Issue 104 / October 2019

bidolito

October 2019 issue of Bido Lito! magazine. Featuring: STRAWBERRY GUY, MARVIN POWELL, COMICS YOUTH, RICHARD HERRING, BRADLEY WIGGINS, ENNIO THE LITTLE BROTHER, EDWYN COLLINS, SKELETON COAST, WAND, FUTURE YARD and much more.

ISSUE 104 / OCTOBER 2019

NEW MUSIC + CREATIVE CULTURE

LIVERPOOL

STRAWBERRY GUY / RICHARD HERRING

MARVIN POWELL / EDWYN COLLINS


Sun 22nd Sep

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Sat 28th Sep

Guns 2 Roses

+ Dizzy Lizzy

Sat 28th Sep

Red Rum Club

+ The Mysterines

Mon 30th Sep

Gary Numan

+ Kanga

Fri 4th Oct • 10.30pm

Bring It All Back

High School Musical Party

Sat 5th Oct

Definitely Mightbe

(Oasis tribute)

Sat 5th Oct • 11pm

Disco Wonderland:

Liverpool

(The ABBA Tribute Club Night)

Tue 8th Oct

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Richard Hawley

Fri 11th Oct

Fleetwood Bac

Sat 12th Oct

The Marley Revival

+ UB40 Tribute Set

Sun 13th Oct

New Hope Club

Sun 13th Oct

Easy Life

Fri 18th Oct

Sea Girls

Sat 19th Oct • 10pm

Psychedelic Carnival

Thur 24th Oct

Jake Clemons

+ Ben McKelvey

Fri 25th Oct

Keywest

Fri 25th Oct • 7.30pm

Hang Massive

Wed 30th Oct

MoStack

Sat 2nd Nov

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Rival Sons

+ The Record Company

Sat 2nd Nov

The Cheap Thrills

Sat 2nd Nov • 9pm

Jo Whiley’s

90s Anthems

ticketmaster.co.uk

Sun 3rd Nov

Loyle Carner

Fri 8th Nov

MONKS

Fri 8th Nov

Bear’s Den

Sat 9th Nov

She Drew The Gun

Sat 9th Nov

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Greta Van Fleet

+ Yola

Sat 9th Nov

Antarctic Monkeys

+ The Alleys + The Patriots

Fri 15th Nov

Boston Manor

+ Modern Error

Sat 16th Nov

The Macc Lads

+ Dirt Box Disco

Sat 16th Nov

UK Foo Fighters

(Tribute)

Wed 20th Nov

Fontaines D.C.

Fri 22nd Nov

Airbourne

+ Tyler Bryant & The

Shakedown

Fri 22nd Nov

Absolute Bowie -

Legacy Tour

Sat 23rd Nov

Life At The Arcade

Sat 23rd Nov

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Sam Fender

Sat 23rd Nov

o2academyliverpool.co.uk

11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF

Doors 7pm unless stated

facebook.com/o2academyliverpool

twitter.com/o2academylpool

instagram.com/o2academyliverpool

youtube.com/o2academytv

An Evening with

Sat 21st Dec

The Steve Hillage Band

Cast...

+ Gong

Magic Hour Album

Sun 24th Nov

Primal Scream

Fri 29th Nov

The Doors Alive

Sat 30th Nov • 6pm

The Wonder Stuff

performing ‘The

Eight Legged Groove

Machine’ & ‘HUP’

in full

+ Jim Bob from Carter USM

Sat 30th Nov

Pearl Jam UK

Thur 5th Dec

Shed Seven

+ The Twang

Fri Fri 6th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of of Students

Happy Mondays

Greatest Hits Tour

Fri Fri 6th Dec

SPINN

Sat 7th Dec

Prince Tribute - -

Endorphinmachine

Thur 12th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of of Students

Daniel Sloss: X

Fri Fri 13th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of of Students

Dermot Kennedy

Fri Fri 13th Dec

The Lancashire

Hotpots

Fri Fri 13th Dec

Scouting for Girls

Sat 14th Dec

The Smyths…

The Smiths 35

Sat 14th Dec

Ian Prowse

& Amsterdam

Wed 18th Dec

The Darkness

Thur 19th Dec

Cast...

All Change Album

Fri Fri 20th Dec

Cast...

Mother Nature Calls

Album

Sat 21st Dec

Limehouse Lizzy:

The Greatest Hits of of

Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy

Wed 29th Jan Jan 2020

The Interrupters

+ Buster Shuffle

Tue 4th Feb 2020

Mabel

Mon 3rd Feb 2020

Kano

Sun 29th Mar 2020

Cigarettes After Sex

Venue box box office opening hours:

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• gigantic.com • ticketweb.co.uk

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THE THE SNUTS

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WE WE WERE

PROMISED JETPACKS

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THE THE MUSIC OF OF CREAM

50TH 50TH ANNIVERSARY

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SAINT AGNES

+ SŒUR + + THE + THE HEAVY NORTH

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DAUGHTERS

SAT SAT 2ND 2ND NOV NOV 7PM 7PM

STONE FOUNDATION

+ STEVE + STEVE PILGRIM

TUE TUE 12TH 12TH NOV NOV 7PM 7PM

HUGH CORNWELL

ELECTRIC

WED WED 13TH 13TH NOV NOV 7PM 7PM

BLACK LIPS LIPS

+ YAMMERER + + OHMNS + OHMNS

+ PISS + PISS KITTI KITTI + DJ + CARL DJ CARL COMBOVER

SAT SAT 16TH 16TH NOV NOV 7PM 7PM

LONDON CALLING PLAY PLAY

THE THE CLASH

FRI FRI 22ND 22ND NOV NOV 7PM 7PM

BLOOD RED RED SHOES

+ QUEEN + QUEEN KWONG

+ GEN + GEN & THE & THE DEGENERATES

FRI FRI 22ND 22ND NOV NOV 7PM 7PM

SLADE

SAT SAT 30TH 30TH NOV NOV 6.30PM 6.30PM

SKINNY LISTER

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THE THE PAPER KITES KITES

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SEEL STREET / LIVERPOOL / TICKETS £13 £13 ADV ADV PLUS PLUS BOOKING FEE FEE VIA SEETICKETS.COM VIA & TICKETMASTER.CO.UK

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What’s On

October

December

Wednesday 2 October 6.30pm

Music Room

BlackFest 2019

Celebration Night

Saturday 19 October 8pm

Music Room

Rising Up: Peterloo 2019

Wednesday 23 October 8pm

Music Room

Liverpool Irish Festival:

Visible Women

Wednesday 30 October 8pm

Music Room

Baked A La Ska: Skalloween

Thursday 19 December 7.30pm

Kate Rusby at Christmas

Saturday 28 December 7.30pm

Sunday 29 December 7.30pm

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Ghostbusters: Film with

Live Orchestra (cert PG)

Box Office

0151 709 3789

liverpoolphil.com

LiverpoolPhilharmonic

liverpoolphil

liverpool_philharmonic

Image Kate Rusby


COMING SOON

ALL THE JINGLE LADIES / ANTI SOCIAL JAZZ CLUB / BERNIE CONNOR

BIDO LITO DJS / BUDDY KEENEN / CHE WILSON / CHILDISH GAMBINO PARTY

DRE OF THE DEAD / EVERYTHINGS NICE / FAT WHITE FAMILY / IDLES

JADE LI / JOE GODDARD (HOT CHIP) / JOSEPH KAYE & ELLIOT FERGUSON

KEITH HARING: A RETROSPECTIVE, THE MUSIC OF HIS ERA / LACES OUT PARTY

LOST ART SOUNDSYSTEM / LOYLE CARNER AFTER PARTY / MELODIC DISTRACTION

NIGHTCRAWLER PIZZA / NEW YEEZY EVE / NO FAKIN DJS

SPEAKERBOXXX / SUPERSTITION / WAVERTREE WORLDWIDE

40 SLATER STREET, LIVERPOOL. L1 4BX THEMERCHANTLIVERPOOL.CO.UK


GREY HAIRS

KAZIMIER STOCKROOM

26 OCTOBER

GHOST STORIES

GROSVENOR MUSEUM

30 OCTOBER

CATFISH & THE

BOTTLEMEN

M&S BANK ARENA LIVERPOOL

10 NOVEMBER

RICHARD DAWSON

STUDIO 2

23 NOVEMBER

JOHN COLPITTS’

MAN FOREVER

KAZIMIER STOCKROOM

8 DECEMBER

FLYING

LUTTENBACHERS

KAZIMIER STOCKROOM

20 DECEMBER

BEANS ON TOAST

PHASE ONE

20 DECEMBER

THE 1975

M&S BANK ARENA LIVERPOOL

26 FEBRUARY 2020

ticketquarter.co.uk

0344 8000 410 JOIN THE CONVERSATION


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New Music + Creative Culture

Liverpool

Issue 104 / October 2019

bidolito.co.uk

Second Floor

The Merchant

40-42 Slater Street

Liverpool L1 4BX

Publisher/Founder

Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk

Editor-in-Chief

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

Lucy Atkins – lucy@bidolito.co.uk

Community Manager

Brit Williams – brit@bidolito.co.uk

Design

Mark McKellier - mark@andmark.co.uk

Branding

Thom Isom - hello@thomisom.com

Proofreader

Nathaniel Cramp

Cover Artwork and Photography

Kate Davies

Words

Elliot Ryder, Christopher Torpey, Ed Haynes, Vahid

Davar, Matt Hogarth, Sam Turner, Ian R Abraham,

Mike Stanton, Frankie Muslin, Conal Cunningham,

Joel Durksen, David Weir, Jennie Macaulay, Georgia

Turnbull, Christopher Carr, Natalie McCool, Nina

Franklin, Beija Flo.

EDITORIAL

Further justification of this city’s blackout of The

Sun newspaper was found recently (as if any more

were even needed) with a report into its effect on

Euroscepticism rates in Merseyside. Two political

science academics – Florian Foos and Daniel Bischof – showed

that Liverpool people gradually, but definitively, swayed away

from a Eurosceptic outlook in the years since the Hillsborough

disaster, largely (but not solely) because of the boycott of

the publication and its anti-Europe

propaganda. Without it, Foos and

Bischof estimate that Merseyside would

have voted to Leave in the 2015 EU

referendum by a margin of 60 to 40

(Merseyside voted overall to Remain in

the referendum, by 51 to 49; Liverpool’s

Remain vote was at 58 per cent). There

were, naturally, many other factors at

play in this decades-long switching of

attitudes, such as The Sun being largely

replaced by the Europhile Mirror, and

European Union funding in the area that

helped rebuild it after a post-industrial

slump – a fact that culminated gloriously

in the 2008 European Capital of Culture year.

These findings help to prove what we’d already come to

understand instinctively: that quality matters. The quality of what

news you’re served, the quality of the discourse you’re involved

in. Just like we care about the provenance of the food we eat

and the goods we buy, this report shows that we should take

as much care with the news and information we ingest. As we

head inexorably towards another election cycle – one that looks

set to be at least as divisive as the 2016 referendum – we need

to be aware of these factors so that we can equip ourselves

FEATURES

“The power of what

can be achieved

when unity is

allowed to flourish is

abundantly clear”

accordingly. The power of what can be achieved when unity is

allowed to flourish, rather than divisions deepened, is abundantly

clear. When Liverpool boomed in the years of the last Labour

government, it did so on a wave of enthusiasm and positivity

that facilitated a ‘can do’ attitude. It’s hard to see how another

viewpoint can be easily reached.

Of course, all media has its own agenda – even ourselves.

I hope it’s obvious where Bido Lito!’s vested interests lie:

supporting and encouraging; selecting

what we write about based purely on

taste; giving a platform to stories that

we feel need to be heard. I sometimes

see Bido’s role as that of a looking

glass, reflecting back the best of our

collective community. But it’s not always

that; sometimes it takes on the role of a

megaphone, an amplifier or a soap-box.

When you see us out at gigs, hosting

our own events, doing our own releases,

championing local artists and spreading

the word about how amazing this place

is – we hope that it’s obvious where our

intentions lie.

As we continue on in this same vein, it’s a real shame that

we won’t be doing so with three massively valuable members of

the Bido family. We’re gutted that Sam, Niloo and Lucy will not

be with us as we move on to our next chapter. All three of them

leave Bido in a lot more interesting and healthy place than when

they joined, and for that we say a massive, heartfelt THANK

YOU!x

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Editor-in-Chief

Future Yard (Michael Driffill)

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Mark McKellier, Kate Davies, Vahid Davar, Anna

Benson, Ian Skelly, Ross Davidson, GCH Photography,

Michael Driffill, Keith Ainsworth, Michael Kirkham,

Tomas Adam, Brian Sayle, Darren Aston.

Distribution

Our magazine is distributed as far as possible through

pedal power, courtesy of our Bido Bikes. If you would

like to find out more, please email chris@bidolito.co.uk.

Advertise

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out about how we can work together, please email

ads@bidolito.co.uk.

Bido Lito! is a living wage employer. All our staff are

paid at least the living wage.

All contributions to Bido Lito! come from our city’s

amazing creative community. If you would like to join

the fold visit bidolito.co.uk/contribute.

We are contributing one per cent of our advertising

review to WeForest.org to fund afforestation projects

around the world. This more than offsets our carbon

footprint and ensures there is less CO2 in the

atmosphere as a result of our existence.

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.

12 / STRAWBERRY GUY

This affecting songwriter’s bathtub melancholia has connected

with a swarm of online fans who’ve found solace in his lilting

dreamadelica.

16 / WRITING OUTSIDE OF THE

MARGINS

Comics Youth has been helping young people write their own

stories for the past four years, with the next chapter focusing on

the lives of the marginalised.

20 / NASSIM’S TESTAMENT

Iranian poet Vahid Davar considers the inherent sacrifice that

migration demands in an extract taken from his dissertation that

looks at language and belonging.

REGULARS

10 / NEWS

26 / SPOTLIGHT

31 / PREVIEWS

18 / MARVIN POWELL

Classic Americana storytelling baked into the soul of a Mersey

wanderer.

22 / INTERSECTION OF MUSIC

Matt Hogarth of Eggy Records reflects on a cultural exchange

that saw a bit of Liverpool transplanted to a creative community

on the banks of the Volga.

28 / RICHARD HERRING

The Podfather opens up about the art of subversiveness in

podcasting, and how far he might yet go with the medium he’s

helped to define.

30 / BRADLEY WIGGINS

Britain’s most decorated Olympian opens up about the roots of

his cycling obsession and how it has helped him find new roads

in the sport.

36 / REVIEWS

46 / ARTISTIC LICENCE


NEWS

Let Us Tell You A Story

Laura Duff

A week of Irish stories arrives in Liverpool as the

city’s LIVERPOOL IRISH FESTIVAL returns, running

between 17th and 27th October. The theme of the

festival this year is unique stories, creatively told,

and the 10-day arts and culture festival welcomes

musicians, artists, performers, writers, dancers,

historians and more to tell the tales. Folk singer and

guitarist CHRISTY MOORE gives a special festival

preview performance at the Philharmonic Hall to

get the festival started. IN:VISIBLE WOMEN is an

annual strand of the festival programme which gives a

platform to stories about Irish women from all different

circumstances. This will be accompanied by VISIBLE

WOMEN, a live show featuring three contemporary

Irish songwriters: LAURA DUFF, MAZ O’CONNOR

and headliner LISA O’NEILL. See full details at

liverpoolirishfestival.com.

Toxteth Day Of The Dead

Messrs Drummond and Cauty (AKA The Timelords, The

JAMS, The KLF) reprise the Toxteth Day Of The Dead

celebrations on 23rd November. Now that they are

undertakers observing the rites of MuMufication – where

you can choose to have 23g of your ashes fired into a

brick, which will be used to assemble the People’s Pyramid

(discounts apply to resident of L8) – they will be returning

to Toxteth for this annual Beating of the Bounds procession

and ceremonial laying of the new Bricks of Mu. Whether

you’re observing the ceremony or not, you may like to

indulge in the Hereafter Party, hosted by Liverpool Arts Lab

at District. Featuring live performances from PADDY STEER

and KERMIT LEVERIDGE (performing a Super Weird

Soundsystem), it will be a fitting end to a MuMentous day.

Toxteth Day Of The Dead (Tim Collins)

Resist! Resist!

Nightclubbing

Over the past 15 years, HOMOTOPIA has become a platform for LGBTQ+ art with a message. The

UK’s longest running LGBTQ+ arts festival was borne from a passion for social justice, and provides

artists with a place to explore ideas to challenge societal norms and champion inclusivity. Acclaimed

performer, writer and theatre maker TRAVIS ALABANZA returns to the festival for a talk on queer

identity, and another returning artist, RACHAEL YOUNG, brings her touring play Nightclubbing

(where Afrofuturism and Grace Jones meet) to the Unity Theatre. London’s night czar and LGTBQ+

campaigner, AMY LAMÉ, comes to Tate Liverpool for a conversation on LGBTQ+ activism and art from

the 1980s to today, celebrating the final week of the Keith Haring exhibition. Homotopia runs from 1st

to 10th November, with full listings details found at homotopia.net.

20/20 Vision For Sound City

Next summer might seem like a far off fantasy, but you can bet on

some things being there for you when the Mercury starts to rise

again. SOUND CITY will be in its usual slot, taking place over the

early May bank holiday (1st to 3rd) in its now familiar setting of

the Baltic Triangle. We’ll have to wait a while for a line-up to be

served up, but we can block out the days in the calendar already.

If you’re a musician and you fancy getting your name on the

Sound City bill alongside what will doubtless be another stellar

line-up, applications are open now via Gigmit. Weekend early

bird tickets are also selling rapidly now, so swoop now if you

want to guarantee your presence. soundcity.uk.com

SAE Hello To My Little Friend

If you’re an aspiring Erin Tonkon or Mark Ronson and fancy

starting the next decade learning the cutting edge tricks of the

production trade with state of the art technology SAE Institute

has the course for you. Ableton, Logic X and Pro Tools are

all on the agenda at the Pall Mall campus and you’ll have the

chance to follow in the footsteps of SAE’s illustrious alumni

the awards cabinet of whom includes Grammys, Oscars, and

BAFTAs. SAE courses take a project-based hands-on ethos so

students get real experience in both studio and live settings.

For more information go along to the next open day at the

campus on Thursday 17th October.

The Cassette Played Pop Tunes

Remix Wows

The smaller, scrappier younger sibling of Record Store Day, INTERNATIONAL

CASSETTE STORE DAY has gone from strength to strength since launching in

2013. Now running in the UK, China, USA, France, Australia and Japan, CSD is

more than just a celebration of a retro format – it’s a chance for artists to release

amazing music in innovative ways direct to their fans. On 12th October, we’ll be

joining the fun alongside STEALING SHEEP, as we team up with them to bring

the remix version of their recent LP Big Wows to crowds. Keep your eyes peeled

for clues to a rather nifty treasure hunt for special copies of the release, which will

be dotted around some special locations in the city. Liverpool’s PSYCHO COMEDY

and YAMMERER are also preparing releases for the day, and will both play at the

Shacklewell Arms in London on 12th October as part of the official celebrations.

cassettestoredayuk.com

10


DANSETTE

Future-pop auteur NATALIE MCCOOL

gives us a peek inside her record

bag to reveal some of the tracks and

sounds that inspired her new single,

Someone Nue.

Ayelle

Parts

Self-released

Alexis Teplin

Californian-born artist ALEXIS TEPLIN

presents her first major UK exhibition

at Bluecoat in October, a real coup

for the gallery’s winter programme

(running from 26th October to 23rd

February). Teplin works across painting,

performance and film, drawing parallels

between the processes of each of these

art forms. This new showing at Bluecoat

is a premiere of new material, which

ranges from abstract painted figures to a

collage of quotes and gestures in her film

and performance work, taking inspiration

as much from the Labour Manifesto as

the films of Federico Fellini.

Rock The Jazz Bar

Frederiks are continuing their mission to give Liverpool’s jazzing community the good

stuff with a run of gigs each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month. Hope Street

Jazz present free gigs in the venue twice weekly with some of the region’s best jazz

outfits. October’s listings open with local young guns BALLROOM DAN who deal in

their own take on the genre classics as well as fresh originals. You’ll also find the hotly

tipped GREEN TANGERINES showcasing their uniquely funky blend of soul-infused

jazz on 3rd October. The excellently monikered HEAVY LEMO take a slot towards

the end of the month and there’s a jazzy Halloween special to help you forget about

impending Brexit doom or celebrate another sweet, sweet extension.

Sweet Release(s)

OMD

Big Blues Up

You can’t be expected to keep track of all the comings and goings

among our region’s prolific musicians, which is why we do it for

you, right here. PIXEY makes a welcome return with a fresh EP,

Colours, which features the kind of bracing sunshine guitar pop

that caught the attention first time around; TIËRNY embarks

on a soulful new chapter with the single Solid Ground, the first

hint of a full EP of brooding electronica to come later in 2019;

BONNACONS OF DOOM’s epic new opus Esus (included on an

EP that also features remixes of two tracks from their 2018 selftitled

album) is another reminder that the dark side of the force

isn’t without its plus points; and NUTRIBE signal their imminent

rise as their interplanetary hip hop is featured on the new Future

Bubblers release (alongside fellow Merseysider WILROY).

Painted Costumes (Alexis Teplin)

The Atkinson’s annual rhythm and blues riot

returns for a fifth year, with a host of blues

virtuosos lighting up the Southport venue’s stage

over the weekend of 11th and 12th October. The

BUSHMAN BROTHERS – born and raised in Cape

Town, but now residents of Brighton – head up

Friday night’s offering, with support from TREVOR

BABAJACK STEGER. The Bushman Brothers (Brian

and Steve Kellner) specialise in hard-edged rock

that veers slightly towards the indie side. Saturday

sees a full day of activity, starting at 12.30pm

with HIDING MAGPIES and finishing with Atlanta,

Georgia swamp blues outfit DELTA MOON as

headliners. For full details and tickets, head to

theatkinson.co.uk.

Souvenirs

Pitch yourself into the impressive legacy of ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE

DARK in the year of their 40th anniversary, with an exhibition that celebrates the

Wirral synth pop legends’ singular image. Running between 11th October and

5th January at the British Music Experience, the exhibition features artefacts and

items that have played a part in OMD’s journey from two-piece experimental band

with a borrowed tape recorder to a world-renowned act with 13 albums under

their belt. Items on display include clothing, prints and Andy McCluskey’s binders

full of ideas, photos and press cuttings, as well as some notable instruments that

have played their part in the OMD story: the Vox Jaguar Organ played by Paul

Humphreys on Electricity, Messages and Enola Gay, and the 1974 Fender Jazz

Bass played by McCluskey on Enola Gay, Souvenir, Joan Of Arc and Tesla Girls.

NuTribe

I’m in love with intimate

sounding vocals so this track

is perfect for me. This girl is

really something. The music’s

like a really soulful early

Grimes, and her voice is so emotive: it’s the same in all of

her material, but especially so in this track. The way the

beat drops in the chorus is so subtle but so very satisfying.

Lots of space, too, which I’m always conscious about

because it’s really important.

Big Thief

Not

4AD

This isn’t really an influence

on the production or recording

process, but I recently

discovered this band and

think they are amazing. I

watched one of their NPR Tiny Desk Concerts and the

chemistry between singer Adrianne Lenker and guitarist

Buck Meek was so strong, and they play with such feeling.

Lenker’s voice on this is something else: it tonally reminds

me a bit of Ezra Furman. Can’t wait to see them live.

David Bowie

Ashes To Ashes

RCA

I was hugely inspired by the

drums on this when we were

recording one of my new

tracks, Better. The start-stop

feel is really interesting and

I think makes this track. I always like to experiment with

drums and finding beats that aren’t conventional. For me,

it’s something that actually can drive the songwriting and

the rest when you’re building the song. So this was a big

reference point.

St. Vincent

Oh My God

4AD

I’m a sucker for her album,

Actor. This one’s on the

deluxe version of the album. I

love the orchestral flourishes

throughout the whole

album and I think she is such an interesting, wonderful

songwriter. This track for me is absolute heaven, though

– vocally it’s just epic. I’m big into operatic-sounding vocal

lines at the moment and so I’ve been hammering this.

Kinda feels like it should be in a David Lynch version of The

Wizard of Oz; I can just imagine it fading in where Dorothy

falls asleep in the field of poppies. Beautiful.

nataliemccool.co.uk

Someone Nue is out now via Modern Sky UK. Head to

bidolito.co.uk now for a full list of song choices on Natalie

McCool’s Dansette.

NEWS 11


This affecting songwriter’s bathtub melancholia has

connected with a swarm of online fans who’ve found

solace in his lilting dreamadelica.

“Strawberry Guy is close to

my personality, but it’s also

a form of escapism. When I

sit down to write, it can be

such a release for sadness”

We’re overlooking the city from one its highest points. We’re in luck today; there’s a

clear view as far as North Wales, maybe further. It’s bright, humid atop multiple

layers. But this feels like something of a seasonal encore given the drabness of this

September.

The park leaning over Everton Brow is the premier vantage point for taking in Liverpool’s

skyline. The array of parked cars meeting for a lunch hour escape tell you this much. It’s also a

space reserved for unregulated natural beauty. In between the walkways and treelines, roughly

sketched formations of wildflowers interrupt a backdrop of high-rise flats with flecks of red and

yellow. However, only their last reserves remain. Summer is no longer in session. Alex Stephens,

the face and feelings behind STRAWBERRY GUY, is resting his head among a wilting patch as

he has his photo taken. The rolls of film capturing the scene paint a picture of dreamlike stillness.

Landscape and subject are currently resting in unison. A symbiosis between two forlorn entities:

the draining colour in the summer landscape; an artist whose music bathes in the slow fade of

autumn.

In between each click of film, Alex is much more vibrant. He’s the brightest hue on the

hillside, both in character and appearance. The full force of the midday sun, intensified by the

photographer’s light reflector, is bringing this out in abundance. Though, as he protests, it’s coming

at a cost of his eyesight. And so the eyes remain shut, for the most part, matching the blissful aura

that permeates Strawberry Guy’s keyboard-led arrangements.

Back inside his flat, there’s an abundance of reference points that point to where Alex’s

penchant for luscious melody derives from. Records by The Beach Boys are strewn on the couch;

12


a strung-up picture of The Smiths is softly illuminated by a pair of searching Georgian windows.

Perhaps the most telling of all, though, is a photo of Mac DeMarco hunched at the waterside, an

image that accompanied his 2015 LP, Another One. These are a good entry point for the palette of

Strawberry Guy, but by no means a full reflection.

Beyond the impressive collection of strawberry-themed bric-a-brac dotted around his home

space, there’s a particular sincerity that’s present as we take shots in his bedroom turned studio.

Alex insists his keyboards are turned on as we take his picture. It’s a small detail, and one I suggest

won’t draw much attention. Yet, he ensures the power light is visible, and proceeds to play a run of

muted notes. The only sound present is of the keys clunking in their chord shapes. There’s no desire

for pretence, only a cautious honesty – one that’s offered in comforting spoonfuls across his new

EP, Taking My Time To Be.

While Strawberry Guy might still be a relatively fresh creative vessel (only playing his first

gig under the moniker at the turn of the year), Alex isn’t overly new to the scene. He’s had a stint

in Trudy And The Romance, but, most recently, you’ll have likely seen him tending to the keys on

behalf of The Orielles. However, there’s a distinct change in direction for Strawberry Guy, he insists,

one that’s clearly more of a personal endeavour and cathartic experiment.

“My work with Trudy and The Orielles has always been quite separate to what I was writing

myself,” he starts, when asked if the two projects served as a precursor to his own music. “The

Orielles make the most fun music. When we write together, because there are four of us in a room,

it leads us to write quite uplifting music. It’s quite the opposite for my own.” As noted during the

latter stages of today’s photoshoot, the bedroom set-up is made for one. A singular chair stands in

the middle of a wealth of keyboards, synths and a guitar. It’s a space programmed to pen dateless

diary entries and their dreamy soundtracks. “I write and record almost everything on my own in my

bedroom. Because I’m alone, it gives me the freedom to be a lot more emotional, or at least explore

a broader range,” he explains.

A self-proclaimed “chord geek”, Alex has poured his classical piano training into sepia-tinted

songs, rubberstamped with meandering vocals that match the expanse of his blanketing organ

use. It’s heavily romanticised but not hopeless. It’s music that circles the swirling halo of Beach

House, with the aforementioned melodic deftness of Mac DeMarco and The Beach Boys. Yet, he

plays down the formula in which the songs are produced. “A lot of them start off as mistakes,” he

confesses. “Sometimes I’ll play a chord wrong and it’ll sound interesting and I’ll take it from there.”

It’s a process that helps break with the formulaic nature of classical training; a similar pattern to the

poet, moulding and interchanging between patterns of metre and syllable structure.

In little more than a year, play counts of over two million have been amassed on YouTube. Fans

have even gone as far to edit their own videos for his music. One daintily pairs Without You with

scenes and edits of Kukolka, a 1988 Russian film about a gymnast. Another, pieces What Would I

Do? with clips from 1971 film Minnie And Moskowitz. Comments in each video include: “I want to

play this song next to someone I care about”, “these feels” and “this makes me miss a love I never

had”. “I’m crying” is a regular feature also. It’s clearly a shared space for outpourings, both in the

music and the reactions it generates – irrespective of the sterilised, internet domain in which it

exists.

I ask Alex what it’s like to see his music mushroom in the wider world before it’s been properly

unfurled in its local surroundings; whether this allows for a greater depth to explore. “The increased

popularity in the last year has been a little bit strange,” he admits. “The way all this started was just

through putting the songs on SoundCloud. Because I’d written and produced them, I thought they

should be somewhere if people wanted to listen. I wasn’t deliberately trying to make it a thing.”

By luck, the songs were picked up by the right listeners, including proactive fan video makers

specialising in bathtub melancholia. But there remains an obvious draw for compelling, personable

connection with the audience, another signifier of his romantic endeavour. Strawberry Guy isn’t a

blissed-out veneer. Each piano stab cuts close to the body playing the notes. “The online world can

be hard to resonate with. It’s weird to think that some guy who’s had his heart broken in Brazil is

listening to my songs as a means of making it through.”

“You know, why is it all sad people that listen to my music?” he jokes, ironically. But he’s not

blind to its emotive qualities, and his own similar experiences as a listener. “Some of the best songs

are uplifting but are able to incorporate a range of emotion, and I think that can be so healing.

If I listen back to The Beach Boys, you sense how emotional their songs are, but they’re no less

uplifting than an out and out happy song.”

We’ve been speaking for a couple of hours now. The rain has come and shifted our interview

FEATURE

13


“The EP is just

about learning to

be comfortable

with myself…

just summarising

those feelings and

changes in myself”

undercover. So far, Alex is pretty upfront about how he wants

his music to be perceived as an honest portrayal. He underlines

that experience and occasion are the biggest influence on his

subject matter – both happy and sad. Importantly, though,

always uplifting. As for the name choice, it’s not a derivative

of the blonde locks that frame his face. It was branded by his

friends in Her’s who noticed his taste for strawberry milkshake.

“It just really stuck,” he tells me, as we shift seats until the rain

passes overhead. “I like to think it’s fitting for my music, anyway.

Strawberries are quite sweet, and so is my music,” he adds.

There’s also a frankness that Strawberry Guy isn’t a new

entity, despite only being revealed to the world in the previous

two years. The heart-aching happiness is something that’s

been channelled from a young age, now transferred in to song

form. But, as with any expression, there’s a process of journey;

a change in state and feeling. “Strawberry Guy is close to my

personality, but it’s also a form of escapism. When I sit down to

write, it can be such a release for sadness.”

“When I was a kid I was always composing. I would just

come up with little melodies, never quite full songs. I was

really into film scores. The first one I got into was the Coraline

soundtrack. I heard that and thought that was the best thing; I

even bought the CD. I then wrote my first song at 14, but I would

keep it to myself.”

In Alex’s press shots to date, and accompanying illustrations,

there’s a recurring floral influence. In relation to his music, it

appears symbolic of his progression and product. An organism

that will flower, but in its own time, and only if tended to

correctly. “Well, I didn’t think taking the shots in an industrial

estate would be so romantic,” he adds with sarcasm. Taking My

Time To Be feeds into the narrative, alluding to the steps taken

to arrive at the record. Acceptance also of an environment, and

one’s position in it.

Since his teenage years, Alex has been crossdressing,

something which he says helps him release an alter-ego. It’s

something he now embraces, after initial worries and fears. It’s

another offshoot that ties into the unrushed feel of the record.

“Taking My Time To Be is just about learning to be comfortable

with myself. I was crossdressing for years and then I finally came

out to my mum about it when I was 18. The album title focuses

14


on worrying whether I’ll be loved, by anyone. I shouldn’t, it’s

2019, isn’t it? But that captures the feeling I had growing up,

unsure if people would understand why I was doing it. I’m a

hopeless romantic. There’s always a dominant feeling of wanting

to be loved. That’s what the EP is about really, just summarising

those feelings and changes in myself. Being comfortable being

myself. Generally not caring so much.”

The more we talk, the more the ease and lack of worry seeps

in. You can sense there’s been a full acceptance of self in terms

of former anxieties. Everything else on the exterior is dealt with

in his musical confession. He’s clear on not wanting to overtly

draw the crossdressing into his music. It bears no explicit relation

to feel or its sonic character. It’s merely another form of release;

a second layer of skin. And with every song he arguably sheds a

new layer of himself as Alex, and adorns another as Strawberry

Guy. As unadorned entities, the wig and clothes choices don’t

arrange the glistening synths and sticky drums that you hear. “A

lot of the music is centred on escape. Escape from feelings. I think

there are a lot of internal things that were going on when I was

growing up. You know, I’d be going into a shop to buy a dress.

It was terrifying,” he explains, touching on how crossdressing

is a medium for comfort, not an overarching theme for him as

an artist. “Being a heterosexual guy who enjoys crossdressing

brings a lot of questions. It’s something that I’ve wanted to write

about, but not something I’m actively looking to make a part of

anything. I’d never want to get on stage in a dress. When I dress

up, it’s a form of escapism. And because it isn’t me, I don’t really

want to take that personality too close to the music.”

Where the inward comfort has in fact found a way into

the music is the efficiency. It seems easier than ever for Alex

to be able to write and compose. Freer in self-restriction and

confidence. “It’s something that I feel I have to do. It’s like a

compulsion, something I have to release from myself,” he says,

with his face lost in thought. “Sometimes I just have to run home

and start writing on the keyboard when I have an idea in my

head.” Even now, as he tells me this, there’s a twitchiness as

though the train of thought is dreaming up ideas to be worked on

in his bedroom studio.

It’s this very bedroom studio plays a huge part in his freedom,

his escape. The imaginary world abundant with an emotive

oxygen. As he says himself, “when you’re in a studio, time is

money,” and there’s undoubtedly added pressure when expected

to be creative on a restricted timescale. Why leave a realm

entirely of your own design? “In my room, I can record whenever

I want. I can just leave a song, come back to it in a month, maybe

two months, even a year.” The floral aspect of his music and its

iconography seeps in again; the timely flowering of the EP and

the growing impression of himself as something that should

now be celebrated internally. Time is of the essence, but not

in shortage. For Strawberry Guy, there’s no knowing when his

music is going to be. It’s growing, changing and feeling, chord by

chord, day by day. !

Words: Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder

Photography: Kate Davies / @k.dvi

soundcloud.com/strawberryguy

Strawberry Guy’s debut EP, Taking My Time To Be, is out on 27th

September via Melodic Records.

FEATURE

15


WRITING OUTSIDE

OF THE MARGINS

For the last four years, Comics Youth, a Liverpool City Region social enterprise, has been helping young

people write their own stories, with the next chapter focusing on the lives of the marginalised.

Our youth is defined by flux and change. They’re

dramatic. They shape the adults we become. There

is no end of stories about young people; it’s a time of

everyone’s life that has a lot of juice for storytelling.

But it’s rare that those stories are told by people currently in the

weeds of their youth. And it’s even rarer that stories about young

people come from places other than white, and straight, and

wealthy.

This rarity comes from the kind of people who are involved

in telling stories, both on the business and creative sides. The

British publishing industry, for example, is overwhelmingly white,

wealthy and southern. A comprehensive survey of the industry

from the start of this year revealed that a majority of the people

in publishing come from the South East, London or the East of

England, while just under five per cent come from the North

West. Similarly, the same survey showed that just 11.6 per cent

of the industry is BAME. Class is also a big divide: an analysis

of the 2014 Labour Force Survey showed that just 12 per cent

of people in the publishing industry come from working-class

backgrounds.

This creates a default type of person in stories – a default

that doesn’t reflect the reality of people’s lived experiences, a

default that leaves people out. Resisting that default is necessary

in the fight for liberating marginalised groups. It’s a default that

comes from who has access to resources, so fighting it means

giving resources to marginalised people to tell and mediate their

own stories.

This is where something like COMICS YOUTH comes in.

The four-year-old charity, founded in response to cuts to youth

services, works through a variety of programmes to give young

people from marginalised communities a safe space for creative

exploration and expression. Working across BAME, LGBT,

low income and disabled communities, they aim to create a

community of solidarity, openness and acceptance based around

creating and reading comics.

I went to their fourth floor space on Lord Street in the

heart of the city to chat about Comic Youth’s latest initiative,

MARGINAL, a publisher led by under 25s that pulls together

all elements of what they have been doing with, in their words,

the goal of changing “the landscape of UK culture”. Their space

is open and loving, with room for working on art, reading from

their gorgeous library of comics, zines and graphic novels, or

just playing on the Switch and hanging out. Through Marginal,

20 eight to 25 year olds will create and release their own

stories. “It’s about giving visibility to young people who don’t

have a platform,” Amy Roberts, Comics Youth’s marketing and

communications officer, tells me. “Helping young people to feel

recognised and a part of a community, when so often they’re

being pushed out and being told their opinions don’t matter, their

identities don’t matter, that whatever challenges they’ve been

through aren’t valid.”

Marginal is a very open programme, possibly taking Comics

Youth away from strictly dealing with sequential art. “We have

found that quite a few of our young people are interested in

exploring avenues of poetry or fiction or memoir that aren’t just

artwork based or word based,” Amy adds. “We’re just gonna

see where their ideas take them and support them in fulfilling

that.” The idea is that the young people involved know what their

stories are, and the best ways to tell them. Marginal, and Comics

Youth more broadly, sits just as a way to facilitate and resource

their goals.

The fluid, member-led direction of the project means that

these young people can find solidarity in shared experiences:

“They’re able to lead with those experiences, help out and give

advice,” confirms Amy. This is a key part of Comics Youth’s ethos,

across the wide eight to 25 age range. “It’s not just going to

somewhere and the people that run the space be involved with

you and support you, but also having peers that are a little bit

older and also able to take you under their wing, show you that it

gets better, and keep going.”

Teenage years can be quite

isolating, which is perhaps

exacerbated by the constant

presence of the internet in all of our

lives. We’re always being looked

at, scrutinised. Amy comments that

“everything’s become very insular,

but very global, and that can be so

overwhelming for young people,

especially if you do have mental

health issues like so many young

people do, like so many of us do.

Technology can be so overwhelming”.

But, through this communal act of

creation, young people can explore

their identities in a safe space, away

from the gaze and judgement of online spaces. In this, it becomes

vital that what they create is physical. “To take those narratives

away from digital spaces, by handing out a limited-run zine in a

community that you feel a part of, is massive,” says Amy. “That’s

the thing when you publish physical media, you don’t have to

look at comments, you don’t have to be following hashtags to see

backlash, or people having a go, it can just be enjoyed on its own

terms.”

This puts Comics Youth, and Marginal, in a punk tradition of

people on the edges doing it themselves, making their own art,

telling their own stories, outside of the mediation of institutions.

A tradition that birthed the kind of zines they still make at Comics

Youth, the kind of zines that led to these very pages.

Amy sees this as a natural socio-political cycle. “I think at the

moment we’ve gone back to a scene that you saw growing in the

late 70s and 80s, where, similar to right now, the economy and

the government was failing marginalised people and marginalised

voices. During that time, a lot of comics and zine culture started

coming into fruition, because people got sick of not being heard

and not having their stories told. We’re coming back around to

this idea.” But this is only meaningful if it remains accessible,

affordable and grassroots based. Things that may have started

as a part of a DIY culture have, over the years, shifted into more

corporate, branded entities. “It isn’t just zines, it’s [evident in] the

“We want to connect

communities and reach

out to people who

don’t see themselves

in a lot of stories”

whole DIY culture, like Thrasher. Maybe skateboarding wasn’t

the most inclusive of scenes, but it stood for something, and it

was a community where a lot of young men – who were maybe

disadvantaged – came together and created a network and

community to support one another, during a time where a lot of

men experienced mental health hardships. But then you see how

that’s become so corporate, it’s become a brand, and it’s what

girls on Instagram use to get more likes, or whatever.”

This dilution of DIY culture has meant that while the style

and signifiers of the scene have become mainstream, the actual

creation of new work has become more insular and gatekept,

mirroring the mainstream publishing culture that too often

excludes new voices. Commenting on the scene as it is in London

(“where it’s £10 for a booklet from Goldsmiths”), Amy points out

that “they’re beautiful but no one can

afford them”.

Liverpool isn’t London, though,

and our city has a history of standing

up for communities that have been

forgotten by the powerful. “I think

we have a real culture for making

our own shit, being punk rock and

rebellious,” asserts Amy. “I think it

does come from the music scenes

we have, and the arts scenes,

where everything is very DIY,

because people don’t have the same

resources; you have to make your

own scene.” It makes Liverpool a

perfect place to begin an injection

of new energy, new voices and

new authenticity into the DIY zine space. Amy adds that “the

scene definitely needs a fresh injection of voices, which is kind

of what we want Marginal to be: to encourage people to have

the confidence, as well as the skills, to feel like they deserve to

be writing, that their stories are interesting and their creativity is

wonderful”.

While Comics Youth currently gives space and resources for

young people’s expression, they’re ambitious and always on the

lookout for new directions to expand and collaborate. “We believe

that LGBT young people deserve a voice, and BAME young

people deserve a voice, that the young shouldn’t be marginalised

and should be given a platform. That’s why we’re just pushing for

bigger and better. We want to make it accessible, affordable, and

we want to connect communities and reach out to people who

haven’t been heard and don’t see themselves in a lot of stories.”

Their ambition doesn’t cloud their purpose; they are only driven

by the goal of facilitating accessible, radical expression by young

people with stories to tell but whose voices are left unheard. !

Words: Edward Haynes / @teddyhaynes

For more information on Comics Youth membership and further

involvement, visit comicsyouth.co.uk.

16


Image: Liv Free, Crow's Eye Productions

25 October 2019

to 1 March 2020

Members go free

Buy tickets online

liverpoolmuseums.org.uk


18


MARVIN

POWELL

Classic Americana songwriting is baked into the soul of this Mersey wanderer, which results in a satisfying

payoff for an album that’s been more than three years in the making.

Classic songwriting has this lingering, timeless quality to it, as though it’s always existed;

built on melodies that chime with something deep in your soul, and lyrics that feel so

disarmingly simple and direct that it’s a marvel that they haven’t been uttered before.

As a student of classic songwriting, MARVIN POWELL knows this well. A selftaught

guitarist and an impulsive, organic songwriter, he filters his flighty thoughts of nature, travel

and discovery through a classic strain of Americana that feels as natural as anything that’s gone

before.

Since emerging onto the scene in 2015 with the Nick Drake-like Buried, Powell has been

chasing that elusive unicorn that is the lot of all songwriters – the album. That it’s taken Powell and

his label, Skeleton Key Records, over three years to piece together a record that does justice to the

songs, tells you as much about the desire to get it right as it does about the nature of the tinkering

songwriter. What started out as a full band has since been pared back to a trio, with Powell on

acoustic guitar, Matt Gray on 12-string guitar and Fiona Skelly on djembe.

Dust Of The Day is the product of their tinkering, an LP that has a deft feel for the shifting of

the seasons that makes it ideally suited to this Indian summer that we’re having. As with any classic

songwriter, Powell knows how to take you on a journey, leading you through the spider’s web of

stories and ideas that are, somehow, all linked together.

Upon the long-awaited release of the album, we caught up with Marvin Powell to find out more

about the agonising journey from nervous open mic songwriter to Dust Of The Day. Here, he tells

us of the journey his own album has been on, and what he has learnt

from it.

“The album was made over a period of about a year, starting back

in 2016. It started off as a full band, with drums and bass; we were

throwing the kitchen sink at it trying to see what sound we could get.

Then James Skelly suggested we take all the extra stuff off and do it

acoustically, so that delayed everything a bit. Buried and Samsara still

have drums and additional bits on, but the other tunes haven’t. It was

just acoustic, 12-string and a bit of percussion. They’re really natural –

and it works, the music works.

“Because I’m always writing songs, the order started moving around

as we took songs out and added new ones in. And that all had to fit as

one whole, which took a little bit longer. It can be frustrating working like

that. It sounds dead clichéd, that you have the angst as an artist. But I

just wanted to put it out.

“I’ve gigged this material for years – I mean, Buried originally came

out in 2015. It got radio play straight away, then I did another tune – but

then things got a bit stagnant and flat. Some of the tunes on the record

I wrote back in 2009. Travelling On and Above The Portuguese Café are

from 2010; Wind Before The Train is from 2011; and Dust Of The Day is from 2009. They were the

songs I was gigging with when I started playing the open mic nights around town.

“Opulent Heart is one of the newer songs on there, only about two years old. Samsara is a

good one to play live, and Move Through Me. But Buried sets the tone for the whole album – it

opens with this drone that blends into the opening chords on the 12-string. That’s a Raagini Digital

Eelctronic Tanpura machine that we nicked off The Coral!

“The only thing that did my head in was that I was constantly writing tunes, so my style was

changing. I was getting better as a songwriter, so I wanted to play them rather than the older, more

well-known stuff. I’ve already written nine songs for the next album! That’s why I’m so glad this

album is finally out. I wouldn’t say I’m over this music – I still really like it, and I hope other people do

too – but you can’t help moving on as an artist, keeping things fresh. That’s just the flow.

“The songs always change; I play them differently every time. It depends on the gig atmosphere

and the band. At first I had double bass and drums and guitars… I think I prefer it now, stripped

back, compared to all that. It just fits more with the vibe that the tunes should have. One day I

wouldn’t mind having the drums and bass back again, but for now I’m happy doing it more sparse.

“I like songwriting, writing tunes – that’s the pure version of me. I do like gigging, but I get dead

nervous, and that can take over. When I know I’ve made 20 mistakes in a gig, I can beat myself up

about it. I’m alright in the studio until that red light comes on and I have to play to a click. When

I’m playing at home, just messing about writing tunes, it feels really fluid; but when you get to the

studio it feels like work, so I tense up with the pressure. The work aspect does take the shine off

things a bit. But you’ve got to do it if you want to make a record – that’s the compromise. It can’t

sound like you’ve done it in your bedroom, it has to sound professional. At least with my music,

anyway.

“I don’t write to anything in particular – I just write because I have to. I don’t know what it is

that drives me, but I know that my head is full of loads of mad shit, so it’s a good way of getting it

out of my system! I’ve got books full of lyrics and bits of notes, but I don’t sit down to write song

“I write because

I have to. I don’t

know what it is that

drives me… it just

kind of happens”

structures – it just kind of happens. It’s a bit organic, just capturing that magic when it comes. I can’t

imagine not doing that because that’s always been the way I’ve done things, it’s my natural release.

I don’t even know if my music means anything, to be honest, it just is what it is.

“My music is a lot about feelings. I don’t always set out to write a specific tune, a lot of the time

it just comes to me. Like Buried and Samsara – where did they come from? But Wind Before The

Train is really to the point: it’s about going on a day out, having a bit of trouble, going away to sort it

out then coming back and everything was OK. Sometimes it surprises me what comes out, because

of where it’s come from. You have to be in this… magic space. I do think it’s very me, though: only

I could write those tunes. Like, when you hear a Nick Drake or a Joni Mitchell record and you think

that only they could have produced those songs, it’s the same thing. Even though I don’t know

where half of it has come from!

“This album is just the start for me, though. I’ll always, always keep writing – it’s just what I

know. There were loads of tunes that didn’t make this album that ended up on EPs, which I think

makes for a strong album. There were songs written that I’d have liked to have been on there – like

Enigma Girl – but when we broke it down and made it acoustic, I think the songs that are on there

now fit quite well together.

“The idea is to keep building this world and mood around my music, from album to album. It’d

be nice to change and mix it up a little bit in the future – like maybe try a bit of electric guitar. It’s

something that I’ve always said I wouldn’t do, but it might be nice to try one day. Maybe even some

mad synth tunes!

“I wouldn’t even say that what I do is folk music, but other people

often describe it like that. Probably just down to the acoustic guitar.

It’s just music, isn’t it? It’s good to keep changing – that’s what I like in

other artists. It shows tenacity. Like Dylan when he went electric, or

Joni Mitchell when she made all those jazz albums. They’re just staying

true to themselves, which is all you can do. The stuff I’m working on

now, for what might be the second record, is very much in the same

acoustic vein. But if I’m lucky enough to keep making records, I’d like to

do something a bit different – a bit mad! – after that. You’re always on a

learning curve as a songwriter, so things have to develop.

“Because I know so many musicians, I love listening to all their stuff,

so I don’t tend to listen to loads and loads of new music. Maybe Aldous

Harding – The Barrel is a serious tune. I like a bit of Courtney Marie

Andrews, too. Obviously I love all the classic stuff: Neil Young, Dylan,

Joni Michell, James Taylor and Nick Drake. Those songwriters of that

era who set the bar for all of us now. Those five people are the root of

what’s going on now, and you still can’t really look past them.

“I love lyrics, that’s what I get from music. You can be the best

guitarists and musicians and have an amazing stage presence, but when

you open your mouth and nothing meaningful comes out… it’s such a waste.

“I started playing guitar when I was 15. I was lucky because I worked at Urban Coffee, on

Smithdown Road, and I got to watch all the acts who’d come in for the open mic night on a

Wednesday. I learned guitar by watching people play. Then I used to get up myself, and it all

started from there. They’re the kind of places where you get the bug – even though I was always

really nervous about playing! I still get nervous now about playing live. The more gigs you play, the

more comfortable you feel – but it doesn’t necessarily get easier.

“There have been loads of times where I’ve felt like I don’t wanna do it any more. It can be

frustrating. But I’ve always had loads of support. I got a message from someone on Instagram the

other day, saying, ‘Your music spurs me on’. That’s the reason why you keep doing it. If you can

make one person say, ‘Ah, your tunes really made me feel something,’ then it’s worthwhile. I was

buzzing when I read that, it’s such a nice thing for someone to say. That’s the plus side to it that

balances out against the nerves.

“Putting this album out is a bit of a release. I wouldn’t say it’s, like, one chapter closing and

another one opening. It’s out, it’s done, I can sleep now! I can move on to the next one now, and

focus on writing more tunes. That’s a nice thing to have as a cycle, I’m quite looking forward to that,

if I’m lucky enough to be able to keep on doing it. I’m always writing songs – and for as long as

people wanna hear what I’ve got, I’ll keep doing it.” !

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp

Photography: Anna Benson and Ian Skelly

soundcloud.com/marvinpowellofficial

Dust Of The Day is out now via Skeleton Key Records. Marvin Powell plays Leaf on 27th

September.

FEATURE

19


My friend, Alireza Nassimi was a swan, a black swan.

He lived a hermitic life and died a death of absolute

loneliness. Alireza and I were in an unrequited love

for Shiraz, that behemoth Narcissus. Shiraz did

not like its admirers, its poets. It was a Jerusalem who stoned

its messengers. So, we pined away until all that remained of us

were our voices, our poems. Alireza went west, and I went to the

West. He went to Qalat,

a village near Shiraz,

and in a sleety night

overdosed, after he gave

his manuscripts to fire.

For seven years

after my friend’s death

in a ravine in Qalat, a

village near Shiraz, my

throat was occluded

with a morsel of grief,

but all my efforts to

make him a garland

with my words were

doomed to failure. My

overpowering grief was

intermingled with a

fear that what I would

produce might well be

prone to become, in Tennyson’s words, a “sad mechanic exercise

in measured language” (In Memoriam).

My migration to England took place some six years after

Alireza’s translation into the netherworld. Maybe I was like H.

D.’s Helen, who “need[ed] peace and

time to reconstruct the legend” (Helen in

Egypt). I finally found the peace, time, and

breath I needed, in Liverpool, where my

prenatal silence of travelling in the dark of

a shipping container ended, and I opened

my eyes to a different world.

In September 2018, a wooden wall

which separates a construction site from

a pavement at Great George Street in

Liverpool was covered with a long list of

34,361 documented deaths of asylum

seekers, refugees and migrants who had

lost their lives within or on the borders of

Europe since 1993 “due to the restrictive

policies of ‘Fortress Europe’” I found

myself several times standing in front of

that list of many fates, gawping at the

names, ages, regions of origin and causes

of deaths. The list was a frame containing

a myriad of stories; stories of us,

stowaways and steerage passengers of

the world. It was a memorial to poverty,

as opposed to “a memorial to money”

which is what Robert Hampson calls St

George’s Hall in Seaport.

It did not take someone more than

a week to come and daub ‘INVADERS

NOT REFUGEES!’ on the list. I

could not thank the unknown

hatemonger enough, for they

made me rethink a key concept in

an epiphanous moment. I loosely

translated the three English words

in my mind and came up with a

slogan in Persian: “MOHAJEM

NA MOHAJER!”. I told myself, “let

me see things through their eyes.

They are the ghost defenders of

the city. Their monolithicity is at

stake. What if I, a man of colour,

a writer of scripts that look like

scribbles in their eyes, am an

invader in effect?” that epiphany

broke a seal, and I could see my

work’s ethos in a new light.

The two main speakers of

Nassim’s Testament, Nassim and

Vahid, abandon their village and

the ruined poetry they once built

on its riverbank, in search of a

Kingdom. That Kingdom, we soon

find out, is the United Kingdom.

Unlike the heroes of the traditional

epic, who demonise the Others,

Nassim and Vahid are able to see themselves as demons through

the eyes of the Others. This is how their flesh is translated at the

very outset of their entrance by their hosts.

Vahid has a Persian poem named The Letters, about the

migration of Persian scripts. In that short poem, the calligraphed

scripts desert a manuscript, going to the blank banks of “the

rivers flowing from the left to the right”, and reside there on the

margins forever. Persian is written from the right to the left. Vahid

sees that poem as an autobiography of himself and Nassim. They

migrated to the UK clandestinely, in fear for their lives. They spent

days and nights in shipping containers to get to somewhere safe.

Once in the UK, they were sent to Liverpool, the city wherein

they had to wait for their turn on the day of judgment, to be

interviewed by UKBA (UK Border Agency).

It was in an evening when Nassim and Vahid arrived at

Liverpool. There was nothing sinister in the air. Year 2013 was

before the time when one needed to answer a sphinx’s riddle

correctly in order to be let into a city. They were unaware,

nonetheless, that modern cities also have their own sphinxes,

planted not necessarily at their entrances, but in every corner of

them – on the thresholds of every micro-territory. They realised

that only after they encountered the frowning Liver birds. What

did that emblem mean? It was a

scowling heron-like bird holding three leaves with its beak.

A ritual was needed to appease the bird’s wrath: a sacrifice,

or an offering was obliged to the Liver bird. Vahid and Nassim

were Iranian poets; before then, they had composed poetry only

from the right to the left, and not the other way around; they

were disarmed now, and empty-handed. They knew that only

through writing a tribute to the city, could they cajole the bird into

having them in its nest. A poem written and read aloud only in

Persian would probably infuriate the bird. Therefore, Vahid and

Nassim’s poem had to be forced out of its natal language in order

to be accepted as an offering.

On Alireza Nassimi’s burial day, ISNA, The Iranian Students

News Agency, published a lie that is the established account of

his death to the day. As long as I was in Shiraz after that – that is,

for six years – I conformed with the misleading narrative with my

smothering silence. But, eventually, there came a time to write a

palinode, a rebuttal.

The lie to I was going to respond to even quoted another one

of Nassimi’s friends to prove its own forged authenticity: “I will

say very clearly what the cause of Alireza Nassimi’s death was.

Nassimi, who spent his nights with the homeless to write a little

of their reality, was sad because of the coldness we had caused

him. He had gone to take refuge in nature’s arms. He went to

Qalat to visit his poet friend, Vahid Davar. It was on his way to

Davar’s house that he slipped on the snow, [fainted] and froze”.

That account, with its melodramatic transparency, banalised the

untranslatable opacity of my

friend’s death. He had phoned

“I finally found the peace,

time, and breath I needed,

in Liverpool, where

my prenatal silence of

travelling in the dark

of a shipping container

ended, and I opened my

eyes to a different world”

NASSIM’S

TESTAMENT

Iranian poet Vahid Davar considers the inherent

sacrifice that migration demands, after living

in Liverpool for a period after fleeing Qalat, a

town near Shiraz. The following extracts are

taken from his dissertation, which discusses

whether a new language can be a resurrection.

me from a pay phone a few hours

before he went to a ravine in

close vicinity of where I used to

live, unbeknownst to me. He had

told his siblings he was going

to my place. And it was a sleety

night.

Mehdi Hamidi’s allegorical

ghazal, the Beautiful Swan, in

its depiction of the death of the

swan, shows how the bird seeks

seclusion, sits on a wave and

goes to a distant corner to sing

until she dies among her own

songs. My ghazal-writer friend

sang his swan song when he was

in the 33rd year of his life. They

say when a scorpion is encircled

within a ring of fire, it stings itself. Beckoned by the eidolon of

his mother, I suppose, who was stabbed in her youth by Alireza’s

father, consumed by addiction and poverty, that “lost angel of a

ruined Paradise” stung himself, when self-murder seemed to be

his last resort.

I was a frail cygnet when I

stepped out of the dark with six other

heterogeneous litters of the same

womb, the same shipping container. I

was too frail to stand in dole queues; I

was too frail to endure the Liver bird’s

frowning stare; I was not strong enough

to see ‘NO REFUGEES’ daubed by the

night host on Jamaica Street’s walls. I

was in dire need of Nassim, because

“one swan and one cygnet / were

stronger than all the host / assembled

upon the slopes”.

Nassim and Vahid could have

been two more names on the list of the

documented deaths. There were names

on the list as unspecified as “N.N.” and

regions of origin as unsure as “Somalia,

Iran”. The descriptions were as sharp as

“stowaway, found frozen in landing gear

of airplane in Brussels” and “drowned

after boat capsized, found on beach

near Kenitra”. The list was an artwork by

Banu Cennetoğlu, presented as part of

Liverpool Biennial 2018. I do not know

if Cennetoğlu has ever faced ethical

questions concerning her cenotaph,

since in her craftless work, art

is reduced to naked concept.

It is not only modern

elegists who question elegising

ethically. Jahan Ramazani

highlights Hardy’s berating

“himself for fashioning

numerous poems out of

his wife’s death”, Owen’s

uneasiness “about profiting

artistically from carnage on the

battlefield”, and Hill’s worry

“that his elegiac poetry, like

other artistic, commercial, and

historical memorials, helps

to make their [the victims of

Nazi genocide’s] long death

documented and safe” – “the

transfiguration of the dead

into consolatory art”. Masud

Sa’d Salman, the medieval

Persian prisoner poet, after his

friend’s death briefly wrote:

“On Mohammad Alavi’s death

/ I wanted to breathe a couple

of poems out || Methinks,

however, that in the world

/ It is vulgar of one to write a poem henceforth” (my verbatim

translation).

Neither Masud Sa’d’s anti-elegy nor its Western counterparts

can make me feel ashamed for having composed an elegiac epic.

Had I not written Nassim’s Testament, all that would remain

about Alireza’s demise would probably be a number of watery

posts in the blogosphere, a lie on ISNA, and even worse, a

manipulative report on an anti-regime website which attributes

his mysterious death to agents of the regime. News headlines

mask bodies with scraps. They read: “Two cars badly damaged as

skip truck overturns near Walsall Academy” or “Russian warplane

shot down by rebels in Syria”. It is as if the press laments the

destruction of vehicles. Maybe this provides adequate grounds

for elegising. !

Words and Illustrations: Vahid Davar

20


Box office:

theatkinson.co.uk

01704 533 333

(Booking fees apply)

The Atkinson

Lord Street

Southport

PR8 1DB

Westwood

21 Sep 2019 – 28 Mar 2020

Free entry


Mon – Sat

10am – 4pm

A thought provoking exhibition about The Grand

Dame of fashion, Vivienne Westwood.


INTERSECTIO

Matt Hogarth of Eggy Records reflects on a cultural exchange

that saw a bit of Liverpool transplanted to Russia and a creative

community on the banks of the Volga.

If you told me last year that I would have accompanied three

bands for a state-sponsored trip to Russia, I would’ve said

that you were deluded. For almost two years I had been

trying to convince my previous girlfriend to go to Moscow

for a week of Communist history, ogling brutalist architecture

and visiting the resting place of Lenin, arguing how this was

time better spent than on a beach holiday. This was, somewhat

unsurprisingly, to no avail. So when I got a call out of the blue

from Kevin McManus (one of Liverpool’s soundest people and

mastermind of the Capital of Culture bid back in 2008) asking

if I wanted to pick some bands from my label, Eggy Records, to

go and play in Russia, I bit his hand off.

The thought of some of Eggy’s finest left unsupervised in

Russia was enough to fill my heart with dread – which is why

my presence as chaperone was justified. Having managed to

stow away with EYESORE & THE JINX, STORES (formed from

the ashes of Jo Mary and Hannah & The Wick Effect) and friend

of the eggs, ALI HORN, I’m soon lost in a swirl of forms and

passport details. The trip has been organised under the banner

of the UNESCO Creative Cities network. As a UNESCO City of

Music, Liverpool is committed to helping expand the reach of

the city’s musical identity around the world, showing that there’s

far more to it than The Beatles et al. While in Russia, the bands

will perform at two events in different cities – one of them in

Ulyanovsk, a UNESCO City of Literature – as representatives of

Liverpool’s current music scene.

The run up to the trip feels like a surreal fever dream. Russia

could perhaps be seen as one of the few enigmatic frontiers

in Europe. A vast landmass so large it’s home to almost 200

nationalities and races, both native and from bordering countries.

The Iron Curtain may have fallen over 30 years ago but its

shadow still hangs heavy, with a large number of westerners

not really knowing what Russia is actually like. From the

Novichok attacks, which were allegedly the work of Russian

secret services, to a regressive attitude towards LGBTQ+, British

perceptions of the country are still mixed.

The mood in the group is a little giddy. As our Aeroflot flight

touches down in Moscow, the hammer and sickle badges on the

stewards’ brilliant red blazers flicker golden in the light. We are

met at the airport by Alex, without whom we would probably

still be there today, lost among commemorative Vladimir Putin

plates and surviving on a diet harvested exclusively from vending

machines. “You all have such beautiful names,” Alex says once

we’ve introduced ourselves to him. “Samuel Paul Warren: it’s

perhaps the most beautiful name I’ve heard.”

Having educated Alex on how Liverpool is far better

22


than Manchester (using the analogy of Moscow versus Saint

Petersburg) we settle down for the night before we fly to our final

destination: Ulyanovsk. Most famously known as the birthplace

of Lenin, it’s another hour and a half away on a plane and not a

place that tourists visit too often. We arrive in the city, which sits

on the banks of the Volga river, and are met by the friendly face

of our host Svetlana (who will become known more affectionately

as Svetti for most of the trip).

The culture shock doesn’t immediately hit until we tuck in

to what we think is a trifle (it turns out to be a herring salad

with beetroot and creamed potatoes), but Svetlana brings us

firmly back to ground. A quick walk down the road and we’re

plunged straight into jam sessions with local musicians. Despite

our initial awkward British stiffness, barriers are quickly broken

down as songs twist wildly from Marilyn Manson’s version of

Sweet Dreams through to Sweet Jane. Later, after a bottle of gin

poured between five glasses of some red version of 7 Up has

firmly broken down any remaining

barriers, we’re sat in front of an

English-speaking class, smoking

apple and blackcurrant ciggies and

feeling slightly in the spotlight.

Most of the people here haven’t

heard someone with a British

accent in the flesh before, let alone

encountered the kind of North

Liverpool drawl that is Josh from

Eyesore’s stock in trade. It’s our

first real chance to chat properly

with groups of young Russians,

and conversation soon turns to

the semantic differences between

Russian and English swearing.

The rest of the night is a lilting haze of booze, conversation and

serenading cats. Even a rather tense 3am street fight can’t quell

the mood.

After a breakfast of spicy sausages and cheese, we head

out to see the city and visit a few museums. The 19th Century

home of famous novelist Goncharov is juxtaposed with the

brutalist architecture we find ourselves immersed in. We

wander from warm period rooms to wet squares where metal

sculptures of Lenin and Marx sprout from the ground. After

a stop-gap tour of the region’s natural history by one of the

most enthusiastic women I’ve ever met, it’s time for a press

scrum. We’re surrounded by cameras and lights and someone

translates our every word as I deliver a talk about Eggy Records.

It’s disorientating, wondrous and slightly surreal. Sitting outside

on a bench painted like a piano adorned with Nickelback lyrics,

my head explodes as I start to ponder that thriving music

communities exist worldwide from Birkenhead to Ulyanovsk.

“We’re surrounded by

cameras and lights and

someone translates

our every word… It’s

disorientating, wondrous

and slightly surreal”

Our email adorns the chalk wall in the Records Music Bar in

Ulyanovsk and one day we (Eggy) want to sign a band from

there – maybe from one of the people gathered in that room. One

question that also resonates strongly is “How many shows get

cancelled in the UK?”. Aside from illegal raves and isolated high

profile cases (Tyler, The Creator), this isn’t something we’re used

to, but is something that’s prevalent in Russia. It rings true that

the feeling of censorship isn’t one that is supported in this room,

with fans of music spread throughout citing love of everyone

from The Exploited to Brockhampton. This is highlighted when

Svetti takes us to the top of one of the highest buildings in the

city for a fancy dress rave that has us dancing wildly to hardcore

and gabber.

The following day finds us walking past the home of FC

Volga Ulyanovsk and murals depicting Putin and leaders from the

Russian Orthodox Church on our way to the city’s Intersection

Of Music festival. Today is Day Of Youth, a national holiday for

the young people of Russia, and

the city’s local residents (as well

as neighbouring Dimitrovgrad and

Cheboksary) are being introduced

to modern British music culture –

through us. The press events and

‘masterclass’ meetings are all part

of this initiative, with the aim of

promoting and developing the proto

music industry that exists locally.

A street has been closed off

for the festival, and a rather angry

old woman comes out shouting

as we soundcheck. Sam takes a

picture of a group of locals gathered

nearby, saying “cheerski” as he

does (a phrase not too dissimilar to ‘tits’), much to the group’s

amusement. The performances go down well throughout the

day, culminating with Eyesore’s performance which features a

punter continually hoisting his five-year-old son onstage, who

claps furiously as Josh attempts his hardest to not smack him in

the head with his bass. My paranoia leads me to panic the rest

of the group into thinking that we’re being followed by a spy, but

it’s a little more than a rather curious middle-aged man (to our

knowledge).

That night we end up in an iron forge at three in the morning

with a blacksmith making a bottle opener in flip flops. One of the

group samples the sound of the forge and starts to make it into a

dance tune. It’s a surreal experience which again shows just how

open and inviting our hosts are. Having wandered back to their

version of Ye Cracke, it’s time to call it a night.

Our last day in Russia sees us split into two groups, with

Stores, Ali Horn and myself heading to nearby town Cherdakly,

and Eyesore heading to Dimitrovgrad with their manager, Cath.

As we wave off our mates on a minibus to the ‘concrete city’, we

jump into another one. “We’re going to a beehive,” Svetti lets

us know. We bounce down the road to Cherdakly (population

11,000) and bond with Svetti over a love of dark British comedy,

like Peep Show and The Mighty Boosh.

We arrive, to an exceptionally warm welcome, at the house of

Gennadiy, a spacious place in the middle of nowhere. Gennadiy’s

passion breaks all language barriers as he tells us about the bees

he keeps, their politics and fighting wasps. We stand entranced in

our beekeeping mesh headwear, eating raw honey from the hive

as Gennadiy keeps us entertained. We sit and drink homemade

honey mead with him, downing shot after shot of the sweet, high

strength alcohol, Svetti’s face becoming more and more worried

at the amount we’re drinking at midday prior to the show.

“This one is alcohol free,” Gennadiy says. We down the shot.

“I lied, ha ha ha!”

Gennadiy seems to have life sorted, enjoying the simple

pleasures of homegrown food, the peace and quiet of nature and

a close family. It’s something I often look back on and envy. We

take a picture with Gennadiy and his wife in front of a Pushkin

quote, honey in hand, and receive the strongest hug ever received

as we part ways.

The show in Cherdakly is a slightly more rough and ready

affair with us arriving at what feels a bit like a glorified summer

fair. Stores – preceded by a prepubescent dance troupe – stand

on stage like some scene in a strange arthouse film, as Sam is

plagued by electric shocks and the soundman attempting to add

flanger to his guitar. Ali goes down better, being asked to play

more and more Springsteen covers.

It’s an odder situation for Eyesore, who perform inside a

behemoth of a brutalist building, with police stood either side

of the stage and a massive area in front of the stage roped off,

where only a handful of toddlers dance and cartwheel – in front

of a huge bust of Lenin.

With a four o’clock shuttle to the airport we decide to stay

up and enjoy the pleasures of late night Russian TV. As I watch

two scantily clad women wrestle in oil on the telly, I reflect on my

time here. It’s perhaps one of the maddest trips I’ve ever been on.

British media is often quick to display Russia as overly serious

and restrictive, but the people we have met here are among the

kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met. From the eccentric Max

Rock ’n’ Roll to our host Svetti, and the class dreampop group

Love Fade, the people have welcomed us – a bunch of heavydrinking

wools and Scousers – into their world and shown us, at

full throttle, how boss their country is. We’ll be back for sure, and

hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later. !

Words: Matt Hogarth

N OF MUSIC

FEATURE

23


SPOTLIGHT

“Music is

a pleasant

distraction from

life: a form of

escapism”

ENNIO THE LITTLE BROTHER

This North Wales artist has caught the ear of Merseyside label

Mai 68 with his idiosyncratic, soulful dream hop.

Have you always wanted to create music?

Yes… then no… then yes again. I had a brief stint of wanting to

be a priest, so I spent many days at the living room table offering

my family the body of Christ in the form of Discos crisps. When

I was about nine or 10, though, I performed Everlong by the Foo

Fighters at a school assembly on an out of tune Yamaha EG112

guitar and haven’t looked back since. Classic.

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially

inspired you?

John Frusciante performing Usually Just a T-Shirt #3 on the Red

Hot Chili Peppers’ Off The Map DVD. That performance hit me

like a frying pan to the face. I was floored that the guitarist in

one of the biggest bands on the planet had this other side (no

pun intended) to him that was so vulnerable, raw, honest and

beautiful.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?

Not particularly, I enjoy the flow of an overall set, like how the

slower pieces contrast the big thumpy joints, and vice-versa. It’s

ace when your energy on that given day affects the tone of a

song and evokes different feelings than you initially intended with

the words. Having said that, Dungarees is fun to play ’cos there’s

a dead fast rappy bit at the end.

If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you

say?

I would say my music encapsulates sitting on the couch in comfy

PJ bottoms eating homemade apple crumble and custard while

wondering why you threw that baggy Fila hoodie away three

years ago. But that never pops up as an option on the drop down

menu when you’re applying for festivals.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions,

current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?

Food.

If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?

Loyle Carner.

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what

makes it special?

St. Mary’s Creative Space in Chester was a special experience.

Performing to a seated audience in an atmosphere where you

could hear a pin drop was incredibly haunting and beautiful. Hold

on, what am I talking about? I played a gig on a boat once. That

was rad.

Why is music important to you?

Sometimes I feel like music is a pleasant distraction from life and

stuff: a form of escapism. But I think it might actually be the other

way around. What does that even mean? I don’t know… damn

you, Bido Lito!, for sneaking in a serious question and making my

brain do the equivalent of 25 push-ups.

Image: Ross Davidson

@enniothelittlebrother

Ennio The Little Brother features on a split EP with Campfire

Social, out now via Mai 68 Records.

26


KINGFAST

Caught in a loop with the inventive

songwriter and guitarist who has

roots in Belfast and Kingston.

If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would

you say?

You guys once described my music as “soulful pop numbers”,

which I felt was extremely accurate and I don’t think I could

describe it better myself.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?

I love performing my own music and my upcoming single One

Day is actually my favourite to perform. It has a catchy hook to it

and people always seem to engage with it the most of all of my

songs, lyrically and sonically.

How did you get into music?

I’ve definitely always wanted to perform.

Writing never used to be something

I was passionate about when I was

young, but different inspirations made

me want to write things myself and

put my own ideas on paper. Once

you’ve started and you get the bug it is

impossible to stop. So many silly things

have made me want to write songs,

such as watching 8 Mile and School

Of Rock, as well as more traditional

ways, like seeing live performances by

virtuosos.

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of

music that initially inspired you?

Every big gig that I’ve been to I feel has changed me as a

performer and made me want to become more and more

dynamic on stage. The first artist I went to see was The

Darkness, I must have been 11 years old, and that just really just

made me want to get on the stage.

“Once you’ve started

making music and

you get the bug, it is

impossible to stop”

What do you think is the overriding

influence on your songwriting: other

art, emotions, current affairs – or a

mixture of all of these?

Inspiration always comes from a

multitude of avenues for me, so

definitely a mixture. Usually I write

about current affairs, but also through a

personal lens so that I can emotionally

connect to my music too.

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve

performed in? If so, what makes it

special?

Liverpool has some incredible spaces:

the Zanzibar has a thumping sound

system and I have had a couple of great gigs there. Same with

24 Kitchen Street. However, my favourite is probably District.

One great thing about it is the height of the stage so you can get

a good view of the crowd and vice-versa. Again, the sound is

incredible.

Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito!

readers might not have heard?

AYA has just started releasing some singles and I couldn’t

recommend an artist with soul more. His last release was called

Craving You and it has a very earworm nature, but has depth too.

It’s no coincidence that I selected him to support me for my single

launch [20th September in EBGBs].

Why is music important to you?

In this day and age, everybody is really connected to music

because of the vastness of availability and the wide variety of

genres. For me, personally, there are certain songs that genuinely

just make me feel emotions, whether that is the timbre of

someone’s voice, the lyrics or sometimes a combination of the

two. Music has become a part of everyday life and being able to

create it is brilliant as I can completely immerse myself in writing

and making something from scratch.

Photography: GCH Photography

@kingfast_music

KingFast’s first single, One Day, is out from 20th September.

Alexis Teplin

At Bluecoat, Liverpool

Sat 26 Oct 2019 – Sun 23 Feb 2020

Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX

thebluecoat.org.uk

@thebluecoat @the_bluecoat @thebluecoat

Funded by:

Supported by:

Arch (The Politics of Fragmentation), 2016, performance, Sydney Biennale


PREVIEWS

can put it out’, and it was just for fun, really. People were saying,

‘You’re doing stuff and you’re not being paid, why are you doing

it?’ But it’s worth more to me to get the ideas out there.

Something like the snooker or the stone clearing, it was just, ‘Oh,

I wonder what would happen if I try and do this for, you know,

the rest of my life’ – ha! See if it turns out to be a fruitful idea,

see if it turns out to be boring and, if so, that’s funny, see where

it goes.

Some people are making hundreds of millions of dollars being

podcasters, so, you know, I’d like to say I was a genius and I saw

that coming but that wasn’t my motivation. My motivation was

to get ideas out there and on my own terms. Some of the really

big ones – No Such Thing As A Fish, My Dad Wrote A Porno and

The Guilty Feminist – they’re playing the Albert Hall and doing

massive worldwide tours. My Dad Wrote A Porno has been

going three or four years and none of them were particularly

famous before it. So to go from nothing to a world tour where

you’re selling thousands of tickets everywhere you go… a

stand up would look at that and go, ‘What the fuck, how’s that

happened?’

But I think my things have always been a little bit more niche and

when I was on TV it wasn’t mainstream stuff, and obviously a lot

of things I’m doing online are deliberately kind of almost trying

to get rid of listeners! Not so much RHLSTP, but it’s still not

kowtowing to the mainstream ideal.

COMEDY

RICHARD HERRING

Everyman Theatre – 23/10

The Podfather opens up about the art of subversiveness,

and how far his podcasting fame might take him.

Comedian and podcast stalwart RICHARD HERRING

brings his live interview show RHLSTP to the

Everyman in October. From his Hertfordshire home,

he talks to Sam Turner about the reasons for the

show’s success, the allure of podcasting and his other more

esoteric projects – podcasting snooker matches against

himself and clearing stones from a field while walking his

dog.

It’s interesting that there have been quite a few big personal

revelations on RHLSTP considering it’s a live performance

podcast.

I think people have got their reasons. There’s something

about the format, the weird

[emergency] questions, which

“People were saying,

‘You’re doing stuff and

you’re not being paid,

why are you doing

it?’ But it’s worth

more to me to get the

ideas out there”

I started doing in case I ran

out of things to say. It has a

knock-on effect: people have to

talk about something they’ve

never talked about before, it

opens the door and they feel

like they can talk about other

stuff. It’s not like a traditional

interview when you’re asking

the same questions and you

have your standard responses.

I’m not trying to find stuff

out and I think therefore it

relaxes people, and if they

want to reveal something

they reveal something. It’s just

conversations and if people trust you then hopefully they’ll give

you some good stuff.

And I suppose you never know what to expect. It could be a

light-hearted discussion, or deep, or political. I suppose that

keeps it interesting for you?

Yeh, I never really know and I’m quite good at adapting to who

the guest is and working out what they want to do. I guess it’s

just having that empathy to listen and understand when you’re

pushing things too far. Certainly over an hour you can’t just keep

the laughs going all that time. Maybe with Greg Davies and Bob

Mortimer you can, but with most people there’ll come a point

when it’s time to talk about something a little bit more seriously.

There’s the occasional one where it’s harder to get stuff out of

people or where it’s a bit more awkward, but people tend to like

those ones more! What I like about it is we put nearly everything

out. People can see how much stuff is good, how much stuff is

not that interesting, or where something doesn’t work. It proves

that the rest of the stuff is genuine. You

don’t get that on TV shows. Chat shows,

panel shows are all edited down, all the

eggy bits are taken out and all the leadup

bits are taken out.

Do you think what you do now is

a reaction against that over-edited

version of a lot of media? You’ve got

RHLSTP, but there’s also Me1 vs Me2

Snooker podcast and the Stone Clearing

podcast. Those are probably unlikely to

get commissioned as TV series…

Well, you never know! There was a series

for Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

so there might be for Stone Clearing, give

me another 10 years! What attracted

me in the first place was the autonomy.

When I started with Andrew Collins, just after the Russell

Brand and Jonathan Ross thing, there was a crackdown on

offensiveness and swearing and upsetting people. And also,

you’re waiting months and years sometimes to get a project

green lit on the radio or the TV. So, I thought, ‘This is great, we

Do you get new podcasters asking you for advice in the same

way you’ll get comedians asking you for tips?

Yeh, a little bit but the advice for everyone is just, ‘Get on with it’.

I think asking for advice on any of this stuff is just a delay tactic,

really. If you want to be a stand-up get out and go and do some

shows. And with podcasting it’s the same. You don’t need to

hang around, you have this outlet and if you have an idea just

crack on with it – and if it’s terrible you can delete it. You’ve got

to build up an audience. I’ve been podcasting for what I think is

12 years now, and that’s what people don’t want to hear, it takes

a long time.

But there is a sort of meritocracy to it. People can say TV doesn’t

let certain people do this stuff and that’s true, it’s hard to get

involved in that world, but with a podcast, if you’re good there’s

no reason why you can’t go from nothing to the Albert Hall in

three years.

And some people might want to do it just as a way of

expressing themselves, they may not want to play the Albert

Hall…

Absolutely. With the snooker, the express idea was to have no

listeners. I think it started with about 30,000 in the first week

and it went quite quickly down to 5,000 but I can’t shake those

5,000 off. With Stone Clearing it’s… both of those are slightly like

art projects with tongue in cheek. The idea of doing something

relentlessly for a long, long time that has no end; they’re both

sort of similar themes. The snooker is kind of a battle against

yourself and the Stone Clearing is a sort of battle against your

mortality and the environment and the kind of uselessness and

the pointlessness of existing. They’re both sort of about that, but

then just the stupidity of someone doing it I hope is entertaining,

which I think it is. I genuinely think the Stone Clearing thing is

one of the best things I’ve done.

Even though the podcast is about me creating this wall [from

cleared stones] I was doing it before the podcast. I was genuinely

quite obsessed with it before I started doing the podcast, it’s a

heightened version of that obsession and me being paranoid. But

it’s weird, it gets into this transcendental thing where I’m being

paranoid that I’m being observed, which I am. I kind of don’t

want people in my village to know, but obviously they probably

do because it’s a podcast, but you sort of are hallucinating out

there and I’m seeing stuff and weird stuff is happening so it’s

quite an interesting look at the human mind! But it’s mainly sort

of how long can a man talk about one subject.

Yes, and people will use it for different reasons – the

meditative aspect being one…

I think people generally use it to go to sleep. People find it boring

enough that it sends them to sleep and then they’re annoyed

because there’s some quite jarring music at the end, ha! But

I quite like that. But when you create something you have no

power over how it’s going to be interpreted or what people are

going to do with it. Once you’ve put it out there it belongs to

whoever is ingesting it. I don’t think Salinger thought, ‘I’ll write

Catcher In The Rye and that’ll get John Lennon assassinated’.

It’s not Salinger’s fault directly, but that’s what happened. So, if

anyone gets assassinated because of Stone Clearing it’s not my

fault is what I’m trying to get at here. I just want to get that in. !

Words: Sam Turner

richardherring.com

RHLSTP With Richard Herring comes to the Everyman Theatre

on Wednesday 23rd October.

28


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PREVIEWS

CONVERSATION

BRADLEY WIGGINS

M&S Bank Arena – 03/10

Britain’s most decorated Olympian opens up about

the roots of his cycling obsession and how it has

helped him find new roads in the sport.

In a summer of rare national unity, it was British cycling

that reached the highest summit of all at the home

Olympics of 2012. There was one photo in particular

which encapsulated the moment cycling never had it so

good. There was BRADLEY WIGGINS, clad in Team GB Lycra,

sat cross-legged on a baroque throne in the centre of London,

shortly after finishing a race.

An undisturbed mod haircut had been released from his

helmet. More sideburn than perspiration is streaming down

his face. With forearms casually raised, apparel unzipped to

the sternum, he satisfyingly provides a two-fingered salute of

victory. It was every inch a statement of his own ability and the

cultural currency cycling was ready to cash in on.

The former Kilburn council estate Olympian had just taken

gold in the men’s road time trial – his fourth gold since 2004.

A week earlier he’d been the first Brit to wear the maillot jaune

as the Tour de France crossed the finish line on the Champs

Elysées. Irrespective of covering a distance of 44km in 50

minutes and 39 seconds on his way to glory that day in London,

Wiggins carried the composure of someone who’d drifted in from

a Brighton seafront parade, proceeding to dominate the course

on a Vespa wearing a freshly pressed Ben Sherman suit.

Cycling had reached a new paramount point of visibility

thanks to Wiggins. No longer was it to be a niche indulgence or

reluctant spectacle for channel hoppers discovering Eurosport

in the early hours. Wiggins was cool. Cycling was cool. Lycra

was sort of cool. (At least it is now unashamedly adorned on

inner city commutes.) A new, self-propelled mod had supplanted

Quadrophenia. It’s a journey and endeavour Wiggins is now

opening up about, from the perspective of the fan rather than

the athlete. Much of which is detailed in his book, Icons, and

adjoining speaking tour, something that he owes to a platform

built from what he did in the sport, which, he suggests, grants an

appeal to “an audience that maybe won’t always be into cycling”.

In a summer of national disunity, however, British cycling

and Wiggins are in separate worlds. The sideburns are now

gone, the mod haircut trimmed. On stage appearances with Paul

Weller are now few and far between. All these moments remain

in a time capsule of 2012. Wiggins paved the way for two more

British winners of the Tour de France (five wins between them

since 2013), but that summer was to carry him into the ease of

descent. There was no higher to

climb in the sport, only blockages in

the road. The 2016 parliamentary

inquiry into whether he and

Team Sky breached anti-doping

regulations arrived at the end of his

involvement in the sport. He and

Sky still deny wrongdoing. However,

there’s now a sepia bleed on those

images from 2012; a nostalgia

delivered earlier than expected. If

anything, it’s brought distance and,

in time, reopened the door to a

spectator’s intrigue. It’s a place that’s

reignited his interest and love for the

sport, without having to squeeze

into Lycra or suffer the ascent of the Col du Tourmalet.

“A lot of sportspeople don’t always know about the culture

surrounding the sport that they do, or its history. For me, that

was my first passion,” he notes, touching on how cycling started

as cultural obsession from within his bedroom (where he’d

hang on the words of Cycling Weekly, surrounded by posters of

previous Tour winners), rather than a quest for Olympic glory.

“Even if I hadn’t done what I’d done in the sport, I’d still have

that knowledge of the Tours, that passion for cycling and its

characters.”

Icons follows a more refined take on the aura of cycling;

the personalities behind the time gaps, the fashion beyond the

polka dot jerseys; essentially, the essence of the sport that isn’t

so overtly attached to the bike frame. It’s an account that would

discourteously be bound up in hipster nerdiness, if placed in

parallel to cycling iconography in hip London cafés. But it’s one

that focuses on the sport as more than a sport. In the same way

“A lot of sportspeople

don’t always know

about the culture or

history surrounding

their sport. That was

my first passion”

Sócrates was so much more than a towering midfielder draped

in the iconic yellow, blue and white of Brazil.

“I’ve been fascinated how all these old jerseys became

iconic and brands like Rapha have built the image from this sort

of heritage influence,” he starts, alluding to how a schoolboy

bookishness towards cycling ingrained his connection to the

encompassing culture. Icons serves as the shop window in

which Wiggins peered into the sport, detailing his relationship

with savoured memorabilia from a former era of cycling; a time

frame that carries a similarly golden shimmer as that very image

of him sat on the Olympic throne in 2012. “The [classic era] is

coming back into popularity,” he tells me over the phone from

somewhere in the middle of the Balearic sea. “I live in the North,

not far from Liverpool. Transalpino on Bold Street fully captures

the cultural moment of fashion and football.” The shop displays

how sport can emit a magnetic force that weaves together

football, footwear, fashion, music and exploration into a cohesive

movement, or, for many, a day-to-day obsession. “Cycling is the

same for me, really. I’ve always been massively into the culture

that surrounds the sport, the aesthetics, everything down to the

Adidas tracksuits that Eddy Merckx used to wear.”

It can, however, be difficult to unearth the riches of cycling’s

cultural pedigree. It is arguably one that is more at home on the

European continent. So much of contemporary British cycling

can be bound up as mid-life, expendable income pastime. Its

roots are not visibly wedded to culture and social enterprise,

as football is (or at least was). They exist, but perhaps as a

French, Italian, Dutch or Belgian export, rather than a culture

that propagates in the heart of the UK. Through spirited intruige,

Wiggins was able to self-teach the rich layers of style the sport

produces, the fantasy of cycling escapism, and the bravery it

would entail to reign as King of the Mountains. Yet, even when

Wiggins was taking gold in 2012, it was his association to mod

culture that caught the most limelight – not the journey from

cycling across central London to leading the peloton over the

Pyrenees.

Cycling may have reached new heights, but it’s still out

of reach as an all-inclusive interest. The nation is still decades

behind our European counterparts for cycling accessibility and

proficiency and, even with a former council estate Olympic

champion, cycling has remained an escape predominantly

restricted to the middle classes. “It’s still quite an elitist

environment. It comes with a certain kind of snobbery,” Wiggins

admits, when asked if his account is aiming to bridge cycling

to people from every social background. “I still don’t think it’s

massively appealing to the working classes. Ultimately, you still

need to have money to be a part of the elite side of it. It becomes

a competition of who’s got the latest £300 jersey. I don’t think

it’s very grounded or very inclusive. I think it’s quite an exclusive

world, based on finance and who can afford it. It’s become the

new golf.”

The characteristics of elite cycling may prove limiting

compared to other socially integrating sports. Yet, a £1,000

bike and matching apparel isn’t required to unlock its benefits.

“It was definitely a way of escaping where I grew up; the sense

of freedom that it gave me. I could go out on the bike, and in

five or six miles I could be in a different area. It still does that

for me. That was always the attraction and beauty of cycling.”

The escapist sentiment of the riders he adored was eventually

delivered through a pairing of

music and bike – a similar cultural

symbiosis to that of football, Adidas

trainers and post-punk. Ultimately, it

was the arrival of northern Britpop

that set the wheels rolling with

intent. “Listening to someone like

Liam Gallagher,” Wiggins begins,

“he was someone you could look

up to. It was like having someone

similar to yourself singing your

anthem. ‘I live my life in the city,

there’s no easy way out’. I took that

into my sport, all without having

to be physically strong, or carry a

knife.”

Wiggins’ own observations clearly underline that more

needs to be done to bridge cycling to the wider audience it

deserves. But five Olympic gold medals and a Tour de France

victory can only paint the picture for others. The escapist

sentimentality of cycling has to be experienced to be realised. If

his experiences tell you anything, two working wheels, the right

soundtrack and confidence is all that is needed to find your feet. !

Words: Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder

Bradley Wiggins: An Evening With takes place at The

Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena on Thursday 3rd October.

Bido Lito! CC in partnership with Ryde is a bi-weekly bike ride

open to all ages and abilities. The next meet is starts at Ryde in

the Baltic Triangle on Wednesday 2nd October, 6.30pm.

30


LEAP

FESTIVAL

LEAP

Various Venues

03/10-12/10

Now into its 26th year, LEAP can justifiably claim to be a

pillar of Liverpool’s cultural offering. Once again the festival,

programmed by Merseyside Dance Initiative, brings a wideranging

bill of dance performance to venues across the city,

in a landmark change to how dance is programmed in the North West.

Launching on Thursday 3rd October, LEAP brings global touring

production company MOTIONHOUSE to the Baltic Triangle’s Hinterlands.

Known for their stunning, large-scale performances – including the

opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games – Motionhouse

are the perfect foot for LEAP to start on in 2019, as part of their mission

to provide a platform for aspiring local dance artists and internationally

renowned performers in cross-artform storytelling.

Integrating dynamic choreography, acrobatic movement and handto-hand

partnering, the newly premiered WILD (Brighton Festival, May

2019), will be staged atop an urban forest of industrial scaffolding in

Constellations’ outdoor space, in a breathtaking show for audiences both

inside and outside the traditional dance world.

Over the following 10 days, there will be a range of further

dance performances to take in, including Seke Chimutengwende and

Alexandrina Hemsley’s BLACK HOLES, Rosie Kay Dance Company’s

FANTASIA and Neon Dance’s PUZZLE CREATURE.

“Liverpool has long been a city associated with music; from

Merseybeat to today’s variety of festivals for every genre imaginable,”

says Martina Murphy, MDI’s Director. “Dance isn’t possible without music,

and I want LEAP to make that connection this year – bringing dance to the

venues where music never stops, to a city that so clearly wants to dance!”

Head to mdi.org.uk/leap-2019 for the full programme of activity.

The Warehouse Project @ Mayfield Depot

CLUB

The Warehouse Project

winter season

Mayfield Depot and Victoria

Warehouse

20/09/19-01/01/20

Since 2006, The Warehouse Project has been taking over

some of Manchester’s biggest spaces with a contingent

of the world’s biggest electronic artists, MCs and bands.

Having made its sleepless bed in the cavernous Store

Street for the past few years, the September to January series will

be breaking in new ground for what promises to be one of its most

ambitious years to date.

Setting up at Mayfield Depot, a stone’s throw from WHP’s former lair

below Manchester Piccadilly, the series will run for 12 weeks, culminating

with the famous New Year’s Day Closing Party.

The series begins on 20th September with the small matter of

welcoming Cornish IDM legend APHEX TWIN for an evening entirely

of his own design. Richard D James will welcome along a challenging

ensemble for the curtain raiser featuring NINA KRAVIZ and LEE GAMBLE

among others, with a secondary opening party the following night

featuring the sounds of DISCLOSURE, ANNIE MAC and MARIBOU

STATE to name just a few.

Across the full series, usual collaborators and partners will return

for their own specialist nights within the Depot, including techno titans

Drumcode, local party starters Kaluki and Metropolis, Balearic pace

setters Paradise, and BICEP’s club focused arm Feel My Bicep. Elsewhere

across the series events will be curated by SKEPTA, FOUR TET, MURA

MASA, FAC 51 HACIENDA and FATBOY SLIM.

Live events within the series also include legendary duo

UNDERWORLD taking over the Depot on 5th December, with Australian

producer FLUME arriving in the city with a collection of special guests on

13th November. The full events series will include over 20 shows in all,

with Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse hosting both WHIZKID on 18th

October and SONNY FODERA on 15th November.

With arguably one of the most enviable line-ups of any of any WHP

to date, the series looks set to comfortably welcome Mayfield Depot

into the fold for 2019. And it’s no wonder with JOSEPH CAPRIATI,

BLACK MIDI, JEFF MILLS, OCTAVIAN, JOY ORBISON and PATRICK

TOPPING making up just a small handful of the talent set to descend on

Manchester over the course of 12 weeks. Dancing shoes at the ready.

EVENT DISCOVERY PARTNER

ticketquarter.co.uk

PREVIEWS 31


PREVIEWS

CLUB

ENRG: Art’s House

Invisible Wind Factory – 11/10

Art’s House

ARTWORK will not only be arriving in Liverpool with his

esteemed collection of house and wonky acid tracks, but he’ll

be packed for comfort with slippers in tow. Growing from a

rave in a front room to one of the biggest touring parties on

the UK circuit, the set up sees the one-time Magnetic Man

member draw the drapes on his party parlour and get into

the thick of his responsibilities as soundtrack navigator for

the evening. As with any successful house party, there’s a

strong cast of mates ready to pick up the AUX when needed,

with Leeds’ hot-handed duo PBR STREET GANG also in the

mix, along with GIDEON and ROSS ROBERTSON.

GIG

Theon Cross

Storyhouse Live – 06/10

One of the standout stars of the UK’s resurgent jazz scene, London

based tuba player THEON CROSS arrives in Chester on musical

duties for Stepping Tiger in what promises to be a night of exuberant

and inventive basslines and rhythms leads. Perhaps one of the most

distinctive and critically lauded albums of 2018, Sons Of Kemet’s

Your Queen Is A Reptile is a life-filled example of Theon’s inimitable

musicianship and feel for otherworldly arrangements. Pitching

up with his own ensemble of musicians, Theon’s show provides a

contemporary snapshot of the capital’s thriving jazz scene, exploring

its signature collection of sounds in his own distinctive and rhythm

inducing way.

Theon Cross

MUSICAL

Amélie The Musical

Playhouse – 14/10-19/10

Nominated for five Academy Awards upon its initial

cinematic release in 2001, global box office hit AMÉLIE

comes to Liverpool as an all-singing, all-dancing in a

musical. Focusing on the life of a young waitress living in

Paris, Amélie takes in the full spectrum of sights and sounds

emitting from the elevated artistic district of Montmartre,

following her journey to spread joy and happiness to all that

she meets. The production features Audrey Brisson as the

introverted, but socially conscious Amélie.

GIG

Michael Chapman

St Bride’s Church – 05/10

St Bride’s has become a regular backdrop for promoters Nothingville’s

lyrical sermons, and the latest meeting of the parish will be treated to

the sounds of wandering wordsmith MICHAEL CHAPMAN. A fixture

of the folk scene since as far back at the 1960s, Chapman has drawn

a resounding reputation from his knack for warming tales sketched out

on the open roads between Cornwall and London. His prosaic tones

will be in good stead alongside Liverpool’s own lyrical diarist NICK

ELLIS, with both performers well equipped to steal the hearts and

minds of an audience with a sole guitar slung over their shoulder.

CLUB

Gerd Janson

24 Kitchen Street – 05/10

Gerd Janson

Running Back label boss GERD JANSON has been generously spreading the soulful

grooves of deep house on his travels since the turn of the millennium. A regular fixture

at Frankfurt’s infamous Robert Johnson and likely your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ,

the German native has curated one of the most revered record bags over the years,

and is a trusted navigator of everything from the tuneful to the hard hitting. He, his

wondrous beard and selections will be front and centre at Kitchen Street for three

savoured hours, with SISBIS’ GIOVANNA set to play back to back with HILLAS. Don’t

be surprised to go home from this one with serious Discogs envy.

GIG

Pom Poko

Phase One – 14/10

Norwegian art rockers POM POKO are one of the more colourful

outfits to arrive in Liverpool in the coming month. Purveyors of

imaginary sonic confetti, their sporadic blend of jittery riffs and

full-hearted choruses are all tied together with a jovial charm

and abundant sincerity. Since the release of their debut album,

Birthday, on Bella Union, the four-piece have made a distinctive

footprint in the UK scene thanks to pulsating new single Leg Day.

Their performance at Phase One comes with support from fellow

colour spinners and Brighton natives ORCHARDS.

Pom Poko

32


GIG

Smithdown Road Festival

All-Dayer

Various Venues – 12/10

Smithdown Road Festival is back for an all-day edition

with some of the city’s finest emerging talents in

some of the area’s finest bars and eateries. Taking

place across its usual haunts including Kelly’s, Craft,

Frank’s and Handyman Supermarket, the 12-hour

shindig features previous Bido cover artists EYESORE

AND THE JINX and BILL NICKSON, with fellow Eggy

Records label mates BEIJA FLO and STORES. Over

at Handyman COW will be using the occasion to

celebrate the launch of their EP. Elsewhere at Kelly’s,

new garage rock ensemble FUMAR MATA are set to

appear along with the likes of THE SHIPBUILDERS

and KANGAROOS. And best of all, you can go and see

all 80 bands and DJs for free. Get out there and show

Smithdown some love.

THEATRE

The Strange Case of Dr

Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Storyhouse – 05/10-19/10

Robert Louis Stephenson’s bloody tale of Victorian

dualism is to feature in a new production at

Chester’s Storyhouse theatre. The novel, written in

1886, follows the life of Dr Jekyll and his struggles

to control violent alter ego Mr Edward Hyde,

leading him to commit murder on the streets of

London. The story provides a chilling glimpse into

Victorian society, its class system and the battles

between public and private, with many of its key

themes still prevalent in the contemporary era

regarding psychological control. With the story

still a regular feature on the school curriculum, the

Storyhouse Originals production will also feature

daytime viewings for schools.

ADD TO

PLAYLIST

ADD TO PLAYLIST is the new monthly

column brought to you by MELODIC

DISTRACTION RADIO, delving into the

fold of the newest releases on the dance

music spectrum. If you’re into 808s,

sample pads, DJ tools and everything in

between, then you’re in good company.

Carla dal Forno

Took A Long Time

Kallista

Studio Electrophonique

GIG

Studio Electrophonique

Scandinavian Church – 25/10

James Leesley, aka Sheffield native STUDIO

ELECTROPHONIQUE, has acquired a reputation for producing

hushed attentive music since arriving on the scene earlier in

the year, drawing the attention and plaudits of fellow Steel

City emotive crooner Richard Hawley along the way. With

a debut “elp”, Buxton Palace Hotel, just released on Violette

Records, the multi-talented instrumentalist and songwriter will

take centre stage at the Baltic Triangle’s Scandinavian Church

in what will provide a fitting backdrop for his atmospheric,

luscious arrangements.

CLUB

Jeff Mills and Andrew Weatherall

Invisible Wind Factory – 05/10

GIG

Musicians Against Homelessness

Various Venues – 27/10-29/10

Musicians across the city region are set to come together in

support of homelessness charity Crisis for three days of live

music. Spread across multiple venues, some of which include

The Zanzibar, Sound, Outpost and Studio2, the shows have been

programmed to help raise awareness and funds to help tackle

homelessness in the region, with a UK-wide collection of 100

artists, poets and comedians confirmed to play over the three days.

All proceeds from the festival will be donated to Crisis to ensure

the charity can continue and expand its life changing work across

the country.

Sparse, depresso post-punk

mistress CARLA DAL FORNO

is in business on her very

own label, Kallista. Either a

stoney-faced breakup album or a love letter to London

– we just can’t decide – the Australian is now hitting a

sense of profound confidence in her angsty songcraft.

Carla’s gentle-yet-swallowed vocals and dubby percussion

tempers against some knife-twisting lyrics make this an

elusive, ambiguous and wholly intimate release.

DJ Firmeza

Intenso

Príncipe

Lisbon’s DJ FIRMEZA is back

in snakestyle with a raw blend

of bouncing kuduro, crazed

batida, grimey police sirens,

mutant drum loops and drifting ‘animação’ stream-ofconsciousness

MCing. This latest EP follows Príncipe’s

infallible run of standout releases and cements Lisbon’s

output as the most distinctive musical scene today. No

doubt about it, this one is for the club, but could nestle

between afro-beat and gqom as happily as it could techno

and breaks, as it could bashment and dancehall. Hips

definitely in motion.

It will be a night of full-blown four-to-the-floor as techno powerhouse JEFF

MILLS takes the reins to the Invisible Wind Factory on behalf of 303. The Detroit

native is one of the most dominant producers and DJs to emerge from the city’s

illustrious dance music scene, and has been exporting his wizardry across the

planet for the best part of four decades, putting crowds through their paces with

an intoxicating live show and turntable mastery. Down in the substation, further

musical royalty will be on display as revered selector ANDREW WEATHERALL

digs deep into his record bag from start until finish. Rounding off one thumping

line-up is local producer ASOK and JEMMA FURBANK.

Jeff Mills

Djrum

Hard To Say /

Tournesol

R&S

Matisse: Drawing With Scissors

EXHIBITION

Matisse: Drawing With Scissors

Lady Lever Art Gallery – 25/10

Having produced works that cemented his position as one of the most celebrated artists of

his generation alongside contemporaries such as Pablo Picasso, HENRI MATISSE was to

leave one final gift to the art world despite being bed ridden in his final years. The French

artist’s series of cut-outs are perhaps some of the most famous works the painter and

sculptor produced throughout his career, a medium he adopted and mastered once illness

had limited his manoeuvrability. Drawing With Scissors features 35 posthumous prints,

including the iconic Blue Nudes series and The Snail. The display will feature alongside the

Port Sunlight gallery’s regular collection, with the Matisse cut-outs on display until March.

In a curveball that no one saw

coming, 2019 was the year

that really fast music became cool again. With a whole

range of very severe fringes and Berlin-goth aesthetics,

think of Gabber Eleganza and Gabber Modus Operandi

flag-waving for the neo-gabber revival, or VTSS and SPFDJ

et al encouraging hyper-speed techno. After the standout

emotive-breakbeat Portrait With Firewood last year,

DJRUM joins Team Go Faster offering up “ambient-gabber”

(yes, really) with a palette of sounds drawn from Shangaan

electro and IDM.

Words: Nina Franklin

melodicdistraction.com

PREVIEWS 33


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REVIEWS

Anna Calvi (Michael Kirkham / @Kirks09)

“Birkenhead is a

place that hasn’t had

the confidence to

celebrate itself and

hasn’t even bothered

trying – until now”

Future Yard

Birkenhead – 23/08-24/08

As you stand at the ferry terminal at Woodside and gaze

across the water, Liverpool is mesmerising. Its iconography is

laid bare; the outlines of the buildings will forever be etched on

the minds of those who stare at them. It’s been the subject of a

thousand memoirs, the subject of a million photographs and a

billion conversations. Rightly so. The image is one of this planet’s

urban glories. But there’s more to it. More in the sense of the spot

in which you stand to view it, the place that allows this view to

be real. This place below your feet, behind your back: Birkenhead,

the downtrodden younger brother of the city. It’s a place that

hasn’t had the confidence to celebrate itself and hasn’t even

bothered trying – until now.

So, let’s begin and start the celebrations – here, at the

inaugural FUTURE YARD. Let’s provide an excuse to get

down here and do something other than revere the blindingly

beautiful architecture across the water. Let’s create a festival that

celebrates the area, the talent and the beauty that on the surface

seems to be gazing across the water and shrugging. Birkenhead

has already started the slow process of hauling itself upwards

with the recent run of gigs at Fresh Goods Studios, taking place

among the post-industrial buildings to the north of the vague

centre-point of the festival, around Hamilton Square.

Yes, this weekend is very much about the bands and artists,

but there is more to this fledgling gathering than meets the eye.

There’s yoga to help with the first night hangover as well as

screenings, talks, walks and installations. Well, one installation

that is stunning, relaxing and mindful. It’s called PYLON, a

collaboration between Forest Swords and The Kazimier, and

focuses on the transfer of energy between place and object. It

takes place in the Birkenhead Priory refectory, a stone’s throw

from the Priory Green and Chapel stages, yet worlds apart in aura

and atmosphere. As the sun sets, its true colours begin to show

as the lighting design contorts around the building’s fixtures. The

healing patterns chiming from the pylon-like structure complete

the momentary sanctuary found just yards from the industrial

centre of Cammell Laird, the once mighty shipyard.

But, it’s the acts that take centre stage. Friday sees Wirral’s

very own BILL RYDER-JONES perform an impromptu piano-only

set in the crushed confines of the Priory Chapel. With a capacity

of hardly anyone (and the desire of almost everyone to see it), the

tech crew are beavering hard to ensure the folk outside can hear

Bill do his thing, which is moan here and there and play his softly

melancholic piano vignettes to a rapt throng. Bill swigs his beer,

smiles, shakes his fist at God and bowls the tightly packed chapel

over with his fragile talent.

BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD are a wonderful, shambolic

mess. Too many members are bumping into each other on the

packed Priory Stage, but the crowd are won over by erratic

saxophony and Black Midi-style free jazz. Props also go to the

wonderful JOHANNA SAMUELS, whose beautiful Americana

singer-songwriter lilt brightens up the handful of curious folk

padding out the Chapel.

The new Bloom Building is now packed as the anticipation

and vibes of curiosity are reaching fever pitch. SQUID set up their

instruments and then just start. Currently the darlings of most

London A&R departments, Squid play for about 10 minutes. It’s

more, obviously, but they cram so much in so quickly that it feels

like they were hardly here. Perhaps they shouldn’t have changed

the bonkers screaming of Houseplants to a more weary yelp, but

The Cleaner is such a splendid bout of indie-pop nuttiness that

no-one seems to mind. There’s a mosh pit, too, and a piece of

Birkenhead bay driftwood surfing the crowd. It’s all rather nice to

witness.

Passing to see the end of the brilliant DIALECT in the chapel,

all drones and glitch peace, the highlight is an extended play

from our very own Bill Ryder-Jones in full band mode, in the

Town Hall. Welcomed onto the stage like a returning war hero,

this is a slightly nervous but commanding return home. Bill

swigs his beer, smiles, shakes his fist at his mates and bowls the

tightly packed Town Hall over with his massive talent. Opening

with Mither and And Then There’s You from Yawn and ending,

obviously, with Two To Birkenhead, this wonderful listed building

has the roof taken off by the power and love for West Kirby’s

finest. Simply a joy, and not just the performance, the whole day

gets the nod of approval.

At 20 past the witching hour at the aforementioned Bloom

Building, the best new band in Britain amble on. SCALPING are

from Bristol and they have never heard of Birkenhead until this

booking, but they are quite simply incredible. Their fusion of postrock

grooves, techno bass and industrial dance darkness may not

be ‘nu’, but a 40-minute set of eye-bleeding visuals and machine

guitar abuse is more than enough to sate the hunger after Ryder-

Jones’ introspection. Scalping end on the anthemic Chamber and

this writer cries a really tiny bit. What a way to end the most

wonderful day.

If one wakes up on the weird side, one must learn the

Lo Five (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

36


Bill Ryder-Jones (Michael Driffill / @driffyspics)

ways of the weird side. Luckily, for the unaccustomed, there’s

a wholesome and accessible exploration of the pockets of

Birkenhead surrounding the festival. WALK ON THE WEIRD

SIDE – a tongue-in-cheek walking tour taken in the company of

local historian Gavin Chappell – drinks in the history of the Priory,

the docks, its merchants and the town’s journey from prosperity

to near neglect, sweeping from the Bloom Building down to the

River Mersey, via Hamilton Square, through Woodside Ferry

Village and along the promenade. It’s a welcome break that

resets the eyes and minds shaken up by Scalping.

Saturday sees another collage of creativity, with the

intimate Priory Chapel being taken over by the electronic music

collective Emotion Wave. Their showcase of four acts is a neat

representation of what they do best. First up is Emotion Wave

main-man LO FIVE, performing tracks from his new album

Geography Of The Abyss. Lo Five creates a calming atmosphere

of lulling ambience, unfurling huge swathes of melodic resonance

that perfectly suits the monastic surroundings. BYE LOUIS

previews his debut album, The Same Boy, during his set, telling

stories and rendering the mundane sweetly poetic with songs of

everyday tribulations. Armed only with a guitar and keyboard, he

holds the audience spellbound with lo-fi pop of the most delicate

and intricate nature.

FOXEN CYN then follows with a set of darkening electro-pop

and glam theatrics. Dressed in a black lace basque, sheer black

tights, make-up and false eyelashes, Foxen Cyn is avant-garde

and experimental with a knack for composing witty electronic

pop. Dramatic and probably supernatural, he is a proper one-off,

a glitch in the matrix, who conjures tunes from the seemingly

possessed realm. POLYPORES is the final act on the Emotion

Wave showcase and his form of transcendental radiophonics is

hypnotic and meditative. There’s something about the setting and

the sonorous refrain of humming synthesizers that transports us

into the welcoming void. Polypores’ sound is one of warped tape

saturation and machine hum, chiming with ambient echoes of

transformer coils and the static charge of a post-storm downpour.

The Bloom Building reprises its role on Saturday as the home

of those acts bringing renewed mystery and excitement to guitar

rock. Canadian-British troupe POTTERY show us why the fuss

around their angular debut LP No. 1 is so justified, while new

Heavenly Recordings signings WORKING MEN’S CLUB bring the

spirit of post-punk clubbing to their ferocious set. But it’s DRY

CLEANING who are the most affecting of this band of resurgent

beatniks, Florence Shaw’s deadpan delivery of tales about sordid

hotel encounters and showbiz royalty the perfect front to the

quartet’s anxiety-ridden rocking.

BEIJA FLO offers a thrilling glimpse into the glam cabaret

she is building around her highly affecting masterclass of pop

theatrics. The planners of Birkenhead Town Hall’s Assembly

Rooms would not have foreseen it playing host to entertainment

quite like this when they designed it, but they weren’t to know

that Beija Flo was to be one of the more astute technicians of

the room’s ornate surroundings. There’s still enough time to dart

over to Birkenhead Priory to catch the hugely affecting pop-rock

star NILÜFER YANYA as the light fades. The crowd drink it all in

from their seats on the grass, with Yanya and the tower of the

Priory looming in front of them. It’s a moment of relatively relaxed

enjoyment after the hectic day that’s gone before, giving time for

pause before Saturday’s headliner takes us on yet another journey.

ANNA CALVI is an awe-inspiring presence on stage at

the Town Hall. She stands before us silhouetted against the

blood red, pulsing bank of lights and, right from the off, we are

pummelled with intense noise. Calvi’s voice sweeps throughout

the space during her headline set and her guitar roars its approval,

beckoning the now bouncing audience. It’s a two-way thing here:

her guitar is seemingly weaponised, being pushed beyond its

intended purpose. She channels Robert Plant and Janis Joplin

with supernatural ability. It’s pure shock and awe as I’ll Be Your

Man tears through the coalescing air and the audience cheer their

approval, like a group hallucination or the witnessing of an alien

encounter.

Anna Calvi is a juggernaut, jack-knifing its way down the

highway, screeching tires and shearing metal; each song is

propulsive, cacophonous, crackling the air around us, seemingly

punching holes in space and creating mini-wormholes. It seems

something bordering on alchemy to wring so much sound from so

few components.

The enormity of Future Yard and its participants hangs heavy

as there’s a stagger back to the Bloom Building to groove to Elliot

Hutchinson of Dig Vinyl’s 7” set. He is the complete DJ and his

soulful overview paints a glorious picture of The One Eyed City in

the dark.

The early hours have set in and Birkenhead is peaceful,

beautiful and fucked up. The stillness stops that being a problem,

for now. And it awaits Future Yard 2020. Coupled with the

success of the Wirral Food & Drink Festival in Birkenhead Park,

Skeleton Coast and the Fresh Goods events, we may just have

a town that is relevant and alive – regardless of what Marks &

Spencer think. !

Ian R. Abraham / @scrash

Mike Stanton / @DepartmentEss

Frankie Muslin

Dry Cleaning (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)

Stella Donnelly (Michael Driffill / @driffyspics)

REVIEWS 37


REVIEWS

Skeleton Coast

Leasowe Castle – 31/08

Over the past few years, boutique festival SKELETON COAST

has become somewhat of an exclusive retreat for festival fanatics

across Merseyside, and even further afield. Taking place in the

last weekend of August, the Wirral day event has secured a

comfortable spot on the gig schedule; bringing an increasingly

hectic festival season to a close, not to mention, in recent years,

providing a timely escape from the increasingly hectic political

landscape.

The achingly grand Leasowe Castle – usually reserved

for weddings and other such luxury events – provides the

perfect setting for the day as its haunting beauty and seclusion

immediately throws you into an aura of exclusivity. The

location, however, is certainly not the festival’s main draw.

Cherry picked by Skeleton Key Records, the day’s line-up is

seriously impressive; a testament to today’s emerging talent and

antithetical to perceptions that guitar music is somehow dead.

The Getintothis stage – in Leasowe Castle’s Keep, where

wedding vows are usually exchanged – is populated by Skeleton

Coast’s more unplugged performances. Nonetheless, the stage

manages to maintain its sentimental ambience as it plays hosts

to the day’s most tender tunes. With a gentle vocal delivery and

lolling guitar sound, LUCY GAFFNEY draws comparisons to Bill

Ryder-Jones. The small but appreciative crowd are treated to her

blend of soft rock, including a delightful cover of The Cranberries’

Linger. MARVIN POWELL, a Skeleton Key stalwart, similarly

impresses with his collection of wistful songs. Throughout the

day the stage serves as a pleasant interlude between the rock ’n’

roll stages.

Over at the EVOL stage, THE SNUTS stamp their mark on the

festival. Frontman Jack Cochrane’s cheeky confidence is backed

up by his impressive vocals and energised tunes. All Your Friends

is an instant crowd pleaser, with a thumping bassline running

right through the spirited track. The young Scots seem a band

likely to continue cropping up in the indie scene after a summer

touring a throng of European festivals. Squeezing in unreleased

songs along with hits Fire, Somebody and Hey Heartbreaker,

DREAM WIFE continue the vigorous atmosphere on the stage.

The all-female trio have made waves over the past few years

with their likeable mix of rhythmic punk. They are undoubtedly

passionate and even manage to instigate an artist-crowd conga

(yes, really). The penultimate act on the EVOL stage, RED RUM

CLUB, prove why they are one of the hottest acts on Merseyside.

Frontman Fran Doran’s voice powerfully amalgamates with cool

guitar licks and intermittent trumpets to create a sound that is

emphatically sonorous.

A personal highlight of the festival comes at the Shit Indie

Disco stage with BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD. Freakishly

Mick Jagger-esque, Tom Rees embodies all the characteristics a

frontman needs to propel his band into stardom: cool, charismatic

and unabashedly confident. Remarkably, his voice never falters

as the band blast through singles Love Forever, Late Night City

and Double Denim Hop, permeated with just the right amount

of glam rock. Tense anticipation awaits THE MYSTERINES as

they headline this stage; they amply deliver, quickly turning the

small room into a sweat-box of energy. Their commanding set

is stocked full of songs almost recklessly formidable, with Lia

Metcalfe’s voice booming amid the bands swaggering riffs.

MILES KANE brings the festival to a close in exhilarating

fashion. Ensuring the energy of the day is sustained, he

explodes out of the blocks with Silverscreen and fan-favourite

Inhaler – encouraging the already lively crowd into pits and on

to shoulders. Looking genuinely buzzing for his headline slot

and first (yes, first ever) show in his native Wirral, Kane rattles

through his discography; from Rearrange to Cry On My Guitar,

to Don’t Forget Who You Are, knowing the crowd will lap it

up. His newer songs LA Five Four (309), Can You See Me Now

and Blame It On The Summertime show that Kane is not only

writing songs at a terrific pace, but also evolving as a songwriter,

experimenting with his lyrical delivery and beefing up a recurrent

riff. Kane and his band’s blistering set, which peaks with the

lovely Colour Of The Trap, rubberstamps his status as an astute

and assured festival acquisition. As Kane’s songs are chanted

around the room, his ecstasy is visible and infectious; and with a

feeling like that, who’s going to stop you. !

Conal Cunningham

The Mysterines (Brian Sayle / urbansubrosa.co.uk)

“The Mysterines

amply deliver, quickly

turning the small

room into a sweatbox

of energy”

Red Rum Club (Brian Sayle / urbansubrosa.co.uk)

38


Franz Ferdinand (Tomas Adam)

Kings Of Leon

Fusion Presents @ Sefton Park – 30/08

An extra day of rock music has been tacked on to the

beginning of FUSION FESTIVAL this year, following its move

from Otterspool Promenade to Sefton Park. The line-up leaves

you with more questions than answers; questions like: who

decided it would be a good idea to put these bands on the same

stage? Did JAKE BUGG do something recently? Are FRANZ

FERDINAND still together? Sure, it’s a strange mix, but that

doesn’t mean that we can’t have a good time.

The sun is beaming down as SAM FENDER starts the day

off right. Already the recipient of the Critics’ Choice award at

this year’s BRITs, he is gearing up to release his debut album

Hypersonic Missiles. The North Shields-born singer proudly

wears his influences on his sleeve, encapsulating the youthful

euphoria and nostalgia of 1980s stadium rock. His rhythm

guitarist mercilessly punches a sampler during Will We Talk?

blasting out triumphant bells and strings. However, with the

chills-inducing Dead Boys, Fender shows us that he is not a onetrick

pony. Although taking clear nods from Bruce Springsteen,

Fender still puts a modern spin on the style, in the same vein as

The War On Drugs. It’s early in the day, but the crowd feeds on

the adrenaline of Hypersonic Missiles, and a few people jump on

each other’s shoulders during the saxophone solo. Despite the

unnecessary Oasis cover of Morning Glory to close, the young

singer is infinitely exciting, and is definitely worth a second watch

at his upcoming Liverpool show in November.

There are scattered showers and, for whatever reason, all of

the bars are no longer taking cards. Yet, Liverpool darlings CIRCA

WAVES give a performance fit for a festival, as they march

through songs from their latest record What’s It Like Over There?.

The anthemic Movies and piano-smashing Times Won’t Change

Me are well received by the adoring crowd, whose spirits are not

dampened by the lack of booze. Circa Waves unleash a frankly

shocking amount of energy during their performance of Goodbye,

which should see all comparisons to The Vaccines thrown out

of the window; their calls for a mosh pit are answered during

the Queens of the Stone Age-esque barn burner, which is an

impressive feat so early in the day.

Despite Sam Fender covering

Morning Glory earlier on in the day,

Jake Bugg tries even harder to do

an impersonation of Noel Gallagher,

although it may not have been his

intention. The crowd isn’t as tightly

packed and sweating as they were for

Circa Waves, so something is definitely

amiss. Is this one Lightning Bolt? It is

Seen It All. Is this one Lightning Bolt? It

is Two Fingers. This is his last song. It

must be Lightning Bolt? It is.

For a complete change of pace,

next on is essential post-punk band

and pride of Liverpool, ECHO & THE

BUNNYMEN. How do they fit into this

line-up? The inclusion of this seminal band seems like a tone-deaf

ploy to draw in an older audience. Even classics like The Cutter

and The Killing Moon lose their magic in this setting, and ache to

be soaked in at a more dedicated show.

Franz Ferdinand are still together. In fact, they put out a

new album last year called Always Ascending. Seeing Franz

Ferdinand this high on a bill is a strange sight to see, like stepping

into a bizarre time machine that could take you back to the years

2004-2007. Sure, they are not exactly a one-hit-wonder per

se, but it is clear the audience is here for Take Me Out. Still, the

supressed coil, build and release section of the song continues

to be exciting and even refreshing despite the fact you know full

well it is coming.

KINGS OF LEON are aware of their controversy. Hardcore

“It’s hard not to feel

a part of something

greater, beyond

the bickering

and missteps of

Kings Of Leon”

fans love to talk about their early material and its ranking; Slow

Night, So Long, first – and how they stopped listening after Only

By The Night – Crawl second. The British resentment of their

later material is a paradox: the English embraced the sound of the

dirty Deep South when their own country wouldn’t, only to shout

“we were there first” across the water

as the Americans followed suit.

Anyone who likes their later

stuff; Waste A Moment, third; must

be an American, or closet American.

Albums like Come Around Sundown

(Radioactive, fourth) aren’t even given

a second thought. But, why? Because

it was right around the time we’d

grown sick of hearing those dreaded

two songs on the radio? Sure, we can

all agree that Because Of The Times

was the perfect goldilocks moment

between the two halves of their

career. Molly’s Chambers from the

first half and Supersoaker, from the

second, both retain raw energy, while

embracing the stadium-rock sound that propelled them into

stardom.

Their catalogue is deep and they play to their audience.

They know that their band means more to us than it does to

Americans. We’ve been there through the good times – Fans, My

Party, Mary – and the bad times – Sex On Fire, Use Somebody.

We want to hear it all: the songs that makes us dance (Closer)

or makes us cry (Milk), or both (Pyro). As the heavens open they

play Cold Desert, and it is hard not to feel a part of something

greater, beyond the bickering and missteps. !

Joel Durksen / @Joeldurksen

Peter Broderick and Friends Play

Arthur Russell

+ Claire Welles

+ Nick Branton & David Kelly

24 Kitchen Street – 22/08

Misunderstood by many during his own lifetime, cellist

Arthur Russell tragically passed away in 1992 unaware of

the cult status his music would one day achieve. Now, as his

reputation continues to grow, artists like multi-instrumentalist

PETER BRODERICK are discovering the mystique of his music.

Fans, too, who never had the chance to hear these outstanding

compositions live, are now reaping the benefits.

Russell served a brief tenure in the 70s as musical director

of The Kitchen, an NYC arts space that hosted emerging

experimental acts. Tonight’s proceedings at 24 Kitchen Street

appear to share something of that avant-garde spirit. NICK

BRANTON & DAVID KELLY’s three-song, entirely improvised, set

on saxophone and drum kit setting a fitful, atonal pace.

Outlier artist CLAIRE WELLES is truly absorbing despite

being on the verge of losing her voice. Opening with the

contagious (hopefully not) Viral Infection, Welles appears to be

Liverpool’s answer to John Maus. “Life’s a piece of piss, especially

when you’ve got no kids” she taunts on Shit For Brains, before

the Krautrock careen of Knowsley. Both are taken from Welles’

new album Transpose; “It’s my Nevermind,” she deadpans.

“You’re not meant to laugh.”

If anyone is fit to handle Russell’s sprawling back catalogue

it’s Peter Broderick, a prolific recording artist with an obscene

collaborative track record. The one-time Efterklang man isn’t one

to rest on his laurels. We get a glimpse of his virtuosic talent early

on during the deconstructed intensity of Lucky Cloud, which falls

always to the measured delicacy of Close My Eyes. Undeterred by

a false start, Losing My Taste For The Night Life is another fragile,

delay-drenched high. Eli, scaled down from cello to fiddle, shows

off the uncanny vocal resemblance between the two artists, as

Broderick nimbly slides between notes in Russell’s signature

touching style.

Broderick is later joined onstage by a backing band

comprising of some of Glasgow’s finest guns for hire. Their

alt-country and new wave leanings are swapped for a reggae

backbeat on A Little Lost, which closes with the ecstatic

repetition of “I’m so busy thinking about kissing you”. Next

Broderick asks for a volunteer in lieu of Allen Ginsberg on Ballad

Of The Lights. None of the fear-stricken faces around me seem

game, as if his suggestion seems to insight the same state of

anxiety surrounding a day of team building exercises. Claire

Welles, luckily, takes the stage before the all-out mutant disco of

Go Bang, Russell’s Dinosaur L dancefloor hit.

Broderick’s suggestion of getting the disco ball going is

shot down (“The death star has not yet been completed,” he

remarks) before some unnamed hero steps in repositioning the

lights. Broderick then clambers into the crowd, exuberant and

uninhibited, wailing the hook. Bathed in sepia rays, for his encore

he closes with the contrasting tender balladry of You Are My

Love, an unreleased Arthur Russell cut and one final testament to

the iconoclast’s phenomenal legacy. A wild combination, indeed.

David Weir / @betweenseeds

REVIEWS 39


REVIEWS

Wand (Tomas Adam)

Wand

+ Gang

Harvest Sun @ Shipping Forecast

21/08

Entering The Shipping Forecast on this late August evening, you

wouldn’t expect to meet the initial reception that defies all previously

held expectations. WAND – a kaleidoscopic ensemble playing

psychedelic-infused garage rock – are promised to us. An evening

walk home accompanied by joyous tinnitus and lasting colour is,

generally, the symptom of this forthcoming prescription. And yet, on

arrival, the venue is silent, almost intimidating. It’s unbearably quiet.

The anticipation borders on nervousness.

You also wouldn’t expect this sort of atmosphere for a band like

Wand. The Californian outfit have gained attention and interest of

music lovers all over the world with five albums in five years, from

Ganglion Reef in 2014) to this year’s Laughing Matter. To break the

deafening silence, Margate band GANG take to the stage.

“Sorry if this is self-indulgent,” they say before playing a fullforce,

40-minute medley of songs without any breaks. It’s quite

remarkable to watch, though as an audience you’re left a bit dazed

and confused by which song is which; when is the end and when is

the beginning? It all blends into one, like an entire novel printed on

an endless scroll, no page breaks for thought or introspection. It’s

a full capture of the senses. There are even a few quick notes from

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, for anyone who has keen metalhead ears

in the audience. The crowd, filling up throughout this 40-minute

thrashing, are loving it.

Initial fear dissipates. The basement is full for Wand. There’s

a collective feeling restored and every sonic limb has been well

stretched. Gang have set the foundations with their heavy

psychedelia and Wand build on them with finesse. Their more

melodic approach is instantly palpable.

Their setlist borrows mainly from Laughing Matter. Even though,

judging by the response, some of the audience members may be

here for older songs like Melted Rope, they still put on a captivating

show.

Wand create a wall of noise, but with an approachable, almost

pop-like sensibility. It’s more a structure that builds around your

contours, rather than juggernauts right on through. While in recent

years the hype for Wand might have died down, they prove in their

live show that they’re wonderful masters of their craft. Perhaps more

ought to celebrate their humble mastery.

Georgia Turnbull / @georgiaRTbull

Stephen Fry: Mythos – A Trilogy:

Gods, Heroes, Men

Philharmonic Hall – 04/09-06/09

There is a sea of people pouring through the doors of the

Philharmonic on this dreary Wednesday evening. People whose

lives have all featured trials, struggles, celebrations and defeats,

all of which have been woven into the fabric of their personal

narratives and have made them all the more human. With the

world being as strange as it currently is, there is much that can

distract us and detach us from each other and the wider world.

At this time the ancient art of storytelling has never been more

significant. It is a tool that, for aeons, has persisted in bringing

humanity together to help us restore our collective focus, our

faith. So, who better to offer that service to the people of

Liverpool this week than the inimitable STEPHEN FRY, with his

three-day Greek trilogy MYTHOS. Our journey starts tonight, in a

full to the brim auditorium, with GODS.

Ever the humble and unassuming gentleman, Fry walks

briskly out on stage to huge applause. He play-acts bashfulness,

quieting the crowd with open palms and cries of “Oh, stop it.

Stop it.” He then walks us through our role as his audience

throughout the oncoming stories: to sit as though we’re gathered

around a fire and revel in the narratives. The backdrop of the

stage is adorned with columns of projection screens by which the

stories will be illustrated and the room transformed with fitting

ambience. It currently displays a panorama of stars and nebulae

as a beautiful blank canvas for the cosmic stories of creation.

Aside from the projection screens there are only two things on

the stage; a dark leather, high-backed chair and Fry himself. And

so, after brief introductions and a pleasant anecdote about his

meeting with Paul McCartney and his induction into LIPA some

weeks past, we’re off.

It all starts with Chaos. The word refers to, according to the

Greeks, the origin of everything at the beginning of time; a chasm

from which everything in existence was born. And from there,

Fry’s rich, sage voice carries us through the annals of history,

from the birth of the first Titan, Kronos, born of Uranus (the

sky) and Gaia (the Earth), all the way to the birth of the Gods.

Following the war between Gods and Titans we witness the 12

Gods take their place on Olympus and meet many very telling

characters, such as Persephone, the Titan Prometheus – who

gave Man fire – and Pandora, who disobediently opened her jar

and let out many evils but unknowingly shut it before letting out

the one remaining being: Elpis, the Greek personification of the

spirit of Hope.

We leave Gods after Zeus’ whimsical creation of Man, as he

punishes Prometheus for introducing Man to fire by shackling

him at the top of a mountain and leaving him to be gored by

an eagle for all eternity. Fire being the epitome of illumination

and enlightenment, Man now had power. Spellbinding and

enthralling, night one of three conquers us all.

On night two, HEROES brings faces familiar and unfamiliar

back into the world of Greek myth for another two hours of rapt

storytelling. As Stephen settles into his chair once again, we hear

now the stories of the famous Heracles, Perseus, Medusa and

the Gorgons all the way through to Theseus of Athens. Along

the way, Stephen offers fascinating factoids that emphasise just

how much our current culture and language owes to the Greeks.

Under his charm another audience enjoys a mesmerising canon

of tales.

As a bookend to the working week and the series of shows,

Friday night arrives and show three begins. Tonight’s tales tell the

earliest adventures of MAN; of Odysseus, Troy and Helen, with

Polyphemus the Cyclops, Achilles and a host of other characters.

We travel to the underworld to the river Styx and follow in the

wake of Odysseus’ ship as he quests for his home of Ithaca.

Throughout the stories Fry humorously voices each character

with different regional accents. This doesn’t detract from the

narrative, but does add some sweet brevity to the proceedings.

Favourites have included the Brummie Heracles, the Alan

Bennett-esque Perseus and the two or three characters lent a

voice by Michael Caine. It is, again, a warm, intimate, beguiling

evening.

As Odysseus arrives back at Ithaca and reunites with his

family, so the final show draws to a close. And with Odysseus’

homecoming, symbolically, as Fry puts it “Mankind came home”.

At the shows end, now standing, he leaves with a touching

epilogue on humanity’s greater attributes. Our capacity for love,

our strength and character, community, understanding and

bravery. The ending of these tales depicts humanity’s grasp

of independence from the Gods. Yet all of the Gods and their

characteristics, be they noble or vicious, live on in us all.

Fry bows out each night to a much-deserved standing

ovation. These stories captured the hearts and minds of everyone

in attendance and introduced some much-needed focus to the

insanity and pace of the outside world. Stephen Fry is, whether

he likes it or not, one of our greatest national treasures.

Christopher Carr

40


Edwyn Collins

Harvest Sun @ Arts Club – 07/09

Of the many reasons there are to love EDWYN COLLINS,

one that is clear tonight is his genial nature and sense of humour.

Referring to us in a deadpan tone as “the audience”, throughout

the night he gently directs proceedings, telling us when to be

quiet and introducing his songs with an engaging warmth; his

laugh is a guffaw and he has a sense of mischief. And that’s

before we’ve even got to the music, or that voice.

The audience is mixed, but the majority are comprised of

Edwyn Collins aficionados, those of a certain vintage whose

cheers are as buoyant as their quiffs. Shouts of “Go on Edwyn,

lad” punctuate the night, creating a really nice atmosphere at this

packed, sweaty gig.

He spans the decades with a comprehensive playlist that

showcases his talent. From the start of his career with the postpunk

1980s Orange Juice songs, including What Presence?! and

Blue Boy, to the pop perfection of 1994’s ubiquitous solo hit

A Girl Like You, with the reflective songs from his most recent

album Badbea dropped in through the course of the night.

His accompanying band are brilliant and capture the uptempo

essence of his back catalogue, as well as the more mellow

yet still perfectly pitched recent songs. The upbeat, radio-friendly

Outside rocks the room. As he says, it’s got an “Iggy Pop voice

and Buzzcocks sound”. The playing is relaxed and fills the room

without ever overpowering the vocals or rhythm section.

The biggest cheers come after Collins performs In Your Eyes,

from 2010’s Losing Sleep, as a duet with his son, William. And

while a saccharine emotion is not always welcome at a gig, it’s a

sincere reaction. What’s even sweeter is that William can be seen

pogoing away to his dad’s hits from behind the merchandise stall

later. Good songs just don’t date.

The guitar riffs move with ease from soul to post-punk to

pop, throbbing through the venue. There’s some swaying from

the audience, but, William aside, it’s a rather static gig – possibly

as a result of the overwhelming heat and lack of air inside, or

because it’s a relatively gentle affair.

The production on the album versions gives the tracks an

energy and grit that is missing a little from their live counterparts,

while a change in pace would help to lift the second part. Saying

this, Edwyn’s voice is beautiful with a rich tone that you would be

happy listening to for a good while.

The more commercial material comes in a glut towards the

end, with Rip It Up one of the last songs before the encore. He

states towards the end of the set that he’s “exhausted”, but that

doesn’t stop an encore that includes a harmonica solo, which

we’re warned we must “shh” for.

Edwyn’s whimsical sense of humour and mellow nature

entertains as much as his sonorous voice. Using his walking cane,

he directs the audience, indicating which half should sing and

cheer at which point – and we adhere to his commands, possibly

because he does it with a massive grin (there’s also a “behave

Edwyn Collins (Darren Aston)

yourselves”, accompanied by an arch smile).

Plainly, it’s a really nice evening with a really nice man who

so happens to have perfected the craft of catchy pop songs and

poignant love songs, all slung together with an originality and a

voice that should have made him millions. He’s affable, talented

and unorthodox and all the better for it.

Jennie Macaulay

REVIEWS 41


Boo Hewerdine

Sunday 6th October

Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Kathryn Williams

WEDNESDAY 16th October

Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Richard Dawson

SATURDAY 23rd November

Studio 2, Liverpool

Beans on Toast

FRIDAY 20th December

Phase One, Liverpool

@Ceremonyconcert / facebook.com/ceremonyconcerts

ceremonyconcerts@gmail.com / seetickets.com


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03 / 10 - GREEN TANGERINES

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ARTISTIC

LICENCE

This month’s featured writer is multifaceted artist BEIJA FLO, who is hosting an exhibition of her art, poetry

and musical work at Output Gallery in January.

Do You Remember Before?

My darling, do you remember before?

I remember before.

When you could not find the daytime,

Scared of the light,

Scared to open eyes.

My darling, do you remember before?

I remember before.

How I’d wake,

A whole two cycles before being asked,

Just for you.

My darling, do you remember before?

I remember before.

How the anxiety was too heavy to carry,

So I volunteered,

For the morning shift.

My darling, do you remember before?

I remember before.

As well as I remember now.

How I asked for help,

To covered ears.

My darling, do you remember before?

I remember before.

The present tastes different.

A distant flavour,

I only know how to crave.

The Pirates And The Cobwebs

I remember the pirates.

Those who so aggressively pushed me off the side of their boats without as

much as a bottle cork to float on, throwing sharp objects at me as I try and

swim away.

I respect these pirates far more than the spiders who made the cobwebs on

shore. Webs which look so pretty from a distance, like wedding decorations.

These webs do not glisten up close.

Webs made of razor wire, holding captive all that once lived here. Leaving

very little room and safety on the shore.

Trying to push me back into the sea.

Unlike the pirates, determined to see me die, these cobwebs do not have the

guts to cut me – they are only brave enough to watch me drown.

How noble.

To silently drift away.

To still glisten and wave when you catch my eye.

Only when the pirates are far out to sea. Fearful they may return and cut

these webs as they cut me.

What a strange collection of loyalty.

I didn’t abandon the ship.

I was pushed.

There was no room on land.

So you can’t be angry I own the ocean.

I had to go somewhere.

My darling, do you remember before?

I remember before.

I

I’m unhappy

I do stupid things

I drink

Like the wine

Is crying to be drunk

I eat

Rarely

I cry

Often

I

Accidentally

On purpose

Risked

My own

Life

On an

Important

Day

For

My parents

I’m sorry mam

Beija Flo’s new single Nudes is out now via Eggy Records. Inside The Walls is a free exhibition of “nudes, anxieties and other content”

which takes place at Output Gallery, Seel Street, between 17th January and 2nd February 2020.

46



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