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Issue 85 / February 2018

February 2018 issue of Bido Lito! magazine. Featuring: RONGORONGO, MEHMET, NADINE SHAH, HOOKWORMS, WILLIAMSON ART GALLERY, DUDS and much more.

February 2018 issue of Bido Lito! magazine. Featuring: RONGORONGO, MEHMET, NADINE SHAH, HOOKWORMS, WILLIAMSON ART GALLERY, DUDS and much more.

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ISSUE 85 / FEBRUARY 2018

NEW MUSIC + CREATIVE CULTURE

LIVERPOOL

RONGORONGO / HOOKWORMS / NADINE SHAH

MEHMET / WHERE IS THE UK’S LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL?


Sat 3rd Feb • £12 adv

Cash: A Tribute To

The Man In Black

Sun 4th Feb • £18 adv

Rend Collective

Tue 6th Feb • £18.50 adv

Hayseed Dixie

+ Emma McGrath

Fri 9th Feb • £18.50 adv

Alestorm: Piratefest

2018

Mon 12th Feb • £30 adv

Natalie Imbruglia

Fri 16th Feb • £16 adv

British Sea Power

Sun 18th Feb • £17.50 adv

Max & Harvey

Mon19th Feb • SOLD OUT

Dappy

Tue 20th Feb • £8 adv

High Tyde

Fri 23rd Feb • £13 adv

Key West

Sat 24th Feb • £26.50 adv

Scott Bradlee’s

Post Modern Jukebox

Sat 24th Feb • £11 adv

Nearly Noel Gallagher’s

High Flyin’ Birdz

Mon 26th Feb • SOLD OUT

Fredo

Wed 28th Feb • £14 adv

Electric Six

Tue 6th Mar • £27.50 adv

The Stranglers

Wed 7th Mar • £23.50 adv

The Wailers

Thu 8th Mar • £20 adv

Mr Eazi’s Life

Is Eazi UK Tour

Sat 10th Mar • £13.50 adv

The Clone Roses &

The Courtbetweeners

Wed 21st Mar • £12 adv

Fickle Friends

Sat 24th Mar • £15 adv

AC/DC UK

& Dizzy Lizzy

ticketmaster.co.uk

o2academyliverpool.co.uk

11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF

Doors 7pm unless stated

Sat 24th Mar • £29.50 adv

Gary Numan

facebook.com/o2academyliverpool

twitter.com/o2academylpool

instagram.com/o2academyliverpool

youtube.com/o2academytv

Thu 29th Mar • £30 adv

The Wonder Stuff

& Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

Love From Stourbridge

+ DJ Graham Crabb (PWEI)

Fri 6th Apr • £22.50 adv

3 Generations of Ska

with Stranger Cole,

Neville Staples Band,

Sugary Staple

Sat 7th Apr • £18.50 adv

Showhawk Duo Live

Sat 7th Apr • £13 adv

The Smyths

Unite & Take Over Tour 2018

Sat 14th Apr • £17.50 adv

Aston Merrygold

Sat 14th Apr • £14 adv

The Amy Winehouse

Experience ...A.K.A

Lioness

Sat 21st Apr • £11 adv

The Verve Experience

Mon 7th May • £27.50 adv

Gomez

Thu 17th May • £10 adv

Tragedy: All Metal

Tribute To The Bee Gees

& Beyond

Sat 26th May • £15 adv

Deep Purple

Family Tree

Fri 1st Jun • £18 adv

The Beat starring

Dave Wakeling

Sat 2nd Jun • £22.50 adv

Nick Heyward

Sat 23rd Jun • £22.50 adv

The Skids

Sat 6th Oct • £12.50 adv

Definitely Mightbe

Fri 12th Oct • £13.50 adv

Elvana: Elvis

Fronted Nirvana

Sat 10th Nov • £12 adv

Antarctic Monkeys

Sat 24th Nov • £15 adv

Pearl Jam UK

Venue box office opening hours:

Mon - Sat 11.30am - 5.30pm

ticketmaster.co.uk • seetickets.com

gigantic.com • ticketweb.co.uk

SAT 20 JAN 7PM

THE STYLE

COUNCILLORS

“OUR

FAVOURITE

SHOP” 2018

THU 25 JAN 11PM

SH*T INDIE

DISCO

THURSDAYS

OASIS

SPECIAL

SAT 27 JAN 7PM

BEN HAENOW

THE RISING TOUR

SAT 3 FEB 7PM SOLD OUT

THE NIGHT

CAFÉ

SUN 4 FEB 7PM

EZRA

FURMAN

WED 7 FEB 7PM

BETH

ORTON

SAT 10 FEB 6PM

BLANK

CHEQUE

+ LUNA

+ ORANJ SON

+ CRAZED

SAT 10 FEB 9PM

HORIZON

15 YEARS OF

PASSION

SAT 17 FEB 11PM

CHOP SUEY!

NU-METAL

ANTHEMS

LINKIN PARK

SPECIAL

TICKETS FOR ALL SHOWS ARE AVAILABLE FROM

TICKETMASTER.CO.UK

90

SEEL STREET, LIVERPOOL, L1 4BH

THU 1 MAR 7PM

SLEEPER

SAT 10 MAR 6.30PM

PINEGROVE

+ PHOEBE

BRIDGERS

TUE 13 MAR 7PM

LEE

‘SCRATCH’

PERRY

THU 22 MAR 7PM

FIELD MUSIC

SAT 24 MAR 7PM

BLANCMANGE

WED 28 MAR 7PM

THU 29 MAR 7PM

DEAF

SCHOOL

SAT 21 APR 7PM

COURTNEY

MARIE

ANDREWS

SAT 21 APR 7PM

WEAREYOU

SAT 28 APR 7PM

REEF

THU 17 MAY 7PM

CLAP YOUR

HANDS SAY

YEAH!

SAT 26 MAY 7PM

THE

WEDDING

PRESENT

“TOMMY” 30TH

ANNIVERSARY

TOUR

presents

PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS

MUTANT MONSTER | BRIBES

WEDNESDAY 28th FEBRUARY

0 2 ACADEMY2 LIVERPOOL

TICKETMASTER.CO.UK | ELECTRICSIX.COM


BACK TO OUR ROOTS BACK TO THE HEART OF THE CITY

5TH - 6TH MAY • LIVERPOOL BALTIC TRIANGLE

SATURDAY 5TH MAY

DMA’S

THE SLOW READERS CLUB

IDLES • PICTURE THIS

BLACK HONEY • WYE OAK

SUNDAY 6TH MAY

PEACE

SUNSET SONS • BAXTER DURY

THE NIGHT CAFÉ • DERMOT KENNEDY

JAWS • YELLOW DAYS

BILLIE MARTEN • JADE BIRD • LOW ISLAND • MATT MALTESE

NEON WALTZ • NICK ELLIS • PARIS YOUTH FOUNDATION • PUMA BLUE

QUEEN ZEE • SAM FENDER • THE ACADEMIC • THE BLINDERS • THE ORIELLES

AADAE • AIRWAYS • ALASKAALASKA • AMAROUN • ART SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND • ASYLUMS • BANG BANG ROMEO

BENNY MAILS • BEYOND AVERAGE • BILLY CARTER • BILLY LOCKETT • BLOXX • BROOKE BENTHAM • CABEZUDOS

CARMODY • CASSIA • CATHOLIC ACTION • DAMA SCOUT • DANNY BOY AND THE CARRIAGES • DAN STOCK

DANIEL ALEXANDER • DAVE C. RUPERT • DEAD BUTTONS • DISHPIT • FINE CREATURES • GAFFA TAPE SANDY

GEOWULF • GINGER SNAPS • GONNE CHOI • HAARM • HANOVER • HATCHIE • HEY CHARLIE • HOCKEY DAD

HOLIDAY OSCAR • HONEY LUNG • HUSKY LOOPS • INDOOR PETS • JUKE • KATIE MAC • KAWALA • LAURA OAKES

LENNIE DIES • LOVE SSEGA • LUCIA • MALENA ZAVELA • MARSICANS • MODERN STRANGERS • MONKS

NATIONAL PIGEON UNITY • NIGHT FLIGHT • NO HOT ASHES • OLYMPIA • OTZEKI • PARK HOTEL • PLAZA

REDFACES • SAINT PHNX • SAM FRANKL • SEAN MCGOWAN • SHAODOW • SORRY • SPINN • STEREOHONEY

SWIMMING T APES • THE BOHOS • THE HOWL AND THE HUM • THE NINTH WAVE • THE RPM'S • THE WHOLLS

VISTAS • VITAL • VUNDABAR • YUNGBLUD • ZUZU

FESTIVAL VENUES

BALTIC MARKET • BALTIC SOCIAL • BLACK LODGE BREWERY • CAMP & FURNACE

CONSTELLATIONS • CRAFT MINDED • DISTRICT • GREAT BALTIC WAREHOUSE

HANGAR 34 • HINTERLAND • 24 KITCHEN STREET • NORTHERN LIGHTS

RED BRICK VINTAGE • TAP AND STILL • THE TANK ROOM • UNIT 51

2 DAYS & 2 NIGHTS • MANY MORE ARTISTS TBA

DAY TICKETS £29.50 • WEEKEND TICKETS £55

TICKETS ON SALE NOW • SOUNDCITY.UK.COM


WHAT’S ON

Liverpool Philharmonic

February – March

Monday 19 February 7.30pm

15

Film

FILM STARS DON'T DIE

IN LIVERPOOL


Tuesday 27 February 7.30pm

Film

PG

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN


Sunday 18 March 7.30pm

Acoustic Tour

LEVELLERS


Tuesday 20 March 7.30pm

BUDDY HOLLY &

THE CRICKETERS WITH

THE ENGLISH ROCK AND

ROLL ORCHESTRA


Saturday 24 March 7.30pm

BETH NIELSEN CHAPMAN


Thursday 29 March 8pm

NO SUCH THING AS A FISH

Box Office

liverpoolphil.com

0151 709 3789


LiverpoolPhilharmonic

liverpoolphil

liverpool_philharmonic

Principal Funders

Principal Partners

Media Partner

Thanks to the City

of Liverpool for its

financial support

Image Beth Nielsen Chapman


25 Parr St, Ropewalks, Liverpool, L1 4JN

OPEN 12pm - 3am

5pm til 9pm - SUNDAY TO FRIDAY

£2 Slices

£10 Pizzas

2-4-1 cocktails

cheap plonk

12pm ‘til 3pm Mon to Fri

Choose 2 Slices


EVERY SAT & SUN

BRUNCH

CLUB

NASTY

WOMEN

EXHIBITION

SATURDAY 10AM - 4PM

SUNDAY 10AM - 12.30PM

SUNDAY ROASTS FROM 1PM

SMALL OR LARGE PARTIES

DOG FRIENDLY

1

NASTY WOMEN IS AN ARTISTIC

MOVEMENT. EXHIBITIONS HAPPEN

INTERNATIONALLY AS PART OF NATIONAL

WOMENS DAY.

LAUNCH - MARCH 9TH

LIVE MUSIC

THRSDAYS

01/02/18 JAM SCONESS QUARTET

08/02/18 TBA

15/02/18 HARAMBE MAONI

22/02/18 JAM SCONES QUARTET

CONSTELLATIONS

a_ Greenland St, Liverpool

ol

w_ constellations.co

e_

info@constellations.co

t_

0151 3456 302


CONTENTS

New Music + Creative Culture

Liverpool

Issue 85 / February 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

Student Society Co-Chairs

Daisy Scott - daisy@bidolito.co.uk

Sophie Shields - sophie@bidolito.co.uk

Cover Photography

Robin Clewley

Words

Christopher Torpey, Craig G Pennington, Cath Bore,

Julia Johnson, Jake Roney, Danny Fitzgerald, Bethany

Garrett, Sam Turner, Georgia Turnbull, Jonny Winship,

Maya Jones, Glyn Akroyd, Sinead Nunes, Kieran

Donnachie, Sophie Shields, Daisy Scott, Yoanna

Karcheva.

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Mark McKellier, Robin Clewley, Amin Musa, Paul McCoy,

Alison Bailey Smith, Tom Wood, Rob Battersby, Glyn

Akroyd, Michael Kirkham, Chris Rathe, Maria Damkalidi,

Hollie Fernando, Alex Smith, Faustin Tuyambaze.

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 weighs the value of

nostalgia against the need to look to the future

with an open mind, and finds that a balance

needs to be struck between the two.

10 / NEWS

The latest announcements, releases and nonfake

news from around the region.

12 / RONGORONGO

This six-piece have constructed a body of work

that broods about the state we find our world in,

and seethes with threatening, infectious postpunk

energy.

14 / WHERE IS THE UK’S LIVE

MUSIC CAPITAL?

Songkick and Expedia’s latest research throws

up some fascinating trends about live music

across the world. Craig G Pennington chisels

away at the data for 2017 to see if we can draw

any lessons from the statistics.

16 / MEHMET

The Bard Of Bold Street’s distinctive voice

has become a beloved feature of the city – we

find out some more about his background in

performing in his native Bulgaria.

18 / ARTS CENTRAL

In her continuing focus on the ways arts centres

interact with our communities, Julia Johnson

looks across the Mersey to the WILLIAMSON

ART GALLERY.

20 / CLUB CORINTO

The home of the very first Africa Oyé was

demolished earlier this year – Jake Roney tells

the story of Hardman House’s origins as a world

music hub with radical allegiances.

22 / NADINE SHAH

The artist behind one of 2017’s most compelling

albums expresses her desire for a more inclusive

movement in the music industry.

28 / THE PSYCHEDELIC WORLD

OF BEN MONTERO

Danny Fitzgerald takes us on a detour to the

outskirts of Athens to feel the vibrations with

the woozy musician and visual artist MONTERO.

30 / SPOTLIGHT

We take a closer look at some artists who’ve

been impressing us of late: Exploring Birdsong

and King Hannah.

34 / HOOKWORMS

Georgia Turnbull catches up with one of the

brightest talents in the UK’s alternative music

landscape, ahead of an upcoming show at

Invisible Wind Factory.

35 / PREVIEWS

Looking ahead to a busy February in

Merseyside’s creative and cultural community.

38 / REVIEWS

Alfa Mist, MC Nelson, Duds and Nabihah Iqbal

reviewed by our team of intrepid reporters.

46 / THE FINAL SAY

Ahead of the very first Bido Lito! Student

Society meeting on 7th February, our society

Co-Chairs each give their individual take on

what makes Liverpool’s student population so

crucial to the city’s music scene.


40 SLATER STREET, LIVERPOOL. L1 4BX

THEMERCHANTLIVERPOOL.CO.UK


EDITORIAL

62 Falkner Street

“Specific places

can often be

the catalyst

for journeys of

discovery in to

untapped worlds”

The historical residents of 62 Falkner Street have become

unlikely TV stars at the start of this year, as part of the

BBC’s fascinating show A House Through Time. The picture

built up from their many personal stories is of fairly standard

family and working lives in constant flux, living as they did through

a period of seismic social change (from the 1840 onwards). This

one terraced house shows us that all of our homes contain so many

stories, from which a whole history can be extrapolated.

“Houses live longer than people and the harsh fact is that we are

just passing through,” says David Olusoga – the historian and former

University of Liverpool student who hosts the show – in a recent

article for The Guardian. “Our homes, the most acutely personal places

in our lives, come to us second hand, and invisibly link us to people we

have never met, people to whom we have no association other than a

single shared connection to place.”

I often get the impression that similar feelings of synchronicity

are at play when we’re putting together a new issue of the

magazine. Echoes from the past mingle with the thoughts of those

in the present, whose perspective is to look to what future they can

build. Sometimes I think the real picture can only be glimpsed by

holding all of these stories in your head at the same time, and looking

for the combined meaning where they all overlap. A bit like one of

those Magic Eye, 3D-within-2D pictures that were all the rage in

the 90s. The fascinating thing for me is that this underlying picture

doesn’t become visible until right at the last minute when all the

pieces are in place – and it’s very satisfying when it appears.

The tricky thing about this convergence of ideas is that it’s a

situation that’s difficult to chase, it just has to happen naturally. Our

feature story on Club Corinto in this issue came about when I was

approached by a friend and former DJ at the club, and when he

started telling me the story I could feel the barrels of the lock slipping

in to place. I’ve always been fascinated by the Hardman House Hotel

building, where the club was situated, but I never really knew why.

Despite never having been inside, or even been aware of it being

open in my lifetime, I harboured a dream of buying it if I won the

Lottery and opening a music venue there. Little did I know that it

was the place that Africa Oyé sprang from 25 years ago. Whether

it was the history of the place speaking to me on a fundamental

level, or just plain coincidence, that building just connected with

me. I have a similar feeling about the old Irish Centre at the top of

Mount Pleasant, which I have vague memories of going inside with

my Dad many years ago when he was playing in one of his bands.

That memory still feels impressive to me now, as though the weight

of the building’s history, or what the people there invested in it, was

seeping in to me.

Our walls are witnesses: there is so much information around

us just waiting to be discovered, and so much energy to tap into.

I recently picked a gem of a book from the shelf called 111 Places

In Liverpool That You Shouldn’t Miss. It features a number of

places that a lot of us will be familiar with, but is also a trove of

information. For instance, did you know that the American Civil War

officially ended on 6th November 1865 when the Confederate ship

Shenandoah lowered its flag while docked in the Mersey, seven

months after the Confederate surrender? Or, that the Eros statue in

Sefton Park actually depicts Anteros, Eros’ twin who represented

returned love in Greek myth? How about the row of decorated

houses on Duke Street that make up the Opera For Chinatown

artwork? Not only do the images, photographs and information

plaques provide a snapshot of the forgotten histories of Liverpool’s

longstanding Chinese community – The Blue Funnel Line and the

Ingrid Bergman movie The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness – but behind

those doors there are countless more stories that could be the key to

thousands more memories.

There are loads of rabbit holes to lose yourself in, webs of fact

and myth and speculation in which the essence of a location are

bound up. Specific places can often be the catalyst for journeys of

discovery in to these untapped worlds, where a tangential line of

investigation will reveal a connection that brings everything neatly

and satisfyingly back to the starting point.

Our relationship with the past is something that we’ve always

been very aware of at Bido Lito! as it can be a tricky course to

navigate. Certain chapters in this region’s history loom large over

us, especially when it comes to music and culture – we’ve never

wanted to be dismissive of the past, but we also believe that it’s

important that we’re not weighed down by it. It’s only worth having

a fascination with history if we’re willing to make use of it in the

present. Accumulating bits of trivia can be fun and give you mental

exercise, but it kind of misses the point if the romance of nostalgia

gets in the way of us affecting the here and now. In many ways,

the changes our society is making now are removing us from the

context of our personal and collective histories at a greater rate

than ever before. Resistance to change often comes about when

the pace of the change makes us feel uncomfortable – which is

why we constantly need to be challenged to look beyond our own

boundaries.

2018 holds a lot of opportunity for us, both in our wider society

in plotting a course towards greater equality, and closer to home: this

year marks the 10-year anniversary of Liverpool’s Capital Of Culture,

but also finds us on the cusp of great change within the creative

makeup of the city. It is with that in mind that we’re delighted to

welcome two new members to our Editorial team: Daisy Scott

and Sophie Shields will be heading up our new Bido Lito! Student

Society, and will be helping us to guide the conversations we have

towards the challenges facing our next generation of doctors,

teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, shop owners, designers, MPs and

gig goers. No-one ever got anywhere by standing still – the first step

starts here. !

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Editor

09


NEWS

The Baltic Is Alive With The Sounds

Of The City

The heat is well and truly on for SOUND CITY 2018, as individual

day splits have been unveiled for the festival which returns on

5th and 6th May. Among the 60-plus names just announced are

Saturday night headliners DMA’S, the raucous Aussie rockers with

a penchant for Britpop melodicism. They’re joined on the opening

day by IDLES, BLACK HONEY and SLOW READERS CLUB, while

the closing Sunday night features BAXTER DURY, JAWS and surf

aficionados SUNSET SONS, with headliners PEACE bringing the

Happy People vibes. The action will be split across more than a

dozen venues in the Baltic Triangle, with spaces around Greenland

Street (Camp and Furnace, Constellations, Hangar 34, Great Baltic

Warehouse) and Cain’s Brewery (Baltic Market, Northern Lights, Red

Brick Vintage) forming two main hubs. Day and weekend tickets are

on sale now from liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk.

DMA’s

We’re Picking Up Good Vibrations

Summer already seems an awful lot closer now that the dates for

AFRICA OYÉ are set in stone. Sefton Park comes to life in the most

glorious way when the sounds, beats, colours and smells of the

African diaspora take over, and 16th and 17th June will mark the

26th celebration of the venerable festival. In addition, Oyé’s little

sibling POSITIVE VIBRATION (held this year on 8th and 9th June in

the Baltic Triangle) will be hosting a number of shows from reggae

legends and trailblazers in the run-up to their summer festivities.

The Sounds Of Black Uhuru (1977-1985), performed by Mykal

Rose, kicks off the run on 17th February in District, followed by

shows in March and April. The good vibes never stop.

Africa Oyé

China Dream

China Dream

As part of the city’s 10-year Capital Of Culture anniversary celebrations in 2018,

Liverpool and its Chinese community (the oldest in Europe) are celebrating the Year Of

The Dog in style, with a range of exciting events planned. CHINA DREAM is a ninemonth

festival that extends well beyond the usual New Year celebrations, showcasing

the best of Chinese art and culture. Kicking off in February with the arrival of the famous

Terracotta Warriors at World Museum Liverpool, China Dream will be exhibiting three

chapters of specially commissioned events right the way through til October. With

proceedings being held everywhere from St. George’s Hall to FACT, there’s an array of

Chinese culture to enjoy.

Youth And Young Everymanhood

The culmination of six months work, the Young Everyman and

Playhouse’s production The City And The Value Of Things takes

to the stage this month. Exploring themes around homelessness,

community activism and Brexit, the play focusses on how we

attribute value to different areas in our lives and society. The City

And The Value Of Things features a cast and crew of 60 people aged

between 16-25, who have all taken part in the theatre company’s

highly-regarded YEP programme. The production prefaces the

Everyman’s all-new Company Season, which begins in March with

innovative takes on A Clockwork Orange and Othello, and features

acclaimed shows Paint Your Wagon and The Big I Am.

Rapid Response

In the midst of a new year, a unique 10-month installation is

coming to life in Liverpool with a mix of commissioned national

and international artists and performers, and input from the public.

Running from the end of February to December as part of the

Liverpool18 celebrations, RAPID RESPONSE UNIT helps performers

and artists respond to world stories and global events from the

past year. The public have been made an integral part of the artistic

process and are asked to come forward with news stories that matter

to them the most. The commission will take up residence in St. John’s

Market, and the final artistic work will be performed at venues across

the city.

Kaleidoscope At The Walker

The latest in the Walker Art Gallery’s excellent Arts Council Collection

exhibitions opens this month with KALEIDOSCOPE: COLOUR AND

SEQUENCE IN 1960S BRITISH ART. Featuring works by artists such

as Eduardo Paolozzi and Anthony Caro, the show explores abstract

art with painting and sculpture from over 20 artists. The exhibition

follows the hugely successful show from Turner Prize winner Lubaina

Himid and the Coming Out exhibition which focused on LGBT artists

from various art movements. Opening on 24th February, this latest

exhibition continues the theme of social and artistic revolutions with

the pieces on display representing the radical transformation of British

art in the 60s through clever use of pattern, colour and shape.

10


DANSETTE

Jamie Backhouse, Austin Murphy

and Ned Crowther of THE FERNWEH

reveal some of the inspirational

records that were key touchstones

for the band in the making of their

debut, self-titled album.

Céramic Fantastic

Traditional ceramic techniques and digital

engineering rarely come together, especially in

today’s automated world, but a celebration of

both processes is now on show at RIBA North’s

Mann Island site. The CÉRAMICA exhibition

focuses on a more socially, ethically and

environmentally sustainable process, and has

plenty of opportunities to get hands on. Due to

demand the exhibition has been extended until

3rd March, which adds an extra clay workshop

in the February half-term (Tuesday 13th) and a

curators’ tour on Saturday 10th. Tickets are free

but interested parties are encouraged to book in

advance: for more info head to architecture.com.

Céramica

Nasty Women Exhibition

Beginning its life in New York, the NASTY WOMEN movement has

been raising money for a number of charities, including Planned

Parenthood in the US, through showcasing and auctioning the

work of female-identifying artists. With sisterhoods doing brilliant

work all over the world, a Liverpool branch of the organisation will

host an exhibition on 9th March at Constellations, running until

11th March, to raise funds for a Merseyside based women and

children’s refuge. Nasty Women Liverpool are currently looking for

female-identifying artists to exhibit fine art, illustration, graphics,

photography, film and more. To submit work for the exhibition,

email your ideas – along with clear images, dimensions and a

100-word description – to nastywomenliverpool@gmail.com.

All selected pieces will be shown during the exhibition and then

auctioned for charity.

Giles, Giles And

Fripp

Why Don’t You Just

Drop In (i)

Voiceprint Records

Rich vocal harmonies and raunchy, fuzzy guitar courtesy

of Robert Fripp’s pre-King Crimson group. As well as the

sounds, the self-recorded aspect drew me to this song. It’s

inspiring to find that you can achieve great sounds from

such simple equipment. Revox tape machine in their case

– a laptop and a cheap microphone in ours. It’s something

that is really exciting about the current state of music

making. Reminds me of when we took our entire ‘studio’

to Robin Hood’s Bay to record the album. AM

Alvvays

Archie, Marry

Me

Transgressive

There are lots of heavy folk and psych references in the

Fernweh camp, but we’re also pretty big fans of a good pop

song. And this is one of the best that’s been written for a

while. Lovely sentiment, huge chorus, proper middle eight.

And the stop before the final chorus is something every

song should have. JB

Across The Threshold

Kraftwerk

Neon Lights

Capitol

Across The Threshold

The new-look Threshold returns to the Baltic Triangle for a scaled down

mini-festival and industry event on 13th and 14th April, under the new

name ACROSS THE THRESHOLD. Bridging the gap between the Threshold

Festival we know and their new concept for 2019 and beyond, Across The

Threshold will act as a transitional event, welcoming some of the bestemerging

musicians alongside visual, conceptual and digital arts. The first

10 acts for this year’s event have been announced, including Tokyo-born

soul-meets-surf artist EMERGENCY TIARA and Norwegian bachata collective

SALSA GROOVE FAMILIA. Local doyens EMILIO PINCHI, MERSEY WYLIE

and HOLLOWS also join the bill, appearing across stages in District and Baltic

Creative. Full details and tickets at thresholdfestival.co.uk.

Bido Lito! Student Society And

Open Day

Are you a student in Merseyside and interested in music and

culture? Well, we’re launching a brand new monthly society, and

it’ll be right up your street. The Bido Lito! Student Society will

contribute to the production of the magazine each month; writing

and devising content, developing editorial angles, and generally

working with our Editorial team to make the magazine the best

it can be. The work of Bido Lito! spans writing and journalism,

photography, design and videography – so if you want to get

involved with any aspect and be part of a vibrant voice in the

region, head down to The Merchant on 7th February from 5pm for

our first society meeting. Turn to page 46 now to read a Final Say

column from our two new co-chairs of the Student Society.

I can vividly remember Austin putting this song on the

van stereo towards the end of a particularly gruelling bit

of a tour all three of us were on years back. It was just a

moment. Everyone was silent, half-asleep and emotionally

fried. Then suddenly this beautiful, healing music came out

as we pounded some British motorway in the middle of the

night. NC

Harmonia

Dino

Brain

Those dreamy, trance-like elements were definitely an

influence on the synth/keys sections on our first single, The

Liar, and Dressing Up Box. Rhythmically, that motorik drum

machine was a big influence on The Liar too. Mesmerising

stuff from Herr Rother and co. AM

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

Fernweh’s selections. Their first single, The Liar, is out now

on Skeleton Key Records, with the full album release to

follow in the summer.

NEWS 11


RONGORONGO

A six-piece whose increasingly impressive body of work broods about the state we

find our world in, and seethes with threatening, infectious post-punk energy.

That unease you can feel isn’t your paranoia talking. It’s

real. We can all feel it, like a pall hanging over us, a rain

cloud that won’t shift. Mick Chrysalid thinks he knows

what it is.

“There’s like a mind climate of a lot of people in the western

world. It’s horrible at the moment – and we all know that life

is beautiful and lovely – but not so much right now. It’s like an

existential dread.”

RONGORONGO’s vocalist and frontman has joined with the

band’s guitarist Jonny Davis Le Brun to meet up and talk about

the group’s two new singles, and things have already taken a turn

towards the macabre. Black Rain and Euclid are the six-piece’s

brooding new efforts, released either side of Christmas, which

serve as a precursor to an album due later in the year. Given that

the membrane between reality and Black Mirror’s all-too-real

dystopian fiction looks thinner by the day, this might just be the

perfect time for Rongorongo. “Sometimes it seems like the inner

world is wearing thin, the outer world is caving in,” says Mick on

the insidious creep of fear into our lives. “I think what we’re doing

is escapism, though. That’s what it’s always been about.”

Rongorongo have always had an inquisitive, slightly

unsettling nature, which chimes with the tone of Black Mirror,

with the potential to unspool in a bizarro breakdown ever

lingering. In reality, there’s a strong core to the band that allows

them to explore these themes with a lot of nuance. Their style

is a measured mix of post-punk, dream-pop and shoegaze,

from which they’re able to draw out a balance of textures.

Encompassing experimental rock and pop, Rongorongo can be

found at the place on the continuum where Television, Saint

Etienne and the verve of the 4AD roster intersect.

They manage to achieve such great feel because of the six

minds in the mix, who each push the band in a different direction.

“There are several bands in this band,” Mick says, “but you can

only get so much out. Choice always limits you.” The kernel of

the band is Mick and Jonny, who met (full disclosure alert) as

Bido Lito! contributors and bonded over each other’s good record

collections. Mick’s history with Phil Howells (Guitar) and Ourkeith

(Bass) goes back longer than the three of them care to remember,

and it was the four of them who made up the first incarnation

of Rongorongo. When Mick realised that being a drumming

singer wasn’t as fun as Karen Carpenter made it out to be, old

Wild Eyes mate Sam Gill joined behind the kit, freeing Mick up

to prowl about the front of the stage like a cross between Frank

Sidebottom and Kate Bush. The final piece of the jigsaw was

former Ticks man Alex Walker, whose guitar work adds a sheen of

magic over everything.

“It started off in a way our band [himself and Jonny], and

now there are six of us bringing different things,” Mick says of his

cohort. “But we all know, I think, what the direction is. There are a

load of songs that we write where we go ‘That’s not us’, and they

get parked. They don’t fit with how we all see things.”

The current songs that have made it through that process

are great examples of a tight group working in unison. Black Rain

starts off bleak as it details the dominance technology has over

our world, and the impact it has on our mental wellbeing – but

there’s hope there too, as well as a mention for outlaw troubadour

Blaze Foley. “Black Rain is more hopeful, not all doom and gloom,”

explains Mick. “It’s my way of saying that it won’t last forever, that

the clouds will eventually clear.”

Euclid is more of a slow build which ruminates on the

tempestuous political climate of today, which Mick confronts

through his lyrics. “It’s a mix, of my job, my private life, what I see

and feel around me.” Making a triangle shape with his fingers in

time with the melody, he explains the meaning behind Euclid’s

lyrics: “‘What’s the shape to be?/The future’s shaping me’ That

reads to me as: there’s a war over there, a physical war; there’s a

war over here, a political war; and there’s a war within yourself.

And that I see as a kind of psychogeographical climate of emotion

inside you, but affected by everything. It’s all a bit grim.”

The accompanying films for each of the singles encapsulate

these feelings with unnerving precision. Jonny made both of

them himself, which was a decision made more out of financial

necessity than by design. It did, however, enable him to hit

straight to the core of creeping unease that sits at the heart of

both songs. “When I was doing them, I wasn’t really choosing

what to put in there. We instinctively know the aesthetic that we

want, which can often be hard to put in to words to explain to

someone else.”

All roads are currently leading towards an album, which the

band hope to have out before the end of the year. “Capturing

what’s in our heads on tape, so to speak, in a digital age, is

something we’re really keen on getting right,” Jonny tells me. “It’s

a more cerebral process, and ultimately more satisfying, in the

studio.”

Mick, who takes the lead on production duties that they try

and keep in-house, agrees with this sentiment. “We’ve decided

that we’re gonna carry on exactly like this until we get the best

12


album out of it, present it as it is, then go ‘BANG!’ and do a

complete left turn. I suppose in that way we’re Bowie’s children.

The guitar’s gonna get fucked off…!”

“It feels like, when we get the album out, that’s almost like the

end of something rather than the start of something,” Jonny adds.

“It’d be more of a finale of what we’ve been doing over the past

three years. Partly because 50% of the songs we write get left to

one side because they don’t fit into the nucleus of what we are at

that time – but they might be in the future, in some shape or form.”

Does that, I wonder, make it harder to write and work within

such narrow guidelines? Especially when you’re trying to please

six members equally.

“No,” is the emphatic response from both, to which Mick adds:

“You’ve got to have a destination.”

“Everything gets written fully and we finish it, and it’s only

at the end that we decide if it stays or not,” Jonny clarifies, before

Mick sums it up neatly. “Live, once something takes shape, you

start to understand what the sound is. You do start to define

yourself. I don’t mind that now – because things have a uniform,

have a way of talking. So, people might notice it and think, ‘Oh,

I get that.’ But it doesn’t mean that it’s got to stay the same

forever.”

Which way Rongorongo will lean after they complete this part

of their journey is anyone’s guess – but there’s a long way to go

before we even have to consider that. Right now. they’re on the

crest of a wave, fine-tuning the setup they currently have. They’ve

never sounded better live than they have in the past couple of

months – even if it looks like they’re not enjoying it. Things are

moving so quickly for Rongorongo that I wouldn’t be surprised

if their album came out in the second half of 2018 in a flurry of

activity, sweeping everything in their path.

“To me, it’s all pop music – I’m a massive believer of that,”

says Mick as we near the four-hour mark in our rambling chat. “It’s

moved on so much now that [there] are loads of micro-genres that

define themselves, but I just think it’s all pop music. Like, Public

Enemy and NWA were rock bands as far as I was concerned, they

sampled it all: soul, rock, disco.” Both Mick and Jonny are students

of music, which is probably why our conversation runs off on so

many tangents – from Lana Del Rey’s dismal chart performance

to Slade to Smashing Pumpkins. My main take home from the

chat – aside from Mick exhorting me to put my laziness aside

and learn to play the guitar (“Just do it – writing songs isn’t that

hard!”) – comes back to something Mick said earlier: that music is

just escapism. We all need it, even if we do it through the prism

of the very thing that causes us disquiet in the first place. Perhaps

inevitably, the spectre of a Third World War is never far from our

discussion, but I’m sure it’s with a huge amount of tongue in cheek

that Mick leans in close to my recording device and leaves his

parting shot.

“Never think you’re at your worst because your worst is yet to

come…!” !

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uk

rongorongoband.co.uk

Singles Black Rain and Euclid are out now via War Room Records.

“Sometimes it

seems like the

inner world is

wearing thin,

the outer world

is caving in”

FEATURE

13


Shame @ The Magnet

“How central is live

music to the British

psyche? Are we,

as a nation, giggoing

people?”

WHERE IS THE UK’s

LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL?

Songkick and Expedia’s latest research throws up some fascinating trends about live music across the

world. Craig G Pennington chisels away at the data compiled for 2017 to see if we can draw any lessons

from the statistics.

So, it’s official. Worth Matravers – a sleepy Dorset village

which encompasses little more than a collection of

converted farm buildings huddled around a picturesque

lake – is the capital of UK music. Yes, you heard it here

first. With a stonking 36.1 gigs per thousand of the population,

this little-known nook sits atop a recent global survey conducted

by Expedia UK and Songkick, which seeks to find the world’s live

music capital. Liverpool, by comparison, scored a paltry 2.67 gigs

per thousand.

Now, before you pack your bags and flock en masse to this

new live mecca it is worth bearing in mind that, at the last census,

Worth Matravers sported a population of 638. Upon closer

inspection it seems the village’s chart-topping position is essentially

down to the folkie scene based around the village’s Square And

Compass pub, at which Sarah McQuaid and Lindsay Lou tread

the boards this month. A high number of shows in a place where

nobody lives does great guns for the ‘gigs per thousand’ stat. Of

equal interest to Bido Lito! is the pub’s annual week-long stone

carving festival and in-house fossil museum. Sign us up.

Statistical quirks aside, Expedia’s research draws from a huge

Songkick dataset – 370,000 concerts worldwide – and paints

an interesting picture of global live music trends. Clearly such

data comes with its limitations: principally, not all live events are

listed by Songkick, especially outside major western cities – for

example, the data would lead us to believe that only 419 live

concerts happened in Rio de Janeiro in 2017; and certain genres

are underrepresented on Songkick as a platform. But, as a broad

stroke, the project provides some valuable insight.

At the top of the pile, with 11,923 live performances, London

is positioned as the global live music capital. New York and Los

Angeles arrive in second and third place with 11,089 and 11,079

respectively. Given that in 2016 London sat in third place behind

LA and NY, this is an interesting flip. Perhaps this can be read as

the early green shoots of progress following London’s Live Music

Rescue Plan, the establishment of the London Music Board and

the city’s overarching re-prioritising of music.

The UK leads the way in Europe in terms of the total number

of live gigs; 46,176 in comparison to Germany’s 34,932 and

France with 15,926. But this only tells part of the story. We often

talk about the UK’s unique relationship with music and the huge

contribution music makes to our national economy, particularly

when it comes to export. But, how central is live music to the

British psyche? Are we, as a nation, gig-going people?

The data in relation to total gigs presents an argument that

this could be so. Following London, Paris (5,737) and Berlin

(4,679) are unsurprisingly the leading hotspots. These are

followed by Hamburg (2,546), Manchester (2,258) and Glasgow

(2,070). Three other UK cities are featured in the top 15; Brighton

(1,785), Bristol (1,686) and Leeds (1,626).

Liverpool, however, is nowhere close. With 1,293 concerts

in 2017 we sit below London, Manchester, Glasgow, Brighton,

Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham and Edinburgh in terms of total live

gigs. Having said that, Liverpool is a much smaller city than many

Total number of gigs

12000

10000

8000

6000

4000

2000

0

London

Manchester

Glasgow

Brighton

Bristol

Leeds

Birmingham

Edinburgh

Liverpool

Sheffield

Newcastle

Nottingham

Cardiff

Reading

of these, so this trend isn’t too surprising. So, what picture do the

figures paint in relation to number of gigs per thousand of the

population?

Places such as the aforementioned Worth Matravers – with

active music venues in tiny communities – ensure the need for

some common-sense sifting of the data, but places such as

Kinross (13.3 gigs per thousand), Canterbury (6.06), Norwich

(4.19) and St. Ives (4.19) show well, as smaller towns with

vibrant live scenes. Manchester, given its large population, still

scores highly with 4.17 gigs per thousand of the population,

evidence of the buoyant and healthy live scene we’re all

familiar with. Newcastle (3.96), Oxford (3.75), Glasgow (3.37),

Nottingham (2.92) and Exeter (3.57) all emerge ahead of

Liverpool’s 2.67 live gigs per thousand people in 2017 (neckand-neck

with Cheltenham).

Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff and Birmingham all fall in below

Liverpool by the measure, which is surprising, especially in

relation to Leeds with its large live music community. The fact

that London languishes with a statistic of 1.22 gigs per thousand

says more about its over-population than anything else.

Beyond casual analysis, what does this all mean? Clearly

the fact that the research is purely based on Songkick data has

its limitations if you’re expecting to distill a complete picture.

Yet, any metrics for accurately measuring live music are pretty

much universally compromised. Using PRS data is an established

technique – all venues should be PRS registered and report back

all performances within their venue to ensure artist royalties

are calculated correctly – though, when you move below the

established touring venues and into the DIY space, this is in

reality rarely the case.

Taking the data at face value, I would offer two readings of

the findings in relation to Liverpool:

1) Maybe, Liverpool doesn’t love live music as much as we tell

the world we do? When you profess to be the UK’s Capital of

Music, yet you’re comparable to Cheltenham when it comes

to the concentration of live shows in the city, perhaps the

whole idea is fundamentally flawed?

2) Or, given the perilous state of live music in the city, the

stream of venue closures in recent years, the lack of sector

support and the absence of any kind of strategy, these

figures are symptomatic of the slow strangulation of the city’s

live music culture (as highlighted by our Liverpool, Music

City report, published at the end of 2017 with LJMU). The

fact Liverpool plays host to more gigs per thousand of the

population than cities such as Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff and

Birmingham shows a fighting, vibrant music spirit, in spite of

the pressures and challenges.

Personally, I subscribe to the latter reading.

Returning to the Songkick data in relation to European cities

with the busiest live calendars, Hamburg comes in fourth behind

London, Paris and Berlin. It has a population roughly the same as

the Liverpool City Region. We don’t need to re-dredge the shared

musical and social histories between the two cities, but, they

offer a fascinating insight. Hamburg has managed to combine

its unique history and tourist offer with a structured support of

new music across a broad range of genres which has resulted

in the live music metropolis we see today; a live gig calendar

boasting double the number of concerts per annum compared to

Liverpool’s.

That is the opportunity.

That being said, perhaps it would be better all-round to just

douse ourselves in wholesome folk and search for Dracoraptor

fossils while whittling glum-looking liver birds at Worth

Matravers’ stone-carving festival. My chisel is at the ready. !

Words: Craig G Pennington

Photography: Michael Kirkham / michaelkirkhamphotography.co.uk

Read the full report at expedia.co.uk – or head to bidolito.co.uk

and look through the findings to compare statistics from over

4,000 locations.

14


16

MEHMET


You’ll be more familiar with the sound of MEHMET’s voice than you expect, even if you don’t

recognise the name; for the past three years he has been performing from his regular spot on Bold

Street, teasing heartfelt songs out of his guitar, accompanied by rich, baleful laments. His repertoire

of Balkan folk and Macedonian standards and warm, mischievous smile have become part of the

fabric of Bold Street, marking him as one of the city’s cast of colourful characters. Despite the fact that very

few of us can understand what the Bulgarian troubadour is singing about, there is still something about his

music and singing that speaks to us on a fundamental level.

Yet, the fact that Mehmet is a regular fixture is somewhat troubling itself: how many of us have passed

by while he’s been performing, smiled and nodded, but not stopped to think about him. Why is he out there

performing in the cold? Does he have any other source of income? Does he have somewhere safe and warm

to go back to when he packs his guitar away? I’ll admit that I’d not thought about any of this until recently,

when Mehmet’s predicament was brought to our attention by one of his friends.

He’d got behind on the rent on his flat in the weeks running up to Christmas and was facing eviction, as

well as having some dental problems. Fortunately, one of his friends (record producer Joe Wills) was so taken

by the timbre of his voice that he recorded some demos of Mehmet performing in his home studio. The music

was uploaded to Bandcamp and the message was sent out, with a show at Bold Street Coffee arranged at

short notice. Within a week, hundreds of people had downloaded the music, raising enough money to enable

Mehmet to catch up on his rent arrears and get back on an even keel. The songs he’s recorded have now

been pressed to CD, which will enable him to keep up a more consistent stream of income from his street

performing. Mehmet has complete agency over the money earned from sales, and with it he’s been able to pay

for some dental work, send money home to his family, and earn back a bit of family pride. He’s also planning

on making a short trip back to Bulgaria soon to visit his pregnant granddaughter and the newest member of

his family.

The songs that captured the attention of Wills – and that so often soundtrack our walks down Bold Street

– are rich and vibrant, hinting at a depth of emotion that we can only guess at. But I was fed up of guessing

– I wanted to know exactly what Mehmet was conveying when singing these songs. So, I sat down with this

warm, likeable character with a voice like treacle, to listen to his story in his own words.

Are the songs you sing traditional songs or your own work?

Traditional songs from Bulgaria – old hits, Macedonian songs – this is my repertoire. It’s Bulgarian folk music. I

don’t have my own songs.

What do you like singing about?

These songs are about love, separation… songs about life. For example, in the song Побелях и остарявам

(I’m Turning Grey And Getting Older), the singer remembers separating from his wife or lover, and so then:

‘I’m turning grey and getting older, but I hold you in my heart’. There are no jokey songs. They are all romantic

songs.

I’ve been singing these songs ever since I was a kid. When I was in the fourth or fifth grade, it was the

summer holiday, and there was a competition for young performers. Our school principal sent for me, she

knew that I [could] sing and play very well. And then for the first time I got an

award, first place, [winning] a vinyl record by Lili Ivanova.

I’ve been playing since I was 13 or 14 years old. It was actually my mother’s

“I have many friends

here who have

helped me so I can

be a musician, and

not a homeless guy”

‘fault’ that I became a musician. She bought me a guitar for my birthday. People

were having parties in the districts at that time, and I was visiting them so I can

learn from the musicians. I was watching and listening to them playing, then I

went back home and tried to copy them.

And little by little, I learnt to play. After serving in the army, I started playing in

establishments. While I was serving in the army, I was in the orchestra of my

division. After I left the army I worked in the shipyard. In the evening I would go

and play. I was very happy.

Tell me about your life back home, before you came to England.

Up until 1984, my name was Mehmet. In 1984, after the renaming process

began, I had to change my name to Miroslav. During Communism I was working

two jobs: during the day I was a founder in a shipyard and during the night I

worked as a musician. I was very satisfied back then but after democracy came,

I had no job, no nothing. Under Communism, I was doing very well. My family wasn’t deprived of anything.

I am a widow for seven years now. My wife was a very pleasant woman. We lived together for 25 years but

she got cancer. I had a flat which I sold, but I couldn’t help her. Even if you have millions, cancer is unforgiving.

Now that I am in England, I’ve been looking for a job for two-three years, but when they see me, an old man…

they need young people and I can’t find a job. I am forced to play on the street to make enough money to pay

for my accommodation, because I am 60 years old. I have never slept on the street and don’t plan to.

In your experience, do people in Bulgaria show more respect to musicians than people in England?

Not for street musicians. There was great respect for me when I played in Varna. From colleagues, from the

director of ОД Музика [OD Music]… I don’t know, maybe it was my voice. With my friends from the ensemble

in Varna, we played together in restaurants, we played together in a band at weddings. They have all

graduated from a conservatoire, I’m the only one without music education.

I played in restaurants for 25 years. There was a time when I played in this inn, there were so many people

that you had to wait for a table to free up. One day, the manager of the inn came and said to me, ‘Do you know

how many years I’ve been here? I’ve never had such high turnover.’ I played there for four years. So that’s why

he wouldn’t let me go anywhere else. But eventually we moved to another place, by the coastline, and all the

people came with us too!

Mehmet’s distinctive voice

has become a beloved feature

of the city, but his background

in performing in his native

Bulgaria is more suited to

prestigious surroundings than

busking on the street. Christopher

Torpey traces the story of The

Bard Of Bold Street.

Do you enjoy playing on Bold Street?

Look, this is the first time I’m playing on the street. I first came here in 2015, my son was already here with his

family. I was in the city centre and I saw musicians playing and earning money. I didn’t have a job, I couldn’t

help my son who has five children, so I said to him, ‘Why not get me a guitar? Seriously, get me a guitar so

I can earn something… as if I’m going to rely on you to get me a pack of cigarettes each day.’ We went and

bought a guitar for £25. However, that first guitar broke. On the upper side of Bold Street, where I play, a boy

saw that my guitar was broken and brought me another one. I’ve been playing with it since then.

It’s through [my friends in England] that I have achieved a lot, I can now help my children in Bulgaria. Before

I was only earning enough for myself, £10-15 a day, whereas now I can set aside some money to help my

daughter. She is alone with three children so she’s pleased. I am also helping my other son.

I am waiting now to become a great-grandfather. On 22nd of February my granddaughter is due to give birth.

I plan to go to Bulgaria to see my great-granddaughter. I have a return ticket thanks to my friends. Then I will

then return to Liverpool.

I have many friends here who have helped me so I can be a musician, and not a homeless guy. I am very

satisfied and thankful to them. Those friends who have helped me, I cannot forget them. I am very happy and

simply want to thank all the people who have helped me. !

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Photography: Amin Musa / aminmusa.co.uk

mehmet1.bandcamp.com

You can buy Mehmet’s music digitally on Bandcamp, or purchase a CD from him when he performs on Bold

Street.

Special thanks to Yoanna Karcheva for translating the interview, and to all of Mehmet’s friends who made this

possible.

FEATURE

17


“Arts engagement

should not just

be for those who

have the means

and time to reach

the city centre”

ARTS CENTRAL

In her continuing focus on the ways arts centres interact with our communities, Julia

Johnson looks across the Mersey to the WILLIAMSON ART GALLERY, whose work with

Birkenhead-based artist STEVE DES LANDES is indicative of positive local engagement.

It’s a few weeks before the opening of STEVE DES LANDES’

first solo exhibition in his adopted home town, and he’s

anxious. Having worked as an artist since the 1980s, des

Landes is one of the most significant artists painting in

the North West at the moment, but unknown to so many. It’s

perhaps not so unusual then that he questions his place in the

contemporary art world: “Why would someone be interested in

me?” he asks, half-jokingly. Over a cup of coffee and a wideranging

conversation in his studio, though, it’s a question which is

more than fairly answered.

Painting may be a traditional medium, but that doesn’t mean

it can’t be used for contemporary expression, and des Landes

is not an artist whose work has become comfortable over time.

If anything, experience has made him more determined to work

without compromise. “It doesn’t get technically easier to paint. But

it’s that struggle that keeps me alive. I paint pictures because I have

to: there’s this force that makes me carry on.” Our conversation

is peppered with references to his past experiences with the art

market’s preferences – and his refusal to change his vision to

meet its trends. It’s this desire to work away from these external

pressures that has kept des Landes from exhibiting for so long. And

as the art world continues its search for artists with an authentic

voice, rather than simply with the most fashionable means of

expression, des Landes has plenty of reason for optimism.

His exhibition is not taking place in Liverpool city centre, but

on the opposite shore of the Mersey, at the WILLIAMSON ART

GALLERY AND MUSEUM. Built in 1928 in what was the centre of

Birkenhead, its mission to be a welcoming space for all is literally

part of its architecture; single-storey, red-brick, familiar and

approachable rather than intimidating. After all, arts engagement

should not just be for those who have the means and time to

reach the city centre. Offering classes in skills from drawing to

silversmithing for all ages and abilities, Principal Museums Officer

Colin Simpson is proud of the Williamson’s support for “the best

of what’s happening in our community – both historically and

currently.” This is important: it makes creative activity something

which doesn’t just happen ‘somewhere else’, but something we

all have access to. The ethos of accessibility the building was

designed for extends into the exhibition spaces, where projects

like Joseph Venning’s Transformation Station give visitors the

opportunity to make comments which have a have a genuine

impact on the gallery’s exhibitions.

One of the region’s hidden gems, the Williamson is an

inviting gallery and museum space with plenty of heritage. Set up

and funded by shipping magnates-turned-philanthropists John

and Patrick Williamson (father and son), the centre houses the

largest public collection of Della Robbia pottery (locally produced

Art Deco ceramics that became the toast of the world at the turn

of the 20th Century) in the UK, and an extensive collection of

work by landscape painter Wilson Steer. Its 14 gallery spaces

mean it can host a variety of permanent collections alongside

touring exhibitions and workshops for a range of community

groups. Nestled in between Birkenhead town centre and the

picturesque village of Oxton, the elegant building is within easy

reach of thousands of day-trippers and residents – it is also the

perfect entry point for hundreds of local school students, many

of whom get their first taste of gallery life via the Williamson’s

renowned education outreach programme.

For his part, des Landes is delighted to be working with

the Williamson for his first exhibition in the town he now calls

home. He approves of their commitment to bringing art into its

community, away from what he refers to as the “bullshit glitz”

of the art market he’s experienced in the past. But he’s also

delighted to have the space to “let the work speak for itself.” The

gallery’s design means that they can – and frequently do – offer

more wall space to mid-career artists and community arts groups

than any other gallery in the North West. This is ideal for des

Landes, who is extremely interested in having a dialogue with his

audience about what his works actually mean. On first glance,

you might think that the figures and landscapes which occupy his

brilliantly executed canvases have a lesson to impart. But upon

closer inspection, it’s not possible to define exactly what this may

be. On the walls of the Williamson’s gallery space, the figures

look dream-like, searching for a meaning – a meaning for the

viewer to bestow. Des Landes’ own hopes for the longevity of his

show depend on the audience’s interaction with it.

“I’d like them to give me an interpretation. I need them to

understand what it is I’m doing!” Creating his works from what

he calls “an unconscious pull”, it’s always positive to talk to an

artist who is more invested in his audience’s interpretation of the

work than attachment to a particular intention.

Des Landes may surprise himself with “what ideas [he]

pulls out” artistically, but he is anything but unfocused. As our

conversation continues, it becomes clear that he is extremely

engaged with the social issues of the day. He’s seen the Liverpool

creative spaces he’s worked in from the 1980s eroded, pushed

further to the margins for the sake of gentrification, and he

worries about what it means for the creative future of the city.

He worries about “generation rent”, is a fan of Jeremy Corbyn.

It’s a conversation which puts to bed any questions about

his relevance to a contemporary audience. He might not be

addressing these issues explicitly in his works, but he is working

with an attitude of contemporary feeling and engagement with

issues relevant to his local community. It’s this willingness to

engage, this desire for his audience to feel empowered, that

makes his partnership with the Williamson so ideal, and that will

be the success of this show. !

Words: Julia Johnson / messylines.com

Photography: Lisa Waldman and Dave Dunlop

williamsonartgallery.org

Un-settled, Steve des Landes’ first solo exhibition in Wirral,

is showing now at Williamson Art Gallery, running until 4th

March.

18


DISCOVER

THE

OF

BRITISH

ROCK&POP

CUNARD BUILDING, LIVERPOOL • BRITISHMUSICEXPERIENCE.COM


“The bands

loved the venue

as did the

thousands who

came through

the door”

CLUB CORINTO

The home of the very first Africa Oyé was demolished earlier this year – Jake Roney tells the

story of Hardman House’s origins as a world music hub with radical allegiances.

Over the past few months we’ve been looking at the city’s current

state as a home and breeding ground for creativity. Those of us

with a vested interest in music and its development want to see

musicians and artists protected and valued, and given the tools

to progress their careers. We also want to see the flourishing of

spaces where people can come together and talk, dance, socialise

and enjoy the things they hold dear. One of the key things needed

for this is space: as we noted in last month’s issue, a number

of live music venues and clubs have faced difficulties operating

within the current creative and commercial infrastructure of

the city. But with an increased awareness of these issues at a

local level, and the Agent Of Change Bill being supported in

government, it shows that progress is being made. Cities need

noisy people, and those people need space to be noisy.

Venues, clubs, studios, workshops and bars where people are

free to gather, think and create are the kind of places where the

seeds of movements, large and small, can germinate. They offer

freedom to explore ideas, and can bring a sense of togetherness.

Occasionally you lose track of just how powerful this idea is,

but only if you forget to look. All around us there are buildings

that have been many things to many people, each with different

stories to tell. One such building is Hardman House, which has

recently been reduced to a pile of rubble. Its remarkable story

reveals that it played a vital role in Liverpool music’s recent

history – and gives us some insight into the kind of things we

need to bear in mind as we go about building the city’s future.

We can learn a lot from the hole it leaves behind.

Halfway up Hardman Street there is now a jagged gap

where Hardman House once stood. Closed and derelict

for years, the building was built around the former St.

Philip’s Church in 1882. After World War II it became

Atlantic House, a social centre for sailors from around the world;

but for music lovers, Hardman House is significant because it was

the home of Club Corinto and the nascent Africa Oyé.

Entered through a set of double doors covered by a rather

flash canopy there was a standard bar setup on the ground floor,

and some rather tatty ‘hotel’ rooms on the top floor – I guess

the sailors needed somewhere to sleep it off. It was the middle

floor, accessed through a central staircase, that made Hardman

House special – think The Conti/Kazimier, only more so. With a

capacity in the region of 300 (records showed 436 tickets on one

occasion), the venue had a huge, sprung dancefloor, overlooked

by a large comfortable bar area at the back and a full stage –

proscenium arch intact – with a DJ area in one wing and a band

room leading off the other.

From 1988 to 1996 this was the home to the monthly Club

Corinto. It is perhaps a little hard to imagine in these Brexit/

Trump-dominated times, but in the 80s Liverpool was home to

a number of radical initiatives and Club Corinto grew out of this.

Liverpool had been twinned with the Nicaraguan Pacific coast

port of Corinto, and leftwing activists in the city had formed a

Merseyside branch of Nicaragua Must Survive in support of the

Sandinista rebellion against the Somoza dictatorship. The club

was started in order to fundraise for Merseysiders who wanted

to head to Nicaragua to work on projects within the community

of Corinto: in fact, Club Corinto’s first DJ, Pete Hudson, the guy

who started the Latin/African/soul format of the club, soon

disappeared to Nicaragua never to return! This was the period

in which ‘world music’ was to make its mark, and the DJs – who

included Paul Harnett, Kenny Murray, Jim Mathias (a Northern

Soul student more into Quadrant Park rave than Womad) and

myself – played a mix of salsa, Latin jazz, boogaloo and, above

all, Zairean soukous to a mixed audience of lefties, trendies and

students, with a 2am curfew – oh, what fun we had!

Building on the success of Club Corinto and the growth of

interest in world music, club nights became interspersed with

live shows (at that time it was still easy for African bands and

other artists from outside of Europe to get entry visas to the UK),

with the mighty Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited

(Zimbabwe) the very first. They were soon followed by Orchestra

Virunga (Kenya/Zaire) and Sierra Maestra (Cuba) – these were

all world class acts; Juan de Marcos Gonzalez of Sierra Maestra

went on to become the musical director of Buena Vista Social

Club. Africa Oyé emerged out of these great live shows, and in

1992 the first Africa Oyé Festival kicked off with Kenyan band

Simba Wanyika onstage at Hardman House. They arrived after

midnight after their flight from Nairobi had been delayed: a

sprint from Manchester airport, a bottle of rum, and a storming

set followed. Many, many great bands followed over the years:

Oumou Sangaré from Mali and Zairean supergroup Soukous

Stars stand out. The bands loved the venue, as did the thousands

who came through the doors – for many, that fabulous dancefloor

has never been bettered. But, all good things come to an end and

when the building was sold in 1996, Club Corinto embarked on

a wandering existence first to the Irish Centre (now derelict) and

then The Flying Picket (long gone), before finally calling it a day

in 1998.

I guess every generation of clubbers and music lovers have

their special moment: the coming together of the overtly political

Club Corinto with the explosion of interest in world music – and

then Africa Oyé – in the brilliant setting of Hardman House was

one of those. Thanks to all the fabulous people who put so much

into making it such a joyous experience. !

Words: Jake Roney

Photography: Paul McCoy / photomccoy.tumblr.com

Simba Wanyika

20


22


NADINE

SHAH

The artist behind one of 2017’s most compelling albums and Independent Venue Week

ambassador expresses her desire for a more inclusive movement in the music industry.

NADINE SHAH has never been one to shy away from

difficult conversations. The daughter of immigrants

– a part-Norwegian mother and Pakistani father –

she was born in Whitburn, South Tyneside and is a

long-time spokesperson for mental health awareness. Her first

album was written around the time that two close friends took

their own lives, and she plunged herself into confronting the

stigmas around depression and anxiety as a way of working

through her feelings. After the Brexit vote and subsequent

societal upheavals, Shah found herself in a similar position

when confronting conversations around immigration. So, she

channelled those thoughts – and often the anger they provoked

– into her third album, Holiday Destination. Shah’s gothic vocals

are more understated on Holiday Destination than on previous

releases, but lose none of their substantial power in facing up to

the serious subject matter.

Ahead of Shah’s upcoming Liverpool show, Cath Bore caught

up with her over the phone to delve further into the background

behind the record. The interview took place the day after Oprah

Winfrey became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B.

DeMille Award at The Golden Globes, which makes for a pretty

obvious pace to start…

I read your tweets about how inspired you were by Oprah

Winfrey’s speech about #MeToo, privilege, and the rights of a

free press…

It was bloody beautiful. With a lot of these awards shows

everybody makes a speech and it becomes a bit ‘Oh well...,’ but

hers, fucking hell! It was heartfelt and honest. It was lush. She

was inspired by her mother, who inspired her, and goes on to

pass on the baton to inspire younger women. That was the crux

of it and it was beautiful have her stand there and say, ‘Enough’s

enough.’ Very cool. You know, sometimes it feels like T-shirt

politics? But, for me, [this] feels real. And there’s massive change

happening.

What movement do you want to see in the music industry?

More diversity, and not just a gender issue... We have to make

more of an effort to encourage those from ethnic backgrounds

and minorities. ‘If you can see it, you can be it’, sounds like such

a cheesy slogan, but there are young South Asian girls that get

in touch with me because my profile’s getting a little bit bigger

and they’re like, ‘Oh wow, there’s a South Asian girl that makes

music.’ I think we need to nurture people from all different

backgrounds.

You’re seen as more of a political musician because of Holiday

Destination, the theme of immigration showing itself so

strongly.

People were saying, ‘Ah, you’re a political musician now,’ but

my first album [2013’s Love Your Dum And Mad] was a reaction

towards those suffering with mental illness. I viewed that as a

political album because people with mental illnesses needed to

be taken seriously, to help dispel the stigma. So, I’ve always been

ranting about something.

You’re a northern woman. It’s what we do.

[Laughs] I’m always complaining about something! It didn’t

feel to me that I was doing anything different [with Holiday

Destination], but as soon as you do something overtly political

it does so many things. I was nervous about being perceived as

being opportunistic, really nervous about dividing an audience,

nervous about social media response, people trolling you, but the

reaction’s been lush. Heart warming... it’s been really inspiring.

Why did you concentrate on the theme of immigration for the

record?

Because ‘immigrant’ all of a sudden became a dirty word. There

was a noticeable rise in nationalism, globally, and a decline in

“We have to make

more of an effort

to encourage

those from ethnic

backgrounds

and minorities”

empathy. When did people stop caring about other people? I

don’t understand it, so I wanted to write about it more. I don’t

want to point the finger and say, ‘You’re wrong, racist, you’re this,’

because that’s not going to get us anywhere. I wanted to open up

a dialogue and immigration has been such a hot topic, especially

in the past couple of years, and it divides people. I genuinely don’t

think the majority of people who voted to leave the EU are racist

– [but] they get branded as it. There have been a lot of people

who’ve been manipulated, the most vulnerable people in society

have been targeted, told immigration is a problem, [but] it’s

definitely not the biggest problem that we have!

Fingers were pointed, especially towards the North of

England, and all these people who consider themselves very

liberal, leftwing and very well educated, were coming out and

saying, ‘They’re racist’. That’s not an informed thing to say. It’s

callous and it’s not opening a dialogue. There was no trying to

understand why people voted to leave: was it a protest vote, or

because this isn’t working and this isn’t working? Is it because

they’ve been manipulated? No one was speaking about that. It

was frustrating.

You went to live in London aged 16 with the intent of

becoming a jazz singer, and ended up a very opinionated

songwriter instead. What happened, Nadine?

I got bored of that quite quickly, because it meant singing other

people’s songs and there wasn’t a very young audience. I was

hanging out with people three times my age. And they were

great, but I wanted to make angry music, as an angry teenager. It

was difficult finding a producer for the first album. I met so many

producers and all of them wanted to do the same thing: ‘OK, we’ll

put strings on this bit and put your vocal really loud in the mix,’

and I think if I’d taken that route I’d have ended up, kind of… I

mean, I love Adele, I’m not slagging her off – but I’d have made a

safe album. I’d probably be more successful!

You’d be rich.

I wouldn’t be living in Tottenham! [But] I didn’t want to make

commercial music and fame wasn’t a thing that attracted me. I

wanted to make something more challenging.

As an ambassador for Independent Venue Week 2018 and

vocal supporter of the Agent Of Change bill, it’s obvious

grassroots music and venues are important to you.

Independent music venues are the backbone of the music industry,

it’s where we nourish and grow potential talent. If you go through

any archive of the greats, David Bowie or somebody, and look

back at these tiny venues they played in… look at the 100 Club

and the number of amazing artists that’s hosted. They really are in

jeopardy. If we don’t take care of them it’ll be a sad thing.

Last year you composed music for theatre, a production of Get

Carter. Is this a new direction for Nadine Shah?

It’s a completely new discipline to work to but it’s something I’m

going to be doing more of this year and next year, working in

theatre. My artist name is my real name but with that there are

a few challenges. I can’t veer too far off the path in terms of the

work I do because it’s almost like a brand. But there’s a bit of

freedom when your name’s not the focal point on something, to

be more experimental.

I’ve been listening to your radio show on London’s Soho Radio.

You play a very eclectic mix of music. I know every radio

presenter claims that, but you really do...

I’m watching more live music for it than I ever have, [I’m out]

about three nights a week. And I’m getting sent new music all

the time, and I’m having to listen to older music as well. It’s good

for my trade. I treat my music like a proper job. It’s enhancing my

knowledge. It’s given me a kick up the arse.

It’s good for girls and younger women to see female

broadcasters talking knowledgably about music.

And having women play other women as well. I did a talk with

Shirley Manson in Germany a few months ago and we were

talking about women in music and one thing I’ve noticed is that

I wasn’t getting a lot of support from other female artists. I was

getting offered tour supports from male-fronted bands and I was

wondering why that was. I don’t actually blame the women, I

think we have been conditioned to think that it’s a competition

and there’s only room for one woman. Female solo artists, oddly,

have become a genre. It’s not a frickin’ genre! It’s been great

having the radio show and being able to showcase amazing

female talent – pretty humbling, actually – and I’ve had a great

reaction from loads of young women sending me demos and

stuff.

Your performance onstage has changed quite a lot over the last

year, in part because you’re no longer playing instruments live.

It’s freed me up to perform properly. I think I’m doing my job

better now, I’m not restricted by having to play piano. It’s a more

visceral performance, especially with the nature of the new

album; a lot more energetic, and I think my fans got a bit of a

shock with this album performed live. Before I was quite static

and giving a sombre, intense performance. It’s still as intense, but

there’s a lovely energy; I come off stage knackered every night

now, it’s like I’ve been to the gym.

You earn your fee!

Well, it feels like it now! It’s the only tour where I’ve lost weight.

I’m like, ‘Why? I’ve been drinking loads, eating crap…! I’m so

passionate about the subject of this album that it feels like giving

any less than 100% live to an audience would be a massive

injustice.

What are your plans for 2018?

I’m learning to play lots of instruments. My house is getting

cluttered, my house mate hates it. Every day she comes in and

says, ‘What’s that? Is that an accordion?’ And I’m, ‘No…’ My friend

bought me back this instrument from India. It’s a little electronic

box, like a weird modulator, and it makes these wild synth sounds

so piercingly loud. It only does two volumes, one quiet and one

very loud… so, obviously, it’s very loud all the time.

I want to have my next album out by next year, too, so I’m going

to focus on writing. And I’ll be working with some younger artists

in the North East, but it’ll be very much behind the scenes. It

won’t be on Twitter and there won’t be news articles about it. So,

this year I’m going to be a little bit quieter. A little bit…!

Words: Cath Bore / @cathbore

nadineshah.co.uk

Nadine Shah plays Leaf on 1st February. Holiday Destination is

out now via 1965 Records.

FEATURE

23


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Danny Fitzgerald takes

us on a detour to the

outskirts of Athens to

feel the vibrations with

the woozy musician and

visual artist MONTERO.

“I’m possibly

just trying to

live in a world

that doesn’t

exist anymore”

“It was my first time doing anything like this. I was just

trying hard to concentrate on doing a good job and not

screwing up.” Ben MONTERO is recuperating after a

lengthy European tour with cult Canadian indie-rocker

Mac DeMarco, an expedition which included 11 dates in the

UK and Ireland, with four shows in London alone. He gratefully

explains from his home in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of

Athens that it was “an amazing opportunity to play shows like

this in front of so many people. I would drink a lot to overcome

nerves beforehand, then just be totally exhausted afterward

and want to crawl into bed.” The expat Australian musician and

visual artist has recently settled in Greece after leaving his native

Melbourne and “living out of a suitcase for a few years.”

A short walk from the hustle-and-bustle of tourism hotspots

that dominate the centre of the sprawling capital, the shady

streets and sun-beaten squares of Exarcheia have long been

associated with politics – inextricably bound to a history of

socialism, anarchism, and anti-fascism, from its days as a stage

for anti-junta unrest in the 1970s to more recent anti-government

protests. It is also a haven for intellectuals and artists, whose

high-rise post-war apartment blocks sit above countless

bookshops, organic food stores, coffee bars and restaurants. “It

just felt right to me. I like the buildings, the food, and the pace.

Though sometimes I feel like I can’t live up to all that sun.”

It seems the perfect, if unlikely, place for Montero to settle –

over the past few years, he has balanced his music career with

the cultivation of a colourful online comic series. Already boasting

over 80,000 followers on Facebook and 50,000 on Instagram,

Montero’s imaginative vignettes follow a cast of anthropomorphic

animal characters in a vibrant world of music, food, fun and

feelings, capturing relatable moments that highlight universal

worries, existential questions, and shared dreams. In one panel,

a bright green frog frets as he sips a cup of coffee: ‘Am I holding

my elbow too high up?’ In another, a small yellow bird laments

his disproportionately large head, complaining that ‘not a hat

in the whole world’ will fit. Elsewhere, a harmonica-playing cat

introduces a shy turtle to blues music – ‘Play it when you sad,’ it

sagely recommends.

Steeped in a nostalgic atmosphere, at once invoking the

hipster cool of counter-culture cartoonist Robert Crumb, the

cutesy innocence of children’s writer Richard Scarry, and the

sardonic wit of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening’s comic

strip Life In Hell, Montero’s artwork has provided album covers,

T-shirt designs and gig posters for a growing international

fanbase which includes lo-fi pop auteur Ariel Pink, indie folk

singer-songwriter Kurt Vile, tourmate Mac DeMarco and more

beyond. The clearly time-consuming ink and watercolour pieces

set Montero apart from many contemporary online comic creators

who choose to work with digital tools. “The whole thing, for me,

is therapeutic,” he explains. “I like the feel of the pen, and I even

like struggling to draw with a dying pen, or the various textural

obstacles of the paper, or the bumps from crumbs underneath

it.” He robustly rejects the notion of switching to digital media.

“I have zero interest really. Firstly; I have no idea how to do

anything digitally; and secondly, digital drawings just do not

connect with me on any level. With hand drawn things, no

matter what the level of skill, it’s always something I want to look

at.” Though he clarifies, “this is just personally what resonates

with me and certainly not a critique of anything digital,” before

conceding, “I’m possibly just trying to live in a world that doesn’t

exist anymore.”

Montero’s musical output has been similarly imbued with a

throwback feel, with his 2013 album The Loving Gaze drawing

frequently on the inspiration of bygone pop balladeers such as

Burt Bacharach and The Carpenters, the California sunshine

sounds of The Beach Boys, The Byrds, and Strawberry Alarm

Clock. He cites current influences as disparate as Alice Coltrane

and George Michael, from Aussie trip hop pioneers The

Avalanches to hairy 70s sex symbol Demis Roussos. “I guess it’s

melodic, round, and loud, with romantic muscle,” Montero muses,

when asked to define his sound. “Anxious soft rock with lots of

primary music radio colours!”

He has been honing this anxious soft rock at Mark Ronson’s

Tileyard studios in London for a new album, Performer, working

with Jay Watson of Australian psychers Pond and Tame Impala

and Grammy-winning engineer Riccardo Damian, whose clients

have included such superstars as Adele and Lady Gaga, as well

as 2017 Mercury Prize winner Sampha and young British jazz

royalty Binker & Moses. “The recording process was a pleasure,”

recalls Montero. “It ran so smoothly because there was just the

three of us, and our brains were tuned in together about what we

wanted to accomplish. Not in a high-brow concept prog way,” he

jokes, “just more fun and colourful. I don’t think I’ll ever want to

work with the whole-band-in-the-studio approach again.”

This focused, methodical approach has paid off on

Performer, which sports confident, concise melodies and a

lush instrumentation that recalls the 70s feel-good flavour of

Supertramp and Steely Dan, with an unapologetic romanticism

reminiscent of Montero’s own visual work. It’s not hard to imagine

his cartoon characters grooving along to the dream-pop hooks

of lead single Vibrations, and indeed they do feature in the

kaleidoscopic animated music videos for Tokin’ The Night Away

and Running Race, riding through the night sky in a floating bath

tub, staring into hypnotic TV static, facing their inner demons in a

spooky claymation forest.

“[It] all just came together pretty naturally,” reflects Montero.

“I have a really great band here.” The success hasn’t gone to his

head; gifted with an influx of fresh fans picked up during the 2017

tour, and an online audience that expands daily, he has not chosen

to rest on his laurels. “There are other shows in the works,” he

promises, and though he can’t deny that his newfound exposure

is tiring (admitting at one point, “I need a holiday”), the multitalented

Montero is already hinting at further exploits in the future.

There is, however, a caveat. “I need to finish the two books

I’m working on first.” !

Words: Danny Fitzgerald

Photography: Maria Damkalidi

bjennymontero.com

Montero plays The Shipping Forecast on 10th February.

Performer is released on 2nd February on Chapter Music.

28


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Laugh Out Loud

Comedy Club

Sat 3 February, 8pm

Grateful Fred’s

Red Tail Ring

Wed 7 February, 7.30pm

Love Folk Festival

Fri 9 – Sat 10 February

Kidsfest 2018

New Date!

Mon 12 – Sat 17 February

Laurence Clark:

Independence

Sat 17 February, 8pm

Phil Wang:

Kinabalu

Wed 28 February, 8pm

Marcus Bonfanti

Fri 2 March, 8pm

Sam Kelly &

The Lost Boys

Sat 10 March, 7.30pm

Moya Brennan

Thu 15 March, 7.30pm

Carl Hutchinson

Fri 16 March, 7.30pm

Sign up to our e-newsletter at theatkinson.co.uk

for more info about the full programme


SPOTLIGHT

EXPLORING BIRDSONG

Step inside and marvel at EXPLORING BIRDSONG’s world of “pianodriven

progressive rock”

“A huge aim

for us has been

to bridge the

gap between

prog and pop”

How did you get into music?

For all of us, our parents were a big influence on the music we

grew up with and listened to. Funnily enough, Matt and Lyns

were both shown Rick Wakeman’s King Arthur as children,

and Pink Floyd’s The Wall along with Jeff Wayne’s War Of The

Worlds still remain as two of Jonny’s favourite albums after being

exposed to them as a kid.

What’s the latest song you have you – and what does it say

about you?

Back in October we put out our first single The Baptism. We

reckon it’s a song that encompasses what we do – weird

arrangements with pretty melodies on top. Though we have

something new to share in early March, which has been

described as our ‘great gig in the sky’…

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?

There are tonnes of bands that we love and take little bits of

inspiration from, but the artists that spring to mind the fastest

would probably be Kate Bush, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and

GoGo Penguin. Lyns takes a lot of influence from Kate Bush and

her use of crazy vocal arrangements, and the keys/bass/drums

format that make up ELP and GoGo is something we stumbled

across when we first started writing, as opposed to set out to

replicate.

What are the overriding external influences on your music?

We have a really keen interest in writing conceptually, and have

had ideas about certain potential songs based on pieces of art.

As mentioned previously, a lot of our music is based on a concept,

and the largest influence on that has been poetry. In particular,

Seamus Heaney’s Bye Child. If you can, definitely check out the

story behind it.

How do you see your career progressing from where you are

now (in an ideal situation)?

Prog and the rest of the world of music seem to be pretty

disconnected, so a huge aim for us from the very start has been

to bridge the gap between prog and pop as best we can. We

might not top the charts any time soon, but we think a lot of

our music – especially melodically – is something a lot of people

would be able to enjoy. On top of that – we’d love to give an

answer slightly less cliché – but to be able to take our music all

over the world to audiences that genuinely love it is the dream.

exploringbirdsong.bandcamp.com

You can read an extended version of this interview at

bidolito.co.uk

30


KING HANNAH

Hannah Merrick is revelling in her band’s development into a growly,

country-tinged rock outfit – and so are we.

“I love trying to

set a scene, so

the listener can

really picture

what’s going on”

How did you get into music?

I’ve always sang since I was a child, like I was a musical and

Disney singer before anything else, lots of singing competitions

and stuff like that. Then I started loving female singers and

songwriters in my teens and loved the idea of being one so

decided to study singing at Uni, which I guess is when I started

getting into it properly. That was like 10 years ago now, so it’s

just been non-stop writing and bands since then.

What’s the latest song you have you – and what does it say

about you?

We’ve nothing out yet! We need to get a wriggle on.

Did you have any particular artists in mind as an influence

when you started out? What about them do you think you’ve

taken into your music?

I used to want to sound like Laura Marling but that’s gone

now. One thing I know I’ve definitely picked up on are lengthy

endings. That’s from growing up listening to 90s stuff. I love a

good 10-11-minuter, especially live! Radiohead and The War

On Drugs do it now, don’t they? As a band, we love all that.

Generally, I don’t know what we’ve picked up and who from

because I’ve noticed the artists most people say we sound like

are artists I don’t know, or don’t realise I know. So then I’ll listen

to those artists people compare us to and think, ‘Ah right, OK,’

and that’s it. It’s nice to hear what I can’t hear, definitely. Largely

though, everyone picks up ideas from the people they listen to

the most don’t they, I think it’s impossible not to. We do that as

a band.

Do you feel a responsibility to respond to current affairs or

contemporary situations through your music?

I don’t want to sound selfish at all, but no I don’t; maybe one day

but not now.

How does where you are from affect your writing (if at all)?

Well I’m from the world’s smallest village in North Wales, though

I never sing about that. I’ve been living on and off in Liverpool

for 11 years, so I reckon there’s stuff about this city in there, the

people I’ve met, deffo.

What are the overriding external influences on your music?

Individually, our music tastes are quite varied, so playing a new

song together for the first time always brings together those

influences. Listening to new music definitely, and writing about

people too, but I guess that’s pretty obvious. I find it’s better

when I don’t think about it, though. I’ve noticed recently that I

love singing about real ‘things’ and daily happenings/experiences,

like I’ve been singing a lot about clothes and shopping! It sounds

so incredibly boring and shallow, but the lines are actually very

personal without being in-your-face personal I reckon. I love

trying to set a scene too, so the listener can really picture what’s

going on. My favourite writers are people like Kurt Vile, where

there’s no filter, like it just all rambles out without trying.

How do you see your career progressing from where you are

now (in an ideal situation)?

I just want us to be 10000000% happy. With the band, I’d like

us to just keep going and to make music together forever, tour,

write, the works. I reckon it’s deffo possible. Personally, I want

to write really, really good songs too and I’d love to feature as a

singer on other artists’ work, that one’s always been a goal.

Why is music important to you?

Because it really is the only thing I properly, properly 1000000%

love. And it takes you to places nothing else can, doesn’t it?

Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito!

readers might not have heard?

Craig told me to listen to Majical Cloudz. I quite like Drugstore,

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions and Françoise Hardy,

but you probs already know all these!

@kinghannahmusic

SPOTLIGHT 31


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Join the

Student Society

Contribute to Bido Lito! as part of our new student team

We are looking for writers, photographers, filmmakers and illustrators to join a new team of student contributors.

The Bido Lito! Student Society will contribute to the production of the magazine each month; writing and organising

content, developing editorial angles, and working with the Bido Lito! editorial team to make the magazine the best it

can be. We feature everything from the latest artists on Merseyside to art exhibitions and political think pieces.

For more information contact studentsociety@bidolito.co.uk or come along to the following events:

First Society Meeting

Wednesday 7th February, 5pm

The Merchant

Come along to The Merchant and acquaint yourself

with the magazine and the Student Society Chairs.

RSVP via Eventbrite, just search: ‘bido student

society’.

Bido Lito! Open Day

Friday 23rd March, 4pm

Constellations

We’ll be hosting best practice sessions on review and

feature writing, photography and other elements of the

print and online magazine industry at Constellations

before a gig from a top local artist.

bidolito.co.uk


PREVIEWS

“If people hadn’t

donated money

towards the studio,

there’s a chance

Hookworms wouldn’t

exist now”

GIG

HOOKWORMS

Invisible Wind Factory – 23/02

The brightest talents in the UK’s

alternative music landscape

have spent the past three years

decanting an expanded, studioready

version of themselves into

their third album: the results are

mindblowing.

Any modern psych connoisseur worth their salt

will know of HOOKWORMS. The Leeds outfit

have taken the scene by storm ever since their

2013 juggernaut of a debut, Pearl Mystic. They

have proved themselves to be as ferocious live as they are on

record, selling out headline shows across Europe as they’ve

hurtled towards LCD Soundsystem levels of genre-straddling

brilliance.

As the years have gone on, the band have proved themselves

as more than just a meat-and-potatoes rock band and very much

an ongoing artistic concern. New album Microshift is as emotive

as the previous two albums, dealing with themes such as death,

heartbreak and even natural disaster; but the band’s third LP

has evidently given them more room for experimentation with

electronic elements, twisting their freeform sound pieces into

more standard song structures. Georgia Turnbull spoke to bassist

MB about the group’s reinvigorated approach on this record,

what caused this shift and how, without the help of fans, the

band might have ceased to exist.

Your new single, Negative Space, appears to show a significant

shift towards electronica, especially compared with The Hum.

What inspired this change towards sequences and loops?

I think it was to do with the gear we had at the time. When we

first started the band, we didn’t have very many instruments, and

all our gear was broken and a bit rubbish so we made do with

what we had. We’ve gained more equipment as time’s moved on

and we spent a bit more money on synths and other equipment.

It got to a point where we were using this stuff a lot more when

we were practicing and writing songs, and I guess it ended up

being the focus of the songwriting this time around. It happened

pretty naturally, to be honest, it wasn’t really an executive

decision that we all made. A couple of us do other things that

are more electronic so that fed back into Hookworms. It’s also a

continuation of things that were creeping in on The Hum: going

more electronic seemed like the obvious thing to do.

You’ve also said that this album is centered around the studio,

in regards to production and dynamic. How did the creation of

the album differ from the previous two?

With the last album, we had the songs completely written

and finished before recording live. There wasn’t a great deal

of thought [put] into post-production and making it fancy, we

just wanted to play the songs as we had written them. I guess

that was pretty much a straight rock record, whereas this time

around, rather than writing songs with us all in the room together

at once, we recorded little ideas here and there and dug them

up over a period of two or three years, using the computer to

piece things together. There are definitely some songs where we

used the computer as more of a tool and an instrument. And we

improvised a lot more, listening back and picking out short sound

bites. It was a cool and different way of working.

There are also collaborations on Microshift from the likes of

Richard Formby [producer of Spacemen 3 and member of The

Jazz Butcher], Christopher Duffin [XAM Duo] and Alice Merida

Richards [Virginia Wing]. How did these collaborations come

about and how was the experience of working with musicians

outside of Hookworms?

It was a really fulfilling experience because, other than a friend

on the first album who played a really small trumpet part, we’ve

never had anyone else involved in the band, and never had any

other artistic input. Richard’s one of our friends and we talked

about doing something with him before, so we set up in the

studio with him and just jammed. I think we recorded an hour and

a half of music, and then we worked back and edited it down. We

also did a live show with Richard where we improvised again,

and it all fed back into the album. Richard’s got a big modular

synthesiser and tape echoes that he uses, so we challenged

ourselves by working around that. I play with Chris in XAM Duo

and his other band have recorded with MJ [Hookworms vocalist

and chief producer] a few times, so it seemed obvious to get him

involved.

And then with Alice, we toured with Virginia Wing and I’ve

played on a couple of their records, so we’re really good friends

with them. With that, it was another different way of working:

we emailed her a demo we had and she sent it back with demo

vocals over that, which completely changed the direction the

song was going in. We rewrote it a little bit and MJ rewrote what

he was going to do, so working with her was collaborative in the

truest sense. We had a bare bones instrumental that she turned

into a bit of a pop song, and it might be my favourite track on the

album just because of how different it was putting it together.

The album has been described as a “euphoric catharsis”, the

music counteracting the lyrics dealing with the likes of death,

disease, and heartbreak. Would you agree that it’s euphoric

and cathartic, and did it feel that way when recording the

album?

Yes, definitely. The subject matter of the lyrics within some of the

songs is obviously quite dark, so I purposefully wanted the music

to juxtapose and counteract that, so the final outcome would be

heavy lyrical content with an uplifting, euphoric musical backdrop

so it wouldn’t become a really heavy album. We’ve always tried

to make the music cathartic and euphoric. I do think that the

way we build and write tracks has a lot more in common with

electronic and dance music than it does with rock, the way we

build stuff and drop it down, but again we’ve done it differently

this time around and that’s fed into this sound.

Microshift was fully recorded in your studio, Suburban Home,

that was devastatingly hit by the River Aire flood in 2015.

How you feel about the incredible response that followed, and

would you say the album became a response to the disaster?

Yeh, we’re incredibly thankful. If people had not donated money

towards the studio, I don’t think it would exist now, and there’s

a chance Hookworms wouldn’t have carried on either because

we can only do our music the way we do it because of our studio

space. We get to practice, record demos, write and record in

there, so if we didn’t have that space like that anymore, we might

struggle to function as a band. We can’t do what most bands do

and drive their equipment to practice once a week because of the

amount we have, so we need a static space like Suburban Home.

I don’t know if it was a reaction to the flood itself but having no

studio for six or seven months, then rebuilding it ourselves gave

us a kick and a spark to keep making the album. The flood caused

a massive delay to the album: Microshift has ended up coming

out six months later than we wanted, so when the second

studio was ready, we went full throttle on writing and recording

again. You’ve gone through all that effort, you’ve got to make it

worthwhile. !

Words: Georgia Turnbull / @GeorgiaRTbull

Photography: Hollie Fernando / holliefernandophotography.com

hookworms.website

Hookworms play Invisible Wind Factory on 23rd February.

Microshift is released on 2nd February via Domino Records.

34


Get The Blessing

FESTIVAL

Liverpool International

Jazz Festival

The Capstone Theatre –

22/02-25/02

Situated on Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus, the

Capstone Theatre is the home of classic and contemporary

jazz in the city, and an oft overlooked gem. It is also home

to LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL (LIJF),

which marks its sixth edition this February. With an emphasis on

experimentation, the festival takes audience members on a musical

journey that traverses numerous jazz variants and cross-genres.

The JAMES TAYLOR QUARTET kick things off on 22nd February,

with support from Manchester collective SKELTR. Taylor is regarded

as one of the great British instrumentalists of his generation, with his

trademark howling Hammond organ appearing on albums by the Manic

Street Preachers and U2. British-Asian clarinettist and composer ARUN

GHOSH brings his IndoJazz Sextet the following day, as well as hosting

a free masterclass on improvisation. Three quarters of the legendary

70s SOFT MACHINE line-up are still touring, powered by the virtuosic

sax skills of Theo Travis (who also hosts a saxophone workshop prior to

the band’s concert). Sola pianist JASON REBELLO and Luxembourg trio

DOCK IN ABSOLUTE also drop by.

LIJF are also teaming up with DJ and promotions collective Anti

Social Jazz Club on the festival’s centrepiece show with GET THE

BLESSING (23rd February). The Bristol-based quartet are famed for

their innovation, incorporating electronic signatures into their infectious,

beat-driven work. ASJC will also collaborate with the festival on a

number of after parties in Buyers Club and Fredericks, bringing a slice

of this jazz odyssey to the city centre.

Idles

GIG

Independent Venue Week

Various venues – 29/01-04/02

As if the start of 2018 wasn’t busy enough with a plethora

of live shows coming at us, INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK

descends on several city centre establishments to make sure

there really is no excuse to stay inside. At a point when our

independent venues are finding it harder than ever to thrive, it is timely

that we celebrate these vital cogs in the industry by giving them our

patronage. The Jacaranda Club, Parr Street Studio2, The Zanzibar, Buyers

Club, EBGBS and The Magnet are all taking part, meaning there’s going

to be a feast of music for us to enjoy.

BBC 6Music will be broadcasting Steve Lamacq’s show live

from Studio2 on Friday 2nd February, which will feature a live set

with Bristolian punk outfit IDLES. Following this afternoon session,

Deltasonic Records host their own showcase which will be headed up

by SUNSTACK JONES. If your tastes run more to the raucous end of the

spectrum, the same night throws up the “greatest musical extravaganza”

in the form of SNAILMANIA. The Jacaranda Club’s basement is being

taken over by riotous noiseniks SALT THE SNAIL for the launch of their

new single, Spanish Announce Table, with support coming from BISCH

NADAR and WIFE.

EVOL and Skeleton Key Records are teaming up for a head-buzzing

night at EBGBS on Saturday 3rd, hosting a clutch of bands that “know

their shit”. PEACH FUZZ’s hazy cosmic jive is the night’s star attraction,

with rising stars (and Bido favourites) THE MYSTERINES and TY

FREEMAN (formerly of The Movamahs) on support duties.

And to round IVW off at The Jacaranda Club, we’re getting in on

the action ourselves to throw a closing party that’ll have you crying

tears of pure joy… for PURE JOY we have! The slimmed down version

of the band bring their spectral groove to the stage with their new …GO

GALACTIC! show – and that’s not all. Breakout garage freaks JO MARY

and psychy jazzers THE BLURRED SUN BAND represent the exciting

crop of guitar bands in the region right now, and their presence on the

bill will ensure that the grooves come thick and fast. With tickets under

a fiver, it would be rude to miss out on seeing Independent Venue Week

go out in style.

PREVIEWS 35


PREVIEWS

GIG

47Soul

24 Kitchen Street – 16/02

47Soul

Pioneering ShamStep collective 47SOUL have infused their self-styled

ShamStep genre with the history and traditions of the region they represent.

ShamStep is an infectious, cultural and musical homage to ‘dabke’, the

renowned traditional celebration music of the Shams: Bilad al-Sham is an

ancient province in the Levant that spans present day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan,

Palestine and Turkey, a region that the group’s four members identify with.

Their debut album, Balfron Promise, is a fizz of synthesisers, electronic guitar,

beats and bass, with the four members taking it in turns to rap and sing in

Arabic and English. Their message of embracing people and cultures that

transcend territorial borders is an empowering one, and makes for a blistering

concoction when paired with their high-octane, dance-friendly performance.

GIG

Ezra Furman

Arts Club – 04/02

Chicago singer-songwriter EZRA FURMAN is bringing new album

Transangelic Exodus to the Arts Club stage, with newly-named

backing band The Visions in tow. Inspired by America’s recent political

and cultural conversations, Furman treats the new album as a diary

of sorts, dubbing the LP as a semi-conceptual “queer outlaw saga”.

Shot through with a new glam feel, Transangelic Exodus is an intense,

dramatic projection of Furman’s narrative vision. Perpetual forward

motion is a mantra that Furman has always stuck to, and this is an

example of an artist operating at their peak.

Ezra Furman

GIG

Aviator

St Bride’s Church – 10/2

AVIATOR return to Liverpool for a winter warmer of a gig in the hallowed

surrounds of St Bride’s Church. The brainchild of Pete Wilkinson

(formerly of Shack, Cast and Echo & The Bunnymen) and producer Mark

Heaney, the band are taking a break from recording their fourth album of

psych-folk melodic wigouts to bring a set hewn from all four records.

Expect a special appearance from MICHAEL BLYTH, whose album the

band are also recording, and whose work follows in the songwriting

tradition of Lee Hazlewood. Opening on the night is PAUL CROWE

(ex The Aeroplanes and City Walls) with his first gig in over two years.

Tickets are a tenner a pop and include a 4-track AV8 Records sampler.

EXHIBITION

Warhol To Walker

The Atkinson – until 10/03

If your taste for pop art has been whetted by the Tate’s popular Roy

Lichtenstein exhibition, then this show at The Atkinson will be the perfect

follow up. Focusing on the greatest American printmakers, WARHOL

TO WALKER studies a range of work that encompasses contemporary

practitioners alongside heavyweights from the movement’s 60s heyday.

The show contains 200 works by 70 artists, from Andy Warhol and Robert

Rauschenberg to modern pieces from Kara Walker and Jim Dine. The free

exhibition is brought to the Southport arts hub in partnership with the

British Museum, and assesses the works’ impact on pop culture, music and

everyday life over the last six decades.

GIG

Beth Orton

Arts Club – 07/02

Beth Orton

Hailed as one of the most unique voices in British music, BETH ORTON is rounding off an impressive run of her most

recent album, Kidsticks with a string of UK tour dates. Constantly changing her musical style, Orton will be bringing her

new electronic venture to Arts Club. With a career spanning over 20 years and an impressive back catalogue to bolster

the new material, Orton’s folk and rock ‘n’ roll-influenced tracks will no doubt be carefully selected to please fans old and

new. You can expect that the introduction of keyboards alongside acoustic guitar will be perfectly piloted by a musician

who oozes craft.

CLUB

Cream Classical Ibiza

Anglican Cathedral – 16/02 and 17/02

The Balearic vibe comes to the Anglican Cathedral for the latest slice of

enlightenment from Cream. The clubbing institution has been taking the party

to the White Isle for the last 25 years, and they’re now bringing it back home

for an Ibiza edition of CREAM CLASSICAL. A 50-piece Philharmonic Orchestra

ensemble will join some of Cream’s famed DJs in performing live versions of

quintessential hits in the grandest of settings. The all-new show will feature

a brand new tracklist which has come all the way from the hedonistic party

island itself, including tunes that have defined the dancefloor from Ibiza to

Liverpool.

Cream Classical

36


GIG

Kelley Stoltz

81 Renshaw – 25/02

It can be a precarious balance to strike between quality and quantity

for the bedroom pop auteur, but that’s not something that KELLEY

STOLTZ struggles with. His songwriting is razor sharp, allowing him

to bend all genres to his will, from synth-pop to disco glam, while

still maintaining an air of Brian Wilson. Having released previous

LPs through Third Man Records, with new album Que Aura Stoltz

now resides alongside fellow Bay Area musical nuts Oh Sees and

Fresh And Onlys on Castle Face Records. Having played guitar in the

Bunnymen’s touring band, his affiliation with Liverpool runs deep,

furthered by the decision to take THE PROBES out on tour with him

across the UK in February.

GIG

The Lost Brothers

Leaf – 02/02

With the release of their fifth record Halfway Towards A Healing,

THE LOST BROTHERS are bringing the warmth from Tucson,

Arizona, where the album was recorded, to a cold February night in

Liverpool. The Irish duo came together in 2007 after their previous

bands slowly slipped away, but The Losties have found their own

niche and have developed a bit of a soft spot for Liverpool (and the

city them). Their exquisite harmonies and knack for a heart-rending

story have been bolstered by working with Irish songwriter and

actor Glen Hansard, with whom they co-wrote three songs that

appear on the new LP.

GIG

British Sea Power

O2 Academy – 16/02

After their most recent album Let The Dancers Inherit

The Party was entirely funded by pre-sales from

the band’s loyal fanbase, BRITISH SEA POWER

are set to play a huge show at the Academy. Their

windswept British rock sounds a little like the band

are eternally situated in the 80s, and new single Keep

On Trying (Sechs Freunde) displays some remarkable

flexibility and has a brighter disposition than usual

BSP fare. Those keen fans who inked themselves in

the crowdfunding cause of the band’s seventh album

get free entry.

EVENT

Ed Byrne

Floral Pavilion – 24/02

Is life that bad or have we good reason to complain

about it? Are we filled with righteous anger at a world

gone wrong, or are we all just a bunch of whiny little

brats? In short, are we spoiled? In his new Spoiler Alert

show, ED BYRNE takes this question, turns it upside

down and shakes it until the funny falls out. One of the

warmest observational comics on the circuit, Byrne’s

caustic wit and restless energy results in a set that

rarely lets up, with gags coming faster than you can

register them. Go on, spoil yourself.

Ed Byrne

GIG

Jorja Smith

Invisible Wind Factory – 08/02

Jorja Smith

Walsall born and raised, JORJA SMITH made an immediate impact on

British pop when she uploaded Blue Lights to SoundCloud two years ago.

Now having been nominated for a MOBO and recognised at the Brits with

the Critics’ Choice Award, Smith has gained fans in megastars Drake and

Stormzy. Awash with musical influence from all genres, Smith cites Lily

Allen, Amy Winehouse and Nas as artists who inspired her. A debut album

is due for release in 2018, by which time her Brit-centric RnB may well

have propelled her to the big league.

GIG

The Night Café

Arts Club – 03/02

A sense of yearning infuses the polished, indie-flecked post-punk of THE NIGHT CAFÉ, and it resonates with

people right across the country. Not many emerging Liverpool acts in the past decade have been able to sell

out shows across the UK on their first headline tour, and rack up over five million Spotify plays, but The Night

Café have not only managed this but taken it all in their stride. February’s Arts Club show will be an emotional

homecoming for the band, who host fellow local artists PARIS YOUTH FOUNDATION and CHEAP THRILLS as

support.

The Night Café

FILM + GIG

Mugstar – Ad Marginem Live Soundtrack

Philharmonic Music Room – 07/02

Ad Marginem

Bido Lito! members are in for a real treat with this month’s special event, as psych drone

legends MUGSTAR dust off the reels of their 2012 film Ad Marginem. The band will provide

the live soundtrack to the production which was written and directed by Liam Yates along

Mugstar’s guitarist Neil Murphy. Shot around Merseyside, the film was made in response to

the music created by Mugstar, rather than the usual process of a soundtrack reflecting the

action in a production. The black and white film, as well as the accompanying soundtrack EP,

are bleak atmospheric affairs and described by the band as “a meditation on isolation and

loss.” Tickets for this rare performance are shifting fast, so head to bidolito.co.uk or The Phil’s

Box Office to secure yours.

PREVIEWS 37


REVIEWS

MC Nelson (Chris Rathe)

MC Nelson

By The River Video Premiere

@ FACT – 08/01

What does the River Mersey mean to you? To Nelson Idama,

better known as the elusive South Liverpool rapper MC NELSON,

it means a catalogue of things. It’s childhood memories, it’s a

spiritual and cultural embodiment of the city, it’s the gateway

from other worlds, a catalyst that propelled Liverpool to a global

port, ascending its status from a quiet, sleepy Lancastrian town,

and a constant physical reminder of both the prosperous and

sordid past of the city. The river Mersey has many stories to

tell, and storytelling is something that Nelson feels is a duty of

his writing. “I feel as though the job of an MC is to provide new

perspectives and tell untold stories,” he explains as we discuss

his music the day after his successful By The River music video

premiere at FACT.

On the night of the premiere, a short documentary precedes

the video, detailing his influences that developed the song and

the accompanying video. From his upbringing on Aigburth’s

Riverbank Road, to the uncomfortable acknowledgement and

guilt of the city surrounding its troubling past. Most notably, the

often-forgotten slave trade that brought great affluence to the

city, albeit at the devastating expense of the millions of African

slaves in the 18th Century. Choosing the documentary as a

medium in which to expand his storytelling allows Nelson to

“I feel as though the job

of an MC is to provide

new perspectives and

tell untold stories”

explore beyond the constricts of a three-minute song. “You

don’t want to turn it into a history essay, which is why I decided

to explore other ways to convey my message, like through the

documentary.”

A large part of the documentary focusses on the dark and

harrowing tale of Charles Wootton, a 24-year-old ship’s fireman

from Bermuda, who fell victim to race tensions in 1919. The

young seafarer was reportedly chased from his home on Upper

Pitt Street to the Queens Dock where he was beaten with a

rock and drowned in the Mersey. It’s important and often untold

subjects like these that Nelson wants to focus on with his musical

projects. “All in all, I feel like my job is to tell the story of Liverpool

– the good, the bad and the ugly.”

The video itself is a sharply shot portrayal of Nelson’s literal

and symbolic relationship with rivers, water and Liverpool. Shot

by the local collective Leech, the video depicts Nelson through

various shifting scenes that scroll through different moods: it

begins warmly, a headshot suspended in vibrant waters of vivid

oranges and indigo petals, then switches to him meandering

in a raft in murky dismal waters, before finally morphing to him

frantically seething in the cold, ominous, livid grey of the sea.

These three distinct environments perhaps reflect his mixed

emotions and feelings towards Liverpool and the river Mersey.

The video also mirrors the contrasting themes in the

accompanying song; Nelson effortlessly spits over a cosy,

jazz-laden beat, with a languid flow rippling through the verses.

Midway through, the track spins away from the calm; the beat

spirals into a disorientating, hysterical jazz centrifuge as Nelson

repeats “time is a river”, while accompanied by the visuals of a

manic sea lashing at Nelson’s barge, before quickly returning

to the warmth and calm of the verse. Nelson’s lyrics in the

track evoke both a gritty realness, and a colourful metaphysical

imagery that relates both to nature and being.

As the video ends, Nelson gets up to perform a sharp set,

packed with unreleased and never-before heard tracks. He

exudes a bashful, yet confident calm in front of the audience,

dispersing the gaps between his songs with a coy wit. The list of

tracks performed tonight further showcase his considered style

and contemplative lyricism. Nelson a much-welcomed and longawaited

catalyst that the developing Liverpool hip hop scene

needs.

Jonny Winship / @jmwinship

38


Pier Head Exhibition (Rob Battersby)

The Pier Head – Tom Wood

+ Ferry Folk – Liz Wewiora

Open Eye Gallery and Museum of Liverpool

12/01

Ferries of some description have shuffled passengers across

the Mersey and back for over 800 years. They are a quietly

integral part of Liverpool’s identity; a rare constant in a city

characterised by renewal and change. THE PIER HEAD – TOM

WOOD is the UK premiere of over 90 photographs taken in the

70s and 80s on the commute to Liverpool. Wood’s ability to

capture fleeting moments of intimacy and variety in the everyday

commute brings life to the Mersey Ferries and their community.

As a daily commuter on the Mersey Ferries, photographer

Tom Wood had a wealth of different stories at his disposal. His

fellow passengers were ordinary people going about their daily

lives: workers in worn-out suits, mothers juggling children and

moody teenagers smoking. Their busy, chaotic lives converge

on the ferry like a perfect microcosm of Liverpool. Wood is

interested in this moment, but his subjects are on pause,

waiting to resume their day. His photography thus captures the

“Wood’s photography

captures the essence

of commuting, and he

invites the audience to

join him as an observer

of everyday life”

essence of commuting, and he invites the audience to join him as

an observer of everyday life.

Many of his subjects appear to be caught unaware,

engrossed in conversation or smoking a cigarette. Others

stare directly at the camera, offering Wood a glimpse of their

personalities. Perhaps my favourite photographs are those of

teenagers; he manages to capture their unapologetic attitude,

that spunk and style of Liverpool’s youth. They wear baggy

jumpsuits, vintage sportswear and leather tops; their faces

suggest boredom and amusement all at once.

Running parallel to Tom Wood’s exhibition is FERRY FOLK

by LIZ WEWIORA, which explores the relevance of the Mersey

Ferries today. As the demand for travelling by boat has fallen, the

ferries have become a tourist attraction as well as a commuter

service. Wewiora’s work is collaborative, involving photographs

and stories from those who still work for and use the ferries on a

regular basis. Wood’s exhibition feels nostalgic, but Ferry Folk is

hopeful that a new community now exists.

Wewiora has placed an interactive viewfinder in the Museum

of Liverpool by the floor-length windows. As I flick through

photos taken on board the ferries, I am aware of the Mersey

stretching out in front and of the Pier Head itself. Her interactive

project is simple but it joins Wood’s photography to tell a larger

story: one that pays homage to Liverpool, its community and the

river.

Wood’s links to Liverpool make this a particularly relevant

exhibition. His work feels spontaneous, and it is no surprise to

discover that he started this project almost by accident. These

photographs have been chosen from over one thousand rolls of

film, and I leave the exhibition wondering what other stories he

has hidden away.

Maya Jones / @mmayajones

Woodside Ferry Terminal 1979 (Tom Wood)

REVIEWS 39


REVIEWS

Mincemeat (Alex Smith)

Helena Hauff

+ Binary v Malchance

+ Breakwave

The Wonder Pot @ 24 Kitchen Street –

01/01

Some might say that putting on an electronic all-nighter

with a three-hour set from HELENA HAUFF as the headline

act on New Year’s Day is madness. In fact, it turns out to

be a form of genius. Whether still up from the night before

or opting for this as the night to welcome in 2018 (a good

move given the over-familiarity of a lot of what was on offer

for punters on New Year’s Eve), the crowd in Kitchen Street

is pumped. It’s a mixed bag of a room, made up of students,

twenty-something barflies and middle-aged ravers, all

ready for Helena Hauff.

The Hamburg-based DJ, producer and “queen of

the underground” plays an energetic, experimental and

characteristically dark set. Performing exclusively with

vinyl, Hauff showcases her stylistically broad palette,

playing a range of electronic hits and niche techno bangers.

Nabihah Iqbal

+ Giovanna

SisBis @ Buyer’s Club – 13/01

This being only the second of SisBis’ new regular

nights at Buyers Club, the duo behind the brand truly outdo

themselves in snaring Ninja Tune’s NABIHAH IQBAL. A

unique night offering a platform for female DJs on the

Liverpool circuit, SisBis’ resident DJ Giovanna Briguglio

offers up mixes from the disco/Afro/electro spheres broken

up by pop-infused intervals, warming up the crowd for the

main event, her self-professed latest “girl-crush”. SisBis isn’t

just about championing female producers and DJs; each

event raises money for MRANG, a Liverpool-based charity

that works with refugee and asylum-seeking women.

Formerly known by the moniker Throwing Shade,

Iqbal recently released her debut album Weighing Of The

Breakneck tempos morph into floor-shaking beats,

accented by gnarly acid infusions of digital waves, creating

an addictive and ever-changing three-hour journey of wall

to wall sound. Following her undisputedly hot closing set at

Dekmantel 2017 – Amsterdam’s multi-day electronic fiesta

– Liverpool audiences are lucky to welcome in the new year

with such a rising star.

Support on the night comes from a host of local DJs;

BREAKWAVE, James BINARY and Jacques MALCHANCE

alternatively sharing the stage. Breakwave (Jessica

Beaumont, founder of club night Meine Nacht and local

label Deep Sea Frequency) kicks things off with a pulsating,

acid-infused techno set to oil the gears for the early

doors ravers. Mixing things up later on, DJ duo Binary and

Malchance play a digital versus vinyl set to a much fuller

room, as the audience start to flood in. Featuring the likes of

CSMNT61, Randomer, Mr Oizo and Dopplereffekt, their set

fuses acid-techno, big bass riffs and rave stabs, setting the

scene for Hauff’s headline odyssey.

Those inside prove that there’s still a hunger to see

local performers sharing the space with a European

heavyweight, and more female DJs represented than that of

your average night. Who’s up for more?

Sinead Nunes / @SineadAWrites

Heart before Christmas, and takes up the headline slot

here. The Londoner’s set blends elements of her Pakistani

heritage with influences from her undergraduate degree in

ethnomusicology; from Turkey to Thailand, she showcases

music from across the globe – something fans of her biweekly

NTS Radio show will be familiar with, and clubbers

on this Saturday night enjoy into the wee small hours.

While her solo-produced work is often referred to as

“cosmic RnB” her sets are decidedly unclassifiable. From

American street jazz and field recordings taken during her

time as a barrister in South Africa, to snippets borrowed

from her university archive, Iqbal brings something fresh to

her show.

On working with the rising star, who has recently

performed at Tate Modern and the Barbican Centre,

Giovanna says, “Nabihah is such a lovely mix of friendly and

professional; the type of person who will make a joke at her

own expense, while wowing you with her work ethic and

vast music knowledge.”

Sinéad Nunes / @SineadAWrites

Duds

+ Mincemeat

+ Ohmns

+ Eyesore And The Jinx

The Bagelry – 13/01

Tonight, the tables in The Bagelry are gone, replaced by a makeshift PA

system and some hairy North West fellas with instruments. Happily, it’s also

full, reaching capacity just as the tonight’s opening act starts tuning up. The

first part of the night belongs to EYESORE AND THE JINX, who aren’t exactly

your typical garage punks. They squeeze in some twelve-bar blues, some

post-punk and just a little Midwest America emo. The musical equivalent of

that mulled wine at Christmas; you went a bit mad with the spice rack, but

everyone had red stained lips at the end of the night.

It’s with OHMNS’ largely instrumental set that we realise the PA isn’t

cooperating. A little disappointing, but there’s nothing more punk than broken

equipment, albeit, you’d normally trash stuff after you play. Ohmns are punk

right down to their frayed shoelaces, all punchy drums with fast, driving

guitar. As they’re hosting tonight’s proceedings, we can forgive them a bit of

scratchiness.

MINCEMEAT manage to squeeze something out the mics when they’re

up. We’re taken back into the smoky birthing pools of punk with their pub

rock swagger and sound; not even their lead singer can’t resist moving about

the crowd to their rough, loungey rock ‘n’ roll. He closes the set out from atop

the Bagelry counter, yelping the refrain “I love bagels/Do you like bagels?” at

the crowd. Vigorous nods, from the guy with crumbs and sesame seeds in his

beard.

It takes a little while for DUDS to set up, and with two percussionists and

a horn section swelling their ranks, it’s neither a surprise or a chore. When

there’s more than one cowbell about, too, you get the feeling something

special’s on the way. “Very Pre-Raphaelite,” someone quips, as the band

finally line up in their matching khaki shirts; well, there are only seven of them

and no one’s laying in a river, but sure. With their first album being picked up

by storied label Castle Face after very little in the way of a back story, you can

bet they know how to make their cowbells rock.

The moment they start, you’re ripped away from your expectations. The

dissonant guitar and odd marching drums show hallmarks of No Wave, with

the obvious comparison of A Certain Ratio or Minutemen also lurking in the

shadows. Duds set a fearsome pace and don’t let up, switching instruments

and throwing jazz licks in wherever possible. It’s the technical mastery of

math rock smashed into disco, keeping you guessing at all turns. Only after

does it sink in that you danced your way through the whole set. Grinned like

an idiot too, I bet.

Kieran Donnachie

40


Alfa Mist

+ Remy Jude

24 Kitchen Street – 22/11

Celebrated young jazz/hip hop artist ALFA MIST hits Kitchen

Street on a wild and windy evening. Having moved on from the

darkly chilled hip hop of 2015 EP Nocturne to the jazzier territory

of 2017’s Antiphon, such is his growing reputation that the

tempestuous weather fails to deter a sizeable crowd.

Local poet and rapper REMY JUDE delivers his verse in a

relaxed flow, pacing the stage, an intensity to his gaze, and

mixes up the personal (Miss Her, about his mother) with social

commentary (“The world is better when you sit and listen,” and

Lest We Forget). To the side of the stage Moon is dropping some

very cool beats for Jude to wax over (think Andy Compton/Amp

Fiddler), before some heavy dub really gets the crowd moving.

Anya Marsh joins Jude for a couple of numbers, adding a lovely

counterpoint to his spoken delivery to end a well received set that

definitely puts him in the ‘one to watch’ category.

Alfa Mist eases himself into position behind the keyboard and

without preamble the band slide into the chilled-out Intro from

Nocturne; a relaxed keyboard motif, drums and bass immediately

lock tight before a muted trumpet kicks in. It’s the only foray

into Mist’s earlier work, the rest of the set is taken exclusively

from Antiphon. The album has been heralded as something of a

contemporary jazz masterpiece, a progression to a more abstract

expression of the themes of alienation, insomnia and depression

covered in Nocturne.

Here, in the intimate confines of Kitchen Street, the band

begin to cook on Kyoki. Gaspar Sena’s drumming is unflashy but

totally on it, Kaya Thomas-Dyke’s bass bounces fluidly along,

providing a platform for spectacular solo contributions from

Johnny Woodham (Trumpet) and Jamie Leeming (Guitar). Mist

himself rounds things off with an exquisite keyboard passage,

leaving us in a state of anticipation, eagerly awaiting more from

each musician.

Mist’s rapping on 7th October is top notch, the crowd all

smiles and gentle movement as the band stay in the groove

before the funky keyboard intro of Errors ushers in a beautiful,

smouldering Woodham trumpet solo. A few of the crowd can be

seen enjoying an eye’s-closed meditation during this one.

Bass player Thomas-Dyke (who contributes vocals on

Nocturne, and also the album artwork for Antiphon) steps up to

the mic for the exquisite Breathe. She delivers a spine-tingling

vocal performance that carries the melody over Sena’s pattering,

delicate drum patterns, her phrasing crystal clear, a classic

performance that could have been plucked from a New York

speakeasy in the 40s. The song’s sudden switch to a cinematic

outro is typical of the mood changes that Mist effortlessly seems

to weave into the fabric of the album, and which this ensemble

have no trouble presenting live.

There are a few older jazz heads in the crowd, sagely

nodding in approval at this new kid on the block whose music

manages to feel both classic and contemporary at the same

Alfa Mist (Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd)

time, its hip hop sensibility sitting easily alongside its jazz vibe.

However, it’s good to see such a predominantly young audience,

an audience who clearly know – and are enthralled by – the

music, and who applaud each sublime solo as the band play

us out with the funky riff of Brian and the uplifting optimism of

Potential.

Mist’s music may reflect his introspective character but is

delivered here with a masterful technique and a joyful feel that

elevates the spirit.

Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd

TATE LIVERPOOL

22 SEP – 17 JUN 2018

ROY LICHTENSTEIN

IN FOCUS

ARTIST ROOMS

FREE

@tateliverpool

#lichtensteininfocus

tate.org.uk/visit/tate-liverpool

Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront

The ARTIST ROOMS touring programme is delivered by the National Galleries

of Scotland and Tate in a partnership with Ferens Art Gallery until 2019,

supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council

England, by Art Fund and by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Roy Lichtenstein, In the Car 1963 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2018. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

REVIEWS 41


REVIEWS

Eleftheria Kotzia (Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd)

Terri Shaltiel (Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd)

International Guitar Festival Of

Great Britain

Floral Pavilion – 04/11-25/11/17

As the INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FESTIVAL hits its 26th year

we thought it would be a good idea to check out a few of the, as

always, varied artists on offer, kicking off with festival favourite

and veteran purveyor of pop, ROY WOOD.

Wood’s career as a writer of some distinction is often

overshadowed by the annual tinselfest of I Wish It Could Be

Christmas Everyday (an appalling prospect but a jolly old

earworm of a song). Wood’s back catalogue runs to the early-

60s and encompasses the darkly psyched pop of The Move, the

baroque orchestration of early ELO and the glam accessories

of Wizzard, alongside some eclectic solo recordings before

settling into the relative comfort of the rock n’ roll revue that he is

currently touring.

Cut from a totally different cloth is classical guitarist

ELEFTHERIA KOTZIA. She is currently Professor of Music at

the Royal Welsh College of Music and a glance at a Savarez (a

guitar string manufacturer) biog reveals a dizzying itinerary of

worldwide festivals, symposiums, workshops and collaborations

over several decades. An ardent promoter of the music of her

native Greece, she is also committed to showcasing music from

sources as diverse as Persia, South America and the Balkans.

That eclecticism is much in evidence for tonight’s Mediterranean

Journey, but she starts, fittingly, at home, with Four Epitaphs by

Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis (he of Zorba The Greek fame).

The Blue Room at the Floral is just about full and suitably hushed

as Kotzia immediately reveals a delightful delicacy of touch

during the gentle progressions of Locks Of My Hair, the first of

the epitaphs.

We travel East for a beautiful Persian Ballad by Aziz Joon,

which begins with the most delicate of plucked melodies before

running wild with some thrilling pizzicato flourishes. Over to

the Balkans for Tadic’s Walk Dance, which picks up the tempo

with complex, fiery finger work at both ends of the fretboard

punctuated by chords passionately slashed.

There is something calmly commanding about Kotzia’s

stage presence, even her re-tuning is done with a minimum of

fuss – where some artists feel the need to fill in these potentially

“It’s funky, it’s jazzy,

and the playing,

once again at this

festival, is virtuosic”

awkward silences with anecdotal bluster, Kotzia is confident

enough to allow the audience time for reflection. During some of

the pieces, there even are periods of unhurried silence in which

she seems to focus ever more intently, head held high, the crowd

holding a collective breath until she bows forward to begin the

next section with quicksilver virtuosity.

Playing with a quiet intensity, her head is bowed so low at

times that her breath must cloud the burnished shoulder of her

guitar – it’s as though she can barely hear the subtleties of her

own playing and the audience respond with a hushed reverence

punctuated after each piece by joyful applause.

ESMOND SELWYN returns to the festival following last

year’s superb show, not with a band this year but as a duettist

with blues-jazz singer TERRI SHALTIEL. Selwyn shares with

Kotzia an exceptional technique and feeling, capable of elevating

the emotional impact of the music rather than supressing it, and,

once again, he demonstrates his ability to bend a well-known

melody completely out of shape before bringing it back to its

recognisable form. He kicks things off with standards Blue Monk

and Moonlight In Vermont, the lovely, gentle swing of the latter

perfectly relayed, Selwyn inscrutable, channelling all emotion

through those flying fingers into the music.

Shaltiel, having taken a seat in the audience after Selwyn has

begun playing, takes to the stage quipping, “I’ll start with Just In

Time, in an ironic sense,” before revealing a lovely lightness of

touch in classic jazz chanteuse style.

It’s a stripped-back pairing that puts both performers firmly

in the spotlight, but they appear totally relaxed and their between

song dialogue is of the “what shall we play next?”, “let’s try…”,

“what key’s it in?” school of stagecraft, almost as if the audience

weren’t there at times, but there seems to be a quirky connection

between the two. They invest Bobby Hebbs’ Sunny with a bluesy

swing, Shaltiel’s voice easy on the ear, Selwyn’s restless solo

flying in all directions.

Shaltiel has proved herself to be an extremely diverse talent,

providing the bluesy swagger of Vinegar Joe-era Elkie Brooks,

the fragile confessional of Billie Holiday, and the sweet soul of

Aretha – a dynamic foil for Selwyn’s fluid, masterful, sometimes

challenging, explorations of the jazz songbook. The audience lap

it up.

And so to SOFT MACHINE; 51 years (give or take a couple of

breaks) and several incarnations later, the Canterbury psychfolk-cum-jazz-fusion

experimentalists are in town with three of

their mid-70s line-up (John Etheridge on guitar; John Marshall on

drums; Roy Babbington on bass) plus sax player Theo Travis.

This line-up has been together for a few years as Soft

Machine Legacy, and they waste no time in persuading the crowd

of aficionados that this will be an evening well spent. The titular

track from 1975’s Bundles kicks things off, followed by 2003’s In

The Back Room, which gives each musician the chance to show

off his chops amid myriad tempo changes and soloing. A rippling

Etheridge guitar slows beautifully as Travis takes it down with

a smoky sax solo – it’s funky, it’s jazzy, it rocks, and the playing,

once again at this festival, is virtuosic.

Etheridge proves to be an engaging host and he heaps

fulsome praise on band members old and new(ish), particularly

founder member Mike Ratledge whose songs Chloe And The

Pirates and The Man Who Waved At Trains are beautifully,

ethereally translated here. The former features a delightful Travis

flute solo played over washes of guitar, the latter, running at

less than two minutes on the original album, is here given an

extended reworking that really allows Marshall and Babbington

to hit a groove.

Given the audience demographic at the above shows, it

seems that the challenge facing the organisers of the festival is

to attract a younger crowd who can carry the festival forwards.

One thing is clear though, the International Guitar Festival seems

to have no trouble in continuing to attract performers of the very

highest quality to our parish.

Glyn Akroyd / @Glyn Akroyd

42


Soft Machine

Jason Rebello

Get The Blessing

James Taylor Quartet

@LpoolJazzFest

Liverpool International Jazz Fest

Tickets available from

22 - 25 February 2018

Dock in Absolute

Arun Ghosh

The Weave

Andchuck

Skeltr

www.thecapstonetheatre.com


Seacombe Ferry, 1985, Tom Wood

THE PIER HEAD - TOM WOOD

Between 1978-2002, Tom Wood took the Mersey

Ferry almost every day. Whilst waiting for the

boat or crossing the river, he took photos.

12 January - 25 March. Free Entry.

Open Eye Gallery.

Alkinoos

Ioanidis

Union Chapel, London

Thur & Fri 25TH & 26TH January

Lee ’Scratch’

Perry

Arts Club, Liverpool

Tuesday 13th March

Courtney

Marie

Andrews

Arts Club, Liverpool

Saturday 21st April

Peter

Hammill

The Stoller Hall,

Manchester

Wednesday 25th April

Michael

Chapman

Deaf Institute, Manchester

Sunday 22nd April

Michael

Chapman

Philharmonic Hall,

Liverpool

Thursday 26th April

Robyn

Hitchcock

Philharmonic Hall,

Liverpool

Wednesday 23rd May

The Rutles

Philharmonic Hall,

Liverpool

Friday 1st June

@Ceremonyconcert / facebook.com/ceremonyconcerts

ceremonyconcerts@gmail.com / seetickets.com


SAY

THE FINAL

“We want the Bido Lito!

Student Society to be one

of those places where

we can give students the

chance to have a voice,

show that we have every

right to be involved in those

conversations and listen

to some pretty good music

along the way ”

Ahead of the very first Bido

Lito! Student Society meeting

on 7th February, Co-Chairs of

the society Daisy Scott and

Sophie Shields each give their

individual take on what makes

Liverpool’s student population

so crucial to the city’s music

scene – and try to unravel

the bad reputation given to

students in the city.

Students. Can they be the scapegoat to all problems?

With 55,000+ in Liverpool it is hard to see how

they can be dragging down the city. It seems that

many can’t look past the eyesore flatpack student

accommodation popping up around the city – that’s all that

students can do for a city, right?

There has been frank discussion about what students bring to

the city. Controversy often leads to people questioning the extent of

property development, and to the underlying question; how many

more students can live in Liverpool?

Liverpool is a music-orientated city, and without a growing

student population would the music scene thrive as much as it

does? And would the music scene be as dominant as it is currently?

It isn’t worth the debate; Liverpool has, and always will have, an

impressive music scene. That is obvious. But what you can debate

is whether or not Liverpool’s music scene would have flourished as

much as it does if so many students didn’t move to Liverpool.

As a migrating student, Liverpool has become home. And I

couldn’t have wished for a better city to give that name. But it is

hard to see why the blame is often pushed onto students. The

scapegoating of students will not benefit anyone.

Coming from Essex, where there is a limited music scene, the

move to Liverpool was a shock to the system. Everywhere around

the city is full of fresh new music talent, and to my surprise is fully

supported by everyone in the city.

So, what does this have to do with students, and what impact

do they have on the music industry? You only have to look at how

many bands come together at university, and how many claim that

their influence comes from where they studied. This should be

something that is encouraged.

Along with the influx of student properties, there has also

been the build-up of independent music venues and bars that

thrive on the student population. Without that there would be a

piece missing from the city. The likes of Heebie Jeebies, 24 Kitchen

Street and Constellations are all embedded in the student scene

with events purely targeted at the student population. And this will

continue to grow with the increasing power of students, who can

help to better protect these venues by packing them out. Both go

hand-in-hand.

So, before you begin to blame students for the eyesores

popping up around the city, perhaps think a bit deeper and

contemplate how the city has benefitted from the influx of the

student population. The towering flatpack accommodations can be

an inconvenience. But students are not.

Daisy Scott / @chain_scott

I was born, raised and educated in Liverpool and I am so

proud to always be able to call this city my home. Over the years

living and studying here, I have witnessed the city evolve into one

of the most thriving musical hubs in the country, if not, the world.

Liverpool has always been a city famous for its musical roots

– mainly due to this little band called The Beatles; if anyone hasn’t

heard of them I would definitely look them up. However, recently,

so many new and up-and-coming artists have started to emerge

from the musical fold, with an immense amount of talent to boot.

One of the main reasons for so much new music in the city is

due to the large and diverse student population. Students from all

over the world are choosing Liverpool as their home away from

home and in my humble opinion, what better city to reside in than

one bursting at the seams with so much music and culture.

There are so many opportunities in Liverpool to explore

a range of musical avenues. Whether it’s in an old converted

warehouse, the back of a pizza bar or the upstairs of a tea shop,

there is always someone, somewhere looking to share music, arts

and culture with the rest of the world.

However, there is a problem. Students are being unfairly

blamed for the property development in the city and the closing

of certain music venues. It is true that student accommodation

has increased in the last few years, but surely we can turn this

around and view it as a good thing. It means there is a high

demand for students wanting to come to Liverpool. Without

students coming into the city, it would not be the cultural hub it is

known as today.

Students bring new and exciting ideas to the city, they bring

diversity and new cultures and they bring opportunity. They, or

rather, we have been wrongly tarnished with a bad reputation,

written off as the snowflake generation and consequently silenced.

What people are forgetting though is that music isn’t about being

quiet; music is about being heard and being able to exercise the

power of speech through song. Music is ultimately about getting

people to listen, change and create attitudes and start important

conversations.

We want the Bido Lito! Student Society to be one of

those places where we can give students the chance to have

a voice, show that we have every right to be involved in those

conversations and listen to some pretty good music along the way.

Sophie Shields

The first Bido Lito! Student Society meeting takes place at The

Merchant on 7th February. Head to bidolito.co.uk to find out more

and register to attend.

46


PRESENTS...

FINAL

100

TICKETS

CAMP AND FURNACE . 10PM-3AM

FRIDAY 26TH JANUARY

GOTSOME

LIAM ROSS

LOMAX & ANDERTON

Tickets: chibuku.eventgenius.co.uk

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