Issue 75 / March 2017

bidolito

March 2017 issue of Bido Lito! magazine. Featuring: LOUIS BERRY, DEEP SEA FREQUENCY, ASTLES, HANNAH PEEL, JANICE LONG and much more.

CONTENTS

New Music and Creative Culture

Issue 75 / March 2017

bidolito.co.uk

12 Jordan Street

Liverpool L1 0BP

Editor

Christopher Torpey - chris@bidolito.co.uk

Editor-In-Chief / Publisher

Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk

Media Partnerships and Projects Manager

Sam Turner - sam@bidolito.co.uk

Editorial Assistant

Bethany Garrett - editorial@bidolito.co.uk

Reviews Editor

Jonny Winship - live@bidolito.co.uk

Branding and Design

Thom Isom - hello@thomisom.com

Cover and Editorial Photography

Thomas Gill - thomascogill@gmail.com

Words

Christopher Torpey, Craig G Pennington,

Damon Fairclough, Paul Fitzgerald, Rebecca Frankland,

Jonny Winship, Sam Turner, Bethany Garrett,

Matt Hogarth, Cath Bore, Del Pike, Max Baker, Stuart

Miles O’Hara, Dave Tate, Janice Long.

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Thom Isom, Thomas Gill, John Johnson, Nata Moraru,

Keith Ainsworth, Darren Aston, Yetunde Adebiyi,

Mike Sheerin, Stuart Moulding, Roger Sinek,

Paul McCoy.

Distributed by Middle Distance

Print, distribution and events support across

Merseyside and the North West.

middledistance.org.uk

The views expressed in Bido Lito! are those of the

respective contributors and do not necessarily

reflect the opinions of the magazine, its staff or the

publishers. All rights reserved.

09 / EDITORIAL

Editor Christopher Torpey introduces

the new Bido Lito! era by looking at

the role of independent media in the

digital generation.

10 / NEWS

The latest announcements, releases and

non-fake news from around the region.

12 / ALTERNATIVE FACTS

Craig G Pennington asks Professor

David Garcia, do we need to become the

opposition party?

18 / SLOW JOURNALISM

Old news is good news – so says

the latest (and slowest) revolution in

news coverage.

20 / STREET SCENE

Assessing the world of street

media through the prism of regional

music fanzines.

24 / LOUIS BERRY

Walking tall on the road to

success with a Scouse superstarin-waiting.

26 / DEEP SEA FREQUENCY

Diving deep with a new musical

venture that already has a loyal

following of ravers.

28 / ASTLES

Storytelling and classic songcraft in

perfect harmony – meet Southport’s

Renaissance man.

32 / SPOTLIGHT

We get a closer look at three local

artists who’ve been impressing us of

late: Danye, Amina Atiq and Pixey.

36 / HANNAH PEEL

Ahead of her headline performance

at Threshold Festival, the multiinstrumentalist

speaks to us about

her creative processes.

38 / PREVIEWS

Looking ahead to a busy March in

Merseyside’s creative and cultural

community.

42 / REVIEWS

The Fall, Reassembled, Slightly Askew,

Mall Grab and C Duncan reviewed by

our team of intrepid reporters.

54 / THE FINAL SAY

Veteran DJ Janice Long on her

career in radio and the importance

of independence.

BIDO LITO!

08


09

BIDO LTIO!


EDITORIAL

“We have to find ways

to reach out to others,

engage with them,

listen to other opinions,

and strengthen our

collective network”

Welcome to the new look Bido Lito!

Whether you’re reading this in our bigger,

revamped magazine, or on our fancy new digital

home at bidolito.co.uk, thank you. The very act

of picking up a copy of Bido Lito!, or even clicking on a link, says

that you value this platform of ours. This platform only exists

because of the rich creative community we have on Merseyside

that makes it one of the country’s cultural hotspots. By engaging

with us you’re also engaging with this inventive, musical, funny,

passionate and diverse group of individuals – and helping us to

support them.

We felt that, after seven years, a facelift was much in need

– and for our outlook as much as our aesthetic. We’ve always

featured a broad range of content from across the spectrum of

Liverpool’s independent culture, and we will continue to do so.

But we’ve also been doing a bit of soul-searching of late, asking

ourselves some fairly fundamental questions: why, in 2017, do

we even bother doing a print magazine, especially one as niche

as ours? And, what is the role of independent media today? With

newspaper sales falling and so many established periodicals

radically changing their business models (NME) or going out

of print entirely (InStyle, FHM), it could be seen as folly to keep

swimming against the tide.

It’s our belief that we, as Bido Lito!, and you, our readership,

have a responsibility: we can’t just be passive observers of the

passage of history; we have to find ways to reach out to others,

engage with them, listen to other opinions, and strengthen our

collective network. It’s a form of cultural activism that we’re

particularly good at round here, and by sharing the messages

we feel to be important and valuing the work of those who can

transport us away from the mundane, we’re establishing a vitally

important movement of our own.

2017 is a year of turmoil as we face up to our complicated

relationship with the truth. Facts have become political footballs,

with everyone from Wikipedia to Wikileaks engaged in a tug of

war over what constitutes news and truth. For the information

generation this is something of an existential crisis: what if

everything we’ve been taking as truth is compromised? Who do

we trust anymore? Our relationship with the news, especially

on the internet, has become so much more complicated, and it’s

becoming ever more important that we make informed decisions

on where and how we get our news.

Art is a powerful vehicle with which to have this conversation

– and The Pitchfork Review’s Music And Politics Issue, released in

Autumn 2016, assesses this brilliantly across a series of thoughtprovoking

articles. Marc Masters’ excellent profile of Nation Of

Ulysses – the 80s/90s post-hardcore, politico-terrorist group

fronted by Ian Svenonius – painted the picture of an outfit that

were as much a movement as a band, aiming to develop a new

culture of protest. “But rather than dole out political messages

in overly earnest tones,” Masters says, “they preferred to baffle,

to amuse and to disorient. They proselytised like a life-altering

cult and obfuscated like an absurdist art collective; they pledged

allegiance to both revolution and candy. It was art as politics,

but even more so, politics as art – with a ton more going on

between the two.” There are parallels here with ultimate art-punk

hijackers the KLF, whose reappearance this year (under their

Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu guise) is venerated like a second

coming, 23 years since they disappeared into thin air after

slashing open pop music’s thin skin and exposing its innards.

Celebrated music journalist and critic Simon Reynolds’

fascinating article in the same publication – A Personal Journey

Through UK Politics And Pop – is an interesting take on the

musical movements that are perceived to have shaped our

country over the past few decades, debunking a few myths

along the way. In his profile of Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ new

soul revolt, Reynolds says that he sees “teenagers as the only

really revolutionary class”; and though he believes the idea of

changing things through music is “arguably a useful illusion”,

Reynolds does note that it creates an “urgent sense of mission

and high stakes that again and again results in inspirational

sounds and statements.”

Accessible forms of culture like music, art, theatre, poetry and

comedy are all forms of mass communication, ones that we’re all

free to participate in – which brings us back to the statement on the

front cover of this magazine: ‘We are the opposition’. Echoing the

activist art of the Situationist International movement, we’re hoping

that this statement acts as a catalyst to wake people up to the

power we have in our collective voice: the voice that is expressed

through Bido Lito!, Getintothis, Queen Of The Track, Between The

Borders, The Double Negative, The Skinny and so many more

digital and physical platforms. The discourse on who and what

needs opposing – and how we achieve that as part of a creative

community of independent media – is something we’re hoping to

continue beyond the articles in this month’s issue via a number of

special events we’ve put together for our brand-new Membership

programme. We want you all to be a part of that conversation.

The Pitchfork Review’s Music And Politics Issue opens

with the assertion in its leader article that “music has always

had something to say in times of trouble”, and frames the

conversations around its subsequent articles – Nation Of Ulysses,

Beyoncé, the Civil Rights movement, Simon Reynolds’ post-

Thatcher UK politics, Black Lives Matter – by talking of music as

being a “salve and a spark”. This is personified no more succinctly

than by the artist who graces that issue’s front cover, M.I.A.. In

her unflinching confrontation of the issues that have dogged her

throughout her career, Maya Arulpragasam has made hay out

of her struggles as both a migrant and a woman in the music

industry, and provided millions of people with the courage to do

the same with their own struggles. Whether you’re a poet from

Yemen or a bunch of mates from Liverpool kicking about in a

guitar band, the same freedom that M.I.A. operates with is open

to you. Don’t you think it’s time to oppose? !

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Editor

BIDO LITO!

010


NEWS

Introducing...

The Bido Lito! Membership

Buoyed by our new look magazine and shiny new website, we are excited to

announce the launch of the BIDO LITO! MEMBERSHIP, an all-new package

combining multimedia subscription and live events which allows Bido Lito! fans

to sample all that’s great about Liverpool’s cultural scene. For just £7 a month,

members receive an advance copy of Bido Lito! on their doorstep before anyone

else, free entry to two monthly events (our Bido Social live gigs plus our new

Special Events) and a digital bundle of free downloads and exclusive content.

It’s a monthly briefing of the best new music, access to the most interesting events

and regular additional special treats and opportunities. The first few months of

the membership programme include a Q&A with Rough Trade’s GEOFF TRAVIS,

a launch party extravaganza headlined by STRANGE COLLECTIVE, and an

exclusive curators event at the brand new BRITISH MUSIC EXPERIENCE.

New members will also receive a fetching pink Bido Lito! record bag to further

sweeten the deal. For more information on how to sign up, see page 22.

Sound City+ Announces

First Round Of Speakers

Plans for the 10-year anniversary of Sound City gather pace with the

announcement of this year’s conference programme. SOUND CITY+ will

welcome PEACHES, JAH WOBBLE and DON LETTS among its raft of speakers.

Taking place at Camp and Furnace on Friday 26th May, the event will continue

its mission to bring together various facets of the music industry for illuminating

discussions, debates and networking opportunities. Also on the bill are

members of ART OF NOISE, following their Human League support slot the

previous evening, and club legend ANDREW WEATHERALL. Rock photography

enthusiasts will also get a chance to hear from veterans TOM OXLEY and

KEVIN CUMMINS.

Don Letts

A LEAP To The North

Bido Lito! at Focus Wales

LEAP Festival of Dance returns this month, celebrating its 25th anniversary

in Liverpool by taking over a huge warehouse in the vibrant North Docks to

present the best of the UK’s dance within a pop-up, bespoke environment.

LEAP’s mission has always been to inspire people through the medium of

dance and it is that commitment that drives LEAP’s typically provocative

agenda. The festival opens with award-winning choreographer Gary Clark’s

latest production, COAL, a prolific statement that sets the scene for the festival

with untold stories – celebrating a life of work and courage. The full programme

can be found at leap2017.co.uk

Focus Wales are busy putting together another super strong line-up for the

annual music and arts festival in Wrexham. This year Bido Lito! is joining the

party to present three lovingly selected Liverpool-based acts. KATIE MAC,

GINTIS and MARY MILLER will be flying the pink flag, while topping the main

festival bill are BRITISH SEA POWER, CABBAGE and JOHN BRAMWELL. A truly

special metropolitan festival, Focus Wales showcases a diverse breadth of activity

across the spheres of music, comedy and arts as well as a discursive programme

which this year features Big Audio Dynamite founder DON LETTS.

Wrexham / 11th-13th May

Are You Experienced?

Housed in the iconic Cunard Building (previously home to the

About The Young Idea exhibition on The Jam), the BRITISH

MUSIC EXPERIENCE exhibition opens its doors this month.

The museum tells the fascinating story of British popular music

through myriad artefacts and interactive displays, all sitting

alongside an events space. From the post-war teen culture boom

to today’s digital age, the exhibition will be a welcome addition

to Liverpool’s superb music tourism offer. Bido Lito! members

will get a chance to gain a special insight into the exhibition in

an exclusive curator’s tour in June. The British Music Experience

opens to the public on 9th March.

British Music Experience

Spirit Of 81

Live At Leeds

The hallowed space at 81 Renshaw Street was once one of

the most bustling places during the Merseybeat era, and the

building’s latest proprietors are hoping to make the venue

just as important to the city’s musical fraternity of today.

The newly-refurbed venue space will host comedy, gigs and

theatre on a weekly basis, while the café serves up hearty

homemade fare during the week. Meanwhile, the basement

record store is stocked with a veritable trove of vinyl pleasures

running to the thousands, alongside collectables and some

notable local music publications.

SLAVES, MOONLANDINGZ and HONEYBLOOD are among

the acts in a mega line-up for this year’s LIVE AT LEEDS

festival. The festival takes place in various venues across the

city and is bookended with shows from FUTURE ISLANDS

and MAXÏMO PARK. There’s also Merseyside representation

in the form of swoon rockers TRUDY AND THE ROMANCE

and SHE DREW THE GUN. The event takes place on the

late May Bank Holiday Weekend and is proceeded by Leeds

Digital Festival, an event which celebrates digital culture in

all its forms, happening between 24th and 28th April.

11 BIDO LITO!


DANSETTE

Our pick of what’s been

lodged on the Bido Towers

turntable this month...

Grimes feat.

Janelle Monáe

Venus Fly

4AD

VEYU Album

Underbelly Out Now

40 Years Of Pure

Musical Sensations

VEYU

Originally featured on her 2015 album Art Angels,

GRIMES brought this male gaze-slaying wonder back to

our attention after releasing a self-directed video in early

February. Its uber-cool futuristic cyborg-goth aesthetic

(with a hint of TLC) is the kind of escapism we need.

Plus, MONÁE has led protests against police brutality

and performed at the Women’s March on Washington

and Grimes just donated $10,000 to the Council on

American-Islamic Relations after matching fan donations.

Can these guys lead our future please? BG

After the critical acclaim of their eponymous debut EP

back in 2014, enigmatic five-piece VEYU return with their

long-awaited second offering, Underbelly, out now via Payper

Tiger Records. Clocking in at just under half an hour, it’s full

to the brim of intricate guitar textures, rolling liquid synth, a

life raft of a rhythm section, and those trademark melancholic

vocals. Lyrically, it’s certainly hefty; tackling mortality, conflict

and a sense of sanctuary. Lead single Where Has The Fire

In You Gone? bleeds Radiohead meets Joy Division and its

accompanying video visualises its fluid soundscape faultlessly.

therighteousaretoblame.com

1977 was not just year zero for punk, it also marked the

beginning of Roger Hill’s PMS show on BBC Radio Merseyside,

the longest-running alternative music programme currently

on UK radio. Over the next 40 weeks, the PMS team will be

celebrating this landmark with a series of special features,

as well as delving into their rich programme archive to unearth

outstanding music and interviews from the past four decades.

Each week, the show will broadcast a new commission from

a local musician that has been specially created to reference

the 40 years of amazing sounds brought to us by PMS.

pmsradio.co.uk

Omni

Fever Bass

Chunklet

Industries

This hot new cut from Atlanta’s OMNI finds the trio in

familiar form: blisteringly intricate guitar and bass licks

lock in tight as a G clamp with dexterous, intense drum

work. What OMNI don’t share with Atlanta compatriots

Black Lips, Gringo Starr et al is the heavy garage leanings,

theirs is a stripped back, post-punk direct hit from the

Devo/Viet Cong handbook. What they do share is hooks;

more hooks than an Atlanta high school locker room. CGP

Katie Mac

The Lost Brothers

The Bird Dog

Tapes - Volume 1

Bird Dog Recordings

Got MIlk?

SAFE AS MILK festival have added more mind-bending

artists to the line-up of their inaugural outing at Prestatyn

in April. Grunge forebears BUTTHOLE SURFERS, folk

grand dame SHIRLEY COLLINS and enigmatic avant-gardists

THE RESIDENTS head a bill of heavyweights from across

the leftfield music spectrum. Taking its name from the seminal

Captain Beefheart LP, the festival is the brainchild of the

organisers of the highly-regarded Tusk Festival in Gateshead.

This one’s for the broad of mind. V Festival it ain’t.

Prestatyn / 21-23 April

Formerly of this parish, The Losties returned to record the

wonderful New Songs Of Dawn And Dust at Parr Street

with Bill Ryder-Jones back in 2014. This collection from

those sessions features the duo, along with Mr Ryder-

Jones and Nick Power taking turns to cover each other’s

compositions, a few originals and familiar favourites from

the likes of Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt and The

Quarrymen. It’s a celebration of songwriting at its most

simple, powerful and exquisite. ST

Sampha

No One Knows

Me (Like The

Piano)

Young Turks

Shirley Collins

Ah, the piano ballad – the universal symbol of naked

emotion. South London polymath SAMPHA, the perennial

guest who’s become known for filling in the gaps for his

A-list mates (SBTRKT, Drake, the Knowles sisters), has

grasped this formula with unabashed sensitivity. The

heartrending No One Knows Me (Like The Piano), taken

from the stunning new album Process, is a quivering ode

to his late mother and just needs to be listened to over and

over. The time of Sampha the bit-part player is over. CT

NEWS 12


13 BIDO LITO!


ALTERNATIVE

FACTS

As the battleground for truth

spills out from the internet

message boards into mainstream

politics, Craig G Pennington looks

at what lessons can be learned

from the tactical media movement.

“How can we play

an active, meaningful

part in a response?”

On 26th January 2017, Stephen Bannon – Donald

Trump’s Chief Strategist – labelled the mainstream

media “the opposition party”, proclaiming it should

“keep its mouth shut” and that “they don’t understand

this country”. Less than a month later, Trump delivered his

Maoian depiction of the media as “the enemy of the people”. It

can be baffling to reflect on how such provocative, inflammatory

and wildly-unhinged statements have become a daily occurrence

since Trump embarked on his campaign trail – and equally

terrifying to see ideas considered peripheral and divisive only a

matter of months ago weave their way into the mainstream.

It is important to consider the fact that this media assault

isn’t a phenomenon reserved for the US. Before Bannon took up

his position as Trump’s chief lieutenant he headed up Breitbart

News Network, a far-right ‘news’ website in the US which has

managed to normalise and mobilise much of the ideology and

support which propelled Trump to the White House. Taking

divine inspiration and a heavy dose of mentoring from all this is

chief UKIP funder and pug-faced Brexiteer Arron Banks, who

recently launched westmonster.com – a thinly-veiled attempt to

dress hate and intolerance with some form of legitimacy, inspired

by the ‘successes’ of Breitbart. To Trump/Bannon/Banks et al the

media is the “enemy of the people”, unless, it seems, that media is

crafted in the image of themselves.

But, what does this all-out assault mean for the media

as we know it? As an independent media platform ourselves,

at Bido Lito! we’ve been forced through a period of self-reflection

by events over recent months. What role do we play? How

can we play an active, meaningful part in a response? How

does the creative community we are a part of come together

with an alternative view of the world? How do ideas of

tolerance, community, pluralism and respect counter the

extremes that seem to become more normalised by the day?

How do we counter fake news and post-truth with our own

alternative facts?

An indication of a potential route forward could well sit

within the idea of ‘tactical media’, an influential movement that

flourished in the 1990s that fused art, political campaigning

and an experimental use of the media itself; manipulating media

platforms and turning prevailing messages on their head for

artistic and political purposes. The tactical media movement has

inherently embraced the idea of ‘fake news’ for decades, but with

a very different purpose than Bannon and co.

With impeccable timing, How Much Of This Is Fiction? – an

exhibition which explores the idea of tactical media and the

fake news phenomenon – opens at FACT on 2nd March. One

of the exhibition’s curators, Professor David Garcia, has been

active within the tactical media movement since the 1990s. He

co-founded the award-winning Tactical Media Files, an online

repository of tactical media materials past and present, and

is currently Professor of Digital Arts and Media Activism at

Bournemouth University. It seems that the idea of fake news

has a much longer history than we may initially think, as Garcia

tells us. “Fake news in the form of fake newspapers have a long

history. For example, there are newspapers declaring allied

victory in the Second World War before it happened by the

Flemish resistance. Or Polish Solidarity, who faked a national

newspaper announcing the end of Marshal Law.” A quick visit to

tacticalmediafiles.net also throws up an interesting local example

of such an intervention; in April last year, mocked-up parodies of

The S*n’s infamous front page from 1989 declaring ‘The Truth,

We Lied’ appeared in newsagents across the city.

Away from newspapers, there are other marquee examples

of artistic hijack. “The example I would give is the Kissing

Doesn’t Kill campaign from ACT UP, who fought against fear and

ignorance of Reagan’s inaction and silence,” says Garcia. The

campaign, which centred around a nationwide run of billboard

adverts, aimed to combat the public indifference towards AIDS

and highlight the complex issues associated with it. “ACT UP was

a critical reference as it was a campaign that combined fine art,

the PR industry and ferocious activism. The PR connection plays

out in its clear relationship with United Colors Of Benetton’s use

of multiculturalism in their marketing campaign at the time.”

Evidently, the idea of manipulation of media is not a new

phenomenon. But, what can we learn from the practice to help us

navigate the new realities of today? According to David Garcia,

there is a much deeper shift at play. “I would argue that what

we are witnessing is the demise of [Walter] Lippmann and, later,

[Noam] Chomsky’s paradigm that established media combine

and contrive to ‘manufacture consent’,” he says. “This is no longer

possible, as one of the consequences of the new dominance of

social media platforms as primary news sources is that the big

broadcast and print media outlets have lost their role as gate

keepers, determining what it is possible to think and say. The

term ‘post-truth’ can sometimes sound like the howl of pain from

the status quo lamenting the loss of its ability to dominate the

agenda. Steve Bannon and the insurgent right have captured

the social media platforms to do the opposite; they specialise in

manufacturing dissent on an industrial scale.”

As an artist who has been working within the field of tactical

media, Garcia represents a view from the inside of the practice.

I’m intrigued to know how much of a threat to public life – and

society more broadly – he believes the fake news and the posttruth

idea to be. “I would argue that there are two tendencies

at least as worrying as the fake news panic,” Garcia laments. “I

am more worried about the shameless fake outsiders; Farage,

Trump, Johnson and Le Pen, all wealthy insiders masquerading as

the authentic voice of the people. I see this as a battle between

‘hyper-rationalism’ and ‘authenticism’. The hyper-rationalists –

for example the flawed Remain campaign and Hillary Clinton’s

presidential campaign – pretend they are in control. They adopt

the faux scientific language of ‘management speak’. They seek

to explain and then fail to persuade. They lack impact; theirs is

an affectless language. The inverse is the authenticist; typically

they pose as outsiders and adopt the guise of truth-tellers who

claim to represent the ‘authentic’ voice of the people, ‘telling it

like it is’. Even their gaffs and flaws are seen as demonstrations

of authenticity. Their blunders and lies are overlooked in the

belief that they are right about the ‘deep truth’. As tactical media

artists, we begin by un-masking both the authenticist and

hyperationalist as the rhetorical poses of two elites fighting for

control of the social mind.”

FEATURE 14


“Tactical media

still works, but the

bad news is it has

been captured by

the far-right”

While Garcia offers a somewhat chilling and poignant

assessment, it seems to me that there is also a distinction

to make between disruption and deception: is there a moral

question to consider when adopting tactical media tactics? Are

there questions of morality behind the deliberate political use of

fake news and tactical interventions, whatever your motivation?

It is a reality Garcia is acutely aware of. “Yes, an uncritical

avant-gardism is continually at risk of complicity with unfettered

capitalism’s ethos of ‘creative destruction’ [the inevitability of

new products constantly replacing outdated ones]. Even our

fetishisation of the ephemeral and our frequent preference for

the event over the artefact mirrors the famous description of

capitalism in the communist manifesto: ‘all that is solid melts

into air’. But I would still resist making any equivalence between

what we are celebrating in How Much Of This Is Fiction? and

the alt-right. The troll farms and meme-wars of the alt-right do

not use fiction as a method to raise awareness by un-masking

the workings of power; they are exclusively about seizing

power by any means and all media. And, worryingly, it may

not just be the temporary power of a single election victory.

Evidence is mounting that Bannon is even questioning the value

of democracy itself. Our true weakness may be less one of

complicity than an addiction to the spectacle of protest rather

than actually working for the realities of power.”

Ironically, it is this idea of an ‘addiction to protest’ which

seems to be neutering the leadership of the left in the UK. This is

not something Farage/Banks/Johnson and co. have struggled with

and, furthermore, it seems Donald Trump has been only too keen

to embrace the idea of tactical media, as his seemingly nightly

Twitter-gasms would suggest. “We have learned that tactical

media still works, but the bad news is it has been captured by the

far-right,” says Garcia. “The midnight tweets are just the tip of a

far-right tactical media iceberg. A powerful grassroots network

that has evolved over 20 years under the radar. It connects white

supremacist websites – the real Nazis here – to the meme-wars

that flowed from the message boards such as 4chan. This is a

space which also gave rise to Anonymous at the other end of the

political spectrum.”

We began this piece looking to consider what independent

media platforms can learn from the tactical media movement in

order to play an active, dynamic role in the discourse of today.

How can we, as a collective community, work together to provide

a counter-balance to the alt-right and the Breitbart set? Garcia

presents a practical call to arms: “squat the message boards

and steal their memes,” he says. “Independent media platforms

should participate in the ID of the internet that are the message

boards. We should draw on the rich and strange irrational

energies from these meme cultures. This is where the tactical

media of today lives and thrives. The initiative in this realm needs

to be taken back from the far-right who are rampant. As the last

unregulated spaces, the message boards can shock and outrage

us. But outrage and distaste is from where their sub-cultural

energy is drawn.”

Such a rallying cry from Garcia is welcome and may well be

precisely what is needed; a tactical media protest movement

from the bottom up to contest the ideas of the alt-right, taking a

radically different view of the world to the breeding ground of the

alt-right movement and utilising tactical media avenues to spread

the message. It is a movement which will depend on a new form

of positive collectivism, a do-it-together culture to counter today’s

rampant right-wing populism.

“Fact checking and truth telling are important”, concludes

Garcia, “but insufficient to deal with the threat the alt-right pose.

As, in the words of Stewart Lee, they are not just post-truth, they

are post-shame.” !

Words: Craig G Pennington / @BidoLito

Photography: Thomas Gill

Join Bido Lito!, Professor David Garcia and special guests at

FACT on 5th April for a special discursive event exploring

Alternative Facts and the role of Independent Media in the

post-truth world. Free to Bido Lito! Members.

Visit bidolito.co.uk/events for full details.

15

BIDO LITO!


SLOW

JOURNALISM

Old news is good news –

so says the latest (and slowest)

revolution in news coverage.

At first glance, the slogan “Last to the breaking news”

seems like a disastrous mission statement for a

news magazine. But for the team behind Delayed

Gratification, it is the tardy declaration of intent on

which their entire publishing model is based.

In a digitally-driven world which seems to compel news

outlets to publish first and ask questions later (if at all), Delayed

Gratification makes a virtue out of being late to every story. And

not only does the magazine cultivate a distinctly jet-lagged

brand of journalism, it is also perverse enough to favour print

over pixels. It may not be a news source you can zoom, pinch

or swipe, but at least you can spill a cup of tea on it without

invalidating the manufacturer’s warranty.

For obvious reasons, the eternal struggle between print and

digital is a topic that has exercised the minds behind Bido Lito!

rather a lot lately. When moment-by-moment news updates can

be fired around the world via apps and social media, are there

advantages to choosing a less up-to-the-minute, more reflective

publishing path? Clearly, we think so, but our magazine still sticks

to a monthly schedule. By contrast, Delayed Gratification is a

quarterly publication that covers three months’ worth of news,

but each issue is published three months after the period covered

in the magazine. It is one of the most well-known proponents of

what has come to be known as ‘slow journalism’, and we wanted

to find out why a current affairs magazine would opt to be so

wilfully behind the times.

According to Rob Orchard, co-creator of Delayed

Gratification, the magazine’s founders originally worked together

on Time Out Dubai in the early noughties. They enjoyed learning

their trade within a print environment, but weren’t quite prepared

for what the digital revolution had in store for their industry.

“It was a time when there was still money and buoyancy in

print magazines,” says Orchard. “It felt like there might be careers,

futures and opportunities for us. But when we all ended up back

in London in 2010, we looked around at the landscape and it was

as bleak as fuck. Everybody was talking about the death of print.

Digital was going to be everything.

“All the big print titles were haemorrhaging cash, readers

and advertisers. Social media was kicking off, and suddenly there

were these gigantic new spaces to fill with content; but at the

same time, there were fewer and fewer journalists with fewer

and fewer resources to fill them.”

Intelligent journalism, it seemed, was destined to go the

same way as the mechanical typewriter and the Fleet Street

liquid lunch. But Orchard and his colleagues were in no mood

to surrender the delivery of news to Facebook, Twitter and the

purveyors of shameless clickbait.

“I feel like this fake

news phenomenon

is almost the best

possible advertisement

for slow journalism”

“We decided we wanted to launch a magazine that was an

antidote to that. We wanted to invest every penny into long-form

journalism, investigative journalism, beautiful photo features,

intelligent data analysis – all the stuff you want from journalists

and editors. We wanted to make a magazine that was made for

readers, so it wouldn’t have any advertising. It wouldn’t be made

to hit a particular demographic, it would just be the magazine

that we really wanted to read ourselves.”

Although journalists have long enjoyed the thrill of chasing

a story and the adrenaline rush of being first to break it across

the front page, today’s ‘always on’ technology has resulted

in an accelerated news cycle that, in Delayed Gratification’s

19

BIDO LITO!


words, values “being first above being right”. For the Delayed

Gratification team, the answer was to take a lead from grassroots

movements such as ‘slow food’ and ‘slow travel’, and invest more

time in searching out each story’s nuances, in print, rather than

attempting to earn clicks at all costs.

“The parallel between slow travel, slow food and slow

journalism is that they are all about taking time to do things of

quality, and all of them are a reaction against doing things too

quickly,” says Orchard.

“When we launched in January 2011, the idea of slowness

being a virtue when it came to news reporting was an incredibly

niche concern. We were still very much in love with our

smartphones and excited about how fast everything was being

updated. But in the last six years, we’ve seen people getting sick

of that.”

Delayed Gratification’s cure for that creeping nausea is a

handsome print-only publication reliant on subscribers to cover

its costs. It has succeeded in building up a loyal readership that

pays for its pleasures – no mean feat in a digital world that

demands most of its content for free.

“We were incredibly gung-ho about the whole thing,” admits

Orchard. “We just thought if we can sell enough subscriptions

in advance, we can fund the print for issue one. We really hadn’t

thought how we were going to survive from issue two onwards.”

But six years later, Delayed Gratification is still here, giving

subscribers a combination of in-depth articles and fascinating

infographics that benefit from something that most news

publications can never have: hindsight. It is also beautifully

designed, almost begging to be plucked from the shelf.

“I think 60 or 70 per cent of the success we’ve had has

come from it being a beautiful piece of work,” says Orchard,

“and we always put a huge amount of time and energy into

things like the infographics. That’s been one of our real unique

selling points.

“We said early on that we wanted to have a serious news

publication, to address serious issues, and we wanted to report

from places where there are interesting things going on. But

looking around at the majority of news publications, they have

quite an earnest, drab aesthetic. And there’s no need for that to

be the case. You can actually make them beautiful.”

Not that beauty is the most important aspect of what

Delayed Gratification does. Being committed to truth telling is

also pretty crucial.

“I feel like this fake news phenomenon is almost the best

possible advertisement for slow journalism,” says Orchard.

“You’ve got people with a purely commercial agenda high-jacking

the news reporting of massively important and influential events,

and just spewing out bile and hatred. And because our former

gatekeepers – journalists and editors and so on – are so reduced

in status, and because we’ve got these networks that can spread

stuff immediately and which prioritise the more aggressive and

outlandish stories, we’ve got a perfect storm.”

“Delayed

Gratification makes

a virtue out of being

late to every story”

There is no obvious solution to this problem, and Orchard

admits to being “desperately worried”. “We’re a fun little

publication and we can keep going. We’ve got a group of

subscribers who will support us and hopefully we can grow that,

but the big mainstream publications need so much more in terms

of resources to keep doing what they do, and I’m not sure where

that’s going to come from.”

Orchard’s outlook may be bleak, but at least his team is

doing its best to provide a unique alternative – a magazine

devoted to considered, intelligent insight wrapped up in

superlative graphic design.

And so what if it’s permanently late to the party? In news

reporting, as in so much of life, we all know the best things come

to those who wait. !

Words: Damon Fairclough / noiseheatpower.com

Photography: Thomas Gill

slow-journalism.com

FEATURE 20


STREET

SCENE

At the heart of every scene is a hub,

a platform that binds a community

together. Where street media is

concerned, there’s no better way of

doing it than going local.

Towards the end of 2016, an article in The Guardian

alerted me to a piece of research that both alarmed

and encouraged me. Research group Enders Analysis

estimated that over a million British consumers gave

up buying print magazines or cancelled their subscriptions

in 2016, insinuating that the digital revolution was starting

to hit the bottom lines of swathes of established media and

publishing houses. “Digital has brought down the barriers of

entry for [creating and showcasing] content, recommendation

and discovery of products. Magazines will have to fight hard to

compete with that going forward,” said Douglas McCabe, chief

executive at Enders Analysis.

Thankfully the outlook wasn’t all doom and gloom, with the

article noting that a clutch of ad-heavy aspirational glossies are

bucking this trend. Nicholas Coleridge, international president of

Condé Nast (who own the high performing Vogue and Tatler),

spoke of there being value in an experience he called a “magazine

moment”, that just can’t be replicated in content on a tablet or

iPad. “It is very hard to replicate the physical allure of a luxury

magazine on other platforms,” he explained. “[It is] something

to do with the sheen of the paper, the way that the ink sits on

the page, the smell of money and desire that wafts off the page.

Readers move into a different mode when they engage with a

glossy. Advertisers understand this.”

Though we’re a million miles from the whopping tomes

of Vanity Fair hawking their high-class goods and airbrushed

lifestyle, I still think there’s a similarity here with inky publications

like ourselves that place a lot of value in print. Whether you get

your kicks from celebrity-endorsed fragrances or the latest local

bands playing a gig in a toilet venue, that magazine moment can

be crucial in rooting you in a tangible world that you want to be

a part of. For us at Bido Lito!, the allure of documenting the city’s

multiple amazing cultural scenes with a vibrant street media

presence has always been at the heart of what we do.

There is, of course, a precedent for this in Merseyside; a

legacy of regionally-focused zines and independent music

magazines that stretches back to the 1960s, that hints at a

certain civic pride felt by locals towards the region’s musical

might. Perhaps the most famous of these is Mersey Beat –

the newspaper run by journalist Bill Harry and his wife Virginia

between 1961 and 1964 – which documented a musical

scene that shook the world. Mersey Beat became known as

the “teenagers’ Bible”, and the trend of calling local bands

‘beat groups’ and concerts being billed as ‘beat sessions’ soon led

to the term ‘Merseybeat’ being used by national newspapers to

define this scene that had coalesced around The Cavern.

The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein wrote a regular column

for the fortnightly paper on the latest releases from his NEMS

store, which also carried poetry and drawings by John Lennon.

When including Priscilla White’s fashion column in one issue,

Harry forgot her surname and opted to credit her the author as

‘Cilla Black’, remembering vaguely that a colour was involved.

The rest, as they say, is history.

“People want to feel that

they’ve got something

of worth when they

hold something in their

hands”

“Suddenly, there was an awareness of being young

and young people wanted their own styles and their own

music… Mersey Beat was their voice, it was a paper for them,”

Harry explains in his book, The Encyclopedia of Beatles People.

“The newspapers, television, theatres and radio were all run

by people of a different generation who had no idea of what

youngsters wanted. For decades they had manipulated and

controlled them [see the scene with George Harrison and

Kenneth Haig in A Hard Day’s Night], but now the youngsters

wanted to create their own fashions. What existed on the banks

of the Mersey between 1958 and 1964 was exciting, energetic

and unique, a magical time when an entire city danced to the

music of youth.”

Mersey Beat was based in an office on the top floor of

81 Renshaw Street, and everyone who was anyone in the

Merseybeat era would gather here, including Harry’s close friends

John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe. If ever there was a building

in Liverpool City Centre that deserves a blue plaque, it’s 81

Renshaw. Today, it’s home to a café, events space and newlyopened

basement record store, and is run by another person with

a connection to Liverpool’s music publishing heritage.

Neil Tilly started Breakout as a rough-and-ready fanzine in

1981 when he was just 17, printing the 200 copies of its first

issue on his work photocopier. Coming in the post-Eric’s era

of The Icicle Works and the early days of The Farm, Breakout

was part of a collective of DIY mags that sprung up in this

fecund political and cultural environment. “What made Breakout

different to the other great fanzines that were out there at the

time – Merseysounds, The End, Garden Party, Vox,” says Tilly,

“is that we encompassed promotion as well, helping bands [to]

put on shows and tours.” As well as expanding on the stories,

characters and musicians that knitted this scene together,

Breakout played an active role in it, which put the magazine at

the heart of Liverpool’s creative community until its final issue

in 1986. By then, they were distributing 20,000 copies of the

magazine across the North West, a boom in popularity that no

doubt came from the world exclusive interview he did with Paul

McCartney in 1983.

“People want to feel that they’ve got something of worth

when they hold something in their hands,” says Tilly as he tries to

explain why the appetite for the physical over the digital remains

today. “With Reverb, the magazine I did in the 90s, the internet

was in its infancy. There was talk then that there was never going

to be another newspaper, which has obviously proved to be a

load of rubbish. There’ll always be a place for magazines – people

are always going to want to see pictures and read things that

interest them. [They’re] gonna be around forever.”

By their very nature, movements and scenes are intangible

entities that are difficult to quantify – and history would suggest

that physical media are the best way of animating the subcultures

that underpin them, allowing observers to feel more

intimately connected to them. It’s into this vitally important

grey area that we think Bido Lito! falls, giving all the amazing

culture our community produces a place to live. Further to that,

we believe that it’s important to not only reflect the art and

conversations around us, but to take part in and add to them.

It’s this ‘do-it-together’ culture that we feel is the real glue

that binds a scene together, an outlook that unites us with our

street media forebears and hopefully with you. Whether you

choose to do so with pen, glue and scissors or on a MacBook, if

you value something that the mainstream can’t provide, there’s

nothing stopping you from taking ownership of the conversation

yourself. Having a voice is not about rules – it’s about freedom

and power. !

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

21

BIDO LITO!


We believe passionately in Liverpool’s new music and creative

culture. As you’re reading this, we’re pretty confident that you

do too. By becoming a Bido Lito! Member you will be joining us

to champion that new music and creative culture. Plus, you’ll be

supporting local independent media, which we believe is more

important now than ever before.

BIDO LITO!

MEMBERSHIP

Just £7 per month

• Bido Lito! Magazine delivered to you first,

before it hits the streets, every month.

• An exclusive monthly download bundle of

the best new Liverpool music, including

brand new tracks, remixes and sessions.

• FREE ENTRY to our two monthly events:

The Bido Lito! Social - showcasing the best

new Liverpool music - and our lovingly curated,

one-off Bido Lito! Special Events (see opposite).

• Ongoing member-only exclusive

opportunities throughout the year.

• The Bido Lito! Journal 2017. A deluxe, end of

year publication looking back at 12 months in

Liverpool’s new music and creative culture.

• A rather hip Bido Lito! record bag as a

FREE JOINING GIFT when you sign up!

• Sign up now at bidolito.co.uk


UPCOMING

BIDO LITO!

EVENTS

The Bido Lito! Social

Sign up from 1st March.

First Membership Edition

(April 2017) will hit your

doorstep on 22nd March

Join us now at bidolito.co.uk

Wednesday 5th April

FACT

Bido Lito! Special Event

ALTERNATIVE FACTS

Join Bido Lito!, Professor David Garcia -

co-curator of FACT’s How Much Of This Is Fiction

exhibition - and very special guests to discuss the

role of independent media in the ‘post-truth’ age.

Free admission for members

£4 non-members adv from bidolito.co.uk.

Thursday 20th April

24 Kitchen Street

Bido Lito! Membership

Launch Party Featuring:

STRANGE COLLECTIVE

+ MC FARHOOD + VEYU

+ THE SHIPBUILDERS

+ PIXEY + EVOL DJs

Members only. Sign up in advance

at bidolito.co.uk or on the night.

Jeanette Lee and Geoff Travis

Friday 5th May

The Bluecoat

Bido Lito! Special Event

GEOFF TRAVIS: CULTURE OF INDEPENDENCE

Rough Trade Records founder and indie icon

Geoff Travis discusses grassroots movements,

independence and the spirit of revolution. In

association with WOWFest.

Free admission for members

£6 non-members adv from bidolito.co.uk.

Thursday 18th May

North Shore Troubadour

The Bido Lito! Social x Sound City

Pre-Party Featuring:

LUNGS + AGP

+ BILL NICKSON

+ more to be announced

special guest DJs

Free admission for members

£4 non-members adv from bidolito.co.uk.

British Music Experience

Wednesday 7th June

British Music Experience

Bido Lito! Special Event

BRITISH MUSIC EXPERIENCE

CURATOR TOUR NIGHT

Bido Lito! Members enjoy a private tour

with the head curator of the all new BME,

the UK’s Museum of Popular Music.

Exclusive members-only special event.

Thursday 22nd June

Blade Factory

The Bido Lito! Social Featuring:

OHMNS

+ QUEEN ZEE AND

THE SASSTONES

+ JO MARY

Free admission for members

£4 non-members adv from bidolito.co.uk.

MEMBERSHIP 24


25 BIDO LITO!


LOUIS

BERRY

Walking tall on the road

to success with a Scouse

superstar-in-waiting.

LOUIS BERRY is ready. Match fit, sharp, prepared. He

knows where he’s heading, and how he’s going to get

there – he just doesn’t necessarily want to tell the rest

of us yet. It’s his road to walk and he’s got plenty of

time for the journey.

Signed after a single gig, and with a fanbase that’s built

slowly and surely, Berry has been a star-in-waiting seemingly

from the very start. His debut, home-recorded single .45 lit the

touch paper, leading to him signing to one of the biggest labels

in the world. Add a slew of live dates at prestigious UK and

European festivals alongside a debut album on Sony, and you’ll

see that Louis Berry has a lot of future ahead of him; and, for

such a young artist, a hell of a lot of past.

As he sits in The Brink, reflecting on where he’s come

from and where he sees himself in all of this, what is evident is

the confidence that oozes from him. It’s a sense of contentment

and surety that comes from living through the struggles he’s

faced along the way. Growing up in Kirkby, Berry’s beginnings

weren’t easy. He’s talked in the past of his father’s battles with

heroin, and the isolation that brought him. That could be where

the tangible sense of drive comes from, the need to break out,

to work out how to stand up for himself and move forwards.

It started, as it does for so many, with a cheap guitar and

three chords.

“My Grandad was more of a father figure for me than my own

father was, and one day he went the car booty and came home

with a guitar and stood it at the end of the bed. One day, I snuck

upstairs to his room and picked the guitar up. I found this chord

book, and had a go. From then, I was in. It just seemed so natural

for me, somehow.”

From there he moved around, trying to get a gig, wanting and

waiting to be heard. You’d think that, in a city such as Liverpool

with such an active music scene, he’d have been welcomed with

open arms and ears. Not so – scenes can be healthy, but they

can often be insular and unwelcoming of those perceived as

outsiders, as Berry found.

“When I started playing, I went to bars in Liverpool, loads of

them, to open mic nights, and I’d ask if I could put my name down

to get up, and I’d always get ‘sorry mate, we’re full, we’ve got our

regulars, come back next week’. I’ve got a strong accent, and I

had a skinhead at the time, and it was like ‘he’s not a musician,

what does his music look like?’ Well, I listen to music, I don’t

fuckin’ watch it. Since then, I always thought, ‘fuck you, then’,

and now, now people are asking me if they can support me at my

gigs. Well, sorry mate… I’ve got me regulars,” he laughs.

A conversation with Louis Berry bears many of the same

characteristics as watching him in the live setting. There’s an

enthusiastic energy, a sense of drive and an urgency in the

way he speaks. He connects with you, eye to eye, holding your

attention, and it’s clear that he means every single word. He’s

edgy, determined and definite. He carries himself and his words

with uncompromising honesty and an easy wit, and there’s no

room in his thoughts for self-doubt or hesitancy. In a world where

the word truth is redefined on an almost daily basis, his honesty

is refreshing and engaging. This manifests itself in his lyrics, real

tales of real characters facing all too real struggles. It’s burned

into his voice, the growl and the howl of those struggles, the lives

lived in those songs and the stories told.

This honesty spills over into the writing process, which,

for Berry, is everything. For it to work for him, it has to come

from him.

“I wanna write about real things that are true to me, so I

won’t let anyone else write for me, cos you’re not an artist then,

you’re a performer… I couldn’t stand there, like a fraud, and

sing songs that haven’t come from me. I don’t wanna lose that

authenticity. It’s about truth.”

“There’s an

enthusiastic energy,

a sense of drive and

an urgency in the

way he speaks”

The marker of this will be Berry’s debut full-length, which is

due later in 2017. Off the back of huge singles Restless and She

Wants Me, there’s a growing anticipation for this as-yet untitled

album, which was recorded in 2016 in Nashville. Whether or not

it’s finished or not, only Louis knows. “I keep saying it’s finished,

but then… it isn’t. I keep going back to it and changing a couple

of things.” As with everything in his career, he’s taking his time,

drip-feeding his eager fanbase, teasing them with brief tastes of

what’s to come. A broad smile dances across his face as he thinks

about this; the caution of the journey and the care he’s taken so

far are always close to mind.

“The thing is, a lot of the stuff I’ve got coming is far deeper

than what I’ve got out at the moment, cos you’ve got to play

the game,” he admits. “There’s a bit of push and pull over what

songs we release first, and how we get there. I could so easily

release my most pop track, make a big pop video in America in

the sunshine with a load of Cadillacs in it or whatever, sit back

and say ‘there you go’. Go straight at it that way. That’s fuckin’

easy. But, if you get that wrong, then where d’you go? You’re

fucked. You went right to the top from the beginning, and now

you’re fucked. I want longevity in my career, and I need to make

sure that every step I take is on solid foundations. I have to move

forward like that.”

We could be forgiven for thinking that this single-minded

and dogged determination might not go down well with Sony, his

record company; major labels such as them aren’t always known

for their patience, or readiness to relinquish control.

“Yeah, I suppose you could think about the record company in

terms of this big entity, and then you as a separate piece of that

entity – or you could just look at them as individuals in the room.

When I walk in that room, I’m not having conversations with

Sony, I’m dealing with people. I’m talking to John, Paul, Sarah and

Jane. And all the people I’m working with there are great, they’re

sound people. They don’t try and control me. We’ve got a mutual

respect for each other. I understand the game they wanna play;

they’re patient, and the route they wanna take is towards that

longevity too. They have reasons for the way they do things, and

you have to trust them in it, but at the same time they have to

trust you when you say ‘no, this is the way I’m doing it’. A bit of

give and take.”

Seeing Louis Berry live is an experience of high-octane

impact: the connection he has with the crowd is a solid

and unswerving two-way conversation, and, for Berry, the

performance of these songs is the fulfilment of his intense vision

and focus. The stage is where these songs live, where they

belong, as a part of that connection with his crowd, and with

each performance he seems to breathe new life into them.

“I see it like this. You know when you go to a fight, and

you’re terrified before it and you come out after it, and you won?

And you walk away like you’re the dog’s bollocks?” he laughs.

“That’s the feeling I feel at a gig. Like I’ve had a scrap and won.”

Watching him, you’d certainly get the feeling he’s won a good

few scraps in his time. Again, that vision comes to him, the

certainty of purpose he feels…

“For me, writing is the most important thing – but the live

performance is the fulfilment of the writing. That’s the climax.

When I write, I envision: I see the crowd. So, when I’m standing

there, I’ve already seen what’s going on in the room. The room

could be empty, but in my head, I’ve already seen their reaction,

I’ve seen them singing them songs back to me. When I write, I

do it with optimism, not pessimism, and I see that in my mind.

Everything I’m achieving now, I’ve already seen.”

There’s no doubt he’ll see a lot more on his journey. That path

he’s treading is well-worn, fraught with the danger of far too

many distractions. It’s claimed its victims before, and it will again;

those who thought too big, and those who thought too small.

Those who didn’t think at all. Louis Berry’s different. He doesn’t

just think he’ll reach his destination, he knows. !

Words: Paul Fitzgerald / @NothingvilleM

Photography: John Johnson / johnjohnson-photographer.com

louisberryofficial.com

She Wants Me is released on 10th March via Sony Music.

FEATURE 26


DEEP SEA

FREQUENCY

Diving deep with a

new musical venture

that already has a loyal

following of ravers.

“I’m not going to lie,

it’s been hard for us,

but we’ve just had to

make our mark.”

Liverpool’s dance music scene has become one of the

healthiest in the UK. Driven by energies from new

creatives and established promoters alike, young ravers

in particular have latched onto fresh, intimate parties

with an underground twist. The Meine Nacht events – with their

secret, never-before-seen warehouse locations and bring your

own booze policy – have really struck a chord with those thirsty

for a hedonistic experience, particularly one which eliminates the

sometimes unnecessary frills of event production and promotion.

Now with a successful run of parties under their belt and

more ideas brimming, Meine Nacht founders Orlagh Dooley (also

known by her DJ alias Or:la) and Jessica Beaumont are turning

their hand to a label, something which will embody the things

which made the events so successful; a unique aesthetic, a focus

on audience involvement and a musical policy which doesn’t

pigeonhole. DEEP SEA FREQUENCY will be the newest platform

for the pair to explore and generate.

After studying a similar music production course at university,

a friendship developed between Orlagh and Jessica, stemming

from a mutual interest in music after meeting on Liverpool’s

clubbing circuit. With a similar outlook and taste, they launched

Meine Nacht with Liverpool immediately enamoured to the raw

and rowdy get-togethers, soundtracked by soulful house, gritty

techno and frenetic bass; but it’s with the label that they view

creative longevity.

“We didn’t expect the party to take off the way it did, but it

just worked for us. We’ve continued to push forward with it and

it’s just been a snowball effect from there,” says Jessica. “We love

doing the parties but ultimately we want something that will last

and we don’t have to be stuck in one place to do them; with a

label we can reach a worldwide audience.”

Similarly to the way the pair plan their events, a meticulous

attention to detail and innovative ideas for format and delivery is

at the forefront of Deep Sea Frequency. Focusing on vinyl-only

releases to begin with, the tactile element will be present in more

than one way. “We’re going to have braille on the record so that

it’s multi-inclusive,” explains Jessica. “It’s going to be one of the

first labels that will have that incorporated in that way.”

It’s not the first time that physicality has played a part in

their ideas either. For their most recent Meine Nacht warehouse

event, they hid copies of all of the film photography from previous

parties around the venue so that revellers could pick them up and

keep a memento of their experience. “We’d documented it over

a year and we wanted our audience to have a copy,” explains

Orlagh. “It’s the touch element which we wanted to keep, and

the people who are releasing on the label will be able to keep

something personal to them. It’s very important to us.”

The name for the label itself stems from the reliance marine

animals have on sound for survival, and how they adapt to their

environment to enable them to communicate different messages.

The changes in rate, pitch and structure alter the messages, which

is where differing frequencies become important. In relation to

music, it will represent the information and interpretation of the

abstract communication between producers and their audiences.

Orlagh has been producing under her Or:la moniker for a

few years now, and late last year she had her breakthrough with

her release on Scuba’s renowned Hotflush imprint. But finding

a home for her music has been a struggle to contend with as an

emerging artist, and it’s this market that the pair think they can

tap into to create more opportunities. “It was hard to find a label

which actually combined all the different sounds which I liked in it

on an EP,” tells Orlagh, “so with us creating this label it’s going to

be easier because there won’t be any rules of restrictions about

genre.” The first release on Deep Sea Frequency will be an EP

by Or:la that comes out in May, with a launch party at a secret

location alongside it, which will feature acts coming over from

New York and Barcelona.

In many ways the label is an extension of the parties,

where Jessica and Orlagh regularly meet budding artists who

were keen to share their music with them. “We realised that

the stuff we were getting sent is actually really good and

these people didn’t have a platform to put their music out,”

explains Jessica. “We have an EP ready from a guy from

Liverpool who attended all of the parties and became our mate.

It’s an important thing for us to release local stuff because we

want to give people a chance that maybe we didn’t get at the

start of our journey.”

A keen eye for new talent was expressed even earlier when

Orlagh and Jessica started up a DJ society at university with

the intention of getting more girls involved in the scene. With

more production courses popping up specifically for females

(like the workshop developed in Glasgow by DJ Nightwave), it’s

refreshing to see more and more women conquering an often

male-dominated scene. “The girls did express that they were

embarrassed and they didn’t feel like the inclusion was equal,”

remembers Jessica. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard for us, but

we’ve just had to make our mark. If you want to do something

then you just have to go for it. It all boils down to passion.

“Holly Lester [a friend and fellow DJ] made a nice point

recently, that perhaps people don’t see being a female DJ or

producer as a proper career. Maybe that’s down to how to people

are perceiving it, but you’re just as worthy as any man and you

can do just as good a job as any man, because we’re just humans.

We shouldn’t be separated by gender.”

With a genuine interest in adventurous and underground

music, you can expect a dynamic attitude towards nurturing new

talent alongside a penchant for unearthing unheard gems. The

club night has already proved their panache for thinking outside

the box, with no reason to fear a dimming of their enthusiasm

anytime soon. “I’ve always had the attitude that if you want to

do it, then do it. Nothing like that has put an obstacle in the way

of us doing what we want to do,” says Orlagh. “It’s been a really

good journey and I hope that this is just the beginning.” !

Words: Rebecca Frankland / @beccafranko

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

soundcloud.com/deepseafrequency

27

BIDO LITO!


“The oceans of

reverb it created

have expanded into

thick, atmospheric

sonic depths”

29

BIDO LITO!


ASTLES

Storytelling and classic

songcraft in perfect harmony.

Dan Astles looks right at home leafing through the

record stacks in Jacaranda Records, giving off the

air of a seasoned musician despite being in the early

stages of his career. We’ve met to discuss the first

fruits of his journey as ASTLES, an EP of bristling, reverb-laden

pop recorded at the Scandinavian Church, which marks the first

chapter of what already looks to be a promising career. We head

downstairs in search of a more forgiving acoustic environment,

and as we hunch over a battered and antiquated table in the

historic Jacaranda basement, Dan attempts to tally the countless

times he’s played within these walls. While only 18, Dan has

been writing since the age of 13, his teenage years spent refining

his sound at open mic nights in places such as The Jac. He’s even

been attempting to create his own music community near his

home in Southport, and the open mic events he’s put on so far

have already taught him the importance of hard work and not

settling for a feeling of comfort.

That reassuring comfort comes with familiarity and repetition,

something that is abundant in his sleepy, predictable, seaside

hometown. His experiences in places like The Jacaranda have

inspired Dan to catalyse a scene within Southport, starting

with his regular open mic nights in The Hideout bar. “[It’s] a

place where people can go to play, and feel like they’re a part of

something, and be around like-minded people,” he explains about

the ethos of his Hideout Acoustic Sessions nights. “That wasn’t

there when I was 15, I always needed to go to Liverpool because

there was nothing going on in Southport.”

The lack of activity in the area drove Dan to run the tracks

into the city in a pursuit of new experiences, people and sounds.

“For me, Liverpool was the centre of the world, I couldn’t get

enough of it. The amount of times I’ve caught the last train

home to spend as much time here as possible, it’s so many.”

Liverpool has been a key inspiration for Astles as an artist too,

expanding his mind both musically and socially. Every other

sentence he utters is infused with a boundless enthusiasm for

the city and its recent knack for harbouring young talent; he

lists Silent Cities, Thom Morecroft, LUMEN and Eleanor Nelly as

key influences who have left their mark on him. After becoming

acquainted with many of the acts currently on the scene, Dan has

not only learned a lot from them, he is now using them as a bar

to measure himself against. “Having these people around you,

who you think are amazing, encourages you to improve.” He also

praises the support available to young artists in the form of LIMF

Academy, Merseyrail Sound Station and the nurturing creative

local environment. He credits these as a stimulant for the recent

wave of acts being recognised by the music industry, such as MiC

Lowry, Clean Cut Kid and XamVolo.

Having been involved in the LIMF Academy last year and

having impressed the judges enough at the Merseyrail Sound

Station Festival to be crowned its 2016 winner, Astles is

starting to turn heads of his own. Off the back of this

achievement, he’s set to release his first recorded EP in March

– Live At The Nordic – which comes with a launch show at

Liverpool’s Small Cinema. Featuring only Dan and his guitar, the

EP’s five tracks were recorded in the Gustav Adolf Church on

Park Lane with Michael Johnson of Tankfield Studios, a producer

and engineer who’s worked with the likes of New Order and Joy

Division. The Nordic church proved to be the perfect location

for Dan’s pained vocals, and the oceans of reverb it created

have expanded into thick, atmospheric sonic depths. There are

touches of Amen Dunes’ Damon McMahon in Castles’ evocative

introspection, and even something of Damien Rice’s pained

troubadour on Time Forgot.

The ethereal sound that has become Astles’ trademark is

something Dan has refined over his years of gigging solo. Playing

soft, reverb-honeyed songs, in an attempt to stand out amongst

most acoustic guitar open mic acts, he aims to harbour a fragility

and a pureness. “It just makes everything sound bigger – and

I wanted to play something different and more intriguing,” he

explains. “Jeff Buckley was able to capture that mood of him and

his guitar. It’s so powerful, but people can miss that, because it’s

so simple.”

Creating a strong, colourful and vivid picture is something

that also seems fundamental to Dan’s fascination with music. That

storyteller’s craft of acquainting the listener with the character and

setting is a skill that shows up time and again in Astles’ songs. A

defining memory for Dan is listening to his parents’ records as a

child. “I remember being really little, and being sat in the back of

my dad’s car and hearing Piano Man. The way he describes the

characters, you can feel and see them in your head. I remember

thinking that’s an amazing thing to do within a three or fiveminute

song.” As he grew older he started to search for his own

influences, in the form of Bob Dylan, John Martyn and Elliot Smith,

further feeding his hunger for storytelling in music. He explored

literature as another medium by which to exercise his obsession for

imagery and narrative. Classic novels such as The Catcher In The

Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird inspired him to recreate the impact

of those stories in a shorter, simplified song format. The ability of

encapsulating an array of characters, messages and emotions, and

portraying them in such a simple format, is something he found

overwhelming when listening to artists like Bob Dylan. “The fact

that people can write songs that takes a film three hours, or a book

400 pages, that’s something that’s really inspiring to me, being

able to say something that quickly and that strongly.”

The music making process is as important to Astles as the

presentation of it, whether it be live or recorded. After enrolling

in a Music Technology course in Liverpool, he’s now cultivating

the art of production, tailoring different sounds, and exercising a

new form of experimentation. “Now I’ve got better at production,

some of my ideas come from hours spent at my computer.

Fiddling around with sounds, I can build upon the ideas I have

with just me and my guitar.”

“It’s so powerful,

but people can miss

that, because it’s so

simple”

While only just starting to make his mark upon Liverpool,

pages are being turned towards the next Astles chapter. Already

eyeing up his future, he’d like his next batch of EPs to adopt

individual concepts, more like cinematic entities and short stories.

He also expresses his will to not be restricted by orthodox band

set-ups, with a desire to incorporate grand string sections and

layered percussion high on his agenda. A reference point he

draws on is the latest Bon Iver release, 22, A Million: “It’s stripped

back, but still has all these ideas coming from all over the place.

That sound that is so raw, but still so considered.” In taking notes

from the great novelists and songwriters of the last century and

this, Astles has set his heights high, but his ambition is clear. !

Words: Jonny Winship / @jmwinship

Photography: Nata Moraru / facebook.com/NataMoraruPhoto

soundcloud.com/astlesmusic

The Live At The Nordic EP comes out on 14th March,

with an EP launch show at The Small Cinema on 30th March.

FEATURE 30


ALTERNATIVE

FACTS

05/04

In association the exhibition

How Much Of This Is Fiction, join

Bido Lito! and a panel of special

guests including Professor David

Garcia to discuss post-truth

politics, fake news, and the role of

independent media.

The Box, FACT

Free to Bido Lito! members

£4 non-members adv from bidolito.co.uk


SPOTLIGHT

DANYE

Four like-minded souls who weave a particularly

dreamy thread of space pop while trying to find

some escapism from the real world.

“...while music

is increasingly

exclusive, you can

still do it yourself.”

If you’re a guitar band in Liverpool, occasionally getting

lost in the crowd is an occupational hazard. Thankfully

for DANYE, they’ve a knack of getting their heads above

the rest, which comes from their marriage of a decidedly

retro feel with shimmering, futuro guitar-pop nous. The

quartet – Dan West on words and fibres, Jordan Swales on

cathedral sounds, Rhys Davies on resonance and Dan

Martindale on pots and pans – barely knew each other

before they met for their first practice together, but the Danye

vibe has brought them close together like only best mates can

be. They also have an, err, interesting take on their own sound,

describing it as “like waking from a wet dream feeling good,

but very confused.”

Danye’s most recent song, Recently (funnily enough), is a

relentlessly-paced, space-pop weird one that comes across like

Wild Nothing covering The Pale Fountains. It’s a combination

that shouldn’t work, but there’s a lo-fi dexterity to it that is

charming, and has masses of radio potential. “We’re still trying to

get our heads around it ourselves,” the band say about the track,

almost as if it just came to them in a dream. “Our songs all tend

to be very different, as we all have similar yet differing tastes. So,

they probably show that we’re all confused as to what’s actually

going on a lot of the time, which, you know, could be a good or a

bad thing.”

They’re reticent to list a number of artists who they’ve

aspired to emulate (“apart from Will Smith, Björk and Def

Leppard”), insisting instead that they’re all pretty open-minded

to each others’ ideas – and, by extension, their influences.

“Probably our biggest common influence would be artists

who self-record and produce – they’re a huge inspiration to our

generation of musicians, by showing that you don’t need a

studio and loads of money to make good music. People are

discovering that their favourite artists produced records in a

tiny room in Slough or something, not some fancy studio, and

it’s refreshing as it reminds us that, while music is increasingly

exclusive, you can still do it yourself.”

Far from being tarred with the ‘slacker’ brush, Danye

have been making good on their word by self-recording their

first EP. The four-piece are about to release another single and

video, for new tune Happy One – “a straight-up, no-frills pop

tune about trying to get a table in Sapporos…”

So, why is music important to Danye? “Apart from escaping

our jobs and reality, it’d be connecting with others and just

expressing ourselves,” they say. “It’s a wonderful thing when

you’re all in the moment together sharing that experience of

music, there’s nothing quite like it. In a wider, more clichéd sense,

music is important as it brings people together, and facilitates

expression between us all. I guess we don’t need to explain why

that’s important, as the experiences music gives makes that quite

self-explanatory.”

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

soundcloud.com/danyemuzic

Danye play Threshold Festival on 1st April,

on the Merseyrail Sound Station stage.

33

BIDO LITO!


AMINA

ATIQ

Yemeni published poet and

member of Writing on the

Wall’s young writers group,

AMINA ATIQ uses her words

to protest and educate.

If you had to describe your poetry in a sentence,

what would you say?

I would say that my poetry is a platform through which I am

able to give back to the voiceless by speaking against racism,

oppression and prejudice. Also, as a first year student of Creative

Writing at LJMU, I am currently developing my ideas and

strengthening my writing. As a writer, we are normally critical

of our own work and we are always wanting to improve. I am

willing to learn about and experience the world around me, so

that I am able to express this in an artistic form, so that those

around me and after me will know of our world through poetry,

and not only by biased mainstream news articles. People want

honesty and poetry is the gateway to the truth.

What’s the latest material you’ve been working on –

and what does it say about you?

My latest performing poetry is Interference, which was published

last year. It was part of a short story I had written of a girl

called Isra who flees her birth home, Syria. The final part of the

short story finishes with a poetic monologue: as Isra is on a

boat travelling through the sea at night amongst other families,

she pleads for the world to listen to her words, which may be

her last. This piece is inspired by politics and their agendas to

create war; it reflects the true voice of a child who does not

understand. Though this is about this young girl from Syria, this

reflects my voice; I do not understand either and I am still trying

to understand why we still read history books when all we do is

recreate these situations over and over again.

Did you have any particular artists or poets in mind as an

influence when you started out? What about them do you

think you’ve taken into your own work?

I have always read English-translated Arabic poetry, I was

inspired by the music poetry can create. I began to watch

YouTube videos of spoken word artists in America, like Omar

Suleiman’s Dead Man Walking. I was inspired how poetry on

stage can be so powerful, you don’t even have to shout for

people to listen, just speak from the heart, the truth. The power

in Omar’s poetry gave me power to speak up too and I thank him

for he gave me the courage to speak against injustice.

@AminaAtiqPoetry

PIXEY

“Lo-fi electric guitar riffs

with a feel-good pop beat” –

PIXEY’s brand of slacker pop

is right up our street.

Just to get a bit more information from you:

who/what is Pixey?

Pixey is a solo project that I started last year. I started writing

and producing everything on a laptop in my bedroom and when

I started out I only had my guitar to work with, so I ended up

playing all the instruments on the tracks. Everything heard on my

songs, including the bass, is played on guitar. Although I write

and play everything when I’m recording, I’ve got a four-piece

band behind me when I’m playing live.

What’s the latest release you’ve been working on –

and what does it say about you?

I released my first single Young last year, which I wrote entirely

for a bit of fun and didn’t think too much of it. If it says anything

about me, it would probably be that I really do love to do nothing

and sit indoors all day. I’m now working on my first EP which I’m

hoping to release around April.

Did you have any particular artists in mind as an

influence when you started out? What about them do

you think you’ve taken into your music?

I’m a really big fan of Mac Demarco and George Harrison,

but I also admire Grimes, so I wanted their influence on my

sound to meet somewhere in the middle. I’ve always loved

Mac Demarco’s carefree lyrics, which definitely influenced

what I wanted to write about when I started out. I also thought

the gritty guitar riffs and upbeat feel of George Harrison’s

album All Things Must Pass was something I wanted to recreate

in my own way. That album really changed the way I saw

music. But, on a completely different tone, I always looked up

to Grimes for pushing the boundaries with her contemporary

and pop edge.

Why is music important to you?

Music is important to me because anyone can identify with a

song, album or artist. It’s a completely universal language that

gives you the freedom of who and what you want to be.

soundcloud.com/pixeyofficial

Pixey plays the Bido Lito! Membership Launch Party at 24

Kitchen Street on 20th April.

SPOTLIGHT 34


PREVIEWS

FESTIVAL

Hannah

Peel

Threshold Festival – 01/04

“We were never

told about the

power of what

music could do.”

LIPA graduate HANNAH PEEL initially worked as a

composer, arranger and musical director for theatre,

as well as a session musician. She launched her solo

career in 2010 with Rebox, an EP of music box covers

of songs from the 1980s by Soft Cell, New Order, OMD and

Cocteau Twins, and has gone on a varied and fascinating journey

since then. The Irish-born multi-instrumentalist is a member

of The Magnetic North along with Gawain Erland Cooper and

Simon Tong, a trio known for their exploration of different

members’ childhoods through their two quasi-concept albums

(Orkney: Symphony Of The Magnetic North and Prospect Of

Skelmersdale).

The second Hannah Peel solo album, Awake But Always

Dreaming, produced by Cooper, was released in 2016, and

features Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thorpe. The follow-up to her

2011 release, The Broken Wave, Awake But Always Dreaming is

inspired by her grandmother’s dementia.

I understand the roots of Awake But Always Dreaming

came from the latter stages of your grandmother’s

illness, when you discovered the link between music

and memory?

She went into a nursing home and I particularly remember

walking in one day as my aunt was leaving and my aunt was

crying and the automatic feeling was to go ‘oh no, what’s it going

to be like today, has she forgotten us completely?’. She was living

back in the 1940s working in a factory and couldn’t understand

who we were or where she was. I used to imagine in her mind

she was wandering around these cities and brutalist buildings, all

cobbled streets with shops, and in every shop was a memory. It

would have, maybe, my grandad’s piano or a songbook that she

really loved and she would go in and come back to us in those

moments.

We were never told about the power of what music could

do. She was an amazing singer, and sang for years, but she never

wanted to sing and we thought ‘oh, that’s gone like everything

else’. I said to my family one Christmas Day when we went to

visit, ‘why don’t we sing some Christmas carols?’. She just woke

up, and started to sing. She hadn’t sung for four or five years; her

vocal chords wouldn’t have been used in that way and it was a

really magical moment.

You’ve said Italo Calvino’s book of prose poetry,

Invisible Cities, played a big part of your process in

writing the album. I’m reading it at the moment; it plonks

you into these alien worlds of exotic faded glamour, but in

so few words.

It’s very mad, isn’t it? That book was a huge inspiration. I was

completely absorbed in this book. I had pictures pasted to my

walls of communist buildings, designs and photography and my

dream was to compose a song for every single city, and at the

end of the day it just didn’t work. And I spent years doing it. It

wasn’t until I realised, in that moment, ‘oh my god, I’ve just been

dreaming about where she’s [Peel’s grandmother] been going,

for four years’. So, I came out of it and started to write about the

personal experience.

Your music box compositions and recordings have

found their way on to numerous adverts, artist remixes

and in film, and you’ve used the music box on Awake But

Always Dreaming to great effect. Do you make music

boxes as well?

I buy the mechanics of it online but the making of it is hole

punching every note and then I join them all together with

Sellotape, which is really high-tech! But the box is mine, and the

way the pick-up is inside the box, it picks up all the creaks and

the cranks and you get the pull of the paper. It makes a really

beautiful sound you can’t get with a digital, sampled version. It’s

really special. [At gigs] the audience can see when the song is

about to end as well. You can pre-empt the ending. It’s nice how

it falls to the floor with a clunk.

I hear there’s a new Magnetic North record slated for release

in 2018.

We’re working on something. We’ve already taken the guys to

Ireland. Compared to both of them [Erland Cooper and Simon

Tong] I’m very transient, I’ve got different parts to me. I lived

in Liverpool as long as I lived in Ireland and as long as I lived in

Barnsley, so there’s an equalness to where I would want to base

it, so we’re gradually finding that and gradually trying to piece it

together and make something coherent. But I don’t think it will

be as solid as Skelmersdale or as solid as Orkney. It will be a bit

different from that. I’ve also just written a piece for a 33-piece

colliery brass band. I’ve just recorded it and it will be out in

September. It’s brass band and synths.

Is this the mythical Mary Casio, of Mary Casio: Journey To

Cassiopeia? How is Mary?

She’s doing well! Mary’s my middle name but I had this idea…

I’ve got loads of Casio keyboards and I would often just put a

drumbeat on the Casio and just play along to the samba and

rumba beats and swing beats, and started saying, ‘this is Mary

Casio’. She’s like a space lady, a bit like a mad inventor. She’s

old and she’s never left Barnsley, and in her back garden she

has a shed she has all her inventions in. She’s a bit like a Delia

Derbyshire or Daphne Oram type character. Spends her life

working in the local post office and at night, when nobody

knows, she goes into the garden and she makes all these crazy

electronic instruments, and has a dream of going to the actual

star constellation of Cassiopeia.

You’re juggling so much: Hannah Peel the solo artist, one

third of the Magnetic North, and, of course, Mary. How do

you balance everything?

With her [Mary], it was definitely making theatre. It isn’t theatrical

music, it’s very ambient and spiritual, but I went into that story as

if you were reading a book and imagined that character as I was

writing it. The Hannah Peel solo stuff is what I go through on a daily

basis, and then the Magnetic North is also something completely

different because it harks back to childhood and memories and

nostalgia. It’s quite hard to separate it all: at the moment I’m finding

it hard to write for Magnetic North. The boys are really pushing

me to do stuff and I kind of don’t want to do it [laughs], because

my brain isn’t separating them all very well. But once I’ve got Mary

mastered, I think I’ll start to change my mind about that. !

hannahpeel.com

Hannah Peel plays Threshold Festival on 1st April.

Awake But Always Dreaming is out now via My Own Pleasure.

37

BIDO LITO!


GIG

Tinariwen

Invisible Wind Factory – 07/03

Tuareg multi-instrumental group TINARIWEN bring

their genre-defying melting pot of funk, blues, folk and

psychedelia to the Invisible Wind Factory in support

of their latest album Elwan. With their homeland,

a Saharan mountain range between north-eastern Mali and

southern Algeria, transformed into a conflict zone, the lyrics

on Elwan are even more politically charged than their previous

releases, pivoting around concerns for the future of the Tuareg

people and of the deserts they inhabit.

Their music is as masterful as ever. Ténéré Taqqal (which

translates into ‘What has become of the desert’) breathes a deep

soulful lament into the album; one voice punctuated by more

hopeful-sounding call and response choruses. The faster-paced

Assàwt, a tribute to Tuareg women, is a much more celebratory

affair, all quick fingerpicking and layer upon layer of textural

rhythms. And then there’s Ittus: just one member of the band and

his guitar – pure slow draw, soft-voiced desert blues.

Recorded across a shifting desert backdrop, but imbued

with the culture of home, Tinariwen split their time between

California’s Joshua Tree National Park, and M’Hamid El Ghizlane,

an oasis in southern Morocco near the Algerian frontier, setting

up their tents to record. Their California location allowed for some

high-profile guests to drop by and the hordes of artists queueing

up on the collaboration conveyor belt speaks volumes: Kurt Vile

makes an appearance as do Mark Lanegan, multi-instrumentalist

Alain Johannes (known for his work with Queens of the Stone

Age) and guitarist Matt Sweeney (who’s worked with Iggy Pop

and Johnny Cash amongst others).

But don’t take their word for it – Tinariwen’s rich and plentiful

back catalogue speaks for itself. With this date, we’re granted a

chance to support and celebrate music created by a culture under

threat. Don’t miss it for the world.

Enda Bates

FESTIVAL

Open Circuit

Victoria Gallery and Museum

24/03-29/03

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Composition and

Technology (ICCaT), based in the Department of Music

at the University of Liverpool, specialises in the kind

of research that burrows down into the very fabric of

sound. Their ethos sees staff and PhD students working together

to investigate how music composition and sonic artforms

intersect with new technology, performance and perception.

OPEN CIRCUIT FESTIVAL is the centre’s main platform

for presenting this cutting-edge research, which they do every

year through a diverse programme of public events and musical

activities that contextualise the various types of research

they undertake. The festival not only offers a series of free

contemporary music events in the glorious surroundings of the

Victoria Gallery’s Leggate Theatre, but also provides academic

context on the future of music making and technology through

panel discussions, artist talks and public demonstrations.

For 2017, the team have put together an audacious

line-up that builds upon these themes, and shows that the

spirit of discovery is alive and well. Swedish trombone player

CHRISTIAN LINDBERG (voted the ‘Greatest Brass Player In

History’ by Classic FM in 2015) will lead the Royal Liverpool

Philharmonic Orchestra’s 10/10 Ensemble in a programme he has

curated specifically for this event, which will look at innovative

approaches to writing for chamber ensemble. French composer

PHILIPPE MANOURY is a pioneer in the field of instruments and

computer sound, and will host a talk on 28th March that will

focus on the interaction between performers and computers. This

will be followed by a performance of Manoury’s Partita I for viola,

and realtime electronics by PIXELS ENSEMBLE.

Elsewhere, Irish composer ENDA BATES delivers a talk about

the spatial composer as illusionist, and flautist RICHARD CRAIG

expands on his impressive repertoire with the premiere of a new

arrangement that merges flute and electronics. All events are

free, but you’re encouraged to reserve tickets in advance at

iccat.uk/open-circuit.

PREVIEWS 38


PREVIEWS

GIG

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

Invisible Wind Factory – 20/03

Seun Kuti

Nearly six years since his 16-piece band, Egypt 80, electrified

The Kazimier’s stage (and probably caused the logistics folk

there a good headache), SEUN KUTI makes a welcome return

to Liverpool, this time upping sticks north to the Invisible Wind

Factory. The youngest son of one very famous Afrobeat pioneer

Fela Kuti, Seun took on the role of leading his late pa’s band and

has become a respected artiste in his own right – he even went

to LIPA. Touring his latest album, the socially conscious Struggle

Sounds, Kuti continues the activist ethos of his father, as well as

his funk-fuelled Afrobeat grooves.

GALLERY

North:

Identity, Photography, Fashion

Open Eye Gallery – until 19/03

If you haven’t moseyed on down to Mann Island already to

see NORTH, you better hurry. Also, where’ve you been? A

glorious multi-media exhibition exploring how the North of

England is depicted, treated and celebrated in the worlds of art,

fashion and photography, it’s one to lose yourself in. Immersive

documentary work, fashion photography, clothing and prints all

mix shoulders in homage to the cultural heritage of the North,

and how this heritage has been reshaped by outsiders through

visual representation. Big names like Mark Leckey and Corinne

Day feature but our pick is a tongue-in-cheek piece revolving

around Shaun Ryder.

North: Identity, Photography, Fashion

FESTIVAL

Threshold

Northern Lights – 31/03-02/04

GIG

Coven

Philharmonic Music Room – 07/03

The grassroots music and arts ambassadors at THRESHOLD FESTIVAL have

curated another eclectic line-up, bringing us the best of the North West’s emerging

music scene at a mere £15 a pop for the full weekend. There’s everything from

multi-talented music maker HANNAH PEEL, to groove patrons GALACTIC FUNK

MILITIA, and shit-hot neu-punks QUEEN ZEE AND THE SASSTONES. With their

huge emphasis on emerging artists and affordability for punters, Threshold have

traditionally relied on a bit of funding help but have had a recent setback: help

them out by making a pledge via crowdfunder.co.uk/threshold2017.

Assembling three of the British folk scene’s most celebrated and forthright

female acts, COVEN bring their formidable songwriting and storytelling to the

Philharmonic Music Room in celebration of International Women’s Day. Harmonic

duo O’Hooley & Tidow will be joined by multi-instrumentalist trio Lady Maisery

(who in the past have covered Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work, to raise money

for the charity coalition End Violence Against Women) and the irrepressible

songwriter, activist and performer Grace Petrie. With ‘coven’ usually referring to a

gathering of witches, we very much like its reclaimed application here.

COMEDY

Josie Long

Epstein Theatre – 13/03

The ever-exuberant JOSIE LONG is a breath of fresh air on

a stand-up comedy circuit that tends to breed cynicism and

sarcasm. Tackling identity struggles and self-acceptance, her

style sounds a little on the heavy side for a comedy show, but

Long is renowned for being as funny as her work is heartfelt.

She’s written for Skins and toured with Stewart Lee, and

presents Something Better off the back of the international

sell-out success of her last tour. Billed as being a show about

optimism and hopefulness, it seems like a natural remedy for our

times. Head to bidolito.co.uk now for an exclusive interview with

Josie Long.

Josie Long

GIG

Ditto Live

Camp and Furnace – 24/03

Presenting a prime crop of this city’s best and brightest

talent, DITTO LIVE brings a big bunch of musical loveliness to

Camp and Furnace, hosted by BBC Introducing’s main man

on Merseyside, Dave Monks. Topping the bill is architect of

masterful soulscapes and recent Decca signing, XAMVOLO,

then there’s catchy 70s rockers LILIUM, 60s psych throwbacks

THE WICKED WHISPERS and rock ‘n’ rollers LITTLE

TRIGGERS. Add a bit of spunky groovers OYA PAYA, garage

gang SEPRONA, Banksy wannabes THE SNEAKY NIXONS,

and thoughtful alt. rockers THE MONO LPS, and you’ve a fine

mix indeed.

CONCERT

Intimate Letters

Buyers Club – 24/03

Contemporary concert troupe Manchester Collective are

teaming up with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the illustrious author

of A Clockwork Orange. The Collective’s second Liverpool

showing of 2017 features a world premiere of Huw Belling’s

thrilling Inside Mr Enderby song cycle, which aims to delve

deep into the unsettling world of one of Burgess’ lesser known

works. Celebrated Australian baritone Mitch Riley will be a

guest performer for the night’s work, which also features a

rendition of Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s emotionallycharged

Intimate Letters for string quartet.

39

BIDO LITO!


CLUB

Monki & Friends

24 Kitchen Street – 09/03

Underground tastemaker and DJ MONKI brings her shattering

house sets to the Baltic. Known for championing new electronic

talent on her Radio 1 show and through her digital imprint Zoo

Music, Monki has melded together mixes for Red Bull Music

Academy and has kicked off what’s set to be a momentous year

for her with Carl Cox, Skream and MK all guesting on her show.

Launching her tour with celebrations at Fabric London, catch her

on her second stop as she brings her pals to Kitchen Street for a

night of fresher-than-fresh house music.

Monki

GIG

Bolshy Album Launch

Meraki –18/03

The evolution of BOLSHY from street busking band to full-on

riotous noiseniks now has them ticking the ‘studio band’ box as

well. The ska/punk seven-piece bring out their album Reap The

Storm on Antipop Records on 18th March, and they’re throwing a

launch party to mark the occasion (the night also marks their fifth

birthday). Bolshy’s slew of punk, dub, Afrobeat and Klezmeric

dynamism has made them a hit on the underground festival

scene, and they’re looking to export that to venues around the

country as they head out on a UK tour in support of the record.

Bolshy

GIG

Thundercat

Invisible Wind Factory – 24/03

Thundercat

Do you like funk? Good. How about soul and jazz? THUNDERCAT’s got you

covered. His backstory is pure jazz pedigree – his pa, Ronald Bruner, Sr. played

with The Temptations, Diana Ross, and Gladys Knight. Young Thunder picked up

the bass and, with it, collaborations with Erykah Badu and Kamasi Washington.

He brought his mad funk genius to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly (and

won a Grammy for it). His solo work is of the same calibre. A chance to see this

super talented cat play his own thing in the space age environs of a north docks

warehouse? Only a fool would miss it.

LITERATURE

Bad Taste Reading Group

The Bluecoat – 22/03

CLUB

Sonic Yootha #18 – It’s My Party

24 Kitchen Street – 10/03

Move along Oprah. Richard and Judy, take a hike. The cool and cultured folks at

The Bluecoat bring a different kind of reading group to town. Bad Taste Reading

Group grapples with reflections on art and society with monthly informal and

welcoming discussion groups. Facilitated by Dr Paul Jones, Bluecoat’s Sociologistin-Residence,

and Bluecoat’s curator Adam Smythe, get existential and antiestablishment

with readings of French social theorists Pierre Bourdieu and Bruno

Latour, and feminist scholar Donna Haraway. Free to attend and open to all, take

the leap and book a place in advance via thebluecoat.org.uk.

Every cool kitten’s favourite club night returns for its second outing of 2017;

a sparkling, positive pop-culture fest on the horizon in these frankly shite

Armageddon times. Expect Her Madgesty, Mariah, George Michael, Tina Turner,

The Human League (the list goes on!) sweat, glitter, and dance moves straight out

of Paris Is Burning. Pro tip: keep a keen eye/ear out for the Yootha gang’s regular

Mixcloud playlist in the run up to the big night. If that doesn’t put you in the mood

for dancing and free love, you might like to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

GIG

Taupe

Kazimier Garden – 02/03

Taupe

Celebrating the release of their second album Fill Up Your

Lungs And Bellow, Newcastle purveyors of punk and jazz

TAUPE bring their explorative brand of music chaos to the

fires of the Kazimier Gardens. Citing influences ranging from

South Indian Carnactic music to the heavy polyrhythms of

Swedish metal outfit Meshuggah and math-bop (this genre’s

new to us too), this is certainly one to expand your minds.

Rory Ballantyne and Michael Paul Metcalfe of Liverpool jazz

stalwarts Dead Hedge Trio will team up on the night to provide

an electronic soundscape of flowing synth and experimental

drum loops in support.

PREVIEWS 40


Ezio

plus Seafoam Green

The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Thursday 16th March

Ian Prowse & Amsterdam

Pele’s classic debut, ‘Fireworks’ 25th Anniversary Tour

Ruby Lounge, Manchester

Saturday 18th March

Jesca Hoop

THE Magnet

Wednesday 5th April

Kathryn Williams & Anthony Kerr

Philharmonic Hall

Sunday 23rd April

Nightingales & Blue Orchids

THE Magnet

Friday 28th April

Boo Hewerdine (full band)

‘Plus Findlay Napier

Philharmonic Hall

Friday 12th May

The Monochrome Set

Philharmonic Hall

Sunday 28th May

@Ceremonyconcert / facebook.com/ceremonyconcerts

ceremonyconcerts@gmail.com / seetickets.com


REVIEWS

The Fall (Darren Aston)

Pink Kink (Darren Aston)

The Fall

+ Cabbage + Hookworms

+ Eagulls + Pink Kink

+ Ohmns + Goat Girl

CLUB.THE.MAMMOTH @ Arts Club - 21/01

“There is something

truly beautiful

about the flaming

destruction”

Catching THE FALL in their element is a source of pure joy. Like

watching an asteroid shower, there is something truly beautiful

about the flaming destruction happening before your very eyes.

It doesn’t make a difference that most of the time their live sets

are an utter shambles, because, with a line-up like tonight’s, it’s

a winner either way. If Mr E Smith shines through then it’s merely

a bonus.

It’s barely gone five o’clock but Arts Club’s Loft is already

packed out for PINK KINK. Despite having not released a single

song, the Liverpool-based five-piece have gathered quite some

hype. Armed with an array of neon cardboard delicacies, and

outfits just as vibrant to match, Pink Kink are an explosion, a

sensory overload that is overwhelmingly pleasing on the ear.

Quite unlike anything else on the Liverpool scene, they flip rapidly

from anger-fuelled feminist anthems to heartfelt ballads to funfilled

party anthems.

Having left the sweatbox upstairs we fly down to catch

STRANGE COLLECTIVE. With their usual carefree attitude and

trademark shambolic garage-psych fug, they tear the room in

half. The scouse burr of lead singer Alex Wynne is the perfect

complement to the pedal-fed fuzz provided by guitarist Ali

Horn. Combining classic hometown melody with a whole load

of distortion, delay and mind-altering wah-wah is what’s helped

them gain their fanbase, and what will surely help them grow it

further.

Shouldering through a crowd of cracked leather jackets

reeking of nicotine, we travel back to the loft in search of

OHMNS. Unyielding, vicious and unpredictable, they are West

Derby’s answer to The Gories. “We are Cock Piss Cabbage,”

sneers singer Quinlan, wasting no time for chat and slamming

straight into a raucous rendition of Boil D Rice. The group

combine a filthy East Coast garage vibe with a Northern humour

– like Half Man Half Biscuit on speed – and bring a much-needed

edge to proceedings.

After sampling the delights of EAGULLS and GOAT GIRL,

the penultimate bands of the night couldn’t seem further apart.

Rather than choose between CABBAGE or HOOKWORMS, I split

down the middle and opt for catching half a set each. The Loft is

packed full to the rafters for Cabbage, with what feels like people

squeezing into every possible orifice the room has to offer. With

humidity rising as much as anticipation, the Mossley crew arrive

with a rockstar swagger brought on by sold-out shows across

the country. Cabbage are a band who might split opinion, but one

thing that can’t be argued with is their stage presence. They’re a

group of Northern boys who’ve struck a chord with generation Y:

it may be simplistic and raw, but you can’t argue with the frenzied

smiles of young and old that fill the room.

Hookworms couldn’t be more different. Perfectionists by

nature, it has taken a little longer for the Leeds collective to set

up, so I’m surprised to wander in mid-set. However, I’m not

surprised to be blown back by the multisensory tour de force

which confronts us, a barrage of electronic noise accompanied

by a hypnotic visual show. Unlike Cabbage’s cult of personality,

the members of Hookworms are shrouded in darkness, letting the

music take on its very own being. It’s a huge sound which holds

the audience in its gaze.

No matter what Mark E Smith and co. are like, today has been

a victory for underground music which encapsulates everything

The Fall stand for.

Matt Hogarth

Oh, lord above, where do you start? Not with this headline

performance, that’s for sure.

THE FALL topping off CLUB.THE.MAMMOTH’s all-day

gigathon was supposed to be perfect, but after two (admittedly

great) songs – Wolf Kidult Man and Cowboy George – it kind

of all falls apart. A slew of unrecognisable tunes mix in with the

odd gem like Dedication Not Medication, but the show is lost, a

surefire letdown.

As a Fall fan of many a year and the proud owner of every

studio album (30, count ‘em), this is my 10th Fall gig – and, I’m

sad to say, it’s the first I have genuinely not enjoyed. I say enjoy:

my usual state down at the front of a Fall gig is that of pure

ecstasy, for no matter how grizzled and pissed our hero may be,

he generally rises up and delivers. The band are always tight,

tighter than most, and there is humour in the gnarly venom spat

out by the goblinesque Smith.

So, do I forgive them for this one night of dirge? Of course

I do. We can’t always get it right. Do you sack a teacher on the

strength of one bad lesson? No. Smith has the right to drop the

ball every now and then.

Look at his schedule: it appears that, somewhere in the

world, Smith and his ever-changing line-up are playing a gig or

a festival every month. They never stop. With pretty much an

album released every year or two since 1979, prolific is their

middle name. The line-up carousel has been unusually stable

the last few years, with Peter Greenaway, David Spurr, Keiron

Melling, and Smith’s wife Elena Poulo providing the driving force

behind the shouting. In Poulo, Smith had a sparring partner, but

with her now departed, The Fall are back to a four-piece, and it

feels skinny.

Prowling the stage like a wounded bear, Mark E Smith seems

like a lost soul, and it’s kind of heartbreaking. He looks older too.

To be fair, he’s never really been a good looker has our Mark,

but as the years have gone by the wrinkles have piled on, and

for some time he’s looked a great deal older than his years (60

this March). Like an ancient tree, however, those indentations

and scars hold wisdom. His lyrics continue to astound: check out

Stout Man from 2015’s Sub-Lingual Tablet for proof. It’s just that

they’re getting harder to decipher. And when he resorts to trilling

like a budgie in favour of singing, like he does tonight, it’s even

more confusing.

By defending Mark E Smith, it is difficult in some ways not to

criticise. To the uninitiated, a Fall gig may look like a full-blown

disaster, with Smith often scrabbling on his knees behind an amp,

trying to find his lyric sheet, or tampering with the equipment to

no noticeable effect – but it’s all part of the act.

Disappointed? Yes. Will I go again? Yes. Because, seriously,

you never know what to expect with The Fall. In the words of The

Osmonds, one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch. Now that

would be a Fall cover to cherish. !

Del Pike / @del_pike

43

BIDO LITO!


Reassembled,

Slightly Askew

17 Love Lane - 25/01

“Dislocation,

helplessness and

frustration are

the emotions it’s

designed to evoke”

In the dimmed light of a unit underneath the old railway

arches on Love Lane, I look across a disconcerting scene: four

hospital beds are arranged like a makeshift ward and a nurse

with a clipboard is stood waiting to admit me. This is the way

REASSEMBLED, SLIGHTLY ASKEW begins, throwing you off

guard from the outset.

Conceived as a piece of installation art, Reassembled… is

a sonic experience that wants to take you out of your comfort

zone. Dislocation, helplessness and frustration are the emotions

it’s designed to evoke, and it’s not something you’ll find the

artist responsible for it, Shannon Sickles, apologising for. In

2008, Shannon developed a strong head cold that caused her to

start seeing auras. It wasn’t until she started acting irrationally

and arguing with people in the street that she and her partner,

Gráinne Close, became alarmed. Shannon was diagnosed with a

rare brain condition when she was admitted to hospital, and had

to undergo emergency surgery to save her life, before being put

into an induced coma. This traumatic experience, as well as the

long road to recovery, was something that Shannon felt that she

had to share with the world.

“I think the process of creating Reassembled… helped me

understand the magnitude of what I had been through – but

only at the end of the process of creating it,” Shannon explains.

“I never set out to make it as a cathartic process, as I’m actually

a very private person. I was fascinated by how my brain had

changed, and how to artistically create something that captured

my journey in an interesting, exciting and challenging new way.”

I’ve filled out my admission form and now I’m sat on the edge

of one of the beds, taking my shoes off. Suddenly I feel quite

vulnerable, weirded out. ‘Am I really ready for this?’ I ask myself.

Too late: the eye mask slides over my head and plunges me into

darkness. I can feel the plastic out-patient wristband chafing

at my wrist, but other than that I’m rudderless. There’s nothing

left for it now but to lie back and submit to the headphones

treatment.

“The binaural microphone technology we used was integral

in recreating what I experienced in my journey of acquired brain

injury, in particular the sense of internal confusion and frustration,

noise sensitivity and feelings of passivity. The artistic team

had explored how to recreate my process of hemiparalysis and

learning how to walk again, but the missing pathways between

my brain and the left side of my body couldn’t be captured as

accurately as we had hoped.”

Unaware whether or not the experience has started yet,

I hear a car driving past to my left and I assume someone has

opened the door to the ‘ward’. In response, the whole left hand

side of my body goes cold as if experiencing a blast of wind

from outside. But there is no open door: my body is perfectly

warm, but my brain is interpreting the sounds I’m hearing

through the headphones and getting confused. The binaural

technology creates a spatialised, 3D audio sensation that’s quite

unlike any other sound experience. Somehow the sounds I’m

hearing – of Shannon’s journey back from the shops, the rustling

of bags, her inner monologue, the passing cars – aren’t taking

place in my head, in between my ears like conventional audio

does; it’s happening around me, like I’m walking along the

street with her. It’s quite an uncomfortable sensation,

disorientating even, quite different to my previous experiences

of binaural technology through triggering my ASMR (autonomous

sensory meridian response). But I guess that’s kind of the point,

right Shannon?

“We were aware of the boundaries of how to take the

audience to the edge of their comfort zone, as that onslaught

– that they only get a hint of – is what my noise sensitivity is

like – but I can’t escape it. I wanted the elements of sound and

movement to be dynamically explored, as my noise sensitivity

and the hemiparalysis down my left side were such terrifying

aspects of my acquired brain injury. I think a strength of

Reassembled… is that it’s a strong match between content

– what the story is about – and form – how the story is told.

Reassembled… takes audiences inside my head for a story about

how the inside of my head has changed.”

In total I spend 47 minutes inside Shannon’s head, swimming

through the jumble of memories. During her recovery, she veers

from post-operation elation (where she believes she’s still going

on holiday to Mexico) to intense frustration at her doctors and

the pace of her recovery (“I just want my brain to BREAK!” her

voice shouts at one point, jolting me out of a reverie). The value

of this total immersion in understanding the ways in which the

brain works is not lost on the medical profession, and Shannon

has collaborated extensively with various neurosurgeons in

creating the whole experience. I wonder if she’s noticed any

differences in the way people have responded to it, depending

on their background?

“One of the focus groups we ran during the research

and development process was a group of very skeptical

neurosurgeons,” Shannon explains. “I was pleased that all

responded positively, even one saying he thought it would be

‘something arty-farty’ and that he ‘had no idea it would affect

[him] so profoundly and so viscerally.’ I’ve had neuroscience

nurses say that, after hearing only a 10-minute sample, they

would change their practice. One consultant neurosurgeon at the

Society of British Neurosurgeons wouldn’t give a potential job

applicant the position unless he went and experienced the audio

sample I was facilitating. It’s fantastic to know that it’s made such

an impact in personal and tangible ways.”

It finishes as it begins, accompanying Shannon on a

journey along the street – but there’s a subtle difference to

the underlying tone now, one of optimism rather than a mindspinning

sensation of impending dread. I spend a few minutes

after it’s finished letting the layers of my mind settle back into

some normality, and wondering if something like Reassembled…

can really help to change the narrative and stigma around

brain injuries.

“I hope that it increases empathy and awareness about

the hidden disability,” says Shannon. “The feedback we’ve

heard from audiences since its premiere in 2015 is that it

is accomplishing that. Which is a lovely result after such a

personally harrowing experience.” !

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Reassembled, Slightly Askew

(Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

REVIEWS 44


Echoes: Dimensions

DJ Bone + Jon Rust

+ Dimensions Soundsystem

Abandon Silence @ Invisible Wind Factory

04/02

3am comes at Invisible Wind Factory, and the masterful DJ BONE

demonstrates his technical prowess with the mixer, slowing the

tempo to an almost standstill, the beat pushing and pulling on the

spot. After what can only be described as gasping porno samples

come to the fore, the tempo picks up and after building to a

gradual climax, Donna Summer’s I Feel Love slides into the mix.

Though his reputation is built as a techno DJ, Bone has just set

the room flying to the disco classic.

Billed as a rare house and disco oriented set from the Detroit

legend to round off the fourth edition of Abandon Silence’s

Echoes series, DJ Bone follows JON RUST and the residents’

DIMENSIONS SOUNDSYSTEM. The underground ethos shines

throughout the night – a collaboration with the organisers of

Croatia’s Dimensions Festival – as members of British and

international underground scenes are represented by venue,

promoter and the DJs. Given their connections to The Kazimier,

Invisible Wind Factory feels a spiritual home for Abandon Silence;

a larger space to attempt more ambitious projects, a factor in

tonight’s proceedings.

The visual spectacle on display, continuing Abandon Silence’s

habit of incorporating ambitious lighting projects into events,

is a vital aspect of Dimensions. Projection screens are draped

in pairs from the roof to the side walls, going to the back of the

room, leaving the Wind Factory shaped like an exotic tent. The

molecular shapes projected above the crowd are initially minimal

in colour, causing one’s mind to wander in an attempt to make

sense of their origin. Bodily? Planetary? Is there a meaning? You

snap back, realising that if they’re making your mind act like this,

they’re having the desired effect.

Amid the rhythmic tent, the DJs lead the crowd through

the night. Abandon Silence’s own Andrew Hill and Dimensions

Soundsystem breathe warmth into the cold room as it fills,

Marquis Hawkes’ Tim’s Keys helping to usher the congregation

forward, Red Stripe in hand, ready to start in earnest.

Once all is warmed up, the night’s blood flowing, Jon Rust

begins his set, white silhouettes moving rhythmically around him.

Rust’s well-judged selection, which spans the majority of the

techno/house spectrum, is well received by the crowd. The Levels

label boss’ ability to recover from a brief sound system failure

as if nothing has happened, kept the flow of energy unbroken,

keeping the room moving.

Yet, no matter the quality of the preceding sets, both are

transcended by the sheer brilliance of DJ Bone. His experience,

technicality and ingenuity are reflected in a spot-on selection and

rarely attempted mixing techniques, his transition into I Feel Love a

prime example. Come the 4am finish, the night still feels short, DJ

Bone’s teasing ends leaving the crowd wanting more, a desire which

sums up the set’s quality. Brains entranced by the combination of

beat and visuals, which create a microcosm in which time stands

still, are taken from their rhythmic vortices as the lights come up.

Wistful that tonight has finished, all agree on its success.

Max Baker

Klein (Tate Liverpool, Roger Sinek)

January Blues + Klein

Tate Liverpool - 29/01

Blue. The colour has the power to evoke serenity, coolness

and calm, while in some it renders a more sombre, melancholic

emotion. Yves Klein, in collaboration with a French chemist, was

able to encapsulate the vividness of the colour, patenting his

own pigment of blue (International Klein Blue). He utilised it to

pursue an immateriality of absolute freedom and infinite space,

encompassing his entire outlook; combining the earth and sky,

a vehicle for which his emotions can be illustrated, free from

external impurities. In Britain, we have to endure the annual

affliction of the January Blues; a far less poetic allegory. Born from

an amalgamation of the consequential come-down following an

acute period of over-indulgence and excess spending, and the

asphyxiating claustrophobia resulting from wearing too many

layers and being indoors all the time.

So, in toast of yet another January gone by with our mental

sanity still intact, and in response to Tate Liverpool’s current Yves

Klein exhibition, Tate provide us with a northern live debut for the

non-genetically related south London musician, KLEIN.

Attending a gig at a modern art museum, on the surface

sounds like an incredible social achievement, although

expectations of a champagne reception and brushing shoulders

with attractive, aloof artists are quickly dissolved, as I’m ushered

towards a silent, pitch black room on the top floor. People sit

courteously, cross-legged, laden in winter clothes and civilly

sipping wine, their silhouettes gently illuminated by the blue

light from Klein’s laptop screen. Video loops of angry looking

landscapes then fire up, jumping across the visual display on

the wall behind her. A backdrop of dark skies, punctuated by

ominous clouds and lightning, sets the tone of the start of the gig,

as Klein’s own brand of experimental electronic music focuses on

the disconcerting, hypnotic and, at times, disturbing, to open her

set.

She wields her voice as another thick layer against the

bricolage of the cacophony of her sound. For long periods it’s

doused in distortion, pitched low, rough and distant. When it

comes to the surface it’s mesmerising, primal, evangelic, and

uplifting as she sails close to gospel singer Kim Burrell. Glimpses

of danceable rhythms leap from the swirl of chaos, bodies move

in time, but are quickly returned to static as these Flying Lotuslike

beats are swiftly withdrawn.

The set draws on and people start to filter out, her music is

certainly engaging and deeply layered, a fine experimental piece

of art. However, the pockets of the crowd that take their leave

may have treated this as an art exhibition rather than a live show,

moving on as their attentions pique.

For the ones who have stayed, they witness Klein’s set

occupy vast open spaces, unshackled from tight rhythmic

sequences; a mellow, reverb-infused spectral duvet cloaks the

room, whilst a bright, blue sky now occupies the screen.

Call it tenuous, but it’s in this exploration of space where

Klein mirrors the artist of the same name; her tactile use of

time signatures, the use of colour, mood and volume provoke

a kaleidoscope of emotions, and although her lyrics are often

incomprehensible, and the sound for large parts is muffled,

themes of love, religion, family and pain are evoked. Klein is a

cauldron of potential.

Jonny Winship / @jmwinship

C Duncan

+ Stevie Parker

Harvest Sun @ O2 Academy - 28/01

C DUNCAN sits in a comfortable place where his three

driving forces meet. The place where art, composing and live

performance converge is the place where this prolific creator

finds his natural place. Two albums in, and with a third already on

the way, it’s hard to believe that it’s only two years since he first

appeared with the Mercury-nominated Architect album, and this

is his third show in Liverpool in that short time. You’d struggle

to find ample comparisons for Duncan’s unique and innovative

sound, born of his background in classical music and composition.

And when playing Liverpool, that is a huge plus point. Outward

facing and inwardly welcoming, this city’s audiences take people

like C Duncan to their heart. We like to champion those who

stand aside, those who do something different.

As the room fills, the evening starts with a set from STEVIE

PARKER. Edgy, nervy and dark pop structures are laid over

heavily atmospheric and spacious layers of beats and guitar

hooks, giving plenty of room for Parker’s trademark folk-pop

vocal to float above. And float is exactly the word – and that’s

kind of the problem. All too often, Parker’s songs rely on the

distracting waver in her voice which at times feels and sounds a

little forced, a little too earnest, maybe. There are times, though,

when it absolutely works and adds to the force of the dynamics

of the songs, such as in her closing song, the title track from her

C Duncan (Stuart Moulding / @OohShootStu)

recent Blue EP. It’s also found in her beautiful, mid-set rendition

of the Joe Jackson classic It’s Different For Girls, reimagined here

in a dark, brooding and intimidatory version.

C Duncan arrives onstage with a genteel nod to the crowd,

and within seconds, the tightly packed room is drawn in by

those beautiful and strange choral builds, and layer upon layer

of tight, close harmonies. It’s an utterly beguiling experience to

take part in, and he and the band are seemingly as happy to

deliver it as we are to bear witness. We find ourselves hung on

every moment, each intriguing chord progression, each expertlyplaced

melody. And ‘placed’, is exactly the right word. Duncan’s

Conservatoire background has created a composer who places

each part together with a deft precision, and an extraordinary

poise, to create these luscious and celestial pieces. There are

so many moments of sheer pop beauty here, so much exquisite

creation taken from Duncan’s two very different albums, but

special mention must go to Castle Walls. This song – composed

specially for a Record Store Day release in 2015 – brings the

room to a hushed standstill, such is its intimate closeness and

delicate harmonies. It’s so close, so special, and so absolutely in

and of the moment, it takes the breath away.

The next steps in this intriguing artist’s journey will be as

fascinating as those he’s already taken. Second album The

Midnight Sun took the lead from Architect, but brought a slightly

darker, more experimental edge, which is delivered so well in

a live setting. There is certainly a platform to build upon, and

when his shows are as good as this, he’ll always have a deeply

appreciative audience here in Liverpool.

Paul Fitzgerald / @NothingvilleM

45

BIDO LITO!


Nik Void & Klara Lewis (Mike Sheerin)

Nik Colk Void & Klara Lewis

+ Algobabez

FACT and Deep Hedonia

@ Philharmonic Music Room - 01/02

Returning to Liverpool having shed half of her main project Factory Floor, and recruiting Swedishborn

electronic composer KLARA LEWIS, NIK COLK VOID’s performance tonight promises to be

somewhat different to the dancefloor-friendly post-punk she is perhaps best known for. As a live,

improvised electronic composition from the pair as part of FACT’s ongoing exhibition No Such Thing

As Gravity, the pummelling drums and acid-tinged bass will probably be left behind. The exhibition

itself poses the question ‘what is the nature of scientific proof?’, exploring the limits of science

where the absence of established facts may leave room for new theories, alternative science, and

conspiracy theories. It’s an interesting prospect to see how the duo contend with such lofty enquiries

and there is a sense in the venue that most don’t know what to expect.

Opening the show tonight is the snappily named ALGOBABEZ. Part of the equally puntastic

Algorave scene, their deconstructionist approach to live electronic composition is equal parts arcane

and invigorating. The duo’s experimental songcraft sees them writing their compositions by typing

out computer code on the fly, generating their noisy, dance-tinged compositions with keyboard

strokes over pads of piano keys. While they stand on stage behind their laptops, furiously typing

away, the inner workings of their process are projected across the back wall for the audience

to admire while listening. Lines of code scurry across the screen as the audio is generated and

manipulated in real time. A thrilling, if somewhat alienating experience, that proffers a new approach

to live electronics, bringing the idiosyncrasy and unpredictability of traditional instruments into the

digital realm.

The headliners for this evening take a slightly more traditional approach to their live composition

work. Stood behind an imposing black table, behind laptops and cables of varying sizes and shapes,

their process remains altogether more mysterious. Found sounds, grumbling synthesis and amniotic

effects make up a heady soup of sounds that straddles the divide between music for the body and

music for the head.

Hypnotic and beguiling, the rhythmic inflections hint at a dance music heritage but, much like

the deconstructed drum and bass of Lee Gamble of or the ethereal dubstep of Balam Acab, the

soundscapes are altogether more abstract. Arhythmic and sparsely populated, the alien world

conjured by the duo’s synth work bridges the divide between the industrial and the organic.

The accompanying visuals further invite exploration on the dichotomy between these two worlds.

Cogs and pistons smash while cells split and reproduce, all of it garbled through a warped video

filter. The low rumble of the bass lends the set an air of menace throughout, while the glassy,

reverberant percussion creates dream spaces which the compositions inhabit.

Having a gig with entirely female performers shouldn’t be worthy of note, but, thinking on

tonight’s performance, it may be worth reflecting briefly on the space electronic music composition

and performance has opened for women to exist outside the paradigms or stereotypes of ‘female

musicians’. Being able to eschew the traditional roles for ‘girls in bands’, there is an increasingly

large number of successful women operating in the vanguard of the form, gaining recognition that

has often evaded those working in the more traditional genres. This perhaps speaks to the politics

of the genres or maybe the newness of the form. With promoters like Deep Hedonia and institutions

like FACT and The Philharmonic providing platforms and visibility to these musicians, it will surely

inspire more to carry the mantle. This can only be good thing for the scene going forwards, both

locally and nationally.

Dave Tate

47 BIDO LITO!


Upstairs With Mall Grab

+ Andrew Hill

+ Piers

Buyers Club 26/01

MALL GRAB is precocious London-based Australian Jordon

Alexander, known for his recent residency on Rinse FM,

his Alone EP (amongst a shelf-load of other releases), and a

choice line in back-of-the-cupboard house. He’s also running

a sub-label (Steel City Dance Discs) for Bristol’s Shall Not Fade.

Busy bee, as anyone who’s seen one of his sets will attest. But

before he starts bouncing behind the decks, there are hours

of local talent to dance through first. Turning up during PIERS

(Garrett, of Melodic Distraction fame)’s set just after midnight,

it’s a heady mix of Latin beats. Rhythm might have your two

hips moving but a run of Shazz’s El Camino and Art Alfie’s Easy

To Love in quick succession has convinced some people in the

crowd that they’re in possession of a tripartite pelvis. With such

an appealing foundation, he gets away with spinning some real

noise over the top – tuneful screaming and Shepard tones. Mmm,

contemporary. Resident DJ ANDREW HILL takes over with a

more submarine sound, bass from a locked room. His sound’s

more brutal, despite funk in the bass. Perhaps the joins are

messier, but he confronts the crowd with a noise which defies

them to back down, to go harder. They do, and they carry on into

the main man’s set, which opens with spare, layered percussion.

It’s a while until there’s even a hint of any melodic material.

When the sounds upstairs do open, they’re unashamedly 90s,

and that’s probably what this crowd wants. Not for nothing

has he described his mixes as “mildly celestial, hella stoned

introspections”.

Truth be told, the first hour isn’t revelatory for this very

reason. A matter of taste, of course, but it’s in hour two that

things hot up, with a wider tonal palette, and the sound of

machinery gone awry. After that spare opening, the rattle

of loose parts becomes a bona-fide offbeat. Showing us

this framework, giving us time to absorb it, he wreathes it in

squelching eighth notes. Admittedly, his playlists are hard to

fathom (they don’t appear much online either), but given his

prolific output and obvious love of music, might as well enjoy it.

To say the crowd are pleasantly surprised is… an understatement.

I don’t even have to ask why it’s popping. An energetic Irishman

volunteers his critical opinion. “It’s not electronica with everyone

pushing, it’s not techno with no one caring. It’s like, disco, with

everyone dancing!” That would be an ecumenical matter, but he’s

bang on about the spirit of disco. Add that to the outpourings of

a young man who has, one strongly suspects, ring-modded his

kitchen utensils and you have reason enough to keep an ear out

for Mall Grab. You’ll be hearing him again.

Stuart Miles O’Hara / @ohasm1

Margo Price

+ Jeremy Ivey

Harvest Sun @ Leaf 21/01

“It’s Saturday night!” shouts MARGO PRICE, and the crowd roars.

It is indeed Saturday, and (as has surely been said elsewhere)

on Friday, the USA swore in their 45th president to roars from

a much bigger, and yet much smaller crowd. It isn’t quite right

to refer to an elephant in the room for, despite his wrinkled,

dust bath complexion and the tiny birds riding on his back, one

of Trump’s worst qualities denies him the status of pachyderm:

thick-skinned, he ain’t. But Price leaves the political commentary

to her support act (and husband) JEREMY IVEY. “A fascist, a

pervert, and a commie walk into a bar. Barman says, ‘What’ll it

be, Mr President?’” There’s a cheer, but it doesn’t quite land. Two

out of three will do. We’re still in the Deep South, and Russia is

still the Soviet Union down there.

But onto the music. Ivey’s every inch the American

troubadour, much folksier than his partner, with a bag full of

songs inspired by a life lived on the road. There’s no proof

he actually has lived on the road, but Greyhound is the best

description of staring out of the window on public transport this

audience has ever heard, ringing true whether on the eponymous

canine or travelling to London on the Megabus. His choruses

could do with being chorused, so here’s hoping they end up being

better-known.

With debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter not even out a

year yet, the mainstream (US) music press might call Margo Price

up-and-coming, but this is her third visit to Liverpool, courtesy

of Mike Badger, and she clearly feels the esteem reserved for

country music on the Mersey delta. It’s glossy pop in the Garth

Brooks vein – the only thing with dust on its boots is Price’s

Dollywood accent. As well as covering Jolene, there’s something

a little more specialist in Merle Haggard’s Red Bandana. Haggard,

of course, was 20 years old, more jailbait than jailbird, when he

heard Johnny Cash at San Quentin, but tonight’s star has done

her time too. “You wanna more upbeat depressing song? How

about one about the weekend I spent in jail?” One wonders if that

stretch had anything to do with the thorny legality of whether

It Ain’t Drunk Drivin’ If You’re Ridin’ A Horse.

Ah, for the early days of Dubya, when history was over and a

chimp in the White House didn’t so much derail the liberal world

order as amuse us by hooting and jabbing at the letters W, M,

and D on a flash card. For a time when Americans were loud and

brash and insular, but only in a funny way. Fortunately, Margo

Price is a sharp cookie. She remains tight-lipped on the topic of

commanders-in-chief, instead dedicating Four Years Of Chances

to “the ladies, especially today”, as 673 Women’s Marches take

place around the world. As the lady sings “One thousand, four

hundred and sixty-one days”, we’re already counting down.

Stuart Miles O’Hara / @ohasm1

Mall Grab (Yetunde Adebiyi)

ROUND UP

A selection of the best

of the rest from another

busy month of live gigging

on Merseyside.

Queen Zee & The Sasstones (Stuart Moulding)

Hidden Charms (Paul McCoy)

The Magnet is proving to be one of the best places to go

for a down-and-dirty gig, with promoters and punters

alike favouring its intimate setting. And it’s where Bethany

Garrett witnesses Leeds’ MENACE BEACH overshadowed

by a couple of local acts.

Openers PEANESS and QUEEN ZEE AND THE

SASSTONES are the night’s show-stealers (for those who

get down early, anyway), their respective shy indie pop

and brash glam-punk contrasting but equally cool. Fellow

support act BRUISING (who, like our headliners, also

hail from Leeds) are a real peach of a dream-pop slacker

band. They possess the kind of songs you’ll find yourself

humming days later and a look that says thrown together,

not thought out. Headliners Menace Beach definitely uphold

a more constructed aesthetic – each member draped head

to toe in black – but their tunes are harder to distinguish,

drowned as they are in a dark, heady scuzz that sees

punters on the packed-out floor stomping along with angst.

When it comes to Del Pike’s turn to step into The

Magnet, there’s a thrill already in the air in anticipation of

the headliners. HIDDEN CHARMS may hail from London,

but their signing to the mighty Deltasonic will always

ensure them a special place in the hearts of Liverpool folk.

Opening with Left Hand Man from their Harder From

Here EP, the whole band are moving in unison creating an

instant party onstage, all hair, maracas and 60s keyboards.

It’s easy to see why legendary Who and Kinks producer,

Shel Talmy, has asked to work with them: their sound is

retrospective for sure, and incredibly modish, but there is

no lack in originality and youthful exuberance. Inflections of

George Harrison and even Devendra Banhart even out the

pace, but this is kept mainly to intros as each track builds to

an alluring wig-out.

I Just Wanna Be Left Alone is the perfect closer, a

complete balls-out rabble rouser, which induces a full-on

stage invasion. If any band deserves to explode this year,

then Hidden Charms are top of that list.

There’s an altogether more peppy affair going on at

the Philharmonic Hall when Cath Bore steps in to catch

Fife’s finest KING CREOSOTE. While he’s impressed at

Liverpool’s voracious sexual appetite, Kenny Anderson

is in fine form as he tiptoes along the line between

melancholy and cheeky humour, mixing songs from his

latest LP Astronaut Meets Appleman with some of his more

recognised work.

Elsewhere, KARL BLAU impresses Jonny Winship

with his soothing strain of captivating Americana, while

Glyn Akroyd opts for the countrified SEAFOAM GREEN

experience at Leaf.

Full reviews of all these shows can be found now at

bidolito.co.uk.

Andrew Hill (Yetunde Adebiyi)

Menace Beach (Stuart Moulding)

REVIEWS 48


WRITERS & INTERNS WANTED

If you fancy joining our writing team,

or taking up one of our work experience

placements, email

chris@bidolito.co.uk


THE FINAL

SAY

A radio stalwart for three decades and a

reassuring voice for late-night listeners,

DJ JANICE LONG reflects on the importance

of keeping the independent spirit alive.

“What I love most

about radio is its

immediacy”

I

started out in radio over 30 years ago. Coming into the

world from a technical point of view, I first worked behind

the scenes but was always really into my bands. I read

countless magazines and always had my eye on presenting.

After getting my first show, I’ve been hooked ever since.

What I love most about radio is its immediacy, which is

something other formats don’t quite have. You’re able to interact

with your audience throughout a show and develop a bond with

them there and then, which makes it that bit more personal. You

develop an audience who listen to you because of what you

do, and this includes bands. When you have musicians as part

of your audience, they’ll work towards the goal of trying to get

themselves played on the show, and this makes for a kind of

community. Radio has an identity quite unlike any other medium,

and provides a space for people with things in common to come

together in the moment and enjoy something together as a

community, whether that be talk radio or music shows. It offers

something for people who feel they may otherwise be alone, and

that makes it very special.

Having recently finished my last ever regular BBC Radio 2

show, I think what I’ll miss most about it is the audience, that

sense of community. Over the past seven years it’s become much

harder to get things which are a bit more out there on Radio 2.

First, they cut down on spoken word sessions, and then it was

cutting the next thing, and the next. But I always tried to bring

something slightly different to the audience, whether that be

a bit of dance or a smaller, less well known band such as The

Vryll Society. I wanted to bring something a little different to the

station and I’ll miss being able to do so.

Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, called the

media “the opposition party” in a briefing after taking office and

this is something I find alarming. Of course, there has probably

always been censorship of the media, and always will be, but for

someone in such a position of power to say so proves worrying.

The unbiased media outlets need to unite and stand against

this message – and if Trump doesn’t like the real news being

reported then he can step down. In an age where phrases such

as ‘alternative facts’ have become common, it is the media’s role

to report what is happening.

However, musically, radio is most important in expanding

a knowledge of culture – and this can be done simply by

playing a range of music that spans every genre. Most people’s

musical tastes can’t be pinned down to one style and radio

should embrace that and pass on a message. You don’t always

want politics in music but it definitely has its place, especially

with bands such as the Manics. People can often be apathetic

politically, but they still hold a vote – so, if music can spark debate

or interest then that’s great. And it’s not only music that’s a great

source of this, independent media outlets are too. They offer an

alternative to the mainstream media and offer up viewpoints that

would otherwise go unheard, so I feel it’s important to have faith

in it. As the saying goes, the public wants what the public gets. !

55

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