Issue 87 / April 2018

bidolito

April 2018 issue of Bido Lito! magazine. Featuring: FACT AT 15, BEIJA FLO, DAWN RAY'D, BONEFACE, PIZZAGIRL, WILEY, PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING and much more.

ISSUE 87 / APRIL 2018

NEW MUSIC + CREATIVE CULTURE

LIVERPOOL

FACT AT 15 / DAWN RAY’D / PIZZAGIRL

BEIJA FLO / WILEY / BONEFACE


Wed 21st Mar

Fickle Friends

+ Valeras + Haarm

Sat 24th Mar

AC/DC UK

& Dizzy Lizzy

Sat 24th Mar • SOLD OUT

Gary Numan

Sun 25th Mar

Soundwaves Music

Competition – Liverpool Final

Northern Heist + John Paul + Tabitha Jade

+ Dying Habit + Nikki & The Waves + Positronik

+ Tranquil Sea + Evil Pink Machine + Tongue Of

Fire + Eastcote + Daywalker + The Icon

+ Skylights + Sophie Bernice + Maggie Murray

Thu 29th Mar

The Wonder Stuff

& Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

+ DJ Graham Crabb (PWEI)

Fri 6th Apr

3 Generations of Ska

With Stranger Cole + Neville Staple Band

+ Sugary Staple + The AC30s + Buster Shuffle

Sat 7th Apr

Showhawk Duo Live

Sat 7th Apr

The Smyths

Unite & Take Over Tour 2018

Wed 11th Apr

Henry Gallagher

Fri 13th Apr

Dirty Sanchez Live

Sat 14th Apr

Aston Merrygold

Sat 14th Apr

The Amy Winehouse

Experience ...A.K.A Lioness

Sat 14th Apr

At Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students

The Festival of Light

Wed 25th Apr 7.00pm • SOLD OUT

Frank Turner

& The Sleeping Souls

Fri 27 Apr

Liverpool Rocks Final

Sat 28 Apr

Novana - A Tribute to Nirvana

Sat 28 Apr

Don Broco

Sat 5th May

Marmozets

Sat 5th May

The Verve Experience

Mon 7th May

Gomez

Sat 12th May

Guns 2 Roses

facebook.com/o2academyliverpool

twitter.com/o2academylpool

instagram.com/o2academyliverpool

youtube.com/o2academytv

Thu 17th May

Tragedy:

All Metal Tribute To The Bee Gees

Sat 26th May

Deep Purple Family Tree

Fri 1st Jun

The Beat starring

Dave Wakeling

Sat 2nd Jun

Nick Heyward

Sat 16th Jun

The Psychedelic Furs

Sat 23rd Jun

The Skids

+ Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies

Thu 30th Aug

Protomartyr (USA)

Sat 23rd Sept

Fish

Fri 28 Sep • SOLD OUT

Half Man Half Biscuit

Sat 29th Sept

Red Rum Club

+ The Jackobins + Life At The Arcade

+ Columbia

Sat 6th Oct

Definitely Mightbe

Fri 12th Oct

Elvana:

Elvis Fronted Nirvana

Sat 27 Oct

The Southmartins

Beautiful South & Housemartins Tribute

Sat 3rd Nov

Old Dominion (USA)

Fri 9th Nov

At Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students

George Ezra

Sat 10th Nov

Antarctic Monkeys

Sat 10th Nov

Carpet Crawlers

Sat 17th Nov

UK Foo Fighters

Sat 24th Nov

Pearl Jam UK

Fri 30th Nov

The Doors Alive

Tue 11th Dec

Bjorn Again

Fri 21st Dec

Sex Pissed Dolls

Sat 22nd Dec

Ian Prowse & Amsterdam

THU 22ND MAR 7PM

FIELD MUSIC

SAT 24TH MAR 11PM

BLACK PARADE

00’S EMO ANTHEMS

SAT 24 MAR 7PM

BLANCMANGE

WED 28 MAR SOLD OUT

THU 29 MAR SOLD OUT

DEAF SCHOOL

FRI 6TH APR 7PM

SPINN EP LAUNCH

FRI 13TH APR 6PM

LAZY ARCADE

FRI 13TH APR 7PM

ALEX CAMERON

SAT 21 APR 7PM

COURTNEY

MARIE

ANDREWS

SAT 21 APR 7PM

WEAREYOU

SAT 21ST APR 11PM

METAL NIGHT

SAT 28 APR 7PM

REEF

SAT 12TH MAY 7PM

COCO AND THE

BUTTERFIELDS

THU 17 MAY 7PM

CLAP YOUR

HANDS

SAY YEAH!

+ RONGORONGO

TICKETS FOR ALL SHOWS ARE AVAILABLE FROM

TICKETMASTER.CO.UK

90

SEEL STREET, LIVERPOOL, L1 4BH

FRI 18TH MAY 6.30PM

GAZ COOMBES

SAT 26 MAY 7PM

THE WEDDING

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30TH

ANNIVERSARY

TOUR

FRI 1ST JUN 7PM

TOM CLARKE

TUE 12TH JUN 7PM

THE MAGIC

NUMBERS

SAT 23RD JUNE 7PM

JOHN

BRAMWELL

+ DAVE FIDDLER

SAT 28TH JULY 7PM

JOE SYMES AND

THE LOVING

KIND

+ BIG BAMBORA

WED 8TH AUG 7PM

STEVEN PAGE

FRI 5TH OCT 6PM

THE DANIEL

WAKEFORD

EXPERIENCE

SAT 6TH OCT 7PM

A BAND CALLED

MALICE

THE DEFINITIVE

TRIBUTE TO THE

JAM

A C A D E M Y E V E N T S P R E S E N T S

LOVE FROM

STOURBRIDGE

2 0 1

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Doors 7pm unless stated

Venue box office opening hours:

Mon - Sat 10.30am - 5.30pm

ticketmaster.co.uk • seetickets.com

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G U E S T D J S E T F R O M

G R A H A M C R A B B

THURSDAY 29th MARCH

O 2 ACADEMY LIVERPOOL

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM TICKETMASTER.CO.UK

THEWONDERSTUFF.CO.UK | NEDSATOMICDUSTBIN.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

KING KHAN & THE SHRINES

BLACK HONEY • WYE OAK

SUNDAY 6TH MAY

PEACE

SUNSET SONS • BAXTER DURY

THE NIGHT CAFÉ • DERMOT KENNEDY

JAWS

SUPERORGANISM

YELLOW DAYS

STEALING SHEEP’S SUFFRAGETTE TRIBUTE

BILLIE MARTEN • LOW ISLAND • MATT MALTESE • NEON WALTZ

NICK ELLIS • PARIS YOUTH FOUNDATION • PUMA BLUE • SAM FENDER

THE ACADEMIC • THE BLINDERS • THE ORIELLES

PLUS 100S MORE ARTISTS

SOUND CITY SHOWCASE PARTIES

ATC • BIMM • DITTO • DIY • END OF THE TRAIL RECORDS • GETINTOTHIS

HEAVENLY RECORDINGS • KYCKER.NET PRESENTS • MODERN SKY UK

PUNCH RECORDS • SENTRIC MUSIC • SESAC • THE LABEL RECORDINGS

THE LOCAL • THRESHOLD FESTIVAL • ZANDARI FESTA

LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY OFFICIAL AFTERPARTY • SUNDAY 6TH MAY *

GREG WILSON PRESENTS CREDIT TO THE EDIT

*£10 AFTER PARTY TICKET REQUIRED

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

April – June

Saturday 7 April 8pm

Music Room

MODERN RITUAL


Thursday 12 April 8pm

Music Room

TALISK


Thursday 17 May 8pm

NILS LOFGREN


Friday 25 May 8pm

Music Room

The Legendary Dennis Bovell Presents

THE STORY OF REGGAE IN BRITAIN


Tuesday 5 June 7.30am

Film 15

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE

EBBING, MISSOURI

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 Nils Lofgren


From Sat 14 Apr


CONTENTS

New Music + Creative Culture

Liverpool

Issue 87 / April 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

Intern

Maya Jones

Cover Photography

Robin Clewley

Words

Christopher Torpey, Maya Jones, Matthew Hogarth,

Del Pike, Julia Johnson, Sinéad Nunes, James Davidson,

Mike Stanton, Sam Turner, Bethany Garrett, Craig G

Pennington, Glyn Akroyd, Christopher Carr, Jessica

Fleming, Richard Lewis, Sophie Shields, Daisy Scott

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Mark McKellier, Robin Clewley, Boneface, John Latham,

Rob Adamson, Mook Loxley, Day Howarth, Glyn

Akroyd, Pete Carr, Darren Aston, Keith Ainsworth,

Gareth Jones, Anthony Chappel-Ross.

Distributed by Middle Distance

Print, distribution and events support across

Merseyside and the North West.

middledistance.org.uk

9 / EDITORIAL

Editor Christopher Torpey looks at some

research that proves how vital art is to our

ability to build connections with our fellow

humans, and how deepening these links can

help us build a more civil society.

10 / NEWS

The latest announcements, releases and nonfake

news from around the region.

12 / FACT AT 15

Since it opened in 2003, FACT has established

itself as a central pillar of the city’s thriving

arts community, sparking a generation of

experimentation in film, art and media.

16 / PIZZAGIRL

A tasty pie of heartfelt synthwave and cheesy,

retro sensibilities is the order of the day with this

bedroom pop sensation.

18 / DAWN RAY’D

The anarchist revolution is coming, and it is

going to be soundtracked by DAWN RAY’D’s

battle-ready, poetic take on black metal.

20 / SOUNDTRACKING… A

CLOCKWORK ORANGE

Ahead of the Everyman Theatre’s production

of A Clockwork Orange, Del Pike revisits the

cult music and imagery of Kubrick and Burgess’

great Horrorshow.

22 / ARTS CENTRAL

In the latest in her series focusing on the

region’s arts centres, Julia Johnson looks at

how THE ATKINSON is maintaining a longheld

tradition of arts participation in Southport.

24 / BEIJA FLO

A daring approach to musical performance is

just one aspect of the activism and art of BEIJA

FLO, one of the most ambitious artists working

in the city today.

26 / DIE WITH YOUR MASK ON

Lifting the mask on the artist tasked with

drawing the sound of QOTSA ahead of an

upcoming exhibition of his new work at Buyers

Club.

32 / SPOTLIGHT

We take a closer look at some artists who’ve

been impressing us of late: Chupa Cabra, Wilroy

and Yammerer.

34 / PUBLIC SERVICE

BROADCASTING

Mike Stanton catches up with J. Willgoose Esq.

of the multi-faceted archive raiders ahead of

their Liverpool Olympia date in April.

35 / PREVIEWS

Looking ahead to a busy April in Merseyside’s

creative and cultural community.

40 / REVIEWS

China Dream, Manchester Collective’s 100

Demons, Wiley and The Wailers reviewed by

our team of intrepid reporters.

54 / THE FINAL SAY

Copy

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.


EDITORIAL

Photo by Robin Clewley

“The power of great

art is that it has the

capacity to make

us connect deeply

with the emotions

of others”

With all the talk about the irrelevance of printed

publications that arose recently in the wake of NME’s

demise, it was very satisfying to pick up my copy

of the new-look Loud And Quiet magazine when it

landed with a substantial thwack on the doormat. The publication

celebrated its 123rd issue by overhauling its format with a stylish

revamp – fronted by cover artist David Byrne – that now runs across

20 more pages and three different paper stocks (print nerds, you’re

in for a treat). But its most triumphant success is that it is actually

here, still going strong, proving that there is still a place for critical

and enjoyable music journalism in 2018. And offering proof that

being a freesheet doesn’t mean you need to dumb down. Publishers

at Time Inc., take note.

There’s a neat symmetry in David Byrne gracing the front cover of

Loud And Quiet as it embarks on this new era, as his outlook mirrors

the publication’s desire to be mischievously forward-thinking while

remaining respectful, rather than wedded to, the past. In between

recording his new album, American Utopia, running a record label,

dodging rumours that he is William Onyeabor and being a general

artistic polymath, Byrne also recently found the time to host a lecture

tour under the playful title Reasons To Be Cheerful. Intended as a

hopeful look at various progressive initiatives from across the world,

Reasons To Be Cheerful highlights humanity’s proclivity to do good

even in the most challenging of circumstances. If Byrne originally saw

the project as a symbol of hope amid the increasing bleakness, he’d

be pleasantly surprised to find that the examples he has selected

(amassed at reasonstobecheerful.world) have come to be seen as a

kind of online observatory of world improvement.

Citing groundbreaking programmes tackling prison reform

(Norway) and chronic drug addiction (Portugal), Byrne points to a

number of pragmatic examples that have brought about real change

across the globe over the past decade. One report from the many

fascinating references found in the section titled Cultural Institutions

– Knock-On Effects really jumped out at me, a report that proved

how arts and humanities can have a beneficial impact on society.

A three-year study by the Social Impact Of The Arts Project at the

University Of Pennsylvania demonstrated that the presence of libraries

and other cultural institutions in boroughs across New York not only

improved health levels and children’s academic achievement, but it

also reduced crime rates. This is backed up by anecdotal evidence

from cultural hubs built in barrio neighbourhoods in Bogota and the

AfroReggae initiative in a favela in northern Rio de Janeiro. As Byrne

himself summarises, “To lower crime, we don’t need more prisons or

stiffer sentencing. Part of the solution might be to build a library or a

performance space.”

This conclusion – that if you’re connected with the society in

which you live, through art or broader cultural community activities,

you’re more likely to care about it and do something to protect it –

intuitively makes sense and is now backed up by data. A 2013 study

by the University Of Birmingham into the factors that predicted rates

of volunteering by UK youths (aged 10-15) added further weight

to this body of research. It found that young people with high levels

of “cultural capital” – or artistic engagement – are more likely to

volunteer. “Going to the theatre, concerts, sports events, museums or

art galleries had the greatest influence on youth volunteering and civic

engagement.”

And there’s more: a 2012 Cambridge study in the journal

Psychology Of Music showed that a group of children who

participated in musical activities were more attuned to their peers’

emotional needs than those who had taken part in general communal

activities; and researchers from the University At Buffalo were able

to prove that students who had read various passages from Harry

Potter and Twilight novels quickly began to self-identify with the

characters they were reading about, pointing to reading as fulfilling

a fundamental need – the need for social connection. “Books provide

the opportunity for social connection and the blissful calm that comes

from becoming a part of something larger than oneself for a precious,

fleeting moment,” wrote the report’s authors Dr Shira Gabriel and

Ariana Young.

Art, and its attendant culture, is a vitally constructive aspect in the

development of humanity, and we can now prove that a lack of access

to arts is damaging to society. This may be a conclusion that seems

instinctual to us who work in the arts and humanities, but without

demonstrable proof it’s a mere theory. Bolstered by this knowledge,

we can now approach the conversations around developing a

new framework for our city region’s cultural strategy with greater

conviction.

The power of great art is that it has the capacity to make us

connect deeply with the emotions of others, and improves our ability

to see things from another person’s perspective. In an article written

for the Guardian in January 2017, the then outgoing Chairman of

Arts Council England, Peter Bazalgette, referenced many ways

in which art and culture have demonstrably benefited our ability

to empathise and thus become more ‘humane’. “Arts and popular

culture, with their stories about the human condition are, if you like,

the empathy gymnasium,” he writes, expanding on one of the many

compelling arguments he used to lobby the government to increase

their investment in arts during his tenure. “And why does it matter?

Because empathy is a glue that enables families, communities and

countries to function in a civil and civilised manner. If you can see

things from someone else’s point of view, then you can go on to act

compassionately towards them.”

It’s a theory Bazalgette develops thoroughly in his book The

Empathy Instinct: How To Create A More Civil Society, hailing

the development of MRI technology in allowing scientists and

psychologists to pinpoint areas of the brain activated by artistic stimuli.

Closing the book’s chapter on The Art Of Empathy, Bazalgette

emphasises: “It’s clear that if we assure each generation immerses

itself in arts and culture, in all its many manifestations, we’ll build better

citizens who understand each other’s feelings and needs. That is what

it is to be human.”

So, you see, we need music, and art, and the ability to create –

as much as we need the venues and institutions to showcase and

consume these creations. It’s not an indulgence, it’s part of our make

up – as a form of expression and as a way for us to understand the

deepest motivations and feelings of others. And you don’t need to have

David Byrne’s polymathic abilities to see that; you just need the ability

to feel.

It is with great sadness that we heard about the passing of

musician Jonny Walker just as we were going to press. Jonny was a

great advocate for the rights of buskers and street performers across

the North West, and promoted the idea that public spaces should be

places where artistic expression should be encouraged. All of us at

Bido Lito! would like to pass on our sincerest condolences to his family

at this time.

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Editor

09


NEWS

LIMF’s New Generation

For the past five years, LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC

FESTIVAL has delighted punters across Merseyside with its Summer

Jam – for 2018, they’re pulling out all the stops, bringing some of

the UK’s most popular and critically acclaimed contemporary acts

to Sefton Park on 21st and 22nd July. Alongside big hitters like

EXAMPLE and DJ WIRE and longstanding Godfather of Grime,

WILEY, there are hotly-tipped newcomers like STEFFLON DON and

MAHALIA, and Mercury Prize winners YOUNG FATHERS, whose

new album Cocoa Sugar is a shoe-in for record of the year (yeh,

we’re only four months in but it’s that good). Keep an eye out for the

new iteration of the much-loved itsliverpool Stage too – Next Gen

will continue LIMF’s tradition of platforming the best new talent in

the city. The festival will be ticketed this year, but for a mere £5 a

day it doesn’t really take much thought. Head to limfestival.com for

more info.

Young Fathers

Alight Of Night

LIGHTNIGHT represents the best chance of experiencing a huge

chunk of the city’s cultural offer in one foot-blistering swoop. For

one night galleries, museums, venues and other spaces in the city

open their doors for special events running from late afternoon

to after darkness falls. This year’s ‘Transformation’ theme sees

some enticing commissions from sound artist Patrick Dineen,

another light and sound spectacular at Liverpool Cathedral and

the British Music Experience hosting an interactive installation.

Bido Lito! members will be able to experience the highlights with

our own guided tour. For more info on this year’s programme go

to lightnightliverpool.co.uk.

LightNight (Photo by Pete Carr)

WoW: Crossing Borders

Lily Allen

WRITING ON THE WALL – Liverpool’s literary festival that takes over the city each

May – are not shy about addressing some of the most pressing questions of our time,

and they’ve surpassed themselves with their plans for 2018. Taking on the theme

of ‘Crossing Borders’, their events will explore how society can move forward and

champion more voices at a time when building, and reinforcing, barriers and borders

are challenging progressive thought. They’ll be addressing Justice4Grenfell with input

from LOWKEY and LILY ALLEN, questioning the prison system, celebrating the work

of city writers, and taking on toxic masculinity with two of the most prominent voices

in the UK to speak out about it – comedian ROBERT WEBB and Rizzle Kicks’ JORDAN

STEPHENS. Find out more at writingonthewall.org.uk.

Plotting The Mind Map

It’s Time To Talk About Drugs

Sleaford Mods, Shopping and The Orielles are among the musical

guests on new interactive mental health website THE MIND MAP which

launched in March. Developed with clinical input from NHS Liverpool

CCG and Mersey Care along with Liverpool John Moores University,

the site provides wellbeing advice and signposting to mental health

services along with interviews with artists, young people and health

professionals. The Mind Map launched with an exhibition (which runs

until 8th April) and conversation with Everton footballer Leighton

Baines at Unit 51. They’ll be continuing activity locally with mental

health and media workshops with the Merseyside Youth Association’s

mental health group in April. Find out more at themindmap.co.uk.

An important subject is being tackled head-on at the Jacaranda

in April with Resonate Liverpool coordinating a discussion on

drug welfare at UK music venues. Looking at the expansion of the

multi-agency safety testing (M.A.S.T.) programme operated by

community interest organisation The Loop, and following the policy

recommendations of West Midland Police, the discussion looks to

move the conversation forward rather than simply re-treading old

ground. The panel event on Saturday 14th April at the Jac consists of

representatives from The Loop, Fabric London nightclub (the nightclub

which implemented M.A.S.T.’s anonymous drug testing initiative after

reviews to their licence) and national committees on drug issues.

Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Ari Benjamin Meyers

The 10th edition of LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL will be exploring the

question ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You?’ this year with artists from

across the globe arriving in our midst. Exhibitions in art spaces and

special commissions in the public realm will once again transform

the city with works by artists from various countries’ indigenous

communities, community collaborations and the rediscovery of our

city’s treasures. Among the highlights are Oscar-nominated Belgian

video artist AGNÈS VARDA’s first work in the UK, works by artist ARI

BENJAMIN MEYERS exploring Liverpool’s musical heritage which is

set in the Playhouse, and a ‘healing’ garden to be produced by artist

MOHAMED BOUROUISSA in Toxteth.

10


DANSETTE

Former Engineers songwriter

MARK PETERS reveals some of

the inspirational records that have

proved seminal in his musical

education, and especially during the

making of his new solo LP, Innerland.

Jo Mary Land A Seabass

Everyone’s favourite naked sleaze rockers

JO MARY start their monthly residency at

Sound Food and Drink with a roll call of artists

celebrating the underground. The Wirral rockers

have lovingly picked their favourite acts from the

Leisure Peninsula and beyond for a regular night

entitled Seabass, which promises to be a living,

breathing jukebox of “carnage, mayhem and most

of all just good music”. For the opening night

on 28th April the band are joined by SAMURAI

KIP, BILL NICKSON, UNCLE JANE and a DJ

set from Bido Lito! affiliate Hog Roast. Future

gigs will see the likes of MEATRAFFLE and

STARLIGHT MAGIC HOUR (26th May) enter the

subterranean creative haven.

Meatraffle

Articulating Women

Despite a conscious push for greater gender equality infiltrating

mainstream discourse, we’re still a long way off, and often when

discussing these issues our Anglocentric focus neglects the

bigger picture across the globe. Looking to address this is a new

initiative from Christ University Bengaluru, The Bluecoat, FACT,

and Liverpool Hope University. Mixing art, film and education,

ARTICULATING WOMEN will host an artist in residence

from the Karnataka state of India at The Bluecoat, produce

educational materials for teachers and community volunteers, as

well as host film screenings at FACT and in Bengaluru, alongside

much more. They’ve also launched a competition to produce a

mini-documentary around the theme of women and community,

which is open to students in higher education in the UK and

India. For more information on the project and how to get

involved, head to empowering-women.net.

Harold Budd/

Brian Eno

A Stream With

Bright Fish

Editions EG

This slapped me around the face when I first heard it. It’s

the perfect representation of 4am in mid-summer. The

simulated crickets obviously help, but there’s something in

the interplay between the piano and effects that is really

riveting. It annoys me when people criticise music for its

passive qualities; I think it’s akin to impressionistic painting –

not a literal depiction of a place and time, but a very accurate

reading of the feeling you had in that place or time.

The Durutti Column

Madeleine

Factory

This was the first track I heard

by them and it’s still one of my

favourites. I love that you can

hear the origins of loads of other music from the North

West in it. I saw Vini Reilly play in York a few years ago

and it made me rethink my music making. That expressive

northwestern feeling in his playing made me realise that I

should stop ignoring that aspect of myself – it’s a rich seam

that has produced some of the world’s best popular music.

The Wytches

Tom Verlaine

Spiritual

Rough Trade

Shed Talks Over The Threshold

ACROSS THE THRESHOLD takes place this month, a scaled

down version of the popular grassroots festival which

has taken over the Baltic Triangle every year since 2012.

Part of the festival for this year – which hosts the likes of

EMERGENCY TIARA, PETER J SMYTH and MIXNOTS – is

an interactive programme of discursive sessions which aims

to address a wide range of pertinent issues facing the city’s

creative community. SHED Talks will cover such ground as

the future of festivals in Liverpool, how the Baltic Triangle can

thrive in the current climate and traversing the tricky terrain of

social media for budding promoters.

Calling Card

After a couple of years’ absence, LIVERPOOL CALLING

returns this year bigger and better than ever. Boasting a

top line-up consisting of PULLED APART BY HORSES and

THE WYTCHES, the homegrown festival will be welcomed

back by music fans. Taking place in venues across the Baltic

Triangle with an additional opening programme of gigs in city

centre venues, the event looks quite different from its humble

beginnings five years ago. Joining the headliners on the bill

are some Bido Lito! favourites including PEANESS, SPQR

and CRAPSONS and a bunch more local acts across various

venues.

Amazing as it is, it’s not all

about Marquee Moon for

me. I wish Tom Verlaine

had made more music like this. Like Vini Reilly or Richard

Thompson, it’s like he has the voice of ancient man in his

fingertips. I wonder sometimes if he’s almost debating with

an imaginary opponent when he’s soloing and dismissing

their opinions with the overwhelming truth of the resolving

moments. That, among other reasons, is why people like

this are far superior to your typical guitar ego wanker.

Haruomi Hosono

25 Dec. 1983

Yen Records

Vels Trio

Amen Corner

ON THE CORNER is the latest festival to be added to the Baltic

Triangle’s enviable calendar of innovative events. Over three days

at the end of April, Constellations will be playing host to a vibrant

cross section of progressive young artists. On the bill, experimental

jazz troupe VELS TRIO play Madlib’s Shades Of Blue, RnB singer

FATIMA returns after a stellar Liverpool show last year, and Melodies

International co-owner MAFALDA makes a Merseyside debut. Starting

with a launch party on Friday 27th April and ending with a day of

pop-up food stalls, an independent record fair and creative workshops

on Sunday 29th, On The Corner also brings two of Liverpool’s newest

venues into the fold with Brick Street and The Reeds hosting afterparties

over the weekend. Sections of the event will also be broadcast

live via Baltic-based internet radio station MELODIC DISTRACTION,

adding to the festival’s bold vision.

This is perfectly named and

I don’t know why. It’s not for

festive reasons either. It’s just

emotion expressed in a very pure way – not even one

emotion – from chord to chord comes elation and reflection

to reminiscence and back again. A time, place and event

captured very elegantly. He’s an unsung genius to me, a

little unfairly disregarded in favour of Ryuichi Sakamoto. His

music is less western overall, though, and it has that pure

Japanese folk voice that is very calming on a philosophical

as well as spiritual level.

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

Peters’ selections. An extended version of Peters’ LP

Innerland is released on 20th April via Sonic Cathedral.

Mark Peters also plays the Bido Lito! Social on 24th May.

NEWS 11


When it opened in 2003 it was the first new arts centre to be built in

Liverpool in 60 years; today, FACT is a central pillar of the city’s thriving

arts community. Maya Jones considers how this futuristic building

sparked a generation of experimentation in film, art and media.

“What makes many

of FACT’s exhibitions

so exciting [is] the

feeling that you are a

part of the artwork”

I

was 16 and impressionable when I first walked through

the doors of FACT – the Foundation for Art and Creative

Technology. After hours spent devouring The Art Of Pop

Video (2013), I left armed with a poster and the knowledge

that, when it comes to weirdly disturbing music videos, Die

Antwoord are the masters. FACT drew me in using popular

music, and showed me a glimpse of an art world I knew little

about. It was the first time I felt at home in an art gallery and the

beginning of a journey that, five years later, would see me return

to Liverpool’s art scene as a writer. And so that poster remains on

my bedroom wall as a reminder that some things are timeless: my

appreciation of FACT and everything it represents being one.

To celebrate FACT’s 15th birthday, I met up with the gallery’s

Director and CEO to discuss how the arts centre has evolved

since it opened in 2003. Like FACT, Mike Stubbs is unpredictable

and we begin our interview on the building’s roof. “For me,

it’s interesting to think about this building as a catalyst for

cultural regeneration in Liverpool.” He points to the surrounding

Ropewalks area: “20 or 30 years ago, this was pretty much

derelict and in a state of decline. Now, if we go onto the other

side of the building and walk down Bold Street, it’s all coffee

shops and restaurants.” It’s a comparison I’m familiar with: one

that is frequently used to express how this city has changed.

Stubbs tells me that FACT’s biggest challenge was “making

people realise that an independent area like the Ropewalks

could succeed” – and it did. FACT’s success as an arts centre is

reflected in the regeneration of the Ropewalks area, and that

alone is worthy of celebration.

So how did FACT begin? In 1988, Eddie Berg – the founder

and former executive director of FACT – launched the Video

Positive festival. “It started as a community collaboration

project,” Stubbs explains, “and then it became a desire to have

a national new media arts centre here in Liverpool, and not in

London.” Costing £11 million to build, FACT opened in 2003,

the same year that Liverpool won the bid to be European Capital

Of Culture in 2008. The city beat strong contenders such as

Bristol and Newcastle/Gateshead, and Stubbs suggests that

FACT was instrumental to this success: “When the judging

team came up here, they saw this futuristic building looking at

modern media and thought that Liverpool must be really forward

thinking. Prior to this, the last new arts building in Liverpool was

the Philharmonic in 1939. So in a sense, it was a really brave,

confident move for the city to invest in FACT; it was a signal that

Liverpool was confident in its future as a creative city.”

When Stubbs arrived at FACT in 2007, preparations for

Liverpool’s Capital Of Culture year were in full swing. He

describes a city on the brink of change: “We’d be looking out

here at a sea of cranes. The whole city was like a building site.”

It strikes me that this is similar to what I am looking at now; with

new luxury flats and student accommodation, the regeneration

of the Ropewalks area is an ongoing process that some feel has

gone too far. I ask Stubbs about the dangers of gentrification and

he is quick to point towards some of the city’s success stories:

Baltic Creative, for example, and the Kazimier merging with

Invisible Wind Factory. However, he is adamant that Liverpool

must keep its “idiosyncrasy and let people be truly creative, not a

corporatised version of what creativity can deliver.”

2008 was a year of celebration and culture for Liverpool, and

Stubbs believes it had a lasting impact on the arts industry. “The

European Capital of Culture was in my view really successful. The

local authority and everybody in this city has continued to believe

that arts and culture is important.” He remembers the exhibitions

from that year with particular affection. Jens Hauser curated

sk-interfaces, in which artists used their own biological materials

as art material and modified their bodies as artwork – as Stubbs

summarises, “this was some pretty weird shit.” FACT also

12


hosted the UK premiere of Gravity By My Friend, a “beautifully

immersive work” by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. ‘Immersive’ pops

up repeatedly throughout our conversation, and I realise that this

quality is what makes many of FACT’s exhibitions so exciting: the

feeling that you are a part of the artwork.

I ask Stubbs to recall the other projects that have stood out in

the 11 years he has worked at FACT. He names Chicago-based

Austrian artist Kurt Hentschlager and his work ZEE (2011),

which “blew people away, and blew me away.” The audiovisual

installation invited audience members to wander through a heavy

fog; it was designed to give the impression of time standing still.

Stubbs explains further: “We filled the gallery space downstairs

with a very heavy fog using dry ice. It triggered all sorts of brain

activity using non-ocular vision, just by playing light through this

heavy mist into your eye. It was weird and fantastic.”

He also mentions Tehching Hsieh’s One Year Performance,

1980 – 1981, which was curated by FACT for the Liverpool

Biennial in 2010. The exhibition documented one year in which

Hsieh punched a clocking-on machine every hour for the duration

of the year. Every time he clocked on, a frame of 16mm film

was taken and a time-lapse movie was formed. Hsieh was

interrogating the idea of wasted time. “It was an extremely

formal, regimented artwork. He managed to get up every hour

for a year, except for 133 times, and then he made this extremely

beautiful artwork out of the documentation, which FACT

displayed.” Stubbs shows me the photography, and I notice the

length of his hair changing as time passes. Boredom and bodilypunishment

appear oddly calming on paper.

There have been many seminal exhibitions at FACT over

the past 15 years. Readers might remember Shia LaBeouf’s

#TOUCHMYSOUL performative exhibition with Rönkkö and

Turner in 2015 – but it was 2017’s HEWILLNOTDIVIDEUS, in

response to Donald Trump’s election as US President, which

caught international attention when it angered members of an

alt-right discussion board on 4chan. After being forced to remove

his live webcam stream from outside New York’s Museum Of

The Moving Image, LaBeouf started a live-stream of a white flag

bearing the words ‘HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US’, and the alt-right

tracked down its location using a variety of complex methods.

After a bizarre series of events that resembled a message board

game of capture the flag, it appeared on the roof of FACT. Within

hours, it had been taken down due to trespassers. The whole

escapade was an important reminder of how powerful art can be

in the digital age, and of its potential to reach masses of people.

In a beautiful example of irony, the alt-right’s desire to silence

LaBeouf only reinforced his message.

Each of the exhibitions that Stubbs mentions is unlike

anything I have heard of before. It’s a quality I enjoy about FACT:

not knowing what I am going to get when I walk into the gallery

space. It makes this arts centre a welcome accompaniment to

some of the more traditional galleries in the city, and I am keen

to know how they choose which artworks to exhibit. “It’s about

choosing the right projects that people can get an easy entry

point to.” He mentions Richard Ramchurn’s The Moment, which

will be on show as part of the FACT At 15 celebrations. “In this

new project, visitors will wear a headset and sit in a caravan in

Ropewalks Square. It’s quite an attractive thing for people who

might not go into a gallery space first thing. Except they will go

into a gallery space: it will be the caravan.” He finishes: “We want

to make work that is critical, but also accessible.”

Stubbs also wants to ensure that FACT remains politically

relevant. “We allow artists licence to ask questions that other

people feel they can’t.” He cites a recent project called Future

Aleppo (2017 – 2018), in which “people could see a model of

what Aleppo looked like before it was bombed, and have a go on

VR for the first time.” In 2019, an exhibition called After The End

“We allow artists

licence to ask

questions that

other people

feel they can’t”

FEATURE

13


Of The World will explore climate change and sustainability 20

years on from the Paris Accord. Being internationally focused also

helps FACT to remain relevant and at the forefront of technology

and art. Stubbs points to projects in Shanghai and Panama as

well as a partnership with CERN in Switzerland as examples of

FACT’s broad, ambitious reach.

But FACT is not just known for its art. The building, which

contains a café, bar and cinema, has become a staple community

space for members of the public. The high, swooping ceilings

of the atrium and the floor-length windows create a welcoming

and calming atmosphere; a visit to FACT becomes a quiet respite

from busy Bold Street. Stubbs explains that the atrium used to be

sectioned into smaller, closed spaces before they opened it up:

“We wanted to make everything more public, and treat the entire

building as a gallery space. We also wanted to merge the people

who came for the cinema experience with those that come for the

galleries.” It is this open approach that makes it so easy to dip into

FACT’s exhibitions: a cinema or café-goer with 10 minutes to spare

is welcome to explore the galleries while they wait.

Not wanting to get too wrapped up in nostalgia, the gallery is

dedicating a week of programming to mark its anniversary, and a

major part of FACT At 15 will involve looking at the future of the

building. Though it has served as an excellent space for the past

15 years, Stubbs is keen to improve its accessibility and proximity

to Bold Street. “When the building was built, we had the option

of having two lifts or a fancy staircase and one lift. We chose the

latter.” The fancy staircase is now a staple of the building, but

Stubbs is keen to address the lack of accessibility. “We’ve had far

too many complaints from people tripping on cobbles or not being

able to get into the building – so we have ambition to redevelop

the building as much as we can.” Another issue is space: “We’re

always trying to use the space in lots of new ways. We’ve got two

galleries but we’d like more – we could use it.” Like the surrounding

area it has helped to shape, FACT must keep evolving.

Above all, FACT At 15 will be a celebration. “There will be

some pomp and splendour,” Stubbs assures me, “and we’ll be

marking all the people that helped make the original building

possible. Then we’ll thank all the people that have grown it.”

Highlights of the week-long activity include a live set from Robin

Fox at 24 Kitchen Street, which Stubbs points out is a very FACT

thing to be playing host to. “Robin is somewhere between a

sonic artist, musician and DJ. He started mucking about with

lasers and before you know it, you’ve got these incredible

audiovisual works. This links to my point of letting people muck

about.”

Speaking with Stubbs is like being given a whirlwind of

fascinating information; I spend hours afterwards absorbing the

brilliant stories and peculiarities that make up FACT’s history.

It is clear that FACT At 15 is both a celebration of the past and

a nod towards a bright and innovative future. 10 years after it

was named the European Capital Of Culture, Liverpool is leading

the way as a city of the arts and it has this building to thank.

As conversations on how to build this success into something

sustainable come to the fore a decade after 08, Stubbs has one

piece of advice for this evolving city, which sticks in my mind

long after we cease talking: “Whatever you do, create open

space for people to fuck about, play and try things out that they

don’t understand.” It is a perfect description of FACT. !

Words: Maya Jones / @mmayajones

Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uk

fact.co.uk

FACT At 15 runs between 11th and 15th April. As part of the

celebrations, FACT is asking for members of the public to share

their personal memories and experiences of the building. Tweet

your memories @FACT_Liverpool to join in.

“We want to

make work that is

critical, but also

accessible”

14


BUY 1 GIN

GET THE SECOND

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SUNDAY TO THURSDAY


Nightcrawler

Pizza choice: Mr White

(Oregano, ricotta, mozzarella,

caramelised onions, garlic oil)

American

Pizza Slice

“Cheesy, creamy ricotta, I like it

a-lotta. It’s the go-to pizza here.

Shout out to Jamie the pizza wizard.”

Pizza choice – Fennel Sausage

(Mascarpone, fire roasted red

peppers, Italian sausage)

“Mmm fresh cheese. It’s on a par with

Crazy Pedro’s, but it’s a bit like toast.”

PIZZAGIRL

A tasty pie of heartfelt synthwave

and cheesy, retro sensibilities

is the order of the day of this

bedroom pop sensation.

always said my style is, like, infomercial-esque

80s, 90s ironic pop, but sometimes it gets a bit

darker. I like infomercial music, like QVC, and smooth

“I’ve

jazz lift music… I like being weird, basically.”

Liam Brown, aka PIZZAGIRL (and the artist formerly known

as Lumen), is very much a child of the 21st Century – but you

wouldn’t necessarily know that to look at him. The 19-year-old

sat before me today is sporting a green and blue shell suit jacket

and natty pizza socks, in honour of the ‘pizza crawl’ we’ve invited

him on around some of the city centre’s popular slice bars. He’s

upbeat at the prospect of putting his culinary powers to the test,

but his positive demeanour is primarily because he has a new

EP out in April. Amazingly, An Extended Play is the first ‘proper’

collection of music Brown has released as Pizzagirl or Lumen,

beyond dropping a number of singles since he emerged on the

scene as a fresh-faced 17-year-old.

“At home it’s like The Shining,” he says about the bedroom

setup he has in his “Beatzeria” at home. “I’ll just sit at home and

stay quiet, recording a song a day. Basically, that’s all I do. I’ve been

sitting on quite a bit of music and it’s nice to just get it out and

have people listen to it.”

Brown has always been a prolific songwriter, but what he

has possibly lacked is the conviction to go with his work rate.

The newfound confidence that he has comes from the backing

of Manchester-based label Heist Or Hit, who’ve given him the

comfort he needs to just go and create. “They never change

anything creative about it, so anything coming out is 100% me in

my bedroom.”

“I feel like in my room I can make a fool out of myself,” he

continues. “I feel like I can experiment a bit more because no one’s

watching me.” Working alone offers Brown the freedom he craves,

where he can allow his creativity to truly express itself – but he

does occasionally miss the opportunity to bounce ideas off people;

which is where the internet comes in. As a product of the digital

age, Brown sees the internet as a tool, using it to locate rabbit

holes of musical inspiration which he can then disappear down. “I

love the internet like a person, it’s a thing of constant inspiration. I

like that idea of it being a thing, like a friend or an extra bandmate.

It’s where someone in a band would be like, ‘Have you heard this?’

Spotify is like my co-manager at the minute.”

Pizzagirl’s style is so obviously rooted in the garish aesthetic

of 90s children’s TV and synth-heavy 80s film soundtracks that

he fits right in inside the brightly-coloured pizza establishments

adorned with retro paraphernalia that we wander into. The

Pizzagirl shtick is a homemade version of all these influences,

yet deliberately and playfully off-kilter. “I just love pop culture,”

Brown exclaims, as he sits down to his second slice beneath

some Transformers skateboards. “I love all the fashion, the wacky,

colourful, ballsy stuff.”

Though Brown makes plenty of references to “properly

inspirational, smooth RnB pop stuff” – Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson

(“Let’s Wait Awhile by her is the ultimate power ballad, but it’s so

funky”), Jessie’s Girl and Don’t Stop Believing – there’s not a hint

of irony or pastiche in his music. Instead, the Pizzagirl oeuvre is

flavoured by a far stronger fascination that Brown has for the dark,

brooding synthwave film soundtracks to Drive and Bladerunner.

One listen to his singles Carseat and Coffee Shop will confirm this.

“I feel like I was born in the right time but the wrong time as

well,” he admits. “I want to be living in the 80s but at the same

time I wouldn’t have the same accessibility of 80s music if I were

16


Crazy Pedro’s

Pizza choice – Pedro’s Pepperoni

(Pepperoni and house cheese mix)

“The pepperoni slices are really evenly

spaced – it’s like an American flag! The

cheese-to-bread ratio could be better,

but the pepperoni spacing is like art.”

living then. Which is hard – it’s the constant burden I live with…!”

There’s a sense of longing on the louche track Seabirds from

the EP that hints at a deep seriousness in him, which makes the

whimsy of the Pizzagirl front seem like a wall that’s put up for

Brown to hide behind. This can be a delicate line to toe, but in

his mind he knows exactly where Pizzagirl ends and where Liam

starts. “I feel like Pizzagirl is a persona. If you look on Instagram

it’s like a wacky, exaggerated me – I’m not like that all the time, I’m

quite chilled out I’d like to think.”

“Hopefully Pizzagirl is a thing that other people can get in on,”

he states, adding that he wants it to be “a nice little world where

you feel warm in the nostalgia. I just want to take people back

20 years to forget about the climate that we’re in today. It’s quite

a bleak landscape. When I look back on the 90s, even though I

wasn’t really alive – I wasn’t born until 1998 – it just seems more

fun; everything seems a bit more alive and vivid.”

The change of name from Lumen to Pizzagirl is something

that Brown also credits as a big part in his development. “If I were

going to see someone called Lumen I would expect something

more pretentious than I was doing at the time,” he states, and it’s

also resulted in an uplift in expectations of what his live show is.

Brown credits a gig he played with Kero Kero Bonito at Liverpool

Music Week in 2017 for making him think outside the (pizza) box

about his live setup. “It was a perfect gig for me to do; all their

fans are really hardcore and they were all dressed up mad. Sarah

[Midori Perry, vocalist] had a flamingo, they were playing proper

mad synth patches, it was boss to watch. So I went home, got

some synths, and started doing it.”

This hits on what Brown thinks was an important realisation

for him in identifying the musician he wanted to be. He doesn’t

want to be viewed as ‘just another artist’ in an endless sea of

acts jamming their way through a set. “I want it to be like a party,

like a design,” he says, before revealing that he’s often bored by

bog standard live shows. “When I go to gigs I’m always sitting

there waiting for it to finish because I’m not really a big gig goer. I

remember seeing Peaches at Sound City; she was crazy, I love her.

Stuff like that, that blurs the line between music and cabaret, gets

me more excited than seeing just a band on stage with drums.”

“Pizzagirl seems like a novelty name but it’s just a moniker to

be a bit crazy,” he adds, showing no signs of flagging as his third

pizza slice arrives. “You don’t know what to expect, it could be

anything, and I feel like that’s better for me because I don’t have to

impress anyone. I wanted to do something that was so absurd that

you wouldn’t – you couldn’t – criticise it. It’s just fun, I don’t want it

to be too serious.”

The impression of a young artist reaching back to a period that

he barely remembers to co-opt the style can come across as a bit

of a calculated move. But the fact remains that Brown was making

music with a retro, synthetic kind of vibe long before Pizzagirl; and

the image belies the fact that this music has real heart and depth.

Favourite Song and Private Number (a song about falling in love

with a computer) are far from throwaway tunes; they’re heartfelt

and perfectly in tune with the twinkling synth passages.

“I’m not like some novelty Timmy Mallett or something, going

on stage making songs just to listen to once. I want to put a bit

more thought to how it’s done, but in a way that the lyrics would

be a bit deeper than the music. It disarms you by the fact that it’s a

bit ironic.”

The focus Brown puts on Pizzagirl’s accompanying visuals is

key to understanding him as an artist who successfully straddles

two eras separated by a digital revolution. “I like adverts, and how

media goes with music,” he states, demonstrating an acceptance

of advertising culture that is typical of his generation. “Ads are

sort of the little helper to give you what visuals go with the music,

but if I’d said this 20 years ago it would have been called selling

out. Aspiring to work with ads or brands shouldn’t be seen as

selling out – it should be a really good opportunity to do something

creative. You can’t just sit there and go, ‘I’m never going to work

with a brand because that’s my music getting tainted’, because it

isn’t! It’s fun. It’s weird, because a lot of traditionalists are like that.

You can’t make music without at least capitalising on it in some

way.”

Pizzagirl is far from the finished product, which is probably the

most exciting aspect about what he’s achieved with An Extended

Play. Still in a state of building on his influences, Brown admits that

he feels like he’s “just a bit of a sponge at the moment: any pop

culture thing or any film or TV or live act that sort of piques my

interest, I’ll take bits from it.” The image of Brown burrowed away

in his Beatzeria, filtering the wackiest corners of the internet into

his own singular identity, is one that gives you faith that the future

of music is in safe, if unconventional, hands.

“It’s exciting to not know, to see what’s going to happen. The

journey’s fun.”

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Photography: John Latham / mrjohnlatham.com

mypizzagirl.com

An Extended Play is released on 13th April via Heist Or Hit.

Pizzagirl supports Her’s at EBGBS on 19th April.

FEATURE

17


DAWN RAY’D

The anarchist revolution is coming, and it is going to be soundtracked by

DAWN RAY’D’s battle-ready, poetic take on black metal.

18


There’s a lot of anger in the world today: things often look

very bleak, especially if you’re tuned in to a cycle of news

that knows how to prey on your deepest insecurities.

From the alt-right to the activist left – and everywhere in

between – there seethes a fury in all of us. It’s OK to be angry, it’s a

normal, human reaction – it’s how you process it that defines you.

Referencing this anger, and reacting to it in a way that is

cathartic and freeing, are DAWN RAY’D. Born from the ashes of

post-hardcore band We Came Out Like Tigers, this three-piece

pour their spite into a triumph of harmony and malevolence on

their debut album The Unlawful Assembly. Split into two parts,

the LP is an updated blast of black metal from what was found

on their 2015 EP, A Thorn, A Blight. The anger found on this LP

is not wanton, it’s channelled, showing that fury that is controlled

and directed well can be very powerful. Indeed, after selling

out of the LP’s first pressing when it was released in October

2017, Dawn Ray’d’s label – the progressive black metal imprint

Prosthetic Records, home to Scale The Summit and Skeletonwitch

– commissioned a re-pressing of the LP on silver and bronze vinyl,

to be released in April.

Dawn Ray’d take their name from a passage in a poem by

American anarchist writer Voltairine de Cleyre, which is a nod

to their own left-wing, antifascist views, and the poetic lyrics

of Simon B, who acts as a kind of lightning rod of the group’s

fearsome energy. Their stance marks them out as a group who

see activism and having a musical platform as equally important,

particularly against some of the more unsavoury, pro-right-wing

views of NSBM (national socialist black metal) artists.

Ahead of the re-release of The Unlawful Assembly, we caught

up with the band’s vocalist and violinist Simon B. to find out what

Dawn Ray’d’s take on a contemporary class war would look and

sound like.

The Unlawful Assembly is split into two parts, The Wild Service

and The Wild Magic. What does each ‘half’ represent, in terms of

competing emotions that make up the whole album?

Every release we have done in this band, and in our previous

bands, has focused around the vinyl release, so it was definitely

written in two halves. For me, The Wild Service, the first half of the

record, is very direct and straightforward, the lyrics are expressly

political, the songs are fast, angry, no-nonsense. It is very much

the ‘business end’ of the album. I liked

the idea that anarchism is a service

to humanity and to the world, it is

a very selfless ideology. The Wild

Magic is more expansive and lyrically

philosophical, more whimsical; it is

less literal for sure. Although we are

very political, we are also a black

metal band, so there has to be a

balance between the message and

the magic black metal is supposed to

create.

I also liked the idea of replacing the

‘side A/B’ format. It is another chance

to put extra imagination into the

record – I like the idea of using every

possible chance you have to express

yourself, not wasting an opportunity

to contribute to the magic or lore of

what this band is.

“Screaming as

hard as you can,

punching the air

and seeing people

scream the words

back at you is a

feeling like no other”

Would it be fair to say there’s plenty of rage on this album?

There are some fairly obvious targets for vitriol too (the church,

Nazi apologists), but is there a more existential rage embedded

in the whole thing?

Hmm… It is a very angry album for sure, I would say that is the

primary emotion on this record without doubt, but an anger that

comes in different forms; it is triumphant at times, sometimes

righteous, sometimes very bitter and malicious. There are definitely

targets that have been singled out – fascists, the abusers within

the church, the borders, prisons – but you are right, there is a

deeper anger for sure.

The Ceaseless Arbitrary Choice explores the faults of voting and

relying on a ballot box for change, and maybe what we could

do instead. We have songs that look at the constant drudgery

and malaise of living under capitalism, and of how resistance is

important for your mental survival. These issues, although they

must be confronted, are not going away anytime soon, so we have

to learn to both resist, but also live under the conditions we find

ourselves in. Does that count as existential?

Do you ever find it difficult to maintain this intensity when

playing the songs live? Or is it always a cathartic feeling?

Our live set is only 23 minutes, depending on how rambling my

pontifications get... We intentionally keep the set short and intense,

there’s nothing worse than watching a band and wishing they had

stopped 20 minutes ago! It’s a cliché that so many bands don’t

pick up on, but, for the love of god, leave them wanting more,

don’t leave people exhausted! It also means we can go as hard as

possible during those songs, put every ounce of energy into every

song and try and create a very intense atmosphere while we play.

I still really enjoy playing live, even if we have driven for 10 hours

with very little sleep; whether we play first or at a squat party at

2am, I am always excited to play. Even on the worst days on tour it

is a chance to vent your every frustration and bit of anger, it is an

incredibly cathartic experience for sure. Screaming as hard as you

can, punching the air and seeing people scream the words back at

you is a feeling like no other, I recommend it.

You’ve been very open and honest about the problems with

black metal and its tolerance of right-wing views and misogyny.

Have you experienced any conflict from the NSBM side of the

genre in response to this?

Nothing beyond a few bileful comments online. Actually, a

dude came up to me at our last Liverpool show and told me he

supported “white power” – he discovered very quickly what we

meant by ‘oppose fascists’ and he was shown the door!

Those far-right scenes on the whole are very isolated and insular,

and are finding it increasingly hard to operate. Taake had their US

tour cancelled because so many of the venues refused to host a

singer that had painted a swastika on his chest. Graveland had

their shows attacked and cancelled by antifascists when they tried

to tour the US and Canada, and bands that are clearly Nazis are

tying themselves in knots trying to convince people they aren’t, in

fact, racist.

With the recent increase in fascism in global politics, people are

seeing those ideas for what they are: abhorrent and worth fighting

back against. We get an overwhelming amount of support for

the things we say on stage, about opposing racism and bigotry,

because most people are decent and compassionate! NSBM is a

vocal but diminishing minority.

Some of the tracks on this album have been described as battle

hymns, and there are a lot of exhortations to action against the

targets of some of the stronger critiques. Do you ever worry

that this goes against your outspoken views on those black

metal artists who espouse more sinister action?

I don’t oppose NSBM because it is merely sinister, or has great

conviction. I don’t hate Burzum or Varg Vikernes because he

burnt down churches. I oppose those people because they are

ideological fascists. They would see the most important people

in my life destroyed, they would see the world enslaved under a

tyrannical dictatorship, they would oversee genocides, they would

pursue everyone they deemed different until there was no one

left to scapegoat, they would terrorise women, and make life a

nightmare, as we have seen too many times in history already.

People too often believe fascism is a synonym for violence, when

it is not. It is not the use of violence that makes something ‘fascist’.

When thousands of people went to St. George’s Hall here in

Liverpool and physically confronted the far-right groups that

tried to march through there, the force the Nazis were met with

was the community defending itself, it

was ordinary people doing what was

necessary to stop the spread of the

most evil ideas that have ever existed.

I think a good question is, ‘At what

point will you physically stop them?’

When they march in the streets? When

they succeed electorally? When they

have started to industrially kill people?

Physical confrontation of fascism is

not comparable to fascism, that’s a

misunderstanding of what that word

means.

I would gladly see every church in the

world pulled down if that meant the

widespread cover-up and abuse of

thousands of children at the hands

of the clergy stopped that same day.

Wouldn’t you?

What would an anarchist revolution look like in 2018?

Rojava. Or the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, I would imagine.

Some of the softer interludes on the album – and the closer

A Thought, Ablaze – bring to mind a different age of English

pagan heritage and the discordant folk music associated with

it. What does this atmosphere speak of to you? A simpler time

when we were closer to nature? An ideal state to aspire to? Or a

different manifestation of your rage at the state of the world?

For me it was a way to express the ideas on the album in a

different way. I felt that maybe if we only scream and shout

about those ideas they could start to lose their meaning, but to

be able to discuss them in a more emotional and calm way gives

them fresh impact, I think. Also, the lyrics in A Litany To Cowards

explore the idea that these are timeless struggles: ‘The language

might be different, the sentiment’s the same’, so it seemed fitting

to frame that within a folk song, which is a very timeless form of

music.

Why is music important to you?

Big question! I think for me, it is all about the imagination – your

experience of the world all depends on how you choose to frame

it. It also makes me feel a part of something, part of a music

scene that is infinitely more exciting than what is happening to

me at that very moment, more exciting than work, or bills, or life’s

stresses.

Life under capitalism is hard and can be monotonous, so to have

those few precious hours holed up in a practice room playing

extremely loud music, or touring in a van in a country you’ve never

been to, or meeting people you never would have met if you hadn’t

travelled to a far flung city to play a show, makes life worth living! !

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Photography: Rob Adamson / 500px.com/robadamson

dawnrayd.bandcamp.com

The second pressing of The Unlawful Assembly is released on

27th April via Prosthetic Records.

FEATURE

19


20


SOUNDTRACKING...

A CLOCKWORK

ORANGE

Ahead of the Everyman Theatre’s production of A Clockwork Orange, Del Pike

revisits the cult music and imagery of Kubrick and Burgess’ great Horrorshow.

When the great Mancunian wordsmith Anthony

Burgess unleashed A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

in 1962, could he ever have imagined the impact

this piece of work would have on society, or that

its visual anarchy would still resonate in popular culture to this

day? The book itself – a visceral study of youth violence, set in

a dystopian London – is written in its own ‘yoof’ language of

Nadsat. Some readers had the luxury of a glossary at the back

of their well-thumbed paperbacks, but not all editions were so

lavishly produced. Nevertheless, stark exclamations such as

Ultraviolence, Droogs, Cutter, Korova and Horrorshow have

become, in varying levels, almost household words.

The stark visuals of the novel clearly begged to be dragged

kicking and screaming to the big screen. When, at the birth of the

70s, Stanley Kubrick announced he was filming an adaptation of

the controversial book, dark magic was in the making. Kubrick’s

juxtaposition of grand musical themes against his eye-menacing

visuals was a startling element of his auteur approach. The

unsettling humour of his musical choices in Doctor Strangelove

(We’ll Meet Again serenading the nuclear explosions) and the

heart-stopping themes in 2001: A Space Odyssey – in particular

Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra playing over the

epic opening shots – promised great things for the tale of a

Beethoven-loving sociopath.

“[Kubrick] really understood

the rhythmic impact

of two images coming

together. He also had an

extraordinary feel for the

pace or tempo, a musical

term, of a given scene”

Martin Scorsese

The music that sits at the heart of A Clockwork Orange’s

warped world has enabled the film version to maintain its

cult status for the past 47 years. It’s not merely the dramatic

soundtrack that Kubrick compiled, but the varying connections

between the artificial world of protagonist Alex’s being and the

very real sphere of music in our world.

The look of the film immediately lent itself to the glam rock

movement which was in full flow in Britain at the time the film

was released in 1971. You can see echoes of Marc Bolan in Alex’s

iconic look; the deeply lined eyes and elongated lashes which

are the focus of the film’s oft-imitated opening shot. Not even

David Bowie could ignore the influence of the film’s visuals, but

Burgess’ twisted language also intrigued him. “Hey man, Droogie

don’t crash here,” he sang on Suffragette City in 1972; 44 years

later, on the track Girl Loves Me from Blackstar, Bowie went pure

Nadsat, mixing his lyrical scat with smatterings of Polari (a slang

language popular in gay clubs in 70s London): “Cheena so sound,

so titi up this malchick, say / Party up moodge, nanti vellocet

round on Tuesday.”

In an interview in 1993, Bowie revealed that he saw the

film’s inspiration as the driving force behind his Ziggy Stardust

period. “The whole idea of having this phony-speak thing –

mock Anthony Burgess-Russian speak that drew on Russian

words and put them into the English language, and twisted old

Shakespearean words around – this kind of fake language… fitted

in perfectly with what I was trying to do in creating this fake

world, or this world that hadn’t happened yet. It was like trying to

anticipate a society that hadn’t happened.”

Bowie’s love for the film’s visual aesthetic was joyously

unashamed, particularly in the Ziggy era. His outfits from this

period wouldn’t have looked out of place in the record store

that Alex visits to pick up girls, a zeitgeist-capturing scene

which has been pored over by the film’s fans for decades. Alex,

played with delicious menace by Malcolm McDowell, is a music

fan who is seen perusing his local record store, strolling past

racks containing albums by The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour),

Tim Buckley (Lorca) and a cheekily semi-veiled 2001: A Space

Odyssey soundtrack. Further references to groups The Heaven

17 and The Sparks are pure gold for fans, who still debate as to

whether those groups lifted their name from this sequence. The

actual shop scene was shot in the famous Chelsea Drug Store, as

mentioned in The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You

Want. In 2015, a petition went up for auction that was created by

The Beatles: the intention of this fascinating document was to see

their mate Mick Jagger in the role of Alex in an early screenplay

that was being conceived by Terry Southern (Easy Rider, The

Magic Christian). Imagine.

The scenes set in the Korova Milk Bar are perhaps the only

other elements of the film to have had such an impact on the

world of music. Blur’s video for their 1995 hit The Universal is

perhaps one of the most beautiful homages to A Clockwork

Orange yet, placing the band in a re-constructed milk bar. Albarn’s

knowing eyeliner is a direct reference but throughout the clip are

more subliminal nods that only true fans may spot: the red and

blue men, the blink-or-you’ll-miss-them visual stings and the

singing diva all reflect iconic moments from the film.

Closer to home, Korova was re-appropriated as Echo and

The Bunnymen’s label in the 80s, and later as the name of the

Fleet Street bar that incubated the scene that developed around

Ladytron and many other alternative musicians in Merseyside in

the early 2000s. The Bunnymen also had a hit with The Cutter in

1983, borrowing from the line, “Spare me some cutter [money]”

that the Droogs’ first victim pleads in the damp subway. The milk

on sale in the bar, Moloko, was also borrowed wholesale by the

90s dance duo fronted by Róisín Murphy, and also gave its name

to a bar and eatery in the Ropeworks area.

The actual music used in the film is another whole world of

strange. Beethoven looms large and is integral to the plot. It is

he who drives Alex to take to the streets pumped with manic

adrenaline, ready for a bit of ultraviolence; but it is also the sound

of Beethoven’s music that controls him as he undertakes the eyestraining

Ludovico Treatment to make him nauseous towards the

violence he loves. One passage in particular from the novel shows

that Burgess’ love for Beethoven is at least the equal of Alex’s:

“Oh it was gorgeousness

and gorgeosity made flesh.

The trombones crunched

redgold under my bed,

and behind my Gulliver

the trumpets three-wise

silverflamed, and there

by the door the timps

rolling through my guts

and out again crunched

like candy thunder”

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Segments from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 feature heavily

in some of the film’s most integral – and visceral – sequences, but it

is the synthesiser arrangements of the music by Wendy Carlos that

truly disturb and stay in the mind long after the film has ended. The

Rhode Island composer, who also provided the score for Kubrick’s

The Shining (1980), creates a soundscape that perfectly matches

the otherworldliness of Kubrick’s vision. Her title music, cocomposed

with Rachel Elkind, has elements of Beethoven’s work

but fits perfectly with the long pull shot from Alex’s face, revealing

the Korova Milk Bar in its full glory. Words like iconic and cult were

made for such moments.

The music of Gioachino Rossini is overlooked in discussion of

the soundtrack but it plays an equally powerful role, particularly

given the Carlos treatment. The Thieving Magpie passage

accompanies the still-shocking depiction of an assault on a young

woman carried out by Billy Boy and his gang and makes it all

the more horrific. Equally, Carlos’ take on Rossini’s William Tell

Overture adds humour and frenzy as Alex has speeded-up sex

with the two girls from the record store in his bedroom.

Carlos’ work on the film’s soundtrack is a masterclass in

twisting existing music to create a sense of comfortable familiarity,

while also re-presenting it in a jarring, futuristic context. These

Carlosian tweaks make the ‘straight’ faithful reproductions of

familiar songs even more powerful. Little touches like the inclusion

of Erika Eigen’s I Want To Marry A Lighthouse Keeper show

Kubrick’s humour and pathos as Alex returns home after his

treatment to find his room taken by a lodger. Similarly, the inclusion

of Gene Kelly’s Singin’ In The Rain makes for a sense of unease

in A Clockwork Orange’s famously shocking scene: Alex sings

the much-loved musical number as he and his Droogs brutalise

the writer and his wife, following a forced entry to the house.

McDowell met Gene Kelly some years later at a party and the star

walked away in disgust, so infuriated was he about the use of his

signature tune alongside such a shocking moment.

The power and influence of Kubrick’s film cannot be denied,

and it would be churlish not to consider how much the spirit of A

Clockwork Orange haunts Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996).

The whole otherworldliness and dystopian gang mentality is

there throughout and key sequences ring with influences: the

nightclub is designed around the Korova Milk Bar with the

same iconic fonts on the wall; Renton similarly picks up a young

Devotchka; and Renton’s home is clearly modelled on Alex’s, with

Iggy Pop replacing Beethoven on his stereo. Themes of addiction,

rehabilitation, illicit sex and shocking violence all appear, and it

seems ironic that the treatment Alex receives removes all choice

from his life, the one thing that is the driving force behind Renton’s

entire “Choose Life” philosophy.

Imagery more than music has defined Stanley Kubrick’s legacy,

with things like his signature one-point perspective and meticulous

eye for detail celebrated and mimicked throughout his life and

beyond. But, the musical choices in his films were important and

need to be assessed more often. Despite I Wanna Be Your Drill

Instructor – a tie in single from Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (and one

of the worst singles ever released) – reaching number two in the

UK chart in 1987, the film did inspire Oasis to shoot their stunning

video for D’You Know What I Mean on the abandoned film set at

Beckton Docks. Kubrick fans are diverse and musicians have always

found inspiration from his artful soundtrack work. Can you imagine

the balletic docking sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey taking

place to anything other than the enchanting Blue Danube waltz?

Burgess’s own 1986 script, A Clockwork Orange: A Play

With Music was performed at The Barbican in 1990 and featured

original music from Bono and The Edge. The track Alex Descends

Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk/Korova 1 appeared as the B-side for

U2’s 1991 single The Fly. It is this same play that will grace the

stage at The Everyman this Spring, with composer and musician

James Fortune taking the lead on the play’s soundtrack. The

production by the Everyman’s new rep company will doubtless

recruit more fans to the cult of the book and film, and will surely

have the rest of us returning with real horrorshow to skvat the

sinny once more and viddy it well. !

Words: Del Pike / @del_pike

Illustration: Nick Booton / bruistudio.com

A Clockwork Orange shows at the Everyman Theatre between

14th and 21st April, and then again between 10th and 30th May.

Join us at the Everyman Bistro on 19th April for A Clockwork

Social, featuring music from Cartwheels On Glass, Eyesore And

The Jinx and some droogian theatrics.

FEATURE

21


York Helmet, courtesy of York Museums (Photograph by Anthony Chappel-Ross)

ARTS CENTRAL

In the latest in her series that focuses on the role our region’s arts centres play

in our communities, Julia Johnson looks at how THE ATKINSON is maintaining a

longheld tradition of arts participation in Southport.

History is having something of a moment on

Merseyside. The Terracotta Warriors at the World

Museum might be in the spotlight, but there’s a very

different civilisation taking over a short distance up the

coast. For the next few months, THE ATKINSON in Southport will

be hosting Vikings: Rediscover The Legend, a major exhibition

created with the British Museum and Yorkshire Museum that

challenges our preconceptions of how the Nordic invaders

lived and affected the country we live in more than a thousand

years ago. With Merseyside’s significant roots in Norse heritage

(which lives on in place names from Aintree to West Kirby) it’s a

perfect fit. It’s also no surprise that some of the artefacts going

on display will have North West connections – pieces from the

Cuerdale Hoard, found next to the River Ribble in Preston, appear

alongside more famous finds from the Vale Of York.

Their reputation may have been increasingly rehabilitated in

recent years from raping, pillaging aggressors to settling farmers,

but the imagery and legends of the Vikings still captures the

imagination. Throughout the exhibition The Atkinson will be

working to help people uncover more about the Viking heritage

all around Southport. “We know there were settlements nearby

like Formby and Crosby,” says The Atkinson Museum’s Principal

Director Stephen Whittle, “but there were also villages that

have since been washed away by the sea like Ravenmeols and

Argarmeols. This will be the first chance for people to see Viking

artefacts discovered right here and to gain an understanding of

the full extent of Viking culture in the region.” As we live through

a time where British politics works towards increased separation

from our neighbours, Merseyside is playing host to an exhibition

which will be encouraging its audience to consider their place in a

local, national and global heritage.

Visitors to the exhibition will undoubtedly also enjoy

discovering the rest of what The Atkinson has to offer. Its sheer

diversity is something to admire: surely few arts centres in the

country can boast of being home to a gallery, permanent museum

collection, theatre, café, library and bakery, not to mention space

for local artists to exhibit their work. Naturally the programme is

as diverse as the space, catering to all ages and interests. Works

by Andy Warhol and Ancient Egyptian artefacts have sat side by

side, while the theatre has played host to the likes of Dr Feelgood

and Ed Byrne.

From the outside, surveying its grand stone façade and

tower, you’d think of The Atkinson as being a cornerstone of

Southport’s history as a Victorian seaside resort, and you’d be

right. For the success of the major resorts required not only the

pleasures of the pier, but an appeal to aesthetic sensibilities

which could culture the mind – and, of course, provide an

attraction for when the rain set in. So, the original Atkinson Art

“Creating a new arts

centre doesn’t seem to

be high on the agenda,

but the success of The

Atkinson suggests

that it should be”

Gallery and Library opened in 1878, thanks to a bequest from

successful merchant and Southport resident William Atkinson.

But when the adjoining Cambridge Hall was restored from

dramatic decline in the 1970s – a building which, as an arts

school for 300 students, has its own history of developing the

arts – the buildings were combined to make one single Southport

Arts Centre. After another three years of refurbishment the

current incarnation of The Atkinson opened its doors in 2013.

The story of The Atkinson, then, surely contains a moral for

any town or city. The great vacant buildings of Liverpool either

tend to be turned into student flats and luxury hotels, or are left

to degrade in the limbo of planning. Creating a new arts centre

doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda, but the success of The

Atkinson suggests that it should be. Becoming an established

major venue within five years of reopening says something not

only of the ambition of the team behind The Atkinson, but also

of the public appetite for cultural activities to be within reach.

As traditional retail-unit economy slows down, The Atkinson

provides people with a reason to visit Southport even in the

depths of winter, and plenty to entertain audiences. It’s a venue

whose emphasis is on making audiences feel in touch with

the building, particularly the youngest visitors. Throughout the

venue there are spaces to interest and entertain children of all

ages, allowing them to feel from an early age that this is a place

‘for them’ without sacrificing the rigour of the exhibitions. In the

corridors, an ‘object of the month’ from the museum collection

brings you closer to the stories that even the simplest objects

have to tell about a place and time in history.

The Atkinson’s creative patron, Henry Normal, agrees that it’s

truly a space for everyone. “I can’t believe anyone couldn’t find

something of interest at The Atkinson on any given month. If they

had beds I’d want to sleep there as well.” Normal has enjoyed

success as a scriptwriter and producer – as Executive Producer of

Baby Cow Productions he’s had a hand in everything from Alan

Partridge to The Mighty Boosh. But it’s Normal’s career as a poet

that brought him to The Atkinson for a performance. Poetry isn’t

always the most popular or understood art form, but Normal is

very comfortable with its place in the modern arts scene. “There

are as many types of poetry as there are poets. If we think of

music we would see James Blunt very different from, say, Mozart

or Motörhead. My poetry is very much about my everyday life

in this modern day which is much like most other people’s lives.

It’s about communicating my view of that world, hopefully with

a little insight and a few laughs. Perhaps a little bit nearer James

Blunt than Motörhead these days.”

When asked to become a patron of The Atkinson it seemed

a natural fit for both parties. They not only share a love for

and belief in the arts, but a desire, as Audience Development

Manager Vicki Rutland puts it, “to do more and provide a safe

space for all the community.”

“I think it was the poetry about my autistic son, Johnny, that

struck a chord,” Normal says about being invited on board. “They

[The Atkinson] were just about to open a new café called A Great

Little Place, now run by Autism Initiatives.” More than just a café,

it’s a place where organisations meet to put autistic people and

their families in touch with information and training. His personal

experiences with the condition have made Normal understand

the importance of this spread of information. “A lot of what is

available to find out about autism is quite dry and academic

and I think it’s important to remember the human aspect here

and the many families involved.” His new book A Normal Family

is intended “to let other parents know about all the things I

asked when I was first told about Johnny’s condition,” and The

Atkinson’s A Great Little Place is part of the same mission of

positive outreach.

As well as serving as an ambassador of the centre’s

community-focused programme, Normal is looking forward

to Vikings: Rediscover The Legend as much as any of us.

“The Vikings are very much part of our heritage, but generally

have been miscast. I’m hoping this new exhibition will help us

understand the true nature of Vikings in Britain. They loved a bit

of poetry so they couldn’t have been all bad.” !

Words: Julia Johnson / messylines.com

theatkinson.co.uk

Vikings: Rediscover The Legend runs between 31st March and

7th July.

22


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

23


24


BEIJA

FLO

A daring approach to musical performance is just one aspect of the

activism and art of BEIJA FLO, one of the most ambitious artists

working in the city today.

I

find myself walking with BEIJA FLO, wandering through the

brilliant white marble of a room within the Walker Art Gallery.

Smooth, firm faces stare back at us through milk and chestnut

and charcoal, contrasted against Beija Flo’s own face that is

speckled with flutters of canary and crimson. “I always wondered

how they make something so beautiful out of something so

hard. I’d struggle to make something like that out of playdough.”

Essex-born and brought to Liverpool by LIPA, the young artist is

one of the most exciting new acts on Merseyside, combining the

familiar elements of her music with more abstract, cutting-edge

and innovative ideas, much like the neoclassical gallery we find

ourselves within today.

“My name is quite interesting actually. It’s Portuguese for

hummingbird which is like me, beautiful yet frenetic, and that’s

what I was christened by my dad.” With her dad being one of the

first people to bring the music and dance-infused Afro-Brazilian

martial art of capoeira to the UK, the Essex native was exposed

to tropical and exotic influences, as well as the arts, from a young

age. “I was kind of raised by all these masters of karate and kali.

I think I was always interested in capoeira more than the other

martial arts as it wasn’t just about fighting, it’s the music and

the movement which is tied in. As for my mum, she’s just as

eccentric. She’s been in various cabaret acts and was a clown for

a few years as well. When people meet my parents they think I

make a lot of sense.” In the monochrome room, there is a certain

brightness which exudes from Beija Flo. Her wit and charm ooze

as she regales me with stories of the playful ghost of a child she

lives with and how she is in fact a fairy. We approach a statue

stood in the corner of the room carrying a palm leaf. “I’ve always

wanted to reach out and touch that to see if the leaves move.”

It’s this very same charged energy and charm which makes

her live performance so electric. Far beyond a gig, Beija Flo

offers so much more when she performs live. “When I do my

release shows such as the Secret Lady Garden Party, I have all

my actors go round and taunt the audience and offer sweets

and my message of the day. And then we offer things like Bad

Face Painting and draw vaginas. I feel that if you’ve been given a

space for an event, it’s important to really own it and make it an

experience.” A multi-sensory attack, the gigs are an onslaught

of art, dance performance and education. “I’ve always really

enjoyed acting and I do a lot of work with community drama and

children’s acting classes,” she tells me as we walk around the

mixed media exhibition from the Singh Twins. “I love the theatre

and my background is kind of in musical theatre and opera but

then my voice broke, so I thought I should see what I could do

down here and got more into pop. I never wanted to pick just one

thing and my show allows me to make music while making art

and incorporating elements of dance and performance.”

“For the big topics that I’m talking about I think it’s really

important to be really expressive and give ways that people can

get involved,” she explains as we stare past Perspex panes at

dresses inside an exhibit case. There’s a beat before she opens

up about the issues which inhabit her songs. “I do and don’t deal

well with the problems I’ve got. So I drink a lot and smoke even

more.” She was born with MRKH Syndrome, a condition which

causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent,

meaning that the body and sexuality are a massive part of Beija

“If you’ve been

given a space

for an event, it’s

important to really

own it and make

it an experience”

Flo’s world. “I think sex and the body is a key issue within my

work and always will be until sexual education for women has

drastically improved as well as just sex education in general.”

A disorder which affects one in five thousand women, MRKH

is a condition that Beija Flo has set to raise awareness of and

remove taboo from. “The treatment that I need to do to ‘stretch

said muscle’ is called Dilation Treatment which is used by a whole

host of people including women who have had radiotherapy,

trans women and it makes so much sense. So it’s like, ‘Why’s it

this big taboo which we just don’t talk about?’ So I had a load

of pretty dilators covered in flowers made and I just put them in

people’s faces. The only thing that’s going to make it easier for

women with MRKH syndrome is to be more open about it so that

when it comes to actually having sex it’s a much easier process.”

As we trek up the grand sprawling staircase we talk more

on the effect of such a rare condition on her relationship with

womanhood, and how she can feel distanced from certain

perceived aspects of being a woman. “There’s so much to take

in emotionally. There are always going to be moments where it’s

going to be particularly hard such as when people start getting

pregnant and the menopause, which sometimes makes me

feel as though I can’t contribute to a lot of conversations about

womanhood which I feel isn’t fair because there are so many

women like me. As a young woman I’m not that bothered about

not having kids but more so that I’ll never have penetrative sex

using my vagina. The media seems to ignore that because it’s

the less pretty side of everything and fits less comfortably within

society’s view of women.”

This emotion and frustration is channeled through her music.

Like all the most compelling music, heart and soul is central to

Beija Flo’s craft. “I’m on the planet to share every thought and

feeling I’ve ever had. For me it’s really important to show my full

emotion through my music as I can find it quite cathartic.” Part of

what makes Beija Flo such an interesting artist is her honesty and

openness. There’s a vulnerability there, sure, but this is equalled

by bursts of enduring positivity. This unreserved attitude is what

makes her so endearing and seems to connect with so many

people.

As we pass through the heavy doors into another gallery,

eyes stare back at us from every direction, gathering attention

from behind ruffs and pointed goatees and under crowns and

paupers’ hats, much like the cross-appeal of Beija Flo herself. “I

seem to attract a lot of different types of people. From musos

to the more arty types right through to the people who just

follow me on Instagram.” From the people who feel that they

can talk through their own issues to hyperactive six-year-olds

sitting entranced at hippy festivals, there is definitely something

magically captivating about Beija Flo’s work. It’s not just music

but a complete other world which you are sucked into whether

you like it or not. Much like the hummingbird she’s named

after, the music flutters, constantly moving, impossible to pin

down but always provides an element of the avant-garde and

experimentation. The downbeat baroque pop of songs like

One Of Those Things, a song about Dilation Therapy, could be

followed by the much more acerbic and charged Heads Or Tails, a

song which tackles her troubled relationship with her hometown

of Harlow and its title as ‘The Most Murderous Town in Britain’.

“I’ve never been one to stick to one genre, for me sticking to one

genre would limit my ability to express myself,” she explains

– and this is perhaps the key to her music. It’s not so much

based around style or genre but more around expression, thus

creating something much more interesting which sits outside

these constraints, allowing her to spread her wings and inspire

audiences to come with her and experience something which is

much more than just music.

Take her latest single Mary as an example: an intense

two-and-a-half-minute burst of sonic hypnotism, it’s almost

impossible to not hit repeat when it ends and go through it all

again. Add in the garishly lovable video and the whole experience

becomes something else entirely. With a mix of burlesque

performers, comedians, dancers and even members of Wild Fruit

Art Collective joining the party, there’s a gritty magical realism,

with mermaids and pink leotards juxtaposed against the bleak

brutalist architecture which surrounds them.

“I think Mary’s a lot of things,” Beija Flo tells me as we walk

back down the Walker’s grand staircase. “She’s my intoxicated

alter ego but she’s sort of also physical. She exists. Mary’s just

there, she’s like part of my sub-personality. Because I have

cyclical vomiting syndrome I shouldn’t really drink but she’s there

at the start of the night going, ‘Go on, go on,’ and by the end of

the night she’s calling me a fuckin’ idiot. It’s almost like she’s my

guilty conscience. She’s never really there when you need her to

be.”

Having spent over an hour walking past sculptures and

paintings and tapestries and films in one of Liverpool’s grandest

settings, it’s a shame when our time together reaches an end.

As we leave and take our separate paths one thing seems more

apparent than anything else, that the ambition and creativity of

Beija Flo is unparalleled in this city and the only limit to what she

can achieve is her own mind. That said, with a mind as expansive

and daring as Beija Flo’s, that really doesn’t put many barriers in

place at all. !

Words: Matthew Hogarth

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

soundcloud.com/iambeijaflo

Mary is out now via Eggy Records.

Beija Flo plays Sound City on 5th May.

FEATURE

25


DIE

WITH

YOUR

MASK

ON

Masked comic-style designer

and Queens Of The Stone

Age collaborator, BONEFACE,

comes out from the shadows

for a debut solo exhibition at

Buyers Club in April.

Lurking in the shadows in some half-forgotten Liverpool

wasteland is a mastermind of the warped and twisted,

plucked from some dark corner of the internet’s seedy

underworld by the world’s biggest sleaze ‘n’ roll band.

BONEFACE comes from another dimension, a world where

everyone wears some kind of mask and no-one dares ask what

lies beneath.

Described as ‘slimed pop art’, boneface’s work is a dystopian

world of comic book oddities, a horrifying collision of Marvel

superheroes and 50s Hammer Horror, all contorted bodies,

angular shapes and devil-on-your-shoulder weirdness. Featuring

superheroes and villains, leather-clad ghouls and skulls galore,

boneface combines dark imagery with badass characters. It’s a

perfect fit for the switchblade swagger of Queens Of The Stone

Age, with whom boneface has struck up a close friendship.

Developing a world of cover, video and poster artwork for

QOTSA’s two most recent LPs – as well as the gatefold artwork

for the Mad Max: Fury Road OST – has allowed boneface to delve

deep inside his collection of weird and wonderful characters to

bring to life a supreme visual realisation of the world hinted at by

the music.

Boneface’s highly collectable work has not only been shown

in galleries across the world, but stretches to character cards and

posters that give more depth to the vaguely sinister ways of the

universe that his characters inhabit. In April, he is coming out

from his secret lair to showcase his works on the walls of Buyers

Club, in his first solo exhibition. Boneface’s campaign to conquer

the entire world is slowly coming together – we caught up with

him before he disappeared down the rabbit hole once more.

There’s a recurring theme in your work of characters who wear

masks. Why do you think you’re drawn to masked characters?

Growing up reading comics, watching horror movies and loving

Halloween, I’ve always enjoyed masks and people hiding their

identity. In a world where everyone posts everything about

themselves all over the internet every single day, I think wearing a

mask and staying anonymous is my countermeasure.

Masks inherently add a layer of mystique to a person: ‘Why are

they wearing a mask? What does it represent?’ I always like to hide

hidden meaning in things in my drawings, usually small details,

that may or may not convey something – I also like to fuck with

people, so a lot of the time symbols I use mean nothing at all. I

sometimes use masks in this way. Also, faces are hard to draw.

“Without drawing

I’d probably be

some flavour

of menace to

society”

How much do you think your own ability to hide behind a mask

of anonymity allows you to lose yourself in your creations? Do

you think you can reach deeper levels of creativity by keeping

your artistic self away from the person behind the mask?

I wear a mask because, fuck who I am, that’s not important.

I always wanted to be a superhero – or villain – since I was a

kid, so it just came natural to me when I started doing this to

adopt a pseudonym and don a mask. A lot of my work is creating

characters and world-building; usually there’s a bit of a backstory

to everything I draw, so I guess the ‘boneface’ persona kind of fits

into that world and helps in the sense that I can immerse myself

amongst the monsters and freaks that inhabit it. Obviously, I

don’t wear the thing while I’m working... not always.

What’s the theme of your exhibition coming up at Buyers

Club?

As it’s my first solo exhibition, there isn’t really a theme per se,

beyond whatever recurrent themes appear in my work. It’s more

of a retrospective of what I’ve done so far in my ‘career’. I’ve

chosen some of my favourite pieces from the projects I’ve done

over the past few years to display the original linework, and got

some huge, in-your-face, A0 prints of some other pieces.

If you could get anyone else to illustrate a skull mask for you,

living or dead, who would you pick?

John Wayne Gacy. He wasn’t the greatest painter, but I know it’d

be creepy as fuck.

Could you just draw what anyone sounds like from listening

to their music? Or do you need to be embedded in their

background and motivations like you are with Queens Of The

Stone Age?

I think the reason my stuff compliments QOTSA’s music so well is

basically because we have a thorough understanding of each other.

I was never a massive QOTSA fan, but I knew the hits – No One

Knows, Go With The Flow, Make It Wit Chu – whatever I’d seen on

Kerrang! when I was a teenager; but even then I totally got what

they were doing. Our collaboration started when Josh [Homme] saw

an interview I did with Juxtapoz magazine, where I basically said

I hated everyone, and explained my dystopian view on the world

and everyone in it. He gets that and immediately got in touch and

asked me to work with them. Our relationship now is very much

like Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman; it’s a very specific

formula that seems to work pretty well.

How far can your collaboration with QOTSA go? Is there a full

comic series in it with the characters you’ve created?

People ask me about this a lot. The characters I created for the short

film we did for ...Like Clockwork seem to resonate with people and

they always ask me when the feature length film or comic expanding

on that universe is gonna happen. I think I’d much rather leave it

where it is though. That 15-minute animation is its own contained

story, you don’t need to know anything else about those characters.

Like I mentioned before, they do all have names and backstories that

I came up with while QOTSA and I came up with the concept for the

film, but I don’t care to delve back into that world, at least not yet.

Also, because animating is a lot of work – even though Liam Brazier

did most of the heavy lifting, making everything move – and I’ve

always been far too lazy to draw a whole comic book.

Why is art and illustration important to you?

Drawing is my outlet, the way I express myself. Without it I’d

probably be some flavour of menace to society. !

Words: Frankie Muslin

Artwork: Boneface

boneface.co.uk

Boneface’s Die With Your Mask On exhibition at Buyers Club runs

throughout April, with a launch event on Wednesday 28th March

featuring Bido Lito! DJs.

26


25 years of Urban Splash

1993 – 2018

31 March – 16 June 2018

Free Entry

RIBA North

National Architecture Centre,

21 Mann Island,

Liverpool, L3 1BP

#US25

‘It Will Never Work’ is an

unplanned trip from Madchester

to Brexit via Easyjet and driverless

cars, with a quick history of

unorthodox thinking and a few

buildings along the way.


E V E N T H I G H L I G H T S

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

@ECHOARENA

Roy Orbison:

In Dreams

17 April

16 September

Michael McIntyre

27-28 April

Tears for Fears

8 May

Jeff Lynne’s ELO

23 October

Joe Lycett

11 November

Star Wars: A New Hope Live in Concert

28 November

1 June

5 December

Paul Smith

23, 28-29 June /

18-19 & 25-26 August / 8 December

30 Years of Deacon Blue

8 December

Cirque du Soleil: Ovo

16-19 August

15 December

GET YOUR TICKETS AT ECHOARENA.COM | 0344 8000 400


We believe passionately in Liverpool’s new music and creative culture. As you’re

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30


UPCOMING

BIDO LITO! EVENTS

Bido Lito! Social

A CLOCKWORK SOCIAL

Everyman Bistro - 19/04

So you’re keen on music...

To celebrate the Everyman Company’s run of A Clockwork Orange and

welcome issue 88 of Bido Lito! We’re inviting you to grab a moloko plus,

enjoy a bit of the old Ludwig Van and enter A Clockwork Social. Expect

horrorshow sets from EYESORE & THE JINX and CARTWHEELS ON

GLASS plus pop-discs and chepooka from HOWARD BE THY NAME - a

proper dobby nochy.

Bido Lito! Special Event

LIGHTNIGHT CULTURE CRAWL

Various - 18/05

Members can join the Bido Lito! team for a guided tour of highlights from

this years LightNight programme. Enjoy free treats, special insights and

a boss night taking in the best of what Liverpool’s cultural scene has

to offer. We’ll be stopping off at our favourite haunts and experiencing

the pick of the commissions from the festival and talking to some of the

people that are illuminating Liverpool this LightNight.

Bido Lito! Social

MARK PETERS

The Reeds - 24/05

Producer, songwriter and Ulrich Schnauss collaborator Mark Peters plays

a homecoming headline gig to welcome in Bido Lito! number 89. Taking

place at top new venue The Reeds, this showcase of leftfield electronica

will be a cerebral and celestial celebration of Liverpool’s innovative avant

garde.

MEMBERSHIP REVIEWS 31


SPOTLIGHT

CHUPA CABRA

The Deeside gutter punks signed to Trashmouth Records blend incisive

lyrics and shouty, unapologetic brashness.

“Music says

what you

can’t say”

There’s a lot to be said about the spirit of punk and whether it’s

dead or alive. If it’s the brash, insightful and critical strain that Poly

Styrene’s X-Ray Spex propelled that you’re seeking, then CHUPA

CABRA are likely to be right up your street. In the vein of punk,

music’s importance to the trio stems from its ability to provide a

space for them to express themselves that comes free from societal

norms and expectations, as guitarist and vocalist Hayden explains:

“I love performing because I spend the week working my shit job

at a certain French-themed chain restaurant, but at the end of the

week I can lose my shit on stage saying whatever I want without a

shirt on, because doing so is considered normal in that context.”

Music also represents one of the best ways of communicating

things that are difficult to put into words, and bassist Nathan

perceptively points this out: “It says what you can’t say. Like when

Morrissey says ‘Everyday is like Sunday’, we’ve all felt that, that’s

bang on. But I’d probably have expressed that like ‘Oh, you know,

Wednesdays are shite, but like sometimes so are Saturdays,’ and

no one would understand. Music says it for you.” Aside from lyrics

that know life well in a post-industrial town, they sound nothing

like Morrissey – you’re more likely to hear the influence of the

short-lived Scottish sleaze rockers The Amazing Snakeheads and

punk innovator Richard Hell in the Trashmouth Records signees’

short-but-sweet tracks.

The Deeside-based trio’s lyrics, especially on Cow and

Assembly Line, tackle rampant, conveyor belt consumer capitalism

and the lack of a fulfilling-jobs-for-all, post-industrial promised

land. Cow is particularly hard-hitting – take it from their drummer

Tayt who professes “I’ve never been so upset after playing a song

[live] every single time.” Explaining a bit more about those two

tracks in particular, Hayden says, “Assembly Line is about the

appropriation of subcultures and post-industrial decline. That’s

something I express a lot; Cow is about a similar sentiment,

probably because I’ve seen the town I live in decay over the time

I’ve spent there.”

Despite their generally heavy subject matter, humour is

definitely not lost on Chupa Cabra. As for influences on their

songwriting, Nathan cites “Johan Cruyff, Shakespeare. Just people

that are the business, out there on their own. People you just

look at and think, ‘I wonder what they smell like, I bet they smell

great. I wanna smell like them.’” Jokes aside, they’re more than

happy to champion other acts who are flying the flag for in-yourface

garage punk too. “We are good friends with a band called

Prowles. They are really great, really nice lads, great tunes. Really

nice van too. I’d recommend them. Also got a lot of love for Wild

Fruit Art Collective, cool Liverpool ruffians.”

The band take a short trip to Wrexham for Focus Wales in

May, which is fast becoming one of the UK’s most renowned

showcase festivals, bringing in a host of talent from Wales and

the wider UK, as well as international showcases. The town is

fostering some exciting prospects in art and music too, as Nathan

is quick to point out, “there’s a venue in Wrexham called Undegun.

It used to be a JJB Sports and now it’s just this really mint place for

gigs, art installations and all that. I’d go.” We would too.

chupacabrachupacabra.bandcamp.com

Chupa Cabra play Focus Wales on 12th May as one of three

artists presented by Bido Lito! at the festival.

32


WILROY

The widescreen, warped soul

music found on the Liverpoolbased

Canadian producer’s

new EP is the perfect way

to soothe a busy mind.

“I try to hone in on

a certain emotion,

making sure my creative

decisions are always

on that path to deepen

the expression”

How did you get into music?

I was very fortunate to have had a few incredible music teachers

in elementary and junior high school. They helped to instil an

appreciation for all different types of music. One year, Mrs

Metcalfe spent the entire music budget on a whole class set of

garbage bins, hubcaps and oil drums. Stomp must have blown

her mind, so there we were, in grade three learning basic rhythms

on fucking trash! Early days in band class and playing sax in the

jazz band, I was doing more arranging than anything. When I

picked up the guitar, I started thinking more about composition

and writing all the parts for the band. That led me to recording

and production, which is mainly what I do now.

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially

inspired you?

I’d say getting into Stevie Wonder’s 70s work, especially

Innervisions and Music Of My Mind. That was what really turned

me on to harmony. I would study his chord progressions and

break everything down to truly understand what he was doing.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting?

I just try to hone in on a certain emotion or feeling, making

sure my creative decisions are always on that path to deepen

the expression of that feeling. It’s probably why my music is so

maximalist; I’ll keep adding layers until I really hit the nerve. That

can also be dangerous because you need to know when to stop!

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what

makes it special?

I don’t do live right now, but what I can say is that cathedrals and

churches are the greatest venues, period. There’s a clip of Mount

Kimbie with James Blake from 2010 that was performed in a

church in Oslo. The atmosphere is just otherworldly. I saw Cory

Henry play St. Philip’s in Salford just after Prince died. Places like

that just heighten the experience.

Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito!

readers might not have heard?

Donny Hathaway Live. This album should be issued at birth!

His voice is just devastating, his band is telepathic, and it’s just

packed with moments that will move you, one way or the other.

soundcloud.com/wilroy

Wilroy’s new EP Too Dark To See The Green is out now.

YAMMERER

One dose of madcappery

from the many-limbed beat

combo that is YAMMERER

will leave you smitten. Enter

the funhouse with the band’s

dynamic frontman Jason.

“Perspective

and perception

are two sides of

the same coin”

If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would

you say?

I once heard someone describe us as psychedelic punk, which I

thought sounded nice. Especially with two open-ended genres

like that.

Have you always wanted to create music?

Well, the lads [in the band] have always created music, I’ve

always made up songs in my head. I didn’t have the attention

span or the patience to learn an instrument when I was younger,

so all I could do was write.

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially

inspired you?

I wouldn’t say there’s a single defining moment. That kind of

stimulation happens all the time, you just take from it what you

find relevant.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?

They all say something different so if I ever have a favourite it

will depend on the day. I can pick one out the hat and say that

Airport is about escapism, illusions and our ability to mislead

ourselves.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting?

It’s the same process as inspiration, it’s in everything. I’m

interested in how we interpret these things, the lens we use

and how that determines our experience here. Perspective and

perception are two sides of the same coin.

If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?

Whoever’s up for it… Are Papa Roach still about?

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in?

We did an 80-minute set in the IWF basement [Substation]

once. That was class. I wore a headdress and strapped a

Selenite wand between my eyes.

Why is music important to you?

Music connects us to the universe and to each other in the

process. I’d say that’s probably not far off the reason it’s

important to most people though, or why it should be.

yammerer.bandcamp.com

Yammerer play Smithdown Road Festival in May.

SPOTLIGHT 33


PREVIEWS

“Those areas are still

dealing with the heart

of their communities

being ripped out, and

dealing with the betrayal

of their industry”

GIG

PUBLIC SERVICE

BROADCASTING

Liverpool Olympia – 12/04

Archive raiders PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING

combine music, samples and snippets of public

information films to create a fully immersive, multifaceted

experience. Mike Stanton speaks to them

about their latest album which focuses on the

history of Welsh mining communities.

Founded by bespectacled and corduroy-clad multi-instrumentalist J. Willgoose Esq.,

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING have now expanded into a trio, incorporating

Wrigglesworth on drums and JF Abraham on keys and flugelhorn. Right from the start

this idiosyncratic group’s ethos has been clear, with their music containing samples

gleaned from the BFI archives and other sources to construct a narrative set to post-rock with

large doses of electronics, funk and even jazz. Their first EP, One, was a taster of the band’s

philosophy, sampling an infomercial for a record player over propulsive, progressive indie rock.

The War Room EP followed a year or so later this time focussing on WWII, particularly the

Blitz, generating radio play and piquing interest. Their success was further enhanced thanks to their

famed live shows, which feature extensive and atmospheric projected films synchronised with the

electronic and often progressive rock and motorik backing.

Their debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain would bring all these concepts together in

a lushly-produced long-player and they enjoyed critical as well as popular success. Festival

appearances beckoned and suited their visual and sonic style perfectly. Two further albums, The

Race For Space and Every Valley tackled subjects as diverse as the 1960s space race and the

decline of the South Wales mining industry respectively.

Throughout this time Willgoose has expanded the live performance by utilising a brass

section and a 13-piece choir to move towards a more grandiose and symphonic experience while

maintaining the intimacy of his early gigs. Back on the road this April, Public Service Broadcasting

are revisiting old haunts such as Liverpool, this time at the Olympia on 12th April. Going by how

their last appearance went in the city, this should be a triumphal return. J. Willgoose Esq. took some

time out from his research to chat with us over the phone from his South East London home.

On your most recent album Every Valley you chronicled the decline of the South Wales mining

industry: why did you choose mining?

It was the desire to be a bit unpredictable and not to fall into a set pattern of working or set range of

topics I suppose… It also just felt like quite a timely thing to do. The more we worked on it, the more

the world was changing around us; it just felt like [the album was] not about its time but of its time.

Did you feel that it took on a life of its own?

Yeh, you set off with a rough structure and once you’ve done basic research for an album like that,

you plot where you want to get to – especially when you’re coming to a subject which we had no

history or association with. You go into it with your ears and eyes open and there were a number of

things we changed as we were going along.

Why South Wales as opposed to other mining industries?

It was more recent in the memory, so we could sit down and talk to ex-miners in South Wales. I

wanted to focus on a particular community… and there was something about the geography of

South Wales, the Valleys in particular, the way the communities are so defined by the industry they

grew up around and the solidarity of the community was a big factor. They were the most solid,

[and had] fewest returners to work during the strike of 84/85.

Looking at the other subjects you’ve tackled – WWII, 1950s consumerism and the Space Race

– these are two or three generations back, whereas with Every Valley a lot of the miners who

were involved in the 80s are still relatively young. Did this immediate connection play a part in

choosing this subject?

Well, we’ve been gradually moving forward in time as we’ve gone along and getting closer and

closer to the present day, so it did feel right to continue that momentum in a way. Those areas are

still dealing with the heart of the communities being ripped out and dealing with the betrayal of

their industry.

On this album, as with your others, you use sampling, giving your tracks a documentary quality.

When you’re writing a track are you looking at the story and the music and then adding samples

or is it the other way around?

It goes both ways really. With a song like Go! [from The Race for Space], it was finding the samples

and writing a song in response to that and trying to capture that excitement, so making it sound fast

and driving with that tension in it. With this album I think a lot more of it was written with an idea

of where we were trying to get to in terms of subject matter, like the song They Gave Me A Lamp:

the music for that was written before I’d found any of the samples and, luckily enough, after sifting

through material at the South Wales miner’s library I uncovered this stuff about politics and about

female empowerment and it all came together in the way that I was hoping for.

What kind of responses have you had from the subjects of your songs? For instance, in regards

to the album The Race For Space, have you heard anything from any of the people who worked

in mission control back in the 60s?

Yeh, various people have got in touch. I’m sitting looking at a signed photo from [NASA Flight Director]

Gene Kranz now actually wearing his famous waistcoat. It says “To PSB eagle, you’re go for landing”

– that’s nice isn’t it! He found [The Race For Space] on his own and bought a copy of the record, he

seems to speak of it in glowing terms which is incredible. And equally for the new album we’ve had

quite a number of responses from people who either worked in the coal industry or live in the Valleys.

The depth of support and encouragement and the connection we made with those people is very

humbling, actually it’s been overwhelmingly positive which is all you could hope for I think.

What kind of criteria do you consider when choosing your next subject?

Just whether it interests me really and how it fits into what we’ve done in the past and where we

want to go in the future: ‘Is it the sort of thing I can get excited about?’ It’s got to sustain you for a

good couple of years before you even start touring it. That’s one of the good things about the way

I work, writing in response to stuff gives you a whole different kind of vocabulary of music to draw

upon and pushes you in directions you wouldn’t always go in if you were left to your own devices.

Can you give us an insight into what might be coming next? What your next subject matter

might be?

Well we’re working on the EP for BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend in Belfast on the Titanic… we’ve been

trying to do four tracks to tell the story of the ship in a slightly more balanced way rather than everything

being so iceberg-focussed and disaster-shaped. There’s comparatively little written about the origins

of the ship, how and where it was built versus how it met its fate. There is a tie in to Every Valley in

that Belfast, being the former industrial hub, is one of the biggest shipyards in the world responsible

for making the world’s biggest ships. So the odd kind of thread still weaving through it all draws it all

together.

You played Liverpool a couple of years ago at the O2. You’re on tour in April and playing

Liverpool again, this time at the Olympia. Do you find audiences in Liverpool are particularly

responsive?

We’ve always found Liverpool really responsive even from the very early days. It’s a special place

with a special heritage and we try to get there as often as we can really. The last gig was really

memorable in terms of how the crowd were and we’re hoping for more of the same this time. !

Words: Mike Stanton / @DepartmentEss

Photography: Dan Kendall

publicservicebroadcasting.net

Public Service Broadcasting play Liverpool Olympia on 12th April, with support from Jane Weaver.

Every Valley is out now via PIAS Recordings.

34


Stealing Sheep

GIG

Crisis Fundraiser

Invisible Wind Factory – 06/04

You don’t need any more reason to go to a gig when the likes

of STEALING SHEEP, THE FLOORMEN and WILD FRUIT

ART COLLECTIVE are emblazoned on the line-up poster,

but when proceeds go to homeless charity Crisis, there’s no

excuse to not go to Invisible Wind Factory on 6th April. Put together

by Z Generation Programming with Musicians Against Homelessness,

the Crisis Fundraiser takes place in IWF’s Substation and is another

example of the city’s creative community coming together to address an

issue which continues to worsen.

On a national level, Crisis helped more than 11,000 people escape

from homelessness last year and they continue to be a powerful

lobbying voice for improving homeless people’s access to help

when it is needed most. Closer to home Skylight Merseyside offer a

range of free classes and activities to people who have experienced

homelessness in the last two years. The valuable work of Skylight

means those living on the streets, in hostels or those who are generally

without their own home can gain access to everything from one-toone

guidance on health and wellbeing, employment and volunteering

opportunities to learning practical skills and training.

Donations to Crisis will be welcome at this all-day event at IWF

with all proceeds going to the charity. Elsewhere on the bill, psych

odyssey voyagers THE PROBES will be making an appearance and

2017 Merseyrail Sound Station finalist NICOLA HARDMAN will be

presenting her Punk Rock Cabaret.

The brain child of the People’s Poet Tony Chestnut, the event

also has support from Musicians Against Homelessness, a national

charity which has recently launched its 2018 campaign with support

from the likes of Manchester Britpop giants James and Trainspotting

author Irvine Welsh. For more information on Crisis go to crisis.org.

uk and to learn more about Musicians Against Homelessness go

to musiciansagainsthomelessness.net.

Record Store Day 2018

Various Venues –

21/04-22/04

It’s that time of the year again when pressing plants get clogged up

with classic rock reissues and Steve ‘Lammo’ Lamacq gushes over

his favourite form of format fetishism. In Liverpool however, there’s

much to get genuinely excited about as partaking stores Jacaranda

Records, 81 Renshaw, Probe and Defend all stock the worthy releases

and have special plans for this year’s RECORD STORE DAY. 21st April

will see stockists come alive with avid music fans anxiously trying to get

hold of that limited-edition Sufjan Stevens EP as well as super sweet DJ

sets and live performances.

The Jac will be flooding all three floors with vinyl new and old, and

host live music and DJs running concurrently. Defend Vinyl are taking

their RSD party to Smithdown neighbours Craft Taproom for DJs and a

mini record fair. At 81 Renshaw Street crate diggers can enjoy live sets

from LO-FIVE, KIERAN MAHON and more, as well as bacon and veggie

butties for the early birds. Venerable institution Probe Records will be

stocking the cream of the crop of this year’s rare releases in celebration

of independent vinyl venders. Bold Street’s Dig Vinyl will once again be

conscientiously swerving the official programme but are opening their

doors at 10am as always for those who want to shop independent in the

spirit of the day.

Wax enthusiasts will also be able to gather at The Merchant for Anti

Social Jazz Pub where the likes of BILL BREWSTER, BERNIE CONNOR

and TENDERLONIOUS AND DENNIS AYLER along with representatives

from some of the aforementioned record shops and RSD themselves will

be playing tracks from the jazz diaspora. Fully-fledged jazzers and the

jazz-curious can get involved in a weekend of neighbourly vibes which

sees Anti Social Jazz Club join forces with Merchant tenants Useless

Wooden Toy Society, Nightcrawler Pizza and yours truly for a two-day

celebration.

PREVIEWS 35


PREVIEWS

GIG

Alex Cameron

Arts Club – 13/04

Australia’s alternative heartthrob ALEX CAMERON comes back to Liverpool

for a night of danceable disco noir. Cameron began his music career as part of

electronic music group Seekae before releasing his debut solo album Jumping

The Shark (2013), in which he adopts the persona of a down-at-heel musician.

His music caught the attention of Brandon Flowers who hired him to co-write

lyrics for The Killers’ 2017 album Wonderful Wonderful. Cameron released his

glorious second album Forced Witness via Secretly Canadian last September,

and embarked on an aptly described ‘Successful Tour’ with business partner

Roy Molloy. Catch him at Arts Club with support from fellow Australian act

JACK LADDER & THE DREAMLANDERS.

Alex Cameron

GIG

Shonen Knife

Arts Club – 21/04

Largely responsible for putting Japanese music on the radar

internationally in the 1980s, legendary alt. pop/punk outfit SHONEN

KNIFE continue to play around the world almost 40 years since their

formation. Influenced by The Beach Boys, The Ramones and 1960s

girl groups, the trio became firm favourites of US indie legends Sonic

Youth, Fugazi and Nirvana. Supporting the grunge icons around the

UK in 1991 just before Nevermind hit, Shonen Knife became 1990s

alt. rock fixtures, scoring regular plays on MTV and with John Peel.

With a 20-deep album catalogue and dates across the globe, the

J-punk outfit show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Shonen Knife

GIG

Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats

Liverpool Olympia – 16/04

In 2013, Denver-based singer Nathaniel Rateliff adopted a seven-piece

backing band and became NATHANIEL RATELIFF AND THE NIGHT

SWEATS. Moving towards a more upbeat, soulful sound, Rateliff utilised the

full weight of his band to achieve the kind of depth to his heartland American

rock that he’d been striving towards for years as a solo artist. 2018’s new

LP Tearing At The Seams, recorded with producer Richard Swift (The Shins,

Foxygen), is more of a collaborative project than 2015’s self-titled effort,

making it richer in rhythm. The Night Sweats’ huge, 21-date European tour

sees them return to town after last turning in a triumphant set supporting

Kings Of Leon in 2017.

GIG

Wrong Festival

Various Venues – 28/04

Taking over the North Docks’ creative heartlands for the

day, WRONG FESTIVAL promises a cranium-pummelling

programme of some of the biggest hitters in the worlds

of punk, noise and psych. Headlined by Welsh rock

luminaries FUTURE OF THE LEFT and Can legend

DAMO SUZUKI, the all-dayer hosts artists in Invisible

Wind Factory, North Shore Troubadour and Dumbulls

for fans of the heavier and weirder end of the rock music

spectrum. Local representation comes from the likes

of SALT THE SNAIL, SPQR and OHMNS. Pray for your

cochleas.

EXHIBITION

It Will Never Work: 25 Years Of Urban Splash

RIBA North – 31/03-16/06

It Will Never Work

The story of Manchester-based regeneration company URBAN SPLASH’s 25-year history is one of

courage and innovation. Long before the Baltic Triangle had the name or even Wifi, and when Liverpool

city centre was a very different place, the duo of Jonathan Falkingham and Tom Bloxham set about

transforming our urban environment. Starting with Liverpool Palace and soon spreading throughout

Ropewalks and far, far beyond, Urban Splash re-wrote the development rulebook on an international

scale alongside a roll call of award-winning architects. That story is told in full at RIBA North, the Mann

Island centre for architecture in a joint exhibition, It Will Never Work, which starts this month.

CLUB

Circus Easter Sunday

Camp and Furnace – 01/04

YOUSEF presents CIRCUS’ EASTER SUNDAY SPECIAL at Camp and Furnace

with a line-up that is sure to keep you dancing all day. The party will carry

on into the night at Hangar 34, and wristbands will be available on the day.

Headliners include PATRICK TOPPING, one of the most in-demand names in

dance music, and JORIS VOORN, a pioneer of Dutch electronic music. Also

on the bill is MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE, who has been making waves

in the industry for the past few years. Don’t miss out on the chance to party

through the day to the best house and techno on offer.

Joris Voorn

36


CLUB

DJ Boring

24 Kitchen Street – 14/04

Showcasing back to back sets from current resident, Wirralborn

DJ MELÉ and headline name DJ BORING, underground

music stalwart 24 Kitchen Street hosts an exemplary night

of euphoric beats in mid-April. A genuine coup, the event is

headlined by DJ Boring aka London-based DJ and producer

Tristan Hallis, who plays an intimate show away from the

major festival stages he usually frequents. Breaking into public

consciousness in 2016, the beatmaker made waves with his

track Winona which samples Gen X icon/Joyce Byers from

Stranger Things actress Winona Ryder (delete as appropriate

according to age).

COMEDY

Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead

81 Renshaw – 18/04

Ever wondered what cult horror classic Evil Dead 2

would be like if reinterpreted through the songs of

the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Us neither. Comedian and

musician ROB KEMP, however, took it upon himself

to create the unlikely mash-up and the result is a

multi-award winning show which took the Edinburgh

Fringe by storm. Hailed by critics for its originality

and excellent execution, the comedy show comes to

81 Renshaw this month and deserves your attention.

Support on the night comes from Liverpool’s own

nightmare-monger THADDEUS BENT.

GIG

Trampolene

EBGBs – 18/04

Welsh indie rockers TRAMPOLENE’s star continues to rise

after their debut album Swansea To Hornsey was included

in the top ten of The Independent’s 30 Best Albums of

2017. With support slots with The Libertines and Liam

Gallagher, the trio are rapidly gaining a loyal army of fans

and their show at EBGBs is likely to be a lively affair. The

band have made a name for themselves through leader Jack

Jones’ lyrical musings on urban life alongside a shedload of

raw guitar hooks. Part of the latest This Feeling tour, their

gig at EBGBs will also feature sets from HIMALAYAS and

SOPHIE AND THE GIANTS.

EXHIBITION

States Of Play

FACT – 22/03-17/06

A new exhibition stretching across spring and into summer at FACT, States

Of Play: Roleplay Reality investigates the complex, contemporary landscape

of video games. Bringing together a diverse collection of works, the

season focuses on the theme of roleplay within gaming, and the medium’s

unique ability to merge the real and the unreal. The exhibition, similarly to

many gamescapes, allows the participant to experience reality from new

perspectives, or possibly discover different versions of themselves within it.

As part of the season, revered Australian audiovisual artist Robin Fox leads a

discussion about his work at FACT prior to his headline set at 24 Kitchen Street

on Friday 13th April.

Porpentine & Neotenomie, The World is Not My Home

GIG

Jah Shaka Sound System

District – 28/04

Jah Shaka Sound System

POSITIVE VIBRATION is bringing JAH SHAKA, aka THE ZULU

WARRIOR, and his full sound system to Liverpool. The legendary

singer and producer has been at the forefront of the UK reggae/

dub scene since the mid-70s. He is also the operator of the heaviest

roots/dub sound system in the world so expect a night of heavy

bass. This is a warm-up for Positive Vibration - Festival of Reggae,

which will return to the Baltic Triangle for its third year in June. The

festival is a celebration of Jamaican music and will host an array of

ska, reggae and dub musicians.

GIG

Gregory Porter

Liverpool Empire – 07/04

GREGORY PORTER holds a solid and worthy position amongst the greats of today’s jazz world. His smooth

vocals and uber-cool demeanour have earned him international recognition, and he has twice scooped the

Grammy Award for Best Jazz Album. Last October, he released his fifth studio album Nat King Cole And Me,

in which he sings songs that were recorded or inspired by Nat King Cole. It is billed as a personal tribute to the

singer, who inspired Porter as a young child and musician. Porter continues to perform to sell-out audiences

so grab tickets early for this unmissable show.

Gregory Porter

GIG

Girli

Sound Basement – 06/04

Girli

With her signature pink look and a stage name inspired by Blondie,

GIRLI (Milly Toomey) makes sure she stands out from the crowd. The

London-based singer and rapper started performing as part of indierock

band Ask Martin while in high school, before embarking on a solo

career in 2014 and has since released a number of singles that explore

gender, critics and social pressures. Her futuristic pop sound and punk

spirit combine on her EP Hot Mess, which was released in October

2017. Catch her at Sound Basement as part of her UK solo tour for a

typically playful and unpredictable evening full of girl power.

PREVIEWS 37


march - april

22nd mar - underground arts soc launch

23rd mar - cactus paradox extravaganza

24th mar - the isrights (dj set)

25th mar - ground floor open mic

28th mar - the mellowtone open mic

29th mar - uas - we want women

30th mar - hushushmedia takeover

31st mar - seafoam green (dj set)

1st apr - ground floor open mic

5th apr - the underground arts society

6th apr - ‘poib presents’ takeover

7th apr - dead houses + guests

8th apr - ground floor open mic

12th apr - the underground arts society

13th apr- joe astley & the black pages

14th apr - galactic funk militia (dj set)

21st april - record store day!!!

Monday / wednesday / Thursday / friday / saturday / sunday


Box office:

theatkinson.co.uk

01704 533 333

(Booking fees apply)


: TheAtkinson

: @AtkinsonThe

: @TheAtkinsonSouthport

The Atkinson

Lord Street

Southport

PR8 1DB

Music

Friends of Folk

Julie Felix

Thu 22 March, 7.30pm

Chris Difford & Boo Hewerdine:

My Life In and Out of Squeeze

Sat 24 March, 7.30pm

Solid Entertainments

Ladies of the Blues

Fri 30 March, 7.30pm

Grateful Fred’s

Connla

Wed 4 April, 7.30pm

Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton

Fri 6 April, 7.30pm

Big Bear Music

King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys

Sat 7 April, 7.30pm

Space

Sat 14 April, 8pm

Comedy

James Seabright

Adam Kay: This is Going to Hurt

(Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor)

Wed 28 March, 7.30pm

Laugh Out Loud

Sat 7 April, 8pm

Theatre

Dyad Productions

Jane Eyre: An Autobiography

Sat 24 March, 7.30pm

Murder Mystery Productions

Going Going Gone

Sat 31 March, 7.30pm

A Spoonful of Sherman –

100th anniversary tour

Thu 12 April 7.30pm, Fri 13 April 2.30pm & 7.30pm

FILM

Southport Film Guild

Hell or High Water (15)

Wed 4 April, 7.30pm

Image: King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys


REVIEWS

100 Demons (Keith Ainsworth / ark images.co.uk) Oliver Coates (Keith Ainsworth / ark images.co.uk)

100 Demons

+ Vessel

+ Oliver Coates

Manchester Collective @ IWF Substation –

02/03

Conditions are Siberian outside Invisible Wind Factory,

but the world premiere of Daniel Elms’ 100 Demons is enough

of a pull for the crowd to opt to battle the elements and make

sure they’re present. In fact, tonight’s show draws the biggest

crowd of any show by Manchester Collective in Liverpool, in a

programme designed to explore the relationship between live

strings and electronics. Unfortunately, Elms himself isn’t present

as blizzard conditions in Yorkshire mean he isn’t able to hear his

new composition live for the first time.

There is a perceived wisdom in football about players who

come out of the tunnel wearing gloves, and I’m concerned to see

some members of the Collective appear on stage wearing woolly

hats, but any such anxieties are immediately dissipated in the

electric tension.

The first set showcases new material from VESSEL.

The Bristolian electronic maverick, real name Sebastian

Gainsborough, recently scored the trailer for Park Chan-Wook’s

award-winning film, The Handmaiden. This is the first chance to

hear material from Vessel’s forthcoming album, Queen Of Golden

Dogs. What we hear tonight hints at new directions since his

2014 album Punish, Honey. Where that record had an intense,

hermetic interiority, using homemade instruments to create an

intangible sound world, the new material feels more expansive,

drawing from a range of musical sources, including chants and

hymns.

It is a dense weave, featuring a fragment of fugue on

piano; a chanson; the chiming bells of a religious ceremony;

even an absurdist harpsichord passage. Each musical gesture

is decomposed, and twisted into something more sinister. The

effect is of a collapsing labyrinth, but Vessel’s touch is always

there guiding us, riding the tremendous momentum of the piece.

The upcoming album promises to be essential listening,

but Vessel’s role here feels ambiguous, as the substance of the

collaboration with the Collective is unclear. The musicians, having

introduced the music, exit the stage, leaving nothing to see.

Whether by accident or design, Gainsborough then plays the

entire set crouched down on the floor, where only those audience

members on the front row can see him. Everybody else is left

looking at an empty stage, in a general air of uncertainty. It would

“It feels almost as if

we are being protected

from the seductive

danger of desire and

consumption, instead

of being exposed to it”

be great to see Vessel performing live with the ensemble, but

perhaps we’ll have to wait for another occasion.

The second set features two works for solo instrument. First

up, the Collective’s Music Director, RAKHI SINGH, performs Steve

Reich’s Violin Phase. This is the most well-known piece of the

evening. An example of ‘Process Music’, the work is scored for

three violin parts, with two pre-recorded, and one playing live.

These musical ‘cells’ are shifted gradually out of sync, creating

new textures and rhythmic complexity. It’s a mesmerising

performance, and a privileged opportunity to see an important

work of the 20th Century played live.

The next work calls for solo cello, and features special guest

OLIVER COATES, who has just completed an international tour

with Radiohead. Industry, a piece for solo cello and distortion

pedal by American composer Michael Gordon, requires a delicate

balance of power and restraint, exploiting the cello’s natural

potential to sustain, with precise finger technique giving way to

sawing bow motions and open chords, as the distortion builds

and builds. Coates demonstrates total mastery of the instrument,

and of the conceptual impetus of the music.

The dialogue of instrument and electronics that emerges

in these works is significant, because it bridges perceived

gaps between academic music, and more popular forms.

This is a polemic that can be traced from Reich and Karlheinz

Stockhausen, through to Paul McCartney’s experiments in

such tracks as Tomorrow Never Knows. All the pieces offer

perspectives into this discourse and underline its continuing

relevance.

The question having been stated, the stage is set for the

evening’s climax: the anticipated premiere of 100 Demons.

Manchester Collective aim to commission one original work per

year, and for 2018 they turned to Daniel Elms. The Hull-born

composer is fresh off the success of Bethia, a work written for

the British Film Institute, to mark the City Of Culture year in his

hometown. Elms has also written for the screen, with his music

featured in such films as Ralph and Library Of Burned Books, as

well as for the TV series Taboo by Ridley Scott and Tom Hardy.

Elms is defiantly political in his writing, and for this latest

piece he has chosen to explore the modern phenomenon of

fake news, of internet conspiracies, and the populist hijacking of

media. 100 Demons achieves this by using a pre-recorded string

quartet that engages with the live performers, blurring the truth

of what we are listening to, as the audience becomes unable to

trust which sounds are real and which are fabricated.

The musical inspiration comes from a Japanese folk story in

which one hundred demons come at night to terrorise a village.

The inhabitants are forced to hide indoors and resort to magic

incantations to protect themselves. Elms uses fragments of these

incantations in the composition, but the most striking feature of

the adaptation, in his hands, is the way that the strings imitate

the playing of traditional Japanese drums.

As is to be expected with a premiere, the creation of the new

work is as challenging for the performers as it is for the audience.

The quartet of players are called on to use their voices as well as

their instruments, in a very demanding piece, to which they give

their all. Rhythmic intensity is the standout quality of the material,

sustaining a powerful tension, with a sense of latency, something

on the verge of taking place.

This is complex music that would reward further listening.

Is the full range of possibility for the de facto octet explored?

Audience members are looking at the speakers, wondering what

unexpected sounds might emerge, but the doppelganger quartet

on the recording are limited in the main to atmospheric thickening

of tension, rather than bold intrusions.

Likewise, as an effect of the brooding insistence on density

of texture, the natural urge of the violin to express itself in melody

is constantly restrained. The jingoistic seductions of propaganda

seem to lend themselves to melody, but that is the element of the

music that has been suppressed as an artistic choice. I’m waiting

for a tune, even a bad one in the mode of Gustav Mahler’s

treatment of banality in music, or a sarcastic development, as of

Sergei Prokofiev’s sonatas.

There are rich possibilities for the ghostly violin in

the speakers to call to the listener with melody, tempting

them outwards, or just to give contour to an exterior that is

undifferentiated. In the absence of such devices, it feels almost as

if we are being protected from the seductive danger of desire and

consumption, instead of being exposed to it.

100 Demons is, however, a detailed and ambitious work, and

one that promises to reveal more of its secrets on a second listen.

Deeper immersion required.

James Davidson

40


LA Town-Center Plaza by Cao Fei

“Both exhibitions

leave me with a

sense of wanting to

know more about

Chinese culture – be

that history or art”

China Dream

China’s First Emperor And The Terracotta

Warriors @ World Museum

Presence: A Window Into Chinese

Contemporary Art @ St. George’s Hall

It is near impossible to walk past the top of Nelson Street

without stopping to wonder at the towering ceremonial

archway that marks Chinatown. Liverpool is home to the oldest

Chinese community in Europe, and this monument symbolises a

prosperous relationship that dates back many years. At around

15 metres high, and painted with striking reds, golds and greens,

it is the tallest Chinese archway in Europe – and arguably the

most beautiful.

But for many, knowledge of Chinese culture ends with this

archway: a fact that CHINA DREAM hopes to change. The eightmonth

long programme of exhibitions, events and performances

brings modern China to the heart of Liverpool. Simultaneously,

the much-anticipated arrival of CHINA’S FIRST EMPEROR AND

THE TERRACOTTA WARRIORS at the World Museum tells the

story of ancient China. Together, they present China as a country

rich with history, art and tradition.

In 1974, a group of local farmers accidentally made one of

the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries. Exhibited in the

UK for the first time in 10 years, the Terracotta Warriors were

found guarding the tomb of the First Emperor of unified China,

Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210 BC). Alongside the warriors, the

exhibition showcases over 180 rare artefacts, many of which

have never been shown in the UK.

It is the size of the warriors that first draws me in; with

only a few on show at the World Museum, it is hard to imagine

that up to 8000 remain buried in China. I am also drawn to the

Emperor’s relentless fascination with death and immortality; he

ordered work to begin on his tomb when he was just 13 years

old. Ironically, it is the world-famous Terracotta Warriors that

bring the Emperor closest to immortality.

The strength of this exhibition is in its storytelling; the

curators have condensed 1000 years of complex Chinese

history into an accessible and interesting format. As I leave, I

am struck by how much I have learned. European classrooms

tend to favour the Roman Empire or the Egyptians, which makes

exhibitions such as this vital. Though the Terracotta Warriors

are billed as the main attraction, it is the information on Chinese

philosophy and the everyday objects on display that paint a truer

picture of what life was like for those living in China 2000 years

ago.

Across the road in St. George’s Hall, PRESENCE: A

WINDOW INTO CHINESE CONTEMPORARY ART offers a

wildly different picture of Chinese culture: one that is firmly

in the 21st Century. With pieces on loan from the University

of Salford Art Collection, the varied nature of the exhibition

reflects a thriving and innovative contemporary art scene.

The gloomy vaults of St. George’s Hall are the perfect setting

for a number of pieces that interrogate the idea of space. The

exhibition is worth visiting just for a peek at the depths of this

magnificent building.

That said, the artwork should not be missed. Upon entering,

I am immediately drawn to Lu Xinjian’s City DNA/Salford And

Manchester (2016); the bright, hand-painted patterns bring a

dull Google Earth image to life and, subsequently, reflect the

vibrant feel of the two places. Another highlight is Suki Chan’s

film Lucida (2016), which examines the relationship between

the human eye, brain and vision. The almost meditative nature

of the piece leaves me distinctly aware of my own process of

seeing; this is intensified by the oppressive nature of the dark,

dingy room in which I am sat.

Both exhibitions leave me with a sense of wanting to know

more about Chinese culture – be that history or art. While the

Terracotta Warriors have received much publicity, Presence is

a quietly exciting exhibition. People will travel from all over the

country just to see the Terracotta Warriors; the few minutes it

takes to cross the road are highly worth it for an alternate but

equally intriguing view of Chinese culture.

Maya Jones / @mmayajones

Terracotta Warriors, World Museum © Gareth Jones

REVIEWS 41


REVIEWS

Howie Payne

+ Marvin Powell

+ Zuzu

Harvest Sun and Evol @ The Unity Theatre

– 20/02

Wiley

+ Ms Banks

+ Rico Don

+ Wavey Joe

24 Kitchen Street – 01/03

Fans are almost spilling out of the door for the appearance

of WILEY, the East London rapper and Godfather of grime who

greets a sold-out, pumped-up, hardcore room in one of the Baltic

Triangle’s most exciting venues. Added to his UK tour due to

popular demand, the 24 Kitchen Street show sold out in days,

showing that Wiley’s ongoing relevance as a pioneer in the

British underground music scene remains undimmed. Opening

his set with Been A While, from his forthcoming album Godfather

II, Wiley erupts onto the stage amid screaming fans who ricochet

off the walls to his fast-paced delivery, proving he’s still got the

ability to pen a current hit two decades into his career.

Jumping from tasters of his early eskibeat instrumentals to

more mainstream tunes (Wearing My Rolex, Heatwave), Wiley

Wiley (Day Howarth / dayhowarth.com)

Wiley (Day Howarth / dayhowarth.com)

sprints through a back catalogue comprising 11 studio albums

and multiple genre-defining tracks. The dirty bassline of 6 In The

Bloodclart Morning has the room jumping, and Can’t Go Wrong

causes the crowd to explode with energy, chanting every lyric

back to him.

At this point in his career, Wiley could be playing sell-out

arena shows with ease, making this intimate show even more

special. Famed for nurturing new artists, Wiley knows the

importance of giving something back to the scene that nurtured

him. This gig follows suit, with Wiley flipping the programme

and bringing on his support act right at the end; a logical move

when showcasing rising talent, offering MS BANKS a platform in

front of a crowd already riled up and excited about the music on

the bill. Ms Banks kills it: her set is short, sweet and packed with

sass, and tracks like Come Thru and Bangs could confidently be

named amongst the highlights of the night.

Wiley shares the stage with local rappers RICO DON and

WAVEY JOE amongst others at the end of his set, and for us, this

is something to be celebrated, especially with the rude health

that Liverpool’s own grime scene finds itself in. Wiley continues

to take risks, promote exciting new acts, and ultimately create

experiences set to alter our understanding of UK rap music.

Sinéad Nunes / @SineadAWrites

While the Everyman picks up architecture awards and

plaudits for reintroducing its repertory company and the Empire

brings in large-scale West End productions, the Unity Theatre,

sitting pretty on a Georgian back street, quietly goes about its

business of putting on edgy independent productions which push

the envelope, hosting a diverse array of comedy, performing arts

and music shows.

Similarly in Liverpool, there are a host of names which

readily reach the lips of music fans when illustrating the city’s

fine lineage of songwriters, while others ply their trade with

comparatively less emphatic fanfare. Tonight, such institutions

align as two pillars of Liverpool’s independent music scene bring

together a bill of artists who deserve their place in said pantheon.

There’s a pleasing structure to tonight’s line-up. At the top

of the bill, HOWIE PAYNE is somewhat of an old hand, who has

long since worked his way into the hearts of Merseyside music

aficionados with a cult band from a golden age. In support is

MARVIN POWELL whose two EPs have won him many admirers

and who is enjoying a transcendence from the local scene.

And opening up tonight is a musician who, with only a couple

of singles in the public domain, returns to Merseyside with the

ink drying on a Virgin Records contract. Three generations of

Merseyside guitar slinging song mongers.

ZUZU admits to nerves as she enters stage-right and it’s

understandable as the Unity Theatre setting is a much more

sober one than the plastic cup and crowd surfing environs of the

O2 Academy (the Wirralite’s last appearance in the Bido Lito!

reviews section). As soon as she starts her set though the anxiety

dissipates. Tracks like Clever Gains, played solo with just an

electric guitar, show their quality in this stripped-back form.

Marvin Powell bounds on through the black curtain next to

effortlessly run through a selection of songs from his impressive

oeuvre. Whether on his own or accompanied by a second

guitarist, the Skeleton Key Records man weaves a thick web with

songs which mesmerise with melody and paint a vivid picture

lyrically. Wind Before The Train, with its carefree vignettes of

getting out of town to a seaside destination (“Pissing in the

dunes / Listening to our favourite tunes”) is infectious in its

spirit. Salt and Buried already sound like classics, partly due to

their 70s aesthetic but mostly due to the timeless quality of the

songwriting.

Howie Payne has a fan in tonight who apparently goes

to see him everywhere but threatens to rankle the captivated

audience tonight at the Unity. Each song is punctuated by a

flurry of drunken nonsense. However, Payne is unperturbed and

manages to diffuse the situation by drawing attention to the

rabble rouser; suddenly his slurred comments are taken in good

spirits. It’s testament to the man’s easy going charm (Payne’s,

not the drunken numpty’s). Payne’s set is a pleasing mixture of

new tracks from his latest album Mountain, some classics from

the back catalogue of his band The Stands and a selection from

his underrated solo debut Bright Light Ballads. The Bob Dylan

to Marvin Powell’s Nick Drake, Payne deals more in abstract

imagery which create a world we all willingly enter. Newer tracks

such as Some Believer, Sweet Dreamer retain the songwriter’s

Americana sensibilities and sit comfortably next to Stands

classics like Here She Comes Again and All Years Leaving. Again,

stripped down to their bare bones, these songs show their quality

in acoustic form.

Tonight is a remarkable showcase of Liverpool’s unsung

songwriting talent. The setting of the Unity allows the three

performers to hold the audience’s attention and gives their

extraordinary creations the room to lasso the imagination of

those in attendance.

Sam Turner / @SamTurner1984

42


The Wailers

O2 Academy – 07/03

It’s almost as if they know how vital their messages are at present. We have a

world that seems like it’s stuck on a firm downwards trajectory and people up-top

who only seem to be adding gallons more precious fossil fuels to the fire. Now,

more than ever, a beacon of hope is what we need. A reminder that we still have

some semblance of power and that we can affect change.

And sure enough, the proverbial call to arms is being answered for the second

time in as many years tonight in our city. The Academy is packed as devoted

followers young and old filter through into any space they can. There was a time

when most of these people could have scarcely imagined that a tour of this kind

would ever happen. A mix of elation, anticipation and reverence sweeps through

the room as people wait patiently for the band to arrive. Again, it’s surprising that

an act of this stature is playing in such a small room. Legacy alone could fill an

arena with adoring fans. The humble small-venue tour reflects the fact that these

artists are still going for all the right reasons.

Finally, after a slight technical glitch during the set-up, THE WAILERS arrive

complete with original members and additional members from the Wailers’ family

tree. Indeed, Marley’s replacement is the cousin of the legendary Wailers’ bassist

Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett, Joshua Barrett. We also have legendary original

members Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey on guitar with Tyrone Downie on keys

and organs. With Familyman’s son, Aston Barrett Jr., joining the band on drums,

it’s clear that the line-up is as close as it could be to the familial vibe of the original

incarnation.

There is a heavy groove that carries this performance and somewhat betrays

the skill level of the players. It’s undeniable that this troupe are some of the best

at what they do, with soulful guitar and key solos throughout. Yet somehow, they

make their work look, and sound, as fluent and inevitable as running water.

In remembrance of their Legend collection they play a whole set which features

almost every track on the record, plus a few extras. Classics such as Three Little

Birds, No Woman, No Cry, Buffalo Soldier and I Shot The Sheriff come through

thick and fast, prompting a strong chorus from the crowd, while tracks Roots Rock

Reggae, Exodus and others have the entire room nodding their heads in unison.

Joshua Barrett proves himself more than worthy of Marley’s mantle as his voice

soars through tracks such as Is This Love and One Love, while Aston Barrett Jr.

adds a wealth of texture and hypnotic groove to the proceedings which enriches

the sound as a whole. This is truly a family affair.

It’s fair to say that The Wailers have done their job. As they leave the stage

it has to be said the world seems like a happier place for those in attendance.

The music made by this band has inspired and empowered the entire globe for

generations and, at present, their power is in need. This show has been one to top

up our reserves of hope until – if we’re lucky – around this time next year.

Christopher Carr

The Wailers (Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd)

Join the

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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

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REVIEWS 43


Mykal Rose (Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd)

Mykal Rose

+ One-A-Penny Soundsystem

Positive Vibration @ District – 17/02

Billed as ‘The Voice Of Black Uhuru’ (and known as just that during their most

influential roots reggae period of the late-70s to mid-80s), MYKAL ROSE – backed by

noted British rhythm section and producers Mafia and Fluxy (Bunny Lee, Gregory Isaacs,

Sugar Minott) – is the latest performer to take part in Positive Vibration’s mouth-watering

series of inter-festival concerts. Another congenial atmosphere is bubbling up in District

as ONE-A-PENNY SOUNDSYSTEM, one of the oldest in Liverpool, draw many of the early

arrivals straight on to the dancefloor.

Mafia (Leroy Heywood, Bass) and Fluxy (David Heywood, Drums) are joined by

Stephen Wright (Guitar) and Adrian McKenzie (Keys), who get things off to a jaunty start

with a version of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five before Rose hits the stage. Nattily attired in

shades and rasta-stripe hat, man-bag slung casually over his shoulder, Rose’s arrival is

the catalyst for the ensemble to cruise straight into the classic What Is Life? from 1984’s

Grammy-winning Anthem. Rose gets quickly into his stride, pacing the stage, breaking

into shimmying dance steps and sounding in great voice.

The set is littered with political and social commentary, protest and praise. A sublime

The Whole World Is Africa sets the bar high, its chorus a concise damnation of colonial

and post-colonial rule: “The whole world is Africa, it’s divided in continent states, stolen

cities have no pity.” “Stolen cities have no pity” – it could be a line from a Graham Greene

novel, murmured over a whisky by a worn-out priest or company man, conjuring up the

spite, greed, fear and corruption of the times. McKenzie’s bouncing piano drives it along

and the change of tempo is executed to perfection.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner references the boundary-pushing 1960s comedydrama

of the same name, replacing Sidney Poitier’s urbane African American doctor with

the spliff-toting Natty Dreadlock whose herb brings society together.

There is no between song chat and one song generally morphs seamlessly into the

next as we skank our way through a set of up-tempo rockers and cool grooves. That’s not

to say Rose doesn’t connect with his audience: he constantly involves them in the music,

call-and-response vignettes littering the set and enthusiastically echoed by the swaying

crowd.

All the above are driven by Mafia and Fluxy’s totally on-it grooves. That sibling

connection, so often heralded when vocally portrayed, is tonight displayed beautifully in

the rhythm, these two look and sound like they’ve been playing together forever. Leroy’s

heavy dub bass on I Love King Selassie positively throbs alongside David’s snappy

stickwork. That rhythm is decorated with Wright’s driving, choppy rhythms or full-on

ripping, blues inflected solos, accompanied by proper ‘rock god’ facials. McKenzie is

equally at home pushing the rhythm along or adding swathes of soaring synth or pure

rock ‘n’ roll piano. Rose’s scat singing on Plastic Smile delights, and a cover of Natural

Mystic celebrates Bob Marley’s birthday, the crowd joining in ecstatically.

After a stonking Sinsemilla and new number Zum Zum, involving another crowd

singalong, an apologetic Levi Tafari explains that there will be no encore. Thankfully, One

A Penny are on hand to keep the party rolling into the small hours on another superb night

for Positive Vibration and District.

Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd

44


The Stranglers

+ Therapy?

O2 Academy – 06/03

The chance to see a legendary (a word not used lightly) band such as THE

STRANGLERS play live is too good to pass up on a chilly March evening, and the

O2 is a great venue to witness the opening night of the UK leg of their Definitive

Tour. Many, or perhaps all, of the crowd gathered eagerly in the semi-gloom of

the Academy’s main room are hoping to recapture versions of themselves vaguely

remembered from 1979.

The place is a sell-out and anticipation is rising when support band THERAPY?

take to the stage. Lead man Andy Cairns powers out tune after tune, blasting

through selected items from their back catalogue causing the massing crowd to

jump, bounce and generally throw themselves around in time to the churning riffs

and pumping drums. The last time they played Liverpool was in 1991 at Planet X

according to Cairns, and he and his bandmates are clearly enjoying themselves.

Therapy? blaze through their set with the poise and swagger of veteran rockers and

warm the crowd nicely for the main event.

The Stranglers take the stage to huge cheers. Baz Warne, now fronting the band

with original members Jean-Jacques Burnel on bass and Dave Greenfield on keys,

get things going by launching into a powerful version of Curfew and muscle memory

kicks in for everyone present. Jerky dancing, pogoing and jumping ensues as the

room appears to rumble.

It’s The Stranglers’ distinctive sound that is most impressive, it’s unmistakable

with Greenfield’s Manzarek-style keyboard riffs and Burnel’s throbbing bass. Warne

is a terrific frontman; an accomplished guitarist and charismatic singer, he delivers

with the confidence and attitude of someone who owns each and every song.

At times it’s like the band have forgotten how old they are as they blast through

Bear Cage and Nuclear Device ably assisted by the crowd roaring the lyrics back to

them. Youthful abandon is conjured on stage and they prove that punk is not dead, it

is still vital, still surging from their core. Classics Peaches, Golden Brown and Always

The Sun are huge and demonstrate that the songwriting on display here is still gobsmacking.

The audience really come alive when these are played, chanting in perfect

harmony.

Warne and the boys plough on with Just Like Nothing On Earth and Freedom Is

Insane, by which point Burnel’s shirt is unbuttoned to the waist and he is prowling

the stage like a man possessed, buzzing the crowd with grins and shockwaves from

his bass.

This is a masterclass of musicianship – even the drumming of Jim Macaulay is

bang-on, tying the whole together to form a perfect package of propulsive punk pop.

The Stranglers may be into late-middle age but their energy, enthusiasm and quality

has not waned. Every member of the audience has experienced the burning power

of Warne and his merry men and we all file out into the cooling air of real life, ears

still ringing with counter-cultural anthems that chronicled our youth.

Mike Stanton / @DepartmentEss

The Stranglers (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

PINK AUDIO

DYNAMITE

The monthly radio show from Bido Lito!

Listen to the audio accompaniment to this issue

of Bido Lito! online at iwfmradio.com

Featuring the best new music from Merseyside and

beyond including the artists in this magazine and

other tracks on the dansette at Bido Lito! HQ

Hear the show on the first Saturday of every month

or listen back at bidolito.co.uk/podcast

REVIEWS 45


REVIEWS

“They morph seamlessly

between styles and

tempos, punky basslines

sitting happily alongside

Sketches Of Spain

trumpet explorations”

Arun Ghosh (Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd)

Arun Ghosh (Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd)

Liverpool International

Jazz Festival

Capstone Theatre – 22/02 – 25/02

The sixth LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

(established by Liverpool Hope University and hosted in the main

at the Capstone Theatre on their Creative Campus) this year

focuses on “contemporary instrumental jazz” and, as ever, there

is a varied line-up mixing the stellar and the less well known

which promises quality throughout.

Friday night, and THE WEAVE kick things off in fine style.

Martin Smith’s critically acclaimed sextet play a short set that

mixes explosive improvisation with lyrical melody to mesmerising

effect. Smith repeatedly delivers exquisite solos before stepping

into the shadows to allow his colleagues time in the spotlight to

deliver their own riveting explorations, each solo drawing richly

deserved applause from the audience. The Weave quite literally

swing us into the evening.

Expectation is high as GET THE BLESSING stride onstage

in trademark suits, looking like a cross between the Bad Seeds

and Jeremy Vine. They hit the ground running with Adagio,

saxophone and trumpet riffing off each other over a muscular

rhythm. Pete Judge (Trumpet) and Jake McMurchie (Saxophone)

face each other from opposite sides of the stage as though in a

western standoff as they trade riffs. Jim Barr (Bass) has a dry,

engaging repertoire. E & O is apparently based on “dreams of

deep fried pizza cops” while Music Style P contains “no music

whatsoever”. It most certainly does, a jazz-rock workout of the

highest order relaxing into elegiac horn passages. “There’s some

really bad things going on in America” he opines, “but know

what’s the worst? The coffee. This is called Americano”. They

launch into a wash of surf guitar, stalking six string bass and

mariachi-like trumpet which dissolves into a furious funk squall.

They morph seamlessly between styles and tempos, punky

basslines sitting happily alongside Sketches Of Spain trumpet

explorations, dissonance and harmony embraced throughout, the

audience never quite sure what’s coming next. Barr’s ability to

play throbbing bass and shimmering lead on the same instrument

adds tension and Clive Deamer’s drumming switches from

effortless swing to pounding workout.

Judge and McMurchie occasionally kneel for intermittent

periods of judicious knob-twiddling which sends their sampled

horns spiralling aloft in washes of an almost psychedelic nature

– but they never overdo it, the effects adding to the complex

nature of the overall sound. That complexity is never allowed

to obscure Get The Blessing’s ear for a melody however, and

the set is littered with lyrical, evocative passages. Movie score

commissioners, please note.

“This is the Butlins moment,” announces Barr, “we want you

to clap along,” and everyone does, keeping pretty good time on

the pacey, rhythmic intricacies of OC DC. The band applauds the

audience, and, as well as an atmosphere of musical appreciation,

an atmosphere of good humour permeates the room. The stopstart

drama of Einstein Action Figure, brings a wild ride to its

conclusion and a hugely deserved standing ovation.

Saturday lunchtime, and the delightful aroma of Indian

cuisine permeates the foyer of the Capstone as the midday crowd

mingles ahead of the Milapfest co-promotion of ARUN GHOSH

INDO-JAZZ SEXTET. Ghosh, born in Calcutta, raised in Bolton,

has a string of highly praised albums to his name, the most recent

being 2017’s But Where Are You Really From? – a question he

was repeatedly asked during his formative years. If Ghosh was at

all angered by that he hides it remarkably well, preferring instead

to view such stereotyping with a twinkle-eyed amusement. It is a

demeanour that is immediately endearing, Ghosh has something

of the Lancashire stand-up about him and litters the set with

anecdotes of his Bolton childhood. One such concerns his family’s

regular walking trips to the Lake District and is a precursor to the

beautiful Pastoral Sympathy (This Land Is Mine), its haunting,

evocative clarinet and piano intro setting the scene for a piece

that, by turns, skips along like a spring lamb and bathes in an

autumnal melancholy, aided by its traditional bandstand brass.

Ghosh himself performs with a controlled intensity,

constantly rising onto his tiptoes, body swaying, clarinet thrust

at the mic to emit frenzied sorties that front a wall of sound

which rises from the polyrhythmic foundations of Dave Walsh’s

drumming and Gavin Barass’ slinky basslines. Alternately,

Ghosh’s clarinet fronts gentle lyrical passages, with Sarathy

Korwar’s pattering tabla rhythms scattering thoughts of Albion

eastwards.

After an interval, Smashing Through The Gates Of Thought

does just that, positively rocking the house with its pile-driving

rhythms, Ghosh’s clarinet and Chris Williams’ saxophone solos

flying, before River Song takes us on a journey as sinuous and

flowing as the title might suggest.

John Ellis’ driving piano motif illuminates Sufi Stomp and,

finally, they bring a thrillingly-realised Tomorrow Never Knows

full circle, Ghosh stalking the stage, clearly delighting in the

band’s playing before they take an ensemble bow as the

audience once again rises to applaud.

Closing the festival on Sunday evening are SOFT MACHINE,

back on Merseyside after their autumn performance at the

Wirral’s International Guitar festival of Great Britain, and

displaying the same virtuosity that we reported on then. Pioneers

of the British pastoral psychedelic and jazz fusion scenes and

showing no signs of slowing down, theirs is a legacy that bears

constant revisiting and reinterpretation. Yet again a full house is

on its feet.

It’s been a weekend of music that pushes the envelope,

played out to full houses, and which sees the Liverpool

International Jazz Festival go from strength to strength.

Glyn Akroyd / @GlynAkroyd

46


47Soul

24 Kitchen Street – 16/02

Mook Loxley provides us with an illustrative

review of shamstep collective 47Soul’s show at

24 Kitchen Street.

ROUND UP

A selection of the best of the rest from another

busy month of live action on Merseyside.

Yassassin (Darren Aston)

Down in the yellow basement of HUS a party is kicking into full swing. Jessica Fleming

joins promoters ICYMI for a celebration of their second birthday, and what better way to

commemorate the milestone than with a gig jam-packed with some of the best upcoming

bands around.

Leeds’ PARTY HARDLY are one of the night’s hors d’oeuvres, presenting a mixture of

tunes varying in styles from laid back slacker rock to heavy and fast-paced guitars. Frontman

Tom Barr presides over the stage, occasionally ditching his guitar to swagger off the slightly

raised stage to sing directly into the crowd. They’re a slick outfit and their energy is infectious.

The London-based five-piece punk band YASSASSIN are the night’s headliners, a band

who haven’t played in Liverpool since their set at Psych Fest back in September. That show

coincided with the release of their debut EP Vitamin Y, and since then the group have gone on

to play with Sleeper, Yak, and Skinny Girl Diet. The group attract a growing crowd who aren’t

afraid to dance along to the band’s rebel-rousing tracks, taking inspiration from lead singer,

Anna Haara Kristoferson, who is constantly giving it her all, whether it be with a guitar,

tambourine or mic in her hand.

Even with two new members, Nathalia on bass and Stephanie on drums, the group blow

the crowd away with one flawless song after another. The incredibly popular Social Construct

stands out, as does the slower and dreamier Cherry Pie, and personal favourite Pretty Face.

Alongside this, the band unveil a few newer songs, creating an exciting buzz around what is

yet to come and teasing at possible new releases soon. As Yassassin’s first gig of 2018, they

manage to set the bar high – starting their year with style, and making everyone present wish

for their return before they’ve even left.

It comes as little surprise that HOOKWORMS’ return to the city should be sold-out, and

Bethany Garrett finds them in fine form at their stint in Invisible Wind Factory’s basement

Substation venue. Their latest LP – Microshift, released in February this year – has racked up

some impressive critical acclaim from all the right places, while its propulsive lead single has

been plastered on the airwaves, a spurring, Kraftwerk-indebted track that has animated the

sleet-slowed trudge through the beginning of the year. It’s Negative Space that opens their

set in the packed-out Substation, and from the first beat, bodies begin to bop up and down to

their synth-laden neo-psych.

There is a lot of affection for the Leeds outfit from this Liverpool crowd – their 2014 Music

Week show at The Kazimier is a fabled one, and tonight there’s a similar feel in the air – that

much sought-after sentiment where you realise you’ve been fortunate to do that very lucky

thing where you catch a band at just the right time. The new direction of Microshift – a route

into a more expansive, synth-heavy sound – makes perfect sense live. The members of the

group are cast as silhouettes amongst metres and metres of wires and the multiple metallic

boxes and buttons that make up their expansive and well-used pedal collection. Behind

this, the 3D wizardry of Sam Wiehl’s artwork provides a constantly-changing onslaught of

abstract images that assault your vision, adding to the urgency of Hookworms’ frenetic and

futuristic sounding tracks.

47Soul (Mook Loxley / mookloxley.tumblr.com)

Full reviews of these shows can be found now at bidolito.co.uk.

REVIEWS 47


march + april

march 22 the wholls + hello operator, big bambora

march 23 m2tm heat 1 with special guests - prognnosis

march 24 liverpool beard and moustache championships

march 25 hair club live - open chair night

march 29 vinyl junkie & amp presents broken witt rebels

march 30 deathwave presents - pist + batallions

april 5 jd presents - circa waves + guests

april 6 m2tm heat 2 with special guests - exhumation

april 11 dusty pop presents - black sonic six

april 12 liverpool calling presents - mouses

april 14 ingested + this is turin, oceanis & guests

april 15 the sink club

april 18 this feeling presents - trampolene

april 19 evol presents - her’s + very special guests

april 20 m2tm heat 1 with special guests - warcrab

april 16 bdeathwave presents - alex + white tiger

Tickets available via skiddle.com - all shows 18+

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SAY

THE FINAL

“Now is the time

for action. Now

is our moment

to shape our

music future”

Photo by Fin Reed

Bido Lito! Editor-In-Chief

Craig G Pennington reflects

on Metro Mayor Steve

Rotheram’s announcement

of the establishment

of a Liverpool City

Region Music Board.

It’s 8am on a bitterly cold Wednesday morning in March

and The British Music Experience’s side conference room

is bustling. 36 hours prior, an email from Metro Mayor

Steve Rotheram’s Office announced that this early-morning

convening would see the announcement of a new Liverpool

City Region Music Board and the launch of a report into the

contribution of music tourism to the City Region economy.

Despite the meeting’s timing and last minute announcement,

it’s unsurprising to see a strong turn out from the local music

community – something which reflects the fact this latest chapter

feels like a decisive moment in the journey to establish a new way

of thinking about music in our city.

It is worth taking a moment to recap on why we find ourselves

here and where we are up to regarding the whole agenda around

Liverpool’s music policy. Since we ran an article in our April

2017 edition calling for a new form of sector-led music policy in

Liverpool, there have been a series of reports published in the

area; the Liverpool edition of the UK Live Music Census, Liverpool

City Council’s Music Strategy, the LJMU and Bido Lito! authored

‘Liverpool, Music City?’ report and now this latest offering focused

on music tourism from UK Music, the national lobbying body.

A year down the road and it is clear is that the message

has been heard. The political agenda has shifted and the idea

that Liverpool’s music community is a sector which needs to be

understood, protected and supported to grow is now accepted.

What has been unclear up until this point is the form that any

local authority support would take. Though currently absent of

detail – a situation which we are assured will be addressed in

the coming weeks – the announcement that a new Liverpool City

Region Music Board will be established (and is likely to be followed

by a complimentary body within the City Council to pursue a

collaborative agenda) is a welcome development.

The idea of a music board is based on the model currently

in operation in London and supported successfully by UK Music.

Established in April 2016 to “protect grassroots music venues and

support London’s grassroots music scene,” the body describes

itself as “an influential coalition of the music industry, music

education sector, community music sector, local authorities, the

Greater London Authority and tourism bodies.” For an organisation

not even two years old, the board has had a number of notable

successes, including its work on the London Live Music Rescue

Plan – which brought the dire trend of music venue closures to a

national audience – and their successful lobbying which resulted

in the Met Police abolishing form 696 (which discriminated against

marginalised music communities, particularly the burgeoning

London grime scene). The London Music Board was also a key

driving force behind the recent parliamentary move to assume the

Agent Of Change principle into UK planning law (the Spellar Bill).

This move should see the ludicrous – but depressingly familiar

– chain of events that sees music venues making way for new

apartments (as a result of developers being unprepared to sound

insulate developments adequately) resigned to history.

It is important to note the emphasis on ‘grassroots’ within the

London Music Board’s raison d’être. This is not an organisation set

up to protect the singular interest of the music sector’s traditional

big players. It is not about protecting the status quo. It is there to

help shape a city which provides a supportive and vibrant context

for music cultures to flourish at all levels. It is tasked with asking

difficult and disruptive questions and pursuing a transformative

new agenda.

A year ago we called for a new form of music leadership, “run

by Liverpool’s music community, for the good of Liverpool’s music

ecosystem.” When outlining how we envisioned such an entity to

be run, we described it thus: “It will be democratic and transparent.

It will not serve self-interest. It will be a truly honest broker. It will

work with the city to bring about positive change and develop

innovative music policy that sees music valued and prioritised

across all aspects of city life.” When you assess the structure,

achievements and ambitions of the London Music Board, it is

encouraging to see how much they chime with this vision.

On this wild and windy March morning we are yet again

presented with the familiar series of platitudes about Liverpool’s

musical past; how we’ve had more number ones than anywhere

else, how we’re the centre of the musical universe, how we sold

American music back to the US and changed the world in the

process. Indeed, that once was the case. But at the moment, it

plainly isn’t. Our sector is struggling and our city is missing out on

a transformational opportunity as a result.

The major difference between then and now is that, now, we

have the academic reports and evidence; we have the political

appetite; and we have demonstrated in our work with LJMU that

the Liverpool music community is ready to take its place at the

table. Now is the time for action. Now is our moment to shape our

music future.

We await the detail on the proposed Liverpool City Region

Music Board with great hope and cautious optimism.

54


GOT A GREAT IDEA FOR A

LIVE GIG IN BIRKENHEAD?

Wirral New Music Collective’s Live Music Innovation

Fund are providing a series of £500 grants for local

musicians, promoters or music lovers to put on an

innovative live gig in Wirral this summer.

CLOSING DATE: Friday 6th April

For more information and to apply go to wirralnmc.co.uk


BIOCENTRISM

ENERGY CREW PRESENT

FRI 30 MARCH 2018 ENRG PRES.

GOLDILOCKS PRINCIPLE

JON

HOPKINS

DJ SET

JOE

GODDARD

(HOT CHIP) DJ SET

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In The Substation all night long, very special guests...

A LOVE FROM OUTER SPACE

ANDREW

WEATHERALL

& SEAN

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Venue:

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2 Regent Road,

Liverpool, L3 7DS

ENRG:

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