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Esco Williams by Mike Brits

Issue 26 September 2012

Esco Williams Alpha Male Tea Party Afternaut Production Deconstruction Bad Meds


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Bido Lito! September 2012

Editorial There seems to be little that can ruffle the feathers of some Liverpool music enthusiasts more than the ‘scourge of pay to play’. I’ll be completely honest; it’s an issue that has left me rather bemused. Let’s get some facts and context worked out. When I was trudging my precociously shit, sub-britpop school band around town in the mid 90s, there were venues that you quite literally had to pay in order to get a show at. I can remember - all starry eyed and gooey - skipping up the street to one said venue with fifty begged and borrowed quid in hand to pick up our pre-purchased tickets, six weeks before the gig. We then flogged them, kept back the fifty quid we’d paid and split the rest with the venue. At the time I can’t say I felt used or hard done by. The show was promoted well by the venue; there were posters around town, flyers out and about and the show was listed in the paper. The production at the venue was fantastic: a great PA, full monitor rig, flashy lights, the bloody works. Hell, we even got eight cans of lager in the fridge backstage which, bearing in mind we were sixteen, was worth the fifty quid alone. The point being that everyone was happy; we got our stage, were looked after well and took a few quid home for our troubles. The venue had their guarantee up front, ended up with a cut on the split and no doubt sold a shandy or two. Looking back, venues operating in this way were doing a key service to the music scene, giving young, snotty nosed, arrogant little runts like me a stage, an opportunity, an insight. They weren’t all like that. We went to Manchester to play a show on the same deal (having travelled up on the National Express, fifty quid in pocket, to get the tickets six weeks before). No promotion, a farting PA, no stage and an awful metal band from Bury to share the bill. We had two similarly depressing experiences before the light bulb moment: why don’t I blag the PA from the school music room for the weekend, get the landlord at The Albion in New Brighton to give us the back room, get all the Wallasey bands we know on one bill, stick on a britpop anthems CD between their sets and just do it ourselves? Which we did. And it worked. Every sixteen-year-old in town came down, there was a riot, the sinks were ripped off the walls, a caravan outside was turned over, it was bloody brilliant. I don’t believe that the culture of pay to play exists now in the way that it did when I was growing up. It was, for new bands coming through, the only way to get a show in town. True, there are venues and promoters today who will encourage bands to take a book of tickets to sell to their mates, but that isn’t the same as a downpayment. The role they play though is; the vast majority of the time these are new, young bands. Artists with no audience beyond their immediate friends and family. The promoter is reliant on the band to get behind the show. The skill of the promoter in this instance is in curating a bill that works, a bill where the band’s audiences will complement each other and mean that each artist plays to a set of likely suitors. The promoter makes sure that there are posters doing the rounds, the show is listed everywhere it needs to be, the Facebook events are set up and, hell, maybe even a few Fosters backstage. In return, the band get behind the show, sell a few tickets and bring their Auntie Enid along for a party. Like the old pay to play adage; if both the promoter and band keep up their side of the bargain, what’s the problem? If the band don’t bother supporting the show then they don’t get booked again; if the promoter doesn’t do his job well and is simply after a fast buck, then the band don’t work with them again. Simples. These gigs provide an essential function in our scene’s ecology; providing an opportunity for fledgling bands where a need exists. For any show - at any level - a band and promoter need to pull together. The recent FestEvol only worked because of the sum of the bands, DJs and promoter pulling together to get behind a brilliantly executed event. The people who say ‘bands play, promoters promote’ simply don’t understand how a music community, yes community, works. There are a brilliant crop of young promoters in Liverpool who’ll give emerging bands well supported bills in good venues. And alternatively, with so many venues in the city, any band can book a room with a half decent PA for the cost of a sound engineer’s time and do it themselves. The key point being; bands today have a choice. Craig G Pennington Editor

Features 6 ESCO WILLIAMS

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Bido Lito!

Issue Twenty Six / September 2012 bidolito.co.uk 4th Floor, Mello Mello 40-42 Slater St Liverpool L1 4BX Editor Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk

8

ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY

10 PRODUCTION DECONSTRUCTION

Assistant Editor Christopher Torpey reviews@bidolito.co.uk Assistant Reviews Editor Naters Philip - live@bidolito.co.uk Sub Editor Mo Stewart - subeditor@bidolito.co.uk

12 AFTERNAUT

14 LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL

Online Editor Natalie Williams - online@bidolito.co.uk Designer Luke Avery - info@earthstudios.net Proofreading Debra Williams debra@wordsanddeeds.co.uk

16 UNTITLED

18 DEAD SKELETONS

20 BAD MEDS

Regulars 4 NEWS 22 PREVIEWS/SHORTS 24 REVIEWS

Words Craig G Pennington, Christopher Torpey, Naters Philip, Mo Stewart, Phil Gwyn, Richard Lewis, Jonny Davis, Samuel Garlick, Joshua Nevett, Mick Chrysalid, Chris Chadwick, Mike Townsend, Amy Greir, Joseph Viney, Isabelle Salter, Bernie Connor Photography, Illustration and Layout Luke Avery, Horse, Mike Brits, Johanna Wilson, Ming Wong, Keith Ainsworth, John Johnson, Moorea Masa, Charlotte Patmore, Richard B, Adam Edwards, Robin Clewley, David Howarth, Matthew Thomas, Michael Sheerin Adverts To advertise please ads@bidolito.co.uk

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News

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Our pick of this month’s wax wonders…

Salem Rages Get Violent On New EP Terrifying gloom-punk extroverts SALEM RAGES have just released a new split EP with the charmingly named Violence Cow Piss from Osaka, Japan. The Violence Rages EP is available on Bandcamp and in local record stores courtesy of home-grown Liverpudlian label Casket Records. This, the label’s third release, contains two furious contributions from Liverpool’s Salem Rages and a couple of heavy and melodic cuts from Violence Cow Piss. As if that weren’t enough value for 400 pence, the first 30 come with ‘bite mark’ plasters and each 7” has been hand screen printed by the guys at Payper Tiger Records. Available at casketrecords.bigcartel.com

Stealing Sheep Venture Into The Diamond Sun After months of snowballing excitement, STEALING SHEEP’s debut has been unleashed upon us. Into The Diamond Sun is out on 20th August through Heavenly Records, available on CD, download or the rather fantastic sounding blue glitter vinyl. If that wasn’t enough to get your hands in your pockets, if you purchase the record from an independent retailer you will also get a delicious bonus. The Melting Mountain Mix CD features tracks that the band were listening to when recording the album, by the likes of Captain Beefheart and Snoop Dogg to name but two. For more details head to heavenlyrecordings.com

Picket On Display One of the city’s musical treasures, The Picket, is being celebrated at the Museum Of Liverpool. Based within the Wondrous Place gallery, THE PICKET: ON MUSIC’S FRONT LINE traces 25 years of this influential venue from Hardman Street to Jordan Street. Using quotes, films and objects collected by founder Phillip Hayes, including The La’s bass drum and the John Peel Memorial Trophy, the display shows how The Picket fought off cuts and closures to remain an important step on the road to stardom for every Liverpool band since the 80s. The display is now open. For opening times go to liverpoolmuseums.org/mol

End Of An Empire The final call for NORTHERN EMPIRE has arrived. The club night responsible for bringing a plethora of new talent to the city over many years and many venues ends with their fifth birthday party at The Shipping Forecast on Saturday 1st September. Bringing down the curtain will be Young Rebel Set, Signal Aurora and resident DJs Richard Garnett, Ste-J and Craig Callahan, who have promised “a relentless avalanche of 90s and Brit-pop classics”. Tickets are on sale online now and will soon be available at 3B Records, Slater Street.

Set Compass To North By North-West Considering how many great shows have been seen there, the Liverpool Olympia is still criminally underused as a gig venue. Primarily known these days as a home for boxing or martial arts, in recent years the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and Africa Express created lifelong memories for all who saw them there. On 10th November NORTH BY NORTHWEST aims to redress this balance with a night featuring the cream of current local talent. Bands confirmed so far include The Tea Street Band, Sun Drums, By The Sea and The Dead Velvets, with more to be added soon. Tickets start at £10 from liverpoololympia.com

Bido DJs On The Loose After two storming sets at FestEvol, Bido Lito! DJs line up a weekend of delights for your listening pleasure. On Friday 7th September we’ll be joining the Bido team’s newest member The Mighty Mojo for his monthly show at The Attic on Parr Street. Sunday 9th September then sees us serving our platters pink and rare at the launch of new Duke Street hangout Sound Food & Drink. As well as some choice cuts, we’re also going to be lining up live music from a very special guest. Make sure you check out the venue’s website for full details of everything to expect during their opening fortnight. soundfoodanddrink.co.uk

COMPETITION!

They’re calling it “A Festival Unlike Any Other, In A Place Like No Other” yes, we’re talking about FESTIVAL NO. 6 in Portmeirion, North Wales (14th-16th Sept). The organisers of No.6, in its debut year, are inviting their attendees to take a step outside of reality and into the fantasy of their boutique festival. We’re used to muddy fields and battered tents, but with The Castell Deudraedeth and tribal tipis up as accommodation, you’ll never see festivals the same way again. Musical highlights feature: NEW ORDER (pictured), PRIMAL SCREAM, TOY and RICHARD HAWLEY. Presented with a cracking line-up, an alfresco ballroom and more arts and culture than The Guardian’s supplement, it’s no wonder tickets are scarce. But, we’ve teamed up with its organisers to offer one lucky reader a pair of weekend camping tickets. To win this beauty of a prize, simply answer this question In the TV Series, The Prisoner, filmed in Portmeirion, who played the title role? a)Patrick McGoohan

b) Robert Gillooly

c) Edward Woodward

To enter, email your answer to competition@bidolito.co.uk by 7th September. All correct answers will be placed in a pink tombola, the winner chosen at random and notified by email. Good luck!

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

Opossom Electric Hawaii FIRE RECORDS New Zealand is still a country best known for its prevalence of sheep rather than its musical pedigree; but bands like OPOSSOM are slowly righting this wrong. Electric Hawaii is driven by an unconventional atmosphere, marrying quirky rhythms and psychedelic flourishes with undeniable pop nous. Kaleidoscopic opening track Girl is a guaranteed stunner.

Dan Croll From Nowhere RACQUET RECORDS DAN CROLL surprises precisely nobody by returning with a perfectly formed piece of pop music. That’s not to say that this, his first single proper, is predictable, though; on From Nowhere he’s filtering his myriad of influences through a Dan Crollshaped prism, coming out clutching something completely immediate, edged with the inventiveness of his newly introduced electronics.

Manor Rhodesia UNSIGNED It’s early days for unsigned Melbourne duo MANOR, but the spacious vocals of Rhodesia are already calling to mind a more direct Animal Collective. When laid across the sort of ethereal atmospherics that Beach House practically own the copyright to, the results have caused a predictable flurry of furious typing on the internet. For once, the hyperbole is totally deserved.

Lizzie Nunnery & Vidar Norheim Black Hound Howling REDTHREAD RECORDINGS A collaboration between one of our finest folk singers LIZZIE NUNNERY, and Wave Machines’ multi-instrumentalist VIDAR NORHEIM, forthcoming LP Black Hound Howling is a stunning collection of anti-capitalist anthems and beat poetry. Underscored by winding acoustic arpeggios, the album is a perfect reflection of early 21st Century contemporary affairs.


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6

Bido Lito! September 2012

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


Bido Lito! September 2012

While there was many a tale of woe for our Merseyside Olympians, in our midst there’s a man with the versatility of Jessica Ennis, the determination of Mo Farah, and the style and charisma of Usain Bolt, with the

potential to dominate his chosen field just like they have. Lucky for us his chosen field is music, and his name is ESCO WILLIAMS. He’s also recently picked up some silverware. Williams won the first ever MOBO Unsung Award, and with it the chance to showcase his talents to the nation at the official nominations party, after impressing on the nationwide MOBO tour earlier this year. As we sit down to chat in Leaf Cafe on an oppressively hot day, I feel a bit like Gary Lineker as I shove a mic under his nose and ask if it’s all sunk in yet. “It has, kind of, but every time I speak to the MOBO people it re-ignites my excitement. They’ve been a bit Mission:Impossible about where and when they want me (for the live performance), but I know the eyes of the nation will be on me. I’m just getting ready to blow minds.” It’s a mission that Esco is well-equipped to complete. Although the last six months have blasted him into a new stratosphere, Williams’ musical career is already a decade long. Starting out as a teenager with local community project Positive Impact, he sang with the Sense of Sound choir before striking out on his own under a range of monikers - J Esco the Geek, the JsOul project and finally Words: Mo Stewart Esco Williams. He’s about to drop his Photography: Mike Brits debut album proper, New Challenger; Challenger a stunning set of soul and jazzinfluenced hip hop that may be retro in its sensibilities - don’t expect to hear about bling and bitches - but is unmistakably current in execution and subject matter. “Every single project I’ve been a part of has given me a new skill, and helped to shape the artist I am today: the complex lyrical phrasing shaped by rapping; my harmonic ear improved by singing with the choir. I’ve worked with a lot of different projects and people, seen them get signed, sat on, get dropped. I’ve seen what’s failed and what’s succeeded, and now I know what I wanna do and how I wanna make it work. Everything has led me to this exact point.” Standing at this point is one of the most fully-formed new artists that Bido Lito! have seen in years. #TeamEsco has a growing army of devotees, most of whom helped fund the recording and distribution of the new album via the increasingly popular crowd source site Pledgemusic. “I wanted things to look good and sound good, and I know you need money to do that. I entered a UK-wide MTV competition

7

[Brand New 2012] and came in the top twenty based on votes, so I thought ‘I wonder if all of those people would put down eight pounds for a CD?’ It was a gamble that paid off.” In total nearly three hundred people didn’t think it much of a gamble, and now have their hands on a real treasure. The title track’s repeated reference to computer games - both lyrical and sonic (pun intended) - is no Snoop-Lionesque affectation, but an integral part of what makes the self-styled “Soul-powered Nerd”. Anyone in any doubt can merely read the Manga comic strip down his right arm. “I was that kid – eleven years old, thirteen stone, reading comics, listening to music or playing computer games in a bathrobe. Back then I was picked on for it, now comics, computers and hip hop are billion dollar industries. What was seen as anti-social is now popular. I’m speaking to that generation in my music.” Williams is as engaging a storyteller in person as he is on record. His appeal isn’t troubled by questions of credibility. I’ve yet to meet anyone else who can say they’ve supported Madness, Rza and the Sugababes, but it’s easy to imagine each of those wildly differing audiences becoming captivated. On stage he radiates the pure joy of a man doing what he loves, and has built a reputation as a fervent and frequent live performer with his band The Kontrollers. “I want to get on every stage I possibly can. In the past I’ve had to change my style because I knew there were no venues willing to book hip hop artists.” That last point is a salient one, and goes a long way to explaining why a generation of talented young urban artists from Liverpool’s black communities feel they can’t get a gig in the city centre. It’s a subject raised more than once in this magazine and one Williams can talk about with authority. “Being from Toxteth, I know a lot of people in the neighbourhood feel that there’s no place for them in town. The music they’re into has been commercialised - dumbed down so much it doesn’t appeal anymore. I used to run a night of real underground hip hop that regularly made money, but was cancelled over concerns at the ‘clientele’. Yet go into town on the weekend and you’d see blood on the streets outside plenty of different bars”. The progression of hip hop and R&B from counter-culture to pop music for the planet has undoubtedly come at a cost, with quality falling as quickly as quantity rises. Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom. Williams is at the forefront of a new wave of local acts, such as Manukah, Coffee & Cakes for Funerals, and Wonderlust, reintroducing live instrumentation to soul and hip hop, and utilizing its ability draw from a wider palette, and a wider audience. “Liverpool has a long way to go, but things are changing. The braver venues are starting to realise that, whatever style of music you play, if you entertain the masses they will support you. I’m feeling support like I never have before.” The MOBO awards will be in Liverpool again this year and, unlike 2010, it won’t just be a celebration of the popularity of black music in Liverpool, but the black music of Liverpool. Once he gets on that stage, the name of Esco Williams will be on everyone’s lips. I wouldn’t swap him for all the gold postboxes in Yorkshire. escowilliams.bandcamp.com

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


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Bido Lito! September 2012

Words: Samuel Garlick Photography: Keith Ainsworth Music is not something a musician produces; rather it’s something a listener perceives – a John Cage quote that has stuck with me ever since it rattled my ear-drum. Originally I interpreted it to mean that audiences are solely responsible for determining music’s value, deferring any sovereignty from musicians. Although, recently, a thought has been scratching at the back of my brain: what if such musicians could be considered to be their own audience? If the music that they write isn’t principally an extension of themselves, rather a product of external influence and expectation? ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY, a frenetic local trio who reverberate instrumental post-hardcore, are one of the few exceptions to this concept. Catching up with Tom Peters (Guitar), it was instantly clear that he echoed this sentiment: “We just don’t care for the prescribed pretense which seems to permeate a lot of music and the image that’s around it.” With the recent release of their aurally-towering eponymous debut album, Tom, Dan Leadbetter (Bass) and Greg Chapman’s (Drums) autonomous status has been cemented, as is evident from colourfully coined song titles such as Depressingly Shit Lunchtime Sandwich and Jason Fucked the Argonauts: Argonauts they only perform and record music under their own rules, without a concern for cursory trends. Anyone else enjoying it is simply a bonus to them. Born from the womb of a Gumtree advert, AMTP have since concocted an equally bludgeoning and expansive sound that weaves a delicate balance between acts such as Three Trapped Tigers and If These Trees Could Talk. “It’s smashy and abrasive with a sense of fun and bounciness,” says Tom. “I guess when the band started I was driven by the idea that technical, heavy

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music could still be melodic and fun without losing its spine.” Whilst some consider instrumental music a channel with which to boast technical capacity, this trio of musical maestros couldn’t be further removed from such mantras. “It was never our intention to write needlessly wanky progressive meltdowns.” Instead, their music is carefully considered, compellingly exploiting the gaps that a vocalist would usually occupy. Without the burden of a singlestemmed musical nucleus in their songs, they have a liberty that gives guitar melodies, drum sections and bass accompaniments room to breathe and interact with each other. A prime example of this coalition can be heard in the intricate and aesthetically broadening We Should Be Animals. Whilst there are plenty of acts who season their identities with absurdity and irony, it’s uncommon to find one who confidently replicate it within their live shows. But AMTP are one of such acts; honourable mentions of their on-stage antics include Tom wearing nothing but a perplexingly tight pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Y-fronts, a framed photo of George Michael watching their every move and a catalogue of turtle-neck jumpers adorning their figures. Possessing such self-consciousness is what allows this trio to enjoy themselves in whatever manner they deem fit, without consequence or opinion affecting them. But what inspires them to achieve such heights of obscurity? “It’s because we’re all deeply insecure about our breast sizes,” reveals Tom. “That said, it’s not as if we’re a comedy cabaret act; as far as detaching music from seriousness is concerned, I think the point with us is that the music itself is serious.” And so, by considering music as their form of anchorage, AMTP are bestowed a freedom that allows them to retain a substance in their songs despite any peripheral actions.

Yes, I might be teetering on the edge of cliché, but AMTP are a band who truly live by their own rules and values. Any preconceived notions of how to hold themselves are disregarded, and in their place all that is left is thorough independence. “One of the things that we were really sure of when we started this band was that everything would be done on our own terms,” explains Tom. “We’ve allowed ourselves to develop pretty naturally and just kind of let it take us where it feels fun and right.” The auteuristic nature of the band is further imbued in their debut album: “Well, it was a totally self-produced effort. We’ve come away with something which we’re really happy with and something that we can be proud of because we did everything right through to the artwork design.” Whether it’s the profound song titles or woolly garments, it’s clear that this is a project that they’re incredible proud of, not for the attention it garners or the praise they receive, but quite simply because it’s devoid of compromise. AMTP are never likely to be the poster-child of some vogue style magazine (although those Ninja-Turtle briefs could suggest otherwise), but I don’t believe that’s their point. Without bands like AMTP, music scenes would have nothing to balance out the mundanity of organised hysteria. My journalistic instincts urge me to look deeper into the reasons behind their entertaining mannerisms, but as much as I’d love to second-guess the consequence and incentive behind their behaviour, I know it’s nothing more or less than a signature of their personalities. “We just do it because that’s who we are as people,” concludes Tom. “Maybe we’ll have a go at introspection one day but for now it’s about perforating eardrums.” He adds, “If our music didn’t reflect our own personalities we’d be doing something very wrong,” and that is where the beauty of AMTP rests: their music isn’t a product of expectation, it’s an extension of self. alphamaleteaparty.bandcamp.com Go to bidolito.co.uk now for an extended Lens gallery from this shoot by Keith Ainsworth


24-hour arty people Gallery / Cinema / Cafe / Bar 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ fact.co.uk / 0151 707 4464


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Bido Lito! September 2012

Production

deconstruction Demystifying Words: Mick Chrysalid

The

World

Photography: Mike Brits, Keith Ainsworth, Moorea Masa, John Johnson

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

Of

The

Record

Producer


Bido Lito! September 2012

The enigmatic record producer: an eccentric wizard with the ability to weave untold wonders from the musical meanderings of the mere mortal. Or so the legend goes. But, how otherworldly are the brains and skill sets of these sonic architects? With technically advanced home recording software as omnipresent in the modern musician’s arsenal as a capo, what has become of the producer’s role? It is over a year since we at Bido Lito! ran an extensive feature posing the question: ‘Has the MacBook killed the record producer’ (Issue 13, July 2011); an article that in part lamented the demise of the knowledgebase built up over six decades of recording music. Fourteen months on, we’ve decided to investigate further and get hands-on with some of Liverpool’s top producers for a PRODUCTION DECONSTRUCTION. Current oddpop wonders and darlings of the scene Loved Ones have kindly furnished us with the full multi-tracked recordings of Matchsticks (taken from the group’s debut LP) and we’ll be entrusting mix duties to some of Liverpool’s best producers: Mike Crossey from The Motor Museum (who’s worked with Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys), Michael Johnson of Tankfield Studios (whose recording credits include Joy Division’s Closer and New Order’s Blue Monday), Rob Whitely from Whitewood Studios (Clinic / Wombats), Daz Jones of Elevator Studios (Ian McCulloch / Bill Ryder-Jones) and Al Groves of Sandhills Studios (Ian Broudie / Elvis Costello). The fruits of the producers’ mixes will be premiered each week throughout September on bidolito.co.uk with a blog from each, giving an insight into the thinking behind their individual take on the track. In the meantime, Bido Lito!’s Mick Chrysalid caught up with the producers ahead of the Production Deconstruction to try and gain an insight into their dark arts... The world of the producer is, on the surface, a disorientating

one; what with equalizers, compressors, reverb units and multiple effects, never mind microphones and the consideration as to where exactly you are going to put them. Add in all the digital versus analogue concerns, considering the actual physical space you choose to record in, and the amount of options on offer are huge. Silence is the canvas here and the sound is mixed from a palette of technology and technique (and other too true clichés). Up steps the producer, who has previously drilled to untold sonic depths, coming back with tried and tested tricks (if they’re worth their salt anyway). It is this mastery of the tools that helps them bring out the best in a modern world where producing music comes with a high variety of requirements. So, what is the first thing on a producer’s mind then when they’re faced with a new project? The much celebrated Mike Crossey states that, “Great music evokes a genuine emotional response; producers need to be able to identify what it is about a band that does that and bring it out to the forefront”. Michael Johnson of Tankfield Studios, a producer who has experienced many changes in the industry since overseeing the construction of early cuts from the legendary Factory Records, offers a personal insight, “Can I imagine a way of making a record I’d like to hear on the radio? If the song gives me ideas that I think will make it a good record then I’m interested. If I can’t think of a way of dramatically improving it then there’s no point getting involved.” Al Groves of the excellently equipped Sandhills Studios catches a similar tone conveying an ardour for his craft which is charming: “It’s all about the songs and the feelings they give you. My job is to amplify these feelings so other people will get them too.” This isn’t a view that finds a consensus, mind, something that mirrors the different paths involved in the occupation itself. Rob Whitely, a buoyant figure and skilled producer on the Liverpool scene, doesn’t see his primary role as thinking too far ahead: “I’m not really here to judge. It’s much more of a question of how do I make it better”. As a producer, you’ve obviously got to try and capture what a band is attempting to do but also make individual decisions in order to help them arrive at the place they’re aiming for. Surely a balance has to be struck? Mike Crossey explains, “I think early on in a session it’s important to not put too many walls up around how the approach to capturing the record is going to be. I guess I try to ensure that there is an atmosphere that feels fun and creative where the artist feels very involved in every decision.” Daz Jones of the highly decorated Elevator Studios reveals the importance of keeping your ears on the sum and substance: “Never forget the demos and what is good about the song. Add diplomacy into this mix with exploring several options and you get there in the end.” It’s definitely horses for courses as Rob points out: “Part of gaining skills over time is recognizing what bands are after. Every band is different. It is you that has to figure out what to do.” Every band may be different, but many now come equipped with more of a precise vision of what they want. The rise of compatibility between home recording rigs and professional studios enables an artist to bring along their own sessions. Rob Whitely: “People used to bring in demos but now they bring in files. We then may start to replace parts with overdubs. However, sometimes the house does need pulling down completely and re-building.” Al Groves is all for it: “There have been bands that have made amazing music at home on limited equipment, so I’m certainly open to them bringing in their tracks.” The producers’ studios all vary in the degrees of technology

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and gadgets they posses, but nonetheless they all add up to an expense rarely seen in the amateur’s studio. Therefore I put to them the question: is it technology and its advancements that lead sound and its production, or is it technique and knowledge? The man versus machine conundrum. Rob Whitely: “Of course some of this stuff we have bought for the studio becomes almost essential, because it’s that good, but you won’t get everything you need without learning how to use it at its best.” Daz Jones: “You learn as you go along, constantly learning new things with the technology you have. That is at the core.” Al Groves, who is selftaught, also believes that technique trumps all: “You can arrive at different sounds with a variety of methods. Cheap equipment or expensive, it’s the art of use that will get the best out of it.” This is an idea that Mike Crossey has considered before and arrives at the conclusion, “I would go with personal technique. I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert or world class at something and I think that holds some truth. If you work super hard at getting great at production and engineering, I think over time you get lots of light bulb moments.” So if we are to reach a consensus that individual technique and skill are the producer’s key calling card, does a producer over time develop their particular aural persona, their own ‘sound’? This may be down to personality or even experience, bearing in mind that the producers in question range from six years’ experience in the business to over thirty, which may be why Michael Johnson seems pretty certain of where he is right now: “Yes, I think I have my own sound. It’s not something I’ve developed deliberately - it’s just the way my productions turn out”. We will be sure to find out soon enough as Michael, Mike, Al, Rob and Daz all work their individual magic on Loved Ones, as we become absorbed in September’s Production Deconstruction. Different personalities, techniques and equipment will surely all result in an absorbing insight. Keep tuned in to bidolito.co.uk throughout September as each guest producer’s mix of Loved Ones’ Matchsticks is premiered.

COMPETITION Win A Full Day Recording Session At SAE Liverpool To celebrate this month’s Production Deconstruction, Bido Lito! have teamed up with SAE Institute Liverpool. As part of the world’s largest practical creative media educator, SAE Liverpool provide up to degree level qualifications in Audio Engineering and have established themselves as the North West’s premier audio training facility. We’re giving one lucky Merseyside band or artist the opportunity to spend a day recording with one of SAE’s degree students, in their Neve VR studio on The Strand, Liverpool city centre. To be in with a chance of winning the session, simply email competiton@bidolito.co.uk with a link to your music and a brief artist biography by 7th September. We will then ask the producers in our Production Deconstruction to select the best of the bunch. Good luck!

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Words: Phil Gwyn Photography: John Johnson On 28th July Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, was wheeled out at the Olympics Opening Ceremony as a symbol of British genius, as if to remind the rest of the world how indispensably intelligent we all are. However misleading that might be, it’s hard to complain about him being afforded such celebration. Certainly, in the field of music, the internet has transformed the industry beyond recognition. There’s a certain liberation in the fact that you no longer need a zany back story and four pretty faces ready to be splashed onto the NME’s front cover to reach thousands of people. These days, an internet connection and some decent music are far more important; a fact to which Liverpool-based producer AFTERNAUT can attest: “I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for the internet,” he tells us, and it’s fortunate that the internet does exist, because what he’s doing is creating intricate post-everything atmospherics so deep and spacious that each track feels like some sort of drugless outof-body experience. In October, Afternaut was featured as ‘Soundclouder Of The Day’ and the intensity of the following attention was so dizzying that he recalls that, “I don’t even know how that happened. It was a blur.” The influence this had on his own self-confidence was perhaps even more important than the exposure he received. “That gave me so much motivation,” he says, “I had so much doubt in my music before; I found it difficult to tell if people would like what I was doing”. Judging by the 12,000 people who have elected to follow him on Soundcloud, it seems reasonable to assume that people do, in fact, like his music. Of course, though, the benefits of the internet are not limitless, and it’s clear from his case that the collective strength of the Liverpudlian music scene has had as much of a positive influence on him. Having moved from York in March of last year, he remembers that he was “blown away by the music scene here” right away. “It’s because of the venues and promoters,” he says,

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“they do far more than just picking bands and letting them play; every show seems individual”. Local promoters Harvest Sun were quick to pick up on Afternaut’s talent for submersive, melodydriven electronica, and curated a bill alongside the similarly ambient Sun Drums and Sun Glitters. It was then that things began to change, Afternaut claims, “because there are loads of people around like Sun Drums to bounce ideas off”. Having been removed from the sometimes one dimensional cul-de-sac of the internet, the way he viewed his music began to change. “Playing live changed my sound a lot. The beats and percussion are definitely more groove-driven. Before, it was more regimented and routine.” As a result, Afternaut’s sound is the perfect collision between the freedom of digital production, and the humanity of physical performance. Some electronic music struggles to retain a character, or to convey any credible emotion, but it’s this road-tested experience that makes Afternaut’s music the exact opposite; it’s both affecting and tangible. Afternaut also avoids the other common complaint about electronic music – that live sets seem pre-meditated. Despite this common preconception of producers’ live shows, Afternaut’s is heavily improvised. “Every gig I play I’ve put together from scratch,” he explains. “I break every track down to its individual elements and then feed them through. I can dictate the flow so that it reflects the night.” In actual fact, in this scenario where he is able to manipulate and drop in or out each individual element of the track according to his own emotions, he is afforded much more freedom than a traditional band, and the resulting set could be considered an even more ‘pure’ musical experience. It’s perhaps this ability to alter his music very precisely to the atmosphere of the night that gives his sets a transportative quality. He says himself that “after my other shows people have said that they’ve been completely taken out of themselves and have had an experience which they’ve never had before with music.” And with

plans in the works to create an audio-visual link in which the way he puts together his tracks on the night will dictate projected visuals, it’s clear that Afternaut’s sets are far more involved than a man standing in front of a laptop, pretending to be doing something of some musical significance rather than scouring Twitter for top quality topical jokes. That sort of indifference and trickery was always going to be unlikely from a man who is so passionate about his scientific philosophy of music. Firstly he refers to music as being a “place” rather than a sound, and certainly, when you find yourself at the centre of one of his hugely detailed tracks, it’s tough to disagree. On this subject he suddenly becomes animated and tells us that “it all boils down to mathematics. Melodies sound appealing to us because they are in mathematical order. These things are too complex to even think about, but subconsciously it does affect things.” You get the idea that these things aren’t, in fact, too complex for him to think about, yet he denies our suggestion that he is secretly a particle physicist. We are not entirely convinced. This intelligence certainly comes across in his music, which is both painstakingly complex and disarmingly subtle, without seeming sterile or over-thought. Naturally, we’re keen to hear details of forthcoming material, and he reluctantly admits that he has a body of songs “which will end as an album, hopefully before the end of the year”. On the question of releasing the album, his commitment to his own music is again clear as he admits that he would be happy to self-release the album even if a label doesn’t step in. His passion is obvious from what he says, but you can hear it in every poured-over sound that punctuates his rich musical collages; so much so that there’s no need to worry about whether a label will step in or not. As he admits himself, “the good stuff eventually rises to the top.” soundcloud.com/afternaut


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Bido Lito! September 2012

LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL 2012 Rhys Chatham And A Crimson Grail Words: Jonny Davis

How time flies. It doesn’t seem like it was 730 days ago that the streets, warehouses, galleries and various empty spaces of Liverpool were teeming with art from across the world. Liverpool Biennial 2010 was a resounding success with its bountiful mix of multi-sensual contemporary art and 2012 looks set to be an even more stimulating experience. From the video installations of Ming Wong (who kindly supplied the stills to accompany this piece) to the UK’s most renowned painting competition, the John Moores Painting Prize, the Biennial will offer something for everyone. For the sonically inclined there is little doubt what the biggest draw of the event will be. Thanks to the collective and collaborative forward thinking of Samizdat and Liverpool Biennial 2012, renowned composer Rhys Chatham will grace the city with his lively presence for the UK premier of A Crimson Grail for 100 guitars and 8 basses. After whetting our appetites last year with a performance of Die Donnergötter and Guitar Trio at the Bluecoat, Chatham is back with what is an undoubtedly more ambitious piece in a grander venue: the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. Now let’s take a minute to soak that in. 100 electric guitars and 8 bass guitars in a cathedral. This will be special. Initially working as a piano tuner for the father of minimalism, La Monte Young, Chatham went on to become a key player in the New York art scene in the 1970s. Inspired by seeing The Ramones in concert and the still unfurling No Wave scene, he developed a minimalist punk aesthetic attacked from an ambient compositional mindset. He began writing pieces for electric guitar ensembles, of which A Crimson Grail is perhaps the most ambitious. In anticipation of this momentous occasion, Bido Lito! caught up with Rhys Chatham to find out what we are to expect from the performance. Speaking from his studio in Paris, Chatham is warm, friendly and brimming with enthusiasm. Bubbly excitement and thoughtful eloquence tug and pull at each other as they roll off his tongue in the form of theoretical detail and anecdotal humour. The audacity of filling a cathedral with 100 electric guitars is certainly not lost on him and he has had to be kept in check for previous performances of the piece. “At Sacré-Cœur in Paris I was going to position myself as conductor in front of the altar, where a huge painting of our lord Jesus Christ hangs. The sister took one look at me and said ‘There is no chance that you will be making the sign of the cross in front of our lord.’ I had to stand to the side, and it was one big mess. Fortunately it sounded OK.” Following this faux pas, Chatham has developed a system to ensure that all 108 musicians know what the hell is going on. Although the piece is rhythmically simple enough to play, timing is clearly essential and so the orchestra has been split into sections, each with its own leader who literally knows the score.

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Chatham explains: “The real artistry for the musicians comes with the cueing. It’s very important to come in at the same time. I conduct the section leaders and they conduct the musicians. I’m giving semaphore signals.” So this is no rock gig. Or is it? This is the genius of a piece like A Crimson Grail. Chatham has developed a way of composing that bridges the gap between rock songs and classical compositions without compromising the qualities of either. He acknowledges both the punk rock statement and the search for ambience in his thoughts on the piece. “A 100-guitar orchestra provides a very specific ambience that you just can’t get any other way. Why 100 electric guitars? Just ask any guitarist, the answer is obvious.” He speaks a lot about the piece being antiphonal - meaning that the sound is bounced across the room: “The goal of the piece isn’t to have lots of guitars but to surround the audience with musicians.” And with each new explanation of A Crimson Grail, Chatham sheds more light on what we can expect from the performance. “There are moments with 100-guitar orchestras that are loud and literally awesome but I have to say that there’s nothing like the sound of 100 guitars playing softly. It’s a very special sound, which we intend to fully exploit in the cathedral.” You can almost hear the distant rumble of a tonne of guitars in his voice as it retreats to a whisper. It becomes clear that Chatham is very keen on utilizing space to attain interesting sounds. “Each time we mount the piece it is in a site-specific way. The cathedral is a highly reverberant space, which is why we don’t have drums for this piece. The Bluecoat was a very intense space, which is just the way I like it for pieces like Die Donnergötter and Guitar Trio. Those pieces are made for rock spaces whereas A Crimson Grail is oriented more towards music to be played in a cathedral.” A Crimson Grail looks set to be the show of the year. The buzz surrounding the performance will grow like the sound of 100 guitars softly playing. The orchestra will be made up of many familiar musical faces from across Merseyside and - beyond ensuring that each scene, pocket and micro-genre is represented in some manner - for one night they will be connected in a suitably spiritual happening in the Anglican Cathedral. This is the gig to end all gigs, the great day of his sonic wrath, the unveiling of Excalibur and discovery of the elixir of life. On 14th September 2012, Liverpool will witness A Crimson Grail. A Crimson Grail is kindly supported by Liverpool Hope University and admission will be free of charge, on a first come first served basis. Doors open at 7.30pm. liverpoolbiennial.co.uk


Image: Ming Wong. Stills from After Chinatown (2012) video installation commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, with support from Kadist Foundation and Singapore International Foundation and National Arts Council Singapore.

Bido Lito! September 2012

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Words: Joshua Nevett

Attempting to cram an intoxicated rabble of nearly 1,000 over exuberant gate-crashers into a twenty-man residence was a ramshackle venture to say the very least, but nonetheless one that left a lasting impression. For one night of unfathomable and wayward antics an unruly band of bohemian reprobates occupied the hollow grounds of 13 Alexander Drive or the affectionately dubbed ‘Thugz Mansion’ to participate in a hedonistic swell of inconceivable narratives. The stout walls shook with incessant reverberation as the stained ceilings perspired and throbbed, awash with fluids of feckless debauchery. It was an unmitigated success that occurred with such maniacal delinquency that even the local police were unexpectedly dumbfounded, miraculously lost for words. Trying to negotiate a stairwell copiously rammed with pulsating bodies was probably an experience that brought to light a number of logistical issues for rogue promoter Hasan Abbasi. With his street credibility peaking at dizzying heights, and now renowned for his hare-brained attempts to congregate like-minded students into makeshift congested spaces, in hindsight even Hasan concedes things might have got a smidgen out of hand: “Well, the first thing I remember thinking after the party was ‘DEEP!’ The feds came round and bollocked us, there was all sorts of mess and broken shit; we had many complaints from the neighbours as well; we tore that house a new hole.” Not even Hasan could have predicted the insatiable magnitude of interest his off the cuff blowout endeavour generated, nor could he have anticipated the bulk of house party revellers in attendance. After liaising with some close friends and various Liverpool nightlife consortiums, his organisational prowess soon came into fruition, but - as history has shown with any well-advertised party - things can spiral out of control rather quickly: “My friend Louise had a party in her house, the Sefton Manor, which became well-known for its parties, so it gave me inspiration to give it a go. I got in touch with Andy Jones, the man behind 100th Monkey, to get hold of some naughty speakers. Then people such as Andrew Hill of Abandon Silence, Sam Wright from Eat Your Greens, Lee and Dan from Sessions Factions, all came down to DJ. I realised our house could hold a lot more than all my friends’ houses, so I got the rest of the house involved with - can I stress - great difficulty! After I’d organized the event some tried to back out; I straight up told them it was an offer they couldn’t refuse. No, believe it or not, I wasn’t trying to emulate the Godfather, but how was I to tell 500 or so people to go away? I was wrong. There were 1000 people and even a damn dog turned up! It was a lock-in and I’m surprised no one died, thank god they didn’t. Compared to my friend’s, our party was by far the maddest, similar to Project X, there was just a ridiculous amount of people crammed into that house.”

Graphic: Luke Avery

After realising the lucrative nature of his widely lauded mansion party, up-scaling and moulding his vision was the next obvious step in its progression. Hasan’s Thugz Mansion Party had obtained unimaginable notoriety overnight with excitement reaching fever pitch. Unfortunately the esteemed venue was rendered strictly prohibited by the formidable hand of the law. Now etched into the brimstone of fabled student folk law, it was down to Hasan to ascertain how to channel this perpetual buzz into a concrete and lawful entity. After a short hiatus his vision had finally found a permanent home and, more prominently, a recognisable moniker. The tumultuous dwelling of The Binary Cell prepared itself for Untitled: “Many people were getting in touch with me, wanting to DJ again and craving for another night. I decided to get in touch with a few venues and in the end Binary Cell fell to me like an angel from the sky; the venue was perfect, the management were decent like-minded people, and it had a nice vibe. After getting in touch and promising them a sell-out, it didn’t disappoint; The Binary Cell was the perfect compromise. The change of venue was the step up it needed and the night turned out to be a great success.” Untitled at the Binary Cell was an instant hit, providing a tasty palette of local and student produce which displayed an eclectic roster of electronic music supporting every avenue of its vast spectrum. Featuring anything from deep house to tech drum n bass, Hasan soon came to the realisation that Untitled’s unprecedented diversity had forged the bedrock of their success and discovered a niche within a competitive market: “Untitled is not just my music influence, it’s for the people. You can see that from the differences from each style of night included in the line-up. I don’t mean to stereotype but when you take a look at all the raver reggae heads at Eat Your Greens, the nerdy looking electronic heads at Abandon Silence, the old school drum and bass ravers at 100th Monkey and the hip hop, generally vibing people at Sessions, they all overlap, which is nice; it’s great to have that diverse collective support on a local level.” From the unadulterated chaos of Alexander Drive to the collective fellowship of local musical prodigies on display at The Binary Cell, the future looks bright for fledgling promoter Hasan Abassi. As he continues to find innovative ways to connect with Liverpool audiences, he isn’t quite out of risqué schemes just yet. The highly anticipated Untitled ‘The Re-opener’ is set to take place this September but for the time being Hasan’s keeping his feet on the ground and his eyes firmly focused on the road ahead: “At the moment I am just a fish in a pond full of sharks; I need to take my next steps slowly and choose carefully what I do. Untitled is just so unique. I know of nothing else like it, even with similar-range music; go to any night and tell me Untitled is similar and I’ll end it. I think even the name helps that. There’s a well-known proverb my friend Andy told me - another promoter smashing it within Liverpool’s hip hop scene. Stir waters to catch fish. So far it seems I have caused a lot of ripples, so if I carry on in the same vein, then I’m sure I’ll be fine.” facebook.com/untitledliverpool


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Bido Lito! September 2012

De a D S Sk ke e l e to nS n S at li verpool in i n t ern at ion al FeS t ival o F p Syc he heDelia Delia Words: Richard Lewis YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE, HAPPENING SCENE. The largest meeting of like-minded psychedelic types in the city since Pink Floyd headlined the Kaleidoscope Festival at The Stadium in 1968, the LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF PSYCHEDELIA lands this September, bringing together a collection of cosmic architects from around the world within the spacious environs of Camp and Furnace. This sartorial soirée is topped by a band who need no introduction to committed psych-heads, as DEAD SKELETONS lead a troika of headliners alongside blues-rock infused six-piece WOLF PEOPLE and the hypnotic motorik grooves of Richard Norris’ project THE TIME & SPACE MACHINE. The Icelandic-born and Berlin-based Dead Skeletons make their UK debut at the event, having assembled an impressive cult following for their inspiring, mesmeric drone rock. The brainchild of Jón ‘Nonni Dead’ Sæmundu, the band form part of an on-going project by the lead singer, entitled The Dead Concept. Dead Mantra - the band’s best known song, which introduced them to the wider world - revolves around the motif ‘He Who Fears Death Cannot Enjoy Life’ sung in Icelandic, German and English. The memorable lyric holds huge personal meaning for Sæmundu. Interviewed by The Stool Pigeon in January the singer explained, “When I put it on, it’s like I am going to war, I am beating the virus. It is a spiritual battle song, because I have been HIV positive for almost 20 years. For

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Illustration: Johanna Wilson

me there is a whole war, a spiritual, nuclear battle inside me. It is the song I want to hear when I go to meet my maker. It tells me not to give up, and to cure myself. It’s my meditation song, and I love rock n’ roll.” Diagnosed in 1994, Sæmundu was given three years to live and in his own words “started drinking heavily and taking hard drugs like there was no tomorrow”. As the medication for sufferers of the virus improved, the vocalist quit drinking and channelled all his energies into art. After he “took the decision to live”, a trip to the US where he was exhibiting his work led him to the quotation that underpins all of his output and the core lyric of Dead Mantra. Halfway between ancient and cutting-edge, the eight-minute chant, which sounds unlike almost anything else you’ve ever heard, found its way to the public via MySpace in 2008. Backed with a video of tribal and ceremonial dances across the world the track swiftly became an underground hit. Featured in the exhibition based around the iconography of The Day of the Dead Festival, the words ‘He Who Fears Death Cannot Enjoy Life’, when translated for the singer, led to something close to an epiphany. Sæmundu, working with Henrik Bjornsson of Singapore Sling and Ryan Carlson, has created an LP – Dead Magick, Magick the trio’s debut – which has repeatedly sold out its limited vinyl pressings. A hook-up with Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre led to greater exposure, with the two musicians now sharing the same city as part of the music/arts community based in Berlin. While resolutely forward-looking, the shamanistic element found in Dead Mantra, Ljosberinn (The Light Bearer), The Kingdom of God and Om Mani Peme Hung (Cycle of the Four Ages) with words taken from the Tibetan Book of the Dead lends the band’s tracks the feeling of tapping into something that existed long before the invention of amplified music: music custom-made for playing to gatherings of the converted and for attracting new followers; the band will doubtless mesmerise both come 29th September. The Time & Space Machine led by former Liverpool resident and Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve/The Grid linchpin Richard Norris bring their acclaimed live

show to the Fest’. Known for his excellent DJ sets at now-defunct club The Hangout in the late 1980s, Richard built a formidable reputation for spinning vintage garage and psych classics. In tandem with his work with ‘Space Machine, Richard is one half of in-demand remixers Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve, alongside Erol Alkan. On critically applauded recent LP Taste the Lazer, trailed by excellent cut Pill Party in India, Lazer India TT&SM have been transformed into a fully-fledged live outfit. On-stage the five-piece create huge hypnotic psych jams with swirling Hammond organ, woozy mellotron and phasing backwards guitars all wrapped in cavernous space echo. Mindful that performances at The UFO Club and San Francisco’s Fillmore were famed for their dazzling lightshows, Richard recently informed Bido Lito! that the band will be bringing “a retina-opening box of delights” to the party. Fellow headliners Wolf People, the first UK act to sign to ultracool US indie label Jagjaguwar, bring a rawer feel to their grooveled heavy jams, with elements of blues-rock titans Traffic and Cream. Operating in roughly the same patch as Wooden Shjips, the People’s full length debut Steeple, Steeple issued in 2010, followed the well-received Tidings, Tidings which compiled the band’s singles to date. Their attendant gigs in support of the LP have seen the quartet become a live act to be contended with, sharing stages with The Besnard Lakes and Dinosaur Jr. In addition to Dead Skeletons, a raft of bands will be getting their passports stamped prior to arrival at Camp and Furnace, proof of the Psych Fest’s international credentials. Recent graduates of SXSW and the Austin Psych Fest ANCIENT RIVER bring their grunge/ garage/rock n’ roll mash up to these shores direct from Florida. From even further afield Aussie trio DARK BELLS, who recently relocated to Blighty, will be showing the locals how they mastered drone rock Sydney-style. Slightly closer to home, female-fronted psych/garage pop ensemble THE ALTERED HOURS make the journey across the Irish Sea for one of their first gigs in the UK. Hot off the press, current UK buzz band of the moment and Rough Trade signings PALMA VIOLETS will be returning to the city at Psych Fest, following on from their scintillating double header with Savages last month. Local big-hitters include Echo & the Bunnymen legend WILL SERGEANT, doom drone lords MUGSTAR, DJ outings from both CLINC and THE CORAL and classic pop-psych tunes from recent Bido Lito! cover star EDGAR SUMMERTYME. At the tougher end of the spectrum Leeds’ six-piece HOOKWORMS and superlative Liverpudlian trio THE WILD EYES can be found. Meanwhile, juxtaposing psych and indie pop, MILK MAID, who released superb second album Mostly No in June, also feature. Check the festival’s blog for the full menu. A banquet of bespoke bands then, at the debut outing of Merseyside’s very own 14 Hour Technicolor Dream. liverpoolpsychfest. com


15 September â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 25 November

The UK Biennial of Contemporary Art www.biennial.com


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Bido Lito! September 2012

Words: Chris Chadwick Photography: Charlotte Patmore Nostalgia is a potent substance. Regardless of the experiences that shape us and the decisions that make us who we are, sometimes all we need is one minute and ten seconds of music to transport us back to the naïve bliss of our formative years. No matter where you go or what you do, somehow the music that you consume during your teenage years seems to stick with you. Perhaps it’s the lack of responsibility or the endless possibilities

six years living on the somewhat unreliable income that being a musician affords, as one third of Merseyside’s alternative indie heroes, Hot Club De Paris. Asked about how this new project - a collaboration with Paul Thompson (Nowhere Fast) on bass and Dave Kelly (Vasco Da Gama) on drums – came about, Rafferty replies, “It’s just friends forming a band really; I’d been recording Vasco’s EP so I just chatted to Dave about whether he’d like to try playing some hardcore.” It sounds simple because it is: “We’re just having fun writing songs and hanging out with some beers,” straight-forward and without

you casually imagine for your future that make music at this age so much more than just an interest. Lyrics are about you, the music you listen to defines you. But somewhere along the line we all get a job, a dog or just a sense of perspective. We change our clothes, our tastes and our drinking habits. But we never quite kick the music. BAD MEDS’ guitarist and frontman Paul Rafferty is fiddling with some guitar pedals in the band’s practice space, laughing bemusedly as his dog chews carelessly on a drum stick. “I’ve been thinking about what the point of doing it is,” he says, pausing to contemplate before continuing, “I wouldn’t say it’s a mid-life crisis per se but it’s just the need to be in a band that is just fun.” It’s an understandable sentiment from a man who’s spent the last

pretence. The story behind the birth of Bad Meds is almost as uncomplicated as their writing process, as Paul openly reveals: “We spend seconds on the material, it’s probably writing itself whilst we’re not looking.” And as for recording? “I recorded it all here in the Hot Club practice room... Dave was done in two hours,” he says casually. Even when it came time to reveal the fruits of their labour, the band was once again understated. There was no fanfare when the band’s first five tracks were uploaded to SoundCloud a mere month or so ago, no social network campaign to promote the band, no website proclaiming the band’s endless talent. Paul laughs as he tells me, “If you look for it online all you really find is links to bad medicine.” Perhaps that’s the point. The band’s

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apparent disinterest in the aspects of band life that make a band a business leaves no room for any of the now customary bluster and bravado that traditionally surrounds emerging artists, instead leaving the music to speak for itself. And when it does? It’s fast, unrelenting and to the point. Fuzz-laden riffs and pounding drums accompanied by raucous, discordant vocals squeezed into under two minutes on Rainbow Unicorns and City Against Itself Itself, whilst elsewhere layers of feedback and dark, brooding guitars build gradually before the three-piece unleash chaos on Chewing Gum (With My Mouth Wide Open). Open) Clear reference points could be Minor Threat, Neckromantix and Cerebral Ballzy. This could be the early nineties, four wheels and a plank of wood under your feet and Bad Meds’ scowling hardcore punishing your ear drums, were it not for the sense of knowing self-deprecation that permeates the lyrics. “It’s kind of a homage to all the music I was listening to when I was a teenager. I guess it’s just a teenage punk band from the perspective of a thirty year old,” laughs Rafferty. It’s a contradiction of sorts; teenage punk, built on a sense of naïve self importance, injustice and outsider status, in this case spewing from the mouth of an all too wise thirty-something musician. There’s absurd twists, the angrily repeated refrain of Hoax Apocalypse slyly poking fun at the hyperbole of selfcentred punk lyricism, whilst Rainbow Unicorns is a testament to the band’s willingness not to take themselves too seriously. The singer seems all too aware that the picture doesn’t quite compute. “I like going to hardcore gigs,” he protests before conceding, “but I don’t like going to them every day”. In a strange way, Bad Meds could be more accurately described as outsiders than any of their predecessors, stoically playing the type of music typically reserved for those caught in-between pre-pubescence and adulthood. When it comes to what’s next the band’s frontman is typically vague: “I think we’d all like to put out an LP... it’s just about working out whether we can find someone to put it out or whether we can do it ourselves.” There’s no rush: having only formed weeks before releasing five tracks to the world and playing their first gig just weeks later, the band is still enjoying that new car smell, the excitement of being in a band without the pressure of global domination ambitions. Asked what Bad Meds means for the band’s other projects, Paul says assertively, “Whatever it is you do it’s always fun to have a hobby and I think some of the best work comes out of that attitude.” He chuckles before continuing, “The only project it’s eating into at the moment is looking after my dog.” His desire to keep the band as casual as possible is telling for a man whose life has revolved around making music for the better part of a decade. Paul Rafferty is certainly not alone in holding a strong sense of nostalgia for a time when life was simple and music was for fun. Perhaps, on this occasion, Bad Meds are just what the doctor ordered. soundcloud.com/madbeds Go to bidolito.co.uk to hear Bad Meds in session on the latest Bido Lito! Podcast.


31.08

DEER TICK

20.09

WET NUNS

30.09

SILVER APPLES & BLUE ORCHIDS

06.10

FIELD MUSIC

10.10

PINS

13.10

THE INVISIBLE

24.10

DRY THE RIVER

26.10

DAN LE SAC & FRIENDS

27.10

TWO GALLANTS

29.10

CLOCK OPERA

29.10

CHAIN AND THE GANG

07.11

ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI

14.11

MYSTERY JETS

28.11

PURITY RING

01.12

BAND OF SKULLS

05.12

CHILLY GONZALES

15.12

IAN MCNABB

KAZIMIER

THE SHIPPING FORECAST

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

THE SHIPPING FORECAST

STUDIO 2

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

LEAF

KAZIMIER

THE SHIPPING FORECAST

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

KAZIMIER

CAPSTONE THEATRE

KAZIMIER


22

Bido Lito! September 2012

Previews/Shorts

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

Bringing a dose of psych rock from the city where the form was largely invented, San Fran’s SLEEPY SUN are steeped in the SLEEPY SUN golden sounds of their home town. Signed to ultra-hip label ATP Recordings, the band have built a sterling live reputation from touring alongside The Black Angels and Arctic Monkeys. AVIATOR and a resurgent EVA PETERSEN are in support. The Kazimier – 11th September

Experimental indie in the ballpark of Everything Everything and Little Comets will be the order BEAR CAVALRY of the day when BEAR CAVALRY play an excellent double header at The Shipping Forecast later in the month. Signed to Big Scary Monsters the band have been creating major waves of late with their intricate, eclectic avant pop. Fellow headliners are Liverpool’s very own math rock/cutting-edge pop quartet NINETAILS. The Shipping Forecast – 20th September

Tearing out of the Black Country in the first half of the 1980s, Dexy’s Midnight Runners DExY’S DEx DE ExY xY’ Y’S ’S were responsible for some of the finest music to come out of Britain in that period, with Searching For The Young Soul Rebels now deservedly hailed as a classic album. Sole remaining member and lead singer Kevin Rowland brings DEXY’S’ stomping neo-soul round again for one last hurrah. Philharmonic Hall – 24th September

Liverpool Fringe Festival

An alternative to its elder brother the Matthew St. Festival and a yearly institution in its own right, LIVERPOOL FRINGE FESTIVAL returns for 2012, yet on a far grander scale. This is first year the festival will take place without the backing of Liverpool City Council, and a huge programme of music anchored by the good souls at Antipop Records is in store across the Bank Holiday Weekend. With dozens of bands to choose from, there truly is something for the discerning gig goer. Taking place across no less than nineteen venues, including spaces not commonly part of the gig circuit such as Baa Bar, Django’s Riff and The Attic, the festival is testament to the huge wealth of talent in the city at present. Mello Mello hosts performances by, amongst others, MARRIED TO THE SEA, MINION TV, MUTO LEO, ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY, SO SEXUAL, and PETE BENTHAM & THE DINNERLADIES. The Lomax meanwhile has a huge crop of acts including NATALIE McCOOL (pictured), DEAD DUKES, CITIES TO SATELLITES, THE FIFTH MOVEMENT and CLEVER LITTLE TRAMPS as well as featuring an acoustic stage. The Zanzibar - the spiritual home of the Fringe - boasts the biggest line-up over the three days and showcases sets from OCEANIS, THE TEA STREET BAND, SENSORITES, ENDECI, LOW WINTER SUN, THE SUNDOWNERS, COLD SHOULDER and BALCONY STARS. Virtually all of the events are free entry with selected shows having a nominal door charge. Various venues - 24th - 27th August - liverpoolfringefestival.wordpress.com

Any event that sees the opulent surroundings of the main room at St. George’s Hall RENAISSANCE open to the public is an immediate attention grabber. RENAISSANCE have secured the iconic surroundings for their huge 20th Anniversary event and have pulled in some of dance music’s biggest names for the night, including GHOSTING SEASON, HERNAN CATTANEO and HENRY SAIZ. St. George’s Hall – 15th September

Early electronic pioneers who influenced everyone from Kraftwerk to Suicide and onto SILVER APPLES late period Blur, SILVER APPLES journey to Liverpool for what will be a must-see show. Reaching new audiences following appearances at ATP and Austin Psych Fest, tickets will be shifting swiftly to see this groundbreaking act in full flow, piloted by remaining founder member Simeon Coxe III. The Kazimier – 30th September

A must for fans of vintage Black Sabbath, olde English doom metal band BLACK MAGICIAN preside over BLACK MAGICIAN an unholy communion of gory riffs at their launch for debut LP Nature Is The Devil’s Church at The Pilgrim. The group will be joined by the sludge metal nihilism of IRON WITCH, and the subterranean ritual doom of CRYPT LURKER. The Pilgrim – 7th September

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Lark Lane Acoustic Festival

The weekend after the Fringe festival takes place another two day extravaganza is in store in the shape of the LARK LANE ACOUSTIC FESTIVAL. Making its debut outing, the event brings together twenty of the city’s finest acoustic acts in the bohemian enclave of the city’s Lark Lane district. Organized by Barbara Valentine, who has staged concerts at the wonderful St. Bride’s Church, and classical guitarist/composer Neil Campbell who performs at the event, the show runs from 2pm until 7.30pm over both the 1st and 2nd of September. Taking place at the beautiful English Heritage Grade 2 listed Christ Church on Linnet Lane, Aigburth, the festival continues the city’s recent tradition of hosting superb live events in ecclesiastical settings: St. Bride’s, St. Luke’s, the Scandinavian Church. These two days promise to provide a family friendly event with free admission for children; and the church will be licensed to sell wine and soft drinks. Saturday’s line-up includes amongst others THOM MORECROFT, DAVE O’ GRADY, KAYA, and JAZAMIN SINCLAIR. The following day sees LIZZIE NUNNERY (pictured) who will be showcasing tracks from her new LP Black Hound Howling made in collaboration with VIDAR NORHEIM. She will be joined by PAUL KAPPA, JO BYWTER, and TJ AND MURPHY, with many others also taking the stage. Tickets are priced at a very reasonable £5 per day. Christ Church, Linnet Lane (off Lark Lane) Aigburth - 1st and 2nd September


24

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews

Savages (Richard B.)

SAVAGES

Palma Violets - Death At Sea Evol and Harvest Sun @ Leaf It’s an odd thing when you spot a member of a band, wave at them and they come over looking perplexed saying, “You’re here early...” Such is the blissful modesty that is DEATH AT SEA. If you’re unlucky enough to be part of the queue when Death At Sea begin tonight – a queue which is snaking down the stairs and out the door - then you’re probably on time, but you’ll still be craning your neck to catch their first two tunes. If you’re lucky enough to catch a centimetre of floor space you’ll be watching their first single Drag in its entirety. It’s arguably one of the band’s best and most well-known songs, and tonight it is lipsynced to within an inch of its life by the buzzing crowd, but sadly it’s a bit of a flat performance. Remembering back to Drag Drag’s first fizzing live outing (back at Mello Mello’s Game Theory night in April), it’s hard not to draw comparisons here; are all of the lads still really behind this song, their anthem? Thankfully Skinny Wrists, Wrists and newbie

Sally follow on to kick up their stage presence Sally, and verve, so that by the time Sea Foam Green comes round they’re well back to being the Death At Sea we know so well. A cheeky classic rock out, particularly from guitarist Ruaidhri Owens, finishes their set to remind everyone why they came out early in the first place. Having played Manchester’s Deaf Institute to widespread approval the previous night, it seems as though everyone has watched the YouTube video of that set to get a glimpse at who the hell PALMA VIOLETS are. Evidently impressed enough, the crowd more than healthily sized for a band who are still somewhat shrouded in mystery; such is the fickle nature of the gig-going community though, who have been gladly swept along by the wave of hyperbole that continues to spin around this quartet. Thankfully there are many gems to be gleaned from Palma Violets’ set, the first being that they’re quite deliciously reminiscent of The Sonics; that rollicking sixties sound drapes all over them, suiting the quartet down to the ground. The keys lend the songs an almost church-like quality (seemingly the antithesis of their performance), with their addition drawing parallels to a compact Arcade

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Fire, albeit abstractly. The unwavering audience is too wrapped up in their kaleidoscope of a performance to notice that the band haven’t even bothered to introduce any of their songs. Do we know who Palma Violets are yet? We’re not entirely sure, but anyone who can successfully channel bands like The Monks and The Apparitions are certainly worth keeping an eye on. The night moves into the glorious when, in the form of SAVAGES, the afterbirth of punk blows out the teeth of the people in the front row. Frontwoman and lead vocalist Jehnny Beth (formerly of John And Jehn) captures an androgynous beauty that Shakespears Sister would have been jealous of. She pouts, stares and juts in time with the razor sharp Joy Division-esque post-punk laid down by her bandmates. It’s a little gushing to say so, but their performance is utterly spellbinding and compelling; while the band remain laissezfaire on stage, people’s limbs are flailing as though independent from their bodies, while all eyes are rapt on Jehn’s face. As the goth pop perfection of Shut Up is performed to hypnotic effect, it becomes impressively unnerving to be part of this crowd.

They draw the curtain on the night with their single Husbands, which echoes around the room in the manner of the great Siouxsie Sioux, further instilling their post-punk credentials. Savages are a force to be reckoned with and could well be on the path to musical history greatness on the showing of this performance. Liverpool’s gig of the year? Sorry, but yes it is. Naters Philip

THRESHOLD FUNDRAISER Camp & Furnace

People often assume that only charities are allowed fundraisers. Anyone else looking to put on events must depend upon advertising, wealthy benefactors or that winning lottery ticket. Those responsible for Threshold Festival have come up with an alternative solution: how about a gig to pay for a gig? This small gang with big ambitions have always tried to cater for everyone, with past events taking over the cavernous CUC and the whole of the Baltic Triangle. This ambition has often left them open to accusations of being


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26

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews

Threshold Fundraiser (Mike Brits)

spread too thin, a balance redressed by today’s event as they pack all of their ideas into Camp & Furnace until it is fit to burst. As a genuine all-day event, which gets

underway at midday, the early afternoon fun is dominated by the kids. The live art stand, craft workshops and ping pong tables are constantly surrounded by a hive of energetic, excited faces.

Even the simple pleasure of pushing a toy rat down a drainpipe is eagerly devoured by the early youthful attendees. Meanwhile, the adults engage in the not-

as-cool-as-it-sounds-but-still-pretty-cool Yarn Bombing, or pick up some retro bargains from Pillbox’s vintage clothes stall or Sadie’s vintage furniture collection. The more reserved kick back with a home brew and a luxury cupcake (both locally sourced) and enjoy the impressively versatile folk-e-oke stylings of 62 PIECES OF LEGO. As the shadows lengthen and the average age creeps up, the music moves from pleasant distraction to main event. SILENT CITIES’ Simon Madison is the first to make an impression, although initially not a positive one. A nervous start is made all the more glaring by Madison’s use of a Marmite falsetto, made famous by Muse’s Matt Bellamy. Thankfully some interaction with familiar faces in the crowd is all it takes to bring him out of his shell, and the simplistic beauty of his finger-picked acoustic laments becomes endearingly apparent. The friendly banter between musicians and audience develops into a theme of the evening, and becomes indicative of the event itself. The raffle ends up more like a stand-up routine, with co-comperes Sly Lox & Cheeky Monkey riffing back and forth like a bearded French & Saunders. Speaking of riffing, my favourite new discovery, THE 69 WATTS, unleash a warehousestorming set that combines dirty blues and space rock. Lengthy jams may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but their power and passion more


Reviews Bido Lito! September 2012

27


28

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews

Tuesday 4th CHURCH OF LOVE & RUIN + WHAT CHEER? BRIGADE (US, 20 piece. Marching Band) + Very special guest DAN LE SAC . £8 adv Saturday 8th ALLO DARLIN' + Special guests. £8 adv Tuesday 11th SLEEPY SUN + Guests. £10 adv Saturday 22nd 10 BANDS 10 MINUTES - Married to the Sea + More TBC

than make up for any lack of precision. SCIENCE OF THE LAMPS is Kaya Herstad’s best incarnation yet, injecting a hitherto unseen playfulness into her songs. The result is an alluring hybrid of driving rock and burlesque blues, accompanied by a band including the equally honey-voiced Grethe Borsum and an ever-growing phalanx of backing singers. THE THESPIANS arguably earn more kudos for performing with a new drummer at a day’s notice than their spirited, if limited, set of schoolyard indie, but as a young band in every sense they have the potential to improve. It’s left to WE THE UNDERSIGNED to steal the show, and give further credence to the idea that they are the city’s most underrated band. Adding liberal splashes of spice and colour, WTU bring the Stankh - what they call their fusion of funk, reggae, rock and rap - and the house down. Regardless of whether the event raises enough funds, The Threshold Fun(d)raiser certainly manages to raise the levels of fun. Mo Stewart

ALIF ENSEMBLE

over with such professionalism that you wonder if they are perhaps intentional. Each piece features vocals by Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, who sings both self-penned lyrics and poems by famous Arab poets. Although perhaps not everybody in the audience could claim to understand his words, the emotion imbued in his voice says much about the feelings he wishes to convey; and the political complexities of his homeland (Palestine) are sure to seep into his songs. Tonight’s performance offers a glimpse into traditional Arab music of many varieties while intelligently employing forwardthinking sounds and techniques that successfully bridge the gap between the past and the future of multi-cultural music. The speed at which this project has been put together is testament to the quality of not just their individual musicality but the collective ideas displayed by Alif Ensemble as a group. This is an assured, intriguing and often thrilling performance. Jonny Davis

BODDIKA

Huxley – Mickey Pearce

Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival @ Philharmonic Hall

MiFest @ The Shipping Forecast

ALIF ENSEMBLE is a project conceived by rock drummer turned oud player Khyam Allami for the London 2012 Festival. He has brought together a collection of contemporary musicians from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Iraq to compose and perform a number of pieces representing a cross-section of music from the Arab world. Although intended for London 2012 Festival, we are treated to the premiere tonight as part of Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival 2012. The decision to blend electronic and acoustic sounds could easily have posed difficulties for these compositions, both in live execution and sonic structure, but Allami uses a variety of intriguing techniques to avoid the pitfalls of folktronica. Picking intricate but measured flourishes on his oud, he acts as the ballast on which each song is formed. He frequently uses a reverse delay effect which cleanly bridges the gap between the traditional and the modern while providing a smoke-drift sensation as the notes morph seamlessly into one another. Maurice Louca provides the electronic underlay, which consists of a mesh of drones and beats added to by percussionists Ayman Mabrouk and Khaled Yassine, who share a mixture of drum kit, drum pads and traditional Arabic drums. What is striking is the quality of the performance: having played together for just one week with only two days as a full group, the intricacy of the stops, alternate timings and back and forth interplay is astounding. Minor hiccups can be observed but these are breezed

When it was announced that Abandon Silence would be collaborating with Selective Hearing to curate a stage at MiFest, the biggest surprise was that they hadn’t done this sort of thing more often. The likes of Eliphino, Joy Orbison and young heavyweights Bondax made it one of the best dance line-ups of the summer, only increasing the disappointment when it was cancelled due to bad weather and a “less than friendly local council”. In a remarkable turnaround, the three days were divided across three venues in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool for an astonishingly cheap £7 per night. Swamp 81’s MICKEY PEARCE gets things started, easing us into the evening with the sharply programmed drum sequences and lurking basslines that has had recent 12’’ Don’t Ask, Don’t Get on repeat all year. Midnight passes and The Hold is already overflowing, with door staff turning people away in their dozens and kids literally leaping over the gate to get in. Make no mistake of this: a sell-out for a local night outside of term-time is mightily impressive even with the help of MiFest and Selective Hearing. Next up is Tsuba’s HUXLEY, whose unique blend of UK garage and contemporary house has seen him become one of the UK’s most soughtafter producers this year. Within minutes of his set it’s easy to see why, as he launches into highlights from the brilliant Out The Box and Let It Go EPs, shaking The Hold to its core with some robust basslines and layers of infectious synths and abrasive percussion.

Tuesday 25th SIMONE FELICE GROUP + Special guest SIMI STONE (The Duke & The King) £12.50adv Thursday 27th Liverpool Comedy Festival WIT TANK + Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer Saturday 29th Liverpool Comedy Festival: BEDWYR WILLIAMS & SIMON MUNNERY Sunday 30th SILVER APPLES (NYC) & BLUE ORCHIDS live. £10 adv . Sunday 2nd DEAD BELGIAN + NEUVEAU DJANGO £6 Thursday 6th & Friday 7th FEAST OF FANTASIA An evening of Theatre and Cullinary delights. Limited tickets Sunday 9th THE SUMMER CUP - A British Picnic including Hampers, cocktails and musical entertainment. £7/10 -The Garden continues throughout Septemeber -

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


30

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews whether it’s Julio Bashmore, Boddika or just the residents, everyone is there to completely lose themselves in the music and dance themselves into the ground. With “big changes” promised for the new season, it seems inevitable that it will outgrow its current venue. What’s certain though is that no matter where it is it will take all those hundreds of beaming faces with it. Local producer Melé recently called it his favourite night in the world. We’re not going to disagree with you there, lad. Mike Townsend

FESTEVOL GARDENS The Kazimier and Gardens

Clinic (Adam Edwards)

Last up is BODDIKA. Now on his own after he was originally scheduled to play back-to-back with Joy Orbison, the London-based producer has a lot of hype to contend with. Any fears are allayed as he responds with one of the best sets Abandon Silence has ever seen. In

the midst of all the chaos, Mickey Pearce and Huxley stand alongside Boddika in awe at the atmosphere they have created. It’s far too hot, you’re drenched in your own sweat and the lad next to you has knocked his third beer over your new shirt, yet it’s impossible to care.

LIVERPOOL: WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE

MUSIC / ART / CULTURE / FOOD / OPINION

WWW.SEVENSTREETS.COM

As the crowd erupts in “Boddika’s a Scouser” chants (still trying to work that one out), the night comes to an end and the exhausted crowd members drag themselves back up the stairs and back to reality. This is what you get with Abandon Silence:

With just under forty bands on show, as well as ample and more than able DJs, two Saturdays in August will burn in the cerebral cortexes of many for a long time to come. Events like these FESTEVEOL GARDENS alldayers are ambitious and you never know if they will be a hit or a miss. Standing here surveying the crowds (and, dare we say it, ‘good vibe’) sprawling across the Kazimier’s club and garden spaces, it’s evident that it’s nothing other than a resounding hit. There are that many bands lined up ahead of us over the two nights that they all can’t get a mention (but we’ll do our best).


Reviews Bido Lito! September 2012 OXYGEN THIEVES are responsible for really getting things going at FestEvol Part One, showcasing some pretty interesting and properly dark garage rock. It’s grim and at times pretty heavy too, channelling Cobain and even, bizarrely, Lemmy, to awesome effect. THE DIRTY RIVERS, fronted by a flamehaired Mick Jagger-crossed-with-a-prototypeScouse-Rob Tyner, are a right rock and roll throwback. They’ve certainly got the chops and, with the song Shooters, could they also have the tunes? TICKS are back after a long sabbatical, and seem to be stronger than they ever were. With Ferg (Drums) and George Rix (Keys) being with them for a number of years now their sound is all coming together: think 80s Talking Heads crossed with a rhythmic smattering of Hot Chip, then change the subject matter to invasive tabloid tragedies involving the dark underbelly of the British psyche and there you have Ticks. In amongst all that is the best song of the day so far in Our Little Girl. Manchester band FOLKS, alongside Wirral’s own THE SUNDOWNERS, take us back to the golden age of classic sounding rockpop. Sixties ethics and seventies FM-friendly melodies are brought to mind, whilst evoking Fleetwood Mac, The Mamas And The Papas and The Byrds. Despite suffering a complete equipment meltdown, LOVECRAFT still manage to be entertainingly superb with a now settled line-

31

Festevol (Robin Clewley)

up, churning out twisted pop at its best. Their debut album Whistle And I’ll Come To You, My Lad still provides the backbone of their set, but there is an exciting hint at where they are going with the new material on show. OWLS*, singularly brooding as usual, lead

the crowd into a black gothic night as they display remnants of Bill Callahan and Leonard Cohen, supercharged by Carl Cook’s frankly frightening guitar skills. Finally, rounding off the first leg of FestEvol are CLINIC, and what can we say about them that

Alan Paine Barracuta Barbour ToKiTo Barbour Carhartt Common People Dockers Edwin Japan Farah Vintage Fjallraven Folk Clothing Folk Shoes Han Kjobenhavn Herschel Supply Co Gloverall Grenson Natural Selection Norse Projects Nudie Jeans Co Oliver Spencer Penfield Red Wing Shoes Sandqvist Sperry Topsider Suit Denmark Sunspel Superga Universal Works Wolsey YMC

hasn’t been said before? It was a minor tragedy that Bubblegum didn’t break them a more mainstream bit of slack but we still love them. Lion Tamer is frighteningly angry and uplifting at the same time, while Walking With Thee is met with crowd punches in the air. It seems it’s

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32

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews not just us who are sent home happy. Seven days later and FestEvol Part Two is kicked off with guts and attitude by BROKEN MEN, proving to be a good portent for the day. All Dr. Martens, quiffs and gusto on tap, Broken Men emit a Fatima Mansions-era Cathal Coughlan vibe. Outside on the Garden Stage PIXELS jump about from a Vampire Weekend sound to suddenly being in the jazz fusion world of Galliano (and, at worst, Jamiroquai). It’s a mish-mash that, although catchy enough, doesn’t always work here. Next up is MASHEMON who, whilst gaining a drummer, may have lost something in the translation of their electronically-formed songs. Facts is a highlight, though it’s only when drummer Andy Fernihough is under the headphones that you hear the beats coming to the fore. THE LOUD, aided and abetted by keys and an additional voice, push their now powerful glam-spirited sound forwards. It will be interesting to see how a four-piece will suit them but it appears that it fits neatly already. KUSANAGI lead a frenetic instrumental assault on the Garden. If you’re going to attempt this type of music you need precision: though this isn’t always there, Kusanagi still manage to maintain our interest, and in Resistance Is Character Forming they have a winner. Inside, all-girl PINS do their best impression of Vivian Girls, all boom-boom-bash and atmosphere. They look and sound swell but can they transcend the many other C86 soundalike late eighties bands that are about?

And then come headliners OUTFIT, who not only steal the show but also manage to get their heads out in front of Clinic to seal FestEvol’s Gold medal. The biggest crowd of the two events is packed into The Kazimier’s main room when Outfit are on and, quite frankly, it goes off! In Dashing And Passing and Everything All The Time they possess some bona fide pop classics, heartsick, alluring and sexy; and with Drakes and Humboldts they now show that their earlier songs were no flukes. We’ve got our fingers crossed that they could just make the debut album we all want them to, and on this evidence it’ll be a debut to get excited about. As we get our shoes dirty giving it beans to THUNDERBIRD GERARD’s Thunderbird (twice) there’s just about time to reflect on the delights provided by FestEvol over the past twenty hours and forty bands. Same time next year please. Mick Chrysalid

POLICE & THIEVES Louis Barabbas

Free Rock & Rock @ MelloMello “It was a dark and stormy night. In a rugged and dirty old town a man was pining for his love, the only thing that would keep him there. Yet their happiness together could not be fulfilled, for his inamorata was imprisoned in a tower guarded by... a dog.” This ill-fated vaudeville tale, with an Edgar

Outfit (David Howarth)

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


......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25/8 ....................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The . . . .Kazimier .............................................................. ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... .........................................................................................................

Tickets currently on sale at bidolito.co.uk Kazimier Krunk-adelic

25/8

Holy Other

31/8

Deer Tick

1/9

Mothlight â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A Dream Unfolding

6/9

Cate Le Bon

11/9

Sleepy Sun

15/9

City Rise (EP Launch)

23/9

Tall Ships

Camp & Furnace The Kazimier Milk:Studios Leaf

The Kazimier Format

The Shipping Forecast

Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia 29/9 ......................................................................

. . . . .Camp . . . . .&. .Furnace .......................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... 30/9 . . . . .The ................................................................. . . . . . . . . Kazimier .............................................................. ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... 13/10 . . . . .Parr . . . . . . . . . .Studio ....................................................... . . . . . . . . .Street . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... 16/10 . . . . .The . . . . . . . . . . . Forecast ...................................................... . . . . . . . . Shipping .............................................................. ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... 25/10 . . . . .Parr . . . . . . . . . .Studio ....................................................... . . . . . . . . .Street . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... 29/10 . . . . .The ................................................................. . . . . . . . . Kazimier .............................................................. ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... 29/10 . . . . .The . . . . . . . . . . . Forecast ...................................................... . . . . . . . . Shipping .............................................................. ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... Comprehensive . . . . . . . . . . . . gig . . . .listings . . . . . . .can . . . .be . . .found . . . . . on . . .the . . . Gig . . . .Guide . . . . . ./gig-guide ................... ...................................................................... . . . . . . listings . . . . . . . .can . . . be . . . found . . . . . .on . . .the . . .Ticket . . . . . . Shop . . . . . /ticket-shop .......................... Full. ticket ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ......................................................................

Silver Apples The Invisible

Fossil Collective Euros Childs Clock Opera

Chain And The Gang

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34

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews

Allan Poe-like charm, is typical of tonight’s opening act, travelling troubadour LOUIS BARABBAS. The Tell-Tale Hound, a spoken-word cabaret blues track, sees Barabbas conversing with himself as the man and the forever-panting dog, over a rapidly-plucked sequence of quick, sharp blues and diminished chords. Making the throaty canine noises of howls and growls and pants and whines, he’s like a rabid Rolf Harris. Tonight Barabbas, with waxed moustache, theatrical arm movements and puncturing, penetrating eyes, expresses his intent to sing us tales of love. But don’t be fooled, these songs are far from the soppy variety. With violent, slothful and loathing lovers, he manages to construct a wild world in which the ridiculous and surreal outlaw convention. The lustful overtones of disgrace and ruin in Dying Of Something (I Don’t Want) show love at its worst as Louis recalls the tale of the man who died in a brothel, a story he claims is “semi-autobiographical, only it hasn’t happened yet.” With tonight’s solo performance of gargled trumpeting vocals, rhythmical foot stomps and dancing around the stage with guitar in tow while trying to out-stare the audience, the absence of tour backing-band The Bedlam Six goes completely unnoticed until he jests, “They would have been here, but I couldn’t afford to pay them.” In You Gotta Get Mean With Your Love, a classic blues-style duet, Louis delivers both male and female lines by mixing lugubrious baritone with falsetto, and then

light of everything that’s wrong in the world through a long list of reasons explaining why “the youth are so uncouth” (think 99 Problems here). But maybe their inclusion of more trivial explanations such as paying the dreaded TV Licence Fee means that the band’s outlook is not all doom and gloom. Indeed, later songs come across as rather fun and bouncing, including Culture Of Fear Fear, which has a good old dig at the Daily Mail and its entire blinkered readership. It’s tempting to pigeon-hole the three-piece into reggae-rock, or even make comparisons with The Clash, but some songs are more folkheavy, sounding like a tamer Dropkick Murphys. They end with a very controlled performance of Billy Bragg’s Which Side Are You, with every chord, note and line delivered exactly on beat. It gives Police & Thieves a cooler edge, which stops them breaking off into guitar-solo wonderland, thankfully. With assertive and poignant lyrics, Police & Thieves ultimately succeed in stealing the crowd’s respect. Amy Greir

PURE LOVE

Louis Barabbas ()Matthew Thomas)

setting out to argue with himself as the married couple, tearing himself to shreds. The world of Louis B is clearly one of madness. The only problem with tonight’s first act is that after exposure to such amusing tongue-incheek musical satire it’s hard at first to get into

Sat 22nd to Sun 23rd September, 7:30pm.

CATFISH THERAPY

Fri 28th September, 8:00pm.

KATHRYN TICKELL NORTHUMBRIAN VOICES Fri 5th October, 8:00pm.

RALPH McTELL AN ENGLISH HEARTBEAT Sat 6th October, 8:00pm.

the headline band, whose very name - POLICE & THIEVES - would suggest a highly politicised and provocative group. Indeed the band’s first song of the evening, Riot, a reggae number in remembrance of the 2011 riots, is very evocative of the group’s namesake. The song makes

Fri 2nd November, 8:00pm.

HOT CLUB OF COW TOWN

Sunday 11th November, November, 7:30pm.

Sunday 18th November, 8:00pm.

GEORGIE FAME IN CONCERT GEORGIE FAME & SONS

Wednesday 14th November, 8:00pm.

MATRACA BERG

Sat 13th October, 8:00pm.

Friday 16th November, 8:00pm.

KARINE POLWART

Saturday 17th November, 8:00pm.

EASY STAR ALL-STARS

Sun 4th November, 8:00pm.

Thursday 15th November November, 8:00pm.

Sun 14th October, 8:00pm.

By using their chosen nomenclature to project their hopes for future admiration, the now aptly-named PURE LOVE should do little else but inspire devotion, ferocious defence and

BOBBY VALENTINO & B.J. COLE STEELIN’ THE NIGHT AWAY WITH SPECIAL GUESTS TOM DOUGHTY, CHES & AL CHERRY

NEARLY DAN REELIN’ IN THE YEARS TOUR NICK HARPER

The Zanzibar

SAD CAFE

WOODY MANN

THEA GILMORE

Thursday 22nd November, 8:00pm.

GALINA VALE

Friday 23rd November, 8:00pm.

NINE BELOW ZERO

Saturday 24th November November,, 8:00pm.

SHOW OF HANDS


36

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews making themselves known. It readies the ground for what promises to be an energetic and memorable show. Given that tonight’s date is part of their first full European tour, and a pre-emptive promotional strike for their debut album due in October, expectations are palpably high. Luckily, almost inevitably, these expectations are matched and then subsequently beaten as the trans-Atlantic rockers throw everything they have and more at a baying crowd. Songs like the ridiculously addictive Bury My Bones make their appearance alongside the heart-onsleeve intensity of Handsome Devil’s Club, and Carter is his usual ball of energy, getting in the mix early on. By halfway through the set he’s already hanging from the ceiling and surveying the maddening crowd. Carroll stands ably by, providing big riffs, tight solos and the required poses to make it in this dirty game. As the night wears on, the songs, audience and the band themselves ratchet the intensity up even further. Carter, delighted with the reaction he and his cohorts are consistently receiving, thanks and curses all and sundry in equal measure. By now those in attendance are pushing forwards, eager to be a part of the reckless pantomime unfolding on stage. One song and two stage-divers later and it’s all over, dissipating almost as quickly as it had started. No encore is forthcoming: always leave them wanting more. Away from the heat of performance, Carter and Carroll belie their on-stage characters. They are an appealing double act and always willing to meet and greet their public. On Bury My Bones, Carter declares how he’s “sick of singing about hate, it’s never going to make a change.” You know, he might just be onto something. Joseph Viney

KENDAL CALLING Lowther Deer Park

Pure Love (Mike Sheerin)

the type of fervour usually reserved for those with chemically-imbalanced brains. Perhaps ironically, the only neurological

condition you need to be afflicted by in the typically humid Zanzibar Club tonight is a large dose of good, old-fashioned common sense.

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

Upon entering, we immediately spy vocalist Frank Carter and guitarist Jim Carroll mingling with fans, hawking merchandise and generally

As we arrive at KENDAL CALLING festival late on the afternoon of the opening day (Friday) to be greeted by the complete absence of a queue and an impressive sea of tents, it’s clear that not only are the sell-out crowd eager to enjoy the whole of Friday’s action, but also that many have opted to beat the jams by coming up a day early. Blue skies and barely any clouds are the order of the day, giving the large open spaces decorated with sculptures, bunting and picnicking families a warm, fuzzy feeling of wholesomeness. Coupled with the fact that there’s the promise of a Liverpool invasion of sorts (SOUND OF GUNS, THE CHEAP THRILLS, MELE, and KING TWIT are among the Scouse contingent), it’s fair to say that the prospects for the weekend are looking good. With a shift in activities from day to night, it really feels like a festival for all. The Happy Slap area provides circus lessons in the daytime, however in the evening it turns into a fire-


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Henry Priestman

(The Christians, It's Immat Immaterial) a erial) at

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hummingbirds

join us on the Mersey Ferries for a series of live commemorative gigs,

50 years after The Beatles aatles last played plaayed on board! board!

For FULL GIG details ttails & ticket booking visit www.merseyferries.co.uk www.merseyferries.co.uk TICKETS TICKE TICK ETS from from

All evening shows start ttart 7.30pm

No booking fee

licensed bar av aavailable vailable vailable on board

££10 10


38

Bido Lito! September 2012

Reviews

Guest Column Bernie Connor, The Sound of Music

It is indeed a sad and beautiful world. Often simultaneously. I celebrated team GB’s Olympian dream by putting me neck out and writhing around in utter agony for a fortnight. Tony Crean suggested that the nearest I could ever come to a sports injury would be indeed falling asleep on the sofa during the opening ceremony and waking up with the stiffest of necks. I couldn’t look down. It became the story. It filtered in through The Sound Of Music. Unable to move, I nestled meself on the sofa and ploughed through a metric tonne of ‘new’ music. This is usually a weekly process in which the golden nuggets that fill my airspace are listened to, listened to again and put into some sort of semblance of order to be exposed to you, and a wider audience. I’ve never found it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I can tell within the first few bars whether I like a record or not. If it doesn’t jump out of the speaker and grab you by the throat immediately, it might not be the greatest record you’ve ever heard. And I hope every record I ever play will be just that. Neck pain and personal enjoyment make strange bedfellows: every wondrous moment is offset by instant agony each time the head is moved. Listening to the wondrous, dulcet tones of Lend Me Your Comb by Carl Perkins can be positively dangerous. On numerous occasions I tried to gently shake my head to show my appreciation, only to be reminded by the numbskulls that, ‘if you do that one more time, you soft git, yer gonna end up in hospital.’ And so it goes….the advances in medical technology dictated that I was never gonna die and, if I just let the loud pop music play, life would get better when augmented by high strength ibuprofen and patience. Once the pain had subsided considerably the sound of music took to the road. Firstly to the Picket, where Bill Sykes launched his excellent book about Roger Eagle, Sit Down! Listen To This! Roger was the colossus who ran Eric’s here in Liverpool in the 1970s and was the catalyst and springboard for the music scene that exists to this very day. He is one of the most important figures in the history of British pop and, sadly, outside of a small group of enthusiasts, he is relatively unknown. Oh, and he inadvertently invented northern soul in Manchester in the mid-sixties. The great and good, former cellar-dwellers turned out en masse to celebrate this great fella’s enormous achievements. It’s a fascinating book; anyone with only a passing interest in the last fifty years of music will be enthralled by the story. It’s even got a sad ending. Brilliant. Last Saturday (the first day without pain for two weeks) The Sound Of Music ventured to the FestEvol garden in the Kazimer’s new wonderful, outdoor facility, if that’s the right word. Er, at the risk of sounding like me Grandad, I was pop-eyed with amazement. I’ve been around these parts a long time, seen all kinds of shit come and go. Venues with solely an eye on fleecing punters have been the accepted norm for decades, nothing ever changes. The Kazimer garden is one of the most wonderful spaces this city has ever witnessed. On the second leg of the FestEvol thang there was an atmosphere that I imagine the Fillmore and its contemporaries in mid-sixties San Francisco had, more than just coloured lights and affected youngsters. Just beautiful, man. Very unlike Liverpool and anything that had gone before, it raised the bar as to how entertainment can be presented. I hope it stays; we need to advance ourselves to the next level of humanity. Wherever that may be. Bernie Connor presents The Sound Of Music. Available weekly from bernieworld.podomatic.com

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

juggling spectacular with loud, booming breakbeat protruding from the DJ booth inside the tent. Even though it holds no more than thirty people it still makes for a brilliant atmosphere. Chai Wallah’s travelling event tent provides a perfect selection of world music combined with delicious food, and a chai tea concoction that is the perfect thing to imbibe at a festival (can be enjoyed with our without brandy). We manage to catch several acts at this chilled haven of wonderfulness, including the legendary DREADZONE, turntablist DJ SWITCH, and a really interesting eight-piece band called LAZY HABITS. One of the acts which really stands out is KING PORTER STOMP, a Brighton based funk and ska band, with just the right balance of talent and swagger. The powerful lyrics are so eloquently rapped by lead man Tim Jones that they put you in a sort of skanking trance (a skance?). The crowd steadily builds, packing out the whole tent with people from all walks of life, from the hardcore, nomadic festival goers to the clean-cut graduates proudly wearing their university hoodies. However, the most enticing and tantalising performers in Chai Wallah’s appear on the Friday night. SLAMBOREE, are a festival in themselves; providing over an hour of undiluted theatrical, circus inspired performance including jugglers, burlesque dancers, singers, dancers, bongo players – it’s truly one of the most exciting and wondrous things to witness and is an excellent introduction to the festival. Early Sunday afternoon sees THE HUMMINGBIRDS and THE TEA STREET BAND joining The Cheap Thrills on the Calling Out stage, giving a Liverpudlian warm up for Sunday’s top biller JAMES. As undoubtedly impressive as James, and fellow headliner DIZZEE RASCAL, are, it’s still the small, quirky things which really make Kendal Calling shine. The Koppärberg Kube, the House Party (complete with bedside cabinets and washing machines), the Sailor Jerry’s van (make your very own temporary sailor tats for free)… all these things together make this festival unique and special. Kendal Calling should be regarded as a benchmark for other festivals to strive to match. Isabelle Salter

DAMIEN JURADO & MEGAFAUN Bird

Harvest Sun @ Leaf Following their acclaimed turn at The Kazimier the previous weekend, BIRD play to a comfortably busy early doors Leaf crowd tonight. Lead singer Adele Emmas, in a red dress that seemingly featured in the video to Wuthering Heights, leads the songs with her remarkable voice, underscored by billowing clouds of shimmering noise supplied by guitarist Sian Williams.

The creepy Victoriana of Intro (Willow Waly) segueing into Shadows makes the most of drummer Alexis’ rolling rhythmic patterns, revolving around an insistent guitar arpeggio and Adele and Sian’s seamless harmonies. Wrapping up with a cover of Bauhaus’ biggest hit, goth anthem Bella Lugosi’s Dead, Dead the trio supplant the original’s Ziggy Stardust-inspired stomp for something nearer to the gloomy atmospherics of This Mortal Coil. Beginning his set without introduction, co-headliner DAMIEN JURADO reduces the audience chatter between sets to zero within a few seconds of him starting to play, a considerable feat for a guy armed only with an acoustic guitar. Almost twenty years since his first release on Sub Pop, the Seattle native has the commanding stage presence of a welltravelled musician, firmly planting himself a few feet back from the microphone to allow his stunning voice full reign. Led by spare strumming with his vocals front and centre Jurado’s songs, reduced to their basic structures in places, are arguably better than the full-blown recorded versions on recent LP Maraqopa. Maraqopa His rich melodies evoking Harvestera Neil Young, the pleading Museum Of Flight proves to be the shiniest gem in a set strewn with jewels, as Jurado holds the audience’s rapt attention for the entire performance. Demonstrating how the songs work in a full band setting, MEGAFAUN appear from the crowd and take to the stage to back Jurado on the closing two tracks of the set. After a changeover, whereby Jurado trades in performing for spectating by stepping down onto the venue floor, Megafaun’s set proper commences, which after the emotional firepower of Jurado’s performance proves to be mildly underwhelming. Formerly part of overlooked mid-2000s act DeYarmond Edison, which also featured some fella called Justin Vernon who went on to do quite well for himself, Megafaun’s early work crammed freejazz and musique concrète into their American heartland sound. Now a lesser part of their sonic make-up, the quartet largely seem to be in thrall to the sounds made by their countrymen in 1969 the year of country rock - as traces of Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, The Flying Burrito Brothers and, especially with their four-part harmonies, The Band are detectable. Amid the loping, laid-back tracks, fragments of their noisier tangents remain as passages of squalling guitar and jazz-like improvisation bubble to the surface, feeling slightly incongruous in their present setting. Apart from these reminders of the band’s roots in gnarlier sonic pastures, Megafaun’s material largely drifts past, superbly played by the quartet, the wise cracking bonhomie between the players going down a treat with the crowd, if not quite matching the excellence of Jurado’s prior showing. Richard Lewis


Issue 26 / September 2012  

September 2012 issue of Bido Lito! Featuring ESCO WILLIAMS, ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY, AFTERNAUT, BAD MEDS, PRODUCTION DECONSTRUCTION and much mo...