Issue 84 / Dec 2017/Jan 2018

bidolito

December 2017/January 2018 issue of Bido Lito! Featuring LO FIVE, TAYÁ, NICK POWER, MAC DEMARCO, LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK 2017 REVIEW and much more. Plus a special look at our need for space and independent venues, coinciding with a report into the health of Liverpool's music infrastructure.

ISSUE 84 / DEC 2017/JAN 2018

NEW MUSIC + CREATIVE CULTURE

LIVERPOOL

LIVERPOOL, MUSIC CITY? / TAYÁ / NICK POWER

MAC DEMARCO / LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK / LO FIVE


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Mike Garson

Plays

David Bowie’s

‘Aladdin Sane’

In Full

Fri 1st Dec • £22.50 adv

Mark Lanegan

Band

+ Duke Garwood

+ Joe CardaMone

Fri 1st Dec • £14 adv

The Lancashire

Hotpots

Never Mind

The Hotspots

Sat 2nd Dec • £13 adv

The Smyths:

More Songs

That Saved

Your Life Tour

Sat 2nd Dec • £15 adv

Ian Prowse

& Amsterdam

(15 Piece Band)

Fri 8th Dec • £11 adv

Conleth

McGeary

Sat 9th Dec • £18.50 adv

The Icicle Works

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The Prince

Experience

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Monks

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Christmas At

The Academy

Fri 22nd Dec • £21.25 adv

The Twang

+ Jaws

+ Cut Glass Kings

+ Duke Garwood

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Phil Jones

The Band

+ 4th Floor

Sat 3rd Feb 2018 • £12 adv

Cash:

A Tribute To

The Man In Black

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Rend Collective

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Hayseed Dixie

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2018

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Natalie

Imbruglia

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Power

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Max & Harvey

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High Tyde

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Key West

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Scott Bradlee’s

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Birdz

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Electric 6

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The Stranglers

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The Wailers

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Mr Eazi’s Life Is

Eazi UK Tour

Sat 10th Mar 2018 • £13.50 adv

The Clone Roses

& The

Courtbetweeners

Wed 21st Mar 2018 • £12 adv

Fickle Friends

Sat 24th Mar 2018 • £15 adv

AC/DC UK

& Dizzy Lizzy

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11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF

Doors 7pm unless stated

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The Wonder

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Love From Stourbridge

+ DJ Graham Crabb

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3 Generations

of Ska

with Stranger Cole,

Neville Staples Band,

The Paradimes,

Sugary Staple

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Showhawk Duo

Live

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Henry

Gallagher

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Aston

Merrygold

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The Verve

Experience

Mon 7th May 2018 • £27.50 adv

Gomez

Thu 17th May 2018 • £10 adv

Tragedy:

All Metal Tribute

To The Bee Gees

& Beyond

Sat 26th May 2018 • £15 adv

Deep Purple

Family Tree

Sat 2nd June 2018 • £22.50 adv

Nick

Heyward

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The Skids

Fri 12th Oct 2018 • £13.50 adv

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CONTENTS

New Music + Creative Culture

Liverpool

Issue 84 / Dec 2017/Jan 2018

bidolito.co.uk

Second Floor

The Merchant

40-42 Slater Street

Liverpool L1 4BX

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

Assistant Editor

Bethany Garrett - editorial@bidolito.co.uk

Reviews Editor

Jonny Winship - live@bidolito.co.uk

Design

Mark McKellier - mark@andmark.co.uk

Branding

Thom Isom - hello@thomisom.com

Interns

Jessica Greenall

Cover Photography

Keith Ainsworth

Words

Christopher Torpey, Craig G Pennington, Cath Bore,

Jess Greenall, Mike Stanton, Julia Johnson, Matthew

Hogarth, Del Pike, Bethany Garrett, Sam Turner,

Richard Lewis, Paul Fitzgerald, Georgia Turnbull, Jonny

Winship, Maya Jones, Glyn Akroyd, Christopher Carr,

Maurice DeSade, Kieran Donnachie, Ian R. Abraham,

Stuart Miles O’Hara, Alison McGovern.

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Mark McKellier, Keith Ainsworth, Andrew Bates, Jemma

Timberlake, Kevin Power, Katy Lane, Hugo Morris,

Stuart Moulding, Michelle Roberts, Glyn Akroyd, Rob

Godfrey, Darren Aston, Michael Kirkham, Mike Sheerin,

Samantha Sophia, Kayle Kaupanger.

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.

9 / EDITORIAL

Editor Christopher Torpey muses on the spaces

dedicated to music and creativity, how we should

value them and create the conditions for even

more spaces to flourish.

10 / NEWS

The latest announcements, releases and non-fake

news from around the region.

12 / COME TOGETHER –

LIVERPOOL, MUSIC CITY?

Craig G Pennington summarises the key

conclusions from a report on the health of our

city’s music infrastructure, suggesting some key

points for concern.

16 / INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK

Seven days dedicated to celebrating the spirit of

independence, and the culture of live music, is a

great way to start 2018 on a positive note.

18 / LO FIVE

Liverpool’s prince of ambient electronica looks

back at what’s been an impressive year for his

various projects.

20 / TAYÁ

Making waves in the biggest of arenas can be a

hard slog, but for this 19-year-old RnB vocalist,

success at the highest level comes as naturally as

breathing.

22 / SOMEPLACE ELSE

UNKNOWN

Bold Street Coffee hosts the first UK showing

of photographer KATY LANE’s new collection of

intimate portraits, offering a candid look at the

lives of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and their

collaborators.

24 / NICK POWER

The Coral keyboardist adds to his repertoire of

provincial fascination with an impressive third

anthology, and accompanying album of low-key,

introspective musings.

26 / ARTS CENTRAL

In her second look at the role arts centres play in

our communities, Julia Johnson focuses on two

institutions – THE BLACK-E and THE FLORRIE –

that have user-led art at their core.

30 / IT’S A WALTURDAW LIFE

The vintage cinema screen rising from the stage

is one of the Philharmonic Hall’s endearing quirks.

Del Pike speaks to a man who plays a key part in

one of Liverpool’s great festive traditions.

32 / SPOTLIGHT

We take a closer look at some artists who’ve been

impressing us of late: Katie Mac, Eyesore And The

Jinx and Harlee.

36 / CHRIS WOOD

Chris Wood has been championing the craft

of songwriting for almost three decades: Paul

Fitzgerald talks to him about changing politics and

their faith in younger audiences.

37 / PREVIEWS

Looking ahead to a busy December and January in

Merseyside’s creative and cultural community.

42 / LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK

2017 REVIEW

The Liverpool music calendar’s annual autumn

treat provides us with a 10-day feast of stellar

shows, and showcases how deep the desire for

inclusivity runs.

44 / REVIEWS

Mac DeMarco, Jane Weaver and Immix Ensemble,

Sylvan Esso and Michael Kiwanuka reviewed by

our team of intrepid reporters.

54 / THE FINAL SAY

The continuing fallout from Brexit would suggest

that Britain is a country deeply riven with division.

MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern argues that

class prejudices may be a barrier to understanding

the social conservatism that is at the root of these

divisions.


NEW

YEEZY

EVE

31 DEC 17


EDITORIAL

EBGBS (Keith Ainsworth)

“In order to make

progress, creative

artists need

opportunities. For

musicians, that

means venues”

This is an issue about space.

Space is the oxygen that creative businesses need

to survive, and we are surrounded by it in our cities

and towns. Music venues, studios and workshops exist

side-by-side with our living and public spaces, maintaining a

dynamic mix of art and creativity that sits at the heart of Liverpool’s

cultural identity. Space to do, experiment and make noise is a key

component in a city of ingenuity and opportunity.

But space is increasingly becoming a final frontier for those

smaller businesses caught in the crosshairs of residential and

commercial developments. You can hardly blame cash-strapped

local authorities for recognising that the growth areas of university

attendance and retail opportunities bring in much-needed

injections of cash, even if this does mean selling off prime real

estate in the city centre to private developers. Space used in the

creative sector brings, on average, a much lower and longer term

return on investment than major retail or residential projects, which

makes the precarious job of balancing the books part of a broader

vision of what kind of place we want our city to be. What we can

make sure of, however, is that future decisions are made with the

interests of the creative community at heart.

In this issue, we want to draw your attention to the multiplicity

of space we currently have at our disposal: how varied and fit for a

multitude of purposes it is; how we can protect this space, learn to

value it and create the conditions for small businesses to flourish in

it; how we can appreciate the range of uses these various spaces

have, and learn how best to represent their interests; and how we

need more space to be put to use by a greater number of creative

businesses, in a greater variety of interesting ways.

Crucially, there are plans afoot that give us the opportunity to

achieve these aims. The Ten Streets development is the principle

one, an ambitious plan from Liverpool City Council to develop the

area north of the city centre over the next 15 to 20 years. The

draft proposal of the Ten Streets Spatial Regeneration Framework,

to give it its grand title, aims to “transform over 125 acres of

Liverpool’s Northern City Fringe into a vibrant creative quarter

located within the Liverpool City Enterprise Zone that will drive

future prosperity and enhance the city’s status as an international

destination with a unique offer and character”. The Framework

includes the renovation of the Stanley Dock complex, Peel

Holdings’ Liverpool Waters site along the docklands, and a new

football stadium for Everton at Bramley-Moore Dock. At its heart

is a designated “creative hub” in the area between Oil Street and

Saltney Street, dubbed the “Ten Streets character zone”.

Whatever fancy name is given to it, this is an area teeming

with possibility; there are dozens of empty warehouses and

industrial units packed into this former docking heartland that are

ripe for appropriation. These are the spaces our DIY, independent

businesses should flood into and take hold of the narrative of

what a creative hub actually is. Now that the Baltic Triangle seems

to be more suited to tech and digital businesses, the Ten Streets

development should, in principle, be our future hothouse of noisy,

creative ingenuity. Liverpool has a real chance to make a statement

with this development – if it wants to. It’s up to us to realise it in

whatever way we want.

This northwards expansion of the city centre does, however,

come with a note of caution. It was pointed out by the proprietors

of Drop The Dumbulls Gallery, which falls inside the Ten Streets

character zone, that their building on Dublin Street – which they

own – had been marked for “positive intervention and re-use”

in the draft version of the Spatial Development Framework. This

sounded suspiciously like a gentle way of saying ‘demolition’. After

the Dumbulls collective’s successful campaign during the proposal’s

consultation, highlighting their concerns, Liverpool City Council’s

planning team appear to have heeded the venue’s apprehensions

and have ensured (albeit via Twitter) they will make sure that

Dumbulls is protected in any future development of the area. This is

the kind of positive dialogue we need in projects of this magnitude,

and we hope the same concerns of smaller leaseholders, such

as Meraki and North Shore Troubadour, are also heard in future

proposals.

In order to make projects such as these a success, we must

have a vision for what the overall picture is. In the accompanying

report you received with this issue of Bido Lito!, we believe there

is the blueprint for what this vision could be – or, at the very least,

some guiding pointers to what that blueprint could become. The

findings in the report were gathered and researched by a team

from the Liverpool John Moores University off the back of the

Liverpool, Music City? event we held at Constellations in May of this

year. A new music strategy is currently being written by Liverpool

City Council, and the way it is implemented will directly impact on

the way developments like Ten Streets will be used. Now, more

than ever, it is imperative to understand how our creative and music

community works, so that we can better drive its future growth.

Featured in this magazine are a set of images of the spaces

we currently have at our disposal for creative endeavours: the

familiar rooms and venues where musicians perform, create and

have the freedom to form identities. These spaces are crucial cogs

in a creative ecosystem, yet their importance can’t be measured

by the (relatively) meagre profits they generate. Instead, we

must value their role in providing an environment where any

seed of creativity can flourish. These types of spaces can only

survive where the external pressures or expectations on them as

businesses is managed in such a way that their value can’t solely

be quantified in financial bottom lines. In short, there has to be

some provision for creative people to just create, to learn their

craft, without the Damoclean sword of profit hanging over them.

In order to make progress, creative artists need opportunities. For

musicians, that means venues.

The collectives that form around spaces like all those

mentioned in this issue provide vital networks of support and

encouragement that allow great art and creativity to bloom.

Not only that, but their voices are louder when they’re speaking

in unison. We come from many different backgrounds, but we

have a collective voice – and, as shown by the work of Drop The

Dumbulls and the Liverpool, Music City? report, we can use it to

apply pressure and to ignite positive change. !

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Editor

09


NEWS

On The Track To Success

Born in Kingston and raised in Belfast, KINGFAST

was crowned winner of the Merseyrail Sound

Station Prize 2017 at the landmark fifth edition of

the coveted new music competition. The talented

singer-songwriter, who wowed judges at the

Central Station festival early in November with

his stunning looped guitar acrobatics and soulful

pop numbers, will go on to make use of the prize’s

mentoring package throughout 2018. Following in

the footsteps of last year’s winner Astles, KingFast

(real name Paul Walker) also bags a year of free

train travel and recording time. The Central Station

event also featured stunning performances from a

host of Merseyside’s finest up-and-coming talent,

such as Luna, Joseph Mott and Tabitha Jade.

KingFast

Sound City Announces

First Wave Of Acts

Having already announced a move back to their roots in Liverpool’s

city centre, SOUND CITY have revealed the first round of acts for

next year’s festival. 90s revivalists PEACE head up the first swathe

of names, joined by Afrobeat star IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE,

post-punk iconoclast BAXTER DURY and Bido Lito! favourites THE

ORIELLES and ZUZU, amongst others. The first 10 acts announced

represent just the tip of the iceberg, with over 250 new artists

descending on the city over the Bank Holiday weekend of 5th and

6th May. Pitching up in the Baltic Triangle and Cains Brewery,

the festival’s focus for 2018 is very much on punters discovering

emerging talent across a range of intimate spaces.

Peace

Walls Come Tumbling Down

At a time when the arts need to exert as much political power as possible,

it’s very fitting that the British Music Experience welcome author Daniel

Rachel on 7th December. Rachel wrote WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN,

an exploration of various music movements in the 1980s which agitated

for social change. The award-winning author will be in conversation talking

about important movements such as Rock Against Racism, 2Tone and Red

Wedge. There will also be a screening of Days Like These, a documentary

following the famous Red Wedge Tour which took luminaries Billy Bragg,

Paul Weller and Johnny Marr on the road aiming to mobilise young people

at a time of societal struggle.

Tyrannosaurus Wrexham

Wales’ premier metropolitan music festival FOCUS WALES have

announced a mouth-watering line-up for their 2018 edition. London

indie darlings GENGAHR top the bill alongside the Leisure Peninsula’s

finest BILL RYDER-JONES, for a festival which promises to capture the

imagination of all those who descend on Wrexham for the three-day

event. Elsewhere on the line-up there is fantastic folk from THIS IS THE

KIT, odd-ball pop from Welsh hero EUROS CHILDS and new Heavenly

Recordings signing BOY AZOOGA. As well as over 200 live sets, Focus

Wales also includes a conference element with panel discussions, keynote

talks and industry advice. The conference programme, along with more

live acts, will be announced in due course.

Crazy Pedro’s January Madness

Newly opened pizza parlour CRAZY PEDRO’S will be raising spirits

in the new year, with a range of happy hour offers available right

the way through the month of January. The Parr Street pizzeria will

be serving up 2-4-1 cocktails, £10 pizzas and £2 slices throughout

the month to celebrate their arrival in Liverpool. The venue also

boasts the largest selection of tequila and mezcal outside of Mexico,

meaning celebrations will by no means cease on 1st January.

Known as the part-time pizza parlour and full-time party bar, Crazy

Pedro’s has built a reputation on creative pizza toppings – recently

recognised by TIME magazine with Pedro’s inclusion on their

‘World’s Craziest Pizzas’ list.

A Year In Liverpool Music

Bido Lito! Journal

Our very first Bido Lito! Journal has landed and it’s a stunner.

Documenting A Year In Liverpool Music, you can now pick one up in

some of our favourite spots round town – just in time for Christmas. Pop

into News From Nowhere, Bold Street Coffee, Dig Vinyl, Jacaranda

Records, 81 Renshaw, Waterstones, Open Eye Gallery or Tate

Liverpool to get yours before they go. Printed in a limited edition run,

the Journal curates a selection of exclusive commissions and reflections

from artists we’ve covered throughout 2017. There’s also behindthe-scenes

insights into life at Parr Street Studios and with The Royal

Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, reflections from Liverpool’s grime

scene and a selection of this year’s best live photography and artwork.

If the internet’s more your thing, you can always grab one online from

bidolito.co.uk.

10


DANSETTE

NICK ELLIS expands on his

preference for albums over single

tracks, and reveals some of the

records that were floating his boat

around the time he was making his

new LP, Adult Fiction.

Tim Buckley

Blue Afternoon

Straight Records

Inside Pussy Riot

The feminist art-punk collective tell their story through

an immersive installation at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

The theatrical INSIDE PUSSY RIOT allows the public

to navigate the Russian court and prison system,

which Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

and Maria Alyokhina spent two years in having been

convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious

hatred” after a 35-second performance in a Moscow

cathedral in 2012. Throwing up questions about

protest, freedom and political imprisonment, the

exhibition follows Pussy Riots’ triumphant UK tour

where they were joined by Pink Kink, and runs until

24th December. For more information and tickets, head

to saatchigallery.com/art/inside-pussy-riot.

Pussy Riot

Throw Shapes Thursdays

Beloved Baltic venue Constellations continue their

regular Live Music Thursday events throughout

December. Taking place every other Thursday,

the gigs ordinarily take place in the main bar area

of the venue and make for the perfect way to

raise the curtain on the weekend with some of

the best party-starting bands around. To close

their three-part residency at the event, THE JAM

SCONES QUARTET are preparing for a special

performance of their mathematically problematic

jazz (the quartet has five members) on 7th

December. Two weeks later, JUNK will take up

the baton, providing their blend of hip hop, jazz

and funk.

Lez Be Avin It

Geared towards the lesbian community, but open to all, new club night LEZ

BE AVIN IT launches at Invisible Wind Factory’s Substation on 2nd

December. As well as burlesque and pole dancers, the night hosts DJ

sets from long-time activist and filmmaker SANDI HUGHES, artist and DJ

HANNAH BITOWSKI, and wonder pop trio STEALING SHEEP, who bring

one of their legendary costumed sets to the Substation. The whole event

is run by those who identify as female – from promoters to performers,

right through to bouncers and bar staff – and the night promises a safe

space for all those who want to attend, regardless of gender, sexuality and

ethnicity. Tickets are just £5 a pop so they’re pocket-friendly too.

Blue Afternoon is an unappreciated classic. Here is a man

who is moving with his art and stretching the rules at

the same time. Buckley takes the traditional context of

folk-song/storytelling and allows it to breathe through a

combination of guitar, acoustic bass, piano and vibes

without losing the most important element of his music –

the voice.

Jessica Pratt

Jessica Pratt

Birth Records

JESSICA PRATT keeps it simple. Her playing and lyrics

are abstract at times, but never lose their sense of melody.

That’s the magic in her songs. No one really digs her over

here, probably because she’s not very visual. For me, she’s

doing something different, using traditional techniques to

do something new, and I can dig that.

The Blue Nile

Hats

Linn Records

IWFM’s Festive Transmissions

For some, the festive period is a time of rest and recuperation. Not for

the folks of IWFM RADIO. The community radio station is bookending

the month of December with a STATION LAUNCH PARTY on the 1st

of the month, and a NEW YEAR’S EVE TRANSMISSION on the 31st.

The Launch Party takes over Drop The Dumbulls with live music and

DJ sets from a host of the stations venerable emcees, while their NYE

Transmission broadcasts live from the Kazimier Garden with Dig Vinyl on

decks all night in Rat Alley – and you’re all invited. The Bido Lito! team are

also adding to the mix, bringing you not one but two festive specials of

our IWFM show Pink Audio Dynamite over December. Head to iwfmradio.

com to listen to shows and get tickets for their events.

It’s Quizmaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!

Narrative and setting. This album creates whole pictures

within a picture, like an Edward Hopper painting coming

to life. In fact, Hats has it all. The economy and poetry

of Paul Buchanan’s pen are underrated. And, of course,

the soundscapes created by the band as a whole are

breathtaking. The album’s high-end, synthetic 80s, studiosharp

production only adds to the intensity of the songs.

Planxty

Cold Blow And The

Rainy Night

Polydor

The Real Quiz

Bido Lito! and Liquidation’s joint Christmas trivia

extravaganza returns on 13th December with The

Real Quiz. In its new home of Constellations, the

event looks to cap off a great year in Liverpool music

with fans, friends and colleagues looking to pit their

wits against one another for a selection of fantastic

prizes. Once again, proceeds from the night will go

to chosen charities The Whitechapel Centre and

MIND and there’ll be live music from special guests.

Head to bidolito.co.uk for tickets.

Storytelling is the bread and butter of all music,

and PLANXTY do it so well. Whether it is in the form of

songs and words or just plain instrumentals, the essence

of a story must communicate to the listener and, on Cold

Blow..., we see a juxtaposition of tales old and new, yet

their sense of time, place and age is irrelevant. Here, we

hear the very nature of the fable itself – timelessness.

Head to bidolito.co.uk to read (and listen to) more of Nick

Ellis’ selections. Adult Fiction is out now on Mellowtone

Records.

NEWS 11


COME

TOGETHER –

LIVERPOOL,

MUSIC CITY?

With the blueprint of the city’s music strategy in development, the

timely publishing of the findings from our inaugural ‘Liverpool, Music

City?’ event gives us the chance to appraise the state our music

community is in right now. Craig G Pennington summarises the key

conclusions from the report.

12


In late November I was lucky enough to be asked to host

a Q&A with the directors of seminal Liverpool music

biopic You’ll Never Walk Alone. Filmed in 1992, the film

is a portrait of Liverpool at the lowest of ebbs: a grey,

decaying, battered city that, somewhat paradoxically, plays

host to a buoyant and scintillating music culture. It drips with

romance. It drips with pain. It’s the quintessential Liverpool

depiction; irrepressible beauty in the face of abject misery.

Despite its name (the film’s producers were French so we’ll

forgive them the partisan slip up) the film represents essential

viewing and the manner in which it has attained a somewhat

iconic status in the intervening years is unsurprising. Dig it out

on YouTube.

Explored through the lens of characters such as Ian

McCulloch, Mick Head, Edgar Summertyme and regular

contributor to these pink pages Paul Fitzgerald (the film

includes a beautiful scene from the Fitzgerald family home

featuring a moving vocal performance from Paul’s Nan),

the documentary captures a city that – on the face it – is

unrecognisable from the resurgent, optimistic place we

find today. But, beneath the concrete and glazed veneer

of progress we see in our city centre, how much really has

changed?

The opening sequence to You’ll Never Walk Alone carries

a poignant and sobering observation; in 1960, Liverpool

was the second largest city in the UK, but, by 1992, half

the population had left. It also features a sequence shot at

the top of Granby Street with Sheldon Rice, a young black

MC, delivering a withering freestyle takedown of police

persecution, corruption and forgotten areas of the city being

left to their own devices. Somewhat poignantly, this quickly

cuts to a Beatles tour bus heading up to Penny Lane.

People being driven away from the city?

A city that doesn’t work for everyone?

Black artists pushed to the margins, a tragic lack of diversity?

Swathes of the city forgotten and left behind?

The idea that heritage tourism will save us all?

Sound familiar?

24 Kitchen Street Meraki

OK, so Liverpool isn’t as bleak as it was in 1992. I

completely accept and wholeheartedly welcome that. There

is opportunity here. There is work. Admittedly much of that

work is low paid and irregular, but there is work. Yet, we

face many of the same challenges as those grappled with

back in 1992. And music is an acute way of demonstrating

those challenges. Since 2008 we have lived in a new age of

‘Culture’. Whereas we once ran the docks of empire, Liverpool

now positions itself as a global titan of ‘Culture’. Given our

history, music should be our prized cargo. But is it?

We see music venues and clubs closing around us. We

see the influence of developer power and money riding

roughshod over our cultural heritage and creative community.

We see a vision of Liverpool based on Fab Four cotton candy

sold around the world, while, at the same time, a buoyant

international music subculture bubbles here away from

the Beatles tourist’s gaze. We see an absence of structural

support for Liverpool’s embryonic music industry. We see

emerging artists, cut adrift by a collapsed music industry,

needing help and support to flourish, and an opportunity to

embed them here as part of the city’s future. We see a music

sector cut-off from our education system.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

A buoyant Music Cities movement has gathered pace

over recent years, a new sphere of thinking that intersects

music, urban policy and planning. We see cities across the

world – from Groningen to Adelaide – creating innovative new

frameworks which place support for and the development of

their music sectors and communities at the heart of their city

vision. In contrast, we have, until now, witnessed an absence

of strategic planning around music policy in Liverpool.

As a reaction to this, in April this year we launched

Liverpool, Music City?, a project in partnership with Liverpool

John Moores University, designed to ask some pretty

fundamental, searching questions; is Liverpool a global music

city? What does music really mean to Liverpool? How is

music valued? How healthy is Liverpool’s music ecology? Is

Liverpool’s music tourism offer truly world-class and what role

does new music play within it? In terms of its policies around

noise, planning and the role of music in the built environment,

does Liverpool have a global music city outlook? How good

are we at developing the next wave of artists in the city? Is

Liverpool an international hub for music business? How joined

up is the city’s music industry and music education offer?

“Given our

history, music

should be our

prized cargo”

Invisible Wind Factory

FEATURE

13


Meraki

The Zanzibar

In order to help find the answers to these questions, we put

together an event with our friends at Constellations in May 2017,

which looked to ask you – Liverpool’s music community – what

you think, gauge your experiences and harness your ideas about

how we can collectively shape Liverpool’s music future. The event

was designed to challenge you to come together and develop a

shared, collective vision of a music future for our city. Because

you all live and breathe it every day.

Let’s be honest, for people outside of the inner workings

of Liverpool’s music community we can seem somewhat

impenetrable; a web of complex entangled relationships, a

mesh of freelancers and small organisations, a tension between

commerce and creativity, a hotchpotch of vested interests, a

fallback position of ‘us versus them’. Historically, viewing us lot

in such a way would not have been without base; entrenched

divisions and internal politics have in the past stifled collaboration

and collective action.

But we believed things could be different and that we could

come together for the common good. And we believe we have

been proved right.

Within this month’s Bido Lito! you will find a copy of

Liverpool, Music City? Challenges, Reflections and Solutions

from the Liverpool Music Community, the final project report

produced in partnership between ourselves and LJMU (check out

liverpoolmusiccity.co.uk if someone’s nicked yours). The report

is the result of painstaking analysis of data captured at our May

event and associated online surveys.

The report is essentially a listening exercise, an opportunity

for the music community to have its voice heard. Coming through

loud and clear are issues surrounding property, the closure of

venues and wider challenges of the built environment – such

as noise complaints and developer power. There is the need for

new strategies that bring the city’s music heritage offer much

closer to the city’s vibrant year-round live music culture. There is

a need to open up access to Liverpool’s music culture – both in

terms of audiences and artists – to people of all backgrounds. The

ongoing financial challenges to artists are stark and consistent.

The starting embers of a music industry in the city are there, but

this urgently needs support. There is a consistent, loud and vocal

cry for structured strategic thinking around music policy with the

city’s music sector at its heart.

This project is not intended to provide a masterplan or a road

map for the future. It is purely intended to demonstrate the music

sector’s ability to galvanise, our appetite for a collective solution

and a desire to work in dynamic partnership with the city to

shape a new music future for Liverpool.

Following our Liverpool, Music City? event on 4th May

2017 – which has provided the data for this project – Liverpool

City Council (through Culture Liverpool) commissioned BOP

Consulting to produce a report on the music sector of the city.

The report seeks to “outline the importance of the sector to the

city, provide an analysis of how the sector currently operates and

suggest ways of enabling it to reach its potential to meet City

and City Region priorities” (Liverpool City Council). We warmly

welcome this move from the city and await the report’s findings

and suggestions – due in the coming weeks – with anticipation.

Watching You’ll Never Walk Alone today, you’re left with a

sense of cruel irony; the musicians, renegades and heroes that

play centre stage had each other, a vibrant, collective community

of support, but one which was left alone. Kept well away from

the corridors of power and influence. Completely ignored and

absent from civic thinking. Cut adrift. The community was left

alone to its own devices, left to find its own way, left to navigate

the backwaters of the music industry. Today, the experience

can be different. Working with our universities and the city, we

can craft a new music future – once we have a seat at the table.

Together, we can shape a city that rightly has music embedded

at its heart. !

Words: Craig G Pennington

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

liverpoolmusiccity.co.uk

14


WHAT’S ON

Liverpool Philharmonic

December – March

Sunday 3 December 8pm

LAUGHTERHOUSE


Sunday 3 December 8pm

Music Room

MOULETTES


Saturday 9 December 7.30pm

KATE RUSBY AT CHRISTMAS


Sunday 24 December 11am & 2pm

Film

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE


Friday 26 January 8pm

DEAR ESTHER – LIVE


Sunday 18 March 7.30pm

Acoustic Tour 2018

LEVELLERS

Box Office

liverpoolphil.com

0151 709 3789


LiverpoolPhilharmonic

@Liverpoolphil

Image Kate Rusby


INDEPENDENT

VENUE WEEK

“IVW is very much a

celebratory thing. We’re

here to say, ‘Here’s a

venue in your local area.

Go to a gig. It’s the best

night out you’ll have’”

Seven days dedicated to celebrating the spirit of independence, and the culture of live music, is a great way

to support our independent venues, and start 2018 on a positive note.

great that Record Store Day occurs, but no one

was doing [the same] for independent venues.”

So says Chloe Ward, the Director of Independent

“It’s

Venue Week, an ambitious project which takes

place in venues around the UK each January. The brainchild of

former band manager, label boss, tour manager plus venue and

recording studio owner, Sybil Bell, IVW came about after Bell did

a period of consultancy work in partnership with Record Store

Day. Bell’s realisation that the same model could work to revive

a beloved but flagging live music sector, is what Ward believes

was the birth of the IVW project. “Knowing what it is to own

and run and work in them, day in, day out, she wanted to create

something that shone a spotlight on venues and the people in

them.”

Now in its fifth year, Independent Venue Week has grown

massively in stature, and has support from brands such as Fred

Perry Subculture, Marshall Records and Vevo. 157 venues are

already signed up for 2018, and organisers hope an eventual

160-plus sites will participate in a range of gigs and shows

between 29th January and 4th February.

IVW is at the end of January because it’s a traditionally very

quiet time for live music. “After Christmas people are bored,

clawing at the walls to get out and do something,” explains Ward.

“We run then to give a boost to the venues, launch them, put

them on the map and into the minds of people for the rest of the

year.” The week has been moved slightly later for 2018; “It’s after

payday and we’ve since found out that’s when student loans

come in!”

Venues taking part can be any size. The smallest IWV has

is the Grayson Unity in Halifax, boasting a capacity of 18. “They

joined last year and I emailed them back and said, ‘I think there’s

been a bit of a typo on your form. It says your capacity is 18’. And

he said ‘No, it’s 18 and actually that’s for a singer-songwriter. If

we get a band in, we have to reduce it to 13.’ It’s an old electrical

shop he’s converted into this tiny but incredible little venue.”

IVW is supported by a number of organisations including

Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales,

and PRS for Music. Vauxhall donate a Vivaro van (part of their

Vivaro On Tour project), which is given to artists all year round to

use for their tours. “It’s becoming more and more expensive now

for bands to go out on tour. They enable bands to save a load

of money and that van can go anywhere in the UK and Europe,”

says Ward. “It’s out at the moment with Sunflower Bean [on tour

with Wolf Alice], Slaves have used it, Yak have used it, there’s

quite a mighty list [of names].”

Let’s hope they give the van a good scrub clean before they

hand it back.

“They do! But Vauxhall do have a team who make sure it’s all

in working order and clean ready for the next artist. The bands

are respectful of it, they’re very grateful.”

IVW split the UK into 12 different regions: Liverpool

is included in the North West bloc, along with Altrincham,

Manchester, Carlisle, Morecambe, Northwich, Warrington and

Wigan. I put it to Ward that last year’s Liverpool line-up didn’t

exactly send pulses racing.

“We’re such a small team, there’s Sybil and I, and then we

work with freelancers... We wouldn’t have the time to book all

the shows ourselves, it’s completely up to the venues what they

book. One of the terms and conditions is the type of show you

have, it must be live music, no covers or tributes, all the artists

must be paid, and no battle of the bands. Aside from that, it’s

completely up to the venues what they programme.”

Is there any initiative within IVW to boost the patronage of

independent venues amongst young people?

“The venues all have different things on their licences – I think

the youngest you can be is 14 to go to a show – but it’s entirely

up to the venues whether they are 14+, 16+ or 18+ shows. We

certainly encourage them to market their shows to young people.

But it’s their licence at the end of the day.”

IVW nationally is a mix of new and emerging artists, and

bigger names. Last year, both Richard Hawley and Martha

Wainwright played shows, and 2017’s IVW ambassador Tim

Burgess curated a tour as part of the Week. “He supported us

a lot the year before, he was vocal on Twitter encouraging his

followers to get involved and go to shows. That was a natural

thing, to approach him and ask him for 2017, which he very

graciously said yes to. This year we’re having five ambassadors.”

Two of these are Portishead’s Adrian Utley, and Nadine

Shah, her album Holiday Destination topping many a best of list

for 2017. Shah is continuing the IVW ambassador tradition by

curating a tour for the project.

“As a massive live music enthusiast I totally relish the

opportunity to curate a tour of bands I love,” Shah says. “I was

honoured to be asked and that the artists we contacted were up

for getting involved.”

Shah names her favourite indie venues as The Cluny in

Newcastle and The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. She has

strong and affectionate memories of the first gig she saw at an

indie venue, The Golden Virgins at The Barfly in Camden. (“It

was sweaty!”). As an artist and a music fan, she stresses the

importance of such places.

“I still play some of them and regularly go see other artists at

independent venues. No matter how big my music project may

get I will always ensure we make the effort to play some smaller

independent venues too. They have proper individual characters,

and with that comes the lasting memories.

“The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge is my show that’s part of

IVW. It’s somewhere I’ve not played at yet and I get to share the

stage with some great artists that we handpicked. Have heard

great reports about that venue so I’m really looking forward to it.”

More established names are very much part of the IVW mix,

an opportunity for the bigger artists to get back to their roots or

do something a bit special. Ward reckons it gives venue owners

and promoters the chance to do a bit of research and up their

game: “Is there a venue that means a lot to an established artist,

where they never got to play when they were coming up? A place

where they had their first ever gig and do they want to go back?

The venues are getting more confident because of the amount of

coverage we get in, taking more of a risk, making tickets slightly

more expensive to get those bigger artists back. That’s why there

is a mixture.”

With many small venues facing a struggle to keep open – a

struggle which is not merely the result of a lack of cash, but

because of other issues such as gentrification – does Ward see

IVW another way of fighting back?

“There is the gentrification issue, and people wanting to live

in city centres and quite often developers have blocks of flats

near venues and from that you’re going to get a string of noise

complaints; and I know in London there are issues over rents and

rates going up and things like that that venues have struggled

with,” she acknowledges, adding “but we try to stay clear of

[that]. IVW is very much a celebratory thing. We’re here to say,

‘Here’s a venue in your local area. Go to a gig. It’s the best night

out you’ll have’.” !

Words: Cath Bore / @cathbore

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

independentvenueweek.com

Independent Venue Week runs from 29th January until 4th

February. Bido Lito! are hosting a closing party for IVW at The

Jacaranda on Saturday 3rd February.

Participating venues in Liverpool are: Buyers Club, Studio2, The

27 Club, The Jacaranda, EBGBS, The Magnet and The Zanzibar.

Check out each venue for individual listings.

16


We Are

Online.

www.outsidersstore.com

2 Slater Studios,

5-11 Slater Street,

Liverpool,

L1 4BW.

www.outsidersstore.com

#ONW

#OriginalNorthWest


18

As Liverpool’s prince of ambient electronica

prepares a second charity compilation album, Mike

Stanton looks back at what’s been an impressive

year for the musician’s various projects.


Neil Grant is an affable, down-to-earth bloke; for the

past four years he has been producing music under the

name LO FIVE, a strain of downbeat electronica that is

as likeable as his own easy-going character. He is one

of the current crop of electronic artists that fully embraces and

explores the new breed of emotive electronic music – one that is

tangible and tactile, that has an acoustic sensibility and emotional

connectivity in contrast to the often detached, cold and robotic

compositions of its formative years.

Every couple of months, Neil hosts a night called Emotion

Wave, where he gathers together some of the most exciting,

original electronic artists and producers who share his passion

for ambientronica. Together they entrance the small, dedicated

and growing number of people drawn to the Emotion Wave vibe,

people who seek out the more human-side of electronic music.

When starting out as Lo Five, Neil explored and embraced

the more tactile and expressive forms of electronic music. From

these beginnings, Lo Five and Emotion Wave evolved. “I tend to

be drawn to people who are doing quite melodic stuff,” says Neil,

“but that’s not just in electronic music, it goes across everything

that I listen to. I’ll listen to instrument-based music as much as I do

“Your life is basically like

a collection of memories

and experiences and

relationships and they’re

the things that matter,

not the material things”

electronic music, so I think a lot of the stuff that I do is informed by

quite a few different strands and not all of them musical.”

Striking out as a solo act provided different challenges to

having played in bands previously. “It was around 2013, I started

noodling on my laptop and coming up with different things and

trying different things out. It was a bit more sample-based, there

were more guitars, more acoustic drum-sounds. I wanted it to

sound almost like it was a band playing, but I’d put it all together

on a computer.” He continues, “I guess it’s got that one common

thing running through it, that there’s a melodic sensibility to it. I

quite like coming up with melodies and chords, that traditional

song crafting approach; I think that’s a hang-up from being in a

band, [being] probably more melody-driven than beat-driven. I’m

also interested in creating an atmosphere or a sense of space, I

want to give the impression that there’s a human behind it.” It is

this human aspect that so clearly informs his music and vision for

Emotion Wave.

In December 2016, Neil pressed the growing band of

likeminded artists that he’d met through Emotion Wave into

action on a compilation album. Blankets was a charity project, the

proceeds of which were donated to Liverpool-based homelessness

charity The Whitechapel Centre. Buoyed by its success, Neil

has asked the same producers and musicians to contribute to

another charity album, Daffodils, which is due to be launched at

a special Emotion Wave show on 9th December, at the night’s

spiritual home of 81 Renshaw. All of the proceeds from the sale of

Daffodils, as well as any money raised on the night, will be donated

to Merseyside Domestic Violence Services. Bringing together 25

artists from Merseyside, the North West and further afield, the

Daffodils album stretches over two cassettes and features an array

of Emotion Wave guests and regulars: Phono Ghosts, Mark Peters,

Afternaut, Melodien, Loka, Jean Michel Noir. 11 of the acts featured

on the album will also be performing live sets on the night, the lineup

reflecting perfectly the eclectic mix on the double album.

“I’ve kept it quite varied because the music on the compilation is

varied,” says Neil. “There’s a mixture of experimental, ambient, some

techno and some more electro-band-type stuff in there. It’s a mixed

line-up that I’m trying to schedule so that it starts off mellow and

ambient, moving into more band-territory, then into the pounding

techno.”

Excitingly this year he is teaming up with Preston-based

Concrète Tapes for a limited release of the album on yellow double

cassettes (priced at £10 each, with the option of a £4 digital

download). “[They] are part of an electronic scene in Preston that

I’ve got to know quite well – so it’s nice that everyone’s chipping in

and working together on it.”

Naming the album Daffodils was a result of Neil considering his

next musical project, exploring themes around mortality. “Daffodils

are a symbol of premature death for me because they bloom in early

spring and they seem to die before the summer. After reading these

really grim domestic violence statistics, funding cuts to women’s

refuges, people being turned away leading to deaths, it seemed to

fit with this whole concept. It was just a powerful symbol for me.”

Neil continues: “Women’s refuges and domestic violence

services have been hit particularly hard by austerity cuts and I

wanted to do something different, plus it seemed like a timely thing

to do. There’s a poster campaign in town to raise awareness of the

issue by Sisters Uncut Liverpool. They speak a lot of harsh truths

that really brought it all to the fore. I got in touch with MDVS and

Jacqui Nasuh was really keen for us to do this and to get involved.”

Jacqui Nasuh, Project Manager at MDVS, echoes this: “Domestic

violence is on the increase in Liverpool and this support from local

musicians is invaluable to our charity, as it will enable us to provide

additional support to local women and children.”

Without his bi-monthly electronic night Emotion Wave, none of

this would likely be possible. Having started just over two years ago,

the night has grown steadily in both numbers and reputation and

is now considered, as Neil jokingly describes, “Liverpool’s premier

sit-down electronic night.” Inspired by a frustration at the lack of

suitable venues for him to showcase his own particular lo-fi brand

of electronic music, Neil identified a gap, and once he found the

perfect foil in 81 Renshaw, he immediately looked to fill it up with

like-minded artists and producers.

“Traditional gig venues just weren’t cutting it for me to play in. I

can’t play club nights because you can’t dance to it. So, I was trying

to figure out what would be the ideal setting for someone making

music like me to play in – that’s not too late so you can get the bus or

train home afterwards, that’s comfortable and you can sit down and

enjoy as opposed to having to get up and dance. And playing in front

of a receptive, open-minded audience. That’s what Emotion Wave

turned into, really; this all-day thing is just an extension of that.”

Keeping it low-key and showcasing talent seems to be the aim

of Emotion Wave, focusing on the music rather than big-names,

established acts and flashy shows. “I’m happy to carry on like it is

for the foreseeable future. Other people are starting to get more

involved in it now so it could come to a point where I hand over

the reins to someone else. I’m fine with that. It feels more like a

cooperative. It’s cool that people want to get involved in it. Maybe

there will be a point where I just step back a bit. But for now, I’m

happy with it.”

Earlier in 2017, Neil’s activities as Lo Five took centre stage as

his debut album When It’s Time to Let Go, released on Patterned

Air Recordings, drew a raft of critical acclaim. Utilising assorted field

recordings, he infused the record with a sense of natural evolution

and familiarity and, as such, elicited warm and emotional responses.

It is also an album that’s intensely personal.

“There are loads of different sounds from my past and my

family’s past on that album,” says Neil. “Every year my mum and dad

record themselves playing guitar and singing happy birthday and

they’ll send that to me. I think that’s on there; there’s also a recording

of my dad playing Paul McCartney’s Junk, which I reversed and

chopped up. There are sounds of my daughter saying her first few

words. There are recordings of me in a band at 16 and bits of that

went in as well, so it’s like this weird patchwork quilt of memories.”

The title of this album is no less symbolic than the Daffodils

release as Neil explains. “The main kind of meaning behind that title

is it’s about all of the things that you accumulate throughout your life

– your life is basically like a collection of memories and experiences

and relationships and they’re the things that matter, not the material

things – I think we try and cling onto them a bit too much? Despite

all of our efforts to try and immortalise ourselves with these photos,

videos and electronic albums, we will have to let go of all of it one

day, and then when we do we’ll be free.” !

Words: Mike Stanton / @DepartmentEss

Photography: Andrew Bates / @oscillik

lofivemusic.bandcamp.com

mdvs.co.uk

The Daffodils compilation album is released on 9th December, with

a launch event at 81 Renshaw. When It’s Time To Let Go is available

now via Patterned Air.

FEATURE

19


TAYÁ

Making

waves in the biggest of arenas can be a

hard slog, but for this 19-year-old RnB vocalist,

success at the highest level comes as naturally

as breathing.

It’s been almost two years since Bido Lito! first spoke to TAYÁ

and were bowled over by her early successes. Having already

released three tracks that showcased her exceptional vocal

and writing abilities, the then 17-year-old was well on her

way to establishing a secure spot in the RnB music scene. Some

of the biggest names in the industry had already alerted listeners

to her smooth melodies and sought to collaborate with the young

artist. Her career has been making leaps and bounds since she

was first discovered singing for Positive Impact at the age of 13.

It’s no surprise then that the past

two years have seen Tayá truly reap the

rewards of her devotion to music. Named

as one of Vevo Dscvr’s 2018 artists,

Tayá is now at the brink of the success

she was destined for; an important

moment to capture in her steadfast

career path. Looking back over her

incredible experiences so far, especially

in what can be a ruthless industry for a

young artist, what strikes me during our

conversation is her unwavering sense

of self and style. Tayá describes an early

awareness of what she wanted to create

that is ever-present in her current work.

“I’ve always known what sound I wanted

to create and which lane I wanted to go down with my music,

but this year it’s just been one thing after another! What with the

songs I’ve released, the people I’ve met, it feels like everything

has just fallen into place this year. I’m really happy with where

everything’s going.”

Being able to retain her own creative input and be in control

of her music has kept Tayá on the right track. Glimpses of her

RnB loves of the early 2000s can be found in her music, such as

Ciara, Ashanti and JoJo. Her self-titled EP, released in September

this year, acts as a snapshot of both her career and personal

development so far. “I’ve been working on this EP for two years

now. It’s all of my favourite songs from over the years put into

a little EP, so every song is about a different stage in my life,

especially situations that I’ve grown or learnt something from.

The reason I love it so much is because I think other girls my age

can relate to it. When I listen to music, I want to hear something I

“Once someone

tries to put you in

a box, or tell you

what to do and

how to be, you lose

your creativity”

can relate to. Music just speaks to me, and I want to do the same

for my listeners.

“I’d say that, when it comes to writing songs, I find the best

ones that I write are always the most honest,” she continues.

“They’re always the ones that come from real situations. Say,

something has happened to me, or to a friend or someone I know,

I can channel that in my music.” The personal aspects of Tayá’s

music are the key ingredients for creating her textured, intricate

sound that captures an array of emotions. These are expressed

clearly in her impassioned vocals and

are something she also strives to convey

in her writing. “A lot of the time I’ll go

through WhatsApp messages and

old conversations on texts, and take

sentences that people have said or ones

I’ve said to them. The more honest it is,

the more people can relate. Sometimes

I’ll speak to people and after hearing one

of my songs they’ll say, ‘Oh my god, I

said that to you the other day!’”

Does referring to personal

experiences also help her deal with

the conflicting and difficult emotions

conveyed in her songs? “Yeh, definitely!

You realise you’re not the only person

experiencing them. It gives you the confidence to actually speak

about what you’re feeling and write it down, so it really helps.”

Regardless of the impressive list of influential producers

and artists that have worked with Tayá, her style and honesty

permeate the finished product. She chooses to collaborate with

creatives that will complement and evolve her style and character,

rather than lead it astray. “Once someone tries to put you in a

box, or tell you what to do and how to be, you lose your creativity.

I think the relationship is the most important thing, because

someone could be an amazing producer or writer, but if you don’t

get along, then you’re not gonna want to open up your heart and

write something really honest and real with them. Most of the

time I look for how I blend with them as a person before I even

look at the music. People I’ve worked with are now like friends

and we make the best music together, because we’re comfortable

with each other. We’re not scared to state our opinions, because

there is a mutual understanding. That’s the best way to work.”

To add to the surge of musical talents showing their support

and appreciation of Tayá’s music, Zara Larsson and Astrid S

invited her to tour with them this year. Working alongside these

artists gave Tayá the opportunity to learn and develop as a

performer. “The experience was totally different. They were the

biggest gigs I’ve ever done and were both very different as tours

themselves. Astrid’s was all over Europe and a little bit smaller,

but the fans went crazy! And Zara toured all of the UK and the

productions were much bigger. They were the best experiences

I’ve had performing. Being able to see other people who I can

look up to and see how they do things helped me grow so much

as a performer. It helped that I was supporting two young girls

like myself, so the audiences were really receptive to me, I was

really lucky. I got an amazing response!”

She was also able to find her own way of dealing with stage

fright. With her strong self-confidence and bubbly spirit that

shines throughout our conversation, I was surprised to hear that

even Tayá struggles with nerves ahead of performances. “You’ve

got to have that persona and get into a different mind frame,

because I get so painfully nervous! I shake from head to toe, I

sweat, everything! It can get really bad, so I’ve just got to get into

a different mind frame and just go for it. Once I’m on stage then

it’s OK, it’s just the initial walking on that’s the hard part.”

“Music has just been one of the only things that I’ve really

loved and really, really cared about since I was young,” Tayá

continues in an impassioned voice, laying her cards on the table.

“I’m one of those people who goes through phases where I’m

like, ‘Oh, I love this!’ one minute and, ‘Oh, now I love this!’ the

next, but music has been one of the only constants throughout

my life. That’s how I knew that I wanted to do it as a career,

because I was never gonna go to Uni or do anything like that.

I’ve always just loved music and you’ve got to do something that

you enjoy. That’s why music is important to me. It’s always been

there. I’ve always known that this is what I want to do.” !

Words: Jess Greenall / @jessrg1995

@taya

The EP Tayá is out now via Atlantic Records.

20


Raised in South Wales and now based in Berlin, Katy Lane has carved a niche

for herself as a photographer with an eye for drama in otherwise mundane

situations. Her candid work documents the lives of her closest friends and

family in a journal style of photography that is intimate and warm, inviting you

to peek behind the curtain, uncovering sides you don’t often get to see. That Lane’s close

friends and family are among the most intriguing, iconic musicians alive – Lane is married

to Brian Jonestown Massacre leader Anton Newcombe – makes her series of portraits

resonate with that bit more of a frisson.

The autobiographical work of Lane’s journals details her experiences collaborating

with and living around the various members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the

assorted musicians who gravitate to her husband’s studio in Berlin: among them the

Canadian musician Rishi Dhir, of the band Elephant Stone, and Italian singer, actor and

director Asia Argento. Vocalist and frequent collaborator with Newcombe, Tess Parks,

has become a close friend of Lane’s as a result, leading to a remarkably personal and

moving set of images that have found their way into Lane’s burgeoning portfolio.

With her new book of Polaroids, Someplace Else Unknown, set for release in the

new year, Lane will be exhibiting a collection of her pictures for the first time in the UK

at Bold Street Coffee during December. We caught up with her in advance to try and

uncover some of the insight that goes into her art.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Why do you use film?

To put it simply, I just prefer it! I started off using an Olympus film point-and-shoot when

I was about 14, before switching to digital when I was a little older. I then used both

when I was in art school, figuring out how to use a Canon AE-1 and develop my own

photos in the darkroom. I did use my digital Canon on the first BJM tour I went on, but I

soon realised my film photos far surpassed anything I’d shot with my digital. It’s made

me a better photographer in my opinion – you learn to make every frame count.

What made you decide to use

photography as a way of documenting

your experiences?

I always wanted to pursue a career in

art of some kind, before really getting

interested in photography as a young

teenager, and coercing my friends into

being my subjects for various projects.

Then I left art school, fell in love with

a musician and went straight into

touring and travelling, so I continued

to photograph my life and the lives of

everyone around me. I’m surrounded by

creativity in my day to day life, so I feel

it’s important to freeze these moments in

time. It has always seemed natural to me,

in the same way as keeping a journal.

“I’m surrounded

by creativity in my

day to day life, so I

feel it’s important

to freeze these

moments in time”

Rishi Dhir

How does your approach change between working on specific projects and

photographing for pleasure?

I would say my approach doesn’t change at all. I don’t like to stage photos, and want

them to be as natural as possible, even when the subject knows I’m taking pictures of

them, I just adapt to my surroundings.

Do you feel it’s better to have a close relationship with the person you are

photographing?

I would say yes because the person feels comfortable with you, and will let their guard

down, which is especially important for me because I love candid shots. For instance,

my friend Tess is one of my favourite people to take pictures of, and because we know

each other so well, we work great together. Again, I take so many photos of my husband

because I get to see a side of him everyone else doesn’t get to see. Mostly everything I’ve

done up until this point has been documentary, but I am pushing myself to do more with

people I don’t know. I don’t want to get too comfortable myself, and it’s so important to

have new experiences with new people.

Photography allows you to see the world through another’s eye. What do you want to

show viewers about your world and how you experience it?

This is quite a tricky question for me to answer, because when I take photos I don’t

specifically set out to show them to anyone in particular. I’m quite a private person so

I’m constantly struggling with how much I let people into my world, so to speak – I share

very little. I have just finished my first zine though, which, in a way, is like a holiday family

album. It has definitely inspired me to make more, and I already have an idea of the next

one mapped out. !

Words: Jess Greenall / @jessrg1995

Photography: Katy Lane / misskatylane.com

Tess Parks

Someplace Else Unknown opens at Bold Street Coffee on 1st December and runs until

January. There will also be a launch party for the exhibition on the evening of 18th

December, featuring DJ sets from Bido Lito! and Carl Combover.

SOMEPLACE

ELSE UNKNOWN

Bold Street Coffee hosts the first UK showing of photographer KATY LANE’s new collection of intimate

portraits, offering a candid look at the lives of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and their collaborators.

22


FRI 29TH DEC 2017

Tickets available: dice.fm


NICK POWER

The Coral keyboardist adds to his repertoire of provincial fascination with an impressive

third anthology, and accompanying album of low-key, introspective musings.

24


New Brighton: End of the line. A rest place for the carriages as they gasp for breath,

twitching and clicking, taking a minute before rushing back once again through gorse

and dockland and darkness returning to Liverpool. I’m sat with NICK POWER in the

Floral Pavilion, coffee in hand, sheltering from the blustering wind which rages outside.

Upstairs a man with a guitar covers America’s A Horse With No Name to a room of geriatrics and

their dogs. It’s by no coincidence that I meet the poet and musician here today. Power released

his debut anthology of verse and short stories, Small Town Chase, back in 2013, turning his

fascination for the minutiae of small town life into words. Caravan, released in 2017, is the third

such anthology, and the first to be accompanied by an album of music alongside it.

“I’m attracted to the fringes. They’re not totally inside but they’re not completely isolated. It’s

the grey areas that I like,” explains Power. From the localities of New Brighton and West Kirby

to the further reaches of Carmarthen and Paisley, there’s a magical

fringe spirit; their geographies creating an aura which breeds similar

characters, humours and creativities which Power has become an

expert at documenting.

Recurring themes in his work are the colloquialisms and

peculiarities of those places which sit in the shadows, larger cities

towering over them, leaving the towns to go about their business

unnoticed and unbothered. There’s a spirit and feeling that connects

these places, a universal language which breeds recognisable

characters. “I like riding me bike around the Wirral to places like New

Brighton, or sometimes council estates, and finding weird roads and

places to sit and write. The best thing that ever happened to me was

notes on iPhone. It allows you to blend in and become part of the

environment. You stand out [otherwise]. I’m not one of those people

who carries a typewriter around with me to coffee shops.”

Camouflaged in plain sight, Power soaks in his environment,

capturing the familiar feeling of each locale, which he amongst many others across the country

has grown up with and become so physically attached to. “Some of the places I go and write you’d

get had off for writing with a paper and pen! You just look like a divvy.” His latest works finds

us in backyards, chip shops and holiday parks exploring the small town mindset. “My brother’s

a photographer and he taught me how to compose a photo so I got really into it. So some of

the poems are just a description of a scene. So I should probably just have a camera on me.” No

camera is needed, however, as Power finds himself somewhat as a landscape painter taking us to,

‘The slot-machine zoetrope of pier weekends,’ and, ‘the wet cut jaw of a mountain range.’

Seeing the sun appear, we take advantage and slip outside, much like many a British holiday

maker before us, trying to bask in its glory before it disappears once more into the grey. In search

of chips, we walk along the front as Power tells of the importance of the poetry itself rather than

its performance. “I don’t like to perform my poems out loud as I think it detracts from that. The first

poem is called Inner Narrative and it’s about that.” We sit, chips in hand. “I’m not about spoken

word, I prefer my work to be heard in the mind’s voice. It’s not my place to say what accent that

takes. To me there’s no sound to it. Sometimes you’re forcing certain things on people by reading

it aloud. I’d hate it to be parochial in that way. Britain has the most amazing mix of dialects in the

world so I’d hate it to be parochial and limit it to mine – although I do feel the Scouse accent is

perhaps the most romantic.”

This again links in with the universal language of the small town, the way in which poems

written on the Wirral – much like the train lines we travelled on today interlink – weave and

connect silently finding similarities despite being miles apart. While pondering on this thought,

my Polystyrene tray, greaseproof paper and chips fly into the air, the comforting smell of vinegar

going with it as a thousand seabirds dive upon it. We both let out a chuckle as Power softly says,

“Brutal that”. The incident is somewhat like the anthology, balancing nostalgia with glimpses of

darker undercurrents.

“I do like nostalgia, some people think it’s a swear word, but it’s a really pertinent thing I

think. But I definitely wanted there to be a modern element [to the anthology] as well. I think it’s

important to have some kind of underbelly to writing, whether that be songs or poetry, otherwise

it would just be something you see on daytime BBC Two. Everything I write about has a dark

underbelly to it.”

Chips lost, we speak of summers spent camping and for Power this is still something that

lingers in his vision to this day. “I live right next to a caravan site and I’ve always been kind of

fascinated with it. I had the concept and then wrote the song [Caravan] and put it on the first page

of the book. That was the only real custom tune that I tailored for the book, the rest of the tunes

were already there. The album was just meant to go with the book, really. It’s easier for people to

listen to music, it’s definitely harder to get people to read something.”

It’s true people are far more susceptible to music than the written word. However, the album

is by no means an ‘add on’ to the book. Both works can be enjoyed thoroughly on their own; but,

to totally immerse yourself with Power’s mindscape, indulging in both simultaneously really does

transport you to another world.

With a week’s worth of supplies, a massive Argos keyboard and a guitar, Power decamped to

an out of season caravan park in Llandudno, picked at random. “I kind of cut off from the outside

world – though, obviously I still had the internet. The thing about caravans and anything in transit

is that they’re kind of like film sets, they’re their own little world. They don’t need to conform to

any outside parameters. Some of the shit that goes on. People can go there to hide, to recover. It

feels that often people on the fringes of society seem to go there. Either that or families from the

city who want to be in the country, but don’t want to [actually] be in the countryside. It’s unreal.

I think a lot of people look to America for the romance and drama, but in the North West alone

there’s everything you need.”

But taking to the North Wales resort was more than just a romantic idea, Power informs me

as we walk along the front past parked up caravelles who sit silently, curtains closed, sheltering

from the loose sand which taps on their windows. “I think now I’ve just got so many options when

it comes to recording music that I’d never get it done any other way. I just needed a limited amount

of time and a place to just record it or I would never have done it. I mean, I still do think, ‘Fuckin’

hell, that guitar is out of tune and that’s out of time’, but that’s the beauty of it I suppose. A lot

of my favorite albums are like that, made within some secluded wilderness like Nebraska. You’re

listening to it in the context and that adds to it in your mind, you fill in the gaps. I think people with

good imaginations are able to fill gaps with their own imagery. Some people like a blank canvas.”

Much like prominent DIY forebears Connie Converse and Daniel Johnston, the rough, lo-fi

nature of the recordings and their imperfections bare the soul which lies within the collection of

folk, country and 60s pop numbers. Much like the collection of poems it accompanies, the album

hints at darkness yet remains warm and, most importantly, human.

Having dived into the arcade with its garish signs and radiating monoliths, our time

together, much like the coppers we spend without any recompense, is dwindling. We must part

ways to return to our small town homes; despite having to cross many an invisible border, the

conversations we have shared today assure us that we shall most likely bump into the same old

characters and same situations before we meet again. !

Words and Polaroids: Matthew Hogarth

Photography: Kevin Power

nickpower.bandcamp.com

The album Caravan is out now via Skeleton Key Records. The book Caravan is published by

Erbacce Press, available from erbacce-press.webeden.co.uk.

“The thing about

caravans and

anything in transit

is that they’re

kind of like film

sets, they’re their

own little world”

FEATURE

25


ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA

& THE BOOTLEG BEATLES

For all the creativity of the arts, their structures can seem

very formal. It has become a cultural expectation that

paintings are for galleries, drama for theatres. And

while established institutions play an important role

in showcasing talent, they’re not without their problems. Many

people perceive these as spaces for observation only – look, but

don’t touch. How then can the demographics who, statistically,

do not engage with these institutions discover what participating

in the arts can offer them? The answer lies in a different kind

of organisation: user-led, community-based places, where

exploration and discovery can happen organically.

Luckily for us, we have two such places at the heart of our

city. The clash in architectural styles of THE BLACK-E and THE

FLORRIE belies a mutual passion for community-driven arts

projects that is central to both institutions.

The mission of The Black-E, the neo-classical building perched

on the junction of Great George Street and Nelson Street, is best

explained in the words of its founder, Bill Harpe. “When we

started, we were virtually the only organisation who were saying

‘arts and community’, saying ‘participation’. People don’t just

come in to look, they come in to do.” In 2018 the organisation will

celebrate its 50th anniversary – making it the oldest community

arts centre in the UK – and this mission has never changed. Come

into the gallery space and you’ll find work by the internationally

renowned artist Judy Chicago, displayed alongside pieces made by

the local community.

But The Black-E team are particularly proud of their youth

programme. Alongside work with specific disenfranchised groups

such as children with neurological conditions, the centre hosts a

range of workshops and activities that all young people can access

for free. Free, and no obligation, are important here. As Deputy

Director Maria Paule tells me, “The kind of young people we get

at our door are young people who really are maybe not sure about

where they want to go in life... they’ve maybe lost their focus a little

bit. And then they come here and they find something that they’re

interested in.”

These young people may initially visit out of curiosity about

what the building is, but it’s this open-door model that keeps

them coming back. It’s a relaxed environment with no obligations

or expectations. “We will have the table tennis, will have other

activities,” explains Paule, “but we’ll have a dance class going on

next door. So, we’re not forcing young people to get involved with

these arts activities. They can come here and if they just want to sit

here and or have a conversation, they can do that. And eventually,

it becomes their home.” It’s a policy which believes in the power

of the arts to improve lives – but also in the will and potential of

young people to engage by themselves.

The Black-E’s programmes can have a major impact on their

participants. Take the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu hellraiser Bill

Drummond who, to Bill Harpe’s surprise, recently divulged a

personal connection to the project. Drummond told Harpe that,

“after a little while of volunteering at The Black-E, I thought ‘College

Of Art’s a waste of time isn’t it?’. So, I gave up College Of Art and

started promoting music. So, The Black-E changed my life.” This

legacy is still part of The Black-E’s present – Paule tells me about

one recent alumni who, after being inspired by the centre’s circus

skills workshops, is now studying the subject at university. And

regularly returning to volunteer, where her passion started, to be

part of the community which will keep inspiring future generations.

Little more than a mile away from The Black-E on Mill Street,

The Florrie also has its roots in youth engagement. Indeed, this

was the very purpose behind its foundation as The Florence

Institute in 1889 – to be “an acceptable place of recreation and

instruction for the poor and working boys of this district of the city”.

But that original incarnation of The Florrie closed in the 1980s, to

be reborn in 2012 in the same grand, flame-coloured Jacobean

building, designated as a place ‘for everyone’.

In some ways The Florrie’s strength lies in being less of an

organiser than a facilitator. Most activities are volunteer-run, with

the ideas for activities coming directly from users. CEO Anne

Lundon explains that “we use our space and resources to help

people who want to make things happen. It makes people feel like

they belong. Giving people artistic freedom to share their skills and

“People don’t

just come in

to look, they

come in to do”

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In her second look at the role arts centres play in our communities,

Julia Johnson focuses on two institutions – THE BLACK-E

and THE FLORRIE – that have user-led art at their core.

passions allows us to make things happen in the building.”

This passion for the projects is shared by Community Coordinator,

Timothy Tierney. In conversation about The Florrie’s

mission, he constantly uses the word “empowering”. It’s something

he takes his own inspiration from: “People just giving opportunities

to others... it’s empowered me into feeling anything is possible.”

Tierney give the example of how this is put into practice in his own

guitar group. With participants ranging in age from 13 to 70, he

encourages them to learn from one another as much as from him.

It’s a perfect example of the driving force of this organisation. It’s not

background or money that count (all activities at The Florrie are, like

those of The Black-E, free), but enthusiasm. And when The Florrie is

even an inspiration to high fashion house Valentino, visitors can start

to understand where this enthusiasm may take you.

Even if you’re not local to The Florrie, you’ve still likely visited

or heard of their programme of art exhibitions and music events.

This new artistic strategy has been pursued with particular

gusto for the past year. Knowing that “music is a massive part

of Liverpool heritage… it’s in our blood,” it’s recently hosted

exhibitions of the work of punk artist Jamie Reid, a photographic

exhibition of The La’s and served as a major venue in the Justified

Ancients Of Mu Mu’s Welcome To The Dark Ages event. Indeed,

The Florrie is another place that seems to have a particular

significance for the JAMS – Jimmy Cauty recently gave his touring

ADP Riot Tour installation as a permanent donation. Future

projects include a major exhibition of work by Roger Dean, and the

development of the performance space to provide an ever-better

experience for artists and visitors. These events bring arts to the

community but also, by appealing to a wide audience, potentially a

new community to the building. And who knows what innovations

that community may bring with it?

Access to, and time for, the arts is increasingly becoming

a premium commodity. Opportunities for participation may

be available in all the major institutions, but you’ll only know

about these if you already interested, which leaves many people

underserved. This is why centres like The Florrie and The Black-E,

and their work on broadening access to diverse activities, are so

essential. By responding directly to what the community wants

and needs, they are giving people the chance to feel genuinely

connected with the arts, in a way which just may change lives. !

Words: Julia Johnson / messylines.com

Illustration: Jemma Timberlake / jemmatimberlake.co.uk

theblack-e.co.uk

theflorrie.org

26


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IT’S A WALT

The cinema screen that rises

from the stage is one of the

Philharmonic Hall’s endearing

quirks. Del Pike speaks to

a man who plays a key part

in one of Liverpool’s great

festive traditions.

Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall remains without doubt

the most elegant music venue in the city, impressing

thousands of visitors every year. The current building

was opened in 1939 following the demolition of a

previous concert hall after it caught fire and was damaged

beyond repair in 1933. The new Philharmonic Hall was designed

by Herbert J. Rowse and built in the Streamline Moderne style

of Art Deco architecture. To enter the building for the first

time is still as breathtaking as ever, with sweeping staircases,

ornamental windows, beautiful lighting and an auditorium to

rival any in the world. Its roster of performers continues to

impress with the cream of the world’s music talent on a constant

programme, alongside speakers, dancers and comedians. The

building has undergone a number of renovations, most recently

in 2015 which saw the addition of the Music Room, a smaller but

no less appealing venue at the rear of the building.

One of the more endearing features of The Philharmonic’s

main auditorium, which has remained since the new hall was

opened, is the famous Walturdaw cinema screen. This wonderful

contraption is hidden away beneath the stage and, when

required, will gracefully emerge, as if by magic, in the centre

stage of the stage.

Walturdaw screens were a popular feature in theatres and

concert halls for many years, via the genius of early cinema

pioneers J.D Walker, Edward George Turner and G.H Dawson.

Turner and Walker started out as a touring film show in the

1890s, exhibiting silent films all over Britain with Thomas

Edison’s Kinetoscope machines and phonographs. In a rather

bogus fashion they called themselves The North American

Touring Company and, with a Wrench Cinematograph, boasted

an early touring projector that could actually play to massed

audiences.

In 1904 they joined forces with school teacher G.H. Dawson

and formed the company Walturdaw, turning to film production

with their own synchronised sound system, the Cinematophone.

Working through the 1920s, the company also provided

equipment to theatres and cinemas, including the wondrous

Walturdaw cinema screens.

The screen at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall is the only

working model of its kind in existence, and is not just there to

sit pretty. It is used on a regular basis as part of the Phil’s rolling

programme of classic film screenings. Making full use of its home,

screenings are often backed by a live orchestral score and shows

are constantly sold out.

The charm of the screen very much lies in the fact that it

rises from the stage as the audience watch, retaining much of its

magic. Its majesty is heightened by the live accompaniment by

resident organist, Dave Nicholas. Dave paid us an evening visit

at the Bido Lito! office to tell us more about this unique attraction

and his long and successful association with it.

At 82 years of age, Dave is as sprightly as you would imagine

for a man of his profession and he has a twinkle in his eye from

years of magic and memories. Swapping his trademark kilt for a

smart suit, he looks the part with a tie emblazoned with musical

notes. He’s a real local character with a fascinating story to tell.

“I’ve been there 28 years, I don’t think they’ve found out yet,” he

laughs.

Dave’s tale is a long one, reaching back to 1960 when he was

an entertainer at Butlins in Skegness, working alongside names

like Bud Flanagan, Johnny Ball and Freddie ‘Parrot Face’ Davies.

It was there that he learned the trade that he is so celebrated for

‘til this day.

“On a rainy Friday I would get through 500 tunes,” Dave

remembers, and he lists the many musicians he played with,

many who have gone on to play with prestigious orchestras

worldwide. “They would film everyone at Butlins through the

week, then on Friday morning they would have a film show, and

I would accompany it. It put me in great stead for doing the silent

movies.”

After his stint at Butlins, Dave worked in Liverpool’s

famous Rushworths store in the city, a music shop with strong

connections to The Beatles’ legend. It was by chance that his

30


URDAW LIFE

presence there would lead to his career at the Philharmonic Hall.

“I was working in the organ department one day when Jack and

Sally Bennet came in with their daughter, Myra. Jack ran an organ

society in Halstead and was looking for a new organ, so I gave

a demo. Myra came over as she had never heard an electronic

piano sound like a church organ before.

“Myra went on to be principal flautist at the Phil, she’s retired

now, and her husband David Piggot plays the horn there still.

Anyway, Jack asked me if I’d make a cassette of my organ playing

and at first I thought, ‘You’ll never sell the bloomin’ thing!’

“They came to my house on Boxing Day of 1987 and said,

‘We can’t record it here, let’s do it at The Phil’. Well I couldn’t

take my organ there as it wasn’t insured outside of the house,

so we used The Phil’s organ. When I came to try the organ, it

was 31st January and some of the management came in – they

were preparing for the 50th anniversary the next year – and they

wanted to raise the screen up. Well, I didn’t know anything about

the screen, and as it started to come up, just for fun I started to

play the Gaumont British News music.

“I did the recording and that was the end of it until I

contacted David in April to see if we’d sold any cassettes. He

asked if I’d heard from The Phil and I said ‘No’, and he said, ‘Well,

you’re playing there three nights in June,’ and I’ve been there ever

since.”

Dave is still eternally grateful for that chance meeting in

Rushworths and for the result of what was meant to be a bit of a

joke on that fateful day at The Phil. “When I’d been there 25 years,

they gave me a vase. I’d done 500 films in those years.” He is also

very proud that he was the first person to record the Philharmonic

organ on cassette and CD.

Dave is known mostly for his work playing before film

screenings and, in the case of older films (with no long credit

scrolls), playing them out too. He has played accompaniment

to silent films too, including a special screening of Of Time And

The City, Terence Davies’ paean to Liverpool, in November 2008.

Dave is also proud to have played at the premiere of Hilary And

Jackie, the 1998 film penned by Frank Cottrell Boyce about cellist

Jaqueline Du Pré , and shot around Liverpool.

Not only playing alongside films, Dave has also performed

prior to guest speakers and performers; I remember seeing him

supporting cult filmmaker John Waters at Homotopia in 2013.

“The film company gave me some music to play, it was all quite

foreign to me, but I did it.”

He also fondly remembers supporting Anthony Wedgwood

Benn, who he described as a very pleasant man, “I had to play half

an hour before he went on. When he finished his talk, I had to play

For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, and he

made all the dignitaries say thank you.

Very nice.”

I asked Dave what his fondest

memories have been and he states

firmly, “The screenings of It’s A

Wonderful Life.” Something of a festive

tradition now, The Phil has been

showing this Christmas favourite for

a number of years supported by a full

orchestra, and with Dave supplying

the intro. “Everyone has it on DVD

now,” explains Dave, “but they keep on

coming.” The rising stage and Dave’s

fanfare is an integral part of this annual

treat.

I also ask what he still enjoys about

his role, and with a sigh Dave tells me “at my age, it’s not going to

go on forever, but it’s the place isn’t it? It’s so unique. Fortunately

for me, I’m not into all the new music at all, I like the old standards,

and they fit in with the décor. They get all the modern stuff on the

screen, that doesn’t concern me. A lot of young people enjoy this

as it’s something they’d not see anywhere else, I mean they hardly

show anything like this on TV.” He smiles with some comfort as he

tells how “there is a place down South that teaches young people

how to play music to films.”

“A lot of young

people enjoy this

as it’s something

they’d not see

anywhere else”

When I ask Dave what changes he has seen over the years he

explains how the stage has grown, but the screen has remained in

the same position. “It was never touched in the war you know, not

many of the cinemas and theatres were damaged.”

This brings us to the fact that the screen is the only functioning

model in the world. “Yes, there were three. One in Russia which

was covered over and I think there was one in Morocco which was

damaged. Liverpool’s is the only one that has been preserved.

Dave is a true professional and exceptional company on a cold

winter’s night. “Audience rapport in The Phil has always been very

appreciative, I always get the applause,”

he says, smiling. “There’s never any

music on my stand, I never know what

I’m going to play, but I’ve been a pro for

over 50 years and I’ve never missed a

show. Even when there was a tummy

bug going ‘round in Butlins, I nearly

missed a couple, but I still made it in the

end.” And his eyes are twinkling with

memories once more.

Dave continues to accompany

The Phil’s film screenings on his organ

and will be accompanying Victoria

And Abdul and two screenings of

It’s A Wonderful Life in the run up to

Christmas. He’s unsure what the future

will hold, but it’s our guess that he will

continue to be a vital part of The Phil’s legend for a long time to

come. !

Words: Del Pike / @del_pike

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

liverpoolphil.com

It’s A Wonderful Life is screened twice on Christmas Eve, at

11am and 2pm

FEATURE

31


SPOTLIGHT

KATIE MAC

The Huyton-born artist channels a well of personal

experience into her charged, emotional songwriting.

“Listening can

often make you

realise that you’re

not as mad as

you thought and

you’re not alone”

Singer-songwriter KATIE MAC’s music isn’t easily

categorised. “I used to say it was primarily acoustic

coming from a singer-songwriter angle but it isn’t

anymore really. Not when we add the band anyway.

It can be quite energetic at times and not usually what people

are expecting when a girl walks on stage with an acoustic.”

And while she casts Laura Marling, Regina Spektor and Joni

Mitchell as her biggest influences when she first began writing

songs, Katie adds “It changes all the time now. I don’t think you’d

necessarily pick up on those things if you watched the band.”

Katie, whose talents have been picked up on by Merseyrail

Sound Station and LIMF Academy, grew up in Huyton and

attributes a lot of her identity to the Knowsley town. “It’s funny,

but I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t grown up in Huyton. You

can think of it in the way that I wouldn’t have had the same

friends, schools and jobs and those things are the reasons I’ve

written a lot of my songs,” she explains before continuing, “I also

grew up in a road that was full of other bands, half the dads and

uncles played guitar and I remember really clearly that I used to

watch people go in and out of the house opposite ours for piano

lessons. It was everywhere.”

Drawing from the well of personal experience, Katie explains

that all of the songs she has penned so far are about things that

have really happened: “Mostly about my family and the people

who I have grown up around and the people we have lost. I

understand why artists feel the need to try and spread their

[political] views and it can be very influential, but I have enough

feelings about simple things without having to take inspiration

from the nightmares everyone already knows about.”

Case in point, her latest release Into The Wild. “It is entirely

about my realisation that life is too short to go to work. I wrote

it a few weeks after I quit my job and decided to fully throw

myself into making my life what I want it to be. I was bored and

I don’t like being told what to do. There is no going back now.”

It’s the perfect track to leap into the darkness with, emphatic

and set alight by vocals that are uncompromising and stunning

in equal measure. The other tracks on her SoundCloud page are

of the same high quality, showing off her trademark voice, but

are diverse in composition. The rousing Eye To Eye has the lilt

of Stiff-era Kirsy MacColl, while Night Time is a slower, more

pared-back affair and Drugs And Older Women starts off a slow

baroque ballad, before picking up tempo halfway through and

veering into a triumphant pop number.

She’s not resting on her laurels though and is eager for more

people to hear her work, both recorded and live: “I have a lot

more growing to do, many more songs to write and loads more

places that I want to gig. It would be ideal if more people began

to listen to those songs, giving me more things to write about

and, therefore, giving me an excuse to play in great venues I’m

not even aware of yet.”

Katie can’t pinpoint exactly what first got her into music – “I

just always loved it. I don’t know how or when it started” – but

can put her finger on why it’s so important to her. “I think music

triggers memories which create really good stories. I remember

loads of things simply because of the song that was on. Most

of the things I took part in growing up, I was singing or playing.

Also, people sing about situations and feelings that they wouldn’t

necessarily tell you about, so listening to it can often make you

realise that you’re not as mad as you thought and you’re not

alone. And it’s a good release.”

soundcloud.com/katiemacmusic1

Katie Mac plays Sound Basement on 22nd December.

32


EYESORE AND

THE JINX

Josh Miller, EYESORE AND THE

JINX’s vocalist and bassist, on their

“collection of maudlin odes to the

world’s impending annihilation”.

“I’d like to think we

could have come

from anywhere

and we would still

have made the

same music”

How did you get into music?

I was raised by West Derby’s very own Von Trapp family where

being a musician wasn’t a choice. As for the band, I started

rehearsing with a short-lived boy band some years ago and Liam

just started showing up and honestly just hasn’t left since. As

for Eoghan, we were looking for a drummer who could play for

longer than four bars without doing some ridiculous, Spinal Tap

fill and he was the only one we could find.

What’s the latest song/EP/album you have you - and what does

it say about you?

We haven’t released any music as yet and it says that we’re not

very organised.

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?

The Fall, The Birthday Party and The Gun Club have been

mainstays of the Jinxy jukebox since we started. From them

we’ve taken countless riffs, the odd bass line and probably a few

lyrics here and there. So, cheers fellas – see you in court.

Do you feel a responsibility to respond to current affairs or

contemporary situations through your music?

The current political climate being the shitshow that it is, I think

it’s impossible to ignore. Taking into account the mutants that are

running the show, I don’t think any of our music is political out of

responsibility, it’s more a case of shooting fish in a barrel. When

the world inevitably reverts back to less tiny-handed, lizard-inhuman-costume

politicians, then our music may in turn become

less political.

How does where you are from affect your writing (if at all)?

I don’t feel our music is particularly indebted to Liverpool past or

present. I’d like to think we could have come from anywhere and

we would still have made the same music and that’s definitely

a good thing. I think the same thing can be said for a lot of the

bands kicking around the city at the minute – and that’s probably

why Liverpool’s music scene is as healthy as it is.

soundcloud.com/eyesoreandthejinx

Head to bidolito.co.uk for a longer version of this interview.

HARLEE

“Uplifting soulful pop with a

sprinkle of teenage yearning.”

Warrington-based HARLEE

talks us through her musical life

and taking inspiration from her

experiences.

“Music is an

escape – a

refuge from

life’s anxieties

and problems”

What’s the latest song/EP/album you have you – and what does

it say about you?

I recently released my second single, Venom. The song is

essentially about a promising friend who eventually revealed

herself to be a fake. I think it speaks to my apprehensive

approach to relationships.

How does where you are from affect your writing (if at all)?

I think my writing is affected both by life in Warrington, and on an

even smaller scale, my day to day social world within Warrington.

Though I’m proud of being from Warrington, I wouldn’t say it’s

particularly glamorous or culturally enriching. So, without some

incredibly inspiring landscape, I’m probably forced to write

more about the people and experiences in my own little world –

relationships, mates, things like that.

Would you say there’s a distinction between yourself as a

songwriter and as a musician?

Well I think writing makes me a better musician. For one, singing

about my own experiences I think makes the vocal performances

more true and powerful. If I’m writing for myself, I try to keep

my voice in mind, but, ultimately, I think I’m in search of the best

composition.

How do you see your career progressing from where you are

now (in an ideal situation)?

I definitely admire the careers of developing artists like Dua Lipa,

Anne-Marie, and Jess Glynne – they have trajectories that I’d love

to follow. Of course, I want to conquer the world but, importantly,

I want people to hear what I have to say, and hopefully take

something meaningful from it.

Why is music important to you?

Music is an escape – a refuge from life’s anxieties and problems. I

think a lot of people feel that way and I’m no exception.

harleemusic.com

Venom is out now via 5Town Records.

You can read an extended version of this interview at

bidolito.co.uk

SPOTLIGHT 33


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MEMBERSHIP 35


PREVIEWS

“What I write about,

stuff like truth and

wisdom, I’m trying

to impart that for a

younger generation”

GIG

CHRIS

WOOD

Philharmonic Music Room – 24/01/18

Chris Wood has been

championing the craft of

songwriting for almost three

decades: Paul Fitzgerald talks to

him about changing politics and

their faith in younger audiences.

The latest CHRIS WOOD release, So Much To Defend,

sees the uncompromising songwriter taking further

steps away from the folk tag of which we’ve become

a little too familiar, and he’s becoming a little bored

of hearing. Wood is a contemporary songwriter with a unique

vision of his subject matter. He helps us understand the

characters in his work by highlighting their circumstances

through themes familiar to us all. Social injustice, the struggles

of the everyday, love, light and our condition, and our place in

it all.

Wood is a prolific teller of stories, and a gifted

instrumentalist with a foot firmly in roots music and the

history of gathered songs, and passed down tales and a

keen eye on the times. Though a two-time winner of the BBC

Radio 2 Folk award, and having his name for many years

identified with the world of folk through his recording of

many traditional songs during the earlier part of his career, his

recent releases show a side that’s reveals him to be keen to

slip away from the shackles of what he calls ‘the f-word’.

Chris, you have a great gift for talking about contemporary

themes, but from a traditional folk storytelling position, and

that’s really to the fore with this new record.

It’s funny isn’t it… I’ve met a few people lately whose entry point

has been So Much To Defend and they’re saying ‘What’s all this

folk thing?, Why have people got you down as a folkie?’ They

haven’t heard the old stuff, they just say I’m writing songs, this is

current songwriting, you know?

I guess it’s a difficult one… it’s the Brits. The Americans have

totally got their head around the concept of the songwriter. They

wouldn’t call Neil Young a folkie, whereas we probably would,

because we haven’t yet got our heads round that songwriter slot.

Look at Billy Bragg, it’s the same sort of thing. When he brought

out that Mr Love & Justice album, that’s a real soulboy album –

they’re soul songs – yet the British music public have still got him

down as an old agit-punk and there’s nothing he can do about it.

You have a unique close sound on your recordings – there’s

always a great live sound held in the voice and the guitar. It’s

different somehow, to so many other singer-songwriters we

see doing the rounds – its deeper, warmer and wider.

I work really hard with sound engineers to get the sound right.

So many of them see an amp and just hang an SM57 over it and

assume that’ll do. They see a bloke going up to sing so they just

roll all the bottom end out of the voice because that’s just what

they’ve always done. It’s their go-to position so often. But the thing

is that, what I’m doing is just not like what everyone else is doing…

everything I do is driven by the sound. The guitar I play and the way

I play it, and the words I use are very often driven by their sound,

it’s not just the meaning. When people write reviews of the albums,

they completely fixate on the meaning of the lyrics, because they’re

people of letters, they use words, but they don’t ever seem to pick

up on the musicality of the words and the way there’s all sorts of

internal rhythms, it’s not just their meaning, it’s their sound. It has

to sound like me too, that’s the only way it’s going to work. I don’t

want to sound like me pretending to be someone else.

You write often of truth, of justice and of injustice, and the

current world malaise. This government and seven years of

austerity must have given you plenty of scope for content.

Don’t mistake political governance for power. It’s bigger

than governments. Political governments don’t have power.

Governments don’t have control of anything. It’s all about the

money. The money’s using algorithms to manipulate us, and

they’re algorithms over which we are completely powerless. The

money is the power.

Maybe there’s a change coming, a new energy maybe? We

have a whole generation who are beginning to believe in that

change. I see younger people in the crowd at your gigs these

days. Do you think there’s a new energy coming forward?

Yeh, well for a while I was writing for older people, but I’m kind

of switching slightly, I think. What I write about, stuff like truth

and wisdom, I feel like I’m trying to impart that for a younger

generation now. My kids are in their 20s, and I’ve been round

the block a couple of times, so I’m trying to offload some of that

knowledge, I guess. Things I’ve seen, found and heard. And I

want to make all that available to them.

My daughters are of a similar age, I see that change, and I find

that it’s that driven by their age, and the fact they’re more likely

to listen, and to have those ‘bigger’ conversations. I think that’s

coming through in this most recent album, and these new

songs.

Yeh, I think they realise that the stuff that needs be talked about

is stuff that’s actually going to affect them. I mean, Brexit is

such a perfect example of that. It’s a massive generalisation

but the stats are in. The old voted against the young. I know

an old guy, up at the allotments who actually said ‘Who cares

how it all turns out? I won’t be here anyway’. And you’re right,

increasingly now, I am finding younger people in my audiences.

And they need to know, it needs to be packaged for them, so

that we let them see clearly what’s going on… the other reason

they’ve got an interest is because in Jeremy Corbyn they can

see something different, something that might just be worth

getting behind and putting their faith in, in a way that until

he came along, there really was nothing. Like we said, it’s the

algorithms that are running the show. Say whatever you like

about Jeremy, he’s not an algorithm… let’s hope. If only just for

a change. Let’s hope that there is something there, and that

he’s not a man of straw. Let’s just see how it turns out. Fucking

hell, we’ve had our go round and we’ve made a piss poor job

it, haven’t we really? If there’s anything I’ve learnt, I’m happy to

pass it on, and I’ll pass it on through song because that’s how

I do it most clearly, but the songs aren’t for me, they’re for kids

who want something a bit more real than X Factor, something

more substantial. !

Words: Paul Fitzgerald / @NothingvilleM

Photography: Hugo Morris

chriswoodmusic.co.uk

So Much To Defend is out now via RUF.

36


Joseph Capriati

CLUB

Circus Christmas Special

Camp and Furnace – 27/12

Circus’ annual post-Christmas blowout is the perfect reason

to get off the couch and get back in the swing of things. And

with the line-up they have booked in at Camp and Furnace

this year, there are more reasons than normal to make sure

you’re there.

Neapolitan DJ JOSEPH CAPRIATI has achieved pretty much all

there is to achieve in the world of techno and house music, following

in the footsteps of the legendary Marco Carola. Capriati’s brand of slick

and emotive techno, delivered with infectious energy, marks him out as

one of techno’s most in-demand headliners. He’ll be joined at the top

of the bill in Furnace by SETH TROXLER, the Detroit house-indebted

maestro who is no stranger to huge Circus events. Joining these two

heavyweights on the main stage, DANNY TENAGLIA will, surprisingly,

be making his Liverpool debut. This New Yorker has been the DJ’s DJ

for nigh on three decades, and his blend of disco and big beats will be

perfectly suited to Circus’ clued-up clubbers.

Over in Camp, the show’s host YOUSEF will go b2b with UK

house music don RICHY AHMED in what will be one of the event’s

most sought-after sets. The two are famed for their ability to get a

room rocking, which will ensure that the trademark Circus atmosphere

dominates the venue. Heading up the stage in Camp, HOT SINCE 82

comes armed with bass-heavy sounds, ready to shake the building’s

foundations and make sure the vibes hit deep.

The third room, Blade, comes under the charge of HIVE x HAZE,

featuring sets from KREATURE and OLLI RYDER AND LUKE WELSH.

That makes for nine hours of action in triple the usual Circus dose.

You’ve really no excuse to be sat on the couch eating turkey sandwiches

with all that on offer.

Fiesta Bombarda

GIG

Fiesta Bombarda New

Year’s Eve Carnival

Invisible Wind Factory – 31/12

Taking over New Year duties at IWF, FIESTA BOMBARDA host

their first ever NYE carnival to usher in 2018 with plenty of flair

and fun. Enter the Bombarda biosphere for an immersive Fiesta

experience, split across three distinct domains: Subterrania, Aquaria

and Nocturnia. The Subterrania stage will be made up of lush jungle habitats

inhabited by carnival creatures, where the headline live music performances

will take place; Aquaria will be styled as an Underwater Dub Club, hosted by

Positive Vibration and powered by Sinai Sound System; while Nocturnia is a

secret stage hidden in the depths of the venue, and will be hosted by funk,

disco and hip hop crew DOWN TO FUNK.

The spectacle will see the grand return of beatboxer and vocalist

extraordinaire BEARDYMAN. The live looping pioneer whips up improvised

sets of high quality dance tracks out of thin air, making for the perfect

crescendo to your New Year celebrations. Dub producer and sound system

warrior ABA SHANTI-I will head up proceedings on the Aquaria stage, for

those who want more of a loose, deep vibe.

Fiesta favourites NEW YORK BRASS BAND will also be on hand

with their genre-splicing New Orleans jazz, as will Liverpool party starters

GALACTIC FUNK MILITIA. Uplifting, funky gypsy-jazzers RUMJIG will be in

attendance in case there are any of you out there who fail to be moved by any

of the above.

Around a dozen more bands and DJs will be ensuring the Fiesta

party doesn’t stop for a minute, with a host of surprise performances and

happenings planned across the three uniquely designed landscapes. Carnival

creature costumes are positively encouraged for those willing to engage in a

New Year exploration to remember.

PREVIEWS 37


PREVIEWS

GIG

Michael Head And The Red Elastic

Band

Invisible Wind Factory – 16/12

Michael Head

Put simply, MICHAEL HEAD is one of Liverpool’s greatest ever

songwriters. The Shack and Pale Fountains alumnus rounds off a

remarkable year with a show at Invisible Wind Factory, backed by

the revolving membership RED ELASTIC BAND. The Kensingtonborn

artist issued his first album in 11 years, Adiós Señor Pussycat,

in October to rapturous reviews, already notching up placings on a

score of Albums Of The Year lists. Equalling his best work to date,

and coming 20 years since the release of legendary cult classic The

Magical World Of The Strands, Head remains at the forefront among

his songwriting peers.

GIG

This Is The Kit

Leaf – 14/01

Returning to Leaf, indie folk project THIS IS THE KIT bring their hugely

acclaimed recent album Moonshine Freeze to the stage. Led by singer/

guitarist Kate Stables and backed by a rotating line-up of friends,

the Bristol-born songwriter’s stock has experienced a steady rise in

popularity over the past decade, with Moonshine Freeze the group’s

most celebrated release to date. This Is The Kit’s 2015 LP Bashed Out

saw Stables working with The National’s Aaron Dessner, while the

new album reunited her with PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, on

their first LP for iconic indie label Rough Trade.

This Is The Kit

CLUB

Reggae Social Christmas Special

District – 16/12

Liverpool’s award-winning reggae festival Positive Vibration

invite you down for a skank with them at a Christmas special

of their free get together. December’s event is the fifth in their

series of monthly socials, showcasing and celebrating reggae

music in all its forms – from ska and rocksteady to roots and

dub. DJs and selectors from Positive Vibration’s crew of friends

and collaborators will make sure it goes down a storm. And,

with it being the last such social until March 2018, you won’t

want to miss this one.

GIG

Mark Lanegan Band

O2 Academy – 01/12

Following career-best reviews for his tenth album Gargoyle, and a sold-out UK

tour in late June, MARK LANEGAN will finish a stellar 2017 on a celebratory

note as he drops by Liverpool on an extensive European tour. That the former

Screaming Trees frontman is still sounding fresh and vital three decades into his

career is testament to the breadth of his songwriting ability, which has hit another

high point on Gargoyle. The recent follow-up remix EP, Still Life With Roses,

expands on this template, teasing out flecks of light from the originals’ gravelly

depths.

PERFORMANCE

Dear Esther

Philharmonic Hall – 26/01

Dear Esther

First-person exploration video game has been a hit with PlayStation and Xbox gamers for close to a decade, and now

the soundtrack to the acclaimed game can be enjoyed in the grandest of settings. Watch as the rich storytelling of DEAR

ESTHER is brought to life in a performative work unlike anything you’ve seen before. BAFTA-winning composer Jessica

Curry’s powerful score adds to the games extraordinary art, creating the gripping atmosphere that has marked it out

from other, similar single-person narrative video games. Accompanied by live gameplay and narration, this performance

invites to abandon your traditional view of video games and see the piece as a cinematic or theatrical performance.

GIG

Blade Jogger

Make North Dock – 16/12

An event showcasing a spoken word/soundscape collaboration that chronicles

a dystopian England eerily similar to the present one, BLADE JOGGER

comes with a highly impressive provenance. Described as “Samuel Beckett

soundtracked by BBC Radiophonic Workshop pioneer Delia Derbyshire”,

the project pairs up acclaimed writer and Mark E. Smith biographer AUSTIN

COLLINGS with Wirral alt. pop stalwarts BY THE SEA. Produced by Bill

Ryder-Jones, the piece is being issued through Merseyside label War Room

Records in a strictly limited edition of 200, accompanied with a 16-page

booklet. The undercard for the evening also features woozy Wirral psych sorts

PURE JOY.

Blade Jogger

38


CLUB

Lefto

24 Kitchen Street – 02/12

As another year passes, 24 Kitchen Street raises a toast to four years

of existence as a nationally-acclaimed venue and a cornerstone of the

arts community in Liverpool. With a nod to their more soulful side,

the venue have cooked up a party with close friends Madnice, the

Wonder Pot and Boogaloo, to bring a number of city firsts to the Baltic

Triangle. Making his city debut, LEFTO is one of the most important

tastemakers to come out of Europe. Revered by Gilles Peterson for

his selections, the Belgian jazz and hip hop aficionado is consistently

a couple of steps ahead of pretty much everyone, and is respected by

artists as wide-ranging as Thundercat, Jordan Rakei and Madlib. Soul/

hip hop act CHILDREN OF ZEUS are bringing their own storm to the

party, alongside a special guest who is yet to be announced.

GIG

Deep Cuts Is One

Buyers Club – 12/01

Getintothis celebrate the first anniversary of their regular Deep Cuts

night at Buyers Club with a single launch for brooding post-punks

RONGORONGO, who follow up latest single Black Rain with the

equally compelling Euclid. The rest of the night is a bit of a bustling

party, with sets from artists who’ve wowed at previous incarnations

of the regular show: JO MARY, PALE RIDER, EYESORE AND THE

JINX and BILL NICKSON. It’s a good job it’s running late, as that only

amounts to half of the bill: the dark intensity of KING HANNAH and

the bounding, raw spirit of MAMMATUNG are also joined by a oneoff

set from BEYOND AVERAGE, with RICO DON and guest MCs.

Want more? OK – Bernie Connor and chip off the old block Buddy

are on DJ duties, along with Hail Hail Records.

GIG

Lau

Philharmonic Music Room – 05/12

Among the finest practitioners of folk music in these

isles – with a clutch of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for

Best Band to prove it – LAU stop by The Music Room

at the venerable Philharmonic Hall. Comprising of

Kris Drever (Vocals, Guitar), Martin Green (Accordion,

Wurlitzer, Keys, Electronics) and Aidan O’Rourke

(Fiddle), the trio take acoustic folk music as a

starting point and branch out into spheres usually

well outside the tradition. Combining electronic

textures and post-rock elements, the three-piece

bring the normally disparate genres together to make

something of their own.

EXHIBITION

Gerry And The Pacemakers: Hit

Makers And Record Breakers

Museum of Liverpool – until 07/01

If you’re looking for a reason to get out and absorb some culture over the festive period, you can

do a lot worse than heading down to the Museum Of Liverpool to take in their current exhibition

on Merseybeat. Featuring more than 30 images shot by local photographers Graham Spencer and

Peter Kaye, the collection captures the wit, warmth and energy of Gerry And The Pacemakers

on their rapid rise to fame. Following The Beatles’ incredible success and the explosion of

Merseybeat, Gerry Marsden’s band notched up six British top ten hits and were the first act

ever to reach number one in the UK singles charts with their first three releases. Exploring the

excitement of the period and the group’s enduring bond to Liverpool, the exhibition reveals the

band at their touring peak as well as relaxing with fellow Liverpool star, Cilla Black.

Gerry and The Pacemakers

GIG

Ren Harvieu

Arts Club – 16/12

Ren Harvieu

Salford born and raised, REN HARVIEU is a darkly enigmatic singer with

a supple, yearning voice. Having been introduced to Irish folk songs and

traditional music by her guitarist/vocalist father, Harvieu experimented

with a wider swathe of musical influences in her teens – Joni Mitchell and

Joan Baez, as well as local heroes The Smiths and even such contemporary

artists as Alicia Keys – causing her own style to lean towards a mix of 60s

pop, soul, and modern alt-rock. Harvieu is currently working on the followup

to her 2012 debut album Through The Night, which is slated for release

in 2018.

COMEDY

Andy Zaltzman

The Atkinson – 13/01

It’s hard to work out if now is a great or a really difficult time to be a satirist, as virtually every political

happening comes loaded with inbuilt capability for ridicule and schadenfreude. Which is where ANDY

ZALTZMAN stands out as a stand-up comedian, broadcaster and author, firmly establishing himself in the

vanguard of British comedy with his unique brand of topical commentary. This has seen him appear on

shows as diverse as Newsnight and John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show. Zaltzman is also the writer and

presenter of the hit satirical podcast The Bugle, which has gained a global fan-base since beginning in 2007,

now averaging one million downloads a month.

Andy Zaltzman

GIG

The Bido Lito! Social with Marvin Powell

HUS – 25/01

Marvin Powell

We started our amazing run of monthly Bido Lito! Social live shows in January 2017 at HUS,

and it was such a blast that we decided to return to the scene 12 months later. Our first show

of 2018 is lining up to be just as successful, with Skeleton Key Records’ Drakeian songwriter

MARVIN POWELL on headline duties. Having released the sumptuous Wind Before The Train

EP in August, and opened for John Cale in front of 10,000 people in May, Powell looks set to

stretch his wings in 2018 with a full LP. We’re certainly looking forward to hearing how his

winsome, sun-dappled acoustica translates to record. Support on the night comes from rising

star ASTLES, whose most recent EP Sense Of Wonder shows impressive signs of development

already. Advance tickets are £4 from bidolito.co.uk, with Bido Lito! members getting in free.

PREVIEWS 39


Box office:

theatkinson.co.uk

01704 533 333

(Booking fees apply)


: TheAtkinson

: @AtkinsonThe

: @TheAtkinsonSouthport

The Atkinson

Lord Street

Southport

PR8 1DB

Music

Belshazzar’s Feast

Thu 7 December, 7:30pm

Rebecca Downes

Fri 8 December, 8pm

John Bramwell: Leave Alone

The Empty Spaces

Sat 9 December, 8pm

Comedy

Paul Chowdhry: Live Innit

Wed 20 December, 8pm

Andy Zaltzman

Sat 13 January, 8pm

Omid Djalili:

Schmuck For a Night

Sat 27 January, 8pm

The Albion Christmas Band

Sat 16 December, 7.30pm

Fairport Convention

Fri 26 January, 7.30pm


An Arts Council Collection National Partners Exhibition

& LIQUIDATION PRESENT

THE REAL

QUIZ

Big Prizes

Tough Trivia

Mega Music

Christmas

Wednesday 13th December

- Constellations - 7pm

£4 per person charity donation

Proceeds go to the Whitechapel Centre and MIND

Tickets available from bidolito.co.uk

Until 18 March 2018

FREE ENTRY

liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/lubainahimid

@walkergallery

#LubainaHimid

@A_C_Collection #ACCNationalPartners

Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London

on behalf of Arts Council England

Naming the Money (installation view), 2004, Lubaina Himid. Courtesy

the artist, Hollybush Gardens and International Slavery Museum.

Image courtesy Stuart Whipps (photographer) and Spike Island.

Bido Lito 123mm x 366mm.indd 1 24/10/2017 11:30


REVIEWS

Chic (Keith Ainsworth / ark images.co.uk)

Goat Girl (Stuart Moulding / @oohshootstu)

Liverpool Music Week 2017

Various venues – 26-10-04/11

The Liverpool music calendar’s

annual autumn treat provides

us with a 10-day feast of stellar

shows, and showcases how deep

the desire for inclusivity runs.

LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK has gone from strength to strength

since its inception in the early 2000s. Having continually grown

and brought crowds from far and wide to fill the city’s venues,

it seemed that the crown of Metropolitan Festival Of The Year

2016 was a more than worthy accolade for the event. Only,

this year, the enterprise’s 15th anniversary, the people of

Liverpool Music Week offer up a line-up that eclipses anything

that has come before it. Sure enough, the announcement of the

festival’s opening night show flew above and beyond anyone’s

expectations of what a relatively small metropolitan festival

organisation can bring to the cultural table.

The Echo Arena is packed from the floor to the top seats

with groups of glitter-adorned fans smiling like children. It’s

been a long time since CHIC AND NILE RODGERS have played

in Liverpool and it looks like plenty of people have been waiting

very, very patiently.

It’s easy to unwittingly undermine the cultural impact of Chic

and Nile Rodgers. While there is so much to be said about them

and their musical legacy, it’s only when you’re faced with a live

history lesson that spans decades of popular music that you

realise how deep that legacy goes. We’ve grown up with these

people’s styles and sounds, whether we know it or not.

That lesson happens to be playing out in front of a sold-out

arena crowd tonight, and the impact is felt by all. From Chic’s

own Le Freak and Good Times (which segues into The Sugarhill

Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, rapped by Rodgers himself), through

to David Bowie’s Just Dance, Sister Sledge’s Lost In Music and

the incredible Daft Punk collaboration Get Lucky, whoever and

wherever you are, chances are that you’ve been moved either by

Chic or one of Nile Rodgers’ millions of co-writes or production

jobs at some point in your life. The crowd are, plainly put,

ecstatic. This is not just a party, it’s one for the history books.

Perennially inventive electronic duo MOUNT KIMBIE star

the following night at Invisible Wind Factory. Proving to be one

of the more durable acts of the last decade, Dominic Maker and

Kai Campos have transcended their post-dubstep origins to

find themselves appropriated by Chance The Rapper and Justin

Bieber. Their mass appeal and credibility is such that they were

able to draft in heavyweight collaborations on new album Love

What Survives, from the likes of King Krule, Micachu and James

Blake.

The intimate, Tiny Desk-style concerts that characterised

the duo’s Crooks And Lovers inception have been dramatically

overhauled with a more performance-focused setup that sees

the band flanked tonight by a pair of session musicians, on

drums and keys. New tracks like Four Years and One Day further

demonstrate the act’s progression with less emphasis on the

button-mashing minutia of drips and blips, in favour of a more

hands-on, live orientated approach. There’s a churning, motorik

feel to the new material, though at some point this begins to feel

a touch laboured.

Two nights later on the other side of town, 24 Kitchen Street

plays host to an unusual interpretation of, arguably, one of the

greatest albums of all time, as ABSTRACT ORCHESTRA take on

Madvillainy. Hip hop is usually two people, a mic and some decks,

but here it’s 12 on stage, accompanied by flutes, trombones and

drums. There aren’t enough commas to do it justice.

Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra’s de facto leader, takes

us on an epic tour through MF DOOM and Madlib’s 2004

masterpiece. MC Jefferson adds his own verses to the tracks,

in between watching the band in awe along with the crowd.

Occasionally they stray from Madvillainy, taking in some of Doom

and Madlib’s solo material, but, whatever they’re playing, it’s

evident how much the band are enjoying it. This is hip hop music

come full circle. Best gig of the year? You bet.

GIRL RAY’s first headline show outside London is the perfect

place for us to start our journey on the breathless series of DIY

Breaking Out shows that run nightly at EBGBS through LMW

2017. Predictably enough, the venue is full to capacity tonight,

marking quite a step up for the 6Music favourites. Girl Ray are

a band so very easy to like. Dark storytelling is concealed in

deceptively pretty tunes, and slightly off-kilter, faintly mocking

vocals that stay on the right side of cool.

The three women excel at, not blood harmonies exactly,

42


ut, certainly ‘best friends’ ones, and on Don’t Go Back At

Ten, Poppy Hankin and Sophie Moss perform a shaky, vaguely

circular Shadow’s walk as a nod to the choreographed moves in

the accompanying video. Hankin’s steady vocal delivery is the

focal point throughout the set – on stage, the Nico comparison

makes more sense – and though their delivery is loose in parts,

to everyone present, all these things combined only add to Girl

Ray’s considerable charm.

Just across from EBGBS on the same night, Leaf sees a

celebration of 20 years of record label Bella Union. Founded by

Cocteau Twins members Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde,

the label has consistently promoted artists who excel in selfrevelatory

songwriting of the most honest kind. Raymonde has

been back in the studio alongside former Dif Juz drummer Richie

Thomas: the subsequent album Ojalá, under the name LOST

HORIZONS, sees the pair joined

by a plethora of guest vocalists.

On prior to the seven-piece Lost

Horizons band though is Bella

Union’s disarming crooner BC

CAMPLIGHT, who indulges us

with a relatively short set which

showcases his rich, soulful voice,

melodic strength and varied

subject material.

The onstage multi-tasking by

Lost Horizons is mesmerising, with

Chris Anderson, Ed Riman and

Helen Ganya-Brown all sharing

guitar and keyboard duties at

various times, while Raymonde

lurks in the shadows, occasionally

smiling, and adding quietly

gorgeous guitar lines. On Amber Sky, Beth Cannon and Ganya-

Brown’s voices intertwine beautifully and the song encapsulates

the overall feel of Lost Horizons’ sound: at times a wall of sound,

at others, a veil of sugar coated crystal so fragile you could

shatter it with a whisper.

The never-ending World Eater tour devours Liverpool the

following night, Benjamin Power’s solo show as BLANCK MASS

billed as a ‘Halloween Summoning’: an audiovisual head wreck of

a Tuesday, for which 24 Kitchen Street is very well attended.

Power is one half of the ‘Rainbow Rock’ duo Fuck Buttons,

but his work as Blanck Mass is fast overshadowing even that.

Live, it becomes dance music from the depths of your favourite

nightmare, techno for the deaf generation. The excitable Power

climbs, dances, runs, bobs and weaves his way through 65

minutes of ear-splitting, industrial beats, almost sermon-like in its

sheer strength and screaming delivery. The dancing can’t keep

up and the crowd end up shuffling agog as the overhead screen

belches out blipvert imagery, and the set descends into the

glorious throbs of single D7-D5.

It’s been four years since JUNGLE’s elusive founders J and T

(Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland) first enchanted listeners

with their contemporary take on funk and soul; now performing

as a seven-piece collective, Jungle draw a euphoric crowd to the

Invisible Wind Factory for day seven of Liverpool Music Week.

The collective bound straight into House In L.A., as a wall

of light bulbs sparkles and beams to life. Each track is delivered

with exuberance, powered on by the intense spirit of the dual

frontmen. The bittersweet Drops changes the pace to a moody

“Ultimately, Princess

Nokia’s wish that her

gigs be a safe space

for people of colour,

LGBTQI people and

women should not be a

controversial statement”

and velvety lull, before Busy Earnin’ and Time throws us back into

a whirl of irresistible rhythms. Joyous favourites are greeted with

an uproar of falsetto hollers from the crowd and an inclination to

dance, sway, nod your head, hug your mate; whatever it is, Jungle

awaken an instinct to move.

South London’s GOAT GIRL show EBGBS how bright the

forecast of punk is looking for 2018, at yet another bustling

Breaking Out showcase in the basement venue. Coming a night

after Jungle’s intense theatrics, this show highlights the eclectic

feast LMW’s line-up serves up – for those with the stamina to

keep up, that is.

Goat Girl have had a change to their live setup, with the

addition of a violist and synth player giving them a Raincoatsesque

dimension to their already simplistic, post-punk sound.

Lead singer Lottie’s lyrics about a creep on a train cut no corners

in dealing with the everyday

sexism women face. Although

they’re the only female-fronted

band on tonight’s line-up, the

mix of artists across the whole

festival bill is fairly even – which is

reassuring given that some major

festivals have foolishly neglected

the plethora of talented female

artists touring in the UK when

assembling their line-ups.

The festival’s cosmopolitan

mix of acts is testament to the

wide-ranging promoters operating

in this city who LMW collaborate

with. Case in point, reggae legend

DAWN PENN, who performs

across town at District on the

same night, courtesy of Music Week And the folks behind

Positive Vibration Festival. Penn’s 1967 song You Don’t Love Me

(No, No, No) marked her out as one of the top Rocksteady artists

of the mid-60s. The song was a world-wide smash upon its

1994 re-release, one of perhaps only a handful of reggae records

(Marley aside) to cross over to a wider audience.

Settling into a sound accompanied by an almost jazz-fusion

flourish, before dropping into heavy dub, Penn and her band are

locked in as they spin effortlessly through an exquisite version

of Dionne Warwick’s Long Day, Short Night, and the easy roll

of The Mighty Diamonds’ Pass The Kouchie. Penn breaks into a

joyful, skipping dance as the crowd sway and sing along to her

signature tune – a fabulous moment to end the night on – but,

tonight Dawn Penn has delivered so much more than a one hit

show.

PRINCESS NOKIA runs onto the stage at Invisible Wind

Factory as she headlines the festival’s penultimate show, in

association with Cartier 4 Everyone, in front of a crowd of people

who all know her name. Her captivating set begins with the

standout Tomboy, the besotted crowd singing back: “That girl is

a tomboy!” Her hooks, like this one, are simple and catchy; her

verses are jam-packed with colourful details, fast-paced and

exciting, her music varied and her energy wildly infectious.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Princess Nokia is

that she thrives on the unexpected. Be that playing Slipknot

in between songs or telling a story about taking her cousin

to get a piercing, she keeps the audience on their toes. She is

unapologetic when she has to pause to alter her top and it’s

refreshing to see a woman of colour artist so at home on the

stage.

Prior coverage of this event has focused on Princess Nokia’s

decision to kick a white woman out, and not on that white

woman’s abusive behaviour in the crowd. Using a person’s lived

experience of racism to inspire ‘controversial’ click-bait articles

is symptomatic of a much wider problem. Ultimately, Princess

Nokia’s wish that her gigs be a safe space for people of colour,

LGBTQI people and women should not be a controversial

statement. As later events transpired – such as LMW’s decision

to host GlitterFuck, a white DJ duo who then used dancers

dressed in tribal costumes as part of their set – it became

apparent that the music industry is still not a safe space for many.

The final chapter is always reserved for the manic dash

between acts at LMW’s Closing Party, where local luminaries rub

shoulders and share stages with contemporary stars. Split across

two levels in the Invisible Wind Factory, and with early afternoon

sets in the nearby Northshore Troubadour, this year’s LMW

Closing Party is the whole festival in microcosm.

Down in the Wind Factory’s Substation, RICO DON and his

fleet are trying their best to rouse a bashful audience. Rico ignites

his own energy, his unbounded Scouse aggression clattering

around the foundations of the basement space. More bodies

arrive for SUEDEBROWN’s set, unwinding to his quality mix of

trap/grime/soul and bass-laden hip hop.

There is a strong determination in SHOGUN as he seems

intent on making his mark outside of Glasgow. The young

Paisley-based MC paces the stage, demanding retort from the

audience, as the energy in the crowd courses. He displays a fiery

eloquence; his lyrics are considered and introspective, portraying

a deep confession of angst and pain, that – in songs like Vulcan –

floats close to the agony of Yung Lean.

The energy in the room is palpable for the arrival of AJ

TRACEY; a wall of smartphones now illuminates the stage, their

supportive limbs bob, weave and collide with each other while

Tracey leans and cranes over them and delivers his old tales of

young, gritty urban life in the west side of London. Having found

a sharp rise in success over the past year, there seems a sense

amongst those gathered that they are witnessing the unique

burst of ascendency in its infancy.

EVERYTHING EVERYTHING pack the main upstairs space

at Invisible Wind Factory. The crowd seem eager for the night’s

headliners, and they begin with high energy and ride on this

throughout. The majority of the set is scattered with songs from

their latest release A Fever Dream, although they sweeten the

crowd with popular hits Distance Past and Kemosabe from their

past albums, and end the night with an impassioned version

of Reptiles. The large section gathered at the front, in clear

adoration, go away with a satisfying surfeit of indie pop.

And those who’ve attended anywhere close to all 19 of LMW

2017’s shows retreat gladly to their beds, knowing they’ve been

royally treated to not just a rich selection of international music

talent, but also a shining example of how capable our city is at

welcoming and hosting an array of the biggest and best the

world has to offer.

Christopher Carr, Maurice DeSade,

Kieran Donnachie, Cath Bore, Glyn Akroyd,

Ian R. Abraham, Jess Greenall, Georgia Turnbull,

Maya Jones, Jonny Winship, Christopher Torpey.

Princess Nokia (Michelle Roberts / sheshoots.co.uk)

Everything Everything (Mike Sheerin / michaelsheerin.photoshelter.co.uk)

REVIEWS

43


REVIEWS

Mac DeMarco (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

Mac DeMarco (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

Mac DeMarco

+ Montero

Harvest Sun @ Mountford Hall – 21/11

Tonight is perhaps one of the biggest in the Liverpool gig calendar.

A night which has been upgraded from the O2 Academy to the

much larger Mountford Hall. In a city where it can often prove

difficult to urge the gig-going population out from under their

rocks, tonight proves Liverpool’s love for MAC DEMARCO, with

the queue to get in snaking out of the door and bustling onto to

the street – some have even been waiting outside since one o’clock

this afternoon. Those die hard few are joined in the Liverpool Guild

Of Students’ main room by an eclectic lot ranging from young

teens clad in Hawaiian shorts, peaked caps and dungarees to

many an ageing muso: all of whom have come to worship to one

of the most popular independent artists in the world.

As we enter the packed-out room we are greeted by

MONTERO. With lead singer Bjenny’s artwork adorning

DeMarco’s T-shirts which hang on the merch stand, we have

already had a sneak peek into the mind of the long-haired singer

sporting a pilot’s hat. Having found a cuddly toy backstage, he

throws it into the crowd as his band begin to play. Much like his

artwork, the music is a vibrant blast of surrealist joy, offering us

the chance to board Montero Airlines with him. We can’t help but

fall head first into the band’s kaleidoscopic world and we can’t say

we don’t love every second of it. Blending the platformed, cocainefuelled

glam heights of Elton John with elements of modern and

West Coast psychedelia, they sweep us up to cartoon planes and

leave us in a state of euphoria.

The voice of a phantom boxing announcer heralds the arrival

of Mac DeMarco: “The man of the hour, 25% Italian and riddled

with disease”. The room erupts into a frenzy as the main man

himself emerges from a Stars In Their Eyes-style plume of smoke,

followed by his entourage. As if trying to calm the audience

slightly, the band jump straight into the soothing YMO-esque

synths of On The Level, but it appears to have the opposite effect

with the crowd just screaming the words even louder.

The atmosphere in the room is perhaps one of the most

congenial we have felt in years. Warm and friendly, there’s not a

single harsh word or bad feeling in sight with Mac only adding

to the smiles offering up tracks from across his career. Despite

the big steel barriers required at a show as large as tonight, the

connection between the band and the crowd is incredible. As

the audience erupt into cries of ‘Ohhh Jeremy Corbyn’, DeMarco

and band respond by playing the Seven Nation Army riff back at

them, despite perhaps not knowing what is truly going on. Having

played The La’s There She Goes throughout the tour, tonight it

feels particularly special in Mavers and co’s hometown with the

crowd erupting into a riot.

Without sounding overly cheesy, tonight is a night which

shows how music can bring people together and the true joy it

brings. With its big hitting covers, it’s a jangle pop party which

ditches chin stroking in favour of just having a good time.

Matthew Hogarth

“Tonight is a night

which shows how

music can bring people

together and the

true joy it brings”

44


Inji Efflatoun, Untitled 1942

Surrealism In Egypt: Art Et Liberté 1938-1948

Tate Liverpool – 17/11-18/03

Tate Liverpool’s latest exhibition offers a fascinating, much-needed lesson in art

history. Surrealism In Egypt: Art Et Liberté 1938-1948 rejects the Eurocentric focus

on Paris and places Cairo at the heart of the movement. Curators Sam Bardaouil and

Till Fellrath bring together over 100 paintings, photographs, films and texts from Art

Et Liberté, a radical collective of artists and writers based in Cairo. It’s the first time

that such a multifarious study of the group has been exhibited in the UK, and is a rare

chance to discover an overlooked chapter in the history of surrealism.

At the end of 1938, a group of young radical artists and writers joined together

and signed a manifesto, Long Live Degenerate Art, which appears at the start of the

exhibition. Art Et Liberté was thus formed: a political, surrealist collective rebelling

against colonial rule and the rise of fascism in Egypt. The group rejected Egyptian

nationalism, and joined an international network of surrealist artists in the global

fight against fascism. Fellrath points to Cairo as the perfect backdrop for the group’s

creation: the combination of a bustling, multicultural city and a conservative art world

invites protest.

The exhibition is divided

thematically; the relatively short

time-span of the group enables this

close study. One repeated motif is

the tortured and broken female body.

Art Et Liberté remove the erotic male

gaze from surrealism, swapping the

sexualised, lusting woman for the

bloody and wounded. This is the

bleak reality of objectification: one

that locates women’s suffering at

the heart of the world’s degradation.

Inji Efflatoun’s paintings place the

female body in nature, intertwining the

suffering of women with the decay of

the landscape. Women resemble twisted

“A rare chance

to discover an

overlooked chapter

in the history of

surrealism”

and deformed trees, their bodies rooted to the ground but burning alive. Her work is

disturbing and undoubtedly feminist.

Art Et Liberté’s greatest contribution to the international surrealist network was

‘subjective realism’. This new form of surrealism still championed the unconscious,

free expression of the imagination. They used recognisable, contemporary symbols,

alongside these surrealist techniques, to add a political and local significance to their

work. For example, Ramses Younan’s Untitled 1939 places the Egyptian Goddess Nut

in a surrealist setting and the typical arch of her body becomes a broken, bloody back.

Art Et Liberté’s works are thus internationally linked to the global surrealist network but

also undeniably Egyptian.

Bardaouil and Fellrath are the co-founders of Art Reoriented, a curatorial platform

that champions a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach. Projects such as these

are vital for widening our understanding of global art history and expanding our focus

beyond Europe and America. My knowledge of surrealism is limited but I found this

exhibition to be accessible, varied and unique. Art expert or not, Surrealism In Egypt is

the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.

Maya Jones / @mmayajones

Ramses Younan, Untitled 1939

REVIEWS 45


Jane Weaver and IMMIX (Rob Godfrey)

Jane Weaver And Immix Ensemble

+ Dialect

+ Andy Votel

Lutyen’s Crypt – 09/11

All stars rise in the east. In ancient times, soldiers of the

Roman army were initiated into the cult of Mithraism by dining

together, ritually, in secret grottoes. A bringer of light, Mithra’s

birth was celebrated in midwinter. There are obvious parallels

with another subterranean sect from the Middle East, one

that erected cathedrals around the world with crypts below,

filled with initiates. In present-day Liverpool, those who know,

know, and they have climbed down into the hard sandstone of

Brownlow Hill to hear IMMIX ENSEMBLE and JANE WEAVER in a

twentieth-century cave.

It was a stroke of genius to make all screws and their

threads twist likewise. This succession of tones, DIALECT’s first

commission as Immix’s composer-in-residence for 2017-18, is

perfectly fitted to the snug rifling of the ear canal. It bores in and

holds fast. Interplay between laptop and ‘traditional’ instruments

is a recurring idea, trading throbbing rhythmic patterns. The beat

eventually softens, but doesn’t let up on its muscular insistence

à la St. Vitus’ on the currents of the bloodstream. Late on and far

off, a lofty violin note falls in a desperately slow glissando; it’s like

seeing Lucifer himself expelled from heaven.

The accompanying visuals consist of whole screens of

block colour – it’s interesting to see how much light a monitor

gives off when it isn’t showing anything except a very unblack

black – and their flashing produces a brilliant strobing effect on

our surroundings. The players are neither hidden nor on show,

perceptible only by the glow of their music stands, so sending

your eyes a-wandering up pillars and round domes is to be

expected. It’s as if the bricks themselves are lighting up in turn.

The main event tonight is a three-way collaboration: Jane

Weaver presenting her latest album, reworked with Immix as

Kosmologie Ancienne, with visuals by artist SAM WIEHL. The

latter are at their best when simplest: flanking the players with

close-ups of a hard, dull orange sun as seen through the visor of

a welder’s mask while a hyperprism busies itself centre-screen

behind the action. Nebulae, and the stars graduating from

them, fit around the celestial Slow Motion and The Architect,

with Weaver’s lyrics never quite in the foreground, but still

intelligible. The ear automatically finds a dialogue between the

Modern Kosmology songs and Dialect’s piece from the first half

(each work was produced independently, sound unheard). It’s

interesting to compare, for example, another violin glissando

(upwards this time), or the contrary motion that does with scales

what the earlier piece did with rhythm. It’s an intense set which

ends with the brightest-burning fire, I Wish, prefaced by the best

cello playing I’ve ever heard from Abel Selaocoe.

A lot of this music is how Olivier Messiaen’s Interstellar Call

(from his suite From The Canyons To The Stars) might have

sounded if it had been written for clarinet, not horn. Weaver’s

voice is gentle and flutey, a complementary tone colour against

the fricative sounds of Immix’s brass, reeds, and bowed strings.

She’s also playing guitar, gently strumming, bypassing all

the usual problems incurred by orchestral instruments in the

company of electric guitars. Credit to Immix leader Dan Thorne.

This gig doesn’t fit into any of the neat compartments of classical,

jazz, or pop music. As he explains, “We like interesting, creative

statements, however they’re made.”

Stuart Miles O’Hara / @ohasm1

46


Michael Kiwanuka

+ Bedouine

Philharmonic Hall – 21/10

On a stormy and cold night such as this, the grand old Philharmonic Hall offers the type of warm ambience that you can bathe in.

Tonight, a hero of the here-and-now is about to stamp his footprint in the history of this hall of fame.

But first, the support. Azniv Korkejian, otherwise known as BEDOUINE, walks on stage to a large, growing crowd, coming across

as unassuming and humble as a newcomer at an open mic. Though, the difference is, once she starts to play and sing she can really

unravel and relax into her performance and surroundings. It has to be said that folk music is simultaneously overrated and underrated;

while it’s all too easy to string three chords together and scribble down some heartbreak clichés, some, under the tip of the proverbial

iceberg, actually render their emotional and intellectual feelings into sounds and words. Bedouine is of the latter category and displays

a captivating songwriting craft. She treats her crowd to beautiful pieces such as Solitary Daughter and One Of These Days, with those

in attendance paying detailed attention. It’s just unfortunate that she happens to be playing while people are ushering to their seats.

Next time, perhaps, she’ll be at the top of the bill.

Headliner MICHAEL KIWANUKA and his tight band stride on to the stage to a huge, raucous applause. Complete with a horn

section, backing singers and percussionist, the stage is clearly set to vault forth a generous mix of styles. And indeed, that’s exactly

what happens. From soul and funk to country, folk and even a little smidgen of Kuti-style Afro-funk, this is a band of out-and-out

players led by a man who knows the roots of this music like he knows the pace of his own breath.

Kiwanuka himself seems somewhat reserved and shy. As he talks in between tracks his words are as quiet as whispers, while his

playing and singing offer all his aggression, passion and charisma. This duality endears the crowd to him evermore, and it’s clear that

music is a tool that he uses to express the full range of his feelings and thoughts.

This is a full set, including everything from his breakthrough single Home Again to the pulsating beat-driven Black Man In A White

World. His voice, in terms of power and range, is searing and sounds as though it would fill the entire room with or without a mic.

Kiwanuka channels his rightful predecessors in Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Otis Redding. He leaves the room having brought the

crowd up to their feet and back down again. He is adored.

It feels as though Kiwanuka is steadily growing into his place among the best in the continuing history of soul music. And – in case

it was ever in doubt – yes, soul is definitely still alive.

ROUND UP

A selection of the best of the

rest from another busy month of

live action on Merseyside.

Christopher Carr

Sylvan Esso

Harvest Sun @ Arts Club – 10/11

The tiered steps that descend towards the Arts Club stage are neatly rowed with visually excited and buoyant bodies; below them,

the bodies are wedged closer together, as they eagerly cluster towards the barrier. The stage suddenly glows with deep, vibrant

phosphorescent-like greens and purples. Silhouetted by this glow are the animated movements of Amelia Meath and the arched frame

of Nick Samson that make up SYLVAN ESSO.

The crowd immediately break into dance, as the pair burst into their set; bodies break into trance, engrossed and captured by their

snappy electronic hooks and uplifting tone. Meath contorts and snaps her limbs emphatically to the shimmers of Samson’s synth, her

carefree liberating aura orchestrating the high-spirited, ecstatic carousing reverberating throughout the room.

Their set is littered with pop bangers that evoke an elative relief from the drudgery of a dark November night – a focused intention

of their latest album What Now, of which the tones are more honeyed than the mellow, languid playfulness of their self-titled 2014

release Sylvan Esso. The strobing chorus of Die Young stirs cresting waves amongst the crowd as it crashes out from within the

song’s coy, shuffling verses. Just Dancing is propped up by a stimulating trance beat, turning the scene into an elated rave. Despite

Meath’s constant energy and animation, her voice doesn’t quiver, demonstrating an impressive stamina, as she carries the bigger notes

seamlessly. Her light, bubbly voice, that, at times reaches into a pained country singer’s twang, that may be scathing for some, seems

to sweeten the majority of the crowd.

The devoted dancefloor does not let up throughout the set, however, the pair on stage pause to pay homage to Liverpool and its

supposed parallels to Samson’s hometown in Wisconsin. To this, he toasts his can of lager with the five empty six-pack rings draped

over his wrist (an apparent hometown tradition).

To those among the crowd, who crave the deeper melancholic tones of their 2014 hit single Coffee, you may have felt brief

satisfaction and solace throughout the four minutes that the track allows; aside from that you may be disappointed by the perturbing

jubilation shown by those around you. But it’s hard to shun and spite the illuminating effect of these tunes on the crowd in attendance

tonight. Not often do you see indie audiences demonstrate such widespread, natural, independent disinhibition and free flowing unself-conscious

dance that Sylvan Esso have been able to catalyse this evening.

Jonny Winship / @jmwinship

Sylvan Esso (Darren Aston)

Hurray For The Riff Raff (Michael Kirkham / michaelkirkhamphotography.co.uk)

HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF’s Alynda Segarra is that

rare thing; a magnetic performer who also has something

of substance to say. Sam Turner finds himself at Arts Club,

where the backdrop is a projection stating ‘We’re All In This

Together’, and there’s little doubt what the intent of this

slogan is. “The world is crumbling,” Segarra proclaims at one

point before imploring that we need to rebuild in a positive

manner. Songs like Rican Beach and Pa’lante are political in

nature and hark back to Segarra’s Puerta Rican heritage. The

flag of Puerto Rico is draped over the organ on stage tonight

and the country’s current plight, as well as the orange manchild

President’s pathetic reaction to it, is doubtless propelling

much of HFTRR’s energetic performance.

There is also the impression that, having toiled in the

shadows for many years, Segarra and co. are looking to make

the most of the light which this year’s The Navigator album

has shone on the band. The majority of tonight’s set is taken

from said album which has rightly received rabid critical

praise. The band move up a gear with the set’s third song

and single Hungry Ghost as Segarra sheds her guitar, prowls

the stage, leaps and dips low to the crowd to deliver the

Springsteen-esque anthem.

As part of the Bluecoat’s Captain Beefheart Weekend,

Georgia Turnbull finds herself in the presence of a true

collection of Liverpool’s finest and freakiest. Each act plays

a 15- to 20-minute set of bluesy psych freak-out, with an

additional Beefheart cover thrown in the mix. The night is

reminiscent of an improv jam session, where every weirdo

is welcomed. DAVID MCCABE’s incredible bluesy voice is

filled with Scouse craic, while PALE RIDER follow with their

Wytches-esque heavy surf psych, and Scouse favourites

PSYCHO COMEDY add a Cramps-y feel to the proceedings.

THE CUBICAL then rock up with the best cover of the night,

Tropical Hot Dog – The Cubical seem the most like Beefheart

of the bands who perform, lead singer Dan Wilson’s voice

almost identical to the Don’s.

In addition to the strong local roster, it feels incredible to

be in the presence of GARY LUCAS, ex-member of The Magic

Band – so much so that a member of the audience shouts

“this is fucking boss” after his cover of Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do,

pretty much summing up everyone’s feeling. Even if you’re not

a massive Beefheart fan and don’t know what is a cover and

what is an original song, all of it amalgamates together into

this beautiful psychedelic noise, a perfect tribute to the king of

the freak sound.

Full reviews of all these shows can be found now at

bidolito.co.uk.

REVIEWS 47


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FOCUS2018_BidoLito_123x366mm.indd 1 24/11/2017 15:47


SAY

THE FINAL

Photo by Kayle Kaupanger

“We have a task ahead

of us to never allow those

on the right-wing of

politics to equate actual

economic poverty with a

poverty of acceptance”

The Brexit vote, and its continuing fallout, would suggest that Britain is a country deeply riven with division,

perhaps beyond repair. MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern has observed the to-and-from of the ensuing

debate up close, and argues that class prejudices may be a barrier to understanding the social conservatism

that is at the root of these divisions.

Photo by Samantha Sophia

Common political thinking has it that we are in the midst

of a culture war.

The idea is that the dual shocks of Trump and

Brexit represent a resistance from those who modern

society has left behind. Forget economics for a second. This is

not the problem of poverty in the post-crash decade. It is the

idea that, for some, multiculturalism is a bad idea, feminism is no

cause for celebration, and gay rights no source of pride.

Crazy as it may seem, the evidence is that what Brexit voters

shared most commonly was not an economic analysis of where

our country had gone wrong, but rather straightforward social

conservatism. 81 percent of them agree with the statement

that multiculturalism has been a force for ill, and 74 percent that

feminism has been bad for Britain. It’s not the best.

Now, many commentators ally this social conservatism with

class. You hear talk of ‘left-behind working class’ voters, ignored

by the metropolitan liberal political classes. At one level, this is

just a hilarious joke. The idea that wealthy, home counties-based

former banker Nigel Farage has a monopoly on understanding

northern working class people is a joke. The idea that Eton and

Oxford-educated Boris Johnson can better represent people

without such privilege is a joke.

And anyway, despite the focus on traditional Labour voters

who supported Brexit, the vast majority of people who voted to

leave the EU are those from the political right wing.

But underlying the focus on the social conservativism of

some traditional Labour voters is a really vicious assumption.

And that is the assumption that to be working class necessarily

involves holding conservative social views compared to the

intellectual glamour of city dwellers. An assumption is made that

where poverty exists, so does prejudice.

I have been in working men’s clubs, and railway mess rooms,

and football terraces, and I am fully aware of the banter that

can go on there. But I just think it is a deep insult to those who

grow up with less money in this country to imagine that they

necessarily must be racist, less in support of women’s rights, and

unable to cope with same-sex relationships.

Now, I am not naïve and I know that small town mentality

exists. But it does not define anyone who grows up in a small

town. Look at Merseyside. We are all aware that there is a

cultural difference between Liverpool city centre, and the smaller

towns of Birkenhead, St Helens, Ellesmere Port, Kirkby, Bootle

and Southport. We know that younger people probably gravitate

towards cities like Liverpool, giving urban areas the edge in

age and diversity. But that doesn’t imply that outside the city

prejudice must dominate.

Women who come from working class communities are

entitled to the exact same voice and choice that women with

money have. And the fact is, that despite the age-old trope

of homosexuality being more common amongst so-called

‘intellectuals’, this is just nonsense. Like it or not, gay people are

everywhere.

Divisive figures like Farage choose to blow their dog

whistles on these issues because they want to create an

intolerable atmosphere in politics. They want to scare their

opponents into submission, and shout down progressive voices.

Like the shock-jocks of the United States, they represent the

worst of ‘debate’ by playing to people’s fears and stirring up

anxiety.

Progressives lost the EU referendum vote precisely because

we allowed such people to poison the well of British politics. We

have a task ahead of us to never allow those on the right-wing

of politics to equate actual economic poverty with a poverty of

acceptance when it comes to fighting for equal status of all. !

54


THE

SOCIAL

MARVIN POWELL

+ASTLES

25/01 - 7.30PM

HUS

Free entry to Bido Lito!

Members, £4 adv

ticket to non-members

via bidolito.co.uk


Tickets: TicketArena.co.uk / Skiddle.com / Dice.fm / Residentadvisor.net

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