the narrator from abandoning himself. It’s very

cyclical, I tell him. “In a loose sense, it draws from relationships,” he

says. “Collective male/female struggles are part of what I’m talking

about. [second track] Lightning And Thunder might come across like

I’m a moody git. However, it’s come from a place that’s made up of

intense laughter and a shitload of tension. It’s come from family.

“There’s a Steely Dan lyric,” he continues, “that goes: ‘a woman’s

voice reminds me to serve and not to speak’. In order to honour

your wife, partner, community… we look to the harmonious

female spirit.” All of this takes some getting used to. Seafaring is a

myth that’s still broadly masculine. Yet if you think about it, cracks

emerge beneath the deck of the Ahab figure, who, harpoon in

hand, may be trembling in our collective conscious. After all, boats

are feminised by default and many carry the names of women, as

if there needs to be a maternal force to organise passage across

chaos. For the ocean can also be pure, frightening space.

Jez is safe with his own identity back home. He’s glad the

Cornish have been recognised as a minority by the EU, and speaks

fondly of the “tribal nature of British-ness”. By the end of his first

outing as Cousin Jac, that divided land has melted away. Parts

two and three of the narrative will be released when he gets

around to recording them; writing has already begun, and he’s

nervous about his ability to play it all live (the full backing band

can reach a dozen in number, with the optional string section).

Eventually, he’d like to go for the grandiose ploy of performing

his triptych in full over successive evenings, though we’ll have to

wait for them to mature, the narratives apparently setting course

to traverse afro-beat and jazz next time: morsels from foreign

shores, ready to gaze at the dwindling light on the horizon and

add to the chase.

Believe Me To Remain is out now.

cousinjac.com


Book now for

Christmas!

Your NEW Liverpool

Philharmonic Hall

this Christmas

David Gray

Monday 1 December 7.30pm

Imelda May

Friday 5 December 7.30pm

DadaFest International 2014

Staff Benda Bilili

Saturday 6 December 7.30pm

Seth Lakeman

Wednesday 4 February 7.30pm

Christmas with the

Royal Liverpool

Philharmonic

Orchestra

White Christmas:

The Greatest

Holiday Hits

Saturday 13 December 7.30pm

The Spirit

of Christmas

Thursday 18 / Saturday 20 -

Tuesday 23 December 7.30pm

Family Concert

Rudolph on

Hope Street

Saturday 20 & Sunday 21

December 11.30am & 2.30pm

Monday 22 December 2.30pm

Swinging in the

New Year with

Jacqui Dankworth

Wednesday 31 December 7.30pm

Disney Fantasia

Live in Concert

Saturday 3 January

2.30pm & 7.30pm

Box Office

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0151 709 3789


14

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK

2014 REVIEW Words:

Sam Turner, Dave Tate, Joshua Potts, Richard

Lewis, Paddy Clarke, Alastair Dunn.

Photography: Michelle Roberts / sheshoots.co.uk

Liverpool has enjoyed an embarrassment of riches on the festival

front this year. 2014 has seen the biggest names, the best cuttingedge

artists and Shaggy all grace Merseyside. As we reached the

year’s curtain call, LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK strode up to the plate

for its tenth edition, primed to unleash more fantastic music on our

venues with some mouth-watering prospects on an aggressively

great bill. Dave Tate started at the top with the stunning opening

event at Camp and Furnace, waiting with baited breath to see

the current critic’s darling, while Josh Potts encountered post-rock

royalty in the same venue the following night. Dave Tate then took

a trip to the other side of town for a set by established indie-dance

favourites at the O2 Academy.

SHOWCASE EVENTS

There are many round these parts (by which

I of course mean the music press) who'd

have you believe Daniel Snaith is some

kind of musical second coming,

and they certainly have a strong

case. His last three albums,

under the aliases of

CARIBOU and Daphni,

have all received

justified critical

acclaim

and

he has proved

himself equally adept

behind the decks, taking

headline sets at festivals

across the summer.

While he's certainly blessed with

a polymathic ability (not only in music,

Snaith holds a doctorate in Mathematics),

it would also be fair to say I've been slightly

trepidatious about the trajectory his latest album

has set him on. While his previous work has never

shied away from the mainstream, he was usually found

to be skirting its periphery. Familiar, while challenging its

conventions enough to be interesting. With latest offering, Our

Love, however, it seems he has set his sights firmly on the charts.

My first thoughts on hearing the album were how similar a

lot of it was to much contemporary pop/dance. Not that there's

anything inherently wrong with that, of course, but the album

failed to excite me in the same way as, say, Swim or (Daphni

debut) Jiaolong. Perhaps this is a sign of Snaith’s increasing

ambition to crack the mainstream. Judging from tonight's show

ambition is something Snaith possesses in spades. Every track is

squeezed and pushed to its most anthemic, showcasing his move

towards a bigger and more club/festival-friendly sound.

bidolito.co.uk

Perhaps Snaith’s overriding characteristic, and greatest

strength, lies in his ability to connect seemingly disparate scenes

and eras. The songs he plays from his last two Caribou albums –

such as the ever-excellent

reconcile a love of

play as a band. In

Odessa – exhibit his attempts to

dance music with his desire to

the context of this band,

the music incorporates much of

the flowery psychedelia of

his earlier albums.

not

New

single

Can't

Do

Without

You

would

sound out of

place atop the Radio 1

playlist, but even tracks dating as

far back as 2007’s

Andorra hold their own in

this decidedly dance- friendly context. Caribou’s

broad appeal is evident,

Caribou

with everyone from 'the youth of

today' to the discerning, beard-stroking musos in attendance. It

may be difficult to maintain your uniqueness as an artist whilst the

audiences

continue

to

grow but it's a

safe bet to say if

anyone can do it,

it's probably Dan.

The

buzz

surrounding

Saturday

night’s

bill seems to

shake the highest

rafters of the

Furnace, where a

dense crowd has

filled almost every

nook in the room to watch

MUGSTAR unleash hell. No,

they don’t kick anything over,

and their guitars are not beaten on

the stage floor like Fisher Price mallets,

though you wonder if the noises arising

from such activity would be out of place in the

quartet’s familiar (but never easy) krautrock tempest.

Having gained an extremely passionate local following

over the years, the band brutalise any who find the idea of

ripples in their pints ungodly. Canvas and Black Fountain are

as unstoppable as a truck spotlighting a baby deer; Mugstar are

always best when their sheer energy batters the niggling feeling

that maybe one gear is all they can hit but, Christ, what velocity,

what furious confidence in their material.

FOREST SWORDS is another local lad done good – one of

Merseyside’s true breakout stars. It’s great to see him back home

in Camp and Furnace on this celebratory Friday evening, at the

summit of an All Tomorrow’s Parties event that he’s curated. An

ancient idol revolves slowly on the screen behind him, possibly

a nod towards Matthew Barnes’ fast and loose appropriation

of world music to his tightly wound, electronic fantasia. Like

his ambient forefathers, he’s able to let melodies squirrel away

beneath percussive bedrock, yet stabs through here and there


Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 15

Mogwai

with vocal lines that take you off guard, shuttling towards a

cataclysm we’re eternally hoping for. When Barnes’ stars

align, there’s no will to refuse them. The Weight Of

Gold is a perfect example of his mythos, performed

with see-sawing back motions and a bass pitch

that’s too ridiculous to be healthy.

If Forest Swords represents

the transitory level of success as an

instrumental artist, MOGWAI have

to be the lords of the long

game. The Glaswegians

have

experimented

with their quietloud

nuclear

dynamic

before


however,

2014’s Rave

Tapes might be

their most mature

effort yet and,

truthfully, it adds

a lot of meat to

Mogwai’s

musical

bones.

Opener

Heard About You

Last Night slithers

beautifully to life,

three

luminous

hexagons

above

blinking out over our

dark bodies. Remurdered’s

menace could be lifted straight

out of Pink Floyd’s Welcome To

The Machine, another dizzying and

dystopian murmur bubbling at the edges

of ascendency. Count all of the finger-flights up

the neck of John Cummings’ guitar and you deserve

a medal. The group swap instruments occasionally,

tuning into a kinesis that binds each take-off with the

titanic force of a leviathan emerging from clouds of fog. Each

song requires patience but they are very rewarding: Death Rays, in

particular, layers its sonic patchwork together without revealing

any seams. Mogwai can say more with a held chord than most

bands can cram into a lyric sheet, and for this, and the fact that

they are simply one of the most cohesive units gracing modern

music, we can reattach to reality tomorrow with a glimpse of

transcendence.

On the face of it, MONEY don't look like a band you would

particularly want opening for you. Recent headline slots have

shown them to be a band capable of wearing out an audience

with the conviction they put into their performance and, if they hit

their stride, they could easily threaten to blow any headliners out

of the water. Their reverb-washed post-punk sound brings to mind

The Bunnymen and the songs push towards anthemic. Synth pads

wash and rise and vocals soar, touching on themes of love and

loss, all with a decidedly Byronic bent. And my, what vocals they

are. Midway between a choirboy and a drunk, Jamie Lee manages

to evoke an entire spectrum of emotions and then some, all

with a coy smile across his face. His swagger and charisma are

arresting. Again, not exactly a band you'd relish following.

Pity, then, poor WILD BEASTS, for that is precisely the hand

they've been dealt. Things start promisingly enough and they've

brought along all the bells and whistles, not to mention a

particularly impressive light show. In spite of all this, however, I

find myself zoning out from the second song in. The sound from

the venue could partially be to blame, but only to the extent that

it exposes a weakness inherent in the band’s latest synth-based

offerings. Stood up alongside their better – and better-renowned –

earlier work such as All The King’s Men and Hooting And Howling,

it makes you wonder why they ever chose to move away from

their guitar-based roots at all.

Indeed, the band seem a long

way from those quirkyyet-compelling

Cumbrians with

the camp falsettos

and jagged guitar pop that found

them fame. Instead, they have

repositioned

themselves as a

group of Thin

White Dukeera

Bowies,

wrapped

in swagger and

turtlenecks.

While

they prove themselves

experienced-enough musicians to

put on a good show, at times it

going through the motions. Towards

Hookworms

Hookworms

feels like they're

the end of the set they

do try to engage the crowd with their louder songs and more

dance-inspired beats but it's too little, too late. It's a shame really

because underneath all the synth glitz, 80s fashion and faux

posturing, I'm sure there's still a band capable of putting on a

great show. Just not tonight.

FREE SHOWS @

THE KAZIMIER

With the echoing din of such fine purveyors of modern rock

still rattling the walls of Camp and Furnace, we pitched up at

The Kazimier for a fine weeklong series of free shows. Dave Tate,

Richard Lewis and Paddy Clarke saw some of the highlights.

There's nothing like a bit of Saturday Night Fever, particularly

when it's soundtracked by the infectious, hypnotic grooves of one

of San Francisco’s finest groups of recent years. PEAKING LIGHTS

certainly bring a party atmosphere, even if it's mostly limited to

the stage. Not since the Shangaan of Nozinja has Liverpool played

host to music simultaneously ebullient and danceable. While their

sound is clearly indebted to Jamaican dub production and ideas,

there is a gratifying lack of affected patois, quasi-spirituality or

misappropriated ideology that afflicts so much of dub-inspired

music. Peaking Lights’ music equally references shades of 4AD as

it does Studio One and is all the stronger and more interesting for

it. Danceable and fun. Now if only they could drag a few more

bodies on to the floor.

HOOKWORMS’ support slot to fellow cosmic voyagers

Moon Duo two years ago saw the same venue at

roughly half-full, whereas tonight The Kaz is at

sardines capacity before the five-piece descend

from the dressing room.

Assuredly opening with slow-burner

Away/Towards – the curtain-raiser to

last year’s magnificent debut LP,

Pearl Mystic – the set powers

forwards in units of

three or four tracks

at a time, the

first

tranche

comprising

twenty minutes

of exhilarating prog/

psych cross-pollination

before a brief respite is

finally permitted.

Stood front and centre onstage,

vocalist MJ is the fulcrum of the band’s

sound and somehow manages to combine

intense emotional vocal catharsis with lab

technician-like accuracy across keyboards and the

sound desk of white noise effects and samples in front

of him. To the left of the stage, a guitarist grapples with

his low-slung axe whilst opposite a fellow six-stringer lets

loose a blizzard of FX, their efforts backed up by the formidable

drive of the rhythm section.

Showcasing new material – XL-proportioned lead single The

Impasse and new 45 On Leaving, pulsing along on an insistent

jabbing bassline – amply demonstrate why imminent second LP

The Hum is pulling in plaudits from across the board. The upbeat

stomp of Radio Tokyo signposts the group’s excursions into

poppier climes, while the swooning Off Screen proves the quintet

can change gears from intense to expansive, ‘quieter’ moments

where, conversely, the volume doesn’t actually drop. The title

of the straight-ahead motorik psych-pop of Retreat played last,

bidolito.co.uk


16

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

meanwhile, proves paradoxical, given that the present band are

advancing in the opposite direction at gathering speed. A quick

“Cheers Liverpool” and they depart to long, highly deserved

applause.

Across this year’s Liverpool Music Week bill you

can dip in to sets that are both brilliant and

bizarre, but few are as unyieldingly bizarre

as AMERICANS, the disordered duo who

open the evening tucked in a corner

amid a tangle of wires and props

on the crowded floor. Though

they open with sparse,

easy chimes, the

pleasantries

are

soon

smothered

by a harsh,

cacophonous swarm of

frantic drums and whirring,

abrasive synths which attack

and attack with no surrender in

sight.

It’s a shambolic set, yet somehow

completely engrossing – it might well be one

of the best comedy routines Liverpool’s seen in

years. Though one particularly obnoxious gaggle of

pissed-up, middle-aged punters who’ve stumbled into

the wrong hen-do feel the need to heckle, for the majority

the duo are remarkably endearing.

SEAWITCHES follow and bring things back down to earth –

unfortunately a little too much. Their set is a relatively engaging

one, thanks in no small part to the lashings of ethereal charisma

lent by frontwoman Jo Herring’s command of the stage, and they’ve

no shortage of fetching riffs and creeping atmospherics. The band’s

problem is simply a minor identity crisis – the shadows of Savages,

Siouxsie and The Cure still darken their idiosyncrasies. That said,

they reveal much in embryonic talent that’s there to be tightened,

and those vocals soar nonetheless.

WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS are, as ever, a welcome cat amongst

the pigeons. Led by the melodrama of the choral Tribulation,

as they take their opening strides they duly career into

a thunder of drums and razor-sharp screams. Noisy

is an understatement, the group completely

uncompromising in a set of magnetic intensity.

They take to quieter moments, too, with

immense reserves of confidence, solo

vocal segments still captivating

for what appears to be a far

from stereotypical screamo

crowd. As frontman

Simon Barr turns

political orator for

a defiant soap-box

speech towards the

set’s close, it’s more than

clear that he’s a man with The

Kazimier in his palm.

EAGULLS have more than the

swagger to follow, rocketing into their

luscious post-punk wails with the fine-tuned

intensity of Killing Joke at their most thrilling. It’s

not long before the moshers stumble frontwards for

Nerve Endings after ten minutes or so of quivering build

up and, given the band’s early, inexorable pace it’s not hard

to work out why. They are a potent live force, yet also a band

without a huge amount of material – exuberantly acclaimed their

bidolito.co.uk

Eagulls

The The Antlers Antlers

self-titled debut might be, but they’ve little more than that record’s

ten tracks to work with, all of which follow a set formula, and the

set feels wanting of a simple step up. That said, they’re as good

in their delivery as any of the slick performers out there, and,

should their baying crowd stick around, it’s only time in

the way of some sure-to-be stratospheric highs.

Tuesday brings a reminder that THE ANTLERS

are a band of nothing but gargantuan quality.

Before those venerable Brooklynites can

see starry-eyed expectations fulfilled,

however, JAMES CANTY is up

showing off his own prowess:

solo acoustic segments

propped up by his

modestly

moving,

electronic-leaning

backers. In the former it’s

off-kilter at the perfect angle,

the passion more than apparent

yet never bordering on the saccharine,

while in the meatier sequences it’s synth

pop done properly.

With the bar set rather high then, ETCHES leap

to push it once more with a plush, commanding set of

individualist, dark electro pop that breathes charisma into

a formula dominated by down-tempo mumblers. Above all,

the set simply shows character, the group’s musical narratives

shaped by organic twists and turns, kaleidoscopic collisions of

texture and the hypnotic float of delectable riffs, their latest Ice

Cream Dream Machine the closer and the highlight. It’s a set so

good it almost leaves seeds of a scandalous upstaging in the back

of some still-reeling minds.

On record, The Antlers have a long time been the refuge of the

disillusioned hipster, with records like Hospice earning the type of

reverence reserved for their elders and so-called betters. Their live

set is everything their adoring cult could hope for: a captivating

sequence of knife-edge tenderness to reel in their doting mob.

They open with the delicacies of Palace, distilling, refining and

unleashing a yearning cocktail of opulent texture into the very

purest of assaults on the senses. Throughout the set they

essentially keep repeating the feat, their hour or so a

protracted sequence of singular euphoria, peppered

with stratospheric crescendos of sparse-yetunbridled

emotion. As on record they never

quite deviate from their marvellous

mid-tempos, perhaps leaving those

yet to be converted a little out

of the communal loop. That

minority are a meagre one,

though, for at large

the set leaves the

masses in tatters as

the spell finally breaks,

and a departing Epilogue feels

enough to stake a claim for the

festival’s finest hour.

For the uncostumed Halloween crowd

that’s seemingly oblivious to the festivities

beyond the beer garden, an imperious evening

with LIARS awaits. As Liars take the stage to a beaten,

bemused but ever-enraptured crowd there’s still plenty

of room for manoeuvre; that, however, is the perfect state of

affairs, with Liars seizing on the breathing room from the off, the

gleeful bounces of an adoring front row quick to fill the space.

The set rests on the trio’s more recent electronic leanings, and


18

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

it’s their second outing, Mask Maker, that truly sets the night alight.

Relentless grooves and finely-tuned explosions of electro-insanity

are the order of the day, the New Yorkers hurtling through their

show with an off-kilter swagger that soon filters into the mob,

some of whom simply stare in befuddled hypnosis, others diving

headfirst into the lunacy. The set concludes only slightly too soon

with Mess On A Mission, and the crowd need no cajoling into a

manic reception as frontman Angus Andrew’s frenzied refrain is

matched at every word.

CLOSING PARTY

For those who’ve been here before – and there should be plenty

of us, this being the tenth edition and all – the legendary status of

the LMW Closing Party will need no explanation. For those new to

it, it invariably offers a fittingly thrilling and bustling finale. Alastair

Dunn and Jack Graysmark threw themselves in to the tumult of

this year’s Music Week climax, which saw a full-on takeover

of the city’s Baltic Triangle sprawling across numerous

venues.

The escapades of main act on the District Stage,

BLACK LIPS, have become the stuff of legend, so it is

no wonder that the venue is packed to capacity.

Those who arrive late to the toilet-roll-andsweat

party miss STRANGE COLLECTIVE

charging the air in the room with

a riotous crackle, but it’s the

headliners who people will

remember after this

limb-flailing

show.

Though Black Lips

appear to have

matured

and

Song linger before swiftly being bought into

focus with ear-shattering percussion. With

whispers of the band shutting-up

shop and confirmation that this

is their final Liverpool show,

it’s reassuring that they

remain resolute in their

performance

as

they fly home to

roost.

There are few signs to indicate the hive

of activity into which the Baltic Triangle

has been turned by Liverpool Music

Week’s Closing Party, as it’s

hidden away within these old

warehouse walls. At a time

when

development

plans threaten the

very fabric of

this

area,

this

culmination of

a week of musical

extravagance

feels

even more selective and

for those in the know.

VEYU have managed to turn

the bare white space of The Blade

Factory in to their own mini-EPI, with

neon-flecked artwork and rippling visuals

splashed across the walls. It seems a little at

odds with their own pastel-hued melodica but, as

Running and In The Forest unravel, it’s hard to imagine

a setting that won’t fit this band’s gorgeous tones.

Black Black Lips Lips

mellowed

since

their

infamous

early

performances,

they

still put on a riotous show.

The frenetic pace of their

songs does little to disguise how

well crafted they truly are, and the

gospel and blues influences are clear

throughout. Fan favourites Bad Kids and

Oh Katrina! prove the highlights of the set, but

everything in-between is just as good.

Over at Camp and Furnace, such is the anticipation

that a mass of punters are waiting patiently to get into the

main hub when half-eight rolls around. Suddenly, the room is

swelling and a foreboding static is heralding the arrival of BIRD,

a four-piece that always capture the twisted, otherworldly beauty

that lies within darkness. The subdued guitar notes on The Rain

Chvrches

Headliners

CHVRCHES

really

reap the rewards of the

vast, cavernous space of

the same venue. Their melodies

come ready-made for translating

the crowd’s energy into a blissful, popheavy

elation and, as they launch into the

frenetic roll of We Sink, the industrial setting

complements the swarm of synths and intense

neon graphics that douse the stage.

Maybe it’s just the PA, but despite frontwoman Lauren

Mayberry’s determination her vocals occasionally drown

under the full force of the band’s sound, such as the blistering

chorus of Night Sky. Yet on other tracks, like Gun, she is clear and

assertive, bolstered by a vigorous aura of self-belief. Iain Cook

and Martin Doherty flank her, often shoehorned to their stations

of synths and samples, so it’s refreshing when Cook pulls out a

bass to flaunt at the front of the stage, while Doherty takes on

vocal duties for new single Under The Tide, twisting his mic cord

in aggressive writhing while Mayberry retreats to the safety of

the synth pads.

After what seems like an obvious finish on the woozy delirium

of The Mother We Share, the band return for a triple encore of

non-singles. As a calm wave attempting to defuse a boisterous

storm, it feels out of place; in the live arena, this is a band that

excel in their bombastic, full-on moments. It is astonishing that

this is the Glasgow trio’s first visit to Merseyside, but what a

debut to make; delivered in seismic quantities, Chvrches’ brand of

synth pop demands not only your reaction but your participation.

When the pace is pushed as far as it can go, it works wonders as

a final charge.

Head to bidolito.co.uk to see a full photo gallery from this year’s

Liverpool Music Week shows.

liverpoolmusicweek.com

bidolito.co.uk


STEPHEN LANGSTAFF

LANGSTTTTTAFF

TTTAFF

FRI 6TH DEC

STEPHEN WILLIAMS

FRI 30TH JAN

THE SECURITY PROJECT

SAT SSSSA SAAAAAT AAAT T 31ST JAN

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FRI 6TH FEB

SIMON AMSTELL

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SUN 29TH MAR

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THU 17TH APR

KATHERINE

RYYYYAN

RYYY RYAN

YYYAN

THU 8TH MAY

MAAAAAY

AAAY AYYYY

SHANKLEYS SHANKLY’S DREAM CAME TRUE

FRI 15TH MAY

MAAAAAY

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LAU

SAT SSSSA SAAAAAT AAAT T 16TH MAY

AAAY AYYYY AAAAY

CARA DILLON

THU 21ST MAY

MAAAAAY

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08448884411

85 5 Hanover Street L1 3DZ

WWW.EPSTEINLIVERPOOL.CO.UK

@EpsteinTheatre

facebook.com/EpsteinTheatre

facebook.cooooom/EpsteinTheatre

om/EpsteinTheatre


22

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

“No way are you getting me to do that!”

“No” isn't a word that I've heard very often from the mouth of

Dave McTague, a man who has been heavily involved in music

in this city for some time. From the early days of Another Late

Night Magazine, through publicity and marketing for the likes

of Africa Oyé and Threshold Festival, and artist management for

Nordic chanteuse Ragz, McTague has been there and done pretty

much everything there is to do in this old town. The constant

throughout this myriad of projects has been MELLOWTONE,

McTague’s own acoustic showcase, which celebrates ten years

of soothing sounds this month, and is the basis for this jovial

outburst. McTague is adamant he couldn't calculate how many

Mellowtone shows there have been in total, despite spending

days sifting through boxes of old flyers while compiling this

retrospective. “All I know for sure is it's in the hundreds!” he tells

me, laughing at the prospect. By way of celebration of a decade

of promoting shows, McTague has compiled a commemorative

release: Mellowtone: 10 Years is a CD of 18 songs by former

Mellowtone alumni that soundtrack not only their timeline, but a

explains. “Mellowtone only became a reality once Richie and I

stumbled across the View Two. Instantly we knew: 'this is the

place – this is happening now!'.” The View Two may be their

spiritual home, but it's far from their only home. Over the years,

Mellowtone have hosted events at over 40 different Liverpool

venues, as well as curating stages at many of our major festivals

– Sound City, Liverpool Music Week and Liverpool International

Music Festival. McTague explains: “I've made a point of trying to

keep it nomadic – different venues, different nights of the week. I

wanted it to be regular, but in a way that people would still have

to pay attention, and seek us out”. A bold strategy, but one that

certainly worked on this enthusiastic music fan new to the city

ten years ago.

My early memories of Mellowtone centre on the friendly face

of one of the most well-known and admired people working in

Liverpool music. Dave always had time to chat even when he

didn't, ready with a flyer to thrust into your hand as he left, each

one a promise of interesting acts in exciting new places. “We

try to use intimate venues – galleries, cafés, the small room in a

start. We try and play sympathetically in terms of tempo and

mood, but also contrast with the band's sound. Present people

with something they may enjoy but have never heard before or

wouldn't otherwise listen to.”

Comedian Sam Avery was an accomplished compère throughout

the early years, before passing the baton to another lively local

luminary, DJ/promoter Monkey. Avery believes this attention to

detail, which is often an afterthought for most people, helps

set them apart: “Dave is totally on the ball with every minor and

major part of a gig without being a tit about it, so Mellowtone is

always very professionally run, but retains that laidback vibe that

it wouldn't work without.”

It's an infectious vibe that invites collaboration – another key

component of their framework. Every carefully crafted Mellowtone

flyer features the logos of countless other partners, local and

national. In an industry where friendship is often fabricated,

McTague is not shy of working with his peers and competitors,

having combined with Harvest Sun, Cheap Thrills, Evol and

many others where necessary to put on a good show. “Mutually

Words: Maurice Stewart / theviewfromthebooth.tumblr.com

rather pleasant evening in.

For those of us who have been so wrapped up in musical

goings on in the city over recent years, it’s difficult to think of a

live music scene in Liverpool without Mellowtone; but it wasn’t

ever thus. Having relocated from Leeds to study at John Moores

University, McTague found himself promoting for a few local

club nights back in 2004, where he met with future Mellowtone

conspirator Richie Vegas. However, his experiences as a punter

led to him creating a night of his own: “When we started, guitar

bands were still influenced by 90s Britpop. I was sick of gigs with

a few lads huddled at the back. There was very little acoustic

music in Liverpool that wasn't open mic nights, which is normally

a different standard to what you'd want at a folk night. So we

tried to take that music and put it on a proper stage”. The word

“proper” relates in this instance more to the perceptions of the

audience than the dimensions of the playing area.

The idea had formed, but wasn't firm until a chance encounter

at the View Two Gallery on Mathew Street gave them the perfect

launch pad. “Finding a good space was very important,” Dave

bidolito.co.uk

pub,” explains McTague. “Even in the times we've progressed to

bigger venues and bigger artists, we've maintained that intimacy

through booking smaller shows alongside.” There was a certain

thrill in discovering where they would pop up next, but it was

always clear the music was most important – a fact not lost on the

musicians themselves. Long-time Mellowtone performer Ragz

Nordset vividly recalls “the intense silence filling the View Two

at every gig once an artist had started”, a sure sign of the respect

the audience held for both artist and promoter. “The audience can

trust the artists to be worth seeing,” concurs Kaya Herstad Carney,

who has also played at dozens of incarnations of the Mellowtone

night. “There's a good mix of undiscovered gems from all over

alongside more established local acts; acoustic in its core, but not

scared of making big noises.” That trust is also built on a strong

supporting cast. Resident DJs Vegas and Johnnie O'Hare – known

under the moniker of their grassroots music festival Above the

Beaten Track – have been integral since day one, helping “to

turn each gig into an event,” according to Vegas. “Dave had

that concept – an actual event rather than just a gig – from the

beneficial” is a phrase to which McTague returns frequently,

including when discussing the desire to produce the compilation.

“We want more people to hear these great musicians we're

booking, so maybe they come along next time we book them. It's

a testament to how many good songwriters there are here that

I really struggled with who to leave out. Some of the artists are

no longer active or have gone on to other things, so it acts as a

document of a period in Liverpool's musical history.” A decade is

the perfect juncture at which to take stock.

Everyone I spoke to has different theories, but personally I believe

the mix of a tight and trusted crew allied to a perpetual addition

of new ideas, people and places is the secret to Mellowtone's

longevity. “It certainly keeps it interesting for me,” McTague admits.

“I try to book shows that I'd want to go to myself.”

Fitting last words – almost as good as the fresh flyer in my

hand that accompanies them.

Mellowtone:10 Years is available to buy at all Mellowtone live

shows, and online at mellowtone.bandcamp.com


1 HESKETH ST

AIGBURTH, LIVERPOOL

L17 8XJ

020 7232 0008


24

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

bidolito.co.uk

Who are ya?

Tales from the wings with The Music Consortium

The next time you go to a festival and stand in front of a

stage that looks like it’s been chopped off the back of an aircraft

hangar, I want you to ask yourself the following questions: how

did it get there?; was it there last week, and will it be there

tomorrow?; who made sure that the sound that comes out of

those colossal speakers is loud but not deafening?; how do the

twinkly lights dangling from that truss always seem to kick in

to life when the guitarist launches into his solo?; why are those

men in three-quarter-length shorts and black T-shirts (for they

are invariably men, mostly in three-quarter-lengths, and seldom

out of black T-shirts) looking so miserable as they tinker with the

dials on the amps?; why do the band always ask for “more vocals

in the monitor”?

By contemplating all of these questions, you will be weighing

in your hands the largely ignored roles of the tech and production

crew: those shadowy, saintly figures who make live music happen.

Most of us are so wrapped up in experiencing the thrill of live

performance that we rarely spare a thought for these mechanics

behind the world of live music. Spike Beecham knows more than

most about the vagaries of working in the shadows of stacks and

monitors, having worked as a stage or production manager on

events all round the world for over a decade. His company, THE

MUSIC CONSORTIUM, began by providing local crewing to Leeds

Festival, and has since expanded to supplying technical event

support services to all manner of festivals, exhibitions and venues

completely unimpressed with the infantile display that you might

think comes with your dubious status. They were there hours

before you building the stage and they will be there hours after

you leave tearing it down. They should get your salary and you

should get theirs.”

So hands up who actually knows what a stage manager or a

tech does, or what any of the crew does, for that matter? Lighting

technicians anyone? Riggers? You may be more familiar with our

American friends’ catchall phrase, “roadies”, whilst we Brits prefer

to use tags that better explain our role on the road: guitar tech,

sound engineer and so on. The point I’m making is that, although

there are enough column inches written about bands on tour to

sink the Titanic on a monthly basis, very little seems to be known

about the dark arts of the touring crew. Although they are spoken

about in hushed tones and are known by mythic names whose

origins stem from the great and mysterious land of rock and roll

legend – Mugger, Digby, Polaris, Stanna, Shippo, Bamo, Stone,

Nick the Hat (all genuine) to name a few – little is known about

what they do during the day, just what they get up to after the

trucks are packed up at night.

Traditionally, the best crew are half magician, half cynic, able

to solve any technical issue with gaffer tape and a sharp knife

while simultaneously shaking their heads and guffawing at the

(more often than not) bombastic demands of a drunken vocalist

who’s decided he wants to do a soundcheck, er… now. Today,

70s the roadie became the person who got booed by the punters

when they took the band offstage at the end of the show. These

days, being a member of the backstage crew is a bit like being

a social worker with a tool kit. If things go wrong on stage, you

don't mince about and make a big song and dance: egos must

remain firmly in check when the act is on stage, so that they

remain relaxed and able to perform. You fix the problem with the

minimum amount of fuss and return to the shadows. The act may

or may not be aware that there’s a problem, but either way will

give you a certain amount of time and space to get the issue

sorted. The guy who takes the band off the stage at the end of

the show still has to put up with the odd bit of booing: I should

know because more often than not that’ll be me, as I’m usually

either the stage manager or the production manager – as the job

of the person that takes the act off stage is now called. Once the

act leaves the stage, as Rollins stated, we tear it all down, load it

into trucks and move on.

In conclusion then, and for the record, if it wasn’t for the rest of

the crew/technicians – whether they are operating on the stage,

backstage or at front of house – I wouldn’t be able to get booed

at all, because without that crew the act would never have been

able to start the show in the first place. After reading this, you

budding rock stars may still have no idea what these guys do, and

to be honest that might be for the best, but show some respect,

please. Because, although they may tread lightly and talk softly in

across the globe. In a bid to find out a little more about the lot of

the role of any member of a successful touring crew is one that

the underappreciated techy, we asked Spike to debunk some of

sees them spanning the globe and combines hours of frenetic

the myths and tell us why we all owe them a debt of gratitude.

activity, in order to the get the gig up and running, with hours of

waiting around doing nothing. That’s when the boredom sets in,

What follows is a message from the great Henry Rollins to all

the mischief starts and taking care of the gear becomes taking

you budding rock stars out there: “Listen to the stage manager

care of the “gear”.

and get on stage when they tell you to. No one has the time for

your rock-star bullshit, none of the techs backstage care if you’re

David Bowie or the milkman. When you act like a jerk, they are

To coin a phrase from Springsteen, this job was born in the

USA in the 1960s, when the roadie was essentially part of the

band and was respected by the fans; but that evolved and by the

your presence, just remember that, when they’re standing behind

the amps in the dark, they all carry knives and the odd hammer…

to fix things with, obviously.

For more information about the services that The Music

Consortium offer, head to themusicconsortium.com.

Spike also writes a regular blog about some of the stories and

experiences he encounters from his position side of stage. Head to

themusicconsortium.tumblr.com to read more of these tales.


DECEMBER

----------------------------------- CLUB

02

03

05

06

07

09

12

13

22

31

SILVER APPLES £13

JESSE MALIN £10

M.O.P. £15

ITCHY FEET £7

NINA NESBITT + BILLY LOCKETT,

KERRI WATT £14

HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE

£13.50

HERE & NOW w/POISENED ELEC-

TRIC HEAD £10

SAINT SAVIOUR & BILL RYDER-

JONES £10

CHERRY GHOST £15

NYE - STEALING SHEEP PRESENT

MYTHOPOEIA II - GALAXIES &

TAPESTRIES £10-15


26

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

DEC/JAN IN

BRIEF

SOUND CITY 2015

SOUND CITY 2015

The Unsung Hero will get its chance in the limelight with the subject being used as the unifying theme of LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY’s 2015 conference

programme. And they’ve already lined up three heavyweight guests to deliver this idea: The Fall’s acerbic wit, MARK E. SMITH; Ramones manager and king

of NYC punk, DANNY FIELDS; and Cream creator JAMES BARTON (pictured), who was just named by Billboard Magazine as the most influential person in the

realm of EDM. Sound City are teaming up with Primavera Pro on their eighth music conference, which will take place at the Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock.

liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

Edited by Richard Lewis and Emma Brady

MYTHOPOEIA II

STEALING SHEEP are hosting a second outing of their New Year’s Eve spectacular in their spiritual home of The Kazimier, following 2013’s highly successful

debut. Billed as MYTHOPOEIA II: GALAXIES & TAPESTRIES, the sequel includes a set from the hosts, alongside sets from some of their mates: electro noisecore

ensemble BARBEROS; Leeds Afrobeat/no wave crew AZORES; and a collaboration with THE HARLEQUIN DYNAMITE MARCHING BAND. The décor and theme

of the night will make for a unique deviation from the traditional Auld Lang Syne malarkey. And while we’re on the subject of the host band…

The Kazimier / 31st December

HEAVENLY WEEKEND

Legendary indie label Heavenly Recordings celebrates its twenty-fifth birthday in January with a weekend-long shindig in the picturesque town of

Hebden Bridge. Renowned as one of the leading small independent venues in the country, the Trades Club is set to feature luminaries of the label across

the four days (including Temples, The Wytches, Toy, Jimi Goodwin and the Mark Lanegan Band). The evening of Sunday 25th is reserved for the label’s two

Merseyside acts, as recent signings HOOTON TENNIS CLUB (pictured) appear alongside STEALING SHEEP, who are due to release a new LP in 2015.

Hebden Bridge Trades Club / 22-25th January 2015

THE PAPERHEAD

We’re delighted that Nashville whizzkids THE PAPERHEAD have returned to the fray, making this gig at The Ship one that’s not to be missed. Signed to

revered Chicago label Trouble In Mind (Ty Segall, Night Beats, Fuzz), the quartet issued their second LP, Africa Avenue, in November, three years after their

debut record blazed a hole in the neo-psych movement. Adding elements of cosmic country and krautrock to their fresh spin on classic 1960s British

psychedelia, the four-piece have shown that their potential for expansion will be hard to contain.

The Shipping Forecast / 30th January

SOUND STATION SUCCESS

After a fantastic all-day live festival at Moorfields Station, which featured ten of Merseyside’s most exciting emerging new artists as well as live

performances on Merseyrail trains, 18-year-old hip hop artist BLUE SAINT (pictured) scooped the title of MERSEYRAIL SOUND STATION PRIZE 2014 winner.

Along with the title, Blue Saint will receive of a year of professional music industry management, recording time and free Merseyrail travel. Having just

released the first EP in a three-part story, the next twelve months will be an exciting time for the artist: watch this space. merseyrailsoundstation.com

MICHAEL CHAPMAN

An artist who received sizeable praise from John Peel in the late sixties, and was a contemporary of folk legends John Martyn and Roy Harper, MICHAEL

CHAPMAN visits Liverpool this month. A well-known figure amongst the folk cognoscenti, the 2011 reissue of Chapman’s creative and critical highpoint, Fully

Qualified Survivor (1970), on storied reissue label Light In The Attic Records brought his work to a new audience. A 2012 tribute album, meanwhile, featured

contributions from Lucinda Williams, Thurston Moore and Hiss Golden Messenger, who have all cited Chapman’s work as a major influence.

Leaf / 8th December

WINTER ARTS MARKET

The Winter Arts Market returns for its 6th year as St George’s Hall invites artists and crafters to show what they’re made of. On Saturday 6th and Sunday

7th December, over 200 artists – including Gillian Tidgwell, Martin Jones, and Sue Wood – will descend on the Liverpool landmark selling decorations,

jewellery, art, prints and handmade greetings cards. Under 16s go free, and it’s £2 for everyone else. You can also book ahead to reserve your place on a

craft workshop with The Super Silly Scientists to make your own traditional kinetic toy. winterartsmarket.com

St George’s Hall / 6th and 7th December

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 27

BIDO AND SOUND CHRISTMAS QUIZ

This year sees a new festive date for your diary: the inaugural Bido Lito! and Sound Food & Drink Christmas Music Quiz is set to rival all other

Quiz of the Years (or is that Quizzes of the Year?). Starting at 7.30pm, there’s a £100 cash prize and a shiny new trophy up for grabs; and if you

win or lose, stick around for live music from seasonal string band THE EGGNOGS, plus DJ sets from ourselves and Liquidation til 1am. Down the

Baileys and don’t worry about Wednesday morning, it’s Christmaaaaasss!

Sound Food & Drink / 16th December

SILVER APPLES

Blossoming in the late-60s, US electro duo SILVER APPLES were successful in laying down a truly innovative blueprint to which a raft of psychedelic

contemporaries and successors have paid homage – Kraftwerk, Cluster, Portishead and fellow New Yorkers Suicide among them. Now piloted solely by 76-

year-old keyboard/proto-synthesizer whiz Simeon following the death of drummer Danny Taylor in 2005, Silver Apples continue to tour the world and win

over successive generations of music fans at every turn. They return to Liverpool after recently headlining Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht.

The Kazimier / 2nd December

BIDO LITO! @ LIVERPOOL ACOUSTIC FESTIVAL

Liverpool Acoustic Festival returns in March 2015 to showcase acclaimed national and international acoustic artists plus a host of acoustic-related activities. And

we’re delighted to say that we’re having a presence at the event this year, by hosting the showcase performance from Irish duo THE LOST BROTHERS (pictured) with

an accompanying DJ set from NICK POWER, who collaborated with the former Liverpool-based pair on their new Parr Street Studios-recorded album New Songs Of

Dawn And Dust. Academy Award winner and star of Once, MARKETA IRGLOVA, will also feature, alongside local artists, public workshops and a record fair.

Unity Theatre / 20th and 21st March 2015

THE INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY

Deep in the docklands of the city sits a factory that once chugged to the grind of wind turbine production. Long since deserted, the building has now been

appropriated by innovators The Vision Commission, and they’re throwing open the doors for a spectacular launch party that is based around the building’s

former industrial processes. The centrepiece of the event will be a suitably immersive audio-visual treat from avant-techno duo DOGSHOW, accompanied

by DJ Jacques Upitup’s piece entitled Organ Works – Variations For Electone HS6. Bring your hard hats and steel toecaps for a freakout.

25 Carlton Street / 13th December

NEON WALTZ

Though NEON WALTZ hail from the far-flung Scottish Highlands, some irresistible pull to these here parts has drawn them back for a return date at The

Shipping Forecast on their latest tour. Last time out they teamed up with Bill Ryder-Jones for a Mick Head cover, and their alignment with Scouse rock

royalty dovetails nicely with their own moody and nagging fireside indie warmth. After a burgeoning start to their career, it’ll be interesting to see how far

the Caithness troupe have come in these few short months.

The Shipping Forecast / 12th December

GIT AWARD 2015

The GIT Award is back, already gearing up to present its fourth annual award for local artists at a lavish ceremony at The Kazimier on 4th April 2015. And

the work in shortlisting potential successors to last year’s winner Forest Swords has already begun. Our very own Christopher Torpey has joined the local

judging panel this year, with Clash Magazine’s Robin Murray, Simon Raymonde from Bella Union, and 4AD label boss Rich Walker among those joining

the national judging panel. If you’d like to enter, send four tracks to gitaward@getintothis.co.uk

by 31st January. Head to

bidolito.co.uk

now to read

Christopher Torpey's thoughts on what the GIT Award holds in store this year.

THRESHOLD V

Homegrown festival THRESHOLD returns on the weekend of 27th-29th March 2015, showcasing the best of Merseyside’s creative community with a

programme including music, visual arts, performance, film, media and industry sessions. With four years of success under its belt it’s no surprise that

early bird tickets are now nearly sold out. Easily one of the most accessible festivals for local talent, applications to play are now being accepted via a

partnership with online music platform ReverbNation. Make sure your band gets in there quick though, as the application process closes in December.

thresholdfestival.co.uk

HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE

The Kazimier’s evergreen Funk and Soul Klub scores a triumph once again as they bring the highly venerated HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE to town.

Comprising the youngest eight sons of trumpet legend Phil Cohran (known for his work with the Sun Ra Arkestra), the Chicagoan horn octet incorporate

hip hop, jazz, funk and rock influences in to their pieces. The group have amassed a dazzling list of collaborations over the past decade and more,

including Wu Tang Clan, Prince and Femi Kuti, as well as appearing on Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach LP.

The Kazimier / 9th December

bidolito.co.uk


28

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Reviews

Woman's Hour (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

WOMAN’S HOUR

EVOL @ Arts Club

Since the release of their debut LP

Conversations in July, which seemed to

seem to send the blogosphere into a frenzy,

WOMAN’S HOUR have gone from strength to

strength. With a string of stylish, self-directed

videos they have carved for themselves a

distinct aesthetic, and one that relates not

only to their image but to their sound as well:

word-of-mouth suggests that their live shows

are similarly honed.

The band emerge from the dark recesses

and open with Unbroken Sequence, a slowly

unfolding bed of pulsating synths and minimal

percussion, with Fiona Burgess's characteristically

soft, dream-like vocals floating just above

everything else. Their songs may be effervescent,

swooning numbers but they are also hooky

as hell, with each track providing memorable

shifts and turns. In this way, the art school pop

sensibilities being exhibited on stage never

really become pretentious or contrived, and it is

clear throughout how much the members of the

band enjoy playing these songs.

The best example of this is standout track

of the evening Her Ghost. Interesting and

well crafted, it is the kind of song that could

be played to ten people in a loft, like tonight,

but that could also conceivably do well in the

charts. Essentially, this is what Woman’s Hour

have managed to achieve with their sound, the

melding of avant-garde vision with relatively

simple, pop-orientated structures. It certainly

works for them, but after six or seven songs

it has to be said that it becomes quite hard to

maintain concentration and enthusiasm. The

lack of atmosphere inside the venue almost

definitely has a lot to do with this, but even so

it does begin to detract from the performance,

and it is clear that those on stage are slightly

disappointed with the turnout.

The show must go on, however, and

single Conversations does much to buoy the

spirits. Will Burgess's guitar-work intertwines

symbiotically with his sister’s vocal lines,

creating a perfect accompaniment that also

brings depth to the instrumentation. The

rhythm section is steady and understated,

never pushing the songs in certain directions

but waiting instead to be pulled along.

Though there was a slight lull in the middle,

overall it has been an enjoyable display and

The Day That Needs Defending makes for a

neat conclusion. Those in attendance appear

satisfied, and perhaps even a little bewildered

that they have been present to witness such

an intimate performance from a much-hyped

band. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if in

the not-too-distant future they return to play

the much grander setting downstairs here at

the Arts Club. I guess it remains to be seen.

Alastair Dunn

REAL ESTATE

Alvvays

Harvest Sun @ The Kazimier

Canadians ALVVAYS open up tonight’s show

and immediately impress the quickly swelling

Tuesday night crowd. The five-piece delight in

looking and sounding like the best teenage

rom com never made. All the stereotypes are

there but combining wonderfully to make

something that thoroughly transcends any

prejudicial first impressions. Subtle synth

sounds underlie irresistible pop guitar hooks

to sweetly highlight pintsized singer Holly

Rankin’s soaring vocals. Next Of Kin is a set

highlight and these rising stars do everything

they need to to enamour themselves to this

refreshingly engaged gathering of musos.

Some bands sound exactly like where

they’re from, their music intrinsically linked

with their surrounds, both reflecting it and

explaining it: Joy Division wrought urban

decay in their doomed din, while Creedence

Clearwater Revival delivered a slice of

southern States small-town life via their

countrified rock, but other bands use music

as an escape. REAL ESTATE come from the

tough blue-collar state, New Jersey (albeit a

rather quaint suburb), from which its famous

tough-guy forebears Frank Sinatra, Jon Bon

Jovi and Bruce Springsteen drew strength in

the face of life’s claustrophobia. Real Estate

are very much from the other side of music’s

geographical coin.

It’s impossible not to listen to the fourpiece’s

breezy tunes and not imagine driving

down a West Coast palm tree-lined boulevard

with the sun shimmering on the bonnet as

lead guitarist Matt Mondaline’s flourishes

wash over a packed-out Kazimier tonight.

There’s sheer joy in this music rather than

bidolito.co.uk


Reviews

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 29

resistance to the daily grind. And it’s lapped

up by the Liverpool crowd.

The majority of tonight’s set comes from

the band’s last two albums: Days and this

year’s flawless Atlas. The interplay between

Mondaline and frontman Martin Courtney’s

guitars is mesmeric, while bassist Alex

Bleeker (who at least looks like a New Jersey

roughnik) is charming whilst adding the

occasional hooky bassline. Real Estate as a

package are charm personified; Bleeker’s quip

about Clinic being the sum total of Liverpool’s

musical heritage is received in the spirit it

was delivered, whilst Courtney’s dialogue is

limited but sincere.

The crowd’s demands for their solid set

to be followed by an encore are met as the

band return to the stage to play Out Of Tune

and It’s Real before parting with the crowd as

they are transported from California to a damp

Wolstenholme Square.

Sam Turner / @samturner1984

ROLLER TRIO

Dead Hedge Trio – Leather Cow

The Kazimier

Tonight, presented by Kazimier’s Jazz Club,

there come three bands that each give a

different definition of what jazz actually is. It’s

a vague and loose term, jazz, rescued from

vapid “feel-good” commerciality in the World

War Two era by the likes of Charlie Parker

and his ilk. Be-bop clawed back jazz’s artistic

credibility. Now, in a dimly lit Liverpool venue,

it’s clear to see that not only is that credibility

still intact but the music itself is still evolving

beyond any boundaries created by past jazz

idols.

LEATHER COW arrive on stage first and burst

into an onslaught of the most emancipated

free jazz you’re likely to hear. Ornette Coleman

is an obvious reference aside from the fact that

Leather Cow’s bassist, Rob Wilkinson, hits a lot

harder than Ornette ever did. Wilkinson plays

like an out-of-place Death From Above 1979 fan

which, surprisingly, nicely complements the

wayward direction that the band take. Leather

Cow are an impressive but challenging start

to the night and that’s a challenge that this

audience is more than willing to accept.

Next we have DEAD HEDGE TRIO, who are

slightly more refined than their predecessors

yet even more expressive. The guitarist, Rory

Ballantyne, adds 20,000 leagues’ worth

of depth to their expansive sound, playing

abrasive, coarse chords and melodies that

are reminiscent of John Frusciante’s work

on Ataxia’s first LP. Nick Branton, the trio’s

saxophonist, lunges charismatically into his

instrument, warring enigmatically with the

thing as if it were in the midst of a musical

brawl. The musicianship shown by the whole

band, held together by drummer Michael

Roller Trio (Nata Moraru / natamoraru.tumblr.com)

bidolito.co.uk


30 Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Reviews

Spring King (Gaz Jones / @GJMPhoto)

Metcalfe, is almost primal. They journey

through tracks Monster Munch and the stirring

Antibiotic with passionate fervour. Elements

of early Portico Quartet emerge throughout.

The boys from Dead Hedge leave the crowd

stunned.

It’s been a busy few years for ROLLER TRIO,

whose debut album was nominated for a

Mercury Music award. In no time at all they

have become one of the most important and

innovative new breakthrough acts in the British

music scene, challenging people’s perceptions

of what modern jazz should sound like.

This evening’s show is part of a short tour

in support of their imminent second album

Fracture, the release of which is being funded

through an online crowdfunding campaign.

The band play an engaging set which includes

the new single High Tea as well as older

pieces Deep Heat, Roller Toaster and Howdy

Saudi. The performance is immersive: complex

melodic structures and rhythmic syncopations

are fed through the instruments with almost

mathematical precision. Guitarist Luke Wynter

sticks like glue to the rhythms employed;

even the erratic wanderings of drummer Luke

Redding-Williams and saxophonist James

Mainwaring, whose vibrant playing entrances

everyone in the room, cannot throw off the

skeletal underpinning of Wynter’s nebulous

guitar work.

Roller Trio offer a mix of electronic infusion,

hip hop-style breakbeats, the occasional

foray into rock territory and, mostly, some

lush, opulent and almost geometric jazz. It’s

a wonderful and innovative cacophony. You

aren’t likely to catch a show quite like this

one anytime soon, so, it’d be wise simply to

patiently await Roller Trio’s next return to

Liverpool.

SPRING KING

Moats

Christopher Carr

EVOL @ The Shipping Forecast

SPRING KING stem from intriguing roots.

Rather than the usual origins story featuring a

few friends jamming together, the garage punk

act was born in frontman Tarek Musa’s bedroom

from a handful of demos. The fact he’s now

the drummer means you’re constantly thrown

off guard via your rigid expectations of where

the vocalist should reside, as your eyes dart

back and forth from centre stage. However, it

would be foolish to suggest that the chemistry

between each member is anything less because

of it; in Spring King’s party, it’s all for one.

The same can be said for support slot regulars

MOATS. Just as exciting on the umpteenth

performance as the first, everyone’s a winner,

in particular the four lads themselves. It’s their

last show before heading to Austin City Limits

in Texas, but they’re not holding back here

because of it. Hordes of friends surge forward

bidolito.co.uk


as frontman Matthew Duncan requests

the crowd to “get electrocuted”, with some

having come from as far as south of the

Birmingham divide to see the band. As the set

lurches from fast and foreboding numbers

to the more contemplative Fortnight, which

ponders a past girlfriend over echoing guitars

as the drums gradually build, it’s not difficult

to see why.

Unsurprisingly, Moats have built a strong

reputation in this corner of the North West,

while tonight acts as a road test for the

headliners. Musa may recognise these parts

as a LIPA alumni (which explains the presence

of fellow graduate Dan Croll at the front), but

since then he has returned to his stomping

ground of Manchester and unleashed an

impressive array of production work. Now

signed to Transgressive with a debut EP

preaching to the masses, it’s all raring to go;

Spring King just need to test the water.

Third track Can I? provides the first real

ruckus of the night. From then on in it’s a

relentless assault that is only reined in for the

more restrained Not Me, Not Now towards

the end. Croll is just one of many that indulge

in some exuberant headbanging, which suits

the scene perfectly; you wonder: why on earth

is such boisterousness not a feature of every

gig of this kind? Surely in the tight confines of

the Hold it’s only a matter of time before the

blaze of reverb draws the room to breaking

point? The secret ingredient lies in the two

guitarists and bassist on stage.

While Musa remains heavily focused over

the drums, the remaining members stand in

a line and stimulate the crowd through their

vigorous onstage antics. One guitarist veers

across to Musa in a seamless flow during

Mumma, before bravely crowdsurfing on

curtain-call Vampire, where vigorous moshing

hammers him against the ceiling. For all the

casual, carefree vibes conveyed by their music,

the Spring King live experience is tight as hell,

and all the more enjoyable for it.

Tonight has seen the reaction you crave

at the unveiling of fresh, raw talent: reckless

yet co-operative euphoria. It may be short

and sweaty, but pandemonium is often best

enjoyed in small doses, and Spring King carry

it with such a strong sense of assurance that

you can tell this is only the first step on a long

road ahead.

Jack Graysmark / @ZeppelinG1993

LONE

WYWH - Adronite

The Kazimier

With heady reverberations still ringing in

the ever-hungry ears of Liverpool music fans,

it is time to dust down and cram in as many

gigs as possible before the year ends. For

those feeling a little psyched-out, the prospect

of a laidback evening in the company of one

of the most discussed electronic musicians in

recent months, LONE, is sure to be tempting.

As first support act, WYWH, takes to the

stage gig-goers are conspicuously absent.

Unperturbed, WYWH, aka Andrew Parry,

launches into an ethereal and enthralling set.

The tracks are dark and introspective, with

very deep, repetitive basslines and reverbsoaked,

melodic meanderings. His usage

of a chaosilator does exactly what its name

suggests, bringing a little bit of chaos to what

is otherwise a carefully constructed and wellorchestrated

performance. It is a shame there

are not more people here to witness it, but

this is, sadly, usually the case at such gigs,

and there are countless brilliant performances

from opening acts that go practically unheard

at venues across the city.

Negativity aside, the crowd has swelled

somewhat to welcome next act ADRONITE.

The Sheffield-based two-piece blend live bass

guitar and synths to create an interesting

sonic palette. Overlaid with vocals from singer

James de Graef the display is engaging if

perhaps not overly memorable. This is not to

detract from their skill as musicians or their

appeal as performers, but for this particular

show there is a certain sense that something

is missing.

Since the release of his fifth album, Reality

Testing, in June, the name Lone (Matt Cutler)

has been on the lips of many a music critic,

and presumably on many a muso's mustsee

lists. This being his first Liverpool show

BidoLito.148x117.MASTER.indd 1 19/11/2014 11:25

it is the first opportunity some have had

and, with KONX-OM-PAX providing a live AV

accompaniment, it promises to be a pretty

special event.

Cutler has always had an amazing ear for

melody, and that is perhaps the defining

feature of his work and tonight's performance.

The music is intensely danceable whilst

retaining an air of minimalism, and the

refrains so catchy they are almost sung.

In contrast to the previous acts on the bill,

there is a real sense of joy to Lone's songs,

with introspection making way for gleeful

movement. This is not to suggest a lack of

substance, as it is clear that every section and

every beat has been painstakingly thought

over and implemented expertly, to create a

sound which is full yet not lacking in space.

Lone's hip hop-inflected grooves, together

with Konx's AV display make for a pretty fine

spectacle indeed.

Though the night, in terms of audience,

started off pretty quietly it has ended on a

definite high note. As far as debut Liverpool

shows go Lone's has to be up there, and

I imagine a lot of people will leave here

tonight wondering why it has taken so long

to bring him to the city.

Alastair Dunn

BOOK NOW: 0161 832 1111

www.manchesteracdemy.net www.gigantic.com

facebook.com/manchesteracademy

@MancAcademy

John Garcia Tuesday 4th December

A Certain Ratio Saturday 13th December

Urban Voodoo Machine Sunday 14th December

Arch Enemy / Kreator Friday 19th December

King Creosote Tuesday 27th January

Nazareth Friday 30th January

Gus G (Firewind/Ozzy Osbourne) Saturday 21st February

Gun Friday 27th March

Saturday 18th April (at The Ruby Lounge)

Friday 15th May

Big Country Saturday 12th December


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COLLEGE

Kalax

Harvest Sun and Bam!Bam!Bam! @ Leaf

I remember nostalgia. Or I thought I did, until

tonight. As it turns out, opening that particular

Pandora’s Box does not reap golden harvests of

the heart. No, instead there is distance, coldness,

and too much bloody over-thinking to justify

taking a trip down our cultural backwaters for

three hours of flashy, retrograde anaemia.

There is really a third performer here this

evening, who just maybe gets all the star credit:

the screen. It is large and imposing, front and

centre, an obelisk transmitting what is meant to

be the twinned journeys of irony and technology,

a prospect which has presumably drawn some of

the crowd that haven’t seen Drive because they

spend their days bashing out John Carpenter

scores on a Casio keyboard.

KALAX at least uses this behemoth for some

sort of dynamism. Objects zoom in and out

of perspective, making way for a dark car,

patrolling a city, of course, that lights up a dame

with a smoking gun. The man himself isn’t half

as arresting. He wobbles under his beanie and

presses keys on a Mac. All of us can do that,

can’t we? What, exactly, is the point of coming

to a show in which the music is interchangeable

– set to precisely the same mood throughout:

blooping, brooding, somnambulant synthgasms

livened by a rare vocal sample – and the

high point comes from assorted clips of people

dancing in the 80s? We get it! This is post-modern

love for the MTV generation; OK, fantastic, but

does it have to be so damn predictable?

And so to COLLEGE. Frenchman David Grellier

is another level of mediocrity altogether.

In

fact, The Light Of Your Dress and The

Drone could almost be the same song; ergo

the entirety of his set, the whole numbing

ordeal of it, replete with nothing so much

as a smile from the sleepwalking composer.

His accompanying visuals don’t try and go

for story, opening as they do on a flickering

desert morning and reminding us over and

over again of his name in red neon script. One

image in particular, outside of the time-lapse

videos, is very fitting: a spaceman slumped

pensively over the cosmic abyss, cradling a

keytar while the world carries on without him.

It’s to this effect that the reality of College’s

work limps into focus. We should be in love

with the earliest elements of electronica, he

seems to argue, because that purity was the

beginning of a sonic adventure without limits,

bound only to the map of its beat. Confusion

and introspection were not in vogue thirty

years ago, and that carefree mentality can be

ours again if we shrug off the advancements

the genre has made and smell the hairspray,

the lost abandon of the baby boomer. Well,

bollocks. This sort of stuff helps no one apart

from the middle-aged demographic that can’t

give up their Sega Mega Drives. We have

advanced, and it’s better than this.

As menacing and sporadically danceable as

a few of College’s tracks are, the mood has all

the intensity of a retro screensaver, the kind that

pings around without going anywhere. When

Drive soundtrack highlight A Real Hero finally

comes (drawing a cheer from everyone), it is far

too late. The song actually highlights what’s been

missing: something human, something real.

Josh Potts / @joshpjpotts

THE BOG STANDARDS

Liverpool Irish Festival @ The

Caledonia, Kelly’s Dispensary

If you’d have bumped into Mikey Kenney a few

months ago, he'd have told you he was learning

how to tap dance while simultaneously playing

the fiddle. Based on this, any band in which

he features is bound to intrigue. Previously

masquerading (mainly) as Ottersgear, Mikey

was usually found solo at MelloMello's first

incarnation (hopeful thinking for the future),

his tunes ringing of Ireland, but not necessarily

focusing. Merging his talents with that of

bandmates Nick Branton and Simon Knighton

to form THE BOG STANDARDS, Kenney has been

allowed to blossom as the three have taken

full advantage of their rumbling presence on

the Liverpool pub music scene with this recent

venture, an education on Irish and American folk.

Liverpool Irish Festival provides a perfect setting

for three young musicians intent on massaging

the roots of Irish music into a culture that owes a

lot to its traditional Celtic heritage.

The Bog Standards are all about those songs

that romance the imbibed memories of all those

of Irish descent, no doubt having heard from the

older members of our families that when you'd

go down the pub, everyone would "give a song".

Irish sessions led by the band members on

Tuesday afternoons in The Caledonia no doubt

set this scene, but it's the polished nature of the

Bog Standards proper where they display their

best. Before visiting The Caledonia and Kelly's

Dispensary on their billed nights, I was fearful of

wistful panpipes. But The Bog Standards hit hard,

their melodies instantaneously transporting

you to those green lands, managing to embody

the most swirling of Irish music. An early

outstanding rendition of These Hills is enough

to cement the attention of the crowd. Kenney's a

cappella rendition brings a smile to the faces of

those captivated by the interlacing sounds, and

his voice really is something else, reverberating

about the room as he sings with his entire body,

the dancers delighted. Their version of trad folk

sounds like the kind that makes you feel real

nostalgia even if you've only been to a wedding

in Cork, once. Are they in our blood, this race of

people, their music celebrated by their children

miles away?

Before long the crowd is spinning as if in


Reviews

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 33

King Creosote (Glyn Akroyd)

the underclass deck of the Titanic (as depicted

in the Hollywood blockbuster of course – not

sure if it was actually like that). The toe-tapping

gets a little too fast for my skills, but Knighton's

stomp box expertly drives on as Nick Branton

whistles around the sharp and precise fiddling

of Kenney, surely fatal to anyone standing

behind him. The delivery of crowd favourites

Rocky Top and Michael Hurley's The Slurf Song

– one example of how the Bog Standards have

incorporated an easy Irish slant on folk from

overseas – intensifies further the atmosphere of

this already emotionally charged gig.

Delighted is exactly how you’d describe

the audience of a Bog Standards gig. Though

regularly billed, with the energy this band

creates and feeds off, it'd be great to see them

move out of the dicey world of pub residencies

and into ticketed venues. Though as your nana

would tell you, the pub is exactly where this

music is supposed to be.

Emma Brady / @emmabraydee

KING CREOSOTE

Charlie Cunningham

Mellowtone and Ceremony Concerts

@ The Epstein Theatre

The last time I was in The Epstein Theatre –

previously The Neptune Theatre – was panto

season 1994; children ran riot in the aisles,

popcorn coated the floor and the building

appeared to be falling to bits. A good twenty

years later and the atmosphere couldn’t be

more different: there is a hushed murmur of

chatter moving from the front of the theatre to

the back, the walls look as sturdy as anything

and the stalls are heaving with well-behaved

musos waiting for Fife folker KING CREOSOTE to

take to the traditional proscenium arch stage.

However, before the headliner we are

treated to a good helping of inoffensive singer

songwriter folk in CHARLIE CUNNINGHAM. His

voice echoes nicely around the building as the

theatre audience gradually moves towards a full

house. Charlie Cunningham is gracious and very

likeable and his sweet, well-written songs are a

brilliant segue into our main event.

King Creosote arrives on stage to riotous

applause. He humbly waves, takes a seat, picks

up his guitar and begins. From songs about small

Scottish towns to big political issues (“I shouldn’t

really be mentioning the referendum, should I?”

he jokes), King Creosote commands the venue

and his audience. His music is soft, tender and

at times very wistful, but the response it gets

from the crowd is far from that as the mainly

middle-aged crowd hoot and holler through the

well-crafted set. Quaint, guitar-driven folk songs

follow each other and are accompanied by a

double bass and a one-man percussion section.

Creosote truly comes into his own when he

plays tracks from his collaboration album with

Jon Hopkins. Songs such as John Taylor’s Month

Away and Bats In The Attic resonate perfectly

and show off his muted charm; yet one of the

highlights of the evening is a surreal cover

version of Nina’s political pop classic 99 Red

Balloons which is so bizarre that it could only be

described as a triumph.

From start to finish Creosote owns the stage

as everybody hangs intently on his every word.

He is slick, talented and, most importantly,

comes across as a bloke with whom you would

love to share a whisky. His set leaves everyone

loudly chattering after the gig, declaring the

show a triumph. And, unlike my previous trip to

this great venue, there is not a single “Oh no it

wasn’t” to be heard in response.

Paddy Hughes

TOM VEK

EVOL @ The Kazimier

Ah TOM VEK, that nice chap who was at one

time touted as the next big thing in British

music. You know the one. He released a cult

album around 2005 and then disappeared

into the ether for some many years before

returning with his much-anticipated follow-up

and a snazzy new haircut. Precisely the kind of

guy you'd like to take back to your parents. Yes

Dad, he's in a band but don't worry, it's a steady

income (provided it isn't another six years

until his next album). Mum would love him.

Handsome without being threatening, a casual

but polite demeanour. A safe pair of hands.

But his safety has proven to be a bit of a

stumbling block for me. Like sneaking a drink

from your parents’ cupboard aged 14 or that

first cigarette at a friend’s birthday, falling

for Vek’s minimalism may well feel exciting

and dangerous at the time but in hindsight

proves to be little more than a rite of passage

– something that you move beyond onto more

exciting things. That's not to say he is in any way

musically naïve. Over the course of his three

albums – the most recent of which, Luck, he is

here tonight touring – he has proven adept at

combining disparate threads of electronica,

indie and pop. In combining these, though, I've

always found his music to be a lot of everything

but not necessarily enough of anything.

In the studio his production chops go some

way to overcoming this issue, imbuing the tracks

with energy and vigour. In the flesh, however,

the tracks come across as a little tired and

uninspired. Polished and precise, definitely, but

lacking in energy and inventiveness. Nothing

from the newest album stands out particularly

and even though the big hitters Nothing But

Green Lights, C-C and A Chore manage to provide

some energy, it fizzles out between songs – Vek

lacking the onstage presence to really get the

crowd going.

All of the tracks do indeed highlight Vek’s

proficiency as a songwriter with an excellent

grasp of melody and rhythm but, as a live act,

him and his band (again, perfectly capable if not

maddeningly exciting) do little to convince me.

Things do pick up somewhat in the middle of

the set but the momentum is cut short by an

awkwardly placed ballad. Maybe, this being a

Sunday, they are a little tired, maybe Vek feels

a little more at home in the studio than on the

stage or maybe it's just one of those nights, but

he's not quite won me round just yet.

Dave Tate

SANKOFA

OxJam @ Arts Club

It feels like SANKOFA have been around

forever. Having played their way into most of

the best venues in town, released numerous

EPs and 7” singles, had cover sleeves designed

by the legendary John Van Hamersveld and

earned acclaim from Grateful Dead artist

Stanley Mouse, the band are now an essential

part of the local circuit. It’s a testament to

Sankofa’s well-earned popularity that much

of the crowd at the Arts Club arrive during the

build-up to their set. However, the last year

bidolito.co.uk


34

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Reviews

Thought Forms (Stuart Moulding / @OohShootStu)

has been a turbulent one, and since July the

band have been playing as a three-piece in the

absence of a full-time bassist. A change like this

will always affect a band’s sound in one way

or another, and the anticipation in the room to

see how the garage blues trio deal with it is

tangible.

Grasp, recently recorded at Edge Studios

and set for an EP release in December, starts

with echoing plucks of guitar that merge with

a steadily building drumbeat and break into a

wash of dreamscape reverb. Ste Wall provides

his inimitable vocals and guitar skills, with Joel

Whitehead on lead guitar and Josh Perry tasked

with providing the rhythm section. This is a

much more relaxed sound than earlier releases,

glittering guitar taking the place of driving bass.

Josh does a great job of holding it all together,

a difficult one with two lead instrumentalists.

Between songs and during a guitar changeover,

the band joke amongst themselves, clearly

enjoying the chance to be back on stage after

a three-month recording break. Their third song

is Mamasan, more recognisable territory for

the old-school Sankofa fans in the crowd. It’s a

song very deliberately added to this set – a slow

track that hints at an evolution away from their

heavier psych sounds. The atmosphere is one

of quiet reverence. The band then burst into a

slamming blues riff, the guitars duelling with

back-and-forth solos, building up an explosive

ending chord before thanking the fans for

coming and leaving the stage.

Despite a shorter set than some would

have expected, Sankofa show again that their

desire to evolve and progress is going to be

the creative force behind future releases. It’s

clear that they’ve taken the positives from

events that could have set them back and used

them to experiment with new sounds and

possibilities. This is what Liverpool has always

done best, and it’s in good hands.

THOUGHT FORMS

Venus De Milo

Chris Hughes

Bam!Bam!Bam! @ The Shipping Forecast

As local venues go, The Shipping Forecast’s

Hold certainly has its charms; but, despite

its excellent sound and just the right level

of intimacy, gigs in here can occasionally

feel a little roomy. Still, that’s not to say that

those of us who’ve made the effort to turn

out on a Friday night can’t endeavour to enjoy

ourselves to the fullest.

Main support VENUS DE MILO are comprised

of impressively skilled musicians, with a good,

solid rhythm section underpinning a canvas

of ethereal, effects-drenched guitars. They

flit between spacey, borderline-progressive

shoegaze and driving, funky alt. rock as the

set develops. It’s a fairly appealing mix, but

it’s noticeable that they only seem truly

comfortable when veering toward the latter,

and it makes you wonder whether they might

be better off putting all their eggs in the same

basket. Their songs are good, and there’s

no questioning their skill: but ultimately

their performance falls a little flat, which

can mostly be chalked up to their almost

complete lack of stage presence. Of course,

this doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but

it’s something they might consider working

on if they want their live experience to do

their tunes justice.

Predictably, once Venus De Milo finish their

set, their LIPA chums in the audience piss

off almost immediately. It’s a shame really,

because THOUGHT FORMS are deserving of

a far bigger audience. Their set begins with

singer Deej Dhariwal playing a pulsating

drone through a toy keyboard, fed through

an effect pedal setup that wouldn’t look

out of place on the Starship Enterprise,

before switching to guitar and building (very)

gradually into a full-on apocalyptic dirge with

the drummer and other guitarist behind him.

Thought Forms sound absolutely huge on

stage, particularly considering that they’re a

three-piece without a bassist – they simply

don’t need one. The inventiveness and scope

of their guitar playing is so layered, so meaty,

that the addition of a bass probably would

just make it sound that bit too muddy.

To their credit, the band seem unperturbed

by the empty space in front of them, and

keenly soldier on through a set of compelling,

challenging, and often blistering guitar music.

Thought Forms’ ideas may be intense and

complex, but their music is just so powerful

and dense that you can’t help but get lost in

it, leaving me nothing short of fixated for the

whole set.

Alex Holbourn / @AlexHolbourn

TAMIKREST

Harvest Sun @ The Kazimier

Walking through town on a damp and cold

November night, the odd whoosh and crackle

of belated fireworks in the distance, it’s difficult

to summon up images of the dazzling, pristine

wilderness of the Sahara. The caravanseri, the

bidolito.co.uk


JEFFERSON

STARSHIP

THU

29th JAN

8:00pm

CURTIS

STIGERS

TUE

10th FEB

7:30pm

MOTHERSHIP

A TRIBUTE TO

LED ZEPPELIN

SAT

21st FEB

8:00pm

JOE

MCELDERRY

THE EVOLUTION

TOUR 2015

SAT

14th MAR

7:30pm

NATHAN

CARTER

TUE

17th MAR

7:30pm

IAN

MCCULLOCH

THU

19th MAR

8:00pm

FOCUS

SUN

22nd MAR

8:00pm

JOHN

RENBOURN

& WIZZ JONES

SAT

28th MAR

8:00pm

MARC

ALMOND

IN CONCERT

THU

16th APR

7:30pm

CURVED AIR

2015

FRI

17th APR

8:00pm


36

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Reviews

Merseyrail Sound Station Festival (Keith Ainsowrth / arkimages.co.uk)

wadis and oases are thousands of miles away

and all that’s shifting on Hanover Street is the

litter, blown this way and that by the gusts of

wind. However, I’m on my way to The Kazimier,

our very own cultural oasis right here in the

heart of town, and tonight they’re serving up

a desert storm of blues and traditional North

African takamba in the form of TAMIKREST –

cultural and political ambassadors of the Taureg,

pan-national nomads of the Sahara.

Tamikrest translates as “junction” or “alliance”

and the band hail from the northern area of Mali,

an area recently embroiled in fierce fighting

involving several factions, so the geographical,

political and musical connotations of the name

strike an immediate chord. The band themselves,

formed in 2006 and as much a vehicle for

delivering a political message as a good

time, could also be said to be standing at the

crossroads, having recently delivered a critically

acclaimed album, Chatma, and embarked on an

extensive European tour.

So, what to expect? Polemic or poetry?

By the time Tamikrest arrive on stage, their

Taureg members resplendent in traditional

dress, there is a palpable air of expectation in

the room and when Ousmane Ag Mossa deftly

launches the band into a slide blues-enriched

groove, a quick glance reveals everyone in the

audience grinning in delight and starting to

sway. These are infectious rhythms, propelled

by crisp drumming and percussion, and stalking,

restless basslines. Mossa’s vocals blend

perfectly with singer Fatma Wallette Cheickhe,

the mystery of the words (sung in Tamasheq)

adding to the esoteric, exotic vibe. The feel of

the songs recalls early 90s Ali Farka Toure/Ry

Cooder collaboration Talking Timbuktu, as well

as the more obvious reference point of Malian

supergroup Tinariwen.

Tamikrest do not go in for grand gestures:

there is no rock-god posturing here, no diva

desperate for attention. Instead, there’s almost

a reluctance to stand in the spotlight – an

ensemble cast working in perfect harmony to

deliver the message via the sound.

Halfway through the set the music stops and

Mossa makes an impassioned speech in rapidfire

French. After listening in respectful silence,

the audience applaud enthusiastically at the

conclusion, although I doubt no more than a

handful have understood what was being said

(actually, this being the Kaz, they probably did).

A halted translation from the keyboard player

reveals the subject of Mossa’s polemic – lack

of schools, nutrition, healthcare; a surfeit of

conflict, religious and political self-interest and

killing.

When the band return to their instruments,

the tempo is heightened, and the rhythm is

insistent and decorated with some blindingly

nimble guitar work – the Floyd/Can comparisons

being largely substantiated. The band leave the

stage after almost an hour to huge acclaim, duly

returning for an encore and playing a daringly

low-key, beautifully melodic number before

leaving again and being recalled once more by

rapturous applause – a process that repeats two

or three times.

So, polemic or poetry? When Tamikrest leave

the stage for the final time, the audience are

still wearing those beatific smiles. This is a

music whose origins lie in North Africa and

which has been embellished in the cotton fields

of the South and the juke joints of Chicago,

returning full circle to provide a transcendent,

contemporary groove. Poetry indeed.

Glyn Akroyd

MERSEYRAIL SOUND

STATION FESTIVAL

Moorfields Station

After a year of solid podcasting and

almost one hundred entries from Merseyside

musicians, we’re now descending in to

Moorfields train station for a gig… it can only

be the MERSEYRAIL SOUND STATION FESTIVAL

2014. Walking through the turnstile and down

the escalator, it is clear that Moorfields has

been transformed again, for the second annual

finale of the Merseyrail Sound Station Prize.

A full-stage rig dominates the concourse, to

the slight bemusement of some morning

commuters. Speaker stacks, crowd-control

barriers and the day’s first bunch of groupies

attest to a set-up that’s more suited to the O2

Academy than a station on the Northern Line;

there’s even a green room for the artists.

The set-up is so that the ten finalists of this

year’s Sound Station Prize can perform in front

of a panel of judges to decide who will be

the overall winner of the 2014 version of the

competition. Before it all gets underway, the

voice of the Sound Station podcast and today’s

compère, Jay Hynd, announces that competitors

EMILIO PINCHI and EMILY AYRE have been doing

the rounds already, playing acoustic sets on

trains. Both artists arrive at Moorfields with

guitars in hands and slightly wider than normal

smiles on their faces: they’ve just played the

weirdest gig of their lives, to a carriage full of

people making their way in to town. Not your

average commute.

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38

Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015

Reviews

First to take to the stage proper are 23 FAKE

STREET, four young indie upstarts who receive

a warm welcome with We Are The Fire. Though

they’re not the most imaginative band, there’s

undoubtedly plenty of promise in what they’re

doing and we’ll look forward to seeing how they

develop their precocious talents together.

Voice warmed up from singing on the train,

Emily Ayre is a personal highlight with her many

idiosyncrasies. Visually, Ayre is a walking paint

palette, while vocally she offers a mash-up of

Kate Bush, Lykke Li and just a smidge of Lenka

around the edges. Listen to Canvas, a single

on her upcoming EP Pillow Talk, to hear for

yourself.

As the day goes on, it’s clear that Merseyside’s

emerging music scene is anything but twodimensional,

from THE RAGAMUFFINS and their

nods to skiffly ska, to BLUE SAINT and his rap

with a distinctly creative lyrical edge. As I watch,

I’m particularly enjoying Blue Saint’s crowd

participation: it takes a while, but his energy is

infectious and by the end of his fifteen-minute

stint I’m shouting louder than anyone else.

Singer-songwriters NIAMH JONES and Emilio

Pinchi show the depth of solo performing talent

that we have in the city, both possessing some

fine tunes that will be polished to a bright

sheen by a few more years of development.

DAVE O’GRADY sits at the other end of this axis,

with a bank of releases already behind him. His

three-song set is as accomplished as you’ll see,

causing many passersby to stop and listen in.

By the time SUNSTACK JONES roll in as last

band of the day, the hallway of Moorfields is

packed tight. It’s with sweaty hands that we

applaud that just-sunk-into-a-warm-bath feeling

that is Bet I Could.

With Sunstack’s lyrics still in our ears, we move

on to Hopskotch Restaurant and Bar for the prizegiving,

and a few words from Andy Woodhouse

of last year’s winners SOHO RIOTS. The tension

is palpable I’ll tell you that much, as all ten

finalists and ourselves are spread throughout

the bar, awaiting the result. After a brief speech

from the judges’ representative – our own Craig

Pennington – host Jay Hynd announces that this

year’s winner is… Blue Saint!

Blue Saint (real name Daniel Sebuyange)

steps up to gracefully accept his award,

saying: “I’m shocked and extremely grateful

to receive the award. I enjoyed the day

so much, the mix of talent on show from

the other acts was amazing,” before being

whisked off for a live session on Dave Monks’

BBC Introducing Merseyside radio show. With

a promising start to his rap career already

underway (performing alongside the likes

of Skinnyman, Ed Sheeran and Plan B), and

a recently released EP titled Enter Mynd, Part

I as the first part of an ambitious creative

story depicting his musical journey so far, he

seems a more than worthy choice as winner.

Congratulations Blue Saint, we’ll be seeing

lots of you, no doubt.

NatersP / @natersp

Dimensions Festival (Dan Medhurst)

DIMENSIONS

Fort Punta Christo, Croatia

We made our first trip over to Fort Punta

Christo back in September 2013 for the second

edition of DIMENSIONS FESTIVAL. Over the last

12 months we’ve spent every after party chatting

people’s ears off about what an experience

that was, so it’s with giddying excitement that

we find ourselves on the tarmac of Pula’s tinpot

airport once again.

For those unacquainted, the festival takes

place in and around a 19th Century fort located

on a forested headland on Croatia’s sparkling

Istrian coast. Common-or-garden stages are

replaced by circular pits inside stone towers,

dungeons, and what was formerly the moat

of the fort – a 100-metre-long trench served by

one of the most intense sound systems we’ve

had the pleasure of being rattled by.

We arrive just in time for an opening concert

which happened to take place inside a 2000-

year-old Roman amphitheatre in Pula itself.

Featuring the mesmerising piano workouts of

NILS FRAHM against the backdrop of a setting

sun, this has the feeling of a once-in-a-lifetime

experience.

Having almost passed out of existence on

the boat back to the site, hurling ourselves in

to the ocean turns out to be one of the best

hangover cures available. A few hours later,

having nursed ourselves back to health on the

beach, we find ourselves following a lantern

trail up a winding, dusty path, through the

trees and into the spectacular surroundings of

the fort.

ROY AYERS’ classic Everybody Loves The

Sunshine perfectly captures the mood of the

festival in The Clearing early on Thursday night,

while inside the walls, many stay rooted at the

Void stage, lapping up the muscular techno

dished out by Ostgut Ton luminaries BEN KLOCK

and MARCEL DETTMANN. We veer away to catch

dubstep legend MALA, a decision rewarded

with a set which serves as a crucial example

of just how powerful the genre can be, in a

time when it is often argued that the style has

burnt itself out. Cuts from Compa and V.I.V.E.K. –

artists who have broken through over the last

couple of years – ride alongside the classics

nicely, but those from Mala himself, and Coki’s

examples of tear-out done proper, predictably

have people skanking hardest.

Still reeling from the experience, Hyperdub

bossman KODE9 hammers the crowd with a

bombardment of footwork and juke that serves

as a barnstorming tribute to his late friend DJ

Rashad, who died earlier this year, having been

a torchbearer of these styles since the late

90s.

On Friday, GREG BEATO churns out rolling

techno and woozy house with a distinctly

rough flavour, warming up The Moat for a

predictably on-point set from BEN UFO, who

hands us one of the moments of the festival

by dropping Floorplan’s Never Grow Old (Re-

Plant), a rapturous collision of gospel and hardhitting

techno.

Our highlight? Jackmaster likened him to

Jeff Mills at the top of his game and there can

be no doubt that Steel city don BLAWAN is one

of modern techno’s leading lights. Played at a

frightening pace, new Karenn track Pace Yourself

is a standout in a thunderous set riddled with

that signature menace which courses through

many of his productions.

On paper, Sunday looked to provide a thrilling

conclusion to the festival, with White Material

boss DJ RICHARD, the live machinery onslaught

of KARENN, Detroit legend ROBERT HOOD and

his old pals in UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE

all highlighted on our now dusty, ragged

programme. But it’s not to be. Late that evening,

a truly biblical storm causes a blackout on the

majority of the stages meaning these artists

and countless others are cancelled. Though

a couple of stages reopen later on and some

brave souls manage to catch a very special

five-hour back-to-back set between FLOATING

POINTS and MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE,

it’s a shame not everything goes off without

a hitch. But after four incredibly memorable,

joyous days and nights of the finest electronic

music in the most spectacular setting we could

hope for, we’ll be blessed if we make it three

on the bounce next year.

Rob Syme

bidolito.co.uk


Bido Lito! Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 39

bidolito.co.uk


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