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Baltic Fleet by Adam Banister

Issue 24 July 2012

Baltic Fleet Circawaves The Hummingbirds Sunstack Jones The Low Anthem


Monday-Thursday 08:00-00:00 Friday-Saturday 08:00-02:00 Sunday 08:00-23:00 FOOD Monday-Saturday 08:00-20:00 Sunday 08:00-18:00 67 Greenland Street Liverpool L1 0BY Opposite Cain’s Brewery in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle www.campandfurance.com


Bido Lito! July 2012

Editorial The studious souls amongst you will have noticed something a little bit different about us this month. Can you put your finger on it? We’ve not had our hair cut, no new jewellery, not a new pair of brogues in sight, and we’ve certainly not shed a few pounds. Quite the opposite in fact; we’ve filled out, packed on some cargo, let ourselves go a little. Welcome to your all new, chunky but funky, girth-expanded edition of big pink loveliness. After two years in our original format we decided the time was right for a change. Everything needs to develop and evolve over time; there’s only so long you can stand still no matter what it is you do, and after publishing the daily magazine at this year’s Sound City in an expanded newspaper format, we decided to go away and explore ways that we could expand the form of the monthly magazine. The new size allows us to do much more editorially each month, especially within our reviews section, with the additional opportunity to expand the size of our photography. Fundamentally, we can use the extra space to cover more from across the breadth of Liverpool’s music scene each month, which can only be a good thing. You’ll also be pleased to know that we’re getting settled into our new home at Mello Mello. The lemon drizzle cake made the trudging up to the fourth floor with a few hundred back issues worthwhile. As did the pint(s) of Brooklyn Lager... having that on tap downstairs could be dangerous! This is the first opportunity I’ve had in print to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to Paul Sullivan at Static Gallery. When we started the magazine over two years back, Paul’s support both motivationally but also by providing us with our first home, for hardly anything in terms of rent - was a complete Bido Lito! mascot Henry, soon to god send. Bido Lito! was part of the Static Gallery family star on dogsinpubs.com and framework throughout our formative years and Static will always be at the heart of what the magazine stands for. We will be continuing to support Paul’s campaign to lift the ludicrous Noise Abatement Order placed on the space by Liverpool City Council, as well as all Static’s ongoing and future projects. Thanks a million, man. This month’s magazine has some real treats in store. When we first came across CIRCAWAVES a few weeks back, excitement in the office was almost touching Death At Sea-discovering proportions. The slacker shoegaze lilt of I Get Along With You is a true delight and the fact that we still don’t have a clue who the chap behind Circawaves actually is, just makes the whole escapade more wonderful. This issue’s cover artist BALTIC FLEET also provides a tantalising discovery. I won’t give too much away - you’ll have to head over to page six to read Mo Stewart’s piece - but the record is to be imminently dropped as a Rough Trade Album Of The Month. Completely essential listening. We’ve just returned from taking Laura at The Caledonia’s photograph for her guest column this month. I’ve got Henry the Labradoodle in tow for a fortnight (mother duck’s gone on her hols... again) and he went down a storm at the pub. So much so that Laura pulled him a half, which he duly enjoyed whilst posing for a picture which is to be featured on the marvellous dogsinpubs.com. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds! I’d like to extend a warm Bido Lito! welcome to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro who signed for Ronnie’s whites this week from Rochdale. A pacy, goal getting striker, the pre-season optimism has kicked in already. Here we go again. Craig G Pennington Editor

Features

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Bido Lito!

Issue Twenty Four / July 2012 bidolito.co.uk 4th Floor, Mello Mello 40-42 Slater St Liverpool L1 4BX

6 BALTIC FLEET

Editor Craig G Pennington info@bidolito.co.uk Assistant Editor Christopher Torpey reviews@bidolito.co.uk

8 SUNSTACK JONES

Assistant Reviews Editor Naters Philip live@bidolito.co.uk Online Editor Natalie Williams online@bidolito.co.uk

10 CIRCAWAVES

Designer Luke Avery info@earthstudios.net Proofreading Debra Williams -

12 THE HUMMINGBIRDS

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THE LOW ANTHEM

Regulars 4 NEWS 16 PREVIEWS/SHORTS 18 REVIEWS

debra@wordsanddeeds.co.uk

Words Craig G Pennington, Christopher Torpey, Mo Stewart, Joseph Viney, Phil Gwyn, Lisa O’Dea, Joshua Nevett, Richard Lewis, Clarry M, Jonny Davis, Naters Philip, Mick Chrysalid, Chris Chadwick, Laura King Photography, Illustration and Layout Luke Avery, Adam Banister, Jennifer Pellegrini, Mike Brits, Marie Hazelwood, Keith Ainsworth, Richard B, Adam Edwards, Matthew Thomas, Hugo Lima Adverts To advertise please ads@bidolito.co.uk

contact


News

Bido Lito! Dansette

Edited by Mo Stewart - news@bidolito.co.uk

Our pick of this month’s wax wonders…

The Kazimier Expands For The Summer The Kazimier have added another imaginitive string to their lavishly gilded bow by opening the gates to their brand new KAzIMIER K zIMIER KA IMIER GARDEN for the summer months, adding a theatrical flavour to some of our favourite outdoor pursuits. From Thursday to Sunday expect to see ride-in movies, exotic drink tastings, spectacular banquets, pop-up exhibitions, and an Olympic-themed Krunk party. For those who know what an English summer normally brings, expect a lot of sheltered areas. While some events have an entrance fee, there are plenty of free events and activities for you to enjoy. For full listings head to garden.thekazimier.co.uk

Local Horse Sanctuary Holds Fundraiser Anyone looking to escape the sporting summer for a bit of socially responsible family fun should mosey on down to the SHY LOWEN HORSE SANCTuARY opposite Buckley Hill fire station in Thornton. Sunday 1st July sees them host a musical fundraiser starring a plethora of local talent, including Chris Elliot, Mike Badger & The Shady Trio and Edgar ‘Jones’ Jones, headlined by the fantastic Loose Moose String Band. As well as helping this worthwhile charity stay alive, a £2 minimun donation gives you the chance to live out those cowboy fantasies with a pony ride. The fun begins at 2pm. Further details can be found at shylowen.com

Psych Fest Approaches We’re delighted to announce the first LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF PSYCHEDELIA, which will take place at Camp & Furnace on 29th September. The day-long event will be a celebration of psychedelic music and culture and will be headlined by THE TIME AND SPACE MACHINE, the latest project of sonic wizard Richard Norris (The Grid, Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve), and psych folk four-piece WOLF PEOPLE. DEAD SKELETONS, Iceland’s finest purveyors of doom psych, join them on top billing for an exclusive appearance. Tickets are on sale NOW from the Bido Lito! Ticket Shop. liverpoolpsychfest.com

Screen Printing Workshops Got great artistic ideas but zero technical know-how? Then search out PAPERCuT STuDIOS on Roscoe Street. Between June and August they will be holding monthly screen printing and etching workshops to help you turn that squiggle on the back of your fag packet into an album cover or T-shirt design. £45 gets you a four-hour session, with all materials provided, although participants are encouraged to come armed with their own ideas. To book a place drop an email to beccywilliams@yahoo.co.uk and specify which date you’d like to attend.

Astral Coast Festival Line-Up Announced On 21st July, the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton will open its doors to the inaugural ASTRAL COAST FESTIVAL, a brand new festival celebrating the young talent from the Wirral. Confirmed performers include Beach Skulls, Deltasonic Records’ bright hope Oxygen Thieves, The Thespians (who are currently running a Pledgemusic campaign at thethespians.com), Sound City Youth Live finalists The Vigilantes and Tiro Lark, and a special acoustic show from Sound Of Guns’ Andrew Metcalfe. Elsewhere there’s plenty to enjoy, including fairground rides, DJ workshops, live graffiti as well as over twenty bands and guest DJs over two stages. astralcoast.co.uk

Oxjam Liverpool Takeover OXJAM is Oxfam’s month-long music festival that runs through October with hundreds of events around the uK, with the main Liverpool Takeover event taking place in five different city-centre venues on 20th October. Event organisers are looking for volunteers who are passionate about their music scene to help out with the event, and encourage people to email them on oxjamliverpooltakeover@ gmail.com. Ahead of that, on 26th July Oxjam Liverpool are hosting a band competition at Heebie Jeebies, where the winners will get the chance to play at Leeds Festival. Further details and application forms can be found at facebook.com/oxjamliverpooltakeover2012

COMPETITION!

The Euro 2012 Fan Park at Camp And Furnace has been widely and rightly regarded as a roaring success. But, there’s more to this quirky baltic hideaway than Lars Bender and a Bratwurst. With an eclectic music programme, a mix of event and exhibition spaces and a brilliant food offer, the venue is quickly becoming established as the flagship destination in the emerging Baltic Triangle. We’ve teamed up with the guys and gals at Camp And Furnace for this month’s competition, in which you and three friends can enjoy a full Sunday Roast complete with a bottle of house wine (subject to availability and booked in advance). In order to be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is answer this question Camp & Furnace produce their own in house ale, Brown Bear, complete with honey. But, where do they get the honey from? a) The 100 acre wood

b) The Wirral

c) Waitrose

Email your answer to competition@bidolito.co.uk as always all correct answers will be placed in a pink hat, and the winner is chosen at random and notified by email.

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Frank Ocean Pyramids DEF JAM RECORDS The only member of the Odd Future collective able to cut through the hype and deliver great music, FRANK OCEAN’s leaked ten-minute opus Pyramids takes the space R&B template into a new stratosphere. Starting in the club before floating away on a cloud of reverb-heavy guitars and twinkling synths, this is Purple Rain for the Twitter generation.

Dominoes The Elemental Suite THE BROWN SHADOW RECORDS A skittering record of dreamy psychedelic folk numbers, The Elemental Suite is the first full length offering from DOMINOES and has been pieced together from various meandering recordings done since 2006. Featuring Luke ‘Lucky Beaches’ Muscatelli on guitars, it occasionally skips down the obscure paths trodden by Captain Beefheart and Pop Levi, and is utterly infectious.

Ty Segall Band Slaughterhouse IN THE RED Prolific garage rock whirlwind Ty Segall follows up his White Fence collaboration with this growling record with the TY SEGALL BAND. Slaughterhouse is an onslaught of fuzzed-up guitars and howling feedback that is as crisp as Segall’s solo work, beefed up by his touring band’s relentless energy. Turn the volume up to eleven and fire this in your cortex.

The Flaming Lips The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends BELLA uNION Originally released in the uS on limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day, this collection of collaborations between Wayne Coyne and his madcap band of ‘heady fwends’ finally sees the light of day here. Recorded in stolen moments on tour, the record throws up some great hookups, most notably with Nick Cave on You, Man? Human??, and with Tame Impala on the blissed-out Children Of The Moon.


AMERICANA WEEKEND

27-28 July LAZY LESTER

Friday 27 July 8.30pm Rodewald Suite £15

Khyam Allami ‘epitomises the best of the new generation of oud players ... utterly bewitching’ Songlines Magazine.

LIVERPOOL ARABIC ARTS FESTIVAL ALIF ENSEMBLE

AMERICANA NIGHT FEATURING THE PINE LEAF BOYS Saturday 28 July 7.30pm £16, £22

‘The link that connects the young and the old ... the best new, energetic, and fun Cajun band in a very long time’ The New York Times

Sunday 15 July 7.30pm £15, £22.50

The Alif Ensemble is one of the most exciting new projects to come from the Arab world, bringing together musicians from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Iraq for a beguiling blend of acoustic and contemporary electronic sounds.

STEWART FRANCIS: OUTSTANDING IN HIS FIELD

Friday 28 September 7.30pm £18.50, £24.50

DEXYS JON RICHARDSON FUNNY MAGNET

MARC ALMOND

Saturday 22 September 8pm £24.50, £30.50

Friday 27 July 8pm £15, £21

THE IRISH SEA SESSIONS 2012 JOHN COOPER CLARKE

Wednesday 10 October 8pm £14.50-£23.50

Monday 24 September 7.30pm £25, £31

Friday 19 October 7.30pm £17.50-£28.50

ADAM ANT & THE GOOD THE MAD & THE LOVELY POSSE

AL MURRAY THE PUB LANDLORD THE ONLY WAY IS EPIC Monday 19 November 7.30pm £25.50, £31.50

Thursday 15 November 8pm £25-£32

Box Office 0151 709 3789 liverpoolphil.com


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Bido Lito! July 2012

BALTIC FLEET Words: Mo Stewart Photography: Adam Banister


Bido Lito! July 2012

Organic wasn’t the first word that sprang to mind when I thought of Widnes. Without ever having been there, my assessment was made by what I saw through a speeding train window: a bleak industrial town; a cultural no man’s land between Manchester and Liverpool. However, organic is the byword for BALTIC FLEET’s second album Towers: due out at the end of summer, it reflects the growth of ideas into songs, in 40 bewitching minutes. It’s a word the man behind Baltic Fleet, Paul Fleming, uses a lot. “It all happened organically - I bought a new piano from a guy in Widnes, and the resonance of the sounds it created led me in a certain direction.” Towers channels some of the greats of electronic music such as Kraftwerk and Neu!, with a nod to North Western forebears such as Joy Division and OMD, to create a sonic patchwork of synths and pedals, guitars and drums, hope and foreboding. After writing his self-titled debut on the hop amid the whirlwind of a world tour as keyboardist with Echo & The Bunnymen, Fleming came back home for the follow-up, predominantly recorded in a small studio overlooking the towers of the famous Fiddlers Ferry power station - which appears on the cover: “The first album was like a sound diary - recording guitars during soundchecks, in hotel rooms, even taking advantage of the mics set up for radio sessions. A lot of the mixing was actually done on the tour bus, on the move. This album feels a lot more personal - I was able to spend a lot more time composing, crafting each individual sound and effect until they were right.” A different process, but one that turned out to be no less arduous, even without the distractions of a life on the road: “The first album was actually easier, as I was always surrounded by music. Making this

record at home took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, mainly because life gets in the way.” Coming back to his roots wasn’t a tough decision: “I wanted to retain the DIY ethic that I had when I started out making records in my bedroom. Some of the songs from my first album were finished here, so it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to just carry on in this creative space”. The surroundings began to subconsciously seep into the songs - Midnight Train was inspired by an actual train that interrupted peaceful slumbers as it passed through the town at exactly midnight every night. The titular Towers have always cast an imposing shadow: “As kids growing up and getting into bands, these cold, grey factories were a symbol of negativity. The desire to escape is what drove me on into music, and took me around the world. This album is more about embracing it; knowing where I’m from and appreciating it.” The range of emotions the album provides is an indicator of Fleming’s state of mind over the three years it took to create. Shards of light amid the darkness reflect the happiness of a new young family, as well as the surprisingly beautiful countryside surrounding the gloomy skyline. Summery guitars chime throughout single Engage Engage, and opening track Towers’ simple piano is soaked in optimism. However, there were some very tough times to be navigated, with the skittering poignancy of Winds Of The 84 Winter acting as catharsis to heal the pain of a devastating bereavement: “I’d written a melody on piano a long time before, but thought it was rubbish and put it to one side. I heard it again and decided to try it through a digital delay, and this beautiful sound came out. Making that song became a really important part of the grieving process, and allowed me to move on. I see it as the pinnacle of the album.” It was a song that nearly had a singer. Although the first Baltic Fleet album is entirely instrumental, Fleming has no hard and fast rule; he’s always kept an open mind regarding the use of vocals: “I thought about adding a vocal - I could hear someone like Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen doing something

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interesting with it. A few of the songs nearly had vocals - I did some work with Kelley Stoltz, a singer on Sub Pop records, and a couple of others, but in the end it didn’t feel right.” The consequence of an instrumental album is that it often ignites the imagination of the listener, without being tied down to a specific lyric-driven narrative. With Towers that feeling is enhanced by movement. There’s a real kinetic energy that runs throughout, even if the tempo varies from March Of The Saxons’ ominous prowl to the perpetual icy funk of Headless Heroes Of The Acropolis. Acropolis Perfect for a journey from Lime Street to Oxford Road, along the North West musical mainline. Fleming is gearing up for another journey himself, as he plans to take these songs on the road: “I’ve got a band together, and we’ve been rehearsing for a while now. I get excited by the idea of experimenting with sounds within the framework of the songs. We played some new tracks at a few festivals last year, and I’ll be looking to do the same this year, along with a few low-key shows in the build-up to the album’s release.” Hopefully we’ll get to enjoy Baltic Fleet on our own doorstep, although a certain local establishment has made Fleming slightly wary: “I love playing in Liverpool, only I’m a bit worried people might think I’m connected to the pub!” Once the album is released I think everyone will be able to tell the difference. The ten songs that make up Towers were nearly four years in the making, and Fleming is excited to have them finally finished and ready to unleash on the world: “I’m hoping to sell more records, but the most important thing for me is to build a career. I wouldn’t want to have one massive album then fall away completely. Baltic Fleet was never a bid for stardom.” Towers is out in July on Blow Up Records. Single Engage is available for free download from balticfleetmusic.com


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Bido Lito! July 2012

Words: Joseph Viney Photography: Jennifer Pellegrini

SUNSTACK JONES

Pete Doherty once sang that “there are fewer more distressing sights than that of an English man in a baseball cap”; a rare moment of clarity from the usually addled former Libertine. Indeed, a similar kind of wince of embarrassment can be invoked when a group hang their hat on the peg marked ‘Americana’ and they’re, well… not from America. Historically, Liverpool has a fine tradition in regards to the output of Americana. However, with its subject matter traditionally skirting around issues such as the long, open road and tales of the mid-West, it’s easy to understand why the majority of Brits have found it difficult to emulate the style. So when somebody actually does it right, it stands out. Step forward SuNSTACK NSTACK JONES. The Liverpool-based collective are something of a pre-emptive strike on the inevitably dull British summer, bringing forth songs that stand out like slants of light in a dusty old room. Theirs is a mission to spread a little of what Captain Beefheart would call “that old-time religion”, and you don’t even need to be a perceptive eager beaver to work it out. Their debut LP, Surefire Ways To Sweeten The Mind Mind,, produces exactly the emotions that its title implies it will evoke. Their music is so finely rooted in the Americana tradition that listeners with synaesthesia may be bathed in waves of yellow and blue; recollections of a time and place that may or may not have existed. Defined as a loose-knit collective of “always two, sometimes three, but mostly four, maybe five, musicians,” Christopher Jones (Vocals/Guitar) deems it “a necessary accident that we were

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invented. There’s no set format really.” Accident or not, it’s a setup that allows the group to play to the strengths of their many potential incarnations. Complimented by Lorcan Moriarty (Guitar), Australian Daniel Thorne (Bass), Richard Jones (Drums) and Paul Denheyer (providing “other”), Sunstack Jones provide reasons to be cheerful for Liverpool’s muso crowd. With tracks like the quick fire and insistent Keep Out Of Trouble, Trouble, the deep rumble of Santiago and the heavenly Sleep Silent, Silent, their debut is a record that will keep you coming back for more and more. Songs such as Country Dust show a different side to the group: the slow, drawn-out guitar work juxtaposed with ethereal vocals that can defy the many superlatives with which we journos are armed.

The group cite a wide array of influences on their sound. Jones namechecks artists such as Ryan Adams, Beachwood Sparks and Mazzy Star: “I can kill a party in seconds flat,” he jokes. Moriarty defines Lee Hazelwood as a “revelation” and praises Kurt Vile as somebody who has steered their sound in a particular direction. They even find time to dip their toes into the waters of the classic blues musicians such as Blind Willie John. For a group with such obvious talent and determination, their attitude is refreshingly laid-back, eschewing the hyper-intense stance of other bands. “We can basically meander on like this forever. It’s like a secret club,” says Jones. Moriarty is more relaxed still: “Six gigs and an album a year would suit me. That’s ambition for you!”

Not content with solely creating a superb album, Sunstack Jones are also a self-sustaining operation. With the record having been released on their own Mammoth Bell imprint, it’s a reassuring sign for others that both business and pleasure can be mixed in an industry that has seen the usual model tilted on its axis. “The label name had been knocking around in my head for a few years,” says Moriarty. “It was meant to be my heavy side project that just never materialised. The self-release came about because it was just easier to keep up the momentum if we put it out ourselves.” Moriarty has been burned by the industry and its wanton hesitation in the past. “I’ve been signed before, and after recording the album the label sat on it for 18 months before releasing it. By the time it came out, we were bored to death of playing it.”

Of course, there are problems inherent in going it alone, to which many others can attest. Jones is keen to point out that they still need the backing of labels and their money: “I’d rather someone else be paying for everything and marketing it. I think marketing is the big thing. We’ve all got boxes of records under the bed; bed; how do we get them into people’s houses?” A fine point well made, made, but as the old adage goes, ‘the truth will out’, and you can’t help help but feel that given time, attention and yes, just a little dash of luck, luck, Sunstack Jones will be granted their spell in the sun. sunstackjones.com


YOUTH FEST 2012 WINNERS

20+ BANDS AND FANTASTIC DJS OVER TWO FESTIVAL STAGES

www.astralcoast.co.uk


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Bido Lito! July 2012

Words: Phil Gwyn

Gig Guide and Ticket Shop live at www.bidolito.co.uk bidolito bidolito.co.uk

Graphics: Luke Avery


Bido Lito! July 2012

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You can be forgiven for not having heard of CIRCAWAVES, the one man project of… well, nobody actually knows. That’s because the unidentified talent behind Circawaves has so far stayed purposefully anonymous, simply preoccupying himself with creating a set of urgent, anthemic demos filled with so much scuzz and dirt that My Bloody Valentine would have killed for them. Said demos have been given the 21st Century treatment and uploaded to SoundCloud for the entire world to judge, deride, steal, and attempt to copy. It’s unlikely that much derision will be coming his way though, because as far as the initial efforts of new bands go, they don’t get much more fully formed than the three demos currently screaming from the internet, with their fuzzladen guitars and searing choruses. Those with a disposition to be depressingly cynical have probably already assumed that Circawaves must be the latest calculated attempt to win the attention of the music industry by coming on all mysterious on the one hand, whilst freely giving out and publicising their music with the other. However, when we collar him via the web, he tells us that it’s “much easier to be creative when you don’t have the pressure of people knowing who you are.” For him, anonymity doesn’t make sense because of the success of Wu Lyf, but because it gives him creative freedom, and when the tunes being produced are so good, it’s hard to care that we don’t have a name with which to label him. Anyway, he’s almost definitely right: why should we need any more information but the music? Is it really necessary that he should incessantly tweet his breakfast cereal recommendations at us? Circawaves certainly thinks not, and it’s tough to disagree when he’s managed to forge such a strong identity already without cramming useless information down our all-too-eager throats. Regardless, Circawaves doesn’t have the careerist ambition that defines some anonymous artists. Instead, he tells us that, “I have no intentions. I’m quite content trying to write great songs. I just fancied uploading a few tracks and seeing what sort of reaction they would get.” As a result, everything does feel very organic and authentic, and he’s not even doing badly on the “trying to write great songs” front. I Get You for example, is driven by a massive buzzsaw riff and yearning vocals Along With You, that make it sound like the highlight Yuck forgot to put on their album. Meanwhile, the expansive We’re Going is sodden with reverb and hazy hooks, whilst Death And Love is a melodic masterpiece that manages to encapsulate all the dirt and emotion that thousands of Sonic Youth-obsessed bands never achieve. The music that he’s making certainly seems to come naturally to him, and in fact, it almost seems like he has no other choice. He tells us that he thinks that, “with the type of music I’m making you can get away with not having much equipment. It wouldn’t work if I was trying to make a pristine pop record.” Which, in a concise sentence, manages to sum up most of the current obsession with lofi recording. There are constant complaints that not enough overtly political music is coming out of so much social tension in the country, but artists like Circawaves are indirectly protesting against the financial position in which they find themselves by circumventing the music industry and doing everything themselves, for nothing. In fact, this lo-fi aesthetic has even become desirable, as Circawaves acknowledges; he considers using more professional equipment before quickly dismissing it, saying that “that may ruin the whole homemade aspect.” As far as influences go, we had a few in mind as soon as we heard his music, and when we prompt him, he reels them off with almost chilling precision. For him, “My Bloody Valentine was a starting point”, before moving to “more modern bands, like Yuck, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Surfer Blood.” But, for all the criticisms that music which looks to the past gets, Circawaves’ innovation lies in the fact that he does it all with his own distinct edge, voice and aesthetic. That aside, the believable, heartwrought quality of his demos sets him apart from the many new bands struggling for recognition. So, despite his keenness to remain a shadowy figure, pretty soon you will not be able to be forgiven for not having been lapped by Circawaves’ breakwater, because when you can do nostalgia as brilliantly as he has within his first three tracks, heads will inevitably start to turn. Such undeniable quality even makes the concept of ‘progress’ look regressive; at the very least, it’s not required when you have the honesty, verve and excitement of Circawaves.

“...urgent, anthemic demos filled with so much scuzz and dirt that my Bloody Valentine would ha haV haVee killed for them”

“such undeniaBle quality eVen makes the concept of ‘progress’ look regressiVe”

circawaves.wordpress.com

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Bido Lito! July 2012

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The Song of The hummingbirdS Words: Lisa O’Dea Photography: Mike Brits

THE HuMMINGBIRDS could very possibly be the hardest working band on the Liverpool music scene. You may well recognise them from their infamous busking sessions; showcasing their distinctive brand of dynamic and uplifting music on our city’s streets. From Liverpool ONE to Church Street, to the lofty rooftop of a certain Seattle-based coffee chain, they have become a welcome imprint of late, stamping their blues-infused stylings across town. With a wealth of live shows behind them, notching up gigs in Manchester and London, not to mention welcoming the Queen into Liverpool, The Hummingbirds show no signs of decelerating. The group’s current line-up of Jay Davies (Vocals/Guitar), Matty Brougham (Guitar), Mic Kountis (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Richard Smith (Backing Vocals/Percussion) and Ryan Lewis (Bass) was formed a mere year ago but their musical versatility has ensured their ability to pull in a hugely diverse audience. Jaunty rock n roll shot through with folksy beats provides a vintage soundscape in which the five boys and their trusty rhythmic box (a cajon for those in the dark) excel. They are candid when they confess that, although happy with the way they are progressing, there is a constant drive to develop. “We’ve all been in other bands when we were younger, but didn’t get anywhere near as far as we have as The Hummingbirds... and after a year now at least we’ve got something to show for our work,” says frontman Jay. “We get good gigs but we’re not content with just that... we want more all the time.” The Hummingbirds have created an instantly recognisable sound for themselves: Merseybeat interspersed with intricate harmonies and elements of country. It is a sound that seems

oddly relevant at the moment, with lyrical subject matter that has its roots clearly planted in their home city of Liverpool. I pose the question of how important it is to them to retain a traditional Liverpool aesthetic within their music. “The Merseybeat sound is a popular one, but we don’t try to sound like that though, it just comes out in that way and that’s how we like it,” states Jay. “We write for us. We don’t try to be like anything else. Other bands aren’t listening to what we’re listening to; we’ll go home and listen to Buddy Holly and Gerry and The Pacemakers.” It’s evident that their musical process is a natural one and far from contrived, where the band are happy to let their creativity take over and see what happens. They are warm and witty in person and hugely likeable, as they laugh about the effect that Wayne Rooney’s tweeting about them has had on the band. “It’s done a lot for us in that it broadens the awareness of the band. Our Twitter presence is heavily influenced by what Rooney tweeted,” says Ryan, and it’s clear that this is another avenue via which The Hummingbirds have sought to allow themselves to appeal to a more diverse audience. They are eager to expand this appeal with the onset of festival season. Having already played the inaugural X&Y Festival and with Kendal Calling on the horizon, it seems they will have a chance to introduce their music to a crowd outside Liverpool. “It’s nice to have the crowd in Liverpool who know your lyrics,” says Jay. “But every time we go to a new venue, if the crowd don’t know us, we see that as a chance for them to get to know us. The festivals to us are a god-send, we need them so much.”

Their EP releases Talking of Tomorrow and Doesn’t Really Matter have been well received and showcase the versatility of The Hummingbirds. There is a clear growth between the first and second EP, with the more poignant and emotive Doesn’t Really Matter still retaining the distinctive modern skiffle trill that belongs to the band. With plans in the pipeline for a third EP to be released later this year, the group have decided to spend some time away and will shortly relocate to a remote log cabin to isolate themselves for a few days and work on their new material. So, what can we expect from the next EP and how will it evolve from its predecessors? “So far, we have three potential tracks; none of them are confirmed,” says Jay. “The lyrics are more developed, there’s a lot more harmonica in there. A big country feel to it… more Dylan than Beatles. We’re trying to evolve our sound and show people what we can do.” If there’s one thing to be said about The Hummingbirds it’s that they are certainly hard grafters, striving to be at the head of the flock and ensuring that their future plans are clicking into place. Numerous gigs, festivals and a trip to Hamburg in November this year as tour support to Young Rebel Set are just a few of the prospects that lie ahead for the band. This is a group that oscillate between retro and contemporary, while managing to remain undeniably relevant; a sign that the song of The Hummingbirds could indeed harmonise for a good while to come. wearethehummingbirds.com

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Bido Lito! July 2012

Most artists would err on the side of caution when combining esoteric musical theatrics and understated conceptual artistry on record. Although acute flamboyance is often duly expected when teetering in the realms of falsetto-augmented folk, an impression of pretentiousness can sometimes overshadow an exhibition of self-affirmed kookiness. Although such a deathly pitfall has many suitors, Rhode Island four-piece THE LOW ANTHEM have managed to steer clear of its enticements. They’re the quintessential indie band (whatever the term ‘indie’ connotes these days): innovative recording techniques, autonomous creativity on record, a vast birth of instruments at their disposal and a yearning heart full of downcast reflections. After initially struggling to obtain notoriety, they floated just under the radar until 2009, which was heralded as their breakthrough year. Then came a long awaited commercial ascendancy, a major record label deal, two critically acclaimed albums, The Late Show with David Letterman (wow) and a relentless schedule of tours and festivals. Now three years have miraculously flown by since their last creative output Smart Flesh and singersongwriter Ben Knox Miller feels it’s time to take a step back from the fray in order to find some artistic enlightenment and somehow make sense of it all. “The important thing for us is we don’t want to go back to the same place with the same ideas. You know, for a while touring was like this gift from heaven; we’d been playing locally trying to book whatever shows we could. Then when Oh My God, Charlie Darwin got signed, we started to have opportunities to tour; we got all these offers and it just seemed like you couldn’t really say no to anything, everything was new and it felt like… How could you say no? Why would you be so foolish? Then you go back round a second time, then a third time, and it’s just still with the same material. We just don’t want to get to the point where we feel like we we’re repeating ourselves.” Ben adamantly states that it’s not their live shows that are in need of a rebuff, it’s just their musical vision that’s hankering for a new direction. untouched material patiently lurks below the

surface, longing to break free; meanwhile, tour commitments preoccupy his mind: “We never had a problem keeping things fresh; our live shows are pretty emotional and our band is pretty good at accessing that and keeping things alive. I’m not saying our shows didn’t feel fresh to us, it’s more just from an artistic perspective, wanting to have a new idea or conceptual orientation to focus on. If I’m going to be totally honest with you, we really just want to be at home! We’ve got a new recording

different textures, but within an organic scheme. You get to a certain point where you just have too many choices and it’s not productive anymore. With this record, I think we’re using a lot more creative experiments, more visuals; it’s a lot more theatrical and a lot more indulgent and silly. The idea is built around a surrealist landscape at the end of a dream, waking out of a dream even; it’s got a pretty elaborate storyline. We’re not sure if it’s going to be a concept record or if that’s just a jumpingoff point, but the songs will end up taking their own direction.” Similar to their unorthodox concepts, they have also adopted a unique and avantgarde approach to music production. Having recorded their last album in an old abandoned pasta sauce factory in Providence, they’ve decided to continue with this freewheeling mandate by constructing another make-shift chamber of creativity in which to record their next album. “For this record we’re recording in a porn theatre, yeah… It was an opera house, originally, in the 20s and then it changed to a XXX movie house for the last 30 years. It went out of business for some reason, maybe because of the internet, you know. They’re doing renovations and trying to get it back open but in the meanwhile we’ve been able to set up our portable rigs inside there; it’s got the most gorgeous sound of any building I’ve ever been inside. It’s caked in a certain something… a kind of grime that actually turns out to be a nice environment to work in.” The unyielding shackles of an uncompromising touring programme have seldom afforded The Low Anthem the precious downtime required to attend to their creative and artistic inclinations. You can essentially detect the languid unfulfillment in Ben’s tone: he just wants to make music and he wants to make it now. Maybe a lengthy and well-deserved respite from the tour bus is just what’s required. With an indefinite hiatus already announced to follow their imminent rounds of the uK, the impetus is firmly planted on writing new material. This month’s Liverpool show, therefore, is certainly one not to be missed.

The Low Anthem

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On The Road Again Words: Joshua Nevett

studio set up and we’ve recorded eight tracks for a new record that we’re working on. We’ve got this huge project in front of us so everyone’s mind is in the studio; it was a bit of cold water to be ripped out of that and thrown back into a tour van.” The Low Anthem have built up an ostentatiously morose soundscape of heavy-hearted narratives, at times even touching on gospel. Not surprisingly, Ben has ambitions to embrace new ideas and concepts for their next record, in a departure from their familiar comfort zone: “I think the record that we’re working on is relatively theatrical; the last couple of records that we put out have been pretty natural, a bit reserved, and have really just been more of a direct effort to put the songs across. I think we kind of came to the end of that road as a creative way forward; we tried to use all these different instruments,

lowanthem.com The Low Anthem play The Kazimier on 19th July


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Bido Lito! July 2012

Previews/Shorts

Edited by Richard Lewis - middle8@bidolito.co.uk

Following on from last year’s acclaimed debut LP Yucca, MILK MAID roll into town to plug new MILK MAID album Mostly No. No Excellent recent single Summertime exemplifies the band’s new direction, exploring a trans-Atlantic sound that couples Mancunian indie with Californian acid rock. The new material finds the band easily able to straddle noise and pop, sitting comfortably alongside cotemporaries Sebadoah, White Fence and The War On Drugs. Bumper – 2nd July

Folk country duo THE BIG HOuSE hold a launch night for their magnificent debut 45 Canyon THE BIG HOUSE Home In The Sun/Caught up up, p, which is currently on rotation on the stereo at Bido Towers. Appearing with a full band, the pair debut a new set of material bolstered by the new line-up that neatly supplements their West Coast sound. If that isn’t enough, sterling support comes from EMILY & THE FAVES and THE FLAMIN’ MAMIES. The Kazimier – 30th June

Bold Street Coffee is embracing its status as a live venue, continuing its recent stellar run with this show EMPEROR X by EMPEROR X. The project of solo artist Chad Methany, Emperor X create modern folk music utilizing noise and lo-fi soundscapes with lyrics focusing on communication and technology. Copies of recent LP Western Teleport were distributed by being buried at secret locations. SING FOR YOuR SuPPER are on hand in support. Bold St. Coffee – 12th July

Headlining their own top-notch Newpath night at MelloMello, instrumental math rock quintet MINIONTV MINIONTV launch their new LP The Last Projectionist. Projectionist The third long player in just two years from the post-rock quintet has seen them lauded by Echoes And Dust for “that ability to get you out of your seat and punching the air.” And if that’s not enough for you, electronica artists AFTERNAuT and FADED GOLD will be on hand to whet the appetite as support. MelloMello – 28th July

The highly entertaining uSbased FOuND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL comes to town, showcasing FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL decidedly odd and frequently hilarious tapes retrieved from charity shops, second-hand stores and car boot sales, from obscure industrial training videos to longforgotten home movies. The Onion’s Joe Pickett, and Nick Prueher from the Late Show with David Letterman, will be on hand to provide their own wry commentary and observations. The Kazimier – 3rd July

Taking their name from a Mahavishnu Orchestra song, PuRE LOVE were formed in New York by PURE LOVE ex-Gallows frontman Frank Carter and former Suicide File guitarist Jim Carroll. The shouts and screams from their previous outfits are gone, allowing the more accessible hooks of Pure Love’s songs to come to the fore. Carter’s impressive aura is still intact, so getting up close and personal at The zanzibar could prove to be a precarious experience. The Zanzibar – 19th July

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The Bear Social @ Elevator Bar

Following on from June’s highly successful Deer Social, Elevator Bar hosts the similarly animal-themed THE BEAR SOCIAL this month, at the recession-busting price of £4. These monthly events always provide you with more than enough value for your money, with well-thought out line-ups and concepts. Mathrock godfathers VASCO DA GAMA headline the night, which sees fellow angular post-rock tykes MuTO LEO share a stage with them. Muto Leo’s particular brand of mathletics has seen them elicit comparisons to Foals after some rather dizzying recent live shows, and their inticate layers of ambient axemanship are something that has to be seen to be believed. BEACH SKuLLS will be opening proceedings with some chilled out, lo-fi surfy vibes, followed by the bittersweet rowdy pop of MARRIED TO THE SEA. With recent EP Pack Xerxes and a Line Of Best Fit tour under their belts this indie four-piece have been making strides of late, and their dancefloor-friendly tunes will be the perfect accompaniment to this evening of ursine socializing. With a 2am curfew there will still be time for the BOMBARDA COLLECTIVE and MILK: DJs to spin some winning discs to dance along to. Milk: Presents will also be on hand to provide stunning visuals, while Elevator Bar’s interior will be given a bear-themed makeover by MR WOLF COLLECTIVE. If you’re of a nervous disposition we recommend you opt for the Quiz over the Bear Tournament: you have been warned. Elevator Bar – 28th July

Americana Weekend @ Philharmonic Hall

The Liverpool Philharmonic continues its exemplary run showcasing music from outside the sphere of the mainstream with a weekend of traditional Americana music. Reaching a vast new audience via the soundtrack of the classic Cohen Brothers movie O Brother Where Art Thou? in 2000, the importance of Cajun and bluegrass and its place in the canon of American music has been brought into sharper focus over the last decade. The event at the Philharmonic Hall concentrates on the twin genres, which will be exemplified by a headline set by PINE LEAF BOYS. The four-time Grammy-nominated band hail from the musical hotbed of Southwest Louisiana, a state whose melting pot of different genres and ethnicities has had a huge impact on music worldwide. Praised by The New York Times as “the link that connects the young and the old…the best new, energetic, and fun Cajun band in a very long time,” the band play the native music of their home state, including Creole and zydeco styles, reviving the ancient songs for the 21st century. Proving how timeless much of this music is, the band invest the songs of their ancestors with new life. Also appearing on the night is Wirral-based guitarist CHRIS MORETON. The multi-instrumentalist has won considerable praise for his virtuoso playing, with The Independent describing him as “the best bluegrass guitarist in the country.” This follows Friday 27th July’s performance from LAzY LESTER. Starting out as Lightnin’ Slim’s harpist of choice, perhaps his most famous hits in his own right are I’m a Lover Not a Fighter and I Hear You Knockin’. The very embodiment of the American blues tradition Lester’s voice has enriched with age and his harmonica playing has lost nothing. Liverpool Philharmonic – 27th & 28th July


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Bido Lito! July 2012

Reviews quickly matched by the audience. Home gives itself up to tropicana funk, while Friend Crush sees centre-of-attention urbani wind her way through the audience, up to the balcony to sing with one girl, and twirl under the arms of others. The ultimate hedonist, urbani points out that “we’re all just a bunch of people in a room. Let’s hang out!” This vivacious show of energy ceases to be a gig, quickly becoming more of a loud, pulsating party, with urbani as the host. Ruins is more punk minded and abstract, with yelps and sharp exhaling complimenting the vocals, while Sorry features an array of percussive instruments building multi-layered rhythms, whilst a sparkly dressed audience member dances onstage with the band. The radically recognisable intro of I’m His Girl instigates a surge of audience members climbing to the top stage, for what feels like a fleeting moment in a bizarre house party. The simplicity and ease of expression in this song is reminiscent of Tom Tom Club, sounding equally as fresh and sleek. Then it’s all suddenly over, and we come to our senses and descend, bewildered, from the stage. Destroying the barrier between band and audience, Friends emit a casual and carefree radiance. Sassy and effortless, they create an exclusive party vibe, and I feel privileged to have invited myself. Clarry M

WALLS

Ghosting Season – Afternaut Harvest Sun @ The Shipping Forecast

Friends (Marie Hazelwood)

FRIENDS

Wet Mouth - Pixels EVOL @ The Kazimier So, you’re on the BBC Sound of 2012 list, you’re the latest hip things from Brooklyn, what can go wrong? Probably nothing, especially if you’re FRIENDS. Having released their debut album Manifest! this June, it seems a lucky surprise to be in attendance for their first excursion to Liverpool. First support act are local five-piece PIXELS. With a healthy crowd gathered on the Kazimier steps, they present a sound whose foundations are set in melodic indie pop, mixed with

fluctuating electro excursions. Singer James McCormick is an energetic soul, the charisma of the band, while the others seem to moodily get on with it. There are shining moments of Casio Kids-like buoyant, dance inspired synth pad glitches, which warm and stir the audience into movement. This slightly confused mix of electro pop with a rough live edge poses a juxtaposition of styles that at times doesn’t quite gel convincingly enough together. However, Pixels have warmed the atmosphere in bright anticipation of what’s to come. The mouth-watering WET MOuTH are our next treat. Thrashy, post-punk guitar rock is mastered by Veslemoy Holseter’s (Vocals, Bass) wily, scorching vocals, and sullen layered-up

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guitars. White Light features spoken word verses and a mournful, powerful riff, building into a swirling chorus. underneath the raw and edgy sound, there is a certain cute charm to this band, perhaps helped by their handmade flyers and the warm thanks given to Vasco Da Gama’s Dave Kelly filling in on drums. Their final song features sultry vibrating bass, heavy and haunting, burning into an epic heartfelt slowy. Like a grunge No Doubt, it feels like Wet Mouth are leading a 90s comeback, a fact of which I’m glad for the first time since, well, the 90s. Garbed in eccentric apparel, the members of Friends stand out a mile. Diving straight into a groove lead, punchy euphoric party vibe, frontwoman Samantha urbani’s dancing is

Adam Rowley a.k.a AFTERNAuT has a prolific CV in sound design, having worked on documentaries and computer games as well as crafting his own music under a variety of monikers. As expected, the quality of sound that he produces tonight is top notch and is glossed with a sheen that shows off his professional production values. His music meanders through space-age aural landscapes taking in techno and IDM (whatever that means), and is flecked with splashes of glitch and breakbeat. It is difficult to fully absorb his music at this early stage of the evening when there is a sparse crowd and little visual stimulus save for the orange glow of a sampler and, yes of course, that white, half eaten fruit-based logo burnt onto our retinas. GHOSTING SEASON are Gavin Miller and Thomas Ragsdale, formerly of Worriedaboutsatan. Their sound lies somewhere between post-rock, with its unashamed push for euphoria, and that specific kind of equally earnest melodic techno that lived and died in the 90s. Whereas modern revivalists of this genre tend to tone down its maximal aspects for a more subtle approach, Ghosting Season show tonight that they have a strong will to shine a light on the forgotten bombast of the genre. They play with an assuredness that does a lot to instil confidence in a crowd still struggling to loosen up. Their set is a marathon slog, with few breaks


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and no drops in tempo making for an intense, if forgettable, performance. Having proven to be not much more than a curiosity when supporting The Field last year, a headline set for WALLS gives them a chance to spread their wings and take the spotlight. Except that, at their request, there are no lights on stage whatsoever. A photographer’s nightmare, I’m sure. This proves to be a shrewd move, however, as the focus shifts from spectacle to shared experience. The audience is noticeably less inhibited as they are no longer bound by the unwritten rule that one must actually watch a band. People begin dancing not next to each other but with each other, sharing jokes and enjoying frivolities usually saved for a night on the town. Walls’ little and large duo Sam Willis and Alessio Natalizia begin slowly but soon pick up pace with a Germanic ear for four to the floor kicks and satisfying bass squelches. The consistency of the rhythm creates space for more organic experiments in higher registers, utilizing guitar and vocals to craft a looser, freer top layer of sound. Not that anybody seems to pay such close attention. Whether intentional or otherwise, by removing the focus from the performer, Walls have posed an interesting question about the interface between audience and artist in a style of music that was popularized on dancefloors but has since snuck its way awkwardly into rock venues. They just might have seen the light, and it isn’t apple-shaped. Jonny Davis

FIGHTING WITH WIRE Always The Quiet Ones

Meanfiddler @ The Shipping Forecast

WWW.GARDEN.THEKAZIMIER.CO.UK

Great expectations are the order of the evening in the Shipping Forecast’s bunker tonight. Headliners FIGHTING WITH WIRE have a longstanding agreement of forced patience with their fan base, to the extent that the phrase “when the hell are they going to release their second album?!” is on many people’s minds tonight. As we’re waiting for it to blow its way onto the music scene, it’s with final traces of fortitude that we turn our attention to see what the craic sounds like live. Locally, openers ALWAYS THE QuIET ONES are a little under the radar: most of their recognition thus far has come from outside of Merseyside, with Kerrang! amongst their champions on a national level. But, as the crowd edge closer to the stage by the end of their opening tune Ghost In The Filament, it seems that all may not be lost on the Liverpool fan front. Their opener is the band’s most recent single since the release of their EP Freakshow in February, and with a couple of thousand online hits so far they’re not too shabby for it. ATQO’s performance is committed, to say the least, exemplified by their lavish stage make-up and animalistic prowling, but what’s lacking tonight are high quality harmonies. Or,

indeed, any harmonies. The vocals of frontman Blas Barragan show the mature structure of a man who’s had his voice well trained, but without the support of an underlying harmony it shows the strain towards the end of the set. Due to the sheer scale of the skilled drum solos and harmonically thrashing guitars behind him, there’s no sense that this weakens the band’s performance, though. If they can address this minor issue then ATQO will be a force to be reckoned with on the metal scene, through Merseyside and beyond. It’s a quick change and the lively Fighting With Wire lads from Derry bounce on to the stage, and in typical Celtic fashion they’re game for making their set a laugh. Arguably they’re the most talented thing to come out of Northern Ireland since Liam Neeson, but that could just be a biased opinion. Their apparently effortless stage presence is showcased during an excellent performance of Cut The Transmission (from debut album Man vs Monster), giving the impression that their sweaty exuberance is accidental. It’s hard to define the highlight of the night, even though the band continue to reel off the hits from Man vs Monster. All For Nothing definitely strikes a chord with the audience, but to be honest we’re all waiting for this massive moment to pounce on us... but it never quite gets there. Yes, wearing a mask a fan tossed on stage is hilarious, and their crowd banter makes them the most likeable band we’ve seen in some time, but they have no urgency, no fight. It’s difficult to admit that this leads to a disappointing end to the set on such a long awaited evening. Perhaps we’re being a bit harsh and misconstruing a steely professional attitude for a cavalier one. Bring on the next album boys. Please. Naters Philip

SAINT ETIENNE EVOL @ The Kazimier

She’s on the phone! Well she wasn’t, it was Pete Wiggs when Bido Lito! caught up with SAINT ETIENNE over the blower prior to their arrival at the Kazimier for this show. Wiggs, the band’s keyboardist and songwriter/producer, was thoroughly charming, but a chat with Sarah Cracknell (Vocals) wouldn’t have gone amiss. But enough of my personal preferences. Saint Etienne arrive at this show promoting Words And Music Etienne their first full album in almost by Saint Etienne, seven years, and it finds them at a crossroads. Though widely admired, the problem thrown up by a show like this is: can a band at this stage of their career really turn up and play their new album without grief from their audience? Well the answer is blatantly no. This was a rout of their last twenty plus years - and what a weird twenty years it has actually been. Weird isn’t something that would usually be associated with Saint Etienne, but upon closer inspection of their discography it dawns on you that it bloody well should be. From


Reviews Bido Lito! July 2012 their initial Balearic meets Motown samples of Foxbase Alpha and their proto-Kylie stage (before Kylie was Kylie), through to their xenomaniac Richard X meets post-Stock, Aitken and Waterman meets Parisian cool, it is a weird career indeed. They kick off tonight with an almost unknown oldie Like A Motorway Motorway, which even the faithful let go over their heads, but Burnt Out Car Car, from their hit collection, serves the crowd better. When Tonight, a recent single, starts it’s as catchy as Tonight the common cold, yet it’s still the Foxbase Alpha material (Spring Spring and then the pop classic Mario’s Café) that this packed crowd really goes for. This becomes a feature of the night, but can you ever complain when people consider you’ve written a classic album? All of this said and done, however, Saint Etienne are not just a retro act. When I Was Seventeen, from the latest album, is the highlight for me: it just drips with a knowing introspection that we should all fall into. It wouldn’t harm any of us to have a dose of this song once in a while, not even Kylie, who would undoubtedly pay top dollar to have it in her arsenal. We are then treated to a classic: You’re In A Bad Way. Way Whether you’re a retro, futurist or purveying new territory this goes down as a bona fide, shit-hot three minutes of pop. unfortunately the night’s set isn’t all like this, being intermingled with stuff that doesn’t always work, but at least Pete, Bob and Sarah never stand still. I’d have loved

21

Saint Etienne (Keith Ainsworth)

more from albums Tales From Turnpike House and Words And Music…, which have both been rightfully critically acclaimed. Fans are

fans and it would take balls to break from what they want. With more hits than misses in tonight’s set, it’s definitely a show that the

busy Kazimier loves: these loyal fans are Saint Etienne’s for the night. Mick Chrysalid


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Bido Lito! July 2012

Reviews

Wet Nuns (Richard B.)

KRUNK FIESTA The Kazimier

For this year’s incarnation of the great KRuNK FIESTA, the Kazimier hosts a Day Of The Absurd which fulfils its promise, hosting acts from the sublime to the ridiculous and encompassing

everything in between. Despite the rain, JAMES CANTY kicks off the festivities with a charming set of punk-tinged folk with influences ranging from blues to traditional Celtic music. His delicate dynamics and witty lyricism are impressive but not enough to coax early festival arrivals out from under their sheltered spots. However, the smell

of slowly cooking paella combined with the intermittent dry spells are all the enticement festival-goers need to get outside in time for a joyous performance from THE KAzIMIER KRuNK BAND. With the Kazimier’s new Garden space slowly filling, and the crowd permeated by elaborate costumes ranging from fauns to flamenco

dancers, it makes for a surreal sight as more bodies start to move to the world rhythms and West African melodies of the RIVER NIGER ORCHESTRA. From traditional instrumentation to avant-garde experimentation: rushing inside there’s just time to catch AMERiCANS producing a cacophony of droning electro loops. It’s a demonstration of the eclecticism on show if nothing else. With food, ale and visual arts all on offer alongside the music, outside in the Garden this juxtaposition is illuminated as the FLAMIN MAMIES strive to maintain the attention of an audience understandably distracted by an acrobatic troupe, whose human tower - soundtracked by the four-piece’s upbeat bluegrass - draws gasps from the encircled onlookers. Lack of attention is no such problem for WHITE BICYCLES, whose self-assigned ‘sunshine music’ label brightens up the day despite the overcast weather. Heading inside, on the Club Stage four figures appear in costumes that are somewhere between shaggy bear and dense bush. SNAPPED ANKLES’ outfits certainly make them memorable but as they launch into their fuzzy electro with beats bordering on drum n bass, and dark synths combining with heavily effected guitar riffs, it becomes clear that this is not an act who need outfits to ensure they are remembered. Their performance is rough around the edges but has the potential to be truly spectacular. RuNNERS


Reviews Bido Lito! July 2012 follow with a hypnotising brand of synth pop contrasting simple analog synths with complex rhythms and tightly tuned vocals. On the Garden Stage, thrashing arms and jostling bodies are battling through the misty drizzle to the heavy blues-punk of the much talked about WET NuNS. Meanwhile, in the Plaza d’Fumar, THE MATLOCK CREW provoke a chaotic mass of flailing limbs as they spin tunes ranging from classic funk and soul to 90s R&B oddities. Heading back inside, there’s just time to catch LOVECRAFT blaze through a set of progressive pop which veers from macho rock riffage to offkilter complexity with impressive coherence. As a crowd surges outside for the midnight ‘goat drop’ event, still more people pack out the Kazimier’s main room for the KRuNK ALL STARS. It’s a light-hearted affair as they are accompanied by JIMMY GOATFOOT to plough through with rough-and-ready covers that perfectly capture the euphoric mood of the audience. The party feels as though it’s only just beginning as the band inspire mayhem with a cover of Tie Your Mother Down that’s closer to Gogol Bordello than Queen. The Krunk Fiesta is far from reaching its tumultuous climax as the Krunk All Stars draw to an end, with DJs MR PAuL, JAMES RAND, GOLD SOuNDz and EAT YOuR GREENS taking over to play to the madcap revellers long into the night. What will they think of for next year? Chris Chadwick

23

Tera Melos (Adam Edwards)

TERA MELOS

Vasco Da Gama – Kusanagi You Do The Math @ The Shipping Forecast KuSANAGI take their name from Japanese folklore. The word represents the name of a sword with the ability to power wind, found in the fourth tail of an eight-headed serpent

named Koshi. It is a real pleasure to look up the name of a band and find an interesting tale to add both fantasy and gravitas to their sound; chillwave teenagers take note. Kusanagi are, at their core, a post-rock band and embody all that the tag implies. From the slow builds to the earnest crescendos, they tap into a deep but diluted well of influence. The thing that stops stagnation, and indeed eases them into

a slot on this similarly-aligned bill tonight, is their penchant for itchy time shifts and, dare I say, angular guitar. The use of a repeated, arpeggiated industrial synthesizer sound makes for a brilliant sense of urgency that enables songs to switch gears with ease. It seems as though VASCO DA GAMA are playing three gigs a week at the moment and it shows in the increased quality of their


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Beach Skulls (Jennifer Pellegrini)

performances. Like the commander whose name they have borrowed, Vasco continue to explore new territory with great success, maintaining

jagged time changes but transcending the math rock label through a knack for pop hooks and songcraft.

Hailing from Sacramento, CA, TERA MELOS are considered innovators of the math rock genre, as evidenced by their mind-melting records. Through an almost constant use of pedals, they create pure chaos that is too wild to be structured and too locked in to be improvised. The sounds veer wildly from sludgy distorted bass chords to insane high octane solos pushed through a dozen octaves with a whammy pedal. Watching Tera Melos in full flow is akin to witnessing three free jazz artists given access to Omar Rodriguez’s pedal board. Put simply, it is rock music porn, and it is their quick limbs that lift the performance into the realms of glorious chaos, prompting facial reactions that seem to say “Did that really just happen?” Just as a song seems to reach its fizzing logical conclusion a new riff appears, kicking and screaming its way through the room like electronic pulses darting across the brain. When the set is over the crowd beg and plead for more, and when (grudgingly) told there is just time for one more song, the band tear into ten more minutes of mayhem. It is mentally and physically draining, not to mention the faceache from grinning from ear to ear. Hopefully they won’t come back for a little while so we can all recover. Jonny Davis

MERSEYRAIL UNSIGNED Beach Skulls – Carousel – Port Sunlight The Cavern Club After several hundred entries to the inaugural

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MERSEYRAIL uNSIGNED competition, the final stage boils down to tonight’s event where three finalists perform live for the right to be crowned overall winners, and to receive the coveted prize of a weekend recording session at the internationally-renowned Rockfield Studios. Recently there has been plenty of exposure for the breadth of excellent musical talent prevalent in Liverpool, but the strength of tonight’s finalists shows that there is a lot to be celebrated beneath the surface of our more popular and well-known recent exports. In BEACH SKuLLS, CAROuSEL and PORT SuNLIGHT, this final has assembled three bands who represent an emerging second wave of grassroots artists who show all the hallmarks of continuing their recent successes and challenging the established local elite. Duo Beach Skulls are given the honour of opening proceedings, taking to the stage in their beach chic/post-punk hybrid attire (Hawaiian shirts and Doc Martens) that perfectly suits their musical style. Surfbeat Mojo is a perfect encapsulation of this, as Ryan Jackson’s shimmering guitar work is illuminated by sinister, razor sharp flecks of Link Wray that make them very popular openers. Carousel are perhaps the most accomplished outfit on show tonight as they have more live gigs under their belt than the other two acts combined. This stands them in good stead as they overcome the loss of their regular bass player, and a minor technical hitch on their opening track, with a surety that suggests a confidence and competence that will see them advance far. The controlled funk of The Charm Offensive, allied to some very intricate, downbeat melodies and tempo shifts, sees them coming across like a Liverpool Metronomy. With a promise to turn the volume up, Wirral trio Port Sunlight round off the showcase with a severe blast of noisy guitar distortion that comes straight out of the My Bloody Valentine book of shoegazing rock. These youngsters have also been beset by bass guitarist troubles, so the second stand-in musician of the night deputises, again with very little negative impact on the band’s performance. There’s an untamed rawness to the Ride-esque squalls of In & Out that shows why we got salivating about these chaps upon first hearing them. As the panel of judges wrestle with choosing a sole victor from the disparate finalists, it is revealed that the competition organisers are to extend the prize and offer the Rockfield recording sessions to all three bands taking part in tonight’s final. upon the announcement of this competition people may have been sceptical about Merseyrail’s involvement - a train company and new music?! - so this decision highlights the fact that their commitment to the project is far from superficial. This is a great fillip to the three groups, who will all benefit massively from the experience of working in a top level studio such as Rockfield, and makes the judge’s choice of eventual winners purely nominal. It is almost


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certainly down to their raw vibrancy that Beach Skulls are given the nod as overall top dogs, and it is a decision that seems a popular one with the assembled revellers. As the duo play us out on the loose and celebratory tones of The Brooklyn Jive and Link Wray’s Rumble, there’s a palpable sense that each of the finalists has won something valuable tonight, and surely that’s the point of events like these, isn’t it? Christopher Torpey

MOON DUO

Hookworms – Gigantes Harvest Sun @ The Kazimier Prog synth duo GIGANTES have quite a pedigree. Having been featured in Bido Lito! under their previous moniker Beast, David Smyth and Joe Hirons have played with the likes of Liars, Trans Am and Shield Your Eyes as well as a tour in support of Mugstar. Their addition to tonight’s bill makes a lot of sense as they operate in the same psychedelic headspace as MOON DuO but with added venom and a devilish helping of pure wickedness. Gigantes could perhaps be considered the evil twin of Dogshow: where the Crombies’ ideas promote a positive outlook to evening dancing, Gigantes could easily soundtrack a parallel universe where it all goes wrong. The playing is frantic and filled with dread and one is often reminded

Moon Duo (Matthew Thomas)

of The Laze, particularly their unbelievable interpretation of the Phantom Of The Opera soundtrack. Leeds-based HOOKWORMS have the Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo sound down to a tee but something is missing. All the boxes are ticked,

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from the steadfast 4/4 drums to the repetitive two-chord rhythm guitar and melodic wandering basslines, but the psych rock wigouts that form the climax of each song never quite reach orbit. The band certainly do not want for passion, intensity and ability, and the Perry Farrell-like vocals offer a great deal of power to the songs, but the killer instinct is missing. Husband and wife pairing Moon Duo are an interesting proposition. The sumptuous guitar work of Ripley Johnson seems to lure Sanae Yamada into a swaying trance - like a charmer to a snake - as she locks steadily onto a keyboard pulse behind a flowing mass of black hair. Much like his day-job in Wooden Shjips, Johnson provides the role of psychedelic wizard to the rigidity of the rhythm section, making for an entrancing evening that defies the logic of time. As black and white projections race across the stage in waterfalls of digitized light, he mumbles into the mic, evoking ponderings on what Jim Morrison could have become. There are no surprises or eccentricities in their sound, which helps to lull the audience into a state of distance and hypnosis. Moon Duo could, in all honestly, play the same song for an hour and nobody would be any the wiser, such is the control they hold over many in the room. Sure it helps to know what to expect and there are one or two bored looks on the faces of the un-hypnotizable. This is a completely understandable reaction were you not to give yourself fully to the experience; there is little to latch onto, critically analyse or hum. Theirs is a desert-like experience, a fulfilling trek through glorious vistas where the rewards are more than mirages. If you don’t like sand, however, you’re fucked. Jonny Davis

PARKLIFE

Platt Fields Park, Manchester When you’re rudely awoken at 9am on a Saturday by the ominously incessant pitterpatter of a torrential downpour outside, it tends to quell your festival appetite for summertime frolics. As the heavens predictably open, the damage to the hollow grounds of Manchester’s Platt Fields - the native abode of THE PARKLIFE WEEKENDER - will undoubtedly be sodden before you can even mutter the word poncho. In the forebodingly gargantuan queue, clamorous whispers are rife that the capacity of the festival has been doubled this year, the attendance now peaking at nearly 40,000. Logistical misgivings are abundantly clear as the dubious news is taken in to widespread ridicule and uproarious discontent. After struggling for close to an hour, the mass of pulsating bodies eventually disperses and the co-ordinates are locked onto the Crosstown Rebels tent to catch interplanetary funk robortant – MACEO PLEX. Engineering deep and emotive hook lines laden with galactic sex appeal, his profound versatility and experimental compositions make for a feverish introduction which seems to have captured the attentions of a chock-a-block tent enamoured in frenzy. People are now oblivious to the bed of primordial sludge that crudely resides under foot; four fool-hardy girls even engage in a furious - and literal - mudslinging match, much to the distaste of surrounding onlookers. In between another hour or so of wandering around on a shameless binge of selfdestruction, it comes down to an intoxicated impulse of inter-city allegiance to round off day one at the Chibuku tent. From what can


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be gathered, Circus stalwart JAMES zABIELA’s breakbeat-tinted fusion of tech-house, much like the weather on day one, goes down a storm. The crack of dawn on Sunday is greeted by a cacophony of disgruntled murmurings as Manchester’s walking wounded nurse their aches and pains in preparation for Parklife round two. It’s straight into the thick of it this time round and full speed ahead to the uplifting lucidity of Belgium drum n bass producer NETSKY, backed by a shiny new live band. As he reels off his catalogue of soulful breakthrough grooves including Memory Lane and I Can’t Hold On, there’s a tired but exuberant rabble in attendance. Even the compelling sensibilities of HIGH CONTRAST can’t mask the allure of languid fatigue; feet appear to be heavier than before and fickle eyelids droop on the brink of defeat. Mangled human life forms make a last ditch attempt to amble to their final port of call for the weekend, but once again, the confusion and indecision is palpable: the plethora of headline acts on offer is inconceivable. Pinned on the recommendations of a couple of outspoken friends, the prospect of JuSTICE at the Metroplex Arena is enough to entice one last act of entranced conviction. The atmosphere inside is rapturous; it’s impossible not to be sucked in by the sheer magnitude of it all. The über cool French duo gallivants on to

the stage, their enlarged silhouettes projected onto a canvas screen that illuminates the tent beyond all recognition. Dance floor classics such as D.A.N.C.E. and We Are Your Friends are strewn in the cauldron of spontaneity, cunningly manipulated and deconstructed to create a stunning soundscape, a sporadically infused tapestry of manic electronica. An inspiring and whimsical end to a festival that has famously maintained a striking and intricate balance between niche electronica and progressive indie, evidently making Justice and Parklife a match made in heaven. A new dawn of inner city micro festivals is beginning to find its feet and, with Manchester’s Parklife situated at the forefront, this is just a glimpse of what’s to come. Joshua Nevett

OPTIMUS PRIMAVERA SOUND The sister festival to Barcelona’s Primavera Sound, Porto’s OPTIMuS PRIMAVERA SOuND seems to have found its home already, in the idyllic setting of the Parca da Cidade perched on the Atlantic coast. We arrive here on the first day just in time to see ATLAS SOuND (aka

Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox) deliver a masterclass in looping and layering sounds to create the perfect soundtrack to the early evening. With only two stages open on the first day, the crowds alternate between the adjacent Primavera and Optimus stages. THE RAPTuRE provide day one’s highlight, showing why they’re still a force to be reckoned with. Live, the New York three-piece are a funk storm in which you want to become embroiled. With two more stages opening on day two, there is double the excitement to look forward to. unfortunately this throws up the odd inconvenient clash, and the early TENNIS v THE WAR ON DRuGS double-booking splits Team Bido down the middle. Comprising husband and wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, the dreamy, doo-wop Americana showcased on Tennis’ recent album Young And Old gives their set enough glittering gems to work perfectly in the early evening sun. Meanwhile, the Club Stage sees a more considered performance from The War On Drugs, one which results in a more precise end than their February showing at The Kazimier. Clearly their ongoing tour has bred immense confidence, and in Portugal we find a group operating at the pinnacle of their craft. Religious connotations prove to be numerous at Optimus this year, so it is somewhat fitting

that RuFuS WAINWRIGHT rounds off his accomplished set with an impromptu trip through Hallelujah, Hallelujah his operatic voice carrying across the fields of the converted masses. Meanwhile, the adjacent stage starts to fill with balloons, cannons, streamers, a giant disco ball and the dancing Lipettes (plucked from the crowd and jiving away alongside various animals and aliens on either side of the stage), ahead of FLAMING LIPS’ impending space show. Opening with a strobe-addled ticker-tape explosion and a formation of huge balloons that dances across the audience, this elaborate performance certainly feels like a communal happening. Anyone can set off firecrackers and throw balloons into the audience, but the difference with Flaming Lips is that it doesn’t feel contrived or novelty. When the refrain of Do You Realize?? echoes around the Parca da Cidade you do indeed realize Flaming Lips’ collective power. Rock n roll at its life-affirming finest. Everything else seems to be a bit of a comedown after that, yet the crowds are still spewing out of the sides of the Club Stage for the minimal dream pop of BEACH HOuSE later on, where Victoria Lagrand’s swoonsome voice takes centre stage. Though resigned to watching from near the beer tent, it’s a gripping experience which alternates between sleepy

Forest Swords (Hugo Lima)

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Guest Column Laura King, Landlady at The Caledonia

I glance down at my left arm’s lyrical declaration (via tattoo, not ball point), “The dreams we had as children.” Via a distinctly uneasy turn in my stomach, its sentiment is not lost. I got this tattoo on arriving in Liverpool aged nineteen when I moved here to study music at Liverpool uni. I was expressing my excitement at almost/ possibly accomplishing my dreams, whatever they were. In hindsight, as the now licensee of The Caledonia, I feel a sense of destiny. Fifteen-year-old Laura with only a marginal experience of music venues had once declared to her band mates, “When I grow up I’m going to run a music venue with decent ale.” And here I am with my very own pub, nationally recognised for the high standard of its ale, which by some scale of design I’ve also managed to turn into a venue with music at its heart. In my opinion The Caledonia is a traditional pub in the sense that it has community at its centre. Our community is derived from our music. It is my argument that this concept (if you like) is pivotal to the survival of music venues. You could argue that you pay your £17.50 (plus booking fee, plus card charges) simply to see a band perform, but in my opinion that view is naive. You are paying for an experience; all senses need to be catered for at every level. The relationship between music and alcohol often begins from its very conception; the two are intrinsically linked. So considering the value of cross-promotion, as an artist I would demand that the ales on offer stands up to the quality and value of my performance. As a publican, it is this relationship of juxtaposed commodities that drives my business. After paying over the odds to get in, I’m asked for £4 for a warm can of Red Stripe crudely squeezed into a battle-scarred polycarbonate glass, or a pint from lines that haven’t been cleaned, well, ever. It’s a no brainer as to why grass roots smaller venues offering music at reasonable prices with appropriate drinks offers are leading the way. These two incentives are key in drawing in a clientele; their associated aesthetics changing a space where music happens into an ‘authentic’ venue: a multi-sensory experience - genuine value for money. It becomes a place that buzzes with positivity; a community is born; people are happy and creativity thrives. For me a venue should be somewhere with a magical energy that pulls you in. If I find myself there on my own on a rainy Tuesday afternoon for a sly pint with The Guardian crossword, then the job’s done. In times of austerity the path of least resistance is sought. Music trickles back down to its grass roots. Small, independent, thrifty, community-driven environments thrive, innovation is king - and Liverpool is a very exciting example of that. The places that have stood the test of time have had to adapt but have done so within a set of values: the same set that will see some of our city’s newer venues safely forward. So I take this opportunity to tip my hat to my contemporaries. It’s our understanding, determination and relentless self-sacrificing hard work that will drive the music of this city forward long into the future. facebook.com/caledonialiverpool

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and transcendent. San Fran’s THEE OH SEES are on hand in the early hours to give us just the riotous garage rock send off we were hoping for, wading straight in to their raucous stride, as set out on latest record Carrion Crawler. The heavens open on day three, meaning that the cover offered by the Club stage is more popular than usual. Regardless of the drizzle, VERONICA FALLS would probably filled it to this level anyway. uncomplicated and catchy, this London-based four-piece won us over in Liverpool a few months back, but we just can’t get enough of their Dum Dum Girls meets The Organ indie chic. If yesterday’s performance by Flaming Lips set the standard for a band operating in the realms of the celestial, tonight’s show from SPIRITuALIzED also finds a group soaring along their own cosmic jet-stream. Yet this is a very different trajectory, as Wayne Coyne’s sense of theatre makes way for Jason Pierce’s command of the subtle and dynamic. The show’s crowning moment sees the band effortlessly segue from Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space into Elvis’s I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You; You a stunning touch delivered with consummate class. Liverpool’s own FOREST SWORDS lands at Primavera following a run of shows across Europe, his first forays into the live arena. The task of translating an exercise in production wizardry into a live context was always going to be a challenge, but we can confidently report that on tonight’s showing the results are exceptionally encouraging. Matt Barnes’ scorpion-like body contortions (set side-on to the audience and stage right) are propped by Jay Freeman’s role as psychotic conductor, and a disorientating, greyscale visual backdrop. The sparing use of live guitar and bass-addled vocal, added to Freeman’s bass guitar, gives the show enough for the audience to relate to, without wildly distancing the live performance from Dagger Paths’ Paths recorded persona. The warm reception from the audience, added to the fact that Forest Swords has managed to even get on this bill in the first place, provides great cause for anticipation ahead of a new LP - due later this year. Liverpool’s prince of the avant-garde? We salute you. The final day of Optimus Primavera Sound sees the festival take over two city centre venues for a smaller programme of music. Casa da Musica plays host to JEFF MANGuM and OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL among others, while the converted market space of Hard Club plays host to another swathe of bands and DJs later on in the night, with KINDNESS’ funk dub the biggest draw. We were that smitten by Veronica Falls’ showing on the previous day that we are drawn in to see them again in Hard Club’s smaller room, a setting that makes an awful lot more sense for Roxanna Clifford and James Hoare’s interweaving guitars and Smiths-esque vocal delivery. A great opening gambit for Optimus then; a successful and enjoyable festival which will

undoubtedly grow to become the equal of its Barcelona compatriot. We’ve booked our flights for next year already, and we suggest you do the same. Christopher Torpey

LAUREL HALO Dauwd – Sun Drums

Deep Hedonia @ The Kazimier SuN DRuMS are the perfect choice of support tonight. Their attitude towards layers of sound is similar to that of tonight’s centrepiece LAuREL HALO, striving as they do to eke out moments of euphoria from modulated sounds. As ever Sun Drums sound massive, with each song coming close to buckling under its own weight. Taking the graveyard shift, DAuWD has a very simple formula for maintaining the interest of a dancefloor. In stark contrast to the walls of noise generated by Sun Drums and Laurel Halo, his songs are crisp and minimal using as little as possible to maximum effect. When in the wrong hands, this less-is-more, steady pulse approach can be merely a fast-track to ignite amphetamine-invigorated senses, but in the capable hands of Dauwd this method offers genuine quality for the level-headed listener. A late start for LAuREL HALO sees the crowd itching for a powerful performance to justify the wait. Opening with wave upon wave of distorted noise, she pushes the dials into the red for an atonal and bombastic introduction to the extremities of her work. It is a good fifteen minutes before the set gains traction, with her recognizable anti-tune vocals bursting into life underneath breathy pads and flowing keyboards. With such an arcade of equipment involved there is always a button to press or a knob to spin, leaving her looking like a skiving stoner playing whack-a-mole to kill time. It is somewhat reassuring to see an electronic musician needing to be so active during a performance, as it begins to redress the gulf in visual stimulus between live electronic and rock shows. Tonight her sound differs considerably from the recorded material in many ways; at times for better but often for worse. The deeply personal and fleeting hushes of beauty on recent album Quarantine are pulled out of shape in her battle to manipulate multiple noises at once, often leaving a wash of barely recognizable dissonance. We are left hovering in a purgatorial dead zone somewhere between the intelligent tapestry of the LP and the wide-eyed experimentalism she wishes to present as a live performer. That she reaches neither of these highs is a frustrating ordeal. There is no doubting that Halo is a bold artist whose records are compelling, exciting and enriching, which makes the event more than satisfactory. It’s just not quite the spectacle for which we were hoping. Jonny Davis


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Issue 24 / July 2012