Issue 105 / November 2019

bidolito

November 2019 issue of Bido Lito! magazine. Featuring: THE MYSTERINES, NUTRIBE, TRUDY AND THE ROMANCE, KEITH HARING, BLACK LIPS, RICHARD DAWSON, LYDIAH, BALTIC WEEKENDER, IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE, RED RUM CLUB and much more.

ISSUE 105 / NOVEMBER 2019

NEW MUSIC + CREATIVE CULTURE

LIVERPOOL

THE MYSTERINES / RICHARD DAWSON

NUTRIBE / TRUDY AND THE ROMANCE


Thur 24th Oct

Jake Clemons

+ Ben McKelvey

Fri 25th Oct

Keywest

+ Keir Gibson

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

Sun 3rd Nov

Loyle Carner

Fri 8th Nov

MONKS

Fri 8th Nov

Bear’s Den

Sat 9th Nov

She Drew The Gun

+ Peaness + Mamatung

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

The Steve Hillage

Band

+ Gong

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’

+ Jim Bob from Carter USM

Sat 30th Nov

Pearl Jam UK

Thur 5th Dec

Shed Seven

+ The Twang

Fri 6th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Happy Mondays

+ Jon Dasilva

Fri 6th Dec

SPINN

Fri 6th Dec • 7.30pm

Conleth McGeary

Sat 7th Dec

Prince Tribute -

Endorphinmachine

Tue 10th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Razorlight

Wed 11th Dec

D Block Europe

Thur 12th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Daniel Sloss: X

Fri 13th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Dermot Kennedy

Fri 13th Dec

The Lancashire

Hotpots

Fri 13th Dec

Scouting for Girls

Sat 14th Dec

The Smyths

… The Smiths 35

Sat 14th Dec

Ian Prowse &

Amsterdam

+ The Supernaturals

+ Steve Pilgrim

facebook.com/o2academyliverpool

twitter.com/o2academylpool

instagram.com/o2academyliverpool

youtube.com/o2academytv

Wed 18th Dec

The Darkness

+ Rews

Thur 19th Dec

Cast... All Change

Album

Fri 20th Dec

Cast... Mother Nature

Calls Album

Sat 21st Dec

Cast... Magic Hour

Album

Sat 21st Dec

Limehouse Lizzy:

The Greatest Hits of

Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy

Wed 29th Jan 2020

The Interrupters

+ Buster Shuffle

Tue 4th Feb 2020

Mabel

Mon 3rd Feb 2020

Kano

Tue 25th Feb 2020

The Murder Capital

Thur 27th Feb 2020

Kiefer Sutherland

Thur 5th Mar 2020

Gabrielle Aplin

Thur 12th Mar 2020

Tragedy: All Metal

Tribute to the Bee

Gees & Beyond

+ Attic Theory

Sat 28th Mar 2020

Becky Hill

Sun 29th Mar 2020

Cigarettes After Sex

Sat 4th Apr 2020

808 State Live

Sat 2nd May 2020

The Southmartins

(Tribute To The Beautiful

South & The Housemartins)

Sat 9th May 2020

Fell Out Boy & The

Black Charade

+ We Aren’t Paramore

Sat 16th May 2020

Nirvana UK (Tribute)

Sat 23rd May 2020

The Bon Jovi

Experience

Fri 11th Dec 2020

Heaven 17

THUR 24TH OCT 7PM

MICHAEL RAY

FRI 25TH OCT 7PM

LITTLE COMETS

+ RATS + SEPRONA

FRI 25TH OCT 7PM SOLD OUT

INHALER

+ APRE

SUN 27TH OCT 7PM

STRIKING MATCHES

FRI 1ST NOV 7PM

REIGNWOLF

FRI 1ST NOV 7PM

DAUGHTERS

SAT 2ND NOV 7PM

STONE FOUNDATION

+ STEVE PILGRIM

TUE 12TH NOV 7PM

HUGH CORNWELL

ELECTRIC

WED 13TH NOV 7PM

BLACK LIPS

+ YAMMERER + OHMNS

+ PISS KITTI

+ DJ CARL COMBOVER

THUR 14TH NOV 7PM

THE REGRETTES

+ LAURAN HIBBERD

FRI 15TH NOV 7PM

KNE

SAT 16TH NOV 7PM

LONDON CALLING

PLAY THE CLASH

FRI 22ND NOV 7PM

BLOOD RED SHOES

+ QUEEN KWONG

+ GEN & THE DEGENERATES

FRI 22ND NOV 7PM

SLADE

FRI 29TH NOV 7PM

SPORTS TEAM

SAT 30TH NOV 6.30PM

SKINNY LISTER

SAT 30TH NOV 7PM

HERMITAGE GREEN

WED 4TH DEC 7PM

ALDOUS HARDING

THUR 5TH DEC 7PM

BEAK>

FRI 6TH DEC 7PM

POLAR STATES

& WILD FRONT

SAT 7TH DEC 7PM

IAN MCNABB &

COLD SHOULDER

TUE 10TH DEC 7PM

THE PAPER KITES

WED 11TH DEC 7PM

ECHOBELLY “STRIPPED

BACK”

THUR 12TH DEC 7PM

BEABADOOBEE

+ NO ROME + OSCAR LANG

SAT 14TH DEC 7PM

NATALIE MCCOOL

MON 27TH DEC 7PM

SLEEP TOKEN

FRI 7TH FEB 2020 7.30PM SOLD OUT

THE LATHUMS

FRI 21TH FEB 2020 7PM

JAMIE WEBSTER

SUN 23RD FEB 2020 7PM

JULIAN COPE

SAT 7TH MAR 2020 7PM

PINS

SUN 29TH MAR 2020 7PM

WILLIAM DUVALL

(OF ALICE IN CHAINS)

TICKETS FOR ALL SHOWS ARE AVAILABLE FROM

TICKETMASTER.CO.UK

90

SEEL STREET, LIVERPOOL, L1 4BH

EVOL presents

plus support from

ticketmaster.co.uk

11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF

Doors 7pm unless stated

Venue box office opening hours:

Mon - Sat 10.30am - 5.30pm

SATURDAY 09 NOVEMBER 2019

O 2 ACADEMY LIVERPOOL

11-13 Hotham Street, L3 5UF

TICKETS £12 ADVANCE PLUS BOOKING FEES VIA SEETICKETS.COM & TICKETMASTER.CO.UK

o2academyliverpool.co.uk

@CLUBEVOL @SheDrewTheGun


TATE LIVERPOOL

14 JUN – 10 NOV 2019

Supported by

Media partner

The Keith Haring Exhibition Supporters Group

Tate Members

Keith Haring Untitled 1983

© Keith Haring Foundation

Photo © Annik Wetter


What’s On

November

December

Sunday 17 November 7pm

Film

Merry Christmas

Mr Lawrence (cert 15)

Tuesday 19 November 7.30pm

Calexico and Iron and Wine

Wednesday 20 November 8pm

Music Room

AKA Trio

Saturday 23 November 7.30pm

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Elton John –

50 Years of Your Song

Tuesday 10 December 7.30pm

Film

Elf (cert PG)

Monday 16 December 8pm

Music Room

Awake, Arise – A Christmas

Show For Our Times

Saturday 28 December 7.30pm

Sunday 29 December 7.30pm

Ghostbusters: Film with

Live Orchestra (cert PG)

Box Office

0151 709 3789

liverpoolphil.com

LiverpoolPhilharmonic

liverpoolphil

liverpool_philharmonic


JERRY MANE’S DEFINITIVE COMEDY SLAM

KAZIMIER STOCKROOM 13 NOV & 4 DEC 2019

JOHN COLPITTS MAN FOREVER

KAZIMIER STOCKROOM 8 DEC 2019

THE AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD

M&S BANK ARENA LIVERPOOL 17 NOV 2019

POSITIVE VIBRATION FESTIVAL DJS & LEVI TAFARI

THE CHRISTMAS SPIEGELTENT 8 DEC 2019

DR. FEELGOOD

THE EPSTEIN THEATRE 20 NOV 2019

BEANS ON TOAST

PHASE ONE 20 DEC 2019

LIAM GALLAGHER

M&S BANK ARENA LIVERPOOL 21 NOV 2019

THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS

KAZIMIER STOCKROOM 20 DEC 2019

RICHARD DAWSON

STUDIO 2 23 NOV 2019

CRAZY P SOUND SYSTEM

CONSTELLATIONS 31 DEC 2019

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH

THE CHRISTMAS SPIEGELTENT 28 NOV 2019

SOUND CITY 2020

BALTIC TRIANGLE 1 - 3 May 2020

TOMORROWLAND PRESENTS DIMITRI VEGAS & LIKE MIKE,

GARDEN OF MADNESS CENTRAL DOCKS 7 DEC 2019

CREAMFIELDS 2020

DARESBURY 27 - 30 AUGUST 2020


Henri Matisse, L’Escargot (The Snail), 1952-53. Lithographic reproduction (1958), 46.7 x 57.7cm. © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2019

Matisse

Drawing with Scissors

25 October 2019 to

15 March 2020

liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/matisse


Armistead Maupin

11 November

Nadiya Hussain

13 November

Mark Grist: Mark Can’t Rap

15 November

James Rowland: Revelations

16 November

HoneyBee

18 November

Benjamin Zephaniah

23 November

Luke Wright: Poet Laureate

28 November

Festival Finale Poetry Party

30 November

plus many more!

find out more at storyhouse.com


HALLOWEEN WEEK

25TH OCT : LOST ART SOUNDSYSTEM

26TH OCT : DRE OF THE DEAD

31ST OCT : AN ALL THAT X MELODIC DISTRACTION

1ST NOV : CARL COMBOVER

2ND NOV : FAT WHITE FAMILY DJ SET

3RD NOV: LOYLE CARNER AFTER PARTY FEAT NO FAKIN & ANTI SOCIAL JAZZ CLUB

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


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New Music + Creative Culture

Liverpool

Issue 105 / November 2019

bidolito.co.uk

Second Floor

The Merchant

40-42 Slater Street

Liverpool L1 4BX

Founding Editor

Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk

Publisher

Christopher Torpey - chris@bidolito.co.uk

Editor

Elliot Ryder - elliot@bidolito.co.uk

Digital Media Manager

Brit Williams – brit@bidolito.co.uk

Design

Mark McKellier - mark@andmark.co.uk

Branding

Thom Isom - hello@thomisom.com

Proofreader

Nathaniel Cramp

Cover Photography

John Johnson

Words

Elliot Ryder, Sophie Shields, Jordan Ryder, Scott

Charlesworth, Christopher Torpey, David Weir, Brit

Williams, Ambre Levy, Jennie Macaulay, Craig G

Pennington, Sam Turner, Rhys Buchannan, Scott

Burgess, Nina Franklin, Lewis Dohren, Jack Turner,

Dr Ariel Edesess, Daniel Blunt.

Photography, Illustration and Layout

Mark McKellier, John Johnson, Michael Kirkham, Keith

Ainsworth, Scott Charlesworth, Carin Verbruggen,

Shea McChrystal, Sally Pilkington, Yana Yatsuk, Fin

Reed, Glyn Akroyd, Stu Moulding, Robin Clewley,

Lewis Dohren.

EDITORIAL

The longer nights were always going to be the home

for this new nadir of uncertainty. Turn the clocks back

three years, not just the customary hour, and you’d be

forgiven for thinking the minute and hour hands have

frozen and reality ceased.

Everyday absurdities rendered

meaningless. Career-ending soundbites

now campaigning rhetoric. Every day,

the same excruciating arguments evenly

squared off by the BBC, Question Time

now being an exercise in self-harm. The

vernacular of logic has been crowded out

in favour of blind-hope terrace chants.

Consequence has been removed from

the vocabulary of those at the wheel of

political madness.

With Bido Lito! being a collection

of voices, stories and song, it’s perhaps

most disheartening to witness this

growing desecration of language. What

should remain a medium free from

fearmongering, division and deceit has

been weaponised in the most odious

manner – all in an attempt to win the

stalemate with little regard for the irreparable chasm it carves

between us all. It wasn’t so long ago that discourse rewarded

those who had a way with words. Now, discourse is a battlefield

for those who want their own way with the help of words.

This being my first editorial as Editor, it feels somewhat

hollowing to know it’s delivered with a tone of anxiety. But it’s

important to acknowledge that the arts and music can’t reside

offshore from these bizarre goings on. This is not to say all art

FEATURES

“There remains a

strong appetite for

visual language

that takes on the

biggest issues

in society with

positivity and hope”

should aim to reflect, respond and protest these times ahead;

to do so would be limiting and unfair. In return, artists must

be granted space. However, it’s clear that those at the levers

of power are drawing an ever-tightening perimeter around

free spaces of thought and ideas,

movements and cultures. Art should

allow for the momentary escape free

from ideological borders, many of which

are currently under threat from a barrage

of isolationist rhetoric.

Looking to our cover feature, The

Mysterines break with the haze of

shadow-encrusted language and tell

us how it is. They let their music do

the talking and, surprisingly, leave little

else to mystery. We also come to see

the effervescent hip hop trio Nutribe

as an antidote all should endeavour

to experience. As they put it across

themselves: “Everyone likes to hear

positivity. Why wouldn’t they? People

like to see three MCs having a good

time, chatting goodness.” This direct,

positive language is not solely reserved

for lyricism in this issue. As we see in Jordan Ryder’s assessment

of Keith Haring’s work, there remains a strong appetite for

visual language that takes on the biggest issues in society with

positivity and hope. It is perhaps the visual artist’s energy and

belief we should look to when the longest nights roll in.

Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder

Editor

Photo by Robin Clewley

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

If you are interested in adverting in Bido Lito!, or finding

out about how we can work together, please email

sales@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

revenue 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.

14 / THE MYSTERINES

Take a deep breath and hang on tight as the ascendant trio wind

up to release the full force of their hair-raising repertoire.

18 / NUTRIBE

Fresh from renowned Future Bubblers programme, the

effervescent hip hop trio bring us up to speed on the

interplanetary aura that unifies their artistry and being.

20 / COMING OUT THROUGH THE

GIFT SHOP

As the hugely successful Keith Haring exhibition moves into

its final month, Jordan Ryder ponders whether there is a battle

to sustain the artist’s campaigning sentiment in the face of its

aesthetic appeal.

22 / TRUDY AND THE ROMANCE

Oliver Taylor walks us through Trudy’s pillow-headed paradise

and towards a new musical world yet to be shaped.

24 / THE DIRT I’M MADE OF

Writer and photographer Scott Charlesworth locates the

homebound escapism of the River Mersey.

29 / RICHARD DAWSON

“The power of a word or a melody can be quite profound: it can

change the way in which people perceive things”

31 / BLACK LIPS

“I grew up in a church that was way more wild than any rock ’n’

roll show”

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.

REGULARS

12 / NEWS

26 / SPOTLIGHT

32 / PREVIEWS

34 / REVIEWS

44 / ARTISTIC LICENCE

46 / THE FINAL SAY


NEWS

Mellowtone @ 15

Mellowtone

From a leap of faith back at the The View Two Gallery in

2004 all the way to the here and now, MELLOWTONE are

celebrating 15 years of gigs, parties and quietly creating

a stir. To mark the occasion, the promotions companycum-record

label are hosting an exhibition at Buyers

Club featuring 15 original screenprints. The show opens

on 6th November, where the specially commissioned

illustrations and posters will sit alongside historic flyers,

prints and ephemera from the Mellowtone archives. There

is also a programme of free entry shows in collaboration

with Handyman Brewery, with the Smithdown Road

establishment brewing a special beer for the occasion. A

host of Mellowtone favourites and regulars from down

the years will be turning out, including SEAFOAM GREEN

(Wednesday 20th November), ANWAR ALI AND DAVE

OWEN (21st November), EDGAR JONES (23rd) and NICK

ELLIS (24th).

Dig At The Dock

The Royal Albert Dock’s independent spirit is soon to

be bolstered by the arrival of Bold Street favourites Dig

Vinyl. Far from just a tired replication of the popular city

centre vinyl emporium, DIG AT THE DOCK will be offering

memorabilia, books, art prints and merchandise related

to music and Liverpool, alongside a mixture of new and

vintage vinyl stock. Due to open in November, the pop-up

will bring the local scene to the Dock, as the Diggers look to

work with other independent Liverpool businesses that fit

alongside their vision. We can soon look forward to music

having a firm presence within one of the city’s biggest

tourist destinations, in line with the docks being Liverpool’s

access not only to trade, but also to music from across the

globe.

Dig At The Dock

Laces Out, Dan!

Laces Out!

LACES OUT! trainer festival celebrates its fifth birthday on 16th November, by returning to Camp

and Furnace for its biggest event yet. There have been 11 Laces Out! festivals since it began back

in 2014, and with its return to the venue where it all began for AW19, there’s a lot in store for

sneakerheads. The usual array of rare footwear, deadstock and streetwear will be on hand from the

dozens of independent retailers, offering unique deals and services to sneaker enthusiasts. Even if you

don’t consider yourself a trainer expert, there’s still a great selection of artwork and apparel for the

discerning sports casual. Key industry figures will be on hand to share their wisdom and experience

during a number of panel discussions, with guest DJs on hand throughout to make sure it’s as smooth

as your Air Jordans. lacesout.co.uk

Louder Than Words

A Year In Liverpool Music

A famous comment (erroneously attributed to Elvis Costello) suggested

that writing about music is like “dancing about architecture”; in other words,

a tricky, abstract thing to even attempt. However, many careers have

been forged by those interested in working across the worlds of music

and writing, and that is what one panel at the LOUDER THAN WORDS

festival will attempt to unpick. The panel features our own publisher

Christopher Torpey, who joins a discussion with a number of storied writers

and journalists: Professor Martin James, Dr Lucy O’Brien and Dr Simon

A. Morrison. The whole festival, which takes place between 8th and 10th

November at the Principal Hotel in Manchester, will bring together a host of

intriguing panels, interviews and workshops, with Edwyn Collins opening

the event. Full details can be found at louderthanwordsfest.com

The 2019 edition of the Bido Lito! Journal is now available to pre-order!

Collating and celebrating 12 months in Liverpool’s creative and cultural

endeavours, the Bido Lito! Journal will bring together the story of 2019

in a supreme, glossy format. Printed in a limited edition run, the Journal

will feature a selection of the best photography and commissions from

artists we’ve covered throughout the year. It’s our way of reflecting on

another amazing year in Merseyside for new music and creative culture,

and to showcase the talent that makes this city such a vibrant place to

live, work and create in. It’ll arrive in time for Christmas, too, so it’s the

perfect gift for yourself or for the music and culture-loving pal in your

life. Head to bidolito.co.uk to find out how to pre-order a copy.

River Of Light

River Of Light

The River Mersey is the stage once more for the RIVER OF LIGHT celebrations.

The annual spectacular returns as a nine-day festival of light and colour, with

the huge fireworks spectacle on Sunday 3rd November as its centrepiece.

Titanium Fireworks – one of the world’s leading pyrotechnic companies – will

lead simultaneous displays on both sides of the Mersey from 6.30pm, with a

firework show soundtracked by artists who have been popular in the region during

2019. Around this, Liverpool’s waterfront will be transformed with a number of

spectacular light commissions between 1st and 9th November, featuring some of

the most exciting visual artists in Europe. The Royal Albert Dock will be the canvas

for two light installations, with the Liver Building, Wapping Dock, Liverpool Parish

Church and Mann Island also being illuminated. visitliverpool.com/riveroflight

12


DANSETTE

The Zanzibar Club’s Scott Burgess

picks out a selection of songs that

have been on constant rotation on his

virtual jukebox of late.

Sam Cooke

A Change is

Gonna Come

RCA Victor

Winter Arts Market

Open Culture’s WINTER ARTS MARKET will set up

home again in the Anglican Cathedral on 7th December,

the festive sibling of the sunnier Summer Arts

Market. The independent shopping experience brings

together over 200 artists, designers and makers under

one magnificent roof for what is always a heartwarming

day out in the festive hustle and bustle. Whether you’re

looking for screen prints, photography, paintings or

homewares for yourself or for that hard-to-buy-for

family member, it’s likely you’ll find something that fits

the bill here. In addition to the main market, there’ll be

craft opportunities for little ones in the Kids Craft Lab,

and a pop-up vintage and clothing fair in the cathedral’s

Concert Room. You may even find some music, too,

if you go exploring the cathedral’s many nooks and

crannies.

2020 And Beyond

Winter Arts Market

Playing Fast And Loose

The Merseyside Guitar Show, which takes place

at Aintree Racecourse on 24th November, is the

setting for the launch of a new line of instruments

by Cumbria-based guitar builders LUCEM GUITARS.

Having made guitars for ex-Verve guitarist Nick

McCabe, Slowdive’s Neil Halstead and Greg Dulli

from the Afghan Whigs, Lucem have a cult following

in the high-end custom built market – and their new

Silver Series is a more affordable line. The logo on this

series has been designed by Brian Cannon at Microdot

Creative, who was the man behind many iconic album

sleeve designs from the 90s (Oasis, The Verve). The

new guitars will available at the Merseyside Guitar

Show to view and demo in a private booth, and guitar

maker and designer Graham Skimming will be present

– along with a special guest – to take questions.

This song always has a place

in my heart. My mum was

a massive Motown and disco freak, and this massively

influenced my musical likes and dislikes when I was

growing up. Music transcends time and this song takes me

back to sitting in my mum’s car, listening to the CDs belting

out tracks.

Run The Jewels

Lie, Cheat, Steal

Mass Appeal

These guys are focusing

on real issues across the

world, from poverty to gun

crime. They do this in a really

comical way with beats which deserve the best bass face.

If you’re already a fan of RTJ, I recommend watching Killer

Mike’s docu-series Trigger Warning. Lie, Cheat, Steal is

basically about how everyone is doing everything in their

power to rise to the top, regardless of the consequences.

This song is the revolution.

National Museums Liverpool has announced a run of outstanding exhibitions and new permanent

displays for 2020, with a focus on art, photography, technology and revolution. Opening on 25th

April, the LINDA MCCARTNEY RETROSPECTIVE at Walker Art Gallery will feature some iconic

photography taken by McCartney during the 1960s, some of which have never been on public

display before. Alongside depictions of luminaries of the 60s music scene, a number of her private

shots of family life with Paul will also be on show. The major piece for summer 2020 comes at

the World Museum, as AI: MORE THAN HUMAN arrives after an acclaimed run at the Barbican.

Running from 10th July to 1st November, it will give visitors a thrilling glimpse of the future through

interactive and immersive artworks. Find more at liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/nml2020.

Imtiaz Dharker

A Literal Feast

Chester Literature Festival is one of the UK’s oldest. This year it celebrates

its 30th anniversary, with 128 events taking place at Storyhouse between

9th and 30th November. Major authors ARMISTEAD MAUPIN and MICHAEL

MORPURGO will take part in evening discussions about their work and life, with

writers and broadcasters NADIYA HUSSAIN and JOHN OSBORNE also stopping

by. The festival is a great chance to engage in discussion and find inspiration

for new work, with the words of poet IMTIAZ DHARKER joining those of Lemn

Sissay and Hollie McNish on the walls of Storyhouse’s vibrant library, cinema

and theatre spaces. Dharker has even penned a special poem for Storyhouse,

which can be heard when she is joined by friends CAROL ANN DUFFY and

KEITH HUTSON for a special event on 22nd November. storyhouse.com

Red Rum Club

Would You Rather

Be Lonely?

Modern Sky UK

I first heard these guys way

back when I was a bartender

working in Some Place and

I heard them soundchecking downstairs in The Zanzibar.

I had to pop my head in when I heard the brass come

steaming in. From then I was hooked. We have a few of

their songs on the playlist in Some Place and, no matter

what time this song comes on, the feels are there. When

half the bar are singing along to an awesome homegrown

band and an equally awesome song, how could this not be

on the list?

Cymande

Cymande

Janus Records

Sweet Release(s)

We’ve been lucky enough to hear tonnes of great new music

again this month, far too much for us to fit in a single issue.

It would be remiss not to mention some of the finer releases,

however, such as the fabulous new effort from ambient wizard

LO FIVE. The producer’s new LP, Geography Of The Abyss, is a

masterpiece of downbeat techno that’s full of sumptuous synth

work, and is a late contender for your favourite record of the year.

Songsmith EMILIO PINCHI is back with a six-track mini-album

on 15th November, and new electro noir trio RISE ATHENA have

made some waves with their first track, Jericho. Any new music

from the world of idiosyncratic songwriter and producer News

From Neptune is something to enjoy, and the new EP – Fields Of

Industry, credited to NEWS FROM NEPTUNE FEATURING THE

SINCLAIR C5 – is a beguiling brew of twinkling guitartronica.

Lo Five - Geography Of The Abyss

I recently discovered this

album while deep in the rabbit

hole of YouTube. They are a

British funk band who were

active in 70s, and they reunited recently. They’re also

massively overlooked considering their unbelievable talent.

Cymande is derived from the calypso word for ‘dove’,

symbolising love and peace. This album is pure escapism:

sit back, close your eyes and feel the Calypso funk.

thezanzibarclub.com

Head to bidolito.co.uk now for an extended list of song

choices on Scott’s Dansette.

NEWS 13


Blink and you’ll have missed The

Mysterines’ rise from smoking area

adulation to the name on the lips of the

country’s biggest taste-makers. This

is merely the start. Take a deep breath

and hang on tight as they wind up to

release the full force of their hair-raising

repertoire.

THE MYSTE

Over the last 18 months, you might have noticed posters surfacing around the city’s

streets crying out ‘Who are The Mysterines?’ Those early few who knew, knew. But,

beyond the striking shredded typeface, there was no explanation. Who, what or were

THE MYSTERINES? Overheard whispers in the smoking areas of venues gave the odd

hushed clue. But, even if you didn’t know, it felt like you should care.

Until now the band have had little internet presence and only a handful of songs to go with

their poster campaign. Yet, even with a relatively low profile over the last year, the trio have been

able to build a fair amount of excitement, just in time for the release of their statement EP, Take

Control.

People love a mystery. Everyone strives to be the first person on the pulse of a new band, to

be the first person to bring them up in conversation. However, after supporting Miles Kane on his

UK tour and with fans in Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens, the aforementioned heavyweights

have beat many to it. The Mysterines are fast becoming less mysterious to discerning rock fans in

Liverpool and further afield. Word is spreading.

So, here I am on a Saturday night at the O2 Academy, preparing myself for my first full

experience of their much-touted live show, one that so many have attested to in Liverpool since

the arrival of those posters. It’s a sell-out in the main room for tonight’s headliners Red Rum Club,

so it’s fair to assume most up-and-coming bands would feel a hint of pressure in the situation. Not

quite. Rather than smile and be thankful for the opportunity, the trio offer a direct lesson in the

need to turn up for support acts.

No frills, no fuss, no hype. Just grungy guitars, dirty bass riffs, pounding drums and rough

vocals that sound like a combination of PJ Harvey, Courtney Love and Dua Lipa. The show pretty

much carries on in this vein for the rest of their set, with a distinct absence of unnecessary chatter

from the lead singer, or anyone for that matter. The band don’t need it. The crowd don’t need it.

The music speaks for itself.

Take the eponymous EP opener. There’s no revving up of the engine or false start. It’s a

juggernaut already in monition, like a brick laid on a muscle car accelerator pedal. The soaring

vocals that career alongside give off the cool of a Ray-Ban clad James Dean. Hormone is pumped

full of wiry attitude, a song that begs to played with the windows fully rolled down with little care

14


“There’s a lot you can

take from being at this

stage so young, but

there is also a lot that

can fuck you up”

RINES

for the decibel level. Gasoline and Bet Your Pretty Face are as unsparing as they are anthemic; they

could happily draw the curtain on a sunburst backdrop as you speed off in the distance. The EP as a

whole sounds like it was recorded with a white-hot intent; it’s clear no single thread of energy was

spared in its assembly.

Seeing all of this live forces home the feeling. Their lack of online presence means their whole

persona, style and stage presence is a surprise until curtain call. It harks back to the good old days of

not knowing what to expect from a show. When you couldn’t pre-watch glimpses of sets on YouTube

seemingly recorded by a potato. When setlists were still something to be anticipated. The Mysterines

are bringing back that first time excitement of going to gigs.

Behind the posters and lashings of overdrive, The Mysterines are a three-piece band from Wirral.

Lia Metcalfe provides their fierce vocals and guitar, George Favager adds gritty bass and Chrissy

Moore relentlessly bangs the drums.

Yet, mysterious by name and mysterious by nature. When I meet up with Lia a few days after the

show, even though I had seen her on stage a few days prior, I have no idea who I’m looking out for.

I try to make myself look obvious in the bar we are meeting in; laptop and notebook poised,

pen in hand, anxious knee tapping. After a number of bodies and faces come through the door, she

eventually arrives. It’s clear who she is. Lia oozes a sense of nonchalant coolness, one I’d never be

able to achieve in a million years. Much more sedate in nature now, but with a lot more to say than the

weekend’s stage presence. She’s only 18 years of age. Suddenly, I feel old.

In between their Red Rum Club gig and pending support slots with Seagirls and The Amazons

we sit down to address the posters and finally answer the elusive, A2 sized question: ‘Who are

The Mysterines?’ We start at the very beginning, with a good old blast to the past. Well, one not so

distant; Lia and George are 18, and Chrissy is only 23, after all.

“My dad was a singer-songwriter in a band,” Lia starts, when asked how she got the impetus

to explore the world of music and eventually form her own band. “He taught me my first two chords

when I was nine and I just wrote songs off the back of that.” She recalls this while shrugging her

shoulders as though learning how to play guitar at nine is commonplace. “I didn’t want to learn guitar.

Weirdly, I just wanted to learn tunes, so I sort of skipped learning to play theoretically. It’s only the

past few years I’ve been like, ‘Shit, I really need to learn some stuff’.”

FEATURE

15


16

“Sometimes you

need to take the

artist for what they

are; music first”


Having known Chrissy pretty much since birth (“his parents

used to babysit mine!”), Lia had a readymade drummer at her

fingertips when needed. George’s acquisition can be as much

owed to his aesthetic as his ability with a bass. “When I met him

I just thought he looked quite cool,” she confesses, before adding,

“I assumed he played an instrument, just from the way he was

dressed.” A little further social media detective work and the

band’s fixtures were in place: “I stalked his Facebook until I found

him and sent a really long message like, ‘I’m not a weirdo, I’m just

looking for band members’.” It paid off, and the band have carried

on an upward trajectory since, sharing a journey from practices

in the front room, a first gig at 14, right up to the release of their

debut EP in August and selling out a December headline show at

Jimmy’s – almost three months in advance. It’s been a progression

they’ve undertaken together, as Lia explains: “It’s the first band

I’ve ever been in, so we’ve all grown up together with it.”

Despite starting so young, the three of them have grown into

the musicians they are under the watchful eye of James Skelly of

The Coral and Skeleton Key Records, who is also credited with

shaping the world of The Mysterines. “As we were so young

when we first started, Jay said to keep everything condensed,

music-wise. I suppose the mystery thing was an unintentional

way to protect our personalities because we were so young. But

then people caught on and we just blagged that we came up

with the idea. We’re sort of mysterious, but not to ourselves.”

The question on everyone’s lips then: why the name? Lia

starts: “I think we wanted something that was quite 80s, a Lost

Boys sort of thing,” she explains. “Jay was saying The Coral

got their name from a mouthwash in the 90s called Oracle or

something, so we were joking about saying Listerine and then Jay

said ‘Mysterine’. We were like, ‘Yeh, let’s just use it!’”

With Take Control now out in the open, the ‘Who Are The

Mysterines’ mantra less prevalent than regular mainstream radio

plays, it leads to the question of whether the band are now

looking to take control of their identity. Will they opt to sculpt

more shadows or present an open book to go with their hairraising

rock ’n’ roll? “I think it will be a good idea to keep [the

mystery surrounding the band] because we are still so young and

have opinions that probably shouldn’t be let out into the world

yet,” Lia adds with humour, casting light on the fact that the band

are still likely to be asked for ID upon entry to most venues they

play. “It’s like a cautious thing. I don’t really like sharing too much

as more music gets released either. I think, sometimes, you can

attach the artist to the person a little too much. For certain artists

that can work, but sometimes you need to take the artist for what

they are; music first.”

Lia’s maturity is palpable. Mainstream media tends to create a

preconception that young people in the music industry aren’t able

to handle the pressure. In this instance, writing music and gigging

from the age of 14 has sped up the steps towards gaining

confidence in ability, especially when it becomes your livelihood.

“There’s a lot you can take from it going in so young, but there

is also a lot that can fuck you up because you’re so young,” Lia

muses. “You don’t really understand how people work yet. When

we first started we just got thrown into the deep end. We were

just saying yesterday, it’s mad to think that we haven’t been to

that many gigs as spectators. Instead we’ve played hundreds.”

Playing such a large number of gigs is no easy feat, especially

when you’re trying to juggle school, the added pressure of

fronting the band and essentially being the spokesperson for

the group. It’s a role that Lia is happy to be taking on, but not

without its caveats of expectations for musical progression and

development. Lia shrugs off the standardised thought of these

expectations. “You get compared to people who have been in

the industry for years, like grown women and men. I haven’t

even finished puberty yet, you know,” she jokes. And it’s not

only confined to the stage and recording studio. While the

efforts are paying off, taking the reins of The Mysterines is an

all-encompassing endeavour. “It can get stressful because I write

everything. I do everything; social media and stuff, too. It’s all

from me, really.”

However, Lia is quick to outline that it is far from a selfreflective

endeavour. The Mysterines are a band that are toploaded

by the lead singer-songwriter and guitarist, but only with

all the other parts pulling in tandem do they become a force to

be reckoned with. “When I bring the songs to the boys they turn

it around in a different way. It’s like putting bread in the toaster,

the toast is the final product,” Lia explains. I like the analogy.

Bread is always better after a quick run in with the toaster; gives

it an edge. “There is definitely an energy there that needs to be

communicated when we play live.”

Beyond strong influences from Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, PJ

Harvey and Patti Smith, I’m intrigued to find out where she gets

her songwriting inspiration from. If I think back to when I was in

my early teens I wouldn’t know where to start with writing my

own music, yet Lia has managed to turn those turbulent times

into clever lyrics and angsty songs. “I think it’s changed over

time,” she muses. “Initially, when I was younger. it was from

my perspective on feelings, which it still is to a certain point.

Sometimes I’ll write something and I still don’t realise what it’s

about until I’ve got over the issue. I’ll look back at the song like,

‘Oh shit, that’s what that was about’. I think now, because I’m

a bit older, I like to get points across in songs, especially from

a female perspective. But love is probably the main thing, it’s

probably the main thing everyone writes about, really.”

Touching on the female perspective she mentions can often

be a subject lingered on when speaking to female musicians.

But when you’re fronting a heavy rock band in a city that lacks

this sort of genre, more so with the recent end of Queen Zee,

I want to find out how she feels being in this position as a

young woman. Does society load it with a greater responsibility,

expectation and rules, and does she even notice the pressure

at the age of 18? “I feel like a lot of people get those questions

and they are quick to jump to the answer of, ‘Being a girl in the

industry is no different to being a boy’, but it really is. There

is a major difference,” she says passionately. “The way you’re

perceived and treated is sometimes even more positive than

boys, but then sometimes it’s really degrading,” she adds,

with an expression that lightly leans on the experiences she

is mentally recalling. “The lads have gone through it with me

as well. Their perspective on feminism has changed over time

because they have watched me deal with it. Two years ago, if

you had asked them if sexism exists in the music industry they

probably wouldn’t be so certain, but now they would say, ‘Yes’.

It’s not in the way that girls are better than boys or boys are

better than girls. I think it’s more the fact you become a gimmick

in some ways. It’s mad, sometimes people shock you and treat

you normally, it’s good when that happens because you feel a lot

more comfortable.”

The Mysterines are certainly no gimmick. They’re in good

company, slowly on their way to sharing a platform with some

of the biggest female voices the band take their cues from. The

Mysterines are leading a charge. They’re leading it with a power

and maturity the music industry needs. They are only just getting

started with an exciting future built from the humble beginnings,

one where the alluring charm of mystery has paved the way to

near ubiquity within the Liverpool scene.

“It’s hard to see far ahead,” Lia says, as we wind down our

conversation. “We’re just taking it as it comes and not getting

ahead of ourselves because the pressure kicks in then. I’m just

letting myself grow into a style as a writer. Hopefully we’ll still be

doing this in five years, because if not I’d have to get a job,” she

laughs. As far as I can see, the only job now for The Mysterines is

to keep the music coming and the posters at eye level. Finishing

with a sigh and a smile she ends with a grounding comment, “It’s

been a long road and there’s probably more shit to come, but it’s

been great. It’s all worth it.” !

Words: Sophie Shields / @sshields43

Photography: John Johnson / johnjohnson-photography.com

soundcloud.com/themysterines

Take Control is out now via Pretty Face Recordings. The

Mysterines play Jimmy’s on 7th December.

Thanks to Vessel Liverpool Studios – and keep your eyes open

for behind the scenes content from this photoshoot on Bido

channels.

FEATURE

17


NUTRIBE

Fresh from the renowned Future Bubblers programme, the effervescent hip hop trio bring us up to speed on

the interplanetary aura that unifies their artistry and being. Time to understand the ‘ness’ of Nutribe.

It’s difficult to imagine NUTRIBE ever sitting still. As they

lock into pose to have their picture taken, the lens has barely

snapped shut before they’ve contorted into another elastic

shape. And even when their bodies hold still just for a

second, there’s a constant harmony of staccato noises emitting

from their formation; you can almost see the rapids of thought

and ideas rushing between their heads as their bodies feel the

suppress of static. Their unified presence is a life force of its own.

That’s even before you add their music into the equation. When

they pull together into frame, they become a North Face, fur hat

and beret-clad megazord; a three-headed hip hop hydra sporting

razor sharp rhymes instead of deadly teeth.

For a number of years, the trio of Stickydub, Yloh and

Doopsman have been injecting a dose of classic hip hop and

boom bap into Liverpool’s rap scene. But they’re by no means

heritage-facing revivalists. They sound like a trio from the

year 3,000 who’ve dug up dusty artefacts left behind by De

La Soul, Slum Village and The Roots, inspired to put their own

raps to record. The product is music centred on feeling and

bodily movement – the latter often choreographing the vocal

accompaniment. It’s an energetic blend that has led to support

slots with the GZA and taking to the main stage at Africa Oyé.

But, more recently, they’ve caught the attentions of Gilles

Peterson’s Brownswood Music, featuring in the third cohort of

the Future Bubblers artist development programme.

Now back in their home city, Elliot Ryder sits down with the trio

get the inside track on transcending the energy of the Nutribe ‘ness’.

You’ve been releasing tracks for a few years now, with a recent

inclusion on Future Bubblers 3.0. When did the world of

Nutribe start coming together?

Doopsman: When I was born.

So, friends first and the music came after?

Yloh: Yeh, the music came last though. We went through a lot of

things first before we got to music.

D: We all studied dance at arts college in Liverpool. We all parted

ways for a year; Sticky went to London, I went to Leeds and Yloh

stayed here. Then we met back up a year later in London.

Y: The London era was like a level up for the music, we

concentrated on it a lot more when we got there. As for when

all this started, you could say from the first time we met; that

first time we all jumped on Virtual DJ. From there we just started

writing raps and bars.

D: One of the turning points was a

night out we went on in London. We

were on our way to an event and we

came across some turntables just left

in the street. We were like, ‘Ah, should

we take these back?’ but we were

going out, so hid them and planned to

get them on the way back. Anyway,

at this event, the DJ failed to show,

so we ended up filling in and DJing.

When we went back, the turntables

just happened to be there, which in

any other circumstance in London,

they would not have. So we took

them home – now we make music…

So it seemed like it all started pretty

casually. Is it still quite laid back, or was there a moment you

thought, ‘We should try at this with a certain intent’?

Stickydub: There was one moment when we were having a jam

with our friends in London, and I remember listening back to the

voice memos and I was like, ‘Oh, shit, we can do stuff you know’.

Then we started hitting up open mic nights, practising.

D: We started with Butcha B, our big brother – man’s got pure

flavour. I remember on my 21st birthday in Leeds. We were in a

circle, spitting, singing and just chatting shit. There was, like, 20

people around us and we were just in this zone of making noises

together. It was a pretty pivotal moment.

Y: It’s pretty mad how people get the expression of what we give

off, like the warmth. When it resonates, it resonates. It’s genuine.

“It’s not how you

dress, it’s how you

think – your way of

being. Anyone can be

a part of Nutribe”

You started out as part of the Collecta Family, a

multidisciplinary art collective. Are you still part of this scene?

D: It’s still got the family umbrella, but without the name. It’s just

Nutribe. That’s the family, that’s the thing.

Would you say you’re a reflection of a changing community,

or one that was developed in your

youth?

S: I’d say it’s hard not to be a reflection

of the community we were brought

up in. A reflection doesn’t necessarily

mean the same, though, but you can’t

escape that similarity. We’re part of so

many communities; we’re of complex

culture. Lots of our families are

mixed, we’ve lived in different cities,

our identities are complex. We’re a

reflection of many, not just one. That’s

what Nutribe is.

There’s quite a democratic style in

the way that you perform in that

there’s a collage of voices often

present at one time. How did this develop?

D: I think it’s just how we are with each other. We have a respect.

We strive on communication so much. That makes everything so

much easier. So, if Yloh was like, ‘I wanna spit there’, we’d be like,

‘Spit there, go for it’. Standard. Cool, let’s hear it.

Y: It’s one of those where if Doops says he’s coming in, I know

he’s going to come in with something that I’m going to be gassed

with. We have that mutual artistry that is one collective voice. It’s

just different voices in the one voice.

S: We just know our ‘ness’, n e double-s. We just know what

our ness is. Our ness, our vibe. We’re just lacing our words with

the same vibe, you get me? I just trust them. I don’t care how

much that I say. I’m norrarsed. It doesn’t matter. I’m still there, my

energy is being represented, pushed out.

D: We have a track without Yloh on, and obviously it’s not the

same exact flavour, but it’s still got the same ingredient.

18


So, Nutribe is a feeling?

D: It’s a way, it’s a ness.

Y: I can make a track by myself, that’s Nutribe. I could make

pottery, that’s Nutribe. Doesn’t matter what the instrument is, it’s

the expression that’s within in it.

Are each of you bringing a certain style, or have a certain

musical responsibility? Is it very much a socialist sort of make

up to the group?

Y: We all have unique tools, but we’re all happy to give opinions

on each of them.

S: It all comes together in the expression.

D: I view it as a kitchen. If we were

all head chefs on day one, it wouldn’t

work. You need the Sous-Chef, the

porter. We switch roles. And whoever

is more active on a certain topic, we

just roll with it.

Listening to the likes of the Wu-

Tang Clan, there’s a strong feeling

that every member is jostling for the

mic, wanting their moment. Were

these influences prevalent in your

early days, and how did you break

from the more self-promotional

display?

Y: We do have tunes where each

of us have our time to shine. But,

you know, it’s not like one of us would be like, ‘Yo, it’s my time’.

Rather, one of us would be like, ‘Yo, it’s your time, we want you to

take the lead’. As much as we all shine together, there’s a certain

time when one of us has got something special, and we want to

highlight that.

D: Our music isn’t something we’re specifically trying to get out,

it’s just what we do, how we step. We don’t bring each other

down on that; we big each other up all the time. It’s not fake.

What would be the point? I know mans is going to spit fire bars,

why would I dash the mic from him?

S: Even back in the day when that competitiveness was there, I

still believe in the Wu-Tang’s language, it’s like a sparring match.

It’s not a bad thing.

Would you say your style derives from freestyle?

S: Most of our songs are written verses, but we write in very

“We’re part of so many

communities, our

identities are complex.

We’re a reflection of

many, not just one”

different ways. We incorporate that into our shows a lot. Usually

we have a whole track that is just freestyle. We do write though,

whether it be through voice notes, or notebook and pen.

D: Because we all project the same thing, we don’t need to be

in the same place to write. Even without a topic, we can gel our

words together.

So it’s almost like a subconscious being; one of you could write

a few lines, and the other will naturally have the hook, or the

harmony

D: It’s the ness. Once again, it’s the ness!

S: We know the lifestyle innit, and we live the lifestyle of Nutribe.

We’re in that; it’s not a choice. What

we talk about, it’s all within that. The

cohesiveness is embedded in that.

Was there a moment where you all

collectively understood the ness?

S: Before we made music, we were

already creating together, dancing

together. I think the ness was

something that was visible to others

before it was visible to us. Other

people could pick up on the energy

between us.

Can other artists be part of the

ness?

Y: Yeh. But other people think that

they can’t be part of the ness as much as they actually could

be. They might see an aesthetic, and not feel a part of it, but

we understand it in a different way. It’s not how you dress, it’s

how you think, your way of being. Anyone can be a part of it; it’s

open.

S: I think just being around the ness, you become subject to the

aura of the ness. If we’re here just nessin, then ness with us.

Y: It’s not exclusive.

A lot of your raps have a distinct colloquialness. Do you think

you benefit from having the Scouse accent in a rap game

dominated by southern accents?

D: Yeh, 100 per cent.

Y: It’s very stylised, unique in its own way.

D: Even without music, Scouse captivates an audience, just

talking. It’s a recipe isn’t it?

Lately, so much of language seems bound up in charged

rhetoric for negative purposes. Do you think it’s important to

use language in a celebratory way?

Y: I think it’s important to be honest. You can write, see negativity

and reflect on that. Everything you create, you can reflect on and

learn more about yourself. As an outsource, everyone likes to

hear positivity. Why wouldn’t they? People like to see three MCs

having a good time, chatting goodness. Not your typical moody

language.

S: I wouldn’t say that it’s necessary to emit positivity for an artist.

I’d agree it’s all about being honest. You shouldn’t be trying to

control your expression. I don’t think people should try to be

positive, I think we just are that way. I wouldn’t write something

and think, ‘Oh, that’s not positive enough’. It’s where we are at.

Does the mix of music, writing and dance help sculpt your

style?

S: Out of all of those there, the one that we’re doing is movement.

The broader term. This is all movement. It’s the first thing you do

in your life. Without movement, there can’t be language.

Y: Everything is intersectional. Everything affects the other, you

know, connecting those dots within yourself. You see that in

yourself. There are times where I’ve written a verse, dancing

around at the same time; I can see the similarities in the way the

words and my body move.

So, do you have to see Nutribe to get Nutribe, to understand

the ness?

Y: Best way is to be around it. The more you get, the more you

get.

S: It’s just a higher dosage.

Y: Some people are fluent in music and get the whole picture

from just listening to it.

S: It can depend on the person, though. But sometimes you can

bump into people and…

Y: …and they just get it!

S: They just get it. !

Words: Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder

Photos: Michael Kirkham / @Mrkirks

Sittin On The Step by Nutribe features on Future Bubblers 3.0

compilation, which is now available on Brownswood Music.

FEATURE

19


COMING

OUT

THROUGH

THE

GIFT

SHOP

20

As the hugely successful Keith Haring

exhibition at Tate Liverpool moves into

its final month, Jordan Ryder ponders

whether there is a battle to sustain

the artist’s campaigning sentiment

in the face of its aesthetic appeal.

I

recently got my nose pierced. Yes, that

darkening shape you can see on the horizon is

my 30th birthday. Maybe I can blame that. Or

I can blame my boyfriend for catching me at a

weak moment and making a long held (but crucially

hypothetical) desire happen. Regardless, the weight

of my already sizeable head has increased marginally

and I travel everywhere with a bottle of saline. Both

my mother and a number of my male friends have

remarked that they like it, it suits me, and “it makes me

look more gay”. Brilliant. But, I suppose that was part of

the point, when I think about it. This fairly unexceptional

act of identity assertion happened aged 29. American

artist KEITH HARING died in 1990, aged 31, of AIDSrelated

complications.

Over the course of his career he challenged the

American government’s ignorance of the AIDS crisis,

promoted safe sex and addressed the crack epidemic

in 1980s New York, as well as highlighting the dangers

of nuclear power. In conflating these two I do not seek

to elevate my choice of metallic facial furniture to that of

confrontational activist art, but rather highlight just how

young Haring was to be one of the visual voices of socially

conscious art during the Reagan era, and how an earlier

knowledge and understanding of his work may have eased my

own reconciliation with my homosexuality.

Had I been exposed to his art beyond the T-shirts of

my more fashion conscious friends, would I have felt more

comfortable in myself? I’d like to believe this is the case. Equally,

for any persons unsure of their gender, sexuality or even morality

that visits, or has visited, the exhibition. Subtracted from this line of

questioning, however, the exhibition is a huge success. Not just for

the Tate, but for Liverpool in general.

Returning to my point: if you expand this further, can art, in any

format, provide a focal point for solidarity and identification in the

same way music can, or is the message of an image or object more

firmly rooted in the time and place of production? Does radical art

only remain radical for so long, its didactic power only temporal and

therefore limited?

Essentially, can an exhibition of political art ever avoid the castration

of that art’s political message? Indeed, can a work of art retain its political

undertone without being part of a biographical retrospective?

Take Haring’s Silence Equals Death (1989), for example. Building on

the campaign of the same name by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power

(ACT UP), Haring’s image recreates the infamous pink triangle on a stark

black background. The reclaimed triangle, initially used as a marker of

homosexuality in Nazi concentration camps, is plain and flat in the ACT UP

poster, but in Haring’s work is overlain with figures representing the ‘see no

evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ maxim. The overall effect is striking in a very

different way to the ACT UP poster. The tumble of human figures inevitably

connote a pyramid of bodies, Haring certainly conflating the AIDS pandemic

with the Holocaust, presenting both as a systematic eradication of a group

maligned and ignored by the ruling class, the wilful ignorance and inaction of the

Reagan administration set alongside the ideological antisemitism of the Nazis.

As a 29-year-old gay man in 2019 this work of art represents not just a

period in time and a particular aesthetic style, but a pivotal moment in the history

of people like me, one that has shaped not only my perception of what it is to

be gay, but also why it matters to not simply accept the superficial equality that

is framed as progress. But I wonder whether that is the same for younger gay

people, less politically aware gay people, or people who are not part of the LGBTQ+


“The exhibition preserves and

promotes an undeniably brilliant

and important artist. Maybe

an aesthetic appreciation will

lead to a greater engagement,

therefore provoking a discovery

of the radical activism”

Tseng Kwong Chi - Keith Haring in subway car, (New York), circa 1983. Photo © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc. Art © Keith Haring Foundation

community. Do they enter the final room of the Haring exhibition – where much of the work he

produced around the AIDS crisis and his own AIDS diagnosis is situated – and leave with the same

hollowed out, ‘there but for the grace of God’ feeling that I did? Or, despite the obvious trauma

of those images, are they more preoccupied with Haring’s “attractive and lovely and wearable”

designs? And if they are, is that a bad thing?

Exhibitions and Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool Darren Pih endorses the view that Haring

created “images that communicated in the moment” and “reflect the paradoxes of American

culture”. In a way this supports the idea that the true fire of Haring’s activism is lost in the exhibition

of his work, in that it implies that Haring’s work is unextractable from the time and means of

production, that his work is both a product of and “symptomatic of the possibility of the 1980s”.

The work then becomes historically categorised, situated alongside Bonfire Of The Vanities, Angels

In America, American Psycho, and Wall Street as artefacts and touchstones of a time and place,

historically important and certainly contemporarily relevant, but reduced in their potency, lessened

in their impact. Have they been superseded, are they victims of culture’s desire to historicise and

periodise, the easy categorisation much more tempting than asserting their continued relevance?

This question, and others, I ponder as I make my way through the Tate Liverpool retrospective

of Haring’s work. The 1980s are not so long ago to feel so distant to teenagers in 2019. I wonder

whether the queer and questioning young people who see Haring’s work (maybe for the first

time) will allow it to validate their feelings and support their sense of self, or whether, encased in

the riverside gallery with Kandinsky, Dalí and Warhol, Haring’s work has been institutionalised,

neutered, made part of the static aesthetics of the artistic canon. That is not to denigrate the Tate

Liverpool exhibition in any way. It is a brilliantly conceived space that presents Haring’s work in a

way that is accessible to strangers and illuminating for acquaintances. The exhibition leaflet is a

necessary partner, providing vital details about the consistent motifs that percolate Haring’s work,

not simply an illustrative map or reproduction of the text found in the exhibition. Further note must

also be given to the exhibition’s wider programme which coalesces around the world of Keith

Haring to provide advanced context. Be that in the form of his city’s music, captured on Soul Jazz

Records’ carefully curated compilation, fashion displays and talks about LGBTQ+ art and its activist

sentiment. But one does wonder whether this exhibition can fully retain the activism and social

consciousness of Haring’s work, the radicalism that spurred the production removed so that it is

only the aesthetic visual that remains. Pih, believes that one of the values of Haring’s work is that it

was “not constrained by the studio”, produced (as much of it was) on walls and in subway stations.

If Haring’s work is to have continued significance beyond the aesthetic, if it is to retain its social and

political relevance, one assumes that it cannot be constrained by the exhibition.

Cultural leader and collaborator Amy Lamé, who will speak at Tate Liverpool in November

about Haring, LGBTQ+ activism and art, believes that Haring’s political consciousness is

“inextricably linked” to his art work and that the two are “almost impossible to separate”. But, I

wonder if I disagree. Because Haring’s work is “so accessible [...so] commodifiable because it’s pop

art”, I wonder if it suffers from an inevitable dilution. It looks so natural on T-shirts, shoes, as easily

bought wall art. Did the teenage boys that my friends once were realise they were clothed in the

socially conscious work of an AIDS campaigner who was heavily influenced by indigenous art and

semiotics? As Lamé acknowledges, Haring “was able to use his art to get across really difficult

messages in a deceptively playful way that didn’t seem threatening, because it looks like cartoons”.

But, for me, this creates a problem. The messages are muddled (or entirely ignored) in favour of

the aesthetics. Banksy in many ways suffers from the same fate, existing in reproductions and tea

towels, commodifiable to the point that even a self-destructive piece is extortionately valuable and

the take home point is sorely glazed over. But where would Haring’s art reside if it not were for

the curatorial ownership of his activism taken upon by Tate Liverpool? Faded away on the subway

station walls? Hidden in personal collections? While the messaging can be seen to be diluted in its

impact and ubiquity, it still has the power to convince when grouped together to be viewed as a

time-stamped artefact of his fight. Ultimately, it’s needed. Otherwise it could disappear altogether.

All art is a social commentary in some way, at the very least a visual time-capsule for the

means of production of the artist. But for those artists who seek to use their art to convey a political

message, I feel that their political reach only extends as far as their life does. Banksy can, in his/

her/their own anonymous way, clarify and reclassify the meaning and message of the work they

produce. Haring is denied this opportunity and so his work is free to be marketed, commented on and

scrutinised with no reply from the most authoritative voice of its existence. While this isn’t entirely

perfect, I realise that the exhibition preserves and promotes, and allows those sections of the public to

access the work of an undeniably brilliant and important artist. And maybe an aesthetic appreciation

will lead to a greater engagement, and therefore will provoke a discovery of the radical activism of the

producer of these jelly baby figures, these flat monochromatic images filled with life.

For all my concerns about the constraining and neutralising power of the exhibition hall, I was

able to wander around with my mother, avoid her in the more risqué moments, and watch the

tears swell as the true fear and horror of the 1980s manifested itself in Haring’s later work. Art and

artists are conduits for understanding society, for making sense in a (normally) single space of our

multifarious world. As we left the exhibition together, Keith himself watching the exit door, there

was understanding where once there may have been unease between our relationship, and maybe

that is enough. !

Words: Jordan Ryder

Images: All Haring Works © Keith Haring Foundation/Collection Noirmontartproduction, Paris

Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool runs until 10th November.

Amy Lamé, A Conversation on LGBTQ+ Activism And Art From The 1980s - Today takes place at

Tate Liverpool on 4th November. Tickets for the exhibition and talk can be purchased online from

tate.org.uk.

FEATURE

21


TRUDY AND

THE ROMANCE

Following on from the band’s debut album, Sandman, released earlier

in this year, Oliver Taylor walks us through the record’s pillow-headed

paradise and towards a new musical world yet to be shaped.

“When you record

anything with music,

it becomes real in a

sense. It becomes

more powerful. You

can become anything

when you put it down

on to record”

22


Wake early enough and you’ll find a circuit of

joggers making their way around the Sefton

Park perimeter. The daily ritual is as much about

fitness as it is about an understanding of self. Not

all make their way around at the same speed. It’s sometimes the

slowest that return with the greatest discovery on that given day.

At least this is the case for Oliver Taylor, a sort of stray amongst

the pack.

Wake earlier than most and you might come across him

drawing his own circuit of the wooded area. It’s a personal

(albeit quite recent) ritual no less integral to self-understanding,

inspiration and capability, even if its undertaken at a walking

pace. Rather than keep an eye on time, the TRUDY AND THE

ROMANCE frontman is there to relieve a sense of restriction.

A place where new songwriting ideas are being finely tuned

internally while all others are tuning all things cardiovascular.

New songs, he says, that lend inspiration from the singersongwriter

greats – Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell and Kate

Bush. “Something you could maybe tell around the fire,” he notes.

“Cosy little stories, perhaps a little bit deeper. Somewhere beyond

the fantasy.” Maybe somewhere beyond from the celestial doowop

stylings the band had come to perfect.

Foregoing a punctual agreement with the sunrise, it’s closer

to midday by the time we meet beside the park and amble

around its paths and discuss the fantasy of his band’s debut

album, Sandman, released in May. The current backdrop might

not reflect the rhythmic lineage of inner-city doo-wop; a genre

that would be at home tapping its foot around the craning streets

of 1950s New York. But the band’s depiction of the genre is as

much space-age as it is heritage filled. There’s a clear escapist

sentiment to Trudy’s music.

In the collage of croons, harmonies and train-track rattle of

guitar, it feels like the music has been trapped in an old transistor

radio where it stewed, warped and mutated for decades, before

being released from its dust encrusted capture with a zest for

contemporary life. The album was a present force, but seemingly

elsewhere in its pining and desire. Looking at the 12 tracks

through the prism of Taylor’s newfound meandering, the pensive

space of the park provides a warming fit for the seemingly upbeat

songwriting.

Turn the clock back three years and Trudy arrived in Liverpool

via Leeds. It took Olly, Brad and Lew less than a year to carve out

their own scene, alongside Her’s and Pink Kink. It owed much to

their boyish knack for tunes hardwired with moonlit melodies and

delivered with a Brylcreem slickness. The combination marked

them out as an intriguing oddball, but one with a distinct talent.

They were the slicked-back slackers, howling under a neon light

wired into their amplifiers. A slew of singles and an EP in 2017,

Junkyard Jazz, helped retain their presence, before the release of

the anticipated full-length record.

“We started writing the album quite a long time ago,”

Taylor tells me from within his flat, just a short walk from the

park. We’re perched at a table by the living room window, each

adorning socks of the jazzier variety. Although my cautious grey

with stripe is easily trumped by his patchwork ensemble of red,

yellow and blue, picked up in Hamburg on tour only a few days

earlier. “We’d been sitting on some songs for a long time, so we

decided that Sandman was going to be a concept record,” he

informs. “The early singles – My Baby’s Gone Away and Sandman

– they sort of told their own stories. They were quite theatrical. I

thought they could be amid other songs similarly theatrical and

that carried an emotion through the storyline.”

The concept saw the record spread across a double-sided

narrative. Side A introduces the listener to the character of the

Sandman, a sort of keeper of people’s dreams. Or the “bad guy

of love”, as Taylor puts it. “The idea was to have side B slip into

dreams, which I think happened quite naturally where the songs

turn a little bit more psychedelic.” Aiming for a concept album

is an ambitious step for a debut record. However, in doing so, it

opened up for exploration of a theme that had been brewing in

well-worn songs.

“It added a greater theatre to it,” he agrees. “Therefore, it

was consciously quite cartoon. It gave us the space to get away

with more, to create more. You could sing in certain ways, say

anything really in terms of lyrics. We aimed to push the barriers

of the narrative, without being too cheesy.”

The cartoon, doo-wop pastiche typifies much of the band’s

music. Even the fantasia smattering of colours on his socks seem

to take cues from the music’s visual palette. Through this you can

see the connectors to the 1950s aren’t solely in the barbershop

refrains, the baited melodic hooks led with such endearing charm

that even the most timid voices would struggle not be pulled

into harmony. Sandman draws in all of the throbbing colours of

post-war US advertising. Its soundtrack has the smoky charm

of a teenager trying their luck in a suit three sizes too big.

The hopeless intent eventually bowls you over with its sweet

bubblegum pop. “It’s sort of autobiographical,” Taylor underlines.

“It was meant to be a bit of a break-up album,” he adds, musing

on the authenticity of the record’s fictional narrative. “The themes

and memories weren’t all so recent. It had to be stretched out a

bit. There was a tongue in cheek element to it, harking back to an

age that shaped your future. I wanted it be sort of like the Ziggy

Stardust approach, pretending to be famous before you were.”

You can detect that the record’s atmosphere stems from a

rekindling of youthful ambition, a belief blinded by the alluring the

haze of cartoon innocence. “For us it was like amplifying all of our

experiences to appear as though we’ve lost ourselves in this new

world. When you record anything with music, any sort of lyric,

it becomes real in a sense. It becomes more powerful. You really

can become anything when you put it down on to record, even if

you don’t feel like you’re worthy of saying it.”

Generating a hospitable world for the music required adding

new layers of atmosphere. Moving away from the DIY, lo-fi

aesthetic of Junkyard Jazz and the releases that proceeded it,

the record builds around luscious arrangement with the added

reverberations of a session choir. The finished product was to be

something much more cinematic than previously produced. At

very least a feature length cartoon. Taylor notes the addition of

Alex Stephens (Strawberry Guy) – who played keys on the record

– as a catalyst for the music’s dreamier, pillow-headed aesthetic.

“It naturally softened everything up,” Taylor attests. “We wanted

to instil an attitude that was inspired by Pet Sounds and take a

calm approach. Instead of struggling through it, we wanted to be

a bit more in control. I’d like to think you can listen to it a lot more.

It’s not quite so intrusive. It’s just more in charge of itself, with the

hope of being a little bit more timeless.”

Much of Sandman was recorded in 2018. Come its release,

the make up of the band had shifted from its original line-up of

Brad on drums, Lew on bass, and, more recently, Alex on keys.

All three are no longer part of the set-up. Now, the band takes

the form of a touring five-piece. At the centre remains Taylor. The

great singer-songwriters he mentioned earlier are strewn across

the walls of his flat and serve as the ideal company for a new solo

written endeavour.

“Me, Brad and Lew had played together for five years, so it

was really important for the album to be our album,” he starts,

assuring how Sandman will always be a reflection of the earlier

incarnation of the band. “For the record we took on the form of

fictional band The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen. From them we’d

move on to something else.”

Similar to the runners that pass him most mornings, the

musical set-up hinges on control. Being the sole architect of a

fantasy landscape may, in turn, lead to urges of being the sole

engineer implementing design. “Having that control is quite a

sad thing, because you want to have that approach and turn up

and doing everything together, but it’s realising how you do it.

And I think I’ve realised how I want to do it.” Taylor’s expression

is one of self-understanding. It is clearly a painful acceptance

to relinquish the world of the original doo-wop spacemen, but

seemingly the only viable route. “I would really like to be open

with songwriting. I will be. You want to respect people and their

instruments and what they’ve got to give. But it’s important

not to confuse things and promise things that you cannot give

away. They had their own projects [Brad Stank, Terry Venomous,

Strawberry Guy] that were quite different, and I don’t think I

was really quite understanding of that. I had this kind of Beatles

outlook where somewhere down the line we’d all write a song

each on the album. But it wasn’t there straight away. I think they

were smart about that, so would write for themselves.”

Now in a more defined position of writing for himself, Trudy

is in a new phase. “It’s a bit like take two now,” as he puts it.

Taylor will remain the frontiersman, striding away into new lands

with an equally cinematic score. The effort to sculpt music with

its own atmosphere, aura and colour palette will remain. It’s just

perhaps the hues might not be as bright and luminous as before.

And much of this, as he admits, is the departure from innocence,

or “growing up and taking responsibility for who you are”. The

departure of the bright-eyed fascination and boyish swagger that

carried Trudy towards the album. Now he’s going someplace else,

somewhere new. “Maybe somewhere where I can understand

myself a little bit better.” !

Words: Elliot Ryder

Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

trudymylove.com

Sandman is available now on B3SCI Records.

FEATURE

23


In his works The Dirt I’m Made Of, displayed as

part of his first solo exhibition at Output Gallery

in September, writer and photographer SCOTT

CHARLESWORTH locates the homebound

escapism of the corridors that stretch over

the idling sweeps in the River Mersey. The

collection of photographs and poems capture

his personal reflections of a landscape subtly in

transit, momentarily freed from its foundations

by the lives that pass over its contours.

A

s strange as it seems to use a symbol of the motorway in my exhibition,

the work itself was birthed from the act of travelling up and down constant

motorways within my life. Firstly, as a child and as a spectator, where

everything seemed possible. Secondly, as a young adult and looking out

through the window with a more cynical view of the world, repenting the past in hope of

pastures greener. Then thirdly, as who I am now and whatever that may be; humbled by

the place that I simultaneously owe nothing and everything to. There was one evening

that I drove past The Sporting Ford pub, the one featured in this series. It was always an

establishment that I’d been wary of, mainly because I had never seen its curtains drawn.

On that one evening, despite having been set alight the night before, The Sporting Ford

revealed more of its battered and boarded up self than it had ever done in my lifetime

of passing it by. It was as a result of this that I felt compelled to look at old settings

with the eyes given to me through these three stages of my life, catalysing the heavily

romanticised and nostalgically intertwined photograph that I felt compelled to take.

Words and Photography: Scott Charlesworh / @Scottcharley

scottcharlesworthphotography.com

THE DIRT I’

The Dirt I’m Made Of

White lines on blue signs lead

me back to friends of old.

Perennial youth, once made of

stone, succumbed to attrition.

Their faces disfigured and weathered;

their hands ground to bone.

The cracks in familiar pavement

have pulled further apart;

now pits upon the floor.

The meandering workers’ misery

march, still out in full force.

The same eight grey towers pollute innocent skies

in the only way that they have ever known.

Once thought invincible Northern grit

now washed upon the Western bank;

yet steel structures still stand strong.

24


M MADE OF

Concrete Cord

Their demise was once thought a given.

No hope or nearby neighbour to call to arms.

Two towns, written off to

the outer world

that had

stripped them

of all their possessions,

united by industrious pillars.

Now joined by

concrete cord

and never to be without each other again.

Through Soot-Stained Eyes

Cooling towers and steel scarecrows

stand tall in the polluted wind;

pointing the way back home

to the children of one club towns.

We feel it,

in heart and lungs alike,

yesterday’s golden embers.

Beacons of old still remain,

cemented deeply,

within their unshakeable

concrete roots.

The romanticised dream,

and their simpler times

get barked back

at setting sons,

in the same seats

their fathers took.

The furnace may have cooled,

or been made redundant altogether

but through the most gentle of reminders,

the once smoldering flame

returns for one last fight.

FEATURE

25


SPOTLIGHT

“It’s almost

therapeutic to spill

everything onto a

page. People can

always draw from

your emotions”

LYDIAH

This attentive singer-songwriter

pores over tales that provide a

stark reflection of their teller.

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

you say?

I’d describe my music as alternative folk. It’s very emotionally

strung with vividly poetic lyrics.

Have you always wanted to create music?

I’ve always loved music, but didn’t really delve into it too much

until I was around 14. I had sung for years and used to write

poetry. I wanted to be able to add that to an instrument, so I

made it my mission to learn the guitar. I played day in, day out

for hours on end and, once I was able to form a few chords,

I was able to write my own songs and it blossomed from

there. I entered a competition with my first ever song – Peter

Pan – and ended up winning which gave me a huge boost of

confidence to really delve into music as a career.

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

inspired you?

Joni Mitchell is someone who I take a huge amount of inspiration

from; Both Sides Now is a classic. I listened to her earlier version

of the song then later found she’d re-done it in her later life.

It was even more emotional than the first time I heard it – like

her career had come full circle and the song had even more

depth and meaning. The lyrics really spoke to me and there was

something about the tone of her voice that made me want to cry.

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

What does it say about you?

One of the first pieces of music that really resonated with me is

Landslide by Stevie Nicks. I can remember listening to it when I

was 13 and being blown away. It’s just always resonated with

me personally and still does now, so I always slip it into a set. No

matter how many times I play it, I still get the same feeling as

when I first heard the song.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture

of all of these?

It’s definitely a mix. I tend to write foremost from personal

experiences and emotions, though. It’s just natural for me to do

it that way. I feel that everyone pulls from personal experience,

even if it’s not a conscious decision, although mine definitely is. I

get to be completely vulnerable this way; it’s almost therapeutic to

spill everything onto a page. It’s raw and honest and I find there’s

not enough of that, lyrically, these days. People can always draw

from your emotions. If you’re connecting with a song that you’ve

poured your heart into, then the people listening to it will too.

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

It’s always been a dream to support Damien Rice. I think my

life would be complete if I accomplished that. There’s another

artist not too dissimilar called David Keenan who I think is just

an incredible folk influenced singer/songwriter. He’s grown really

organically in the music scene and I admire that. More recently I’d

say Sam Fender. His lyrics are so hard-hitting – really depressing,

but relevant and raw. I admire him so much for writing around

these subjects since I write around very similar topics.

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in?

My favourite venue to perform in is 81 Renshaw. It was the first

venue I had a real gig in, so it’s always going to be special. The

whole atmosphere is just so welcoming , not only the musicians,

but the audience are so respectful and genuinely interested in

what you’re performing.

Why is music important to you?

Music has helped me massively. My entire life revolves around it.

It has such great power to move people. If I can help someone out

with what I write I think that would be an incredible feeling. You

can write a song and sing it to a room full of people and they’ll all

connect with it in different ways. I think it’s incredible.

Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uk

soundcloud.com/lydiah_official

26


LITTLE

GRACE

Callum Horridge introduces us to

the trio’s luscious pop stylings,

which are pulled together with a

collage-esque freedom.

“Music is like a

photo album for us”

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

you say?

I guess we’d define it as DIY pop, there is certainly a strong

element of RnB in there though.

How did you get into music?

It was a pretty spontaneous decision. We all went to college to

enrol on courses that we weren’t ‘qualified enough’ to be on. We

all enjoyed playing music and decided that this sounded like a

good idea. I don’t think, at the age of 16, any of us were really

thinking about the future of this decision.

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

inspired you?

My mum has always been into Motown/soul, but my dad played

me a cassette of him and his friend when I was younger. I had

this strange feeling, which you might say is ‘cringe’, but I think

something really resonated with me back then. I felt like it was

a definitive moment and I thought, ‘I could do this; I could be a

singer or a musician’.

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

Perhaps Silence, our latest release. We’ve never actually

performed it at a show, but we have done a live video with some

amazing musicians, vocals and synths. We got our friend Tee

involved with that, which was an honour. He put a verse over it

and it’s just the heaviest.

Why is music important to you?

It’s a huge therapeutic measure. Some things we write in our

songs we could maybe never imagine saying them to the person

who it’s directed at, so being able to put that in a line and letting

it be said, that can heal a person. Also, there’s a documenting

side of it; we often reflect on songs that we’ve written and who

was involved in our lives at that moment in time. It’s like a photo

album for us.

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

makes it special?

Churches. The live video I mentioned earlier, that was shot in the

Church of St Matthew and St James in Mossley Hill. The way the

sound travelled in the room was haunting. We also played in a

church in Leicester with Sofar Sounds. It hadn’t been used for 30

years prior and it had no heating, in the middle of February, so it

was a cold set. They passed around those foil safety blankets it

was that cold.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture

of all of these?

I’d be lying if I said we stick to one thing when writing, but we

do focus closely on mental health. If there’s something that we

can’t really voice in general conversation, it’s most likely in a tune

somewhere. We’ve also been known to lend from other artists,

such as Tracey Emin on our track My Bed.

Photography: Shea McChrystal

littlegrace.org

Silence is out now, as well as a new version featuring a verse by

Tee.

NIKKI & THE

WAVES

Drift away on the cloud-lined melodies of

this Amsterdam infused outfit who are

sweeping through the local scene.

“It wasn’t until I

moved to Liverpool

and met other

musicians that

something clicked

with regards to

music making”

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

say?

Breezy, dream-laced pop, surf and new wave elements.

Have you always wanted to create music?

Nikki: I started playing piano at age 12 but never practised very

seriously. I tried writing some songs in my room when I was

a moody teenager, but the grassroots scene in Amsterdam,

where I am originally from, is basically non-existent. It wasn’t

until I moved to Liverpool and met lots of other musicians that

something clicked in my head with regards to music making.

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

inspired you?

Tom W: When my dad played me Black Magic Woman by

Fleetwood Mac for the first time on tape as we were driving

through France looking for somewhere to pitch our tent. It made

me love Peter Green as a songwriter, and the early Fleetwood

Mac allowed Mick Fleetwood to definitely influence my drumming

style.

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

N: I really love playing our new song Romance At The Sha-La-La.

It’s one of the few songs that I don’t play keys on, so I get to walk

around on stage a bit more. Our new single Welsh Mountains is

always really nice to play as well because it starts off so softly

but builds to something more cinematic.

Jake: About You because I dig the way it starts with a Crumbstyle

riff and then progresses to a heavy, Tame Impala-esque riff,

which shows off our versatility.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture

of all of these?

N: My own emotions and memories as well as observations I

have of the people around me. I’m also inspired by other artists

and bands and films that portray a mood or atmosphere that I

tried to recreate through music.

Why is music important to you?

N: I guess music has and will always be a way for me to relate to my

emotions and feel less alone. It’s not just writing music that makes

me feel like I can express myself – even just listening to something I

really love, or that speaks to me at that time, can do that.

Tom S: It’s everything.

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in?

N: I think we all agree that it’s probably the Palm House in Sefton

Park. We played there in March for Fiesta Bombarda. It was such

a surreal and beautiful setting to play in; glass, plants and palms

all around us. Totally different from the usual dark and moody

basements.

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

N: We each have our own idols and dream artists that we would

love to support. As a band we would love to play with Whitney,

TOPS, No Vacation or Metronomy. Though I would be lying if

I didn’t mention Arctic Monkeys, even if we don’t fit that well

musically.

Photography: Carin Verbruggen

facebook.com/nikkiandthewaves

Welsh Mountains is out now.

SPOTLIGHT

27


lonely up here in Middle England,” laments

RICHARD DAWSON on Jogging, the first single

lifted from his latest solo album 2020. It would

“It’s

appear Northumberland’s finest harbinger of doom

has bid farewell to the sixth-century kingdom of Bryneich that

provided the grizzled backdrop to his last record Peasant, turning

in favour of an all too familiar contemporary scene.

Whether detected in the nervous sideways glance of the

jogger, in the pained expression of the Civil Servant severing

another Disability Living Allowance, or stood quivering in the

piss-specked shoes of the fulfilment centre employee peeing in

a bottle to save missing their quarters, it’s easy to make out the

emerging figure of a conflicted 21st-century Britain in Dawson’s

tales.

Yet, despite the bleakness, 2020 still triumphs through

instances of courageousness, black comedy and real lingering

beauty. Tasked with decoding his aching accounts, David Weir

caught up with the Hen Ogledd main-man to discuss UFOs,

time perception and the ins-and-outs of writing a minor-key

masterpiece.

There’s definitely a stronger pop feel on 2020 compared to your

past records. What triggered the move away from acoustic and

brass in favour of synths and vocoders?

Well, I think a big factor is Sally’s [Pilkington] influence. She’s

been introducing me to a lot of classic pop that I’ve never really

explored. Artists like Kate Bush, Erasure and Prince. This record

needed to be really direct or ‘direct sounding’. So, I wanted to use

the language of rock music to create these big, anthemic choruses,

but then the words would be in opposition to that. I hope it makes

for a really awkward feeling, but you might not even really pick up

on why. Musically, it should almost sound ubiquitous. Peasant had

a very distinct sound design. For instance Angharad Davies’ violin,

I saw this almost as if it were a weather event, like frost.

This record needed to use this ‘common language’ of electric

guitar and drums. It feels more familiar, like the estate where you

grew up. These blocks of sound, all semi-detached houses. Then

hopefully, the melodies and the words are the lifeforms that aren’t

quite fitting in to that blander picture. It’s a strange aim to make a

record that’s bland sounding!

Peasant and The Glass Trunk required a lot of archival research,

whereas 2020 is obviously more concerned with current affairs.

Against the constant flood of news and media content, how did

you manage to narrow down the individual accounts in these

songs?

Well, I’m quite lucky in a way, people will just open up to us about

things. This time around it was more through my own experiences,

talking to friends, family and to a lot of people at gigs. I’m not one

of those vulture kind of writers, always on the hunt for lyrics. But

repeatedly people would mention the same kind of issues they

were going through. It just felt like this was worth writing about.

When I’m working on a piece – I’ve had this sense more and more

recently – of the people being real and alive. I recognise it could

be a symptom of my mental health situation, but I’m convinced

that it’s possible to be in touch with people in different ways and

different times. You know our perception of time is that it goes in a

line. Well, that’s our experience of it, for the sake of our bodies to

manoeuvre them safely through space. But actually, I find time… it

doesn’t work like that.

I’ve been singing this song about a mother in 15th-century

Hexham and I really like this person, she’s alive! It’s not an act of

imagination, it’s just a different way of life. When you’re working

on these songs and these people make themselves known –

whether or not this is all bollocks, and it’s just my imagination

and I’m disguising that, the fact remains that you have to be

honourable to these people and treat them with respect. It was

just a case of trying to do right by them.

Certain tracks remind me of David Foster Wallace’s short stories

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. Wallace was interested in

our approach to ‘dreary, seemingly meaningless routines’. He

spoke about the kind of freedom that’s truly important is the

one we rarely hear about in the ‘great outside world of wanting

and achieving’. I was wondering if you feel that crops up in the

narrative at all?

I guess it’s more about what’s the stuff of life? In the space of all

of this, how do you keep your eyes and heart open? How can we

really express something about what it is to be alive? Because

these things like having to brush your teeth, wipe your arse, put

on clothes in the right manner, it’s so basic yet it amounts to so

much time. It has a massive effect on our day, though, and it’s not

separate from a big life event.

If you don’t feel comfortable in your clothes, you’re going to feel

awkward and anxious in public. Even just walking past people in

the street, everyone you pass you’re going through an internal

dialogue in your head at a hundred miles per hour. I don’t see

separation between this and maybe more dramatic events. It’s

amazing to think about brushing your teeth, all those little germs

and microbes that you’re dislodging. If you could zoom in and see

all the living things that are in between your gums. There’s drama

at every level.

People in these songs are often simply just trying to catch their

breath or start their day on the right side of the bed…

Yeh, for sure. We wake up and we just get stuff hurled at us in a

way that has never been part of the human make-up ever before.

GIG

PREVIEWS

RICHARD DAWSON

Parr Street Studio 2 – 23/11

The North Eastern bard casts his gaze towards 2020 and locates an

endearing magic found in the most common sets of eyes.

Just the sheer amount of information we’re processing and the

different ways we’re engaging with faces and people, all the

streams we’re looking at. It’s so brand new. We haven’t adapted. I

think it’s a really crazy time to be a human.

We wonder why we’re kind of confused and a bit lost, but the

landscape has just changed so dramatically that it’s no wonder. It

would be more of a wonder if we weren’t anxious or depressed.

It’s more of a physical reaction to being surrounded by stress,

information and fast change.

Black Triangle is a standout for

me. It begins with a UFO sighting.

Do you feel these kinds of reports

are founded in escapism or

something else?

From my experience with these

kind of things, no. I’m sure that’s

an element to it, you see all these

conspiracies on YouTube. But this

song is not about that for me. None

of the album is autobiographical,

but the first half of this song

is drawn from something that

happened to me and my pal Neil.

We did see this incredible black

craft come over my parents’ house

and it wasn’t a commercial aircraft

either. The government released

papers on this phenomenon, as it’s the most widely spotted

UFO. It was so crazy the explanation they gave, they said it

was a “triangular illusion” created by plasma. I can tell you with

certainty, this isn’t what we saw. This was a solid thing and it

moved incredibly fast and silent. So, it’s either a secret aircraft or

it’s extra-terrestrials. I don’t see that there’s any other explanation.

It’s a hopeful song in some ways. He goes out to the country with

his daughter and they share in watching the stars together. I can’t

think of a happier moment than that, really. There’s a lot of hope

on the album, even if it is predominantly sad.

It can regularly feel as humans we’re chasing some form of

magic or mystery. How do you feel that plays into you work as

a songwriter?

I believe in magic. I’ve talked in a few other interviews about Alan

Moore and an interview he gave where he speaks about the role

of the bard. In the past, the role of the bard was doubly important

“The power of a word or

a melody can be quite

profound: it can change

minds, it can change

the way in which people

perceive things”

because not everyone had access to the written word. So, to cast

a spell was simply to ‘spell’ – this is Moore talking, not me. I’ve

thought about this a lot since, what the role of a musician is.

The power of a word or a melody combined is something I think

can be quite profound: it can change minds, it can change the way

in which people perceive things, it can change the way people act.

So, it’s absolutely the highest honour and of grave importance to

try connect with people. Without wanting to be self-righteous, you

feel that you’re maybe fighting the good fight. It’s probably a losing

battle but those are the only battles worth fighting anyhow.

So, is that how you keep faith,

then? Does sharing it within

a musical community help

strengthen that feeling, maybe

making it more impactful?

You don’t have a choice whether

you do it or not, really; you just do

it. People have always made stuff

regardless of the scene or what the

wider picture is. Even just playing

music at home, you’re communing

with something off in some far

place. Music is alive and that’s

enough. But, if you share it with

other musicians and audiences,

you can really change things. We’re

all making an impact. Hence why

you’ve got to be careful with your time and be considerate of how

you live. It all has an effect. Whether you’re doing something public

and outgoing or something quiet and private. I think that as much

as I treasure the role of the bardic tradition and my place in that,

I see that it’s not brain surgery. It’s not being a nurse, fireman or

teacher. I’d be very remiss to place it in any hierarchy, because how

can you say anything is more life-changing than those jobs. !

Words: David Weir / @betweenseeds

Photography: Sally Pilkington

richarddawson.net

Richard Dawson plays Parr Street Studio 2 on Saturday 23rd

November. 2020 is out now via Weird World.

PREVIEWS

29


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In anticipation of their Liverpool gig, Brit Williams spoke to

bassist Jared Swilley about the band’s new album, growing

up in a religious family, and what’s help keep the Black Lips

alive for two decades.

PREVIEWS

Black Lips have a little bit of a connection with Liverpool. You

guys have worked with Sean Lennon before. How did that

happen?

We have actually known him for a while. Three albums ago

we were recording with Mark Ronson and we needed a guitar

player, and it happened to be Sean who came in. We kind of

just stayed friends after that and we all had mutual friends. We

also played SXSW with Sean’s band and with Fat White Family,

so we both discovered them at the same time. Sean ended up

recording the Fat Whites and they invited Cole [Alexander] to do

guitar. We didn’t really have a label at the time and didn’t have

many resources. Cole was up there in New York and Sean just

said, ‘Come record here’. So we moved in with him.

I heard you locked yourself in his recording studio for two

months. Do you normally go into the studio like that, with

nothing written?

That one took a little longer than usual because we didn’t have

a lot written, and we didn’t have a drummer. We also just had

the luxury of being on this magical mountain in the middle of

nowhere, so it was easy to kind of just turn off and tune out.

Both aspects have their ups and downs. I mean, I prefer to have

at least something done. That one was probably my favourite

recording experience we’ve ever had, just because we were in a

point of transition and it was such a magical place.

Do you feel like, as you get older, you are writing about more

mature topics, or are you just trying to stay as authentic as you

know to be?

Oh yeh, I don’t really try to set out to write about anything. I

mostly write about stories. Everyone has their own different

writing style. I never really wrote love songs. I mean, the last

sort of love song I wrote was a couple getting separated on

Kristallnacht in Berlin. I was trying to think of one of the most

devastating ways to split a pair up.

We hear you might be playing some new music on tour?

Yeh, our album’s done. It’s been done for a while. By the time

we get to Liverpool we’ll have some of those singles out and

already be playing a lot of those songs. We like country music

and always flirted with that kind of style. It’s not a purist country

record by any means, but we just felt like had to go back to our

roots and do country music. That’s where we’re from.

Can you tell us what it’s called?

Oh yeh, I don’t see why not. It’s called, The Black Lips Sing In A

World That’s Falling Apart.

Love that. What inspired the name?

My family are all preachers and they put out a lot of gospel

records from the 50s to the 80s, and they had an album called

The Swilley Family Sings, and then we had a lyric on our album

“in a world that’s falling apart”, so I wanted it to sound like an old

gospel record title.

Coming from such a religious background, at what point did

you pick up a guitar and get into music?

Before I can remember. I grew up on the stage. I’ve seen

performances of me on stage that I don’t even remember doing,

so basically my whole life. It’s like the family business, kinda.

So what does your family think of you being in the Black Lips?

They’ve always been a very accepting, liberal theology. My dad’s

a homosexual; he came out a few

years ago. He lost his main church,

but he still has his church. They

mostly preach love and acceptance

and all that. There was never a

conflict at all. I got most of my

inspiration from the church, ’cos I

grew up in one of those churches

where they’re screaming and the

music’s wild and they’re speaking

tongues. It was way more wild

than any rock ’n’ roll show I’ve ever

been to.

That must be where some of the

outrageous onstage antics come

from?

Totally. I always thought that if I

could get just a [bit of their vibe],

’cos those people are doing that on

a Sunday morning with no alcohol

and they’re going wild. And they’re

singing about something that they think is eternity and is way

more powerful. We sing about, I dunno, dumb stuff. Well, not

dumb, but if we could get even a fraction of this energy into our

shows, I’d be happy.

Do you think there will still be garage rock bands in the digital

age?

I think there will be a few, but I don’t really think you’ll see any

GIG

“I grew up in one of

those churches where

they’re screaming

and the music’s wild

and they’re speaking

in tongues. It was

way more wild than

any rock ’n’ roll

show I’ve been to”

BLACK LIPS

Arts Club – 13/11

Garage outfit BLACK LIPS have resided in an all-encompassing

rock ’n’ roll lifestyle for the better part of two decades. Their story is

one that has grown from the suburbs of Atlanta into countless nights

on tour, audience-led stage invasions and work alongside some of

music’s biggest names, including Mark Ronson, The Black Keys and

Beatle-descendent Sean Lennon.

bands doing what we did. It took us seven years in a van, eating

shit. I mean, that was self-imposed. We were middle-class kids,

we didn’t have to; it was self-imposed poverty. I don’t really

think there’s a formula any more. I could be wrong. But now it’s

so easy to connect with everyone. When we started, no one

had cell phones, and it was a very

different thing. We never used the

internet and we still are luddites

about all that stuff. Even ’til this day,

I can barely use the internet. I can

email, but I don’t even know where

to look for stuff.

Yeh, there’s almost too many

resources these days. It’s kind of

exhausting.

I only had a few sources when I was

younger. Mail order catalogs and

Maximum Rock ’n’ Roll and that was

it, but those were physical copies.

I’m glad that there’s people like ya’ll

still having stuff in print. I like stuff I

can pick up.

What do you want the crowd to

get out of your performance?

I want people to get their damn

money’s worth because it’s not cheap to go out. It’s kind of like

an escape ’cos the world can be rough and you need to just go

out and let loose. We just want people to have a good time and

meet each other. One of the best compliments is that we’ve had

a few Black Lips babies, from people who have met at our shows

and got married. That makes it all worth it. I love seeing Black

Lips tattoos, too. If you have one of those you get into all of our

shows free for life.

What have you been listening to lately?

As far as new stuff goes, I am totally out of the loop. I was just

in Croatia to go and check it out. I actually got my tooth busted

out a while back, so I heard they do cheap general surgery

over there, and I was just cruisin’ around the mountains in the

most beautiful place I’ve ever been and I think I listened to The

13th Floor Elevators all together for 22 hours straight. Last

night when I was up in Malibu I was listening to Loretta Lynn

and Tammy Wynette. I found the music I like a long time ago.

In my record collection at home I’ve got about 300, I don’t buy

any new records. Mostly just 45s now. I just listen to a lot of

country music and gospel, soul and R&B. It got a bad rap, the

South. It’s not really what most people think it is. It’s real dear

to me. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I think most forms

of popular music came from the South East. It was the first time

you had all of these different types of people thrown together,

living in poverty. You had poor Irish, mixing with slaves and

Native Americans and it was such a weird mix of stuff where

everyone shared their ideas and came up with some really cool

styles.

What do you think has kept Black Lips alive for 20 years?

This is what we do. This is what me and Cole set out to do

when we were kids, and we don’t really have that many other

skills. If we hadn’t gotten into music it would have been prison

or the military. That’s what a lot of the kids I went to high

school with ending up doing, so it kinda saved our lives. !

Words: Brit Williams @therealbritjean

Photography: Yana Yatsuk

black-lips.com

Black Lips play Arts Club on Wednesday 13th November.

PREVIEWS

31


PREVIEWS

Warm Worlds And Otherwise (Anna Bunting-Branch)

EXHBITION

YOU FEEL ME

FACT – 01/11-23/02

The rigid power structures that govern our world have profound impacts on our

everyday experiences, such as the way we relate to technology, politics and each

other. FACT’s new exhibition seeks to challenge the traditional ideas around those

who hold this power by compelling us to question who ultimately benefits from it.

Presented by FACT curator-in-residence Helen Starr, you feel me_ will transform FACT’s

galleries into alternative worlds. Interactive artworks will suspend in the air, float in a hazy

mist and explode onto walls. The immersive exhibition includes a range of different artworks

that reaches beyond FACT’s usual digital remit: there will be ceramics, virtual reality, artificial

intelligence and game design in play. The result is the creation of a mystical space, free from

division and bias and a sanctuary for healing.

ANNA BUNTING-BRANCH’s Warm Worlds And Otherwise contains a mix of artworks,

centred upon the piece META, which uses experimental animation and digital technology to

transport viewers between environments, including unknown planets and a restaurant orbiting

in space. MEGAN BROADMEADOW’s Why Can’t We Do This IRL? is a virtual reality experience

that is based on the video game Red Dead Redemption 2. The two-part artwork will challenge

a viral video from the game in which a player uses his in-game avatar to kill a suffragette.

Blending the boundaries between the game world and the ‘real’ world, the work exists as an

act of justice. The video game character is placed on trial to be judged ‘in real life’, with the

‘verdict’ set for December when the artwork will be installed in FACT’s galleries in its final form.

When looked at through the prism of restorative justice, it is hoped that you feel me_ will

make it easier for the viewer to imagine a world without division. By challenging the systems of

power that are all around us, and allowing otherwise marginalised voices to flourish, maybe we

can disrupt the world in a way that creates a fairer system for all.

fact.co.uk

LECTURE + CABARET

WHO CALLS THE

SHOTS?

Museum of Liverpool and The Bluecoat – 30/11

Theatre maker and associate director for Graeae Theatre Company, NICKIE MILES-

WILDIN, is the keynote speaker and host of the annual Edward Rushton Lecture,

which takes place at the Museum of Liverpool at the end of the month. Titled

Disabled Women In Arts And Culture: Who’s Calling The Shots?, Miles-Wildin’s

address looks at the representation of disabled women in the arts sector – and is part of a

two-pronged event from DaDaFest as part of RISE Liverpool, a season of exhibitions, events

and happenings featuring extraordinary female artists, thinkers and leaders in Liverpool.

This annual free event is inspired by the strength and revolutionary ideology of human rights

campaigner Edward Rushton, who was born in November over 260 years ago. Following the

lecture that bears his name, a lively panel discussion will interrogate the theme further. Chaired

by DR ERIN PRITCHARD, lecturer at Liverpool Hope University in the Department of Disability

and Education, the panel of artists – JACKIE HAGAN, CHERYL MARTIN and TAMMY REYNOLDS

– will look at how stereotypical portrayals of disabled women affect our perception of disabled

women in reality.

The second part of the day’s activity sees the action move over to The Bluecoat for Raw.,

where attendees are invited to “dress to impress… yourself”. A wild night of raucous, irreverent

and inclusive cabaret centred on disabled women’s voices in the North West, Raw. is hosted by

Liverpool legend MIDGITTE BARDOT, and boasts an incredible line-up of performers, including:

CHERYL MARTIN, IVY PROFEMME, Jackie Hagan and MARILYN MISANDRY.

Both events are part of DaDaFest’s ongoing programme of activity that uses the arts to

educate, challenge attitudes and remove the barriers that restrict life choices for disabled and d/

Deaf people to live independently and equally in society. Head to dadafest.co.uk to book tickets

for both events, which have limited capacities.

DaDaFest

EVENT DISCOVERY PARTNER

ticketquarter.co.uk

32


GIG

Mac Demarco

Bramley Moore Dock – 28/11

Mac Demarco

MAC DEMARCO’s magnetic charm has seen his star rise from lo-fi slacker to full

blown superstar of the indie scene. But he’s far from a one trick pony. While his

earlier records drifted by with a soft summer breeze, his two most recent efforts -

This Old Dog and Here Comes The Cowboy - see the laid back crooner display a

slower, more introspective side to his songwriting. Rather than swerve between

sweet reverb washed licks, he’s embraced more acoustic guitar, hardwiring

personal narratives into the music to complete an intriguing transformation to

campfire storyteller with hints of expansive country. But where his music has

grown softer curves, his live show still appears to flex every musical muscle of his

discography. Setting up at the sizable Bramley Moore Dock, this stop on his UK

will serve as an opportunity to refamiliarise yourself with Mac the showman.

THEATRE

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

The Playhouse – 11/11-16/11

Mary Shelly’s Gothic masterpiece has become a totem of the horror genre, with its

DNA embedded in our modern day fascination with the shadowy dungeons of the

human condition. Much has been made of the teenage Shelley’s formative travels

across Germany and Switzerland in the early part of the 19th Century, but what of

Shelley’s own place as a young woman in this tale? This adaptation of the revered

story of Frankenstein’s monster, by the award-winning writer Rona Munro, places

Mary Shelley in the drama as a character. As the action rages around her, the

writer is forced – in an eerie mirroring of the travails of Frankenstein himself – to

wrestle with her creation, and also with the stark realities facing revolutionary

young women, then and now. Tickets available at ticketquarter.co.uk.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

GIG

Declan Welsh & The Decadent West

Phase One – 09/11

This has been a busy year for DECLAN WELSH. Along with his band, the Glaswegian

songwriter and poet has been touring his taut indie rock across sold-out shows in the

UK, topped off with an electrifying, Billy Bragg-approved appearance at Glastonbury. By

way of introducing their new album, Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold, to the world, THE

DECADENT WEST are stopping by Phase One for a show with Edge Hill University and

their label, Modern Sky UK. Supporting Welsh and co are THE INDICA GALLERY, whose

psych-inflected indie surrealism will be the perfect foil to Welsh’s unapologetic, direct

swagger. Experimental Welsh artist ANI GLASS is charged with adding an air of mystique

to proceedings, and we recommend you don’t miss her synth wizardry.

GIG

Têtes De Pois

The Jacaranda – 19/11

ParrJazz’s regular dose of telescopic sounds welcomes the much-touted Leeds

ensemble TÊTES DE POIS for a good old knees up in the Jacaranda basement.

Meeting as students of Leeds College of Music and forming the band in 2016,

the seven-piece have been quick to win plaudits for their intra-band fluidity; each

member happily carries leads and can navigate the group through switches of jazz,

neo soul, Afrobeat and hip hop – all of which is executed with an enviable harmony

and flair. You might even say they play with the snugness of seven jazzy peas in a

pod. Head on down and watch their instruments unify to take on the role of a deep

digging DJ. Head to TicketQuarter.co.uk now to pick up your tickets for this show.

GIG

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi

Grand Central – 28/11

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi

The combination of Italian jazz multi-instrumentalist FRANCESCO TURRISI and singer-songwriter RHIANNON GIDDENS

produced one of the most awe-inspiring albums of 2019. There Is No Other was heralded for its daring fusion of genres that

sees the two strike up a partnership that covers Mediterranean, African and Arabian influences. The pairing’s mastery is the

glue that holds it all together. The album’s alluring folk compositions will be on display in an equally baroque setting when the

two import their music into the confines of the Dome in Grand Central. Perhaps one of the more thought-provoking shows

throughout the month, the exhibition of genre fusion will leave little to the imagination once their set has completed its sonic

travels.

GIG

Calexico and Iron & Wine

Philharmonic Hall – 19/11

Emerging from the ‘desert noir’ outer edges of the Californian border, long-standing indie

Americana duo CALEXICO head Liverpool way for a journey to the atmospheric, Latin-infused

landscapes encapsulated in their sound. First playing together in the early 90s, the band have spent

the best part of the last three decades crafting soundtracks pulled from sunburst sunsets and the

open landscape hugging the Mexican ridge. One of their most memorable records, 2005 EP In

The Reins, was a collaboration with indie folk singer-songwriter IRON & WINE, who is also set to

appear on the bill for the show at the Philharmonic. The EP is lauded in the Americana world for

its ingenuity and groundbreaking soundscapes, with their combination live on stage as stirring as

it is uncompromising. Expect to hear further cuts from their new collaborative effort Years To Burn,

released in June.

Calexico and Iron & Wine

PREVIEWS

33


REVIEWS

“Baltic Weekender is

vital to the existence

and quality of

Liverpool’s electronic

music scene”

My Nu Leng (Fin Reed / @finlayreed)

Baltic Weekender

Baltic Triangle – 27/09-28/09

September has always been a standout month. It signals

a particular new starting point. More so than January. At least

a more realistic one. This starting point is not static, but very

much in motion, bridging two seasons and taking place at

certain crossroads in people’s lives. Be it the beginning of a new

academic year, a new work environment or simply a revitalised

perspective after glorious summer holidays, September is

a month of promise, anticipation and excitement. It seems

only right that the organisers of BALTIC WEEKENDER have

chosen this period to take the next step forward in the festival’s

development.

Baltic Weekender is a two-day, multi-venue event which,

until now, has taken over the whole of the Baltic Triangle

during the last weekend of May, or the first weekend of June.

Upon launching in 2017, it instantly became one of the most

important dates in Liverpool’s electronic events calendar. The

musical talent collated by Andrew Hill of Abandon Silence and

24 Kitchen Street’s Ioan Roberts is vital to the existence and

quality of Liverpool’s electronic scene. Baltic Weekender is a

celebration of the musical flavours that have graced the Baltic

Triangle throughout the academic year, bringing many genres of

electronic music to the fold including house, techno, disco, grime,

bass music and more. Showcasing renowned pros of the game

as well as the new generation breaking in, Baltic Weekender

September Edition displays a renewed awareness and thirst to

place Liverpool on the electronic map.

To start off, we head straight to Constellations. The garden

is beautifully lit, refreshingly vacant and extends a mellow

vibe. There is a modest gathering around the far left corner

where good friends GIOVANNA and SOFIE K are going b2b.

Both having a penchant for cosmic sounds; the DJs flood

Constellations with tumbling melodies, harmonising their mix

with the setting in which they are playing. But this is a short-term

harmony. A rapid yet seamless switch-up takes the crowd by

surprise as some infectious UKG filters its way into the speakers.

Shortly, a mixture of Italo and Balearic house flows in, syncopated

by powering basslines. I turn my attention to the two selectors as

my view of them begins to be obstructed by committed dancers.

Whether it’s an approving smile at the other’s drop, animated talk

concerning the queued track or cheerful and carefree dancing,

Giovanna and Sofie K are in constant interaction with each

other which helps establish the general atmosphere as intimate,

unentitled and groovy.

I leave the warm revels of Constellations Garden to check out

how different the atmosphere is at Hangar 34, where bassline

dons MY NU LENG are in the process of obliterating the crowd

with their infamous wobblers. Queuing for entry, I wonder how

many people bought their tickets just to see My Nu Leng. Once

I’m in, I realise probably quite a few. Hangar is rammed with

people dishing out gun-fingers to every wob they hear.

Returning to Constellations Garden, I’m greeted with a crowd

dancing to a twinkling 4/4 beat on top of the venue’s chairs and

tables. It’s not even 12 yet, so we’re all good here. As I head in

to get my spot for the upcoming boogie marathon courtesy of

DAN SHAKE, I catch the end of ANDY GARVEY’s set. Playing

to a gaggle of about 15 dancers, the Australian producer and

label boss of Pure Space instils an extra-terrestrial soundscape

composed of leftfield techno, breaks and acid rips, all lending

from the darker spectrum of musical tones. The change that

takes over as Dan Shake steps up to the decks is mind-blowing.

The dancefloor is packed and sizzling within mere minutes of

his mixing. The crowd is electrified with funky disco and jackin’

house overlaid with blaring trumpet solos and roaring vocals.

The groove is infectious. Dan Shake knows it. As he alternates

between galvanising acid house, rolling percussions, disco

classics with euphoric screeching vocals and more, he does

justice to the latter part of his name. It’s 30 minutes before

the end of his set when he delivers his biggest weapon: The

Chemical Brothers’ Mah. I see Dan Shake turn the volume up

to its fullest with a grin as the build-up progresses towards

its pinnacle. The track’s infamous swirling acid rips zero in on

us through the speakers – we are all floored. I look around in

disbelief asking my friends, “Did he actually just do that?” It’s no

surprise that people are still present when the lights come up at

4am. We leave Constellations reeling.

Stretching into day two and I’m drenched. Aside from being

cold, the main nuisance caused by the unrelenting rain are the

venue changes. KORNEL KOVACS is on duty at Blundell Street,

superimposing his trademark tropical house with some farreaching

trance, but is shortly moved inside as a result of the

weather. A chaotic rush ensues as everyone attempts to secure

their spot in the venue. I make it about three metres in before I’m

pushed out. I check the set-times and head to District to get a

healthy dose of jungle and DnB instead, courtesy of NICANDER

HI-FI b2b OUTHOUSE SOUNDS.

Conscious of time, I make my way over to Kitchen Street in

order to guarantee a spot for HELENA HAUFF. Apart from the

Kitchen Street sign that is lit up in ruby red, all the lights are out.

The queen of electro appears behind the decks seemingly out

of nowhere. She is ruthless in her takeover. She unleashes unto

the under-prepared crowd overwhelming pieces of dark electro

punctuated by rugged industrial clanging. Thrown into the mix

is barbed acidic techno and apocalyptic breakbeats which engulf

the room in a paradoxical sense of exhilaration. Paradoxical

because the particular thrilling sense of release experienced

during her set is achieved through exposure to fierce intensity.

For some, this is too much. I notice people are restless when a

man shifts his attention to the giant disco ball which hangs over

the centre of Kitchen Street and begins to swing it. Others join in

and it becomes clear to me that this is an attempt to distract and

regain control of themselves, finding the absorption into Hauff’s

nebulous world too extreme.

It’s 2am and I’m enveloped in Hauff’s murky mystique,

unsure of where to go next. I set my sights on Constellations

where L U C Y is set to take us through to the end of the night

with dashes of footwork. The room is just under half full, with

the lights erratically projecting colours across the room. As

I make my way to the front I stop short and stare at the DJ.

Her face is hidden by a surgical mask – an accessory that she

always wears when mixing – upon which is drawn a disfigured

nose and mouth, with a bright red tongue dangling out of it.

Amid the multi-genre 160-190 bpm chaos she’s playing which

encompasses bass, breakbeat, grime, dubstep, happy hardcore,

and genres I’m pretty sure only exist in a post-apocalyptic world,

I’m taken by her contrasting tranquil composure. Despite her

lashing out disorientating bass, L U C Y seems introspective

as she slowly sways to the insane voltage she’s mixing. She

throws quick glances to the crowd as she unfurls a universe of

sounds accompanied by jagged and pitched-up one-word vocals,

distorted sirens and old school arcade sound effects. By the end

of the set, the expression drawn on her mask is the expression I

found on every face in the dance – including my own.

Returning to new beginnings of projects already in motion,

Baltic Weekender September Edition marks a turning point for

the series in terms of musical tone, diversity and crowd. What I

experience is not the summer social event that everyone goes to

once exams have finished; instead, Baltic Weekender hosts an

event wherein burgeoning lovers of electronic music ae given a

chance to get what they really want: the discovery of new sounds

and new perspectives on those that are familiar. These dual toned

editions are the best way forward for the future development of

Liverpool’s electronic scene, alternately offering visibility on the

one hand and an indulgence in intricate musical curiosity on the

other. Baltic Weekender is the tangible proof of Liverpool’s power

of community; the city’s ambition and its ever-growing passion

for dance music – whatever the season. !

Ambre Levy

No Fakin (Fin Reed / @finlayreed)

34


Ibibio Sound Machine

I Love Live Events @ Invisible Wind Factory

10/10

The couple of hundred people who are at tonight’s show are

the lucky few. Inside it’s a different world from the dreary October

night of the real world and it’s a shame more people don’t get to

see the spectacle.

Without exaggeration, IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE produce

one of the most entertaining and engaging gigs that Liverpool’s

seen for a while. From the moment Eno Williams stalks on to

the stage and launches in to I Need You To Be Sweet Like Sugar

(from this year’s album, Doko Mien), to the last note of Basquiat,

it’s a night that’s full of pure joy, happiness and dancing. So.

Much. Dancing.

Without exception, the eight-piece group is made up of

incredible musicians (more of whom later) but the focus inevitably

falls on to Williams whose stage presence, movement and voice

are incredible. She commands attention and mesmerises the

audience. Singing in a combination of English and Ibibio, her

voice is powerful but maintains its clarity, and her chat between

songs charismatic and so lovely. She makes it look easy – dancing

round exuberantly with a charming smile, keeping time and note

perfect, all in treacherously high heels.

Her energy is contagious: with each song the mood lifts

further, building to a euphoria by the end of the night. It’s a

furious riot of sound – the riffs of the guitars and percussion

work with the three-man brass section to build a multi-layered

sound. It’s a wonderful atmosphere that fills the cathedral-like

dimensions of the IWF with ebullience and joy.

It’s not an overstatement to say that Williams’ voice is close

to perfection: it’s a well-judged mix of raw power, control and

warmth. When she’s not singing, she dances with the band

during their solos and positions the microphone just so it’s

in the right position to capture the sound of the trombone or

saxophone.

The brass section lifts the sound and adds a playful punch.

It’s reminiscent of the 70s and 80s and the links to disco and funk

jump out, but it’s anything but backward looking as the electronic

sound, courtesy of the keyboards, brings a contemporary element

and adds layers. The styles could clash in a cacophony but it’s

amazing, vital and a wonderful combination – the genres blend

together to create something new that defies easy definition.

It’s a multi-layered sound from talented musicians that

looks forward and which has an energy and creativity bubbling

underneath. Alfred Kari Bannerman is the coolest looking lead

guitarist in any band. The pace is furious and is maintained

throughout with the exception of one track (I Know That You’re

Thinking About Me) which gives everyone a chance to catch their

breath.

There are not many gigs where the majority of the audience

are dancing – and I mean properly giving it some – from the

first note. There’s a vibrancy and urgency that makes dancing

inevitable: coats are discarded and everyone’s moving as the heat

builds. The atmosphere is lovely and the crowd is a really friendly

bunch. There’s no demarcation between audience and band by

the end, just a group of people having a party.

It’s a raucous sweaty affair that makes you feel the world

would be a better place if Ibibio Sound Machine gig tickets were

available on the NHS. When they tour next, be kind to yourself

and go.

Jennie Macaulay

Ibibio Sound Machine (Glyn Akroyd / @glynakroyd)

Ibibio Sound Machine (Glyn Akroyd / @glynakroyd)

PuzzleCreature

LEAP @ Invisible Wind Factory – 7/10

“We have decided not to die,” announces the voice of artist

Madeline Gins. The opening statement projecting from the eight

speakers hung around the inflatable venue we find ourselves in.

As the show begins, three dancers have recently entered via the

zip-up door, quickly, so as not to deflate the translucent structure.

Those dancers stare down audience members and inspect the

mesh plaster casts of different parts of the body which are

suspended from the ceiling. We’re collectively trying to solve

PUZZLECREATURE.

Gins’ words are part of her and partner Arakawa’s philosophy

of Reversible Destiny. The artist-philosopher-architects worked

with theories of architectural bodies – the human body’s

interaction and blending with its surroundings and, more famously,

worked on designs which looked to achieve immortality in their

inhabitants. It’s ambitious stuff.

The eight speakers now deliver Sebastian Reynolds’ specially

commissioned soundtrack for the piece. It’s warm inside the plastic

walls, yet the bassy drones, which ebb and flow in intensity, put

the audience on edge. The three dancers contort into impossible

shapes. They reflect and react to the white floating casts, copying

the poses and inserting their own forms inside.

Through projects like The Reversible Destiny Lofts and

Bioscleave House, Arakawa and Gins sought to solve the issue

of mortality by designing liveable environments which constantly

questioned and challenged the way we live. In a statement after

Arakawa passed away in 2010 Gins said “this mortality thing is

bad news”. It is difficult to know how serious or sincere the artists

were in their mission but they were consistent throughout a

number of projects over several decades.

The dancers lean on the soft walls of our temporary venue,

climb over audience members and gyrate into the middle of the

room. Audience members suppress smiles as they are pulled

into the performance. The music gathers momentum and the

dancers merge together before splitting off and exiting the

inflatable arena. No one’s sure whether this signals the end of the

performance and the questioning is palpable.

We are then invited to leave the tent as quickly as possible

and await the second half. In the exposed environs of the

Invisible Wind Factory’s main room we experience a chill as we

see the tent we called home now partially deflated.

Across the undulating landscape the dancers tentatively

begin again to engage with their expressive movements and

each other. Atop the structure they are never still, slowly walking

towards the audience, bending in and out of one-another. It’s

difficult to look away. The scene is reminiscent of a sci-fi movie as

one dancer is cocooned in the tent while the others move around

them.

Arakawa and Gin’s Reversible Destiny Lofts were all

about defying conventional living by design. In prompting the

inhabitants of the loft to constantly question and analyse their

own processes of domestic routine the artist believe they could

stave off the inevitable.

By the end of the performance the inflatable stage is all but

flat with some internal air still animating it. The dancers are all

smiles after an hour of provocative or inscrutable expression.

It’s the end of the performance and, while the inspirations

of this piece Gins and Arakawa have since left this mortal stage,

their ideas and challenges are a puzzle that won’t be solved and

therefore live on.

Sam Turner / @samturner1984

REVIEWS 35


REVIEWS

Modern Nature (Stuart Moulding / @Oohshootstu)

Modern Nature

Harvest Sun @ Shipping Forecast – 18/9

In a time when it’s growing increasingly harder to connect

with the natural world, MODERN NATURE’s music provides a

fitting soundtrack for such escapism with their debut long player,

How To Live. The band’s identity is very much a sum of its parts,

featuring names from Ultimate Painting, Beak and Woods. As

you might expect, the resulting sound is cosmic, reclined and

altogether warming.

They take to the stage without drawing too much attention

to themselves The modestly decent turnout quickly edge forward

to fill any unused space and what follows is an explorative and

soul-soothing affair. Opener Bloom is an elegant introduction,

commencing the set with an atmospheric and solitary saxophone.

It’s clear from the off that these musicians are meant to be

together; they simply glue so well.

Jack Cooper’s voice has been key to the success of his many

past projects and things aren’t much different this time around.

There’s such an effortlessness behind the quartet as they

continue to dispatch How To Live in its entirety. Evidently the

record was built to flow, but also to retain a sense of freshness

and surprise. There’s a light and shade throughout the night, as

the band lull the crowd into their meandering jams before quickly

bringing the tempo up into new territory.

Theon Cross

Stepping Tiger @ Storyhouse – 06/10

Entering Chester’s Storyhouse to the unmistakable Nigerian

electro-funk of William Onyeabor, it’s clear Stepping Tiger have

something wilder in store than your average Sunday night at

the theatre. Bordered by bookcases with pink ambient lighting

riding the walls, the venue’s open-plan spread does have an air

of sophistication about it. Just over the shoulder of a guy carefully

buttering scones we spy Ben ‘Roman’ Haslett DJing, the man

bringing THEON CROSS and so much more to our walled city.

Incredibly tight from the off, REMY JUDE ENSEMBLE open

up and ease us in with a deep four-part harmony. Mellowing into

a blend of alt.jazz and hip hop, there’s shades of Tom Misch and

Loyle Carner in their sound. Occasionally they shift feel and a little

funk slips in, vocalist Amber Kuti and keys player Max O’Hara

being Galactic Funk Militia ex-recruits, after all.

The fluid interplay between Jude and Kuti on hook-heavy

standout Band Bak 2Geva quickly wins attendees over. Coming

Home then segues into Yes Music, where a smooth-tongued

Remy urges us to “thrust those shoulder blades when you hear

those stabs”. Dropping down to a Cinematic Orchestra-esque

bridge, Kuti’s melismatic scat inflections weave their way around

a tasteful lead guitar and Jude’s fired-up MCing.

Having made his name as one of the breakout talents of the

UK jazz scene, Theon Cross is known for bringing the almighty

There’s not much room for any dialogue between songs.

They take a breather halfway through the set which opens the

door for some discussion. “So we’re halfway through the album

now and this is the part where you flip it over,” says Jack Cooper,

jokingly. They continue into the track Nightmares, a track puts the

listener into a weird dream state if anything. It begins to verge on

peculiar just how calming and absorbing this experience begins

to become; there are big saxophone solos, wandering guitars and

hushed vocals that seem to soak into the crowd.

This band don’t look like they have joined forces with a

mission to flip the music world on its head. Instead, you get the

feeling that this is a more informal project constructed to satisfy

their own creativity. Despite exploring a vast landscape of psych

on the record and in the live environment, it’s hard to see this

project doing anything radical in the near future. Perhaps that

could eventually be seen as a limitation, but none of that really

matters tonight. This is a bunch of accomplished musicians who

are clearly comfortable in their own skin.

What we see tonight is a band confident enough to tackle

their ideas; they’ve got the history and experience to back up

their humble ambitions. As long as this group keep their hunger

to create then it looks like we’ll be gifted with some great material

in the coming years. And while it’s early doors for this particular

project, it already feels like Modern Nature are well on their way

to becoming a finished package.

Rhys Buchanan / @rhysbuchanan

bottom-end with Sons Of Kemet and guesting with Steam

Down. As soon as Cross and touring line-up Chelsea Carmichael

(saxophone), Patrick Boyle (drums) and Nikos Ziarkas (guitar)

take the stage, the audience shift forward, filing up the stairs and

mezzanine.

Veering wildly between improvised solo bursts and dub

bass lines, the versatility of the tuba in Cross’ hands is quite

astounding. You’ll normally see a tuba played sat down in an

orchestra; Cross performs spinning on a heel, teasing it from

gurgled drawl to blaring sustain. Coasting the outer fringes of

jazz, at times the songs appear formless, yet the quartet remain

violently in sync.

After a euphoric The Comet Is Coming-styled excursion, they

slip into a sleazy Latin/bossa swing, almost verging on spiritual

jazz climbs before settling into an afrobeat groove. Then after

goading Carmichael and Boyle into a lengthy improv spin-out,

Cross takes the mic and talks humbly about the importance of

self-belief when writing music, before powering through CIYA

and two encores.

Granted there will have been sweatier stops on the tour,

but for a damp Sunday evening in Chester tonight’s scenes are

simply unprecedented. Cross is undoubtedly at forefront of a

movement that’s no longer confined to London.

David Weir / @betweenseeds

The Good Life Experience

Hawarden Estate, Wales – 12/09-15/09

We live in unprecedented times. Politically, socially,

technologically, environmentally. However you skin your daily

existence, you face a cocktail of decisions, challenges and

dilemmas, the like of which our species has not seen before.

Faced with this cacophony of noise, two concepts become more

important than ever; escapism and the quest for new ideas.

And it figures that the two are closely related. In order to

shape new ideas, we first need to sidestep the daily treadmill, the

24-hour battle for our attention, the glare of those omnipresent

screens. We need to create environments for open minds,

expansive conversation and spaces to challenge our digital-norms.

We need to reset. God, we need to breathe.

With this in mind, THE GOOD LIFE EXPERIENCE embraces

both and it seems is expertly tuned to our times. A well whittled,

wonky, welly-clad, weird weekend of perpetual wellness that

implores its guests to slow down, take stock, learn crafts, cook,

care and commune.

I succumbed to the temptation to take to the open water at an

artist-led swimming session, followed by freeform poetry writing

around an open fire. In the wrong hands this could all be very

Nathan Barley, although under the tutelage of Vivienne Rickman-

Poole the reality is anything but. It is hugely uplifting, invigorating,

elating. I dive back in.

Once suitably de-compressed and unplugged, the festival’s

pinpoint curation manages to envelop its audience with wide

ranging and outlook-shaping conversations led by truly inspirational

subjects. Set within Hawarden Castle’s reading room, ANDREW

EVANS speaks with astonishing openness and humility about his

experience as a haemophiliac on the wrong end of the contaminated

blood scandal, currently the subject of a public enquiry. Listening

to Andrew recount his story – one that saw the wonder-drug he

self-injected as a five-year-old inadvertently leave him HIV positive

and almost dead as a result of AIDS by his late teens – is a deeply

moving experience. His subsequent fight for justice for all those

effected (taintedblood.info) goes on and his message here is simple:

keep fighting. Right on cue as I leave the reading room, I notice a

bookmark underfoot, inscribed simply: “ideas change things”.

JNR WILLIAMS’ crystal neo-soul marries clean lines and vocal

acrobatics with spades of individuality. I doubt he has played to an

audience containing such a high concentration of neckerchiefed

whippets before, but he leaves them (and their owners) aghast.

Come night time and we’re dancing the jive with the assembled

pre-schoolers at the vintage disco to Duffo’s take on Walk On The

Wild Side (our Georgia steals the show). It’s a fitting curtain call

to the weekend, an off-kilter take on conventional wisdom which

catches you off guard, that suggests another way.

The Good Life Experience is for the curious. I implore you to join

them in raising a glass of organic nettle ale, delving into the sound

of Welsh birdsong and leaving your preconceived conventions in the

car park. A slightly better version of yourself may well come out the

other side.

Craig G Pennington

36


ADD TO

PLAYLIST

Red Rum Club

EVOL @ O2 Academy – 28/09

It’s a packed, expectant and hot O2 Academy that awaits

RED RUM CLUB. Everyone’s up for a good time with these local

crowd pleasers; there’s almost a sense of reverence towards

them.

In terms of set design it’s perfectly pitched: the tension and

excitement are built to a peak before the silhouetted band walk

on behind a red curtain, fitting with the Matador theme, which

tumbles to the floor to reveal a group rightly confident in their

abilities accompanied by a celebratory explosion of confetti and

the first notes of Honey.

Singer Fran Doran’s adept at whipping up the bodies before

him to near hysteria. Before he’ll start playing Would You Rather

Be Lonely? during the encore, he insists people get on shoulders

– it takes a fair while and leads to some precarious pairings. He’s

got the swagger and charm all the best frontmen have and that

mysterious ingredient which means all eyes are pinned on him.

On record Doran’s voice is at times reminiscent of Ian

McCulloch (which is such a lovely thing) while on a couple

of tracks – Kids Addicted in particular – the overall sound is

reminiscent of latter day Manics (OK, but not breaking any new

ground). Live these subtleties are lost in the mix: the vocals are

still strong, but the ubiquitous trumpet drowns out the guitars

meaning at points it becomes one unstoppable mass of brass.

Red Rum Club (Stuart Moulding / @Oohshootstu)

They seem like a group who are loving the acclaim they’re

receiving after years of working hard. Doran speaks with

understandable pride about their album after seven years of

graft, and what they do they do well. They come across as a

band who’ve been selling out arenas for years. If the success of

tonight is anything to judge it by, their stock will continue to rise.

Performance wise they’ve got the confidence and charm

nailed and, technically, all six are really good musicians. It just

depends what you’re in to and people here are very much on

the Red Rum Club team – as the inflatable trumpets proffered

towards the band attest. It’s a packed-out singalong, but

at points it teeters precariously close to being the musical

equivalent of Live Laugh Love, guaranteed to whip up emotion

in a hometown crowd on a Saturday night. Not necessarily a bad

thing, depending on what you want from a band.

A cover of Golden Slumbers is lovely and fits the bill,

showing in whose trail they’d like to follow: if success is built on

confidence, they’ve smashed it. They could and will be playing

venues far bigger than this soon – commercially their songs

strike the right note between indie guitar rock and radio-friendly

earworms. They’re fully formed and rounded as a live act ready

for much bigger things – but sometimes a bit of edge does us all

good.

It’s definitely crowd-pleasing, if not ground breaking, but it’d

be petulant to argue with a room so full of joy.

Jennie Macaulay

ADD TO PLAYLIST is the 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.

Manra International

Presents

The Ultimate Spice

Mix

Night Slugs

Oh man, well if the artwork alone doesn’t sell you on it,

then what will? This compilation is practically a who’s

who of some of the best global club DJs and producers

at the moment, with 8ulentina, Foozool, Scratcha DVA,

Ikonika, Manara and Bok Bok all bringing dishes to the

potluck. With proceeds going to international human rights

organisation Restless Beings, what’s more you’ve got your

pre-going out playlist pretty much sorted for the rest of

eternity. Canned hype, extra spicy.

Hanna

I Needed

Melodies International

Floating Points’ reissue label,

Melodies International, is back

to school with another dusty

crate dig. Warren Harris, aka

HANNA, offers up some laid-back classic Chicago house

and a little tipple of sunshine to take the edge off all this

autumn nonsense. It’s strictly buttery smooth edges and

no surprises, filled with sultry street soul vocals, no-baddays

keys and a lithe garage skip. Expect to hear this at a

trendy biodynamic wine bar very soon.

Anunaku

Forgotten Tales

Louder Than Death (Michael Kirkham / @Mrkirks)

Whities

Louder Than Death

The Go-Go Cage and No Fun @ The Zanzibar

– 13/09

Leaves hang like cobwebs throughout The Zanzibar, a retro

space that feels like a treasured discovery among the new venues

around Liverpool. Tonight, however, it serves as the perfect fit

for an intimate gig presented by garage-rock madman King Khan

and his newest outfit, the ferocious LOUDER THAN DEATH.

The band, who are currently blazing around Europe in

promotion of their album Stop Und Fick Dich! have collected a

troupe of punks from The Spits and Magnetix along the way,

however, much to our dismay, Spits member Sean has been held

up in customs.

The lights dim as Khan walks out on stage to applause from

the room, dawning pleather short-shorts, a police hat and a

denim vest speckled with patchwork. Armed with a bouquet

of roses, he sets a light, careless tone for the evening; “I’m just

trying to make some money on the side here if anyone wants to

buy a flower,” he laughs. Raging on, LTD rip-roar through a set

with songs dedicated to Lemmy, Bad Brains, Christian conversion

camps, Al Capone’s syphilis, Hermione from Harry Potter and, for

good measure, the punk rock women of England. The prerequisite

pogoing ensues in front of the stage as King Khan and his cohort

bring their 77 punk style to with a blast of spilled beer, sweat

and pleather. As the night extends, then begins the stage banter.

After three or four stop-starts of a song they learned just that

day, Khan, ever the gifted spokesman, keeps the extremely

patient Scouse crowd entertained with one-liners.

On a night saturated with a lo-fi, raw and dirty attitude from

the makings of a band who seem like they’re just having a really

damn good time, we are indeed given what we were promised: a

full throttle onslaught of much needed energy and fun on a Friday

night.

Brit Williams / @therealbritjean

Tasker’s Whities label has

pretty much become buy-onsight,

barely putting a foot

wrong over the last couple

years. Whities 024 is no different. Although the release has

little to do with its alleged zeitgeist theme of ‘mythology’,

the three tracks explore the intersection of global

percussion and club music, careening from screw-face

breakbeat to polyrhythmic drum loops. Forgotten Tales – a

shimmering, padded ambient techno track – stands out as

the smart, well-heeled slice of the moment. For fans of Yak,

Minor Science, Poly, Leif etc.

Words: Nina Franklin

melodicdistraction.com

Melodic Distraction Radio is an independent internet radio

station based in the Baltic Triangle, platforming artists,

DJs and producers from across the North West. Head to

melodicdistraction.com to listen in.

REVIEWS

37


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FREE


ARTISTIC

LICENCE

This month’s offering is a selection of writings and artefacts taken from The Casserole Of Nonsense, a new

book pulled from the bubbling mind stew of Lewy Dohren and Jack Turner.

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

say?

A reaction to the plight of new age confusion, caked inside an

embryo of semi-hysterical tripe.

It’s fair to say that poetry isn’t your primary creative outlet.

When and why did you start writing for The Casserole Of

Nonsense?

Lewy: It had probably been festering inside our minds for years

without realising. But I had started writing some stuff while I was

in Berlin, just as a reaction to the confusing hilarity of modern life. I

was telling Jack about it at this fezzy, and while we were there we

started writing down some of the shite we were coming out with.

Jack: Yeh, something defo got switched on at that fezzy.

Almost as if our collective mental pen drives got hooked up to a

mainframe of ridiculousness, and both of us pressed ‘download’

at the same time. Not to plagiarise MLK but I also had a dream

about it.

Can you pinpoint a moment or a piece of writing that initially

inspired you?

L: I remember reading Caravan by Nick Power on a train journey

in the cold depths of winter, during the crescendo of sensory

bombardment that is Christmas. And I thought it was amazing

(the book, not the bombardment). That got the inspiration cogs

nice and oily, I reckon. I should probably say thanks to him here as

well, because he offered us some good advice in the early stages

of the project. Tar lid!

J: We’ve been spewing up nonsense butties ever since we met

many moons ago, but it was when he told me he’d started writing

stuff down in Berlin, that’s when I thought, ‘OK, maybe we should

try and get something down together and see where it takes us’.

Where does the inspiration come from for your work? Are

there any particular influences (everyday life, the outside

world, other art, people, society, politics, etc.)?

L: Probably just an amalgamation of years of confusing existence

and the monotonous struggle of day-to-day life. Mushing

together the generic boring things we all encounter with a packet

of cold hard insanity.

J: Dreams, nightmares, supermarkets, TV, GFs, current-eff-airs,

mates, pets, pubs, clubs, whatever’s left in the bottom of the

tea cup and a large dollop of the social medication we’re all

unflinchingly prescribed to.

If you could read at any event, work with any artist, or be

published anywhere, what would you choose?

Behind the bins at the Mecca Bingo in Birkenhead with Derek

Acorah, published in the Bible’s Ultra-New Testament.

Sound and rhythm are key to the emotional punch of The

Casserole Of Nonsense. Why do you think that slang and

vernacular speech works so well with your message?

L: Maybe because it feels like you’re in there actually swimming in

the pond of our fragile minds or something. Part of the confusing

world we’ve created for yer.

J: A lot of the poems and stories in here are written in the same

way they’d be spoken. The localised references comprised within

that would be impossible to avoid having lived on both the upper

and lower lips of the Mersey for pretty much all of our lives.

Why The Casserole Of Nonsense?

L: The name, or why are we even bothering to do this? The name

came in a dream and the rest, well, we’ll wait and see if it’s all

gonna be part of that same dream…

J: Who knows, someone could very easily just tap us both on

the shoulder… and there we are both standing in the middle of

that sweltering summer festival. Dazed, confused, bareback and

speechless to the fact that none of this has ever even happened.

Loser

An Ode To A Bifter

A Clean Sweep

-

-

I lost the nerve

And lost the receipt

I lost the number

And the street

I lost the tickets

And all the money

I think I’ve lost the beak

And my sunnies

I’ve lost my card

And my jacket

I lost the plot

Cus I thought you had it

But one thing I haven’t lost

That I didn’t mean to find

Is you.

Oh fuck where’ve yer gone…

Lewy Dohren, September 2018

Your silky sweet and sultry scent

Has in my heart now left a dent

A dent for all those times we shared

A toast to all lost eyebrow hairs

I’ll take with me these yellow teeth

Laid round my mouth, a stale wreath

Commemorate the biffs I’ve lost

Whilst balking at the total cost

And so to you I bid farewell

Tears in my eyes now start to swell

The plaster’s on, I can’t look back

A smoky curtain fades to black

Jack Turner, August 2018

There it was

A warp of time

A pool of self excrement

5 past nineteen ninety nine

Containers of excitement

Swamps on the Wirral line

Contract with the sphincter

Read and then sign

Sunshine and sins

And the start of a new deal

Good meaty hands

Keep them behind the wheel

Tape player’s wrecked

And we’ve broken the seal

It’s been 48 weeks

Since we called in that meal

A long forgotten pop star

Picking chewy off his toes

A sly fart from nostalgia

And I’m selling Matalan clothes

Stuck behind the tills

Getting necked by a rose

Is this still my birthday?

Fuck, nobody knows

Memory lane asylum

Wheelie bins of thoughts

A lifetime in the cloakroom

Wanking over Sunday sports

Sniffing loadsa fentanyl

With Sooty, Sweep and Paul

I’ve got it all on VHS

And in my school reports

Lewy Dohren & Jack Turner, March 2019

44


Bohemian Chiropody

Is this my real foot

Or is that just fungal cream

Caught in my bird’s tights

Can’t escape the reality

The specialist sighs

She looks down at her notes and says

‘You’re just a poor boy

No cash for Bazuka Gel’

Cos my feet are sad, I can’t ignore, a little dry, a little sore

Any way my shoes walk, it doesn’t really matter to me, two feet

Mama, just removed a sock

Sat on the chair and bent down low

A once-white Donnay had to go

Mama, they never used to smell

But now I’ve had to throw them all away

Mama, am so uncouth

I didn’t mean to scrape your eye

I’ll hack these toenails off this time tomorrow

Sand ’em down, sand ’em down

They’re turning into daggers

It’s too late, my letter’s come

Got a referral from the quacks, now there ain’t no turning back

Goodbye rotten pinkies, you’ve got to go

I gotta buy a pumice stone and make you smooth

Mama, gotta face the truth

I don’t wanna go

I sometimes wish I’d been born with no feet all

I see a little white-clad body of a man

Wielding tools and he says ‘can you feel your verrucas?’

Sharp harsh pain and white bits, need things to take my mind off please!

(Chips and mayo) chips and mayo, (Brian Oviedo) Oviedo, dormant volcanoes, figgy rolls

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves feet

He’s just a poor boy with some snide scabby feet

Spare him his soles for their callosities

Easy scrape, with a stone, banish that whitlow

As if that’ll go! It will not fucking go

(Make it go!) As if lad, it will not fucking go

(It’s tryna grow!) Oh shit lad, I think we’ve lost control

(Ah me toe!) Pus began to flow

(Ah me toe!) What a holy show

(Ah me toe!) Ahhhhhhh...

No no no not my big toe

Give it here, pass it here, give it here that’s my toe

The chiropodist has just left it on the side for me, for me, for me!

So you think you can charge an extortionate price? So you think you can chop feet and

leave me to die? Oh, maybe, I’ll see you at the Old Bailey

I just gotta get out, I just gotta get right out of here

My feet don’t really matter, cos no one ever sees

My feet don’t really matter

My feet don’t really matter to me

Any way my bunions grow

Jack Turner, December 2018

Vision for Condiments

For as far as her stagnant vision would carry her glazed eyesight

There were Nettos

Like bald yellow fish

In a big and badly ventilated pond

Each new sighting brought a slightly more pungent joy

She could almost taste the 16 for 1 whole chickens

Knowing that the synthetic bag would keep them fresh and

frozen well into the next century

Only the big man in the discounted sky would know how...

Hurriedly she scampered down the first aisle

Past the fruit and veg void

Through the household deterrents

Across snack sanctuary

Until finally

The cool stale air reached her trembling lips

The smell of iced plastic was almost too much to bear

She began to quiver with excitement

Clutching her branded reusable and degrading bag like a symbol of her unity

She slowly turned to face the glory of the frozen section

And there...

There it shone...

Like a portal to another dimension

Rows upon rows of deteriorating iced coffins

Radiating their frozen advertisements

Offering carnivorous delights for such menacingly cheap prices

She could barely walk

Never had she been in such awe

Never in her wildest misery, had she imagined she’d make it this far

Overcome with emotion she gripped tightly onto the nearest freezer

A frozen lid of fulfilment propping up her dreams

A glistening tear trickled down her ageing face

And for the first time she looked down at what glorious opportunities awaited

her

Peering down into the frosted glass she began to try and read what was on

offer...

V..

Vee...

Veal?

She couldn’t make out the words past her haunting cataracts so she asked the

shining yellow angel stocking the shelves nearby for assistance...

“What is the offer here sweet cherub?”

“Oh are you on frozen aisle love?”

“Yes dear... I’m from the Emerald Isle of Frozen Love”

“Haha, if you say so... 2 seconds, wait there.”

Surely it can’t be the vegetables again, she had already passed that section

“Yeah it’s all vegan now isn’t it... legal requirement... been like that for about 6

months I think. So what you’re looking at there is a vegan cod, 2 for 1 on those.”

Words and Design: Lewy Dohren and Jack Turner

The Casserole Of Nonsense is available from 1st November.

Lewy Dohren, October 2018

ARTISTIC LICENCE

45


SAY

THE FINAL

Working at the heart of the

North West based Low Carbon

Eco-Innovatory – a university

affiliated research and action

group – Dr Ariel Edesess and

Daniel Blunt underline that the

fight to reverse climate change

is nearing the final round, yet the

contest is far from decided.

It was the 1950s and 60s: World War Two was over and the

world was trying to heal. With the end of the war came a

global population boom. The rate of growth reached a peak

of two per cent per year in the late 1960s (as compared

to one per cent per year now). This accelerated increase in

population, coupled with limited food resources, was alarming to

many, and sparked what is now called the Green Revolution, or

the Third Agricultural Revolution.

In this “revolution”, resources (both financial and human)

were diverted towards collaborative research and technology

initiatives designed to increase food production. The Green

Revolution was, for the most part, a resounding success. And,

while it is true that an unacceptable amount of people are still

without basic nourishment, this is due to unequal distribution of

resources and inequality, not the amount of food produced.

We are presently faced with creeping global warming,

perhaps the greatest threat to the human race we have ever seen.

The oft-used description of global warming is as an “existential

crisis”, named so because it could threaten the entire existence of

the human race. For most of us, global warming exists mainly as

something to be afraid of, to rally up against, to use as an excuse

to rage against capitalism, or to deny is happening at all. The

success of the Green Revolution in increasing food production

(notwithstanding its many flaws) provides us with a blueprint of

how to approach another, seemingly, Herculean challenge.

Every day, I work closely with the public and small-tomedium

sized businesses in Liverpool city and Lancashire regions

to meet the goals laid out in the various local and global emission

reduction plans. While the range of feelings about climate action

is as broad as the issue itself, the majority of feelings encountered

can be roughly summarised by the following: recognising the

problem and feeling anxious and motivated to contribute to

solution; recognising the problem but believing that, because of

their sector or business, they are not part of finding a solution;

recognising the problem but struggling to see any financial

benefit for making changes; recognising the problem and feeling

“The fight is not yet

lost – the world as

we know it today is

not set in stone”

overwhelmed and incapacitated to help; recognising the problem

but feeling that it is hopeless or caused by large corporations, and

therefore not their individual responsibility.

While these are wholly understandable reactions to an

immeasurably complex problem, they should not dictate how

we move to address the challenge. Luckily, this is not the first

time humanity has faced a major global crisis and we have some

examples to help readjust how we approach and think about this

crisis.

With the recent passing of Paul Polak on 10th October, a

world-renowned innovator, entrepreneur, anti-poverty warrior

and one of my personal heroes, the urgency to highlight his

accomplishments and what we can learn from them for the

current fight against global warming has increased. Born into a

Jewish family in Czechoslovakia in 1933, Polak fled the advancing

Nazis with his family when he was six years old. Following a

perilous and terrifying journey through Germany, where young

Paul even paraded as a member of the Hitler youth to hide

his family’s true identify, the family eventually found refuge in

Ontario, Canada.

This experience could have left him with a bitterness towards

humanity, but instead he chose to direct his innate curiosity to

understanding and trying to help others in need. Polak practised

psychiatry for two decades before shifting his attention to the

problem of global poverty, especially those who were surviving

on $1-2 per day.

Animated by his experiences as a child and equipped with his

training as a psychiatrist, Polak sought to fill the gaps where the

Green Revolution failed to reach those most in need. What made

Polak special was where others saw insurmountable obstacles,

he simply saw challenges that needed solutions – or, as he said

to me once, “People often say I’m an innovator... if innovation is

walking along a sidewalk and, on reaching a step, you step up

and continue walking, then sure, I’m an innovator.”

Polak understood that the key to changing behaviour and

affecting change was to look for solutions most in harmony with

the people for whom the solution is intended, to include them in

the process, to track progress, and to adjust the approach when

needed. His most basic tenet was to treat people who are lower

on the socio-economic ladder (in his work, those making $1-2 a

day) as customers rather than charity recipients. At the heart of

this message is an appreciation of the role of human dignity and

feeling of accomplishment in promoting behavioural change.

The climate crisis fight is not the same as the anti-poverty

fight or the Green Revolution, but they are all inescapably linked.

Mountains of research show over and over again that it will

be people lower on the socio-economic ladder who are most

impacted by the climate crisis. This is true worldwide, from

Kolkata to Merseyside. Here in Liverpool, it might not look like a

community decimated by wildfire or a village washed away in a

hurricane, but it might look more like fuel poverty, leaking houses

due to extreme rainfall and flooding, or rising food costs, and it

will be those already struggling to make ends meet who are hit

the worst.

The climate crisis monster we find ourselves facing

encompasses far more than the environmental realm – its roots

are buried in centuries of deep-set behavioural patterns and

social paradigms. Years and years of damaging activity, pursued

even when we suspected, and then became fully aware of the

impacts, have driven us to this crossroad. Tackle the beast and its

many faces? Or be blissful in our apathy, ignorance and business

as usual?

We all know which is the easy option, and we’ve probably

all felt justified in reneging on our personal responsibilities to be

better – to use less, reuse more, throw away less, and vocally

support difficult or disruptive plans, policies, or technologies.

It is exhausting, and anxiety-inducing to be in a constant state

of worry about the looming destruction of humanity and it is

much easier to ‘opt-out’ and just keep planning your next trip to

Tuvalu – yet we all play a big role in challenging the climate crisis.

So, how do we take on this issue as individuals (yes, yes, we

are all individuals!) and maximise our impact? Put simply, there is

no single answer. There is not one action you could do that would

be the ‘right’ way to go – each one of us must choose our own

way to contribute. Your contribution is not just certain individual

choices you can make, like choosing to go meat and/or dairy-free

a couple of times a week, reducing and reusing water whenever

possible, or driving less – your most important tool is your voice

and how you exercise your expectations of how society should

operate.

But, more important than any action we can take today is

our resilience and drive to insist on change, to be different and

better from how we were before. The fight is not yet lost – the

world as we know it today is not set in stone, and “that’s just how

it is” is not how it should always be. We should learn from Paul

Polak’s philosophies, such as talking to the people who have the

problem and listening to what they have to say, focusing on small

solutions to big problems, seeing and doing the obvious, and

learning from mistakes and adjusting when required.

Polak is an example that each one of us can be an influencer

and that each one of us has the capacity to affect major change.

When choosing your own path forward to address the crisis, here

are four useful points to remember: keep it local, keep it timely,

keep it personal, and keep it honest – uncertainty is not your

enemy. I’ll leave you here with a reminder from Hannah Arendt:

“We are free to change the world and start something new in it.”

By reading this piece, I hope you’ve felt encouraged to take

action. This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are some

activities to take part in/actions you take:

• Clean ups (CleanupUK, the National Trust and Keep Britain

Tidy all have easy routes to involvement).

• Seed bombing (get yourself some seed balls and go wildflower

guerrilla gardening – like a rebel Alan Titchmarsh).

• Write letters to local government to insist on reducing public

transport prices and build better green infrastructure. I mean,

it feels like Liverpool City Centre is actually a deterrent for

cyclists right now (believe it not, your letters are actually read

and if enough people speak up, they are obliged to take action).

• Change daily habits: reduce water use, turn off lights, don’t

charge phone overnight, switch off cars at long traffic lights,

reduce and reuse waste (standard but worth remembering).

• Promote holistic solutions – think creatively. Ask questions, find

supportive peers.

• Adjust expectations, both of yourself and of the companies you

spend money on. Demand drives the market, we can influence

the market by changing our consumer behaviours.

• Engage your company or place of work with the Low Carbon

Eco-Innovatory at LJMU. We exist to help small-medium

businesses in Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley

and Halton develop low carbon products, processes and

services by engaging them with our team of researchers. We

work across all sectors and love to be given a challenge! Want

to decarbonise your business but don’t know where to start?

Give us a shout. Developing the next great piece of green tech

and need it testing? You know who to call (Disclaimer: it’s not

Ghostbusters).

Words: Dr Ariel Edesess and Daniel Blunt

Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uk

ljmu.ac.uk/ecoinnovatory

The Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory is a partnership between

Liverpool John Moores University, University of Liverpool and

Lancaster University. Find out more about how to get involved

with their Clean Growth UK action at @EcoInnovatory.

46


Richard Dawson

SATURDAY 23rd November

Studio 2, Liverpool

SOLD OUT

Beans on Toast

FRIDAY 20th December

Phase One, Liverpool

The Local Honeys

Wednesday 22nd January

Gulliver, Manchester

King Creosote

Performing a live accompaniment to the film

From Scotland with Love

Monday 16th March

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

@Ceremonyconcert / facebook.com/ceremonyconcerts

ceremonyconcerts@gmail.com / seetickets.com

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