Issue 91 / August 2018




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ISSUE 91 / AUGUST 2018





Wed 29th Aug

Jake Clemons (USA)

Wed 29th Aug

Thu Jake 30th Clemons Aug (USA)

Protomartyr (USA) + Sauna Youth

Thu 30th Aug

Fri Protomartyr 31st Aug (USA) + Sauna Youth


Fri 31st Aug

Tue WSTR 11th Sep

The Stairs + Silent-K + Peach Fuzz

Tue 11th Sep

Sat The 22nd Stairs Sep + Silent-K + Peach Fuzz

Spring King

Sat 22nd Sep

Sun Spring 23rd SepKing


Sun 23rd Sep

Mon Fish25th Sep

Pale Waves

Mon 25th Sep

Fri Pale 28th Sep Waves • SOLD OUT

Half Man Half Biscuit

Fri 28th Sep • SOLD OUT

Fri Half 28th Sep Man Half Biscuit


Fri 28th Sep

Sat SPINN 29th Sep

Red Rum Club

Sat 29th Sep

Red Rum Club

+ The Jackobins + Life At The Arcade + Columbia

Wed + The 3rd Jackobins Oct + Life At The Arcade + Columbia

The Magic Gang + The Orielles

Wed 3rd Oct

Fri The 5th Oct Magic Gang + The Orielles

The Night Café

Fri 5th Oct

Fri The 5th Oct Night Café

Jilted John + John Otway

Fri 5th Oct

Sat Jilted 6th OctJohn + John Otway

Definitely Mightbe

Sat 6th Oct

Wed Definitely 10th Oct Mightbe

Maribou State

Wed 10th Oct

Thur Maribou 11th Oct State

Mo Gilligan AKA Mo the Comedian

Thur 11th Oct

Fri Mo 12th Gilligan Oct • Mountford AKA Hall, Mo Liverpool the Guild Comedian

of Students

The Coral

Fri 12th Oct • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students

Fri The 12th Coral Oct

Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana

Fri 12th Oct

Sat Elvana: 13th Oct Elvis Fronted Nirvana

Reverend And The Makers

Sat 13th Oct

+ RedFaces + Sophie & The Giants

Reverend And The Makers

Sat + RedFaces 13th Oct + Sophie & The Giants

The Men They Couldn’t Hang

Sat 13th Oct

Thur The 18th Men Oct They Couldn’t Hang

Bugzy Malone

Thur 18th Oct

Fri Bugzy 19th OctMalone

The Sherlocks

Fri 19th Oct

Fri The 19th Sherlocks


The Vryll Society

Fri 19th Oct

Sat The 20th Vryll Oct • SOLD Society OUT

Tom Grennan

Sat 20th Oct • SOLD OUT

Sun Tom 21st Grennan


Dermot Kennedy

Sun 21st Oct

Dermot Kennedy

First Aid Kit (SWE)

Thu First 25th Aid Oct Kit (SWE)

Neil Hilborn (USA)

Thu 25th Oct

Sat Neil 27th Hilborn Oct (USA)

The Southmartins

Sat 27th Oct

The Southmartins

Wed 24th Oct • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students • SOLD OUT

Wed 24th Oct • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students • SOLD OUT

Beautiful South & Housemartins Tribute

Fri Beautiful 2nd Nov South & Housemartins Tribute

Bad Sounds

Fri 2nd Nov

Sat Bad 3rd Nov Sounds


Sat 3rd Nov

Sat Ladytron

3rd Nov • SOLD OUT

Old Dominion (USA)

Sat 3rd Nov • SOLD OUT

Old Dominion (USA)









Fri 9th Nov • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students • SOLD OUT

George Ezra

Fri George 9th Nov Ezra

Less Than Jake & Reel Big Fish (USA)

Fri 9th Nov

Fri Less 9th Nov Than Jake & Reel Big Fish (USA)

Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape

Fri 9th Nov

Sat Shaun 10th NovRyder’s Black Grape

The Carpet Crawlers

Sat 10th Nov

Perform ‘Selling Foxtrot By The Pound’

The Carpet Crawlers

Fri 9th Nov • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students • SOLD OUT

Sat Perform 10th Nov‘Selling Foxtrot By The Pound’

Antarctic Monkeys

Sat 10th Nov

Fri Antarctic 16th Nov Monkeys

Absolute Bowie Presents

Fri 16th Nov





of Bowie


Sat 5017th Years Nov of Bowie

UK Foo Fighters

Sat 17th Nov

Sat UK 17th Foo Nov • Fighters


Johnny Marr - Call The Comet Tour

Sat 17th Nov • SOLD OUT

Thur Johnny 22nd NovMarr - Call The Comet Tour

Limehouse Lizzy - 25th Anniversary Tour

Thur 22nd Nov

Fri Limehouse 23rd Nov Lizzy - 25th Anniversary Tour


Fri 23rd Nov

Sat Stillmarillion

24th Nov

Pearl Jam UK

Sat 24th Nov

Sat Pearl 24th Nov Jam UK

Heaven 17 + Propaganda (Ger)

Sat 24th Nov

Wed Heaven 28th Nov17 + Propaganda (Ger)

Natty - 10th Anniversary

Wed 28th Nov

Thur Natty 29th Nov - 10th Anniversary

Bars and Melody

Thur 29th Nov

Thur Bars 29th and Nov Melody

The Damned

Thur 29th Nov

Fri The 30th Damned


The Doors Alive

Fri 30th Nov

Sat The 1st Dec Doors Alive

Alabama 3

Sat 1st Dec

Fri Alabama 7th Dec 3

The Lancashire Hotpots

Fri 7th Dec

+ Stu Penders & Spladoosh

The Lancashire Hotpots

Sat + Stu 8th Dec Penders & Spladoosh



Sat 8th Dec

- Merry Christmas Everybody 45th Anniversary

Sat - Merry 8th DecChristmas Everybody 45th Anniversary

CKY + Sumo Cyco + Bullets and Octane

Sat 8th Dec

Sat CKY 8th Dec + Sumo • Mountford Cyco Hall, + Liverpool Bullets Guild and of Octane Students

Miles Kane + Cabbage

Tue Miles 11th Dec Kane + Cabbage

Bjorn Again

Tue 11th Dec

Fri Bjorn 21st DecAgain

Sex Pissed Dolls

Fri 21st Dec

Sat Sex 22nd Pissed Dec Dolls

Ian Prowse & Amsterdam

Sat 22nd Dec

Ian Prowse & Amsterdam


Sat Cast 22nd Dec

The Smyths

Sat 22nd Dec

Wed The 16th Smyths Jan 2019

Enter Shikari

Wed 16th Jan 2019

Sat Enter 26th Jan Shikari 2019

The ELO Show

Sat 26th Jan 2019

Tue The 5th ELO Feb 2019 Show

The Dead South (CAN)

Tue 5th Feb 2019

Thur The 7th Dead Mar 2019South (CAN)

Trixie Mattel

Thur 7th Mar 2019

Sat Trixie 25th May Mattel 2019

The Icicle Works

Sat 25th May 2019

The Icicle Works

Sat 8th Dec • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students

Sat 22nd Dec • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students

Sat 22nd Dec • Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students



































































































































































11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF


Doors 7pm unless stated

11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF

Doors 7pm unless stated

Venue box office opening hours:

Mon - Sat 10.30am - 5.30pm

ticketmaster.co.uk Venue box office opening • seetickets.com


gigantic.com Mon - Sat 10.30am • ticketweb.co.uk

- 5.30pm

ticketmaster.co.uk • seetickets.com

gigantic.com • ticketweb.co.uk




What’s On

September– November

Friday 21 September 8pm

Music Room

Trembling Bells

Thursday 11 October 7.30pm

Richard Thompson

Saturday 13 October 2018 7.30pm

On the Waterfront: Film

with Live Orchestra (cert U)

Saturday 20 October 8pm

Music Room

Liverpool Irish Festival

The Hot Sprockets

Friday 26 October 8pm

Owen Jones:

Building a New Britain

Sunday 25 November 2.30pm & 8pm

Music Room

A Theatr Mwldan Production

Catrin Finch &

Seckou Keita

Box Office

0151 709 3789





Principal Funders

Principal Partners

Media Partner

Thanks to the City

of Liverpool for its

financial support

Image Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita




















5PM - 12AM












a_ Greenland St, Liverpool


w_ constellations.co




0151 3456 302

Festival of

Contemporary Art

14 July – 28 October



Liverpool Biennial is funded by

Founding Supporter

James Moores


New Music + Creative Culture


Issue 91 / August 2018


Second Floor

The Merchant

40-42 Slater Street

Liverpool L1 4BX


Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk


Christopher Torpey - chris@bidolito.co.uk

Media Partnerships and Projects Manager

Sam Turner - sam@bidolito.co.uk

Features Editor

Niloo Sharifi - niloo@bidolito.co.uk

Live Editor

Elliot Ryder - elliot@bidolito.co.uk

Digital and Social Media Officer

Alannah Rose - alannah@bidolito.co.uk


Mark McKellier - mark@andmark.co.uk


Thom Isom - hello@thomisom.com

Student Society Co-Chairs

Daisy Scott - daisy@bidolito.co.uk

Sophie Shields - sophie@bidolito.co.uk


Nathaniel Cramp


Jude Torpey-Aldag

Cover Artwork

John Johnson


Christopher Torpey, Del Pike, Becca Frankland,

Craig G Pennington, Josh Ray, Stuart Miles O’Hara, Julia

Johnson, Niloo Sharifi, Elliot Ryder, Sam Turner, Georgia

Turnbull, Conal Cunningham, Ailsa Beetham, Ian R

Abraham, Richard Lewis, Sinead Nunes, Cath Bore,

Jennie Macaulay, Joel Durksen.

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Mark McKellier, John Johnson, Robin Clewley,

Gareth Jones, Ryan Fallon, Alexander Sofeev, Ken

Grant, Tom Wood, Martin Parr, Meg Lavender, Kevin

Barrett, Keith Ainsworth, Freakbeat Films, Mook Loxley,

Adam Szabo, Daniel De La Bastide, Tom Gill.

Distributed by Middle Distance

Print, distribution and events support across

Merseyside and the North West.



Editor-in-Chief Christopher Torpey embraces

the winds of change, as we welcome three new

members to our editorial team.

10 / NEWS

The latest announcements, releases and nonfake

news from around the region.


Liverpool’s astral voyagers justify their

confident swagger with a debut album that

extends their cosmic trip into regions of

experimental discovery.


Liverpool locked in: the internet radio station

embracing the ethos of pirate broadcasts in their

attempt to provide the city with high quality 24-

hour radio.


Immortalised through their public acts

of defiance and revered by revolutionaries

across the globe, PUSSY RIOT’s latest act as a

collective has been described as “the greatest

punk show in the world”.


Josh Ray catches up with DAISY ERIS

CAMPBELL as she shoulders her father’s legacy

in Pigspurt’s Daughter, taking his story to the

end of the line while feeding into the narrative of

a new counterculture.


Looking For Love in The Last Resort: three

decades of social change in New Brighton, told

through the photography of Tom Wood, Martin

Parr and Ken Grant.


“I want to communicate with the language of

my time.” 12 hours in Liverpool with a strident

new voice in the global game of cosmic funk.



The 60th anniversary of “the Oscar of the

British painting world” shows that contemporary

painting is still a blockbuster artform.


We take a closer look at some artists who’ve

been impressing us of late: Yank Scally, Hannah

And The Wick Effect and Annexe The Moon.


The Birmingham-based heavy garage trio

talk about originality, the Strange Collective All-

Dayer and why they feel at home on Merseyside.



A run of innovative live shows are bringing

some of Wirral’s most recognisable locations to

life in August – we look at what there is to look

forward to.


From the River Avon to Auckland, Hollie

Fullbrook’s blues-tinged method of storytelling

is rooted the in the environment that has

nurtured her.


Looking ahead to a busy August in

Merseyside’s creative and cultural community.


Roger Waters, Katy Perry, Dauwd and

Liverpool Calling reviewed by our team of

intrepid reporters.


The news of Constellations’ closure, Craig

G Pennington believes, is an opportunity for us

to cast off the comfort blanket of protest, and a

chance to take matters into our own hands.

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.










Photo by Tom Gill

“Change is a vital

part of our DNA: it

prevents us from

becoming prisoners

of history”

Over the course of eight years and 91 issues, Bido Lito!

has had two Editors. It’s time for a change.

Change is coming in the form of our brand-new

editorial team, who we’re delighted to welcome on

board to the good ship Bido Lito! Features Editor Niloo and Live

Editor Elliot, ably assisted by our new digital guru, Alannah, will

be in charge of the next phase of the Big Pink Adventure. I, for

one, am massively thrilled by the whole prospect. Passing over

the Editor’s reins is an exciting, if slightly terrifying step: exciting

because the people picking them up will take the magazine in

all-new directions, bringing about a new lease of life for the pink

pages; and slightly terrifying because not even I’m sure which

way we’re going next! Once the initial wave of control-freakery

dies down, however, I’ll no doubt settle on a feeling of curiosity

and intrigue about what gems and stories our new editorial team

will unearth.

This change is coming because it is necessary, because it is

healthy, and because it is a whole lot of fun. Change is also a vital

part of our DNA, and we must respect that: it prevents us from

becoming prisoners of history.

We see change all the time in the stories we highlight come

across in the magazine, and there is so much we can learn from

its effects. We see it in the set of photography of a seaside

resort, taken from three different perspectives over a period of

three decades. We see it in the evolution of a group of musicians,

growing from buzz band to scene stalwarts, from first support

slot review to front cover artists. We see it in a dissident group

with a revolving cast of members who stay true to a revolutionary

message, and in the continuation of a Discordian ethos, passed

down from father to daughter. Sometimes the location stays the

same and the people and customs alter over time; sometimes

the people stay the same and the passage of time changes them;

sometimes it’s the message that stands the test of time while the

mouths speaking it differ. Whichever way the story unfolds, we

can learn a lot from change and the way we respond to it. And

it’s a subject that’s never going to get boring.

It is also with a pang of sadness that we see change being

visited on Constellations. Their situation – the expiry of their

lease and the decision of the landlord to sell the land on – is a

shitty one, like having the rug pulled out from underneath you.

It’s a similar situation to the one The Kazimier and Nation faced

in 2015 when their tenancies were cut short by another, more

lucrative development deal. This is something I’m reminded of

every day as I walk through the concrete jungle that is left of

Wolstenholme Square, once the epicentre of our community, now

presided over by apartment blocks. The reminder is also there in

the Cream logo painted on the wall of the office we now occupy,

and in the faded Kazimier sticker on the long-defunct buzzer on

the wall beside the door. These visual cues don’t cause me to

gnash my teeth at the injustices visited upon these much-loved

institutions, though. Venues come and go all the time, changing

name, changing location, even changing which trendy part of

town to settle in; it has ever been thus. Instead, they serve as

reminders that change is just part of the process, and that it

needn’t always be a barrier to success. Let’s hope that this is

true for Constellations – in fact, you can help make sure that their

upheaval is relatively unpainful and short by helping to support

them in their crowdfunder, which is live now.

Although I’m cautious about too much reminiscing about

the way things were, we can – and should – rally against

unnecessary disruptions to our creative environment that

threaten any future development. There’s only so long the

creative and artistic community can take being booted from one

undesirable part of town to the next before people just bugger

off. In writing this, I looked back at the first editorial I wrote in

2014, and I found a line that is as true now as it was then: “What

is without doubt is that there are an awful lot of creative oddballs

doing their own thing in this small corner of the world, not cowed

by the weight of the past, and forging their own paths. Perhaps

this is our greatest export.”

If Liverpool is to remain at the forefront of creativity and

excitement around all forms of culture, it is my view that Bido

Lito! needs to still be around in eight years’ time, and another

eight years after that. Why? Because this amazing place is going

to continue nurturing talented people with great stories who

make and dream up and do great stuff, and there needs to be

a way of documenting it. To be in with a chance of publishing

another 91 issues of comment and analysis of this weird and

wonderful place; to continue to inspire and challenge and profile

the next generation of Kazimiers and Stealing Sheeps; to truly

understand what it is that drives the amazing people who make

up this rich and diversely talented place – we need to embrace

change, as part our own desire to stay, if not ahead of the curve,

then at least to keep up with it. Whoever’s hand is on the tiller,

we owe it to the people of this fiercely talented city to make sure

that Bido Lito! remains a critical voice and a vital resource.

In another of my early editorials, I said that putting together

a record collection was a form of storytelling, in that the

selections and omissions you make from the vast amount of art

out there forms a narrative that is unique to you. (And having

just alphabetised my own record collection, I’m acutely aware

of how many curious twists and turns these tales have.) Putting

together a magazine is a very similar process, and it’s something

that I’ve enjoyed doing immensely; it has led me down various

unexpected paths of discovery, and I’ve learned so much about

the environment around us and how we each cultivate a different

relationship with it. I also look forward to seeing what stories our

new Editors are going to tell through the pages of Bido Lito! –

and I’m positive that you will too. !

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp




Save Constellations

Constellations has been a bright star attracting people to the

Baltic Triangle in droves for the past five years. Now, perhaps

defeated by the allure of its own shine, its land is being

purchased by residential developers. Their lease is up at the

end of 2019. Perhaps this is the fate of all “up-and-coming”

areas that become bastions of cool. Nevertheless, Constellations

refuses to take a defeatist approach – they are determined to

make their last 18 months count. They are inviting creators,

promoters, artists, designers, musicians and anyone who’s ever

wanted to host an event to pitch ideas – events, art projects,

workshops, festivals, family days and collaborations. They’re also

launching a crowdfunding campaign to aid their exit strategy

from Greenland Street. So, if Constellations holds a dear place in

your heart, and you’d like to be part of their future, keep an eye

fixed on the heavens – you may have a role to play in securing the

place of Constellations in Liverpool’s ever-expanding cityscape.


Indy Biennial

The sister festival to the Liverpool Biennial, the INDEPENDENTS BIENNIAL will be

celebrating grassroots artists and local talent in the city centre all the way through August.

Showcasing hundreds of artists in dozens of venues, you’ll have to consult the programme

online to get the full scope of what’s happening, but there are a few highlights for us. The

stately, disused George Henry Lee building on Church Street will be reopening to the public

as three floors of exhibitions and a pop-up cinema (more about that below), showcasing

work by Unio Collective, Tom Mallon and Disparity Collective. In the same vein, St. John’s

Market is being repurposed as a cultural and artistic gathering point. A series of emerging

artists will take over vacant units among the market stalls, threading a marketplace of

ideas through a bustling centre for commerce. Another group of artists, Not Just Collective,

will also explore the grey area between art and the material world, creating site-specific,

eco-friendly works to be displayed in a strip of green space – Rimrose Valley – currently

under threat with plans for an expressway. For more info about all of their events, visit the

Independents Biennial website.

Dasparity Colective

Anywhere Can Be A Cinema

The Craft

EMPTY SPACES CINEMA have been taking over odd spaces across the city, often under-used or

forgotten, and transforming them into cinemas, with pop-up screenings of cult and classic films. Their

aim is to reimagine vacancy as a social opportunity; emptiness is just a space that is yet to be filled.

Starting in August, Empty Spaces have a three-month residency in the basement of the old George

Henry Lee building on Church Street as part of the Independents Biennial. They opened with an

International Short Film festival in July, and each upcoming month’s screenings are themed. August

is Don’t Cry, Shopgirl, celebrating Saturday jobs, going to school and the joys of working on the

front line in retail. It’s The Craft (5th August), Shop Around The Corner (12th August), Clerks (19th

August) and Little Shop Of Horrors (26th August) make up the run, and you can buy tickets now from


Sound City: From Liverpool To Korea

As part of its growing artist development project, SOUND CITY is inviting UK musicians to apply

for an exciting opportunity in South Korea. South Korea’s music industry is fast growing, and Sound

City has been engaged an initiative to forge links between it and UK artists. Successful applicants

will showcase their work in early October at two of South Korea’s most important industry events:

MU:CON and ZANDARI FESTIVAL. Sound City will provide funding to attend the showcases,

alongside Arts Council England’s International Showcase fund. This is the fourth year that Sound

City will take artists to MU:CON and Zandari: artists looking to apply should be based in England

and include details of their current UK and international activity in their application as well as links

to their music. The application process closes on 27th July – head to soundcity.uk.com to fill out the

form. For the non-musical among us, we are content to know that the planning of next year’s Sound

City is already underway, and will take place between 3rd and 5th May, 2019 across the Baltic

Triangle and Cains Brewery.

Nelson’s Coming Home

Bido Lito! favourite MC NELSON makes his Liverpool debut as a headline act

for Punch Records’ second Welcome To MY City tour. Punch have selected

five artists making movements in their local music scene, and will visit each of

their cities on tour, with each event headlined by that city’s artist. This will be a

triumphant moment for London-based rapper MC Nelson, finally bringing home

his meticulous, many-layered rhymes and jarring jazzy beats to the city that

helped create them. He will be joined at EBGBS on 29th August by a talented

line-up, each also working in the exciting grey area of ‘hybrid’ music: with

London genre-bender JEROME THOMAS’ soothing RnB-infused tones, soulful

offerings from Southampton-based SVGA, Birmingham rapper LADY SANITY

and VANESSA MARIA, Manchester’s celestial synth-popper, the tour will be an

eclectic tasting menu for the future of UK music.

Back In 89

Bold Street Coffee

It was with a huge sigh of relief that we saw BOLD STREET

COFFEE get over the line on their recent Kickstarter campaign,

but we needn’t have been overly worried; they ended up

comfortably over their £30,000 target, and have since started

work on renovating the premises at 89 Bold Street. The new

space is going to be split across two floors, with an extended

kitchen serving even more food options, and with more space

available for events and exhibitions. The extra proceeds

pledged by their backers will be put to use installing a bar, so

that we can enjoy the delightful Bold Street Coffee atmosphere

over some cool beers as well as cool frappés. We genuinely

can’t wait to get back in there – well done to all involved!



Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun

Landing – aka Her’s – reveal the

influences on their debut album

Invitation To Her’s.

Big LIMFin’

LIMF Academy’s three Most Ready artists

were announced back in June, representing

the cream of Liverpool’s emerging talent

crop. The trio – KYAMI, LUNA, and RAHEEM

ALAMEEN – were named as the artists

who would receive a suite of incredible

development opportunities and funding to

take them on a step or two in their bright

careers. To celebrate the start of their journey

with LIMF Academy, Bido Lito! invited all

three into the sunny surrounds of Lark Lane’s

Motor Museum Recording Studios to each

lay down a track. Sitting pretty on bidolito.

co.uk now, you can witness the future of

Liverpool music in three fabulous VTs.


The Internal Chaos

Fresh from her first solo show in Berlin, THAT GIRL, aka Johanna

Wilson, brings a series of hand-pulled screen print artworks to

Buyers Club for her first UK exhibition. Launching on Wednesday

8th August at 6.30pm, The Internal Chaos is a collection of surreal,

cut-and-paste CMYK collages that Jo has been working on since

the beginning of the year, each one restricted to a small batch of

10-15 to enhance the limited-edition nature of the run. This lovingly

put-together exhibition shows a different side to Jo’s creative output,

which readers may be more familiar with from the milieu of gig

posters and prints. Often working with musicians and events in

Liverpool, Jo works with fellow artist Laura Kate Draws to create

a number of prints for other artists under the banner of The Paper

Moon. Entry is free for the duration of the exhibition, with a launch

event on International Oatcake Day (8th August) from 6.30pm – the

first 20 people through the doors will receive a free A3 colour screen

print, and a complementary oatcake!

Martin Rev



We draw a lot of inspiration

from early synthy bands

such as Suicide and also

Martin Rev’s solo work. The

New York synth punk scene

has always appealed to us, with its sensitive leather clad

rockabillies singing of romance and dreams. In particular,

Rev’s 1980 track Mari stood out to us as a point of

reference. It’s driving and hypnotic, but also melodious. It

builds towards a climax with layers of synth and harmony

while the drum machine simply drives on, much like how

we started out. AL

R. Stevie Moore

Cuss Me Out

R. Stevie Moore

Cassette Club

As we’re both mega fans of

Ariel Pink it’s only fitting that

we’d be strong supporters

of the godfather of home recording, R. Stevie Moore. He’s

always there for us when we’re looking to incorporate

more lo-fi sounds. Whether it’s putting delay on a crooked

sounding acoustic guitar, or running synths through

various dumb pedals, it’s usually an attempt to recreate

some of that R. Stevie magic. SF

Tusk For Life

Pam Hogg

That Girl

Bido Lito! has been in the mixtape lab with art aficionados

The Royal Standard to come up with the perfect playlist

for Baltic Triangle hub TUSK. The bar restaurant sits in the

heart of the Northern Lights complex, which is home to

a wide range of creative enterprises from Sort Rehearsal

Rooms to Ethos magazine. As such, we will be creating

an imaginative mix of sounds perfect for whiling away

the daytime hours in the Baltic base. Many of The Royal

Standard’s 46 studio members will be feeding into the

mix, which is sure to stimulate the mind and be the ideal

accompaniment to an afternoon August latté.

Boss Bank Holiday

The ingredients to a perfect bank holiday weekend are as follows:

plenty of booze, good food, boss company and the finest party

tunes. Whether you’re into Fleetwood Mac, Balearic bangers or

psych nuggets, this 24th-27th August, The Merchant has you

covered. The award-winning Slater Street bar has an action-packed

roll call of DJs including ANDY CARROLL & ROBIN JACKSON and

BERNIE CONNOR plus nights devoted to everyone’s favourite

RnB power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z plus a celebration of the

40th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours. There’ll also

be barbecues, Nightcrawler’s famous pizzas and Bido Lito! DJs

spinning some jams.

Pam Hogg’s Divine Disorder

Running until 26th August, the Liverpool Gallery presents iconic

fashion designer PAM HOGG’s first solo exhibition. Known for

challenging traditional concepts of feminine style since the early

80s, Hogg has left an indelible mark on pop culture history. Her

band, Doll, opened for Blondie in 1993 and The Raincoats in

1994. Her iconic skin-tight designs have been worn by Debbie

Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Björk, Kylie Minogue and Paula Yates.

Pam Hogg continues to create, direct, produce and style her

collections, shown each season at London Fashion Week.

Her appeal has endured; her clothes are requested by today’s

mainstream pop artists regularly. Curated by Pam Hogg and

DuoVision, this exhibition will feature art, portraits, clothes and

pieces from a career re-defining popular culture.

Santo & Johnny

Tear Drop



One of the few duos we

listen to; Santo & Johnny are

our go-to guys for slide and

Hawaiian influences. These two practically soundtracked

the one summer we had when living together, which made

for some exceptional bonding. So it’s no surprise that we

featured some similar sounds on the album. SF

Minnie Riperton

Lovin’ You


We’ve got a lot of history with

this song – from an impromptu

cover we nervously performed

at our second gig, and a

drunk YouTube video of the performance uploaded by our

manager at the time, its haunted us ever since. Somehow it

seems there’s always someone at our gigs who requests it!

We love the track, too, so we started off this entire album

cycle by recording our own version of it, which definitely

set the tone for things going forward, you can even catch

some bird song hidden on the album! AL

Invitation To Her’s is released on 24th August via Heist Or

Hit. Head to bidolito.co.uk now for a full list of song choices

on the Her’s Dansette.



Liverpool’s astral voyagers justify their confident swagger with a debut

album that extends their cosmic trip into regions of experimental discovery.

The swirling noise and confident swagger

of THE VRYLL SOCIETY feels like part of

the furniture, with the band having been an

integral part of Liverpool’s live circuit for some

four years. Rarely does a gig from the five-piece go by

without a barrage of positive reviews, and the group’s

fanbase is growing beyond the boundaries of the city. It’s

been a steady build and, with their first full-length LP due

this summer, it’s difficult to recall a more highly-anticipated

debut album.

Course Of The Satellite is the most summery album you’ll

hear this year and its achingly retro cover alone is enough

to cause tremors in the most hardened of musos’ hearts. The

trippy world of dream-like geometric patterns may conjure up

an essence of prog – and comparisons to Floyd, the Stones and

early Verve are rife – but the band are very much in the here and

now. The music has been described as many things, but shining

out from its soul at all times is a ray of pure psychedelia, made all

the more palatable by tight arrangements and sweet vocals from

Ian Brown-alike frontman Mike Ellis.

The album follows on the heels of a string of wildly satisfying

singles, which have been unspooling into ever more proggy

territory since 2015’s Pangea EP; the recent Self Realization/La

Jetee double A-side in 2016, followed by last year’s taster singles

Shadow Of A Wave and Sacred Flight. Course Of The Satellite is a

seamless progression from this, and finds the band pushing forward

into uncharted territories, while retaining the sound that has built their

following so far.

Guitarist Ryan Ellis is the brother

of vocalist Mike and very much an

ideas man. Together with bassist Ben

Robinson, he joins us to discuss the

four-year gestation period of Course Of

The Satellite, which Ben admits “came

out much better than we thought… When

we go to the studio it’s all under the

microscope. In the practice room you can’t

hear certain things, but in the studio you

can hear everything and it’s all ironed out


The band are clearly pleased with the

album and are eager to talk about it. Like many

Liverpool musicians, they are young and hugely

grateful with the way fate has led them to this

point. Throughout the course of the morning it’s

refreshing to share in the laughter and pick up on their enjoyment of simply being

in a great band. Still, I ask them if the four-year wait for an album was part of any

kind of master plan or them dragging their heels.

“Halfy-half,” admits Ryan. “We stayed in the practice room for a while making

sure everything was perfect before we went out touring. Then we had to just wait for

some money to come in so we could actually go and do the album.”

“We toured too much,” adds Ben, with a certain frankness. “Too many gigs, too

close together. After a couple of years of doing loads of festivals we kind of stopped for

a bit to focus on planning the album. Three or four of the songs on the album were only

written two months or so before we went into the studio. We knew what we needed for

the album and if we didn’t have it then we needed to write it.”

The Vryll live experience is much more visceral than the album sounds, with a certain

amount of control exercised on the recorded material. I ask if this is a conscious decision –

or even something they notice?

“When we play live we don’t want to just sound like any other band playing, y’know?”

explains Ben. “We want to sound amazing and as good as we possibly can, so we’ve

tightened it up a lot and introduced some new sounds.”

It has been well documented that the band were founded and nurtured by the muchmissed

Alan Wills for his now iconic Deltasonic label, but this is a vital part of the Vrylls’ story.

The label’s stable of great bands (including The Coral, The Zutons, Hidden Charms and now

Psycho Comedy) are all vital to Liverpool’s musical geography, and The Vryll Society are an

integral part of that picture. The band were a major component in Alan’s future plans, and their

success feeds from his legacy.

“It’s a very big deal for us to be on that label,” Ben tells me. “Alan was there for us from the

start, he came to our praccy room when we were rubbish, he came down and said, ‘You need to

do this and that’. His take was, ‘If you want to do this – do as I say and if you don’t then don’t’. We

were just like, ‘Fucking hell!’ cos he was so harsh, but it was so worth it.”

“In the end you just think it’s hilarious, how harsh some of the stuff he’d say was,” agrees Ryan,

to which Ben adds: “He didn’t give a fuck – he said what he thought and that was it. If he didn’t

“Each time we go into

the studio we find out

what works and what

doesn’t work, and we

keep what works. You

can’t just stick with the

same sound forever”

like it, he didn’t like it. But the thing was, he’d proved himself, he was able to have

that cockiness. Now as Ann [Heston, Alan’s partner] has taken over, she’s helping so

much, doing so much work for us; they’re both so important to us.”

Intrigued by how far they’ve come since first being taken on as Wills’ last

protégés, I ask if they think Alan would be satisfied with the album all these years on.

“Yeh, I reckon he would,” says Ryan.

“He’d probably still be finding things to improve,” Ben adds, a smile starting to

creep across his face. “He’d be prowling round the studio going, ‘Get rid of it’ and we’d

be going, ‘We don’t know what it is!’ [laughs].”

Joining in the joke, Ryan mimics a Wills saying: “‘What’s that frequency there?!’”

“The thing is, we’ve done everything he told us to do, so I’m sure he’d be happy,”

Ben says, and the catch in his voice speaks volumes about the reverence they still

have for their old mentor.

Since their early outings, originally as Dirty Rivers, The Vryll Society have seen a

lot come and go in the city’s music scene – and they’re also keenly aware of what’s

gone before them. Now that they’re part of the high watermark for guitar music in the

city, I wonder if they’re at all daunted by the weight of history.

“It’s not a competition is it?” Ben replies. “We’re doing our own thing and those

bands were doing their own thing, so it’s all good. We don’t try to maintain a Liverpool

sound; all our main influences are American and German, like Kraftwerk and Can, so

we don’t take too much inspiration from other Liverpool bands, not purposefully. But,

coming from here you’re always going to have a certain swagger.”

The artwork for Course Of The Satellite, by Jack Hardwick, points to another of

the band’s many strings, that of a strong visual aesthetic. It’s a clear reflection of the

music inside and I ask the band how the imagery came about. Ryan whips out his

phone to show me images by Victor Vasarely, the Hungarian-French op artist who has

been their main influence. “It’s incredible how these Technicolor psychedelic images

are from the 1930s,” he says.

The album cover is a continuation of themes

introduced on the sleeve of their Andrei Rublev single

which appears to be a mix of Dali and the Red Room in

Twin Peaks. Film influences also loom large in The Vryll

Society’s world. I ask if they’re happy to be connected

to the world of prog that the sleeves reflect, and find

them quite defensive of the genre.

“No, no, we’re into all that stuff,” asserts Ryan.

“Some of it’s really good anyway, so it doesn’t matter

that much, as long as it looks good.”

With song tiles like Andrei Rublev, Metropolis and

La Jetee appearing on Course Of The Satellite, it can’t

be ignored that classic European cinema is also an

influence on the group.

“That’s Mike. We dabble in it, but he loves his old

films,” clarifies Ben, which Ryan expands upon: “If I’m

watching a film and I hear some good sounds, then I’ll

take a bit of it; but Mike writes about the films in his own way, he knows what’s going

on. He puts the stories into his own words.”

In a previous interview with this publication, frontman Mike elaborated on these

influences in his own way, giving more of a background on where his lyrical dexterity

takes the band: “It’s easier for me to write abstract, instinctual stuff inspired by movies

and other things – bits of jazz that I hear. I like soundtracks, really patient pieces of

music with a feeling that the story is beneath them.”

“It’s more than just listening to the music,” Ben says, when asked about how all

of these elements contribute to a direction the band is heading in. “We want to make

our shows more than just going to a gig, more of an experience. We’ll be going on tour

in October, too, putting on a show for the album. We’ll be getting this thing built for

the back of the stage, it will be completely unique to us, no-one else will have one, it’s

never been done before. It’s going to be quite 3D.”

Throughout our conversation, the band naturally dip back into their influences,

namechecking Air and Pink Floyd alongside wig-out stuff from the Disco Halal label,

and even “electronic dance and weird Norwegian shit”. Theirs is an outlook that is

constantly evolving and open to new ideas, and it bodes well that this album hasn’t

been rushed from the first thing they settled on. It’s indicative of another trait they’ve

learnt from Alan Wills: that you don’t rush things until all the pieces are in place.

“Each time we go into the studio we find out what works and what doesn’t work,

and we keep what works,” says Ben. “You can’t just stick with the same sound forever.” !

Words: Del Pike / @del_pike

Photography: John Johnson / johnjohnson-photography.com


Course Of The Satellite is released on 10th August via Deltasonic Records, with a

listening party at Jacaranda Records Phase One on 3rd August.



“Radio should be

a safe space that

is accessible

to everyone”



Liverpool locked in: the internet radio station embracing the ethos of pirate broadcasts in their attempt to

provide the city with high quality 24-hour radio.

The tiny front window on the corner of Jamaica Street

and Brick Street could be easily missed by passers-by,

but the modest space within the Baltic Triangle is well

worth taking note of once you know what’s inside. It’s

the home of MELODIC DISTRACTION, a bustling internet radio

station, online magazine and events programmer, responsible for

bringing together local talent and international artists across all


The passion project between directors Josh Aitman and

James Zaremba started through event promotion back in 2015,

but with such a wide range of artists and promoters on their

doorstep, they decided they wanted to do more – they wanted

to archive one of the most exciting music scenes in the UK. And

so, the foundations for Melodic Distraction as we know it today

started to take shape.

“We found the physical location of the studio in October

2016,” recalls studio manager Tom Lye. “It was rubbish, there was

nothing in here, there was a porcelain toilet in the middle of the

floor that wasn’t attached to anything.” These days, its shabby

beginnings are almost unimaginable: the space is fully kitted out

with studio equipment, a huge corner couch and – scanning your

eyes across the room – there are frequent nods to people who

have been involved in making Melodic what it is; a flyer here, a

sticker there and a friendly face popping in on the hour.

Melodic Distraction has become a place for Liverpool’s music

community to explore, meet and promote, while becoming an

online destination for all to access. But it’s never been just about

supporting artists, the team have been working towards getting

budding creatives involved and exposing them to an occupation

which isn’t always advertised in schools.

Nina Franklin, who was initially employed by MD through the

council-funded projects called Ways To Work, tells us, “None of

us have gone through formal music training or have degrees in

music, but there’s so many different jobs in the industry, there

are ways to make it work.” And through community-focused

creative workshops and internships, the team are successfully

introducing young people to one of the most exciting professions

and hobbies out there.

“You’ve got to look at the people who don’t have access to

music education,” adds Tom. “If they put out a radio show, or get

introduced to a certain type of music, they can then realise how

accessible it all can be.”

But, as with most projects of this nature, funding is often

the crux. “It’s been 10 years since Liverpool was the Capital of

Culture,” Tom points out, “and there have been lots of benefits,

the Baltic Triangle wouldn’t be what it is today without a lot of

the funding which came through from it, plus we have some

great museums and events. But how much more good stuff could

there be?”

So far, the team have welcomed underground selectors like

Scuba, John Morales, Jayda G, DJ Boring, Tim Sweeney, Crazy P,

Ross From Friends and many more as guests alongside heaps

of local talent, and they are currently broadcasting six days a

week, through afternoon and evening slots. But now, the team

have just embarked on probably their biggest mission to date –

making the station broadcast 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

To help make this happen they have launched a Kickstarter

campaign, which will help fund a brand-new website, a mobile

app for Android and iPhone and loads more radio shows, parties

and community-focused projects. To accomplish this, they are

looking to raise £10,000 to pay for the digital infrastructure

required to achieve full-time internet radio capacity.

“We’re always pushing to improve the station,” explains

Tom. “This will allow the crew here to keep on top of radio

shows while having the ability to increase shows and

realistically do so. Radio should be a safe space that is

accessible to everyone so that they can experiment and play

music that they like, but it can only be that if the support

is there for it to happen. Which means additional tech and

getting more and more people involved in the music industry in


The undoubtable importance of Melodic Distraction within

Liverpool reflects the significance of internet radio as a whole

within the music industry, and more specifically for local scenes.

“It’s a modern day pirate radio in a way,” says Tom. “And you can

tune into a station which is broadcasting out of Moscow, or you

can listen to someone who is coming out of LA or Peru. Internet

radio stations are important because they’re a little archive of

what’s going on at a certain time in a certain place.”

Melodic Distraction sews together musicians, promoters,

record collectors, labels, producers, bloggers, festival organisers

and more, and their impact will be commented on by almost

any of their extended family. “It’s like joining dots between

everything that goes on,” continues Tom. “I think, historically,

Liverpool has had a strong music scene for sure, it’s been

stronger in certain areas which haven’t allowed others to grow.

This is hopefully allowing people to focus on what they enjoy

doing within music, it can be anything and everything, which is

why I like to see the archive of shows that we’ve got.”

When exploring the archive online, it’s clear to see the

all-encompassing approach Melodic Distraction takes. From

house to bass, reggae to techno, hip hop to disco, there really

is something for everyone. “Listen to some of the shows,”

encourages Tom, “some of them you might not like, some of

them you might like, some of them you won’t have heard and

some of them you will. But you never know what you might find

that paves the way for a new interest or relationship.”

In a climate where almost everything independent feels

threatened, there’s no better time to support something so

triumphantly local, and so boldly community-led. “Liverpool has

an enormously proud identity,” boasts Nina. “People who are not

native Scousers, they move here, fall in love and stay. To date

there haven’t really been any major channels which shout to the

rest of the country about the city. That’s what we try to do, not

just prove it to other people in Liverpool, but we’re shouting to

everyone else.” !

Words: Becca Frankland / @beccafranko

Photography: Ryan Fallon / @filmfallon

Tune in to the latest broadcasts from Melodic Distraction at

melodicdistraction.com, where you will also find how you can

support them via their Kickstarter project.


Independents Biennial


14 July - 28 October

Let the art take over

200 artists

250 new works

70 locations accross Liverpool, St Helens,

Wirral, and Sefton

Putting Merseyside artists on the map




in partnership with

supported by




Immortalised through their public

acts of defiance and revered

by revolutionaries across the

globe, PUSSY RIOT’s current

touring performance has been

described as “the greatest punk

show in the world”. Liverpool,

you have been warned.

Nobody does contradiction like Russia. A state that

venerates its 20th century socialist history despite

going gaga for free-market capitalism since 1991. A

dangerous place for the LGBTQ community, where

there is no distinction between paedophilia and homosexuality

in popular opinion, with gay beaches on the Moskva river. You

can fly a rainbow flag with pride – provided you know it’s the flag

of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (one of Russia’s most distant

federal subjects, bordering China’s Heilongjiang province). A

place where Eastern Orthodoxy and the state operate in each

other’s pockets: see the 2014 film Leviathan, which depicts the

struggle of a Murmansk mechanic as the crooked mayor extorts

him out of the land under his house, the eventual site of a lavish

new church. The film was part-funded by the Russian Ministry of


Marya (Masha) Alyokhina’s new book Riot Days hasn’t seen

any of that money. It tells of her participation in PUSSY RIOT’s

performance of their anti-Putin Punk Moleben (Punk Prayer)

in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012.

She and two other members, Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova

and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were tried in 2013 in a case that

captured the attention of the democratic free(r) world thanks to

the actions of Alexander (Sasha) Cheparukhin (more from him

later). The following year they were released under amnesty,

but not before Nadya started high-profile correspondence with

Slavoj Žižek, and Masha was nominated for the 2014 Hannah

Arendt Prize for Political Thought. 2012 was a while ago, so it

might be worth revisiting Pussy Riot. They’re a loose collective

of Russians musicians, activists and video artists known for

guerrilla performances in Day-Glo balaclavas. It’s ironic that

their rise to fame outside of Russia was driven by Masha,

Nadya and Yekaterina’s court appearances in mufti. Indeed,

through punk values-as-PR, they’re now better known outside

of Russia, though they have pro-Putin and pro-church media to

contend with at home. They staged protests at the Sochi Winter

Olympics, and most recently on the pitch at the World Cup

Final in Moscow, although the western media didn’t report their

treatment at the hands of Cossack security in anything like as

much detail as their arrests in 2012.

Riot Days is a performance piece based on Masha’s memoirs

from this period, but is more than just a blow-by-blow account

(most prisoners of the Russian state can show you the bruises).

Researching this piece, I saw an American review that really tried

to appraise Riot Days as a musical performance, commenting on

the basslines and exactly when the saxophone was deployed.

But that’s putting the cart before the horse. When John Robb

of Louder Than War described the Manchester date (“Where

the chemistry and heat between the band and audience were

hottest,” says Sasha) as “the best punk show ever”, he means the

whole thing: the attitude, the form, the content, the atmosphere.

Pussy Riot could be just a band writing songs, but Masha et al

have transcended that.

“The thing is, I wasn’t even the first person in Pussy Riot,”

she says. “I was maybe the 27th. I wasn’t one of the main

guys. And I can get kind of crazy with the attention, being the

front person of this show. I got the book deal and Sasha – who

organised the PR campaign during the trial and got support from

musicians like Madonna, Sting, and Peter Gabriel – he spent a

year trying to persuade me to make a show out of it, before the

book was even published. So the book came first, but we did the

first show before anybody read it. This is the best way to do the

book on stage.”

The conversation, beamed from a dressing room in Slovakia

where the collective are currently touring, soon turns to their

Liverpool appearance at Arts Club on 22nd August. I mention

the reactionary tendency in Liverpool, be it contentious – Militant,

rioting in the 1910s, 1980s and 2010s – or fruitful – strong

political awareness marked by allegiances which, at times, have

rejected or pre-empted the national electorate. There’s also the

creative manifestation of that attitude, such as the output (more

than mere verse) of Adrian Henri, or the early work of Craig

Charles, amongst the first punk poets to bear that title.

“We’re hoping for a good show in Liverpool,” Sasha chimes in

– he’s acting as tour manager. “You know when I started writing

to celebrities [during the trial], I wanted to get in touch with Paul

McCartney, because he’s a god in Russia, bigger than any of

those other guys. But, of course, when he visited, it was under

the state, Putin was his personal guide around the Kremlin. But

when I wrote, he responded in under an hour with an incredibly

strong statement. Later, he sent two handwritten letters,

addressed to the specific judges of one of the trials and the

parole hearing. So they were presented in court as statements.

He means much more than all the signatures together.”

The book had to be self-published in Russia, with positive

reviews in the underground press and a very rare accolade from

dramatist Vladimir Sorokin, who described it as “honest, bitter,

and brilliant”. That’s the equivalent to a soundbite from Ian

McEwan. She’s published by Penguin in the UK, but this isn’t a

typical book tour. What will people see when they come to Riot


“It’s a personal story,” Masha replies, “telling of the escape

from the police, from trial to prison to prison colony. It’s not a tale,

though, it’s a punk manifesto, with a lot of poetry and literature.

On the tour, people will see/hear readings from the book, in a

combination of music, like the most important early songs by

Pussy Riot, theatre and visual elements.”

Who else is on this tour with you?

There is Nadya, who has been my friend since we were nine

and introduced me to Pussy Riot. She wrote some of the songs,

and plays the saxophone while her boyfriend Max plays bass:

together they’re known as AWOT – Absent Women On the

Telephone. And there’s Kiril, a Belarusian actor who toured the

UK with me for a theatrical project called Burning Doors. So, four

people on stage, and Vasily, who is the Pussy Riot VJ, he does live

stuff from inside the group, and there are [sub]titles too because

the readings are in Russian.

Where have you taken the show so far?

Everywhere, probably 60-70 shows so far. Both coasts of

the USA – Olympia, WA was probably the most rock ’n’ roll –

Australia. In the UK we played Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton,

two shows in London, Falmouth. Then Germany, Austria,

Switzerland, Poland and Slovenia. We only played two shows in

Russia, an alternative theatre and an art gallery, both in Moscow.

We couldn’t get booked anywhere else. People didn’t want to

take that risk, in case of a possible backlash.

Did you notice different reactions depending on where you


Yes and no. The show is, in a way, universal. It’s not just Putin’s

Russia. It’s about people’s will wherever you are. There is no

country around the world where people have no fear, no place

where you can’t risk personal and psychological comfort to say

something against injustice.

Is there a need to protest wherever you might be, irrespective

of time and place?

Anywhere there is a reason, an agenda, yes. Maybe not

continually, but freedom only exists when you work at it every day.

Is this show a kind of protest?


can be [in]

Pussy Riot”

Yes. A protest against fear, against cynical conformism and

passiveness. It says you can do anything, but you have to do it.

My spell in prison wasn’t hopeless. I won three of four cases! But

what Pussy Riot did was still, in the eyes of the law, illegal. And

after it, propaganda did a lot too.

You’ve campaigned for prisoners’ rights in Russia. Have you

noticed an improvement, or at least some effect since 2012?

So… legislatively, things are worse in prison. That whole wave of

2011-12 protest caused a reaction. But though laws are harsher,

prisoners’ rights are much more in the public interest. It’s very

difficult in this repressive system, but it can be very effective too.

The behaviour of the state became worse, but we created Zona

Prava (justice zone), the only topical media outlet to focus on

[government malpractice], monitor that behaviour, and we got

some of the best lawyers too. It’s now between 7th and 8th place

in media ratings – that is, rate of quotation – so we’re rivalling

some of the big channels and being read by those who buy

newspapers and keep abreast of the mass media.

I notice you played Falmouth… that’s a different locale to your

other shows.

Sasha: That wasn’t through a booking agent, a personal invite. It

was where Masha rehearsed the Riot Days show. It was tiny but

completely full, and everybody was really into it.

This is key to punk – a grain of attitude which became a

cultural pearl, but whose greatest legacy is too often a cheap

necklace, costume jewellery a million miles from the oyster.

Recently Tor Ekeland, the son of a World War Two Norwegian

resistance fighter, tweeted about his dad’s recollection of the

war. He mentioned that acts of resistance don’t all need to be on

a large scale, or conclusively yield results, but can be small and

personal, provided they disrupt the status quo. Likewise, a small

venue at capacity may not contain multitudes on a national scale,

but in that room, you can have everybody onside, 100 per cent of

their attention, and then they take that small act of protest with

them when they leave and go their separate ways.

Pussy Riot aren’t a GOAT-discography-hit-single band.

They’re the musical, vocal, and visual expression of an ideology.

As Masha says, “Everyone can be [in] Pussy Riot”. !

Words: Stuart Miles O’Hara / @ohasm1

Photography: Alexander Sofeev

Pussy Riot: Riot Days takes place on 22nd August at Arts Club.

“It’s not a

tale, it’s

a punk




“You pull a cosmic

trigger and what you

release is a tsunami

of personal meaning

that you’ve then got

to make sense of”




Having heroically wrangled the

chaos of last year’s Welcome To

The Dark Ages happening, Josh

Ray catches up with DAISY ERIS

CAMPBELL as she shoulders her

father’s legacy in Pigspurt’s Daughter,

taking his story to the end of the line

while feeding into the narrative of a new


How do you follow an act like Ken Campbell? A master

raconteur who could weave the most intricate

and hilariously surreal narratives, he was also a

cosmically-charged director who constantly smashed

the boundaries of theatre. He embodied a Pan-like presence

who’d thrust people towards realising their true genius (albeit,

often traumatically), and, most importantly, he possessed an

imagination so powerful it could turn myth into truth.

When Ken left this mortal coil 10 years ago, his daughter

DAISY ERIS CAMPBELL was faced with this very question. How

on earth was she meant to take the reigns of the Campbellian

tradition? How could she come up with an idea that his prolific

mind hadn’t already conjured up? How could she go “farther than

her father”?

Exploding onto the scene with his Ken Campbell Roadshow

in the early 70s, the formidable character directed the

fantastically insane Illuminatus! – first shown at the Science

Fiction Theatre of Liverpool ahead of the National Theatre –

before going on to explore the outer edges of improv in a 22-hour

endurance production titled The Warp, also breaking his way

onto TV screens on numerous occasions. Ken wrote prolifically;

from anarchic children’s plays to fictitious Canadian manuscripts,

above all else he was constantly weaving his own personal

myth, fully realised in a series of late-80s and early-90s one-man

shows: Furtive Nudist, Pigspurt and Jamais Vu.

Some pretty hefty footsteps to follow in… But luckily, Daisy

had been sufficiently prepared: “I was in deep from the age of 16.

I gave up school, kind of with his encouragement, and joined the

Tilly Matthews Academy Of Bizarre and Adventurous Education,

of which he was the only teacher and I was the only pupil.”

The Academy left her with everything she needed to direct

the revived behemoth, The Warp, at 18, keeping it alive for

another three years before co-creating a pidgin adaptation of

Macbeth alongside her father. Eventually she tried to find her

own path in life, but always found herself gravitating back.

“Whatever he was up to was totally where it was at!”

“His creative genius never switched off, even at home,” Daisy

continues. “If there was a way to do things that were unexpected,

joyous, mad and funny, he’d find it.” Ken was no different on

stage than he was at home and it was almost as if he’d stepped

into a role that he never left. “Life imitates art. I think that’s

what he discovered, and he was a person prepared to make the

sacrifice fully; of really becoming the character that he created. All

the way through – like Brighton Rock.”

Daisy laments the time she could have spent with him, had

she known he’d have left this planet so soon, but at the same

time she needed to blaze her own trail. “It was hard to find my

place within such a huge personality orbit,” she admits – but

she’d find herself back in the midst of the Campbellian narrative

soon enough though, and this would of course lead her to


Ken had found Scousers to be highly adept in actualising

his visions during the 1976 Illuminatus! production and he

was constantly telling people, “Look, if you really want to get

anything done, on any kind of scale, go to Liverpool. That’s where

everyone will say yes – they love it!” Greg Scott-Gurner would

be one of those to take heed and would consequently start up

MelloMello and The Kazimier in disused buildings.

It would be in The Kazimier that Daisy became firmly reentangled

in her father’s web, using it to host a fundraiser for her

2014 Cosmic Trigger production, having been nudged towards

her father’s footsteps in adapting a work of Robert Anton Wilson.

The former Playboy editor had co-authored the mind-fuck

epic Illuminatus!, which has the potential to unravel the most

comprehensive belief systems with its perilous mix of paranoid

conspiracy, guerrilla ontology and hyper-complex in-jokes that

revolve around the veneration of the Greek goddess of Chaos,


It became apparent to Wilson that he’d pulled a ‘cosmic

trigger’ with that book and in doing so unleashed unpredictable

forces on the world. Author John Higgs has most succinctly

defined its effects: “You pull a cosmic trigger and what you

release is a tsunami of personal meaning that you’ve then got to

make sense of.”

Wilson attempted to make sense of all this newfound

meaning in his 1977 book, Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret Of

The Illuminati, and this is what Daisy manifested in a mindexpanding

weekend at Camp and Furnace with a production

that would live on in London. It connected previously disparate

groups, creating a new underground culture that John Higgs’

multi-dimensional book The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band

Who Burned A Million Pounds has become a ‘gateway drug’ for.

One half of The KLF, Bill Drummond had built sets for Ken

on Illuminatus! and imbued all of his later work with the same

maverick thinking as his early mentor, forging his own mythos

alongside Jimmy Cauty when they rejected their mainstream pop

music acclaim and set their remaining profits alight in a disused

Jura boathouse.

When it was time for them to return last year after a 23-year

moratorium, they of course gravitated towards Liverpool, and as

these mythologies have a tendency to overlap, it was no surprise

to see Daisy had been whipped up into their plans for The JAMS’

Welcome To The Dark Ages. “It was intense. I mean, for three

days I was more-or-less the only person who had any inkling

about what was going to happen next. That was quite a full-on

thing to experience. I felt like I had been on the front line of some

kind of art war.”

Trialling and then highly rewarding, one thing that really

crystallised for Daisy during that experience was her already

developing idea of ‘Choice 5’ – a narrative so self-referential and

multi-layered that it essentially becomes a three-dimensional

entity among a clued-in network of like-minded seekers.

“It’s a living thing, which gives me a lot of excitement about

what people will come up with! It’s this virtuous circle of

everyone inspiring everyone else… I’m really into Hakim Bey’s

‘immediatism’ and the idea that it’s really about the building of a

culture. So we do it for each other, and we gather and some more

people join, because they can sniff out the authenticity of it.”

With Pigspurt’s Daughter, Daisy is able to throw all kinds

of heady new ideas into the pot, drawing from her father’s

wide-ranging leftfield influences to help keep the narrative vital

and ensure it expands in healthy directions. “There’s something

genuine happening here,” states Daisy. “If you try and bottle it

and sell it, you know, very quickly you risk killing the culture or

overwhelming it with people who aren’t sufficiently woven in to

keep it going. It’s a subtle thing, it’s a storytelling game that we’re

all playing. And it’s fun!” !

Words: Josh Ray / @josh5446ray


Pigspurt’s Daughter takes place at the Hope Street Theatre on

23rd August. Tickets are free in advance – pay what you decide

on the door. Head to bidolito.co.uk now to secure your advance



“The idea of repatriating

the work and starting a

conversation with people

who actually pass through

the pictures, that gets

really quite interesting”

Ken Grant

Tom Wood



Looking For Love in The Last Resort: three decades of social change in New Brighton,

told through the photography of three of Tom Wood, Martin Parr and Ken Grant.

Martin Parr

Ken Grant


New Brighton is the seaside town that time nearly forgot.

Perched on the north-eastern tip of the Wirral peninsula

where the River Mersey churns into the Irish Sea, its

glory years came in the early 20th Century when it

boasted a tower larger than Blackpool’s, the UK’s largest open-air

swimming pool and a bustling trade of holidaymakers. Even after

the tower was dismantled in 1921, the resort still commanded

large crowds of day trippers and revellers right up until the 60s,

charmed by the fresh sea air, arcades and a ballroom that played

host to The Silver Beatles. Having been brought up just down

the road in the 90s, New Brighton was practically home – but

by the time I came to know it, its glamour had long since faded.

Like many British seaside towns, New Brighton fell foul of the UK

holidaymaker’s discovery of package holidays, and the general

social and economic decline that hit much of the North West in the

80s. The Leisure Peninsula had lost its pizzazz.

It was during this period that three of the best-known

contemporary British photographers all spent a period of time

in New Brighton, and each took to documenting the resort and

its people in their own unique way. MARTIN PARR’s fame was

launched by the collection The Last Resort, which depicted a town

and people caught in the grips of this decline, the flashbulb of his

camera capturing some memorable images of families eking out

some enjoyment from their fading resort. TOM WOOD spent the

longest amount of time in New Brighton, having moved there from

Ireland in 1978. Wood was a frequent and sympathetic documenter

of his adopted home, becoming that regular a sight on the buses and

promenades that he gained the affectionate local nickname Photie

Man. KEN GRANT learnt his trade as a documentary photographer

during the time when both Parr and Wood were active in the

area, and his bank of work follows the habits and customs of New

Brighton’s locals in a period up the end of the 90s, when the outlook

for the resort wasn’t quite as bleak.

As part of the 2018 Independents Biennial, NEW BRIGHTON

REVISITED brings together work from all three photographers

(including some never before seen material) for the first time in a

group exhibition. The Sailing School on New Brighton’s redeveloped

Marine Point has been converted into a gallery space where work by

each photographer can be viewed while looking out over the modern

day resort, thriving once more after a period of redevelopment. The

backdrops are familiar, as are some of the faces, but the story has

moved on somewhat.

Prior to the exhibition’s opening, which saw the gallery packed

out with locals and photography aficionados alike, I spoke with Ken

Grant about his own views on the intersecting stories attached to

the images, and how he feels about taking them back home.

Where did the impetus for the exhibition come from?

It was Tracy’s [Marshall, Northern Narratives and Open Eye Gallery]

idea originally, the idea of repatriating the work. It was her who

realised that so many people have passed through New Brighton

and photographed it. She knows Tom [Wood], she’s worked with

Martin [Parr] before in Belfast, but she was the first person to put

together the fact we’ve all lived – not quite at overlapping times – in

New Brighton for extended phases of our early careers. Tom was

probably the longest, me for a decade and then Martin when he

was doing The Last Resort. So, it was her suggestion initially: ‘Has

this combined work ever been shown in New Brighton?’ Which

of course, apart from maybe informally now and again, it hasn’t.

So the idea of putting the work back into a place and starting a

conversation with people who actually pass through the pictures,

that gets really quite interesting. It’s probably the first time since

1986 or 1987, when the work was showing in Liverpool, that The

Last Resort has been shown in great extent in the area.

What do you think the reaction’s going to be to it, because I know

The Last Resort has had a mixed reception over the years.

Mixed reactions I think when it was further afield. When it was in

London there was often a kind of, I suppose, by proxy outrage or

concern. But there’s also a kind of unwritten side to a lot of it, in the

sense that Martin gave a lot of the pictures back to people who were

part of the work and has very great loyalty and correspondence with

people who were in the pictures, even now. So the shorthand is to

say that it caused quite a reaction, and even now when you speak

to some of the older people who were maybe part of local history

groups, they might speak on behalf of New Brighton, and speak

about the fact that it was not shown in the best light. But, of course,

people like me grew up in the 80s and realised that this was kind of

normal – I didn’t see any distinction between Martin’s wider pictures

from the same time that he made in Birkenhead, or over in Liverpool.

You realise in the wider current of living in that time, the North West

was going through a really, really difficult phase and things weren’t

necessarily as clean, or as replete as they are now. There are lots

of pictures from the inner city before [the redevelopment], certainly

down the bottom of Byrom Street and Scotland Road in Liverpool,

where things were still in the process of needing to be redeveloped.

New Brighton is probably, by extension, part of that conversation.

Martin and Tom worked on The Last Resort as a joint show at

Open Eye in 1986: did you ever cross paths with them at that time?

Yeh, I was training as a technician in Central Park in Wallasey,

and Tom told me how to process film, very, very quickly. He was

instrumental because, even though we were training to do technical

jobs – most of which have been made redundant now because of

our digital age – he’d also be introducing people to really beautiful

portraiture by some of the people who he really admires – Lee

Friedlander or E. Chambré Hardman, his pictures of the Ark Royal

in Cammell Laird. So, you’d get a sense of an extended possibility

for picture-making. Working with him for a couple of years, you

wouldn’t break a stride – you’d go out with him on the buses, or

you’d go out with him to the football – well, I go to the football

anyway – and you’d realise that was as legitimate an approach as

any other. It’s really quite beautiful to have that and, over time, just

those conversations still going.

Martin was different because he went to work training in Farnham

in Surrey, and did a degree in photography and video, as it was at

the time. You used to look at people like Martin who’d call up once

a month, and would have several projects on at one time… it was a

very different relationship to Tom, but really enjoyable to have those

different voices, and both of their support in very different ways.

How do you think your work’s going to be interpreted by locals


It’s hard to know… I don’t spend too much time reacting to reactions.

It takes me a long time to get a show together, and even doing this

took, without any exaggerations, 18 months of looking at stuff and

pulling work out and going into things for the first time. It’s only now

that I’m putting together and trying to work out what I was doing,

what I was looking at, what I was preoccupied with. And it’s a bit

of a shock sometimes, because you start to see things that hotwire

right into what was going on at the time in your life. The idea is that

I try and make some kind of sequence or narrative that seems like it

relates to what I was doing at the time.

So, in terms of people understanding it or coming to terms with

it, I just hope that they’ll find them interesting – they’re very quiet

pictures, a lot of them. Some pictures are just to do with the land and

just to do with the time I’ve spent in town.

Do you think that being a resident of the area for a period of time

changed the way you shot, or the outlook of what you wanted

to achieve with the pictures you were making? Can you see any

similarities in the styles of all three of you?

I’d like to think there was great distinction between each body of

work for different reasons. Tom lived here for an awful long time,

but he would probably have different interests to me in why he’d

photograph. But he always says I’m more of an insider than him.

When you’re making pictures you don’t feel that so much... you’re

just still making pictures, you’re still outside of something. There’s a

pull about being part of something, but just enough outside to try

and figure it out.

These kinds of hot days, sitting here talking now, are really beautiful

because they’re buoyant, busy, people are jumping into the overflow

there, they’re living their life to the full. It’s buoyant, you can smell it.

But then when you’re living here, you’ve got the quiet times as well.

I was working a freelance life, which meant there’d be feast and

famine. I’m responding to that – I might be sitting on the rocks for

hours and just working things out that I was going to do next, but

I’d be photographing at the same time. It’s not as if you go out with

a particular project in mind, or a piece of the jigsaw puzzle waiting

to fit. Just using it as a place to get a breather and take stock, you

know? I’m more kind of nurtured and, I suppose, intuitive at the time.

It seems a bit like, just because of the nature of you going about

it documenting life around you as you were living your own, that

your photos follow your own personal experiences a little bit more

than say, Tom’s and Martin’s have done.

Yeh, I think so – it would’ve been very easy to drop in other pictures

of my daughter in here, and people who I knew from different places.

Some of the pictures are made right out there [pointing to the edge

of the river, where it merges with the Irish Sea] when the tide goes

right out at night. You just go out and you realise it’s just you and a

few fishermen. You turn back and you realise New Brighton seems a

thousand miles away, and that Ireland feels closer.

It’s a strange place. Those freedoms, the state of mind, or just being

able to understand how time flows – I don’t suppose I spend much

time doing that. I do like being able to go into that kind of space.

Something happens when you do, I think you go into a certain kind

of zone of figuring things out... and that might make you make

different kinds of work, or force you to think about the place in a

different way, even if you weren’t making pictures.

When you look at New Brighton now, what do you see? Do you

see some of the similar stories and the similar lives?

Well, in the course of the last 20 minutes while we’ve been sitting

here, a lad came round the corner with his shirt off on his bike, who I

recognised from 20-odd years ago. So, a lot of the people are making

the same kind of routines, looking as fit and as energetic as ever.

What I like about here is that it’s this other little space, slightly cut

off by water sometimes. It’s got its own routines, it’s got a respite

from Liverpool – the city which I really love. When I first started

living here in the early 90s, I loved the fact that you could get the

train 20 minutes and just feel like you were so close to somewhere,

but you knew you were back in your own backyard. And you had the

water... Some of the early pictures I made were by the edges of the

water, and looking at Martin’s pictures that he made not long after

finishing as a student – which we’ve got in the show here – he’d

come to New Brighton and he’d photograph really beautiful scenes

of people right at the edge of the river and the Irish Sea; same kind

of thing. Something pulls you into those particular places. And I

recognise that kind of energy, and I do recognise a lot of the people

who’re here. Probably in the last few months since we’ve been doing

it, some of the usual suspects have started to crop up again. I’ve

touched base with a few people, had a few invitations to Stanley’s

Cask which I’ve managed to avoid so far, because they probably

don’t do a lot of things like they used to anymore! !

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp


New Brighton Revisited is showing at the Sailing School Gallery,

Marine Point until 25th August.


I S …



P. Lee explains how he

came to write an album

based on one of Tom Wood’s

best-known photography

collections, Looking For


The first time I saw images from the Looking

For Love collection was in an article in VICE

a few years ago. It was an article about

Tom Wood’s photography in the Chelsea

Reach, about it representing the lead-in to acid house

or something like that. I loved the style, normality,

simplicity and message in it. Then, a while later, I was

talking with Nick Power about his Small Town Chase

work, and the correlation between that and the Looking

For Love stuff, and I looked into it properly and I just fell

in love with it.

Being from New Brighton myself it spiked an

interest: you always care about stuff that’s around

the corner, local history. I think the book, as much as

wider context and themes, is about the people and

places that make up communities, and these weird,

outpost seaside towns have more than their fair share

of individuals.

I might have a bit of a strange perspective on it,

but the themes of youth, potential, memories and stuff

like that jumped out at me – but it also got me thinking

about the nostalgic side of things. Like, if I was in the

photo, I would be remembering all the people and

wondering where they are now, thinking about the

people who weren’t here anymore; how you never

realise how good you have it with your whole life

ahead of you until it’s behind you.

I think everyone in the area will have a connection

to the Chelsea somewhat, and probably a few relatives

in the pictures too! One of the main things that

connected me to it was that me and my mates’ first

nights outs were in the Chelsea, at the tail end of when

it was still open as a nightclub: all turning up in cream

jeans, Rockports, dads’ shirts – the works.

The whole concept of Looking For Love resonated

with me, and I only realised after a while that I got

together with my wife, Ashley, properly in the Chelsea

on one of the last nights the club was open. I started

the album a few months before we got married, so the

album is also has a personal resonance.

Primarily the songs are about the emotions,

feelings and moods I accompany with the process

of nostalgia, looking back and reflecting upon our

pasts. But I have also tried to make it specific to ‘our’

past, as in the people who view the images, places

and people with a sense of oneship, rather than a

general idea or general period of time. A few songs are

written drawing specifically from images in the book

and others are stories with very little basis in fact, but

drawing on some of the places and faces people from

around here will recognise.

The album took just over a year to make, from start

to end. Most of it was recorded up in Ghost Town in

Leeds, where we did a lot of The Loud stuff and where

Wild Beasts did all their early stuff. Some parts were

recorded in Fresh Goods in Birkenhead with Matty

Freeman, who has played on a few tracks. But I play

most of the instruments.

I feel like it has come full circle somewhat, because

it was from talking with Nick Power that the album

really became a thing. One of the tracks is based on

a short story he sent me, so from that to having the

album coming out sounding as it does is something

which I’m proud of.


P. Lee is… Looking For Love will be released in late

summer 2018.






“I want to communicate with the language of my time.” 12 hours in Liverpool with

a strident new voice in the global game of cosmic funk.

It is a white-hot 30 degrees in Constellations’

garden at the core of the Baltic inferno; yet,

the searing heat won’t keep us from spending

a day in the company of WAYNE SNOW,

immaculately decked-out in a brilliant white

T-shirt, chinos and trabs. Snow is simply Cooler;

as the opening track to his debut long player,

Freedom TV (which has been an ever-present on

the Bido Lito! turntable since it landed in 2017)


The album is a sanguine marriage of nu-jazz,

deep house and electronica, all delivered with the

energy and groove of his native Nigeria’s highlife

traditions. A work of beauty, wisdom and guile,

the record is the product of Snow’s experience:

having left his homeland as a teenager, Snow has now settled in Berlin.

Luminaries and collaborators such as Max Graef, Neue Grafik and Nu

Guinea have provided inspiration and guidance along the way, but

Freedom TV is the work of an artist with a deep sense of his craft and the

responsibility he weights upon himself to make music which resonates

with the contradictory, bewildering times in which we live.

Some artists have a confidence verging on arrogance and an overcooked

sense of their own self-importance. Wayne Snow is not such an

artist, but he is man blessed with a deep and humble sense of his gift and

the responsibility that comes with such a talent.

“I know that I can make beautiful music,” he tells me slowly,

deliberately, each nugget delivered with an infectious lethargy. “That’s one

thing, but it bores me to just do that. I want to feel like I’m useful. I want

to mix up things here and be able to communicate, with the language

of my time, to the people that are here. I feel like you can easily fall into

a nostalgic thing. You take my voice, it’s soulful, right? I can go back and

bring out some Motown shit, like, Marvin Gaye, you know. They’re all

great, but for me, it doesn’t move me much. I really have to feel like I’m

incorporating the ideas of my time.”

By such a measure, Freedom TV can be regarded as nothing short of

a blistering success. Traversing the smoky, disorientating staccato stabs

of Cooler, via the frenetic fizz of The Rhythm and the gorgeously plump,

lolloping Rosie, the record is both an essential document of our times

and an affirming, positive and elevating listening experience. It reaches

its zenith with lead-single Red Runner, a track which grooves as if The

Whitest Boy Alive were bitten by jazztronic cool. Snow is an artist who,

in time, will sit as comfortably alongside LCD Soundsystem as he will Oko

Ebombo and Chip Wickham.

The record is dense, plural in its reference points and inflections.

A deep-seated soulfulness runs throughout and is laced with

experimentation and a heavy helping of nu-jazz. I wonder how much of

Snow’s musical upbringing is woven into the LP’s many layers?

“All of it,” he confirms, but jazz came a little later. “I used to randomly

read these magazines with Louis Armstrong, just the classics. I kept

listening to it, Dave Brubeck and so on. I was trying to learn all the

improvisation that you had on the record. I didn’t actually understand the

music at first because I was brought up in Nigeria where they listen to a

lot of Motown, of course, a lot of disco. Jazz was a bit complicated. I didn’t

understand if I should enjoy it with the soul, because I was trying to find

a way to just get into it. There was something missing. So, it took me a

couple of times to start using my head, to understand it.”

Using the head over the heart was a new way of translating music

for Snow, as was the Western obsession with labelling, organising and

chronicling. “Something you should know is, let’s say, naming things

and putting some kind of reference on them is something I learned in

Europe,” he says. “The way you grow, you’re surrounded by music, as if

it’s like breathing. You never ask yourself why you’re breathing, you just

breathe. It’s the same way I was brought up with music. So, I always had

many influences. My native music, all local music with percussion mostly

and voices, no harmonic instruments. From there to highlife and then, of

course, Fela Kuti. I just grew up with these things.”

“Music is central

to people. We

don’t know what

this drug is but

we need it more

than anything”

That process of growing took Snow to

Berlin, via Paris. I wonder what was it was about

Berlin, as a city, that made Snow feel he could

realise the music he had inside him? “At first, I

dreamed of machines. Synthesizers,” he tells me

with a deep concentration in his eyes. “I started

composing, writing music with a huge amount

of synthesizers from the 80s. I saw Berlin as

this industrial land. I felt like the landscape,

the places, the clubs were perfect to allow me

to express this feeling. In Paris, I felt like they

weren’t ready for machines. When they saw

me as a black, Nigerian guy, they still think of

drums, tan-tans, percussion and so on. Not using

machines. When you’re listening to techno, it’s

very reminiscent of African drums and percussion.”

It was this rhythmic, percussive nature of techno that appealed to

Snow, and drew a natural link between his musical upbringing and a new

future. “It’s completely minimalist,” he energetically confirms. “When you

go to clubs like Berghain in Berlin, you really feel like you’re in this jungle

and it’s crazy. It’s very raw. I experienced this back home in Nigeria, when

I was a child. When we had a feast, we played drums for hours and

hours, days and days, and you had this pumping, boom, boom, boom. I

felt Berlin was the perfect place for me to go and do this without having

to justify it.”

Snow is in Liverpool for the first time and is playful, excited about

being here, in a city which is so synonymous with music. Like Berlin, music

is very much at the centre of our culture, what our city means in the world

and what it means to our people. The openness and inclusiveness of

Berlin has always played out in its music and culture. I wonder if Snow, as

an artist, feels that within the environment of the city?

“Yes. It’s crazy,” he says, with simmering enthusiasm. “When you go

there, there is a lot of concrete, but you feel like the concrete has been

humanised, like, given a heartbeat. That’s why there are more artists

going there. We feel like it’s not cold, there’s a soul somewhere. You can

reach it. I started understanding that this city, it is actually made by the

people and just for the people. So, it’s not like the government decides

what people should do in Berlin; it’s the people in Berlin that decide for


And the government responds to it? “Yes, and the music also, it has

the same kind of energy. Music is everywhere and you feel like people are

easy with that. Berlin, I think, is the first place I really found that, actually;

we can listen to different music and it doesn’t have to be the hyped ones.

People have different tastes, very underground or whatever, and they

have fun with that.”

This open-mindedness has framed Berlin’s experience in recent

decades and inflected the city with an alternative, electronic, more

progressive music at the heart of Berlin’s modern folk culture. I wonder

what role Snow thinks music plays in Berlin’s collective identity? Is it key

to bringing people together?

“I think it’s central,” he asserts. “Music is central to people. We don’t

know what this drug is, but we need it more than anything. I’ve always

felt like the most political tool we have is music; the musician himself

cannot be political. It’s way beyond that. The reason of music is to always

connect people. When you’re into music, you just stop being black, blue,

whatever, any colour. Even feeling-wise, you just have the same emotion.

I’ve always seen music as something of a high level, like, spiritually the

highest thing we can ever, ever experience. As a musician, if I call myself

so, I think I’m blessed. To be able to connect or to be able to feel things

and rearrange them and make people feel them through music. I’m very

happy to be giving some kind of insight.” !

Words: Craig G Pennington

Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uk


Freedom TV is available now via Tartelet Records.





The 60th anniversary of “the Oscar of the British painting world”

shows that contemporary painting is still a blockbuster artform.


highlight of the city’s cultural calendar, and is as much

of a big deal in national art circles. Nowadays it’s held

concurrently with Liverpool Biennial, but has become

defined as its own institution over its 60-year existence. The list

of alumni of the prize since it was first awarded in 1957 reads

as a history of some of the most well known names in British

painting, from David Hockney and Peter Doig to Sarah Pickstone

and Rose Wylie. The JMPP is an award coveted as one of the

most prestigious in British art, and its home has always been

right here in Liverpool.

The Walker Art Gallery is the home of the £25,000 John

Moores Painting Prize, and on the day of the prize announcement

the venerable gallery attracts a buzzing, interested crowd. Artist

Lubaina Himid CBE, a member of the 2018 jury for the prize,

explains why she thinks it is so coveted and what it has to say

about the state of art in Britain. “I think it certainly shows that

painting is very, very vigorous in this country,” she says. “People

still care about it. They’re all passionate – you have to use that

word about the show, and that’s great. It’s so brave.” Even now

when contemporary art utilises more media forms than ever

before, it’s painting that perhaps still has the most ability to

shock and surprise. The Walker is a perfect venue for the prize

exhibition in many ways, not least because it’s a gallery that tells

the story of painting since the 13th Century through artworks

and objects of the highest quality. If the works by Cranach and

Rembrandt tell the story of painting’s traditions, then the John

Moores Painting Prize casts an eye on the state of contemporary

painting – and what a healthy state it is.

This is perhaps one of the most diverse shows in terms of

style and presentation that I’ve ever seen from the JMPP. It’s

impossible to say that there’s anything staid or samey about what

the jurors have chosen: there’s abstraction and realism, figurative

work and dreamy visions. In size, meanwhile, the pieces range

from postcard-size to enormous declarations of intent. Nor is

this confined just to British art, either – since 2010 the prize has

also established a parallel in China, and the five prize-winning

paintings are exhibited here alongside the 60 selections for the

British prize. It’s a move that reflects how art made in different

cultural contexts may present issues from new perspectives.

More than this, though, it celebrates the strength of painting on

not only a national, but also a global scale.

It was the scale, according to Himid, that was one of the

biggest surprises when the jury first came to view the works.

“It certainly shows

that painting

is very, very

vigorous in this

country. People

still care about it”

Each juror first sees the 2,700 entrants for this year’s prize on

computer documents, which leaves plenty of time for surprises

when they begin to narrow them down in real life. “Even though

it says the scale, of course you’re busy looking at the work

and doing whatever comes into your head when you look at

paintings. Inefficiently, I don’t think many of us engaged with

the scale except when we really need to think, ‘Surely that isn’t


So, from almost 3,000 entrants, how on earth do the jury set

about deciding which should be featured in the final exhibition

– and which should ultimately win? Himid’s description of what

is considered in the judging process is twofold; technique, yes,

but fundamentally it’s about emotion. “When you’re in the room

with [the paintings], you fall deeply in love with some. And you

think, ‘I am not gonna let that go, whatever these other jurors

think’.” This is not to say it was not at times a frustrating process:

from the potential pitfalls of the anonymous entry system to the

self-agonising about which paintings to settle on (“Sometimes

things that were on the ‘no’, we say ‘I need to drag that back’”).

As well as knowing the prestige of the prize, however, Himid

and her fellow juror Bruce McLean both understand the impact

of institutional recognition, what it can mean for an artist’s

profile. McLean won the JMPP himself in 1985 with Oriental

Garden, Kyoto, while Himid was last year’s deserving and widely

celebrated winner of the Turner Prize. Having a jury with this

insight and passion means that, as ever, this year’s decisions

about, as the Walker Art Gallery’s website quotes from the

Royal Academy’s Sir Norman Rosenthal, “the Oscar of the British

painting world”, is once again a decision that can be trusted in

form, intention and emotion.

Thus the exhibition becomes settled on 60 paintings, and

from these, five prize-winners were selected – five paintings

which happen to reflect five very different artistic concerns. From

the strong unknowability of the figures in Shanti Panchal’s The

Divide, Beyond Reasoning to the careful illusory construction of

Billy Crosby’s Quilt, there’s something different to admire in each


This year’s prize went to Jacqui Hallum for King And Queen

Of Wands. It’s an enormous work spread across multiple cotton

sheets, a statement piece that very much declares its place as

a work of art. Hallum explains how the roots of the piece lie

in both the aesthetic and spiritual aspects of the tarot deck.

“Depending on where the cards lie in the deck, it gives them a

different meaning. So, if you move the sheets around, you would

get a different reading between the King and the Queen. But as

they are they’re in a kind of stasis, and there’s a kind of electricity

between them, like there’s something about to happen.”

It goes without saying that Hallum is delighted with her win.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I slog away at it, and then

finally somebody recognises it and you think, ‘Oh my god, it’s not

real’.” Hallum is also delighted and amazed at the fact that her

triumph was a unanimous decision. As Himid explains, “We all

saw something in it. It wasn’t at all one of those compromises.

It was [more like]: ‘Do you know something? This could stand

the test of time’.” As to what exactly that ‘something’ was, “Look

at it! It’s bold, it’s playful, it’s taking huge amounts of space, it’s

complicated to hang, it’s not painted to a formula, it’s ‘this is what

I want to paint’.”

This year’s win was based on acknowledging the passion of

painting, of painting existing as a conduit for putting emotions

and thoughts into the world for us all to admire. Thanks to the

Walker Art Gallery’s policy of bringing the winning prize into its

own collection, King And Queen Of Wands will become part of

the history not just of the prize, and of an individual triumph, but

of Liverpool’s history. !

Words: Julia Johnson / messylines.com

Photography: Gareth Jones

The 2018 John Moores Painting Prize is exhibited at the Walker

Art Gallery until 18th November


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

Presented by Fit The Bill and Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
























Liverpools iconic Royal Albert Dock plays host

to Folk On The Dock festival during the August

Bank Holiday weekend (24–27) this year. It will

be the third edition of the free festival, which

has proven to be incredibly popular in the past,

with more than 90,000 people attending over

the course of the weekend in 2017.


This year’s event will see over 200 artists play

across ten stages around the Royal Albert Dock,

as well as the completely unique Liverpool

Shanty Festival – where live performances take

place on boats around the water’s edge and in

the Liverpool Maritime Museum.

The one ticketed gig of the weekend, a special

launch event from Michael Head at the Museum

of Liverpool on the Friday evening, is already

sold out.


Liverpool’s own broadcasting legend Janice

Long will be home to host the festival’s main,

contemporary Dock Stage, headlined by

Squeeze co-founder Chris Difford, who will

treat the crowds to an acoustic set on the

Saturday. Another Merseyside native in the

shape of award-winning singer/songwriter

Robert Vincent will also take to the Dock

Stage, having previously made his debut

Folk On The Dock appearance further down

the bill two years ago.

In keeping with Folk On The Dock’s desire to

celebrate the role that Liverpool’s waterways

have played in exporting and importing music

from around the world, Daoirí Farrell,

winner of two BBC Folk Awards in 2017,

will be leaving the port of Dublin to perform

on Monday 27 August.

There are a number of exciting, emerging

artists to look out for across the bill as well,

such as Gizmo Varillas, Ivan Moult and H E A L.


"It fills me with absolute pride to be involved

with the third Folk On The Dock here in my

hometown of Liverpool,” says Janice Long.

“Long before rock and roll, folk music was

coming in to the port of Liverpool as well as

being made here. It’s apt that Folk On The Dock

unites wonderful storytelling musicians in a

place that is so special to everyone who lives

here and for those of you who are joining us

from other places.”

So there is plenty to fill your days with folk,

roots, acoustic and shanty music to enjoy

throughout the holiday weekend.



www.folkonthedock.com | @FolkOnTheDock | #FolkOnTheDock



One of the city’s most underrated sound designers, YANK SCALLY’s

experimental pop is a result of a joyous musical obsession that’s as

inspiring as it is uplifting.

“I’m working on a

very dramatic,

OTT live set. I

want to blow

people’s minds”

YANK SCALLY is a mysterious figure, who reached out from

the ether into our inbox with a single line – “hello. im from toxteth”

– and a link to his SoundCloud page. Intrigued, we opened it to find

a veritable goldmine of slickly produced, experimental electronic

music that spanned styles and genres effortlessly. Three Thousand

is an indie pop banger, fully ready to play in the background of a

Thomas Cook advert. His 1980s series is modern, pitch-perfect

repurposing of nostalgic 80s synth sounds, as naturally trendy

as Stranger Things. But we were shocked to see that most of his

songs have less than a hundred plays. Realising that we may have

discovered a secret gem before the rest of the world catches up,

we reached out to him to find out more.

“I’m completely self-taught, no teachers and I don’t even

watch YouTube guides,” he tells us. But somehow, with an

intuitive process of trial and error, which has been ongoing for

“a little over 10 years” with “a very minimal set-up”, Yank Scally

has attained a level of sonic virtuosity that is hard to find. “Never

had monitors or anything like that,” he says. “I got a Roland SH

201 on my 16th birthday and learned synthesis.” He describes

his upbringing as “not particularly musical”; the seeds of musical

passion were sown in him immaculately, by God, or maybe by

Daft Punk.

“On my 11th birthday I was given a mp3 player, it could only

fit about three or four albums on there. I got LimeWire out and

the first songs I got were from that Discovery album,” he recalls.

“It was the track Nightvision that I heard while riding my bike

around, headphones in, that affected me the most… I wanted to

do this, I wanted to do what these robots did and make music.”

A lack of access to resources has never deterred him. When

we visited his home studio, we were surprised to find that he

produces his pristine tunes on shitty speakers and FruityLoops.

He doesn’t care; he’s ambitious. “I’m working on a very

dramatic, OTT live set,” he says. “I want to blow people’s minds.”

This, however, is not to say that he is in any kind of rush. He

is a perfectionist, intent on delivering Yank Scally in its purest

form. In fact, if you visit his SoundCloud page, you won’t find any

of the tracks that intrigued us in the first place – he has wiped it

completely, and released three new songs. Previously, it was like

a tasting menu, with offerings like Burial Copy, an homage to one

of his favourite producers. It is as though all the musical genres

present themselves to him as a palette, and he is free to take a

dab of this and that as he sees fit. He sees himself as a sound

designer: “You can design a song and you can make it sound like

whatever you want. If I put a jungle tune over a slow indie song,

and it goes off, it adds a whole new level and feeling to it. A once

dismal song could become a danceable bop, and vice-versa.”

For a natural musical shape-shifter, it can take time to

find out how everything will fit together. His new songs bring

together the breadth of his influences, and the new album he

is working on is founded on the same concept: “I really want to

get, like, the polar opposites to collaborate on one track. Like

instrumentalists, rappers and singers that are so far apart.” If

anyone is capable of acting as a bridge, it’s Yank Scally – the

hybridity of identity is the cornerstone of his work. He calls

himself Yank Scally because “it is two words that I can identify

with. I’m half American and I grew up in rough parts of Liverpool”.

A silent mover, friends with rappers and donk DJs alike, Yank

Scally is one to watch.

Words: Niloo Sharifi







Square-peg indie? Saturn punk?

Spiky riot grrrl meets Veruca Salt?

Whichever way you choose to

describe Hannah Brown’s music,

you’ll not be disappointed with its

ability to make you feel.

“It’s easy to keep writing

about the things you

know… I’d like to stray

away from that”

If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you


I’ve described my music in different ways before, but I’ll go for

angry poetry slam meets the campfire in Abba’s Fernando music


Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially

inspired you?

Martha by Tom Waits. When I first heard it all I wanted was the

ability to write like that. It sounded like perfection and still does.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?

Not as such, because I enjoy performing different songs for

different reasons. But if I had to choose it’d be State. I love it

because the verses are really sparse and the focus is on the voice

and the lyrics. When the drums kick in it starts to build into a Pink

Floyd-esque guitar solo at the end. My favourite lyric to sing is

“She says I’ve got a sharp tongue but she doesn’t mind when it’s

between her teeth”. When I sing that it feels like I’m lighting a

match then everything goes a bit mad.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture

of all of these?

My songwriting is influenced by so many different aspects. A lot

of it is just my own emotions and personal stuff, and often the

song ends up writing itself. I find that starting a song off with a

‘meaning’ is restrictive and the meaning or the story of the song

changes, even long after the song has been written. It’s easy to

keep writing about the things you know and stay in that territory,

and I don’t want to get stuck there. I’d like to stray away from


Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in?

There’s a cool venue back in the North East, where I’m from,

called the Surf Café. It’s absolutely tiny and it’s right next to the

beach. It’s cosy and lovely and always packed. I prefer small

venues, there’s something more personable and there’s a different

atmosphere that you don’t get with bigger venues.

Why is music important to you?

Music is crucial as an art form. For me it’s a means of expression

and a career. I was lucky enough to learn guitar at school when it

wasn’t expensive, otherwise my parents wouldn’t have been able

to afford it. Now I’m worried that kids who can’t afford lessons

or instruments aren’t going to get a fair chance at music, and

it’ll become limited to the kids whose parents can. It’s no secret

that funding is poor and music is being eradicated from school

curriculums. Music is vital; I’m very fortunate.




With a revolving line-up of

members, this troupe of jangly

psych-poppers turn their

collective sunny disposition into

insanely catchy gems. The group’s

two core members take a break

from their efforts to tell us what

makes them tick.

“A menagerie

of glibly gliding


If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would

you say?

Jamie Whelligan: A menagerie of melodies and musical

soundscapes – or glibly gliding gobbledygook, if you may.

Phil Channell: Psychedelic melodic electronic/guitar pop that

echoes our favourite moments from 70s and 80s alternative


How did you get into music?

PC: There were a lot of successful musicians that lived on my

street where I grew up in the 1980s. Alan Gill, the guitarist

from The Teardrop Explodes, had a studio a few doors down

from my house. Being a piano player and hearing what sounds

could be made with synthesizers and samplers, I really wanted

one and it was an obvious route to follow. The only problem

I had was that they were massively expensive, I was still at

school and my parents certainly couldn’t afford it. Alan, being

the kind neighbour we all knew, offered to let me to use his

Ensoniq Mirage keyboard. Like a kid in a sweet shop I dived

right in and with the help of Alan letting me use his studio,

within a year I’d started producing and recording my own


JW: Though I’ve always been a bit of a lazy sod where

learning the intricacies have been concerned, I’ve always loved

listening, talking and, in a crude way, mimicking music that I

heard. Being the youngest of 10 music-loving kids, there were

always loads of different records, from Zappa to The Beatles

to The Dead Kennedys, being played in the family house –

often at the same time. In that environment, it was almost

impossible not to get into music.

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially

inspired you?

JW: The gig that first inspired me to go back home and write a

song was probably seeing my mates The Blakeys playing at The

Alex in Birkenhead... a great little combo.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture

of all of these?

JW: I think most of my favourite songwriters are good observers

of the mundane minutiae of society – like Nigel from Half Man

Half Biscuit, Paul Heaton and, in his better days, Morrissey – but

as I can’t compete with them, I probably have to rely on halfbaked

emotions filled with a collection of major seventh chords

and layered with lashings of lyrical nonsense. Which Phil then

masterly bakes at 200°C.

PC: It’s got to be film as my biggest influence: whenever I produce I

always have a movie/video of the song flying around my head.

Why is music important to you?

JW: I can’t escape music, and it’s pretty much tied up with

most things I do both pleasure-wise and earning a crust – I

also ply my trade as a busker on the London Underground. So, it’s

pretty important that I make it pleasurable and entertaining, at

the very least for myself.


Annexe The Moon play the Bido Lito! Social at 81 Renshaw on

23rd August.



“We’ve been

treated really well

by the weird side

of Liverpool”



Strange Collective All-Dayer @ Constellations – 11/08

The Birmingham-based heavy garage trio talk about

originality and why they feel at home on Merseyside.

Birmingham three-piece TABLE SCRAPS are a band to watch out for, if you haven’t

already heard of them, that is. With a tongue-in-cheek manner embedded in the two

albums they’ve mustered to date – More Time For Strangers and Autonomy – they

seem to encapsulate what iconic garage acts such as The Gruesomes and The Gories

created, but skewed with a dark and doomy undertone that has their sound bordering on metal

and has garnered attention not only from the indie press but also publications such as Metal

Hammer. Ahead of their return to Liverpool, Georgia Turnbull asks TJ, Poppy Twist and Scott

Vincent Abbott about what makes them stand out from the growing garage scene and their

involvement with Liverpool’s premier garage fest.

Your most recent album Autonomy is an album firmly rooted in heavier, garage rock roots. With

contemporaries creating that similar vibe all around the globe, what do you think sets you apart

from them?

Poppy Twist: I don’t know what sets us apart, to be honest. It’s quite a cheeky album. It’s eclectic

and dips its toes into a lot of things without falling into pastiche or parody. I think there’s quite a

lot of humour to it and it doesn’t take itself too seriously even when it’s at its most bleak, which is

probably us all over. It’s quite hard to see rock music that’s very straight-faced these days; it may be

too easy, but stuff that is so straight down the line – ‘this is rock music’ – doesn’t feel like it serves

as much of a purpose as someone who goes to gigs and buys records. I think you’ve got to have a

lot of self-awareness about it because, unless you’re pushing boundaries, you’ve got to be aware

that somebody’s always going to be there to point out what you’re doing isn’t that original. What

matters is your delivery and the way you do it. A lot of the ‘garage’ bands that [we] get lumped

with are just four chords and rehashes of the first Black Lips album – if you’re having fun with that

there’s nothing wrong, but you can’t be walking around acting too serious when you’re doing that.

Especially when everyone is more skint than they were before: like, who are you kidding? You’ll be

blagging for a bus fare home from the coolest venue in town either way, no matter how seriously

you take yourself, so just have fun with it. Liverpool’s quite well set up for this sub-genre, not

necessarily in terms of the bands we’ve seen, but also the understanding of it from gig-goers and

listeners. It all seems in tune with how we approach it.

What were your main influences during recording and writing songs for the album?

PT: It’s pretty hard to reference other things. Like I say it’s a quite eclectic album, but, with creating

Autonomy, getting Tim in the band and becoming a three-piece, it started to become more

noticeable that I was writing songs that sounded distinctly like us – in the way that somebody else

would listen to a track and go “that’s a Table Scraps song!” But in terms of influences, I can’t even

begin to list the amount of things that we’ve ripped off. Everyone rips off and everyone has to.

When we were on tour with Monster Magnet, Dave Wyndorf came up to Scott and asked, “Where

do you get the ideas for your songs?” and Scott goes, “I just ripped them off.” And Dave Wyndorf,

who has been there, done that, toured with Metallica, toured with Marilyn Manson, goes “Same!”

It’s something everyone does, it’s how it’s always worked, so why would you try and go out of your

way to say, “I’ve created something truly original”? You can try creating something original, but then

you realise that you’ve still accidentally ripped [someone] off. I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly ripped

anything off, it’s always just been part of the process of writing that is subconscious. Even if you

wrote a song that you wanted to sound just like Nirvana, someone would come up to you and say,

“That’s really good, sounds like The Velvet Underground.” It doesn’t end up what you set out to do

in the first place, so don’t let the ‘ripping off’ process be a limit because you’d never write down a

note. You see a lot of people that are so anxious about it so they end up never releasing anything

and playing few gigs because they’re so conscious of what they’re doing, saying, “This isn’t right,

this is too much like X. I need to change it up to match what cool bands are doing at the minute.”

Bands like this end up never doing anything. You’ve got to forget about all the external stuff and

hunker down.

What inspired you to reissue your debut album More Time For Strangers?

Scott Vincent Abbott: The original pressing that we released ourselves had sold out. There was still

quite a demand for it, and the boss of Zen Ten [the record label] was a big fan of the album anyway.

Touring with Monster Magnet was the catalyst for the re-release really, because we needed stuff

to take as merch to sell to rabid Germans. They’ll try and buy all your records, all your stuff, maybe

even the clothes off your back. So we were in this position where we’re about to go on a big tour

and all of the touring party from Monster Magnet were like, “Bring as much vinyl as you can, get

it sorted,” so we were like, “Shit, we better get this done.” Fortunately, the stars did align in that

aspect, we managed to get it turned around in less than eight weeks which is a miracle considering

how much of a nightmare it is to get vinyl pressed these days and how expensive it is. We also got

to revisit the artwork, which was great. We had better hair on the cover, longer hair; Poppy doesn’t

have a vape pen in her hand, which pleases me [laughs]. It used to be a trademark that she’d be

clutching her e-cigarette, but now she’s gone back to just smoking.

You’re part of the Strange Collective All-Dayer too. Any special plans for your set, and how do

you feel to be involved in such a unique event?

TJ: We’ve been treated really well by the weird side of Liverpool. All the places who have taken

us on, such as Bristol Psych Fest and the Acid Box guys down in Brighton, are part of a close-knit

garage-y psych collective. Meanwhile, Liverpool have really taken us on and never questioned it.

Because we’re from the Midlands, we’re always really suspicious of people’s motives, [thinking

that] any help is an elaborate plot somewhere down the road [laughs]! But we did Sound City and

Wrong Festival, and the guys behind Wrong have always been very supportive. And so were the

Strange Collective lot, who we hadn’t heard of until they dropped us a message saying, “We really

want you to do this, we think you’d be a perfect fit on the bill.” We dug into the line-up a bit and it

was like, “Where has this been all our lives?” It’s perfect and we’re really psyched not just to be on

it, but headlining it. It’s big shoes to fill, but we’ll fill them. And we might stay over and hang out in

Liverpool, too. !

Words: Georgia Turnbull / @GeorgiaRTbull

Photography: Meg Lavender


Table Scraps headline the Strange Collective All-Dayer at Constellations on 11th August. Autonomy

is available now via Zen Ten.



Alongside a rallying cry of tackling the lack of infrastructure around music in the

borough, WIRRAL NEW MUSIC COLLECTIVE recently set up a Live Music Innovation

Fund to seed some activity in an area that is known as a hotbed of musical talent.

Using funding from Wirral Borough Council and The Beautiful Ideas Co., WNMC has

granted pots of money to people who wanted to put on a show in one of the area’s many spaces,

to highlight the kinds of innovative and interesting things that could happen if the region had but a

single music venue.

Over the space of four weeks in August and September, five shows will take place under the

Wirral New Music Collective banner, showcasing not only the wealth of ideas and artists that call the

peninsula home, but also a number of buildings that are ‘hidden gems’ in Wirral’s crown.

“Music brings people together through shared experience, emotion and an understanding of

the human spirit…” says Adele Emmas, vocalist for ST. JUDE THE OBSCURE and one of the artists

curating a show in the run. “There are so many beautiful places in Wirral that get overlooked,

people just usually head over to Liverpool for gigs. Even if musicians are from Wirral, they get

banded in with the Liverpool music scene. It’s about time that some of the great spaces in Wirral

were recognised and that people started coming over this side of the Mersey, too.”

Leasowe Castle


Fresh Goods Batch One

Fresh Goods Studios – 4th August

In the hope of incubating a new collective of artists around

a repurposed creative space, a team comprising of Astral Coast,

Eggy Records and War Room Records are bringing together a

line-up of their favourite local artists for an intimate recorded gig

in a studio in the heart of Birkenhead. Fresh Goods Studios is a

converted warehouse space near Birkenhead Park, which has

seen the likes of Beach Skulls and EYESORE AND THE JINX pass

through its doors recently to record their stellar new material.

Eyesore are one of the acts returning for this show at the

beginning of August, alongside BEIJA FLO, BILL NICKSON and

SPQR. The show will also be recorded, with two tracks by each

artist being bootlegged to create a lasting artefact of the event

and the special energy around the studio.

Eyesore And The Jinx

Williamson Art Gallery


Ancient Dreams Of Youth

Williamson Art Gallery – 16th August

An exploration of music’s power to help us see issues around

mental health through a new prism, ANCIENT DREAMS OF

YOUTH brings a night of contemporary classical music to the

heart of Birkenhead. Led by Wirral-based composer TANER

KEMIRTLEK (recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire

of Scotland), the event features a specially commissioned piece

for piano trio. Kemirtlek is composing a brand new chamber

work for piano, violin and cello around the theme of mental

health awareness. Each of the other participating musicians –

violinist JORDAN GARBUTT, cellist ELIZA CAREW (both at Royal

Northern College of Music), guitarist/singer HELEN DOWNEY and


– will contribute something of their own in response to the piece

on the night.


St. Jude The Obscure

Birkenhead Priory – 18th August

Dating back to around 1150, Birkenhead Priory is the oldest

standing building in Wirral, and was home to the Mersey’s

first regulated ferry crossing, which lasted for 400 years. The

birthplace of Birkenhead is surely the perfect place, then, for an

evening of mystical music hosted by noir pop duo ST. JUDE THE

OBSCURE. Adapting their particular brand of haunting synthpop

to reflect the feelings the Priory’s chapel evokes in them,

expect a fairly stripped-back set from the pair, with the potential

for a surprise inclusion of some choral backing singers, as well

as support from SMOPH and KING HANNAH. SJTO’s vocalist

Adele Emmas is keen to make the event as special as possible for

the 50 who manage to get tickets, particularly as events like this

“highlight spaces that people aren’t necessarily aware of, which

is why we’re so happy to be able to bring some attention to this

wonderful church”.

St Jude The Obscure



A Day In The Sun

Treasury Annexe, Cleveland Street – 25th


Put together by the team behind the popular Emotion Wave

nights, A DAY IN THE SUN is a daytime show celebrating a

range of experimental electronic artists from Merseyside and

beyond. Taking place in a 1970s brutalist ex-council building

just off Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, the event aims to play

on the surreal, extra-sensory experience of the non-standard gig

surroundings, breaking down the boundaries between musician

and performer. Two contrasting stages will host the action until

the sun sets over Hamilton Square, including a hidden garden

performance area. A clutch of the most progressive producers,

record labels, promoters and radio shows that have helped define

the region as a welcoming space for auteurs and outsider artists

will be on show, including REEDALE RISE, ISOCORE, S>>D,

BREAKWAVE, THE GULFFIRE and TVAM, fresh from the news of

the imminent release of his debut LP, Psychic Data.


Skeleton Coast

Leasowe Castle – 1st September

SKELETON COAST FESTIVAL returns bigger and bolder

for its third year, taking over a decadent venue overlooking

the Irish Sea on Wirral’s stunning coastline. Leasowe Castle’s

period spookiness makes for the perfect location for headliners

THE CORAL to launch their eighth album Move Through The

Dawn, with the castle’s two halls and chapel characterised by A

Warning To The Curious kind of oddness. TIM BURGESS AND

THE ANYTIME MINUTES share headlining duties, but it’s below

this that the real fun of the Wirral New Music showcase comes to

life. Fast-emerging gutter punks THE MYSTERINES will join THE


flag for the region on a packed undercard, showing the richness

and diversity of talent we have around us. The past two years

have seen both the festival and James Skelly’s Skeleton Key

go from strength to strength, so you can bet that it’s a surefire

proving ground for the next wave of chart botherers.

The Fernweh



“Folk is storytelling

at heart and stories,

by design, are for

the long haul”



Folk On The Dock – 29/08

From the River Avon to Auckland, Hollie Fullbrook’s

blues-tinged method of storytelling is rooted in the

environment that has nurtured her.

TINY RUINS began as a solo project for New Zealand-based Hollie Fullbrook almost 10

years ago. Since then, the Bristol-born singer-songwriter has accrued band members

and collaborated with a variety of artists. Her stripped-back, minimalist sound has

wooed critics with a duo of albums on Bella Union featuring poetic, spacious sonics

that brings to mind Joni Mitchell. Tiny Ruins is this year’s Bido Lito! Presents pick for Folk On

The Dock, the annual festival of folk and roots music, which takes place at Albert Dock over the

August Bank Holiday weekend. Speaking from her Auckland base, Fullbrook tells Sam Turner

about recording with David Lynch, the direction of her long-awaited third album, and signing to

Courtney Barnett’s record label.

How are you feeling about your tour in August and how long has it been since you visited the UK

and Europe?

I was there last in 2016 with rogue drummer Hamish Kilgour of The Clean. We did a three-week tour

of mainly the UK, including the Scottish Highlands. I termed the tour Kilgour & I – it was just the two

of us hooning about in a little car filled to bursting with an extensive – too extensive! – drum kit that

I’d unwittingly bought off Gumtree. So, I’m thrilled to be returning – this time as a four-piece band. It’s

about time.

You were born in Bristol before moving to New Zealand at the age of 10; does coming to the UK

feel like returning home or do you very much identify as a Kiwi?

It does feel like coming home in a very simple sense, especially when I approach Bristol on the

motorway – my heart rate increases, as though it’s a reunion with an estranged but much-loved

friend. I usually get teary when I see the Severn Bridge or the Avon. Ten years old is quite a

sentimental age and I feel like returning unleashes those childhood sentiments in some ways. It’s

surprising – I suddenly have urges to get a sherbet Dip Dab from my old newsagents, for instance. Or

walk along an old brick wall I used to try to avoid the cracks on. I’m a real mish-mash and don’t feel I

fit in anywhere, particularly. But New Zealand is my ‘strongest’ home connection and I do identify as

a Kiwi, broadly speaking. To you, I would probably come across as fully Kiwi.

What does it mean to you to be part of Courtney Barnett’s Milk! Records label?

It means a hell of a lot. I’ve admired Milk! for ages – years – and I love so much of the music they

put out. We played a show recently in Melbourne with Courtney and Jen Cloher, and the energy

surrounding the whole enterprise is just incredible. It’s a tight-knit community of artists at its core,

and they all know first-hand the lengths we go to in order to keep working, writing, releasing and

touring. For me, they feel like the future. As I see it, they represent hard work, independence, diversity

and true love for their fans.

Would you describe New Zealand as a good place to produce music?

To live in NZ, you’re on the further edge of the planet, looking out at the vast Pacific Ocean –

which may bring a sort of meditative calm or desperation, depending on your make-up – and low

expectations for most musicians, which in turn might allow for more to happen. My hometown

of Auckland has a few precious DIY spaces left where you can quietly chip away at things and

experiment, and my bandmates and I seem to work well in the conditions we’re in, albeit slightly

more slowly than if we were in a more competitive environment. It’s a slower pace, but we get good


How much do you think your music is a reflection of where you’re from, geographically?

I guess it filters through in so many ways. But things I have referenced in my songs recently – mud,

silt, dirt, leaves – could be referring to the Avon as much as the mangroves down in the bay below

where I live. I guess you’re always making connections between where you are, where you’ve been,

and then other invented or imaginary places.

You recorded the track Dream Wave with director par excellence David Lynch; how did that

collaboration come about and what was the experience like?

David sent an out-of-the-blue tweet about Tiny Ruins one day to his followers, saying he’d

discovered a band he really liked. Somewhat unnervingly, I’d been talking about him the night before

to a friend. It was like I woke up to him saying ‘I heard you’. The whole thing was pretty spooky. So,

he was a fan, and I was a long-time admirer of his work. A bit of a universe-implosion for me, like I

was in a simulation. But anyway, the following year I was on tour in the US and a young Kiwi upstart

by the name of Lorde had the cojones to ask David if he’d like to record with me, and he liked the

demo I sent of Dream Wave, so I headed for those Hollywood Hills right away. The experience was

just how you’d imagine it: beautiful and memorable.

It’s been four years since your last LP, what can fans expect from the third album?

It is the best I’ve made, I think. Such a lot went into it. It takes things further and it’s bold – it gives a

lot more, far less restrained. It’s pushing out the edges of my experiences more; it’s squelching your

feet right into the silt and looking closely at the leaves rotting away and new shoots popping up.

Someone even said it’s “in Technicolor”. It’s all about abundance, the bursting forth of life, but then

also mortality, the seasons, memory, escape, freedom. It’s pretty big for me, and I’m all in on it, giving

it my best shot to get it heard. The band play the best they’ve played – there are so many moments of

theirs that I’m proud of. I’ve actually been through the wringer a bit with the entire process, it having

been so long, but at every moment I’ve felt like, ‘at least the album is good’, y’know?

Including Folk On The Dock here in Liverpool, you are playing a couple of folk festivals on this

tour. How do you think, as a genre, folk continues to stay relevant to new audiences?

Folk is storytelling at heart and stories, by design, are for the long haul, right? Stuff you come back

to, that lingers. This album is certainly pushing the boundaries of being considered folk, but the

songs have come from stories and experience, and Tiny Ruins draws from folk and blues alongside

indie and pop and stuff. For me, as the lead songwriter and guitarist, folk is very close to my

heart. Hopefully there won’t be a Pete Seeger [folkie who famously took umbrage to Dylan plugging

in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival] yanking any cables back of stage. But as a true music fangirl

with broad tastes, I think I see things and yearn for things to be much more nuanced and more of

a patchwork. I’m never going to stay sitting in one genre, and this album is certainly a little bit of a

departure – in ways I feel that our current fans will embrace.

And finally, for the uninitiated, what can festival-goers expect from the Tiny Ruins performance?

Alternate tunings, fingerpicking guitar, beautiful electric guitar jangles, ladies who slay, variance,

dynamics, dreaminess and stories. !

Words: Sam Turner / @samturner1984


Bido Lito! Presents Tiny Ruins at Folk On The Dock Festival at Albert Dock on Monday 29th August.




Strange Collective


Constellations – 11/08

STRANGE COLLECTIVE have typified the quality of Liverpool’s

psychedelic exports in recent years, and the release of their

debut album is set to provide an authoritatively stamped

quality mark on the band’s reputation. From noisy newcomers

to established rabble-rousers known for leaving little to the imagination

on stage, the band have followed a trajectory akin to turning it right up

to 11 and still asking for more volume. To mark the occasion of their

album release, the four-piece will be firmly planting their kaleidoscopic

flag in the heart of the Baltic Triangle to signal the arrival of their now

famous All-Dayer. Moving away from the North Docks and taking over

Constellations with 12 bands for the best part of 12 hours of senserattling

sonic delights, the afternoon to evening show welcomes a vast

array of sounds alongside their own headline performance.

Once again, the All-Dayer will offer a stage for Liverpool bands, but

this year has also turned its attention further afield than the Republic

of Merseyside and landed on the psychedelic underbelly of Portugal.

Porto’s SUNFLOWERS, however, seem as though they’ll have no trouble

fitting in. Widely regarded as one of the Portuguese music scene’s prize

assets, Sunflowers have become renown for death-defying live shows,

their displays of controlled destruction carried out with artistic flair. The

best feedback beating or your money back, so it goes.

This one doesn’t stop with the music, though. Each of the 12 bands

performing throughout the day will be paired with some of the best

emerging local artists to create 12 bespoke screen prints. In between

printing and face-melting, there’s also the opportunity to indulge in

some face painting, gawp at clown showmanship, or even raise your

jaw after watching a “ceremonial artist hanging”. Yeh, we’re not sure

either, so it’s best to go and see for yourself. Where better to let off a

bit of steam after this scorching summer than in the belly of the Strange

Collective fire pit.



Daresbury, Cheshire


It’s become something of a pilgrimage for this city’s electronic

music fans to find themselves somewhere between Liverpool

and Manchester, somewhere between euphoria and rain-induced

reality, come the August leg of festival season. Now in its 21st year,

CREAMFIELDS shows no signs of slowing down. The festival returns to

Daresbury over the Bank Holiday weekend for one of its most diverse

musical offerings to date. This year sees dance music collide head on

with its classical lineage as the 40-piece KALEIDESCOPE ORCHESTRA

make a rare appearance to reimagine some of the biggest dance tracks

of the last 40 years. Elsewhere, however, the festival hasn’t steered too

far from the blueprint that’s helped establish Creamfields as one date

consistently circled in the calendars of worldwide electronic musical fans.

It’s not hard to understand Creamfields’ global appeal with a cohort

of international superstars consistently on hand to orchestrate the party.

This year is no different, with the likes of TIESTO, FATBOY SLIM, ERIC


GARRIX weighing in for what’s sure to be one of the biggest musical

bouts of the summer. Alongside the swathes of big hitters, there’s no

shortage of underground tastemakers on hand to carry Daresbury as

close to the stratosphere as humanly possible. SVEN VÄTH will be

known to most who’ve experienced the Balearic Islands, as is the case


JAMIE JONES and KOLSCH, all of which regularly apply their craft behind

the decks of the biggest clubs in the world. Those with a taste for more

than 4/4 consistency can look towards other notable names on the lineup

such as drum and bass godfather RONI SIZE, ANDY C, pirate radio

and sitcom TV stars KURUPT FM and DCI Luther himself, IDRIS ELBA.

Of course, you can never keep Liverpool out of the party

equation with Circus head honcho YOUSEF and lively hometown duo

CAMELPHAT appearing across the weekend.




Bishop Nehru

24 Kitchen Street – 10/08

Bishop Nehru

Having learnt his trade under the watchful eye of your favourite

rapper’s favourite rapper, long-time MF Doom associate BISHOP

NEHRU hasn’t hidden within the enigmatic shadow of his mentor.

Sure, his full-length debut, Elevators: Act I & II, may only have been

released earlier this year, but his talent has long been touted by

those with an ear to underground hip hop. A serial collaborator

and prolific producer, this young MC is mature beyond his years,

blending ethereal jazz samples with stark observational lyrics. It will

be a night where the protégé becomes the teacher once the mic is in

hand, as Nehru brings a taste of New York to the Baltic Triangle. Be

prepared to take note.


Haley Heynderickx

81 Renshaw – 24/08

Singer-songwriter and emotive horticulturist HALEY HEYNDRICKX is fast

becoming a stand-out star on the folk circuit. Brandishing a vocal range that

compounds assertive operatic tones with shades of honest vulnerability, the

Oregon native of Filipino descent doesn’t lack the confidence to openly define her

trials and tribulations through music. Her records serve as open invitation to her

emotional standing, but the true force is further intensified when she’s front and

centre guiding the narrative on stage. You need only look to the success of her

debut LP, I Need To Start A Garden, for evidence of her captivating musical craft.

Expect to be dazzled by a broad spectrum of harmonious acoustic instrumentation

and illustrative songwriting. To top it all off, the show is taking place in the intimate

confines of one of Liverpool’s best spaces.

Haley Heynderickx


Shout About It Live

Constellations – 18/08-19/08

A hybrid festival that brings together live music and gig photography together,

SHOUT ABOUT IT is striding forcefully into its second year with a line-up of music and

photography that spans the globe. The musical part of the festival spreads over two

days, featuring some emerging acts on the festival touring calendar – HIMALAYAS,

REWS, VISTAS, The Voice star EMMANUEL NWAMADI, soulful beatmaker MANE

– performing alongside some of our own crop of festival headliners-in-waiting –

MEMORY GIRL, ELEANOR NELLY and SCARLET., among others. The aim of the festival

is to create a space in the music industry where musicians, artists, photographers, fans

and all those behind the scenes can come together and celebrate all of the constituent

elements of live music. If you’re down with that, get down.


Folk On The Dock

Albert Dock – 25/08-27/08

FOLK ON THE DOCK is striding into its third year having proved to be a winning success

down on the waterfront. The festival will be spread across seven stages, each with its own

distinctive character, from Cuban flavour right through to shanty romanticism. This year

scouse music stalwart MICHAEL HEAD, backed by his RED ELASTIC BAND, has been given

the honour of rounding off the festival’s opening night from within the striking centrepiece

of the dock’s 2008 regeneration, the Museum of Liverpool. The weekend features highlight

performances from Squeeze frontman and Ivor Novello winner CHRIS DIFFORD, with

DAIORI FARRELL’s sounds crossing the Irish sea both in the musical and physical form.

Local singer-songwriter ROBERT VINCENT also completes his graduation from the festival’s

smaller stages to claim a spot on the mainstage.


Max Graef

24 Kitchen Street – 04/08

Max Graef

Establishing yourself in the electronic music scene of any bustling city is a tough ask. Making your name known on

the Berlin DJ circuit? Well, for many, that’s the pinnacle. For MAX GRAEF, this ascent was acknowledged before he’d

even reached his mid-twenties. But, what’s harder than making it as a DJ and producer in Berlin? Just ask any female

DJ, in any city. One strand of this triple promotion, Sisu, will be looking to change this perception. Throughout the day

Liverpool local BREAKWAVE will be leading a Sisu-run workshop aimed at females in the city with an interest DJing.

Sure, Graef is a must see for his stirring blend of soulful house, hip hop and jazz, but we recommend getting down early

to catch the array of top female residents spinning records across the two spaces.


Lost Castles

Various venues – 09/08-12/08

In celebration of a decade since Liverpool was crowned European Capital of Culture, French

artist Olivier Grossetȇte will descend on the city region for a community led art project on a

grandiose scale. Near neighbours Wales may be more famous for its collection of castles, but

that’s set to change this August. Grossetȇte is renowned for creating enormous architectural

structures from cardboard, sticky tape and lashes of community spirit, and that’s exactly

what he’ll be doing in Liverpool. Over one weekend in August, members of the public will be

invited to lend a hand to recreate Liverpool’s lost castles across six separate sites across the

region. Castles, expected to be as tall as 20m high, will be springing up in Williamson Square,

Knowsley Safari Park, Norton Priory Museum, Ashton Park, North Park and Victoria Square in

St Helens. Visit lostcastles.co.uk for information on how to get involved.

Lost Castles




Everyman Bistro – 14/08

Violette Records will be bringing poetry and wordsmithery to the

forefront of their usual musical offerings with a night of spoken

word performances downstairs at the Everyman Bistro. The label

and promoters have amassed a collection of the city’s dedicated

artistic orators – as well as some from further afield – for what

looks set to be a compelling evening. Regular Bido Lito! contributor

CATH BORE is one standout talent on the bill, along with local

playwrights PAUL BIRTILL and GERRY LINFORD. Drifting between

the lines of reality to make every the everyday appear surreal, as

you might have noticed on Twitter via @bad_wool9, Dingle’s finest

wordsmith, to our knowledge, ROY will also offer a much-needed

dose of personal musings in this ever-turbulent world.



Constellations – 04/08

If you’re eager to lace up your dancing shoes

and practice your dancefloor stretches ahead of

Liverpool Disco Festival this Autumn, then look

no further than FOLAMOUR. The French beat

maker is a party provocateur extraordinaire.

Adept at blending swinging mirror ball grooves

with pumping house rhythms, the Frenchmen

is more than equipped to keep arms raised to

the roof for the majority of the evening. Trust us,

this will be one of the most enjoyable workouts

you’ll undertake this year.


Carter Preston Prize

The Bluecoat – 04/08-22/09

Adding to the rich collection of exhibits on offer throughout this

summer in Liverpool, the biennial held CARTER PRESTON PRIZE

EXHIBITION returns with the six shortlisted works set to go on show

in the Bluecoat Display Centre. All of the artworks in the running have

been created in the last two years, with the competition serving as a

platform to highlight the works of emerging artists still within the first

five years of completing their training. Selected by an independent

judging panel, the six works will be all be in contention of scooping

a £1,000 prize. Visitors to the exhibition will also be invited to cast a

people’s vote which will grant the winner with an In The Window solo

exhibition in 2019. Get out there and support emerging artists!



O2 Academy – 30/08

Having graduated from Hardly Art to Domino, and collaborating

with The Raincoats and Mica Levi, you could be forgiven for

thinking that Detroit post-punks PROTOMARTYR were dialling

down the rusty dynamics and gritty riffs for their third album –

but then, you probably wouldn’t know Protomartyr that well. The

quartet’s 2017 album Relatives In Descent was their first on the

Domino label, and it saw them confronting existential dread and

the unknowable nature of truth in their usual coruscating fashion.

If you need any more convincing that your presence is required

at this show, perhaps the rollicking funk-punk of support act

SAUNA YOUTH will tip you over the edge.



The Bothersome Man

Output – 02/08

The Bothersome Man

OUTPUT has proven to be a welcome alternative to the long-established art institutes

housed in Liverpool. Alongside providing a space dedicated to local artists, the gallery

will be continuing its free cinema programme in August with the latest instalment

featuring a screening of Norwegian film THE BOTHERSOME MAN. Directed by Jens

Lien, the film offers a surreal imagining of a man residing in a soulless dystopia with

seemingly no escape from its abused goings on. This sense of emotive despair is

only further enhanced by the use of Evard Greig’s compositions, which are delicately

applied throughout the film. The film itself has been chosen for the screening by

Michael Lacey who will be exhibiting an album playback of his recent work on 9th




Shipping Forecast – 16/08

Born out of one-part Deerhunter, one-part Carnivores and held together through a life-long friendship, OMNI,

Frankie Broyles and Philip Frobos’ latest creative vessel, certainly have a knack for effervescent guitar-led pop.

In the space of two years, their paring has bounced ideas back and forth and kept the output flowing with

two studio albums and a live recording session already to their name. The latter, a session for Audiotree, is

a display of disciplined studio craft which offers the listener an up close and personal listen of their intricate

playing. If the records don’t take you close enough, we recommend you experience the full force of their jolty

melodies when the trio squeeze into the lower confines of the Shipping Forecast.



Bido Lito! Social w/ Seatbelts

81 Renshaw – 23/08

Roll up! Roll up! Our pink pages are dropping for the final time of

what has been a hot, sticky summer. Fear not, this doesn’t mean

we’re not bringing the heat one more time before we head into

autumn. To celebrate the release of Issue 92, we’re heading back

to 81 Renshaw with another top collection of artists that we feel

should be on your radar. Headlining we’ve got Hooton Tennis

Club offshoot SEATBELTS, plus two helpings of avant-garde

guitar pop from THE ALEPH and ANNEXE THE MOON.




“It feels like a festival

built on the purest

of premises: a bill

chosen out of the

organisers’ genuine

passion for the bands”

Pulled Apart By Horses (Kevin Barrett / @Kev_Barrett)

Strange Bones (Kevin Barrett / @Kev_Barrett)

Liverpool Calling

Various venues – 22/06-23/06

After taking a fallow year in 2017, the 2015 nominee for

Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards is back and

booming in and around the city centre and the Baltic Triangle.

Across a weekend saturated with over 50 bands, LIVERPOOL

CALLING lives up to its mantra of a grassroots festival by offering

Liverpool a huge collection of unheard-ofs, lively up-and-comers

and potential next-big-things. It feels like a festival built on the

purest of premises: a bill chosen out of the organisers’ genuine

passion for the bands. With many less-familiar names appearing

alongside local and national big-hitters, the weekend is charged

with the spirit of discovery.

Friday night’s action is focused around the centre of town

and particularly Phase One, the new music-focused venture by

the Jacaranda team, which lives up to its promise as a fine new

addition to the city’s gig scene. Similar to the recent success of

Sound City, the short walk between venues helps to produce a

vibrant atmosphere around certain venues. On the Friday night,

Phase One hosts an exciting array of talent to festival attendees

and casual drinkers alike, such as the excellent MONKS, who

boast an interesting blend of indie-rock, synthesizers and

trumpets, and the confident Welsh-rockers HIMALAYAS, with

their enjoyably melodic blues-rock. THE HOLOGRAMS combine

an Arctic Monkeys sensibility with 70s-influenced riffs, while HEY

CHARLIE, the London-based three-piece, give a short but electric

set, broadcasting their infectious grunge-pop sound and leaving

Parr Street’s Studio 2 amid shouts for encore.

Unfortunately, the enthusiastic atmosphere isn’t spread

across all of the Liverpool Calling venues. Many people seem

to quickly leave the in-your-face heavy rock at the Jacaranda

and EBGBs is less than half-full for most of its performers.

Nevertheless, FOREVER IN DEBT don’t lose their hardcore

energy despite a few technical issues and, after a quick taste of

something heavier, it’s back to Phase One in time to see it really

come to life for STRANGE BONES. The performance by the

Blackpool punks sets an impressively high bar for showmanship,

which also incorporates a surprising range of headgear. Bobby

Bentham is a captivating frontman who exudes energy and

conviction, and his work is rewarded by the enthusiasm of the

crowd who’ve come along to be part of the ride.

Saturday sees events move over to the Baltic Triangle. It’s

a warm, sunny day and the acts playing in the Constellations

garden each complement the vibes created by the weather in

their own way. The line-up of bands inside, however, is of a

quality that makes it well worth stepping into the darkness for.

With more well known bands performing, the the festival gathers

much more momentum and a sense of anticipation. SPQR’s

performance in this venue is yet more fuel to the fire of their

status as rising stars of the Liverpool scene. They’re a band who

know how to put riffs and rhythms together to make art-rock

which is both serious and often seriously danceable.

PEANESS are the only band of the day who feel like they’re

in the wrong place – their indie guitar-pop style and summery

harmonies would be even more perfect in the Observatory’s

sunshine. Their music works its magic, though, and songs

ranging in subject from the joy of solitude to the scourge of food

waste, the Chester trio’s highly amiable stage presence does a

good job of bringing the sunshine feeling inside.

Pysch-goth-punk-rock – THE WYTCHES’ sound is difficult

to define, but it’s one which draws the biggest crowd of the

weekend so far. Kristian Bell’s vocal style is almost more

shouting than singing, but it works, filling each song with a

sense of immediacy. Constellations heralds some of the bigger

names on the bill with DEMOB HAPPY and PULLED APART BY

HORSES really pushing the tempo of the night into full throttle.

Pulled Apart By Horses deliver a similar sense of urgency to

The Wytches, although in their case, by being utterly relentless

in their energy. The riffs keep coming and the crowd lap it up,

pulling dance moves that both encapsulate and enhance the

sense of utter joy in power of the musical moment. Even the dad

of lead singer Tom Hudson gets – very literally – carried away

in the enthusiasm of it all. With their raucous energy and heavy

guitar riffs, Pulled Apart By Horses in particular put on a show

that proves them worthy headliners of smaller festivals like this,

as the crowd returns their energy with an almost insufferable

enthusiasm for pits and crowd surfers.

Just around the corner, with its minimalist layout, Brick

Street proves an intimate hit for smaller acts of the future.

ORCHARDS impress with their pitch-perfect frontwoman Lucy

Evans complementing their catchy, dream pop guitar riffs, yet

it’s Sheffield rockers SHEAFS who really steal the show. They’ve

already supported the likes of PRETTY VICIOUS and IDLES, and

their headline set garners quite the eager crowd, suggesting

they’ve already made a name for themselves among music lovers

with an appetite for the fresh and exciting. As they take to the

stage, guitar-less frontman Lawrence Feenstra flips between

enigmatic and charismatic, going from staring at the back of the

room to crowd surfing in the space of a few numbers. Their hightempo,

volatile and spirited set includes impressive tracks This

Is Not A Protest and Mind Pollution, and ultimately epitomises

what Liverpool Calling is all about. The chance for music-lovers

to find a new and enthralling band, and the chance for bands

like Sheafs to prove the only way they are going is up. This is not

simply a return for Liverpool Calling – it’s a return to form. Here’s

hoping with anticipation that Liverpool Calling can build on the

momentum of this success for its return in 2019.

Conal Cunningham / @conalcunningha

Julia Johnson / @messylines_




Wide Open @ The Reeds – 07/07


Get It Loud In Libraries @ Birkenhead Library

– 09/07

Sardonic is one of those words that’s seemingly on the

decrease. There’s very little ‘sardony’ in music these days, with

cerebral wit becoming much more at ease with the day-to-day

advances in social meeja and vocabulary transition. Hurrah, then,

for New York post-punkas BODEGA, whose sardonic worldweariness

is set to a semi-Kraut and pop-fuelled, post-everything

noise. The realisation of this occurs a third of the way through

their bizarre gig in a listed building just south of Birkenhead

Central. OK, a library; an old, old library that has more relevance

to sepia-tinted childhood memories than watching three girls and

two boys leap around as though they were headlining Radio City

Music Hall.

For some utterly brilliant reason (and much more than a

soupçon of hard work) the Get It Loud In Libraries network has

decided to place a very cool band in a very uncool space on

the Wirral. The dichotomy of the loud and socially wry Bodega

wrapped in the peaceful and learned confines of Birkenhead

Library on a sticky summer Sunday afternoon is not lost on this

busy and expectant all-ages crowd.

Bodega are touring their debut album Endless Scroll, but

rather than this being a snatched at experience to play for anyone

Dauwd (Mook Loxley / mookloxley.tumblr.com)

at any time, this performance is seemingly at ease with what

the band stand for. “A gig in a library? Sure. Just so long as we

change NOTHING.”

And they don’t shift their performance a bit for a crowd

clearly baffled by the venue, but clearly moved by the five-piece’s

attempt at hamming it up in the children’s section.

Musically, Bodega suffer from the Parquet Courts comparison

(understandable as PC’s Austin Brown recorded and produced

the record), but there is a deeper veneer that reveals itself live;

The B-52’s, Pink Military, Devo and Le Tigre all snuggling into

a Duggee hug with Talking Heads. The blatancy of this is offset

with a depth of lyrical thought that makes up for the perceived

lack of musical integrity. Songs about dating apps, female

masturbation and varying degrees of social boredom (with the

pressures of modern life contained therein) are note perfect. A

stand-up drummer is heaving with the cool of Moe Tucker and a

duet girl/boy vocal has the potential to fall, but at no point, in the

45-minute set, does it. From an intro where Ben Hozie shouts

poetically from the book Punk – The Whole Story that he finds on

the bulging shelves in front of him, to the sorrow-laden Charlie,

about the loss of a friend, to the extended, almost shoegaze

buzzfest of Truth Is Not Punishment, Bodega swept all before

them and are in the process of creating a new legacy for bands

from New York. There’s been a gap, you see, and as we grapple

in an asphyxiating post-Trump era, here’s a voice you’ll recognise.

Smothered in truth. And books.

Ian R Abraham / @scrash

The entire back wall of the softly lit, plant-scattered venue

The Reeds is a tight fit for the seven-piece Polish jazz band

EABS, an appropriate set up mirroring the intimacy and artistic

vibes of the night. Among the keyboard, decks, drums, guitars

and trumpet, the saxophone takes centre stage. The relaxed

ambiance of the night is stirred up by saxophone improvisation

boldly playing over fast percussion, tied together with a blend

of hip hop samples and jazz. Both bass and electric guitars take

on unexpected roles within the pieces, which appear to develop

seamlessly into a pool of genres including swing and psychedelic


Songs like Neikochana give light to all instruments within

an eclectic and varied few minutes, impressively maintaining the

attention of everyone in the room throughout what can only be

described as a hectic collection of timbres and sounds. Elements

of 70s rock and modern hip hop and jazz are fused together to

create one of the most interesting performances to grace London

Road in many a year.

The use of colourful patterns on the back wall is replaced

with a dark orange hue, setting the stage for DAUWD’s transition

into a synth-heavy, deeply layered set. Repeated percussion is

introduced, layered with synths to produce a unique approach

to dance and techno music such as in Macadam Therapy. A

multitude of sounds are introduced and transitioned out of the

songs, allowing for slow yet satisfying development. It is hard

not to compare the songs of Dauwd to literature or poetry; each

song has an underlying theme guided by strong percussion

yet within each piece we find irregular structures and specific

arrangements, arguably designed to lead us through the song as

if it were a journey. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed, held up

by the deep bass playing under the array of echoes and sounds

so carefully placed within the pieces. The flow is easy-going and

deliberately unhurried, showing off his ability to make relatively

quick tempos feel relaxed and gentle.

People here dance or sketch; the energy created from the

intoxicating development of sounds absorbed by the audience,

eager for more of the psychedelic and reserved approach to

dance music Dauwd has crafted. Exaggerated bass is used

over the sample of Only You (originally by Steve Monite) in a

successful shift from light underplayed techno developments

to more substantial dance vibes; displaying the capability of his

production and his use of genres within a set. His flow guides

us through each song to create an overall display of music

that grasps the audience and joins us together, yet also allows

us to be captivated individually. An enticing and impressive

performance displaying the range of musical talent Dauwd has at

his fingertips.

Ailsa Beetham / @ailhbee

Bodega (Freakbeat Films)

Bodega (Freakbeat Films)



Boy Azooga

+ Seatbelts

Harvest Sun @ Shipping Forecast – 07/06

Katy Perry

Echo Arena – 21/06

What is the point of pop music? Is it art, or is it a form of

mainstream hypnotism, designed to sedate and appease its

listeners? In the past, artists such as John Lennon, Frankie Goes

To Hollywood and MIA have all made it to the top of the charts

with hard-hitting lyrics promoting peace, or opposing capitalism,

suggesting that popular music can be both political and catchy.

For the most part though, it is just catchy; pop princesses

talk about young love, boy bands sing about the sort of breakups

that see teenagers sobbing in packed-out arenas, and other

chart-topping artists repeat mind-numbing lyrics about clubbing,

sex and fame. In 2014, the Journal Of Advertising Research

published a study which found that the success of most singles

in the Top 100 can be predicted, based on whether the song is

about one of the following themes: loss, desire, aspiration, breakup,

pain, inspiration and nostalgia. Not Brexit or the NHS then.

But what of the flipside, the joy that pop music brings to

millions by being simply and proudly pop? Artists like Little Mix,

Zayn and Meghan Trainor are less concerned with reminding their

listeners about the fact that the cost of living is constantly rising,

than they are about distracting them with some meaninglessly

danceable lyrics: “I’m all about that, all about that bass, no treble/

We gon’ take it to a whole another level”.

Does it matter? Therein lies the debate. Tonight, I’m throwing

caution to the wind by attending my first ever pop concert: KATY

Katy Perry (John Johnson / johnjohnson-photography.com)

PERRY at the Echo Arena. As a staunch goth in my teenage

years, the very idea of Perry’s bubblegum pink antics was

uninviting at best, with my adult cynicism around the value of

pop stars and the horrific expense of tickets (how do they expect

working-class families to afford to take their kids to see their

heroes?) solidifying that resolve.

Nevertheless, into the standing area we dive, giving

ourselves up to this capitalism-fuelled Teenage Dream. Cue

hordes of backing dancers with multiple costume changes (each

as garishly colourful and over the top as the last), plenty of latex,

unnecessary trapeze interludes and gigantic puppets ripped

off from the stage shows and videos of other, more critically

acceptable artists.

All this as Perry wails, warbles, shouts and croons her way

through a catalogue of hits so recognisable it was as if they had

been etched onto some gigantic public subconscious (no doubt

reinforced by the enormous all-seeing eye at the back of the

stage). California Girls, Roar, I Kissed A Girl, Firework. ‘Why do I

know the words to this song?’ I think aloud. Does this mean I like

Katy Perry?

The vacuous space that is pop music is often construed

negatively, but how often do we consider the emotional value

that stars like Perry bring to our lives? For a night, we’re on a

different planet, being entertained by an otherworldly character,

who connects to her audience through chant-able lyrics and

ridiculous routines. We have fun. And that’s what these things

are about, right?

Sinéad Nunes / @SineadAWrites

SEATBELTS centre around the proven songwriting

partnership of Ryan and James from Hooton Tennis Club and

are a side-project of sorts, but one that’s taken on a distinct and

rather intriguing identity of its own.

The four-piece have the alternate singing and songs formula

we’re used to from the two men; It Is As If I Am A.I., Hey, Hey

Tiger!, Capitalist Confession are all strong but it’s Song For

Vonnegut – not the poppiest song by a long stretch – that’s the

major ear-botherer tonight. It’s worth noting all eyes are on Abi

Woods out front on keyboards here at the Shipping Forecast;

her vocals are bloody terrific and once she whips out her cowbell

we’re 100 per cent sold.

The last time BOY AZOOGA played Liverpool supporting

fellow Cardiffians Estrons across town at Buyers Club, they

assembled a sign onstage made up of oversized scrabble tiles

announcing who they were. The string of letters were the sort

that light up so you can see them better, you couldn’t help but

notice the bloody things, fully visible from space, probably.

Six months is a hell of long time in music and we have no

need for such an information service at this, their first headline

show in the city. Now signed to Heavenly, the band are rarely off

the wireless, they made their telly debut a few weeks earlier on

Later... and the debut album is due to hit the shelves within hours.

If we want to get technical, the album 1, 2 Kung Fu! is

released minutes after Boy Azooga finish their set this evening,

so it’s very much the night before Christmas for noticeably thrilled

frontman Davey Newington. We get an inevitable celebratory

atmosphere as a result, although with Newington a sugar-rush

sense of excitement at every stage of the band’s development is

evident and it’s giddily infectious.

It’s a fun gig, this, and an inevitable cheeriness about a singer

who uses a big woolly sock as an impromptu mic pop shield. A

lucky sock, maybe? No need for any good luck charms, as it turns

out. Audience participation is a big thing at Boy Azooga shows,

sleigh bells handed out and obediently rung in time, out of time.

Who the hell knows, it’s the taking part that counts. The audience

totally taking possession of William Onyeabor-inspired Face

Behind Her Cigarette both during and after the song is finished is,

quite frankly, brilliant.

“We should play Liverpool every night,” grins Newington,

in response. OK, the crowd slaps the ceiling so hard there is a

concern at one point it might bloody well fall in, but let’s go with

the spirit of this.

Boy Azooga are not a band to stay still. The album might

have taken five years to make and many more to write, but

over the hour we get songs not on 1, 2, Kung Fu!, and an

interpretation of The Keys’ I Tried To Find It In Books, a song

covered for Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show a couple of months ago.

Newington’s songwriting strikes a chord with people. Take

Loner Boogie, the tale of an outsider looking in – everyone’s

felt like that at some point. Jerry is a simple tribute to pleasing

memories, no high art metaphor or hidden meanings, not that I

can work out anyway, sometimes a song is about someone or

something that needs to be remembered and made permanent

and fixed. There’s a grounded, irony-free sense of honesty about

that. The line in Jerry “Where did you go to get that smile?” is a bit

soppy, but who can’t help but understand exactly what he means.

Boy Azooga should play Liverpool every night, you say?

That’d be nice.

Cath Bore / @cathbore

Beach Skulls

+ Brad Stank

+ Eyesore And The Jinx

Harvest Sun @ Shipping Forecast – 16/06

On the opening track of their second album Las Dunas

BEACH SKULLS plead, “Sun, when will you come?” The Liverpool

surf-rock trio are ensuring the California sunshine returns this

summer with their follow up to 2016’s Slow Grind.

Away from the sunshine and first on in the dimly-lit

basement of The Shipping Forecast we have the most politically

charged act of the night in EYESORE AND THE JINX. Despite

only releasing one single, Gated Community, the Liverpool postpunk

trio are a tight outfit, blending the ferocious rockabilly punk

of The Gun Club with Peter Hook-esque basslines. Vocalist and

bassist Josh Miller leads the band through whiplash-inducing

time changes like the jolt of an aging roller coaster. The band

is able to rocket between breakneck blues-tinged punk and a

screwed up 1950s twist with incredible precision. The highlights

of the set are a rendition of their furious single and Shitbag, the

band’s answer to Nazi Punks Fuck Off by the Dead Kennedys. It

is always a pleasure to see punk alive and kicking in 2018.

Trudy And The Romance’s drummer Brad Mullins has a work

ethic to be admired. In between touring with Trudy, Brad has

been steadily dropping tracks for his solo dream-funk project

BRAD STANK which sees him out from behind the kit to play his

first Liverpool show tonight. Brad takes things down a notch,

delivering neo-soul soaked grooves that serve as the perfect

soundtrack for a smoky post-sex cry. Wearing an Erykah Badu

T-shirt and lefty Strat in hand, Brad and band drift through

singles Pond Weed, Daddy Blue, and O.T.D; lazy grooves

comparable to Homeshake, but stretching further to 1970s jazz

and soul influences. The set culminates with a steamy rendition

of his slow jam Flirting In Space, which exploded online since its

release last year. Brad’s unique brand of lo-fi baby-making music

translates extremely well out of the bedroom and onto the stage

and he’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Channelling the 1960s psychedelia of The 13th Floor

Elevators and shoving it through a cathedral-sized amount of

reverb, Beach Skulls start with the slow-burner Ain’t Easy, akin to

the dream pop of The XX’s Intro, albeit with the dark, beachy vibe

that the band’s name suggests. Both Ain’t Easy and new single

That’s Not Me, the second song tonight, share an insanely catchy

guitar riff prompting those at the front to join in a sing-along.

The set is a mix of old and new, including some of the fan

favourites that helped them carve out their sound on the first

record, such as Heavy Pound and Baby’s A Liar. The band is

never fixed on one tempo and the set is filled with wild time

changes, which gives the set a spontaneous, almost punk feel.

The highlight comes from the ballad Love And Sex for which they

enlist the help of backing singer Lara Boundy to perform Brian

Wilson style vocal harmonies. It’s a clear crowd favourite, despite

only being released two weeks earlier. For me, Las Dunas is the

sound of Liverpool’s summer.

Joel Durksen / @Joeldurksen


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Psycho Comedy

Welcome To Smashville @ The Royal

Standard – 07/07

Roger Waters (John Johnson / johnjohnson-photography.com)

Jonathan Wilson on Dave Gilmour duties, reproducing the vocals

and guitar parts of Waters’ collaborator/frenemy in superlative

fashion. Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig from US indie pop outfit

Lucius are excellent vocal contributors, recreating Clare Torry’s

wordless vocal from The Great Gig In the Sky brilliantly.

An excellent rendition of proto-industrial cut Welcome To

The Machine is followed by a triple bill of tracks from Waters’

recent solo disc Is This The Life We Really Want?, which sees the

audience begin to fidget slightly. In contrast the crackle of radio

tuning that opens Wish You Were Here is greeted with elation and

the floor area rising to its feet as the acoustic guitar riff is sung in


A sequence from Waters’ high tide of inspiration The Wall sees

the most incongruous Christmas Number One single ever, Another

Brick In The Wall (Part II), assisted by a group of local schoolkids in

Guantanamo Bay-style orange jumpsuits lined up across the stage.

Removing the outfits to reveal T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Resist’,

the kids and the entire room assist on the band’s most famous


Following the intermission, the second half shows where

the tour’s £4 million budget was spent. Having set the bar for

live visuals vertiginously high with The Wall Tour in 1980-81 (a

concert so arduous to set up it only visited four cites), to Waters’

immense credit the current show bears comparison to it. As a

rectangular structure descends from the lighting rig in the arena,

it becomes apparent the set of screens are a scale model of Giles

Gilbert Scott’s iconic Battersea Power Station, as featured on the

cover of Animals, complete with belching smoke and floating pig.

Effectively the heart of the show, Dogs and Pigs (Three

Different Ones) from Animals plus Money and Us And Them from

The Dark Side Of The Moon, revisit the band’s scathing attacks on

capitalism. Midway through Dogs the band, replete with animal

masks, hold a drinks party onstage, after which Waters holds up a

series of cue cards which culminates in ‘Pigs Rule the World’ then

‘Fuck the Pigs’, which receives an appreciative roar from the crowd.

Changing tack, the visuals that accompany Pigs (Three Different

Ones) mercilessly criticise the current White House incumbent.

Juxtaposing real and Photoshopped images reminiscent of Terry

Gilliam animations, along with verbatim quotes, several of which

provoke audible laughter, the “Ha ha, Charade you are” refrain is

sung en masse.

The sound of cash registers ringing out signals a return to Dark

Side, as the music video for Money is updated to include current

global leaders. After a beautifully poised rendition of Us And Them

and recent solo cut Smell The Roses, the final stretch of Brain

Damage and Eclipse are genuinely spectacular, as a laser prism

illuminates the front of the stage and a reflective sliver moon floats

around the arena evoking Rover, the bubble that pursues Number

2 in The Prisoner before crossing the laser prism and creating the

titular eclipse.

Returning for the encore – an elegiac Comfortably Numb

where the audience drown out Wilson’s chorus vocals – is a

brilliant valedictory flourish. If the tour represents Waters’ last

global jaunt, his swansong ensures this ranks alongside Floyd’s

mega tours, while still pushing the envelope for arena shows even

further. That said, he’ll probably be back in three years’ time.

Richard Lewis

It was somewhere on the rails between Oriel Road and New

Strand that the concept of Smashville begins to make sense

beyond the entry point of music, poetry and art. Somewhere

within this seeming normality we half exist in a concept of our

own design. For Shaun Powell, PSYCHO COMEDY frontman, his

concept may seem far out. Smashville is an unapologetic nod to

Ray-Ban-tinted views of apartment blocks, yellow cabs flickering

by like film reel and an urban rhythm, continuously rumbling

below the manhole covers. We all escape. It’s that some of us

bear an introspective perception worth projecting onto the walls

we face on a daily basis. The inward musings of a well-recited

train ride aren’t one; the elaborate curation of Smashville is.

Tonight, The Royal Standard is a whiteboard, and Psycho

Comedy are there to point us through their collective art as

though algebraic equations chalked up for the attendees to

decipher. This is quite literal in certain parts, with Powell

feverishly waving his hands in acknowledgement of the cold,

calm image of Patti Smith beamed behind the band as they take

the stage in performance space one.

First, however, the performance is eased in with the help of

a well-devised installation by Sophia Duff. Dotted around the

room are collections of the band’s photographs and a Warholesque

silent projection centred around the societal constant of

Coca-Cola. One collection that stands out shows a trip up the

coast to be amongst the insincere lights of Southport’s Funland.

There resides an unhinged madness, as the band put it, akin to

Coney Island’s Luna Park. It’s through this collection of images

that the notion of artificial perception begins to mushroom.

Smashville isn’t so far out and lost. These trips to the seaside are

the necessary escapes for minds bombarded and desensitised

by 70 years of pop-culture consumerism. Smashville is simply a

playground self-devised and half-lived beyond the artificial hours

spent in towns such as Southport. Alongside, the responsorial

prayer styled chorus of First Cousin, Once Removed, sprawled

on pinned up paper, rings through the head as the first lines of

poetry read by Matthew Thomas Smith and Powell rise from the

main performance space.

To follow, a film shot by Caitlin Mongan delves into hazy

depictions of Chinatown and serves as a prelude to the band’s

musical fibres. As Psycho Comedy assemble, the film is replaced

with punchy aphorisms beamed onto the rear of the level

grounded stage. “This Country’s On Its Arse” interjects between

images of the Ramones, The Velvet Underground and Patti

Smith, which sit behind as though formative shadows of the

band’s musical lineage.

The set chugs along with the band’s resident poet, Matthew

Thomas Smith, wavering in and out of the performance. He

serves as a rhetorical question in his brief appearances, offering

a sharp injection of composure – similar to Ian Curtis’ House Of

Dolls monologue on No Love Lost. There’s no real peak or dip in

the performance; just a continuous rumble that counts out the

hurried minutes spent in Smashville. Breathless, almost.

It’s intriguing to watch a band that constantly balances on

a knife-edge. At any moment, it seems, Psycho Comedy could

begin a meteoric rise, or renounce its art and plaster over all that

was Smashville in order start anew. The uncertainty of untimely

destruction brings a compelling urgency to their music. Who

can say when the Psycho Comedy bus could roll along the dusty

tracks away from Smashville and towards the next town. It’s best

you catch the band’s live exploits soon or risk being left behind.

Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder

Roger Waters

Echo Arena – 02/07

Over half a century since Pink Floyd arguably invented the

concept of ‘immersive experiences’ where the gig goer enters into

the band’s private world, ROGER WATERS is still pursuing the

vision of providing more than just a standard concert. With the

city’s love of Pink Floyd stretching back decades and showing no

sign of waning any time soon, after a near-interminable queue

outside the Arena (kicking around on a piece of ground in your

hometown, eh?), a full capacity crowd assembles for the former

Floyd man’s latest venture, the Us + Them Tour.

Where Waters’ most famous brainchild The Wall Tour

investigated the divide between performer and audience, Us +

Them – rumoured to be his last – tackles the divisions in society.

Returning to the sense of injustice that fired up many of his

lyrics both Floyd and solo, the show primarily hinges on the gap

between the one per-cent and the rest of the planet.

It’s the standard set up for a Floyd-related gig – all seated,

two sets, stunning optics and minimal crowd interaction, after all

mosh pits, crowd surfing and tiresome Dave Grohl-style ‘Do you

guys wanna fuckin’ rock?’ shouting has never been part of Waters’

lexicon. The lights dim and Speak To Me/Breathe blossoms from

the PA, succeeded by the space rock rush of One Of These Days

tracing a direct line from Wooden Shjips back to their antecedents.

With his voice in remarkably good shape, an injection of

new blood into Waters’ backing band sees acclaimed solo artist

Roger Waters (John Johnson / johnjohnson-photography.com)


The Psychedelic Furs (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

The Psychedelic Furs

O2 Academy – 16/06

A group whose stock has risen deservedly in recent years,

THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS have picked up scores of new

followers due to their continuing appeal to filmmakers. Best

known for inspiring John Hughes’ cult 80s teen film Pretty In Pink,

the Furs’ recent inclusion on the OSTs to the highly acclaimed

likes of Call Me By Your Name and Stranger Things have done

wonders for their profile.

Beginning life as an angular post-punk outfit in the late

1970s, the band’s combination of melody and invention with

a soupçon of sneering punk attitude saw them stake out firm

territory among their contemporaries Joy Division and The Cure

(their next gig after tonight is at Meltdown at the invitation of

Robert Smith).

Drawing inspiration (like every band of that era) from Roxy

Music and David Bowie, the Furs have (perhaps wisely) avoided

releasing any new music since their 2001 reformation. With their

most ‘recent’ album World Outside released in 1991, the lion’s

share of the setlist comes from the five albums issued between

1980-87, ensuring their live set is an extended best-of run.

Opening with one of their greatest tracks – Dumb Waiters

from 1981 LP Talk Talk Talk – demonstrates the group’s early

approach in formidable style, combining skronking avant jazz

saxophone, art rock and straight-up pop. From the same album,

a barnstorming take of Into You Like A Train lands immediately

afterwards, Richard Butler’s voice and master of ceremonies

stage presence belying his 62 years. On saxophone, Chicago

jazz virtuoso Mars Williams is frankly incredible, his outstanding

Charlie Parker-esque solo on Sister Europe ripping through the

track’s Cold War gloom and concluding to huge applause.

Able to move easily between the Technicolor romance of

pop and the stark monochrome of post-punk, Heartbreak Beat

(covered live by The Killers) showcases the former, and the

sardonic lyric sheet of Mr Jones the latter. The intro to a beautiful

rendition of Love My Way receives a sizeable cheer, its inclusion

during an already semi-legendary scene of Armie Hammer

dancing during Call Me By Your Name has become a music video

in its own right.

The Ghost In You, meanwhile, featured in the second series

of modern classic Stranger Things (trainspotter alert: it appears in

Chapter Three, The Pollywog, where Jonathan and Nancy sit on

the bonnet of his car and eat lunch) like all of the material played

tonight sounds ageless. Elsewhere the lyrics to Reagan-era

polemic President Gas from the Todd Rundgren-produced Forever

Now (1982) sounds depressingly relevant in the current era.

Pretty In Pink understandably airs last, the era-defining cut

providing a Proustian Rush for those in thrall to Molly Ringwald

and the rest of the 1980s Brat Pack. A glorious demonstration

of how strong the band’s canon is, even if they don’t trouble

themselves with releasing any new material, the Furs’ back

catalogue should easily justify the band’s existence well into the

next decade.

Richard Lewis

Rakhi + Katya

Intimate Sonatas feat. Katya Apekisheva

Manchester Collective @ Invisible Wind

Factory – 29/06

The industrial setting of Invisible Wind Factory with its large

turbine and painted golden girder, juxtaposes with the intimate

performance of Manchester Collective, comprising KATYA

APEKISHEVA on piano and musical director RAKHI SINGH on

violin. The rapt audience has a mean age considerably lower

than that of a traditional classical concert. These are two of the

components that make this evening different to expectations.

Sitting in the round with sunshine streaming in from the

massive warehouse windows means there is nowhere for them to

hide. Everything, including the inside of the grand piano as the lid

is removed, is visible and it is this, along with the honesty about

their music, which helps to deconstruct the mysteries of classical

music and make it accessible for the uninitiated.

It is welcoming and a case of ‘Don’t know the titles of the

pieces? It doesn’t matter. Feel more at home hidden in the

darkness of a sweaty gig? Don’t worry, let us introduce you to the

world of chamber music.’ Come on in, be our guest.

The metal Invisible Wind Factory sign turns hypnotically in

the breeze above Singh and Apekisheva. Below there is a rug

and large lamp more at home in a suburban sitting room which

helps imbue the scene with a sense of domesticity: a neat visual

metaphor of how Manchester Collective makes their music

available to everyone.

It is so up close and personal that it is possible to read the

musical notes on Singh’s score. That perhaps some here can’t

name the pieces performed doesn’t matter: Manchester Collective

shows create a place where both novices and enthusiasts can

enjoy and get lost in the performances.

Between the two parts of the concert, there is a Q&A

session led by Manchester Collective’s Artistic Director, Adam

Szabo, which raises interesting questions and provides honest

answers: no, they hadn’t decided on the programme until the last

minute. Yes, changes have been made, and, yes, the piano does

sound a tad dodgy at times as a result of the humidity (to pretty

much everyone in the audience it sounds beautiful throughout).

Singh and Apekisheva are charming and gracious in their

explanations of the pieces chosen and the background to the

music, recognising that not everyone has the same level of

knowledge of the intricacies of classical music.

Singh explains it as a “journey”, smiling wryly as she

acknowledges the clichéd term, showing it to be very much

a work in progress. Both discuss their craft in an unassuming

manner only possible by those with a world-class talent.

And it is this talent and confidence which enable the original

and imaginative choices: John Cale and Bach on the same

programme, anyone?

Throughout the evening, their interpretations of the pieces

are nuanced and their passion for the music is infectious. Playful,

reflective and refreshing: this is classical music on a human

scale. Not in the least bit stuffy, even on the hottest of days.

Jennie Macaulay / @jenmagmcmac

Manchester Collective (Adam Szabo)


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Star Wars: A New Hope Live in Concert

28 November

16 September

The Magic of Motown

1 December

Kylie - Golden Tour

3 October

Jack White

20 October

5 December

Paul Smith

16 November

15 December

12 December

Rick Astley

17 November

Bowie: Starman

24 November

Liverpool International Horse Show

28 - 31 December



Holland &

Jolie Parton

(The Be Good Tanyas)

Philharmonic Hall

Saturday 1st September

Tide Lines

Leeds Brudenell

Friday 2nd November

Manchester Gullivers

Saturday 24th November

Sheffield Greystones

Monday 26th November

John Smith

Sunday 21st October

St George’s Hall,


Aidan Moffatt

& RM Hubbert

Monday 5th November

Leaf, Liverpool

John Wheeler

(Hayseed Dixie)

Saturday 10th November

81 Renshaw Street,


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“Just because the

culture-led gentrification

mantra has become a

staple overture within

our cities, does not

mean that this is a

hard, fast reality”

The news of Constellations’ closure, Craig G Pennington believes, is an opportunity for us to cast off the

comfort blanket of protest, and a chance to take matters into our own hands.

Anyone else feel like we’ve been here before? As Sonny

and Cher’s I Got You Babe lilts in the Baltic air and Bill

Murray is spotted wandering, bemused, along Jamaica

Street asking for directions to Punxsutawney, I’m hit

with a potent, heady sense of déjà vu. A nasty, bad-batch, ‘For

fucks sake, again, really?’ sense of déjà vu.

Yes, we’re here again, as much loved Baltic Triangle venue and

cultural hub Constellations is to close to make way for residential

development. Cue the customary online rabble-rousing, cries of

how this is further evidence of capital riding shotgun over culture, a

collective mourning.

We hear you. We feel the pain. But, surely, it doesn’t have to

be like this?

Much has been made of the article in The Times last year,

which declared the Baltic Triangle the “coolest place to live in

Britain”. It has been used as something of a qualifier for the Baltic’s

cultural and creative credentials and Constellations’ closure is

lamented by some as a body blow to this status. But really the

issue is implicit within the headline itself: the coolest place to live in

Britain. Not the best to create, enjoy music festivals, visit galleries,

collaborate and participate, but the coolest to buy an off-plan

apartment for £87,000. If you take a moment to revisit the article, it

makes alarming reading…

Topped with a photograph of Constellations’ RIBA Awardshortlisted

garden, the article declares, “Liverpool’s arts and party

scene is thriving, nowhere more so than in the Baltic Triangle

where abandoned factories have been repopulated by tech startups,

burlesque shows and pop-up club nights,” before going on

to celebrate that “you can buy a studio apartment in the Baltic

Triangle for £87,000”.

A little over 12 months later and one of the key cultural

institutions that has made the Baltic so investable in the first place

– and is pictured in the Times article – has been consumed by the

subsequent development it unwittingly encouraged.

As I said, we share your pain. But, what is important to

maintain throughout this is the understanding that this is not

an inevitable reprise. Just because the culture-led gentrification

mantra has become a staple overture within our cities, does not

mean that this is a hard, fast reality. It is not the universal truth. It

is not the unwritten inevitable. It is, however, the natural order of

things when one consideration is prioritised above all others: shortterm


There is an unfortunate and cruel irony at play within this

latest episode. If (and it is an if) the aspirations underpinning

the establishment of the new Liverpool City Region Music Board

and Music Office within the City Council are realised, we have

the opportunity to shape a new narrative. Music will enjoy a

new status as a central and influential lever in the economic,

cultural and social life of the city. This will result in new policy and

frameworks with music at their core, respecting and understanding

the issues our music community faces and prioritising music’s

development within the city. It will, however, come too late for


What we see with Constellations is not a case of an

unscrupulous developer looking to force a venue closure with

underhand tactics; it is the result of market forces. Property

developers are commercial entities, designed to create profit.

With an absence of any strategic vision which prioritises music,

this is the inevitable result. The Music Board and new structures

being established within the corridors of power must provide this.

There is an indisputable reality that, as a music community,

we need space. We need venues. We need studios. We need

workshops. We need space to commune, collaborate and

participate. And property developers need us to be doing this.

They need our oddness, our maverick spirit, our creativity, our

shows and our character. Because we are what differentiates one

glazed stack of sleep boxes from the next.

Herein lies a huge opportunity; one where planners,

developers, city-leaders and the music community sit around one

table and develop policy that allows both to coexist and flourish

in harmony, for mutual and collective benefit, financially, culturally

and socially. We can achieve development schemes that include

and prioritise the venues, studios and spaces we need.

But this needs strong leadership. It needs an active, engaged

and powerful Music Board.

At the time of press we still await details from the Liverpool

City Region as to the process through which the Music Board

will be constructed, when the Board will be established and the

particulars of how it will be structured. Once we have specifics

in place, Bido Lito! will, in partnership with a number of other

organisations in the music community, be convening an open

public meeting to discuss and debate the agenda that the Music

Board should pursue and ensure that as an organisation it is as

diverse, plural and as representative as possible, reflecting the

music community it seeks to represent.

What we do know is there is a call for Expressions Of Interest

open now for people who wish to have their voice heard. If

you wish to be involved, email iain@bop.co.uk with the subject

‘Liverpool City Region Music Board expression of interest’.

We love Constellations. The team there (and in particular

Becky) have been brothers and sisters in arms with Bido Lito!

from the start. It pains us to see so much love and hard work go

down in rubble.

As I type this, the cranes of Wolstenholme Square rattle

on stinking hot air through the jammed-open window at Bido

Lito! Towers. The falling bricks of The Kazimier, Wolstenholme

Creative Space and Nation provide an unwelcome and moving

daily soundtrack. Constellations will be next. The latest reminder

of how we as a community need to make sure we seize the

opportunity the Liverpool City Region Music Board will present

and not retreat to the comfort blanket of protest.

Words: Craig G Pennington





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