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Outfit Vasco Da Gama Loved Ones Wooden Shjips www.bidolito.co.uk bidolito bidolito.co.uk

Outfit by Jacob Chabeaux

Issue 15 September 2011

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Editorial

As Bido Lito! goes to press, the embers of the nation’s riots are finally burning out, but different tensions begin to build as the blame game and the rationalising begins. We’ve all got our own opinions as to whether the scenes that played out during mid-August were anything to do with youth disillusionment, poverty or a disenfranchisement with the ruling class, and the social post-mortem has a long way to run. Yet the resulting challenge to British music has come from a few different angles, both literal and ideological. I fear that we will not feel the real impact of the fire at the Sony/PIAS warehouse for months, possibly years to come. With labels such as Rough Trade, 4AD, XL, Full Time Hobby, Angular, Brainfeeder, Domino, Jagjaguwar, Memphis Industries, One Little Indian, Sub Pop, Warp and Young Turks losing as much as 90% of their physical stock in some cases, the implications will be further reaching than the obvious short term cashflow and insurance claim problems for the affected labels. As the record industry evolves in the digital age, the role of vinyl and that of the unique artefact has been repositioned in the process of selling music. Digital bundles will be given away and sold off cheap, in order to entice fans into purchasing the deluxe, physical versions. Losing all that physical stock, which will still need to be paid for, completely blows out the business model for existing campaigns. And without the funds accrued from the PIAS Warehouse existing campaigns, the amount of money the labels will then have to finance new projects and take risks on new artists will be drastically depleted. This will then drip down quickly, impacting independent record shops, press companies, radio pluggers, music magazines, indeed every facet of the recorded music family. The independent sector is the incubation ward of British music and, as a community, we need make sure the power switch is kept on. Smaller labels, such as Angular, who don’t have the reserves of the likes of the Beggars Group, may well be wiped from the musical map. Take a look at the list of labels and artists that have been impacted upon by the blaze at recordlabellove.com and pay to download a selection of their records today. We need to pull together. Another way in which we need to pull together is to address the ideological assault against music and wider youth culture that has become to inflame after the riots. Mirror journalist Paul Routledge decided to run a column in his rag that declared that ‘the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music’ was at the root of the unrest. He said that rap music ‘glorifies violence and loathing of authority, exalts trashy materialism and raves about drugs. The important things in life are the latest smart phone, fashionable jeans and trainers and idiot computer games.’ He then went on to call for a ban on ‘poisonous rap music.’ Where do you start?! Providing a run through a history of intergenerational misunderstanding when it comes to pop music would be an option. The key thing, however, that old Routledge has got so, so wrong, is one of pop music’s key defining principles: music is a vehicle through which young people express themselves. It is a method through which young artists talk about the worlds they live in, the issues around them and the troubles they face. It was the same in 1968, it was the same in 1981, and it’s the same in 2011. Banning music (which is clearly fucking ridiculous) would only result in the political class removing a key way of understanding what is going on in the lives of young people. If they spent twenty minutes listening to the music of our cities’ streets, they may well have seen the whole thing coming. Take a look at the root causes, find out where the anger comes from, because by the time it’s found its way into music, and is being expressed in song, it’s way too late. Craig G Pennington Editor

Bido Lito! September 2011

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Bido Lito!

Issue Fifteen - September 2011 bidolito.co.uk Bido Lito! Static Gallery, 23 Roscoe Lane Liverpool, L1 9JD info@bidolito.co.uk Editor Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk Assistant & Reviews Editor Christopher Torpey - reviews@bidolito.co.uk Photo Editor Jennifer Pellegrini - photos@bidolito.co.uk Designer Luke Avery - info@earthstudios.net Words Craig G Pennington, Christopher Torpey, Helen Weatherhead, Samuel Garlick, Phil Gwyn, Philip Gofton, Michael Pinnington, The Glass Pasty, Nik Glover, Richard Lewis, Lisa O’Dea, Bethany Garrett, N. Philip, Emma Weston, P. Lee Photographs Jennifer Pellegrini, Jacob Chabeaux, Javier Horcajada, John Johnson, Keith Ainsworth, Phil MacDonald Illustrations Ameé Christian, Charlie Hope

Proofreading Debra Williams - debra@wordsanddeeds.co.uk

Adverts To advertise in Bido Lito! please contact Another Media: bidolito@anothermedia.org 0151 708 2841


Features UNDRESSING OUTFIT

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In a world of knowing everything, perhaps all we need to know is something. Perhaps that something is OUTFIT.

WOODEN SHJIPS

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Their prototype bedrock beat has morphed into a cool pulse, and the frenzied cat-scratch guitars replaced by a swirling hum of fuzz.

LOVED ONES

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The latest in a spate of innovative bands from Liverpool, with a brilliant, world-spanning potential.

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ASHES TO ASHES, POWDER TO POWDER

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VASCO DA GAMA

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ATALONIA: A DESCENT TO CENTRAL EARTH

POWDER documents a band’s rise from nobodies to acclaimed stars, driven by the lead singer’s pain and torment.

Vasco are an act who strive for the unconventional: just as soon as it gets predictable, they slap you back into obscurity.

The Kazimier has gone from strength to strength with ever more ambitious events, conceived by a creative collective.

STATIC Autumn 2011 16 September

Harvest Sun Promotions Present

JEZ KERR (A Certain Ratio) ticketline.co.uk

23 September

Band In A Box Present Silent Cities, Northwalk, Babylon Leaf, The Reveres, Sheerwater

29 September

Mercy and AND Present Spectres of Spectacle

1 October

Static Gallery Present

8 October

Static Gallery Host

FOREST SWORDS VASCO DA GAMA seetickets.com mUmU residentadvisor.com

4-26 November Static Gallery Present

Part exhibition, part experimental gig space and part shop, Terminal Convention Liverpool will present a rolling programme of art and music events, including live link-ups with artists, DJs and VJs in international art spaces and clubs. Full list of artists, musicians and programme to be announced shortly. Facebook: Terminal Convention statictrading.com

Static, 23 Roscoe Lane, Liverpool, L1 9JD

Regulars 8 NEWS 20 RANTS/COMMENT 22 PREVIEWS/SHORTS 24 REVIEWS


News

Bido Lito! Dansette Our pick of this month’s #labelloving wax wonders...

Edited by Helen Weatherhead - news@bidolito.co.uk

#Labellove In the aftermath of the Sony/PIAS warehouse fire this month, Sean Adams, editor of DrownedinSound, has kindly put together a spreadsheet of all the affected labels that now need our support. Show some #labellove by checking it out and (legally) downloading some tunes, and/or keep your eyes peeled for local benefit gigs rumoured to be taking place in the city. recordlabellove.com

Forest Swords @ A.N.D. Festival Forest Swords, aka Matthew Barnes, will be playing a rare gig in the city as part of this year’s Abandon Normal Devices festival. The festival runs from 1st September until 2nd October with Matt bringing his Wirral-landscape-inspired electronic/dub, in the form of an installation, to Static Gallery on 29th September. “My commission takes the form of three recorded pieces, inspired by no longer existing Liverpool places, which have been pressed onto fragile, self-destructing ‘x-ray’ vinyl”, he said. forestswords.co.uk

Acoustic Sessions for Allerton Ex-Idles man Dan Nolan has teamed up with Lazy Genius Promotions to set up free weekly acoustic sessions, to take place every Sunday afternoon in one of Allerton’s coolest watering holes. The Hair Of The Dog sessions will host a mix of regular guests and new local talent, and will take place at San Tracuba bar on Allerton Road. For more information and to find out how to get involved, e-mail Tom: tom@lazy-genius.co.uk

Mojo Tribute Nights FUELforFIRE are looking for local musicians to get involved with a series of tribute nights at MOJO. The first celebration is of the legendary Johnny Cash, taking place on 17th September, and will feature the MOJO house band, guest speakers and Cash-inspired screenings. To support the house band with your own take on Cash’s tunes, e-mail Doug: doug.wood@fuelforfire.co.uk

Happy Birthday Circus CIRCUS is fast approaching its ninth birthday and the vastly popular club night is planning an allstar birthday extravaganza to celebrate. 24th September will see the Masque play host to a stellar line up, even by Circus standards: Breakbeat/House fuser James Zabiela will be joined by Yousef, Chris Liebing, Davide Squillace, Maya Jane Coles, and Circus residents Lewis Boardman and Scott Lewis. Tickets are available at £15 through 3Beat Records. Balloons are optional. circusclub.co.uk

COMPETITION! This month we’re giving away a pair of tickets to the re-launch of Eric’s club on Mathew Street. The lucky winner (and a mate) will get to celebrate the grand unveiling of the venue on 10th September, with a special performance by British electronic artists Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Liverpool electro act Kids On Bridges will also be performing. To be in with a chance of winning this super awesome prize, just answer the following question:

Which of these acts did not perform at Eric’s between 1976 and 1980? a) The Sex Pistols b) Ian McCulloch c) Dolly Parton To be in with a chance of winning, email us at competition@bidolito.co.uk. The closing date is 5th September. The first 10 correct answers will be placed into the big pink hat, the winner picked at random and notified by email. Good Luck!

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Washed Out Within & Without SUB POP Since Ernest Greene’s early releases, the chill-wave set have enjoyed a richly critiqued time at music’s top table. Two years on, his debut LP under the WASHED OUT moniker finally lands, amid a haze of topical beats and distantly soothing synths, that are like curling up in a warm blanket of electronica.

Diagrams Diagrams FULL TIME HOBBY RECORDS DIAGRAMS’ eponymously-titled debut EP was released in July, and it’s the ultimate listen if you need a bit of headspace. It’s what I imagine it’d sound like if Gruff Rhys or The Gentle Good’s Gareth Bonello decided to sing me to sleep using minimalist electronics, a cello, and some bells. Aah.

Team Ghost We All Shine SONIC CATHEDRAL It takes a talent verging on genius to harness all the lushness of droning shoegaze, ice-cold waves of electronica, and bruised, breathy vocals. Thankfully for us, Nicolas Fromageau’s new vehicle TEAM GHOST carries all this off and more. Chapeau.

SBTRKT SBTRKT YOUNG TURKS RECORDS The swampy bass swells of Wildfire and the minimal tribal wash of Hold On have been busy shredding dub dancefloors for months, and now that those lovely folks at Young Turks have commissioned a full SBTRKT LP, the mainstream consciousness has finally caught up.


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Bido Lito! September 2011

Undressing Outfit Words: Craig G Pennington Photography: Jacob Chabeaux We live in a world where everyone knows everything, yesterday. We know everything now and we’ll know everything tomorrow. Sure as hell, we’ll know everything next week as well. But, what happens when something comes along of which we don’t know the intricate details, we haven’t seen it before and we can’t really find much out about it? In fact, all we have is it, and it is accompanied by the enthusiastic declarations of a select band of those ‘in the know’. And what happens when that something is artistically arresting, abstract and enthralling? Well, you get excitement, you get fervour, you get OUTFIT. So how did it happen? How did the band set the blogosphere ballistic and find themselves in NME’s best 50 bands of 2011 after playing just two shows? Tucked away in a field of wheat on the Wirral coast, just off Heswall beach, Thomas Gorton (keyboard/ vocals/samples), Nicholas Hunt (guitar), Christopher Hutchinson (bass), David Berger (percussion/production) and Andrew Hunt (guitar/vocals/keyboard/samples) help shed the light on their ascent as we look to undress the mystery behind Outfit. “We spent a lot of time thinking about what we wanted it to be and how we wanted to present it before playing any shows,” Andrew tells me, in his soft, relaxed tone. “It didn’t come from nowhere. It’s a life’s work.” But surely there was a deliberate decision made about the way in which the band presented

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themselves, a veil of mystique which was consciously draped? Thomas: “It wasn’t a tactic or anything, but there was a real desire not to give people extraneous information about the band that, in a sense, wasn’t interesting. We only wanted to present ourselves to people with what mattered - and that was the conscious decision - rather than deliberately holding things back.” What mattered then, as is still the case now, was presenting the group’s work in a way that was cohesive and complimentary, their online visual presence providing an additional life and a sub-plot to their music. As Andrew asserts, “We’re all really into the internet, but we prefer to use it in a creative way rather than a constantly commercial way.” Right from the outset, the band have looked to embrace the positive nodes of interconnectivity, the tools at their disposal, to present their work in an interesting way - much like a painter envisaging the world of opportunities that could be created using his brush, rather than being infatuated with the brush itself. Which is, perhaps, a pit that some bands, namely WU LYF, may have fallen into; a situation where the nodes of image and creation of mystique become more of a focus than the music. Andrew: “We’ve just made a new website which we definitely see as a vehicle


Bido Lito! September 2011

to push our whole aesthetic. Somewhere you can listen to our music, but also where you can get an idea of our visual identity and a sense of how we relate to things like the internet.” Nicholas: “And that’s not hidden, it’s not held back, it’s not like we don’t want anyone to know anything about us, that’d be a disaster. In a way, it can be a trap; I think WU LYF struggle with their image; eventually you have to play a load of shows, you can’t constantly be the guys in masks.” If you visit Outfit’s website you will immediately become aware of what they mean. True, you can listen to the music, but the visual allure of the space is clearly constructed to compliment the band’s sonics. It’s hard not to wonder if both aspects are born at once, or whether the visual element is created as a reaction to the music? “Both of them developed in tandem really,” confirms Andrew. “Nicholas and I started to mess around with video and we stumbled upon a style that was kind of our own at pretty much the same time as we’d started getting this band together. I see a relationship between some of the subtle hues of the pictures and imagery we work with, and say Outfit’s keyboard sounds. It’s natural for there to be a relationship, as we’re making it all at the same time.” Outfit’s debut physical release featuring Two Islands and Vehicles lands

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this month on transparent 7” vinyl, courtesy of Double Denim. As a label, they provide a perfect option for the group, with previous releases by Christian AIDS, Palmistry and Celestial Shore sitting very comfortably alongside Outfit’s offering. The label’s aesthetic drifts between a milieu of bleeps and twisted pop, a kind of extension and development of the (slightly clumsy) chill-wave moniker. For sure, artists such as Washed Out or Ariel Pink and their mixing of lo-fi guitars and ambient electronics are viable reference points to Outfit, but is that movement something with which the band feel an affinity? Nicholas: “In terms of the fusion of ambient electronics and guitars, those types of bands certainly are responding to their technological surroundings. We play a lot on themes of isolation and loneliness, and also loneliness through things like media saturation and the internet. The fact that ambience is starting to play into that makes perfect sense. That sound works nicely with things that have a sense of the vague about them. I think a lot of the Double Denim stuff has that to it. It’s a strong aesthetic to the label. I don’t know how well we fit into that but I enjoy a lot of it.” Throughout their recorded output thus far, and certainly present in their live shows, is an emphasis on the rhythmic. In a similar way to Fools Gold or Wild Beasts, there is a kinetic spine to the band’s work. Do they see this as a central element to what they do? David: “We all like dance music. Techno. I guess that’s a big influence; music that works purely on rhythm and has an effect on people through that but with little melody. We all enjoy that kind of thing.” Tom: “Techno, even with no lyrics or emotional signifiers, can still be lonely and alienating. That driving rhythm is something that we certainly are influenced by.” And in that you can again see the relationship between all the elements of Outfit: the lonely disorientation of the filmic, fused with the driving, spacious, yet ambient nature of the musical. On the Two Islands and Vehicles split 7”, the band have managed to condense these elements in their most arresting and accessible way thus far. So, is this indicative of the way the group are moving forward as a band and how their song-writing is developing? Andrew believes so: “I think we hit our stride a few months ago. We’ve written some more tunes and taken things in a slightly different direction. So yeah, I think those songs are indicative of where we’re heading.” As well as veering into new areas musically, Outfit are also drifting somewhere else physically. By the time you’re reading this article, the band will have uppedsticks and left Liverpool, moving en-masse down to the smoke. Cynics may accuse them of chasing the industry, jumping down to London at the drop of a hat as soon as the sniffs have started. But, as the band animatedly confirm, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Moving to London was something we’d decided to do before even making Outfit,” Nicholas protests. “It’s something we all just want to do as people, the change is important. Liverpool has been great. Going to Useless on a Tuesday night when we were, like, sixteen was just the highlight of the week. The bands there were all doing things that were weird and unusual and certainly got me thinking in terms of different ways to make bands and songs and whatever. It’s definitely been an important part of my life.” And with that we escape from our perch in the wheat field, scrape down a river bank and meander back towards an access road across the west Wirral marsh. Outfit are a band at the forefront of a new wave of critically well received artists from Liverpool, a band completely comfortable with, and indeed embracing, the possibilities of the modern world to provide an overall context and artistic aesthetic to their work. Luckily, they also have the tunes to boot. It will be enthralling to see them develop into an essential band of the indie-avant-garde, a position that I believe they are destined to achieve. In a world of knowing everything, perhaps all we need to know is something. Perhaps that something is Outfit. everynightidressupasyou.com

www.bidolito.co.uk bidolito bidolito.co.uk


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Bido Lito! September 2011

Words: Philip Gofton Illustration: Ameé Christian Back in 2003, Ripley Johnson (singer/guitarist) hatched a shrewd plan. Entranced by the monotonous scuzz of The Velvet Underground’s Sweet Sister Ray bootleg, and the minimalist drone of classical composers Terry Riley and La Monte Young, a cast of ‘non-musicians’ was sought and assembled whose unblemished primitivism would both propel Johnson’s descent into the hypnotic vortex of rhythmic repetition whilst securing a launch-pad to fire-off his sheet-metal guitar eruptions. This first incarnation of WOODEN SHJIPS lasted long enough to spawn two self-released (predominately instrumental) singles, Dance, California (2006) and Shrinking Moon For You (2006) before it too, slipped into the vortex. Whilst these offerings remain fizzing forays in avant-garde experimentalism and Stonehenge-thuds, an inevitable glass ceiling was reached. Retaining Nash Whalen (keys) and integrating the more seasoned rhythm-section of Dusty Jermier (bass) and Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) resulted in 2007’s Loose Lips 7” and with it a sea-change in mood and texture. Their prototype bedrock beat morphed into a cool pulse; the frenzied cat-scratch guitars replaced by a swirling hum of fuzz; and Johnson’s vocal delivered half-whispered, fully echoed and as blissfully detached as Morrison at his most nonchalant, conjured the vamp lustfully eyeing you across a crowded room. The bitch who cracked the bullwhip had lost her dominance. Now with new label Thrill Jockey throwing their weight behind them, Wooden Shjips release West, their strongest and most accomplished album to date. Previous LP’s Wooden Shjips (2007) and Dos (2009) had their flaws. Notwithstanding individual flashes of brilliance, (Shine Like Suns and For So Long posses the power to trigger acid flashbacks), the ragtag collection of ideas and influences mirrored the erratic flight-path of the fly rather than the linear one of the crow, while at times they appeared so entrenched in metronomic grooves (Motorbike), poor melody was left sulking in the corner. However, there are no such grievances here: West harnesses and channels every zenith moment that Wooden Shjips have attained thus far and more; it’s cohesive, thematic and panoramic in scope and... it flows. Like Nevermind/Loveless/The Stone Roses, West has its own sonic idiosyncrasy, a unique textural identity saturating the record from start to finish. “It’s the first time we entered a ‘real’ studio,” explains bassist Jermier. “Working with 16 tracks instead of 8 and recording analogue allowed us the freedom to really experiment, re-tracking all these ethereal spooky sounds and not having to discard any of them”. Couple that with Phil Manley at the helm (“having another engineer run the show was pretty nice”), and

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mastering by dexterous wizard Sonic Boom (Panda Bear/MGMT), and a portal to a 3D landscape is opened, where the listener is free to roam at will. This is most evident on Flight Flight,, a creepier, phantasmagoric Maggie M’Gill that grooves and drifts in slow motion before hitting a dense flock of delayed wah guitars and tremulous organ licks, all perfectly interweaving, darting and overlapping each other. It must have been an absolute nightmare to mix; Manley gets it bang on. Lazy Bones is another tour-de-force that sees Wooden Shjips’s footsteps crunching virgin snow. “That was a fun one; that’s probably the fastest song we’ve done,” remarks Jermier proudly. Hurtling like a bullet-train as Johnson dispatches lines with ice-cool aplomb (‘I wanna feel your eyes crawlin’ over me’), and dripping with the liquid-chrome guitar that percolates through the whole album, it would soundtrack Cassady’s road-trips if he was around today. Previously Wooden Shjips would use their myriad of influences as building-blocks to create their sound, with West they’ve infused them into the cement: they’re still apparent - the singular minimalism of Suicide, the spatial freedom of Tangerine Dream, the cyclonic space-rock of Loop and the glutinous fuzz of The Stooges but it’s now undeniably a Wooden Shjips record. If your pre-ordered copy of the vinyl was rendered to wax in the PIAS blaze, you can still purchase it directly from Thrill Jockey records; I’m still waiting on mine with infantile impatience. 6th September sees Wooden Shjips joined by fellow San Franciscobased musical-chameleons THE FRESH & ONLYS to co-headline The Kazimier. With the creative output of a Henry Ford factory (four albums in three years), current EP Secret Walls finds them in lush form with Wash Over Us spearheading the melodrama. Instrumentally, it’s as orchestrated and sweeping as an Ennio Morricone score, burrowing spindly guitars and trickling keys amalgamate to create a world thats cavernous yet claustrophobic. Invoking a decaying gold-rush town where phantoms walk amongst the living, Tim Cohen delivers his lament with such fractured dread (‘we are puppets and our bodies are painted on, that waters gonna wash all of us’) one can sense there’s one standing right beside him. In booking this gig, Harvest Sun Promotions have pulled off a real coup (local drone favourites MUGSTAR are also on the bill with records from scouse-podcast-king BERNIE CONNOR) and reinforced their position as one of the city’s leading promoters. I’m already there. woodenshjips.com


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Bido Lito! September 2011

LOVED ONES

Words: Phil Gwyn Photography: Javier Horcajada Unambitious and derivative. Those are charges to which Liverpool’s musicians have been held in the past decade. Generally, this absurd assertion is supported by an ungainly mention of The Beatles, which is expected to be swallowed as concrete evidence. Yet, over the past year, even the most sceptical music journalists have had their heads turned by a flurry of undeniably inventive music from Liverpool; the latest in this spate of innovative bands with a brilliant, world-spanning potential being LOVED ONES. Loved Ones were birthed last year when Nik Glover (of the eccentric Liverpudlians The Seal Cub Clubbing Club) and Rich Hurst (of prog-rock insanity cases The Laze) got together to pen some soothing folk melodies for Nik’s newborn nephew. Even for these two unconventional musicians, I can imagine this being quite a unique reason to start a band. The result is nuanced, ambient folk music which, produced via their slightly warped musical minds, has its languid experimentalism only slightly tamed by a vein of pop accessibility that runs through their work. Loved Ones have produced some of their collective careers’ most immediate music. Their growth has thus far been completely natural. “We did a track on the second Seal Cubs album called Old World… It just grew into the fact that we could do it ourselves, so we wrote it, recorded it and produced it,” says Nik, with each stage of recording rolling from his tongue as if breathing is more of a challenge. At one point, when asked what the motivation for the project was, Rich turns towards us and simply utters “necessity”, as if politely asking what else is there to do with life except create music. This is a view shared by Nik, who declares at one point that he has always wanted “to make music for a living, because it just means that I can make more music.” Cumulatively, the passion that these two have shared for music over such a long period makes it unsurprising that Loved Ones’ sound is so well informed, so fully formed, and so adept, deep and intricate. After a couple of lonely shows consisting of just Rich and Nik, Loved Ones was expanded into a live five-piece. “When you’ve got just a singer and a violin on stage, it always feels a bit empty,” explains Nik. But the admiration that

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they have for each other suggests that the expansion of the band is far more significant than the filling of previously empty space. Nik relentlessly praises Mother Earth, before revealing that their drummer’s moving meant that Jay and George (former Mother Earth members) could be commandeered by Loved Ones. Jay then refers to Dave as their “hero” in a heart-warming, almost paternal moment, and Dave replies by saying that the whole project has been so easy because he “just wanted to work with great musicians”. Suddenly we feel like we should sprinkle rose petals over the table and make a swift exit before we witness something deeply psychologically damaging. With the album, recorded in Rich’s West Kirby studio and entitled The Merry Monarch now boxed off, I ask what their intentions are for releasing it. According to Nik, “the initial plan was to do a limited release ourselves, and see if a label wants to pick it up”. The fact that record labels are even on their minds hints that they’re aware, even tentatively excited, that this project has the potential to unfurl itself into something impressive. I point out that it would be more than cruel if Loved Ones didn’t make it, given the number of groups in which they have previously featured that almost did. They laugh, either out of modesty or because they’re unable to look at their own music objectively; but it really would be unjust. Nevertheless, Loved Ones are aware of the element of luck involved, noting that “it’s chance really, to get picked up by the right person”. As they point out, bands that make it are often in their second or third incarnation; and why should that not be the case with Loved Ones? Nik’s lyrics have never been so wrought or poignant, and their collective melodies never more affecting. They finish by telling us that, “most of the time, we’re staring at the walls in the studio, like ‘fucking hell, this is going to take hours’.” But by now we’ve learned their selfdeprecation, because as much as they might try to play it down, they’re a far more inspired, talented and rare a band than that. soundcloud.com/lovedones


What’s on at Liverpool Philharmonic Fr ida

SO y 28 O LD ctob OU er T

Jimmy Cliff

Pink Martini

James

Thursday 1 September 7.30pm £28.50, £33.50

Saturday 15 October 7.30pm £20-£35

Friday 28 & Saturday 29 October 7.30pm £17.50-£25

Martin Carthy & Tindersticks Tuesday 18 October 8pm Dave Swarbrick £18.50, £24.50 and Lau Folk Double Bill

Thursday 29 September 7.30pm £17.50-£25

Liverpool Irish Festival

John Mayall Thursday 3 November 7.30pm £23-£30

Toumani T To umani Diabate Thursday 3 November 7.30pm £20 St Georges Hall Concert Room

The Irish Sea David Crosby & Sessions 2011 Zappa Plays Zappa Monday 21 November 8pm Friday 21 October 7.30pm Graham Nash £10-£33.50 £17.50-£26 Monday 3 October 8pm £45-£60

Soweto Gospel Choir Thursday 4 October 7.30pm £20-£30

Liverpool Irish Festival

Breabach & Calan

Sunday 23 October 7.30pm St Georges Hall Concert Room £17.50

Anoushka Shankar Saturday 26 November 7.30pm £20, £26

Box Of O Office ffi ff fice 0151 709 3789 liverpoolphil.com


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Bido Lito! September 2011

Ashes to Ashes powder to powder Words: Christopher Torpey

In days gone by, Ye Cracke’s War Room was the tucked-away corner of the pub where Boer War veterans were banished so they could carry on their reminiscences unabated. Today, as I sit in the same room opposite Kevin Sampson, one half of Red Union Films and the man behind the cult classic Awaydays, I can’t help but recall a scene from his novel currently undergoing the silver screen treatment, POWDER. Sitting at the very tables where The Grams and their manager Wheezer plotted their route to success, it somehow makes them all feel a bit more real. “Agreed,” says Sampson. “This room where we’re sitting, this is where it all started.” The journey of Powder the novel, an ‘everyday story of rock ‘n’ roll people’, to Powder the film, released later this month and starring Liam Boyle, Alfie Allen and Stephen Walters, echoes the cathartic journey of the film and book’s lead character, Keva McCluskey. Charting the trajectory of The Grams, the band fronted by the melancholic Keva (Boyle), Powder documents the band’s rise from nobodies to acclaimed stars, and how this is driven by Keva’s pain and inner torments. Whereas the book is a fastpaced, rollicking tale of the band clambering through the murky workings of the music industry, the film focuses its glare solely on Keva’s redemptive story and personal battles. The madcap trappings of fame and popularity that make the book’s version of The Grams so exciting are lifted (directly and indirectly) from Sampson’s anecdotal remembrances of his time in the ‘music business’, as a writer for NME and The Face, and as manager of The Farm. Drug-fuelled excesses, deviant sexual escapades and scenes of

Photography: John Johnson

self-abasement in wardrobes have been cut from the script, with the film version delivering a slowerpaced and more personal documentation of one musician’s transformation through his art. With initial reaction to screenings going “pretty badly to be honest,” Sampson could be forgiven for feeling nothing but trepidation for the release. “I find it quite enjoyable in a way!” he laughs. “If you’re gonna get a kicking you want it to be brutal.” Though the press screening in London suffered some technical issues, I ask whether the antipathy for the early versions of Powder stems from something else: not so much that it doesn’t tick the right filmic boxes, but more an element of the press and critics being disheartened that the film is devoid of the industry cut and thrust that drives the book? “Could be. I mean that does happen when there is something with a devoted following which people are passionate about. You’re always kind of asking for it when you do a film version of a book cos no-one ever likes the film version the same as they like the book.” This is true of many classic novels that have not travelled well from page to screen, and was something that was a bit of a disappointment for many hardcore fans of Sampson’s previous adaptation Awaydays. “I think that’s because the relationship between a book and a reader is purely a one-on-one thing,” explains Sampson, “and everybody is imagining it differently to the next person. And when that comes up on screen, there is no ambiguity or room for manoeuvre.” The fact is that the film stands on its own as a piece of art, separate from the book, and far more credible than a straight-up companion piece would be.

The Liverpool settings that provide the book with a vivid backdrop are also used in the film to add some authenticity; the regular city centre reveller will easily be able to pick out Korova, Parr Street Studios and the O2 Academy in various scenes, and eagleeyed viewers may also spot Hope Street Hotel and Knowsley Hall as locations. I ask Sampson if it was important to keep the film tethered to these roots by using some of Liverpool’s most easily recognisable locations: “Oh yeah, definitely. You stand or fall on the authenticity that you can offer. So many of the buildings and panoramas in Liverpool are matchless, and I think Liverpool comes across beautifully.” Keeping the vistas and characters of Liverpool underpinning the action is a consequence of Sampson having an input into all aspects of the production. Red Union Films, the independent film company he set up with friend and collaborator David A. Hughes in order to bring his books to screen, enabled him to stay with the project of shaping his original ideas in to the final product as an executive producer on the film. “That really is the joy of doing it,” confirms Sampson. “We wanted to get our hands dirty, for better or for worse, and to be involved right to the end in terms of moulding it and making sure we got this release that was in tune with our philosophies as a company.” In true independent style, and sticking with the courage of their convictions, they seem to have pulled it off. “We thought, if we love it then other people will too. That’s the philosophy in a nutshell.” Powder is released in cinemas on 26th August


VASCO DA GAMA “We do things where even I think we’ve played it wrong. You have to sometimes twist your brain a little bit.” John Crawford (vocals/guitar) Words: Samuel Garlick Photography: Jennifer Pellegrini

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Meeting up with VASCO DA GAMA proved two things to me; firstly, that their music is just as vibrant as they are, and secondly - perhaps most importantly - that their hearts are fully invested in what they’re doing. These four mavericks pit themselves against the ‘realm of the ever-same’ by creating razor-sharp musical conundrums through abrasive instrumentation. There is no romance-drenched story that details their beginnings, merely them just being in the right place at the right time and sharing a mutual eye for talent. It’s quite fitting really, considering how down-to-earth these guys are: “to begin with, directly and indirectly, we all knew each other and knew that we were good at what we do” states John Crawford (vocals/ guitar); “it was all a really natural process” agrees John Still (bass).

Vasco’s music recalls the visceral eclectics of The Mars Volta, whilst smoothing the edges with grooveindulged hooks. “I wanted to start a band like The Dismemberment Plan and Faroquet” confirms Chris Lynn (guitar). They are an act who strive for the unconventional: just as soon as a melody starts to get predictable, their music slaps you back into obscurity courtesy of a jilted rhythm or howling vocal line. In a genre where the guitar riff is king, they bring to the forefront the powers of unpredictability by utilising rhythm instruments like drums as if they were on the same level. “I learnt a lot from Latin-American drumming and try to involve that as much as possible”, states David Kelly (drums). This Latin element within their music is integral, not only to their songwriting, but to their entire identity, as they inject

cultural stimuli into a style of music that is notoriously impermeable to deviation. Various sub-genres have been bandied about regarding their style: post-hardcore, alt-prog, but most prominently is the phrase ‘mathrock’, a term that, for all of its allure, isn’t the most accurate of definitions. John C complements this statement by saying, “genre classifications are always refining, and because there are a few more people playing math-rock, it’s almost become a dirty word.” The main problem with this classification is its connotations; “it implies that you’re thinking, but I much prefer the idea that you’re not trying to think” states Chris. “Math-rock suggests that it’s very calculated and contrived, which is the opposite for our music,” agrees John C. That’s not to say that they’re against this sentiment, just that the boundaries that are applied to genres are often misleading. “Even if everyone is pigeonholing it, at least there’s several different pigeonholes being thrown around,” comments John S. “We try to come up with new genre names, but have had no success as of yet.” Just as soon as these words are uttered, Chris suggests, “Latin spaz-math?” Like all intricate music, familiarity is key to its understanding: the more you listen to Vasco’s complex melodies, the more they make sense, as the supposedly fragmented

elements come together to take one synchronised form. This theory of ‘learning to like’ is essential to their sound. “It’s funny what you can make catchy in your head, even with familiarity you’d expect the opposite result,” explains David. “We take something that we hear straight at first and slowly chip away at it, adding little kinds of weirdness all the time.” How they have managed to remain such an underground phenomenon I will never understand, but with an EP as imminent as another tabloid phone scandal, I would be astounded if they didn’t get the attention that they quite obviously deserve. Unfortunately, this time of evolution has turned into a juncture, as they are soon to lose their bassist, John S, to Holland. Some bands would react in a negative or defensive manner when approached with this subject, for Vasco it is quite the opposite. “It couldn’t have happened at a better time, we’ve just recorded something that is a really good reflection of the past year and half ’s work on the songs and gigs. I feel that it reflects the positive process, ‘the Still-era’,” says David. John C concludes by declaring, “It would have been a record of the past, but this gives it a bit more poignancy. It bookends it quite nicely.” myspace.com/vascoband

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Bido Lito! September 2011

Atalonia: A Descent to Central Earth Words: Michael Pinnington

The rain is cascading down Hardman Street, but it’ll all be worth it. I’m on my way to meet The Kazimier’s Venya Krutikov, to chat about their eagerly awaited new project, so far kept under wraps - a strategy regularly employed by the arts/performance group as a means to build expectation and encourage audience engagement. I arrive at our agreed meeting place, Mello Mello, and order a coffee. With The Pixie’s Surfer Rosa for accompaniment, Venya (born in Moscow, he’s spent his adult life in the UK) doesn’t keep me waiting and soon gets to talking all things Kazimier. What comes across immediately is his undiluted passion and enthusiasm for the project, which began as a touring company, but settled in Liverpool more than three years ago, after it became apparent a permanent venue was required.. In this period, The Kazimier has grown from strength to strength, with ever more ambitious events and performances conceived by what is essentially a collective: Venya describes them as “operating along the lines of a Socialist utopia... sometimes this works and sometimes not.” I put it to him that perhaps, as they continue to grow, there’ll need to be some kind of hierarchy: “...maybe, but this method has worked fine so far. Should we need to change things, we’ll look at it again.” Conversation turns to their fine reputation as a venue (known in many quarters as the place to catch some of the hippest bands around), and how this was “purely incidental, arising as more promoters approached us, and it made sense, the space was only ever used when we had a show on, the rest of the time it was basically dormant.”

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Illustration: Charlie Hope

This combination of self-produced shows and the ability to host gigs means that The Kazimier is all at once at the centre of a growing arts-led community in Liverpool, whilst also occupying its own plot of the cultural landscape. It has become a crucial aspect of a burgeoning scene, the importance of

which should not be overlooked. Around this point of the interview, however, I begin to think I’m being given the run-around about the new show; that rather than using this as an opportunity to promote the forthcoming extravaganza, perhaps the intention all along has been to keep us hanging that little bit longer. A different interviewing approach is necessary: my gambit is to discuss the change of venue – The old Pilkington’s building situated in The Baltic Triangle has been secured for the show’s run (26th September – 1st October). Breakthrough! “We’re just finalising the details on what will be a very intimate show,” Venya confides, going on to say, “it will be something of a different direction from what we’ve done in the past; this time around, we’re dealing with Sci-fi.” “Wow, that’s great!” I exclaim (as much to do with the fact of me landing a scoop as my genuine excitement at this foray in to Sci-fi!). The info is

coming thick and fast now, as if Venya, having finally let the cat out of the bag, can’t stop himself. The show will be based on the premise that the Earth is hollow and, beneath its surface, there exists a parallel universe. Featuring a high level of audience participation, productions will take the form of tours on a journey to the newly discovered realm. As such, though there is a much bigger space to play with, audience numbers will be kept to a strict forty (outnumbered by cast and crew); any more than that and things could get tricky – you don’t want to lose any stragglers to a pool of magma, for instance. While ‘Atalonia: A Descent to Central Earth’ (the title was only confirmed following our interview) is a step-up, Venya was quick to point out that “no infinite budget exists, but this informs the way sets are built, it forces us to work harder with what we have to hand.” Indeed, he estimates that 80% of materials are recycled, but this lack of means has never stood in the way of The Kazimier before, their ambition seemingly more than a match for financial constraint. A fascinating premise then, and a new genre for this most creative of teams to get to grips with; one can’t help but be excited at the prospect of following them to the centre of the Earth, a journey this writer is certain new and existing fans will be more than prepared to embark upon. All aboard! Runs twice daily from 26th September – 1st October atalonia.com


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Bido Lito! September 2011

Rants/Comment

The Glass Pasty Battle cry from the Cultural Abyss Post Riots

“Tough on Gerard Depardieu, tough on the causes of Gerard Depardieu” Readers! As the nights start to draw in and autumnal showers stain our memory of a short lived summer, we found ourselves off stage left in Britain’s orgy of looting. Back up vocals and tambourine, we were Linda McCartney in Wings. As I scribble this inarticulate drivel from my makeshift Toxteth bomb shelter, hemmed in under a DIY wasp’s nest of fibre glass, broken bottles and the burnt purple bin juice of a neighbour’s wheelie bin, I can’t help feeling sorry for those other great cities that missed out on the action, Sheffield, Leicester and er .. Preston. Yes, like the fat one at a swinger’s

party, car keys still dangling, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. As I peer out through the cracks of broken Britain and survey the aftermath my ears are still ringing with the sound of be-hooded youths violently texting and abusing both Blackberrys and social media. Two things, as regular readers will be aware, that are close to my pastry encased heart. Why Pasty? We search in vain for answers like a LIPA kid for authenticity, fumble for clichés about a decaying moral fabric, inappropriate policing, cuts, greed, expenses, phone hacking, political correctness, twitter, stop and search, national service or even hip-hop and the bling culture. Forget your

high minded notions about mass unemployment, rising inflation and a divided society of have and have nots, look no further than one man, a man who embodies the very spirit of rebellion and revolt that brought this fair isle to its knees:- Gerard Depardieu A history of provocateurs such as De Sade, Celine, Camus and Cantona, its fair to say the French have brought us many great rebels through the ages but step aside mere mortals, enter:- Le Conc. Depardieu’s Aviation Urination Violation The Gallic heartthrob was reprimanded on board a flight from Paris to Dublin this month for peeing into a bottle as the plane was about to take off, hemmed in by stringent seat belt procedures, the star of

The Three Musketeers and Bergerac whipped out his Jean Pierre Thomas and relieved himself in front of a gobsmacked cabin crew. However once other disgruntled passengers got a whiff of that garlic like urine they too wanted a piece of the action and an orgy of mindless urination ensued causing major delays and bringing air traffic to a near standstill. That’s how easy it can spread gentle readers! I for one think we should bring back national service for Gerard Depardieu or at least ban him from all forms of social media. When peace is finally restored I will return to my study search through my DVD collection and then proceed to burn my copy of Green Card with anti-ageing heroine Andie McDowell, yes I’ll miss it but lessons need to be learnt. Keep a clean nose and stay in school ….

century, it stands just over the threshold of the chapel, and is roughly the size of an old post box, with the head of a Victorian London lamppost, and a scene depicted on each of its four faces. Facing West, the Virgin and Child; East, John and Mary at the Crucifixion; South, an Ecclesiast, possibly the mount’s prior; North, Edward the Confessor. What we tend to forget as one generation passes into another is that the things that impacted on us, the tides of prejudice, oppression, great discoveries, technological advance, famous criminal or political events, disasters; each is only preserved by media, and in the minds of those who lived through them. There is no genetic pool of human experience, and the son does not automatically

inherit the wisdom of the father. The media image, like theatre, is an imperfect mirror. It does not reflect the moment exactly. Freud called it ‘afterwardsness’, the distortion of a memory in the act of recollection, and it prejudices every belief system and inspires every act of violence outside polar bear attacks. It is the responsibility of everyone older than the London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester looters to show them that the world they live in, of state support for all, healthcare free at the point of service, and relative luxury, is not an opportunitystripped wasteland, nor an endlessly flowering benefactor, but the result of thousands of years of climbing, and can be lost as easily as balance by an ill-timed step.

Nik Glover I was going to write something about the recent looting that has broken out across the nation, but it’s all too dispiriting. Instead, I’ll write about a 15th Century Lantern Cross. If you travel almost as far South and West as you can in England, leaving the motorways behind and striking out towards Land’s End, pass Falmouth and negotiate the mess of lagoons and forest-banded beaches westwards. An island lies off the coast, achievable via a narrow, frequently deluged sea wall. From the mottled summit of St Michael’s Mount, Marazion town stretches out to the North. Tramp your way around the island’s neck and you can watch the Channel shipping lanes to the South. The clutter of buildings which crown the tiny island

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have been constantly added to and supplanted over a thousand years of development. If you dig away the mediaeval and the Victorian you would read the faintest ley lines of Iron Age settlement. Humans have lived here on and off since the dawn of civilisation. The castle keep and slate-roofed chapel rest at the end of a winding path of jagged flagstones; the halfburied boulders that litter the grounds are given folkish names, ‘The Giant’s Tooth’, ‘Odin’s Finger’. They are useful reminders of the decades around the first millennium when the victory of Christian over pagan was nothing like assured. The lantern cross is from a much later, more confident age of Christendom. Erected in the 15th


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Bido Lito! September 2011 Previews/Shorts Edited by Richard Lewis - middle8@bidolito.co.uk

LOVE INKS Texan melodeers LOVE INKS come to Liverpool amidst a swell of enthusiastic proclamations. Their drum machine aided guitar pop hooks remind us of Kisses. Think Best Coast, but very, very stoned. Straddling the border between throwaway and repeat-play, the verdict may well still be out. But we certainly dig. Do you? Williamson Tunnels - 24th September - Tickets through Probe Records

JUNGLE BROTHERS Following last year’s excellent Sugarhill Gang fixture, vintage hip-hop returns to The Masque with THE JUNGLE BROTHERS. Creators of groundbreaking house/hip-hop mash-up I’ll House You, the band have a strong reputation live. Collaborations with fellow innovators De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest make the group a seminal part of the hip-hop movement. The Masque - 10th September – Tickets through ents24.com

JIMMY CLIFF

Evol Summer Love

With the gig circuit having taken a bit of a rest over the ‘summer’ months (ahem) normal service is resumed in September. Back with a bang for the autumn season, Evol host four gigs over one weekend in September. A deluge of superior shows by SLOW CLUB, METRONOMY, MALE BONDING and THREE TRAPPED TIGERS are spread across The Shipping Forecast and The Kazimier. First up, THREE TRAPPED TIGERS return to the ‘Pool following their time at Sound City. The instrumental noise-rock/math-rock trio deliver intense live shows and are set to rock subterranean gig parlour The Shipping Forecast on 22nd September. The following night, boy-girl duo SLOW CLUB bring their winsome melodicism to The Kazimier. The delicate beauty of the pair’s harmonies have started to win over many with their second LP Paradise due to hit the shelves in early September. Hot on their heels on the 24th, lights-on-chests types METRONOMY bring their icy electronica to The Kaz’. With recent LP The English Riviera a big success a few months back, the venerable theatre will undoubtedly be rammed. Completing the quartet, MALE BONDING round off proceedings with a show at the ‘Forecast on the 26th. One of the few UK bands to feature on legendary grunge label Sub Pop, the noise-pop punkers will doubtless turn in a bracing set. evol-liverpool.tumblr.com

Arriving on the world stage via 1972 cult Jamaican movie The Harder They Come, Come Jimmy Cliff is one of reggae’s greatest vocalists. Many River to Cross and You Can Get It If You Really Want are just two of his songs in a twenty album career. The superb acoustics of The Philharmonic will showcase his voice sublimely. The Philharmonic – 1st September - Tickets through Ticketline.co.uk

SARABETH TUCEK NYC singer-songwriter Sarabeth Tucek, is touring her acclaimed Get Well Soon LP. An inspiration to Laura Marling, the folk singer’s work with Bill Callaghan and The Brian Jonestown Massacre have brought her to a wider audience. Support comes from one of Liverpool’s finest folk acts, THE RANDOM FAMILY. St. Bride’s Church – 3rd September – Tickets through Ticketline.co.uk

SERIOUS SAM BARRETT Solo Leeds troubadour Sam Barrett, exponent of raw roots music, has been dubbed Yorkshirecana. Mixing the open road with the grittiness of Northern life, he draws inspiration from blues masters such as Blind Willie McTell, country from the iconic Carter Family and a dose of the British folk tradition of Ewan McColl. Wolstenholme Creative Space - 23rd September - Tickets OTD

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Musical Settings Part 2: Into The Deep

Mainstays of the Liverpool alternative music scene, a.P.A.t.T. are staging an audacious event at Liverpool’s World Museum in the form of their Orchestra, one of the many diverse projects originating from this unusual musical unit. The second installment of the Orchestra’s four part concert series, Into the Deep explores concepts of distance, vastness and isolation, using the unique spaces of the setting to provide fitting environments for these unique performances. The a.P.A.t.T. Orchestra will be collaborating with fellow musical iconoclasts EXEASTER ISLAND HEAD for the event. To celebrate the display of a real ex-Easter Island Head in the Museum, E-EIH have composed a new piece which will be performed around the statue itself, featuring the members of the a.P.A.t.T. Orchestra. Moving down into the deep ocean, and drawing on the links between music and genetic evolution that has created the vast array of fish that will surround this performance, a piece by local composer Ben Fair will invite the audience to focus on the fish tanks. The final piece will see a unique musical performance set to the visuals of the Museum’s Planetarium. Playing pieces by Philip Glass, a.P.A.t.T. will recreate the minimalist composer’s music. Places are extremely limited, so please email apattorchestra@apatt.com to guarantee a seat, specifying your preferred performance. Liverpool World Museum – 11th Sept – 2pm onwards – Free entry apattorchestra.com


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Bido Lito! September 2011

Reviews

Stephen Fretwell (Jennifer Pellegrini)

STEPHEN FRETWELL Fly With Vampires – Cold Shoulder – Thomas J Speight Evol @ The Kazimier Acoustic was the dish of the night and a generous helping of it was served up by a myriad of artists to those both seated and standing in the Kazimier. THOMAS J SPEIGHT kicked things off with Willow Tree, his smooth tones and moving vocals partially ensnaring the audience, but struggling to hold their attention. He came into his own with a jangled guitar solo in Journey, Journey faring better with a toetapping, country vibe, but when the energy and thus the dynamics began to dip, he let the audience escape, and clawing them back was too much of an impossible task. As The Kazimier’s standing tiers began to fill up, and those seated were starting to squirm restlessly in their seats, COLD SHOULDER came on to ramp up the tempo a bit. A slightly bushy, dishevelled appearance, Cold Shoulder had a charming Scouse wit and banter that was impossible not to warm to. Chunky basslines, riproaring lyrics, tribal drums and neat melodies made for a gritty, raw and unbridled sound, with No More for You a standout tune.

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FLY WITH VAMPIRES were on form with a blistering energy, and articulated themselves through chiming melodies and throbbing basslines. The synchronised harmonies on Time And Tide were perfection, exuding stage presence and charisma. Puppet Master, with its intimate vocals and Master pounding drum beats was a testament to their song-writing skills, as it rose to a forceful crescendo. Supporting act maybe, but an animated performance which had the audience’s focus firmly fixed to them. When the instantly recognisable, red-headed troubadour that is STEPHEN FRETWELL took to the stage, an eerie silence descended, somehow uniting the cross-section of impossibly hip hipsters, indies, middle-aged men and modsters. Opening with Run, taken from his debut album Magpie Magpie, Fretwell was both captivating and heartrending, creating an airtight bubble that he used to seduce, and to lay bare his soul in equal measures. The flesh stripped away, leaving only the bones of his vocals and simplistic melodies; the juxtaposition of his gravelly voice against the intimate narrative was breathtaking. Darlin’ Don’t invited the audience into his self-imposed solitude, then kicked them back out when he forgot the words mid-song. An amused and

jubilant audience only cheered further when he resumed. It was the magical vibes of San Francisco Blues, taken from the album Man On The Roof (recorded in New York) where the subtle tones of Americana were most notable. A demanding ‘encore’ chant forced Fretwell back on stage and he rounded off his set with the more upbeat and character-driven New York. Poignant, frank and indulgent, but not over-done, the performance left me feeling as though my heart had been stolen; in Stephen Fretwell’s hands, I’m convinced it was in safekeeping. Lisa O’Dea

THE LOST BROTHERS The Sundowners – S J Downes

The Company Store @ Zanzibar Returning like the prodigal son to his rightful home at the forefront of all that is roots, rhythmic and a-rockin’ in our humble city, The Company Store opens its famous doors to the general public once more for a summer special. Not since their EP launch earlier this year have electrifyin’ and testifyin’ hosts The Sixteen Tonnes graced us with the delights of their fine whiskey and finer tunings, and this long-awaited homecoming sees them invite Irishmen THE LOST BROTHERS to

the realms of the Zanzibar after their lengthy stateside spell in Tennessee’s sun-soaked capital. Bearded balladeer S J DOWNES opens the night solitary on stage, bearing his soul with only his guitar to accompany his haunting renditions. While early birds tiptoe around tables draped in gingham so as not to disturb his gospel-tinged, finger-picking blues, you begin to wonder why, when a man as talented as he can obtain the hushed respect of a room full of revellers, that same reverence and recognition cannot be gained by musicians such as himself from a corrupt and increasingly meretricious industry. With that thought still lingering, he, humble and honest, thanks his audience before the usual round of blues classics and lost treasures are played by clued-up DJs, in preparation for THE SUNDOWNERS to make their Company Store debut. With harmonies from their two female vocalists that could rival any of Spector’s beehived and doe-eyed 60s girl groups, The Sundowners fill the room with a spectrum of impressive melodies and a synchronised stage presence. Explosive guitar solos break up the nature of each song seamlessly, bringing a fresh element to the often imitated jangly, Scouse pop that we all know and love. Set highlight, the expertly crafted Hummingbird Hummingbird, a wistful number of sweeping twists and turns, exhibits the strength of the vocals which envelop another kaleidoscopic solo, visibly captivating an approving audience. Tonight’s farthest travelling act comes in the form of duo The Lost Brothers, who bring their gentle tones to the Mersey shores all the way from the Emerald Isle via Nashville. An acoustic twosome, comparisons to Simon and Garfunkel are inevitable, though a mellifluous lullaby version of the Baker Knight-penned classic Lonesome Town demonstrates an efficient ability of making something very much their own. Playing songs from their full length debut Trails Of III their original The Lonely (Parts I And III), numbers documenting fleeting


Reviews Bido Lito! September 2011 moments, lazy days and love lost to city girls are all dextrously delivered, with the clean whistles of Wake Me Up a focal point in the set. Hosts The Sixteen Tonnes epitomise the feel of the evening on the rousing Blue Tears, which like The Company Store itself brings a home-grown slice of world class Americana to Seel Street and proves you’ll find no better replica this side of the Atlantic. Bethany Garrett

HOT LIGHT FIESTA

The White Widows – Sheerwater The Zanzibar Tonight’s line-up (to pastiche an old cliché) is as varied as a box of chocolates, boasting sub-genres from all of rock’s furthest reaches, accommodating for even the vvgreediest of musical connoisseurs. First out the box is SHEERWATER, a piano-driven classic rock act whose music wouldn’t be out of place in a

1980s American sitcom. Their marque of basic, yet quintessentially engaging songs are a complete oddity in the local live circuit; whereas most acts strive to break the rules, Sheerwater, ironically, achieve true character from abiding by them. It’s all there: the gruff Americana vocal timbre, the pounding drum rhythms, the all-encompassing power chords; the only thing missing is a touch of originality. Guitars drawn close to their chests, skinny jeans at crotch-crippling tightness and shoe-gazing stance at the ready, THE WHITE WIDOWS portray all the worrying signs of an identikit indie act. However, the marriage of Kiernan Oates’ outstanding voice and the subtle flavour of his acoustic guitar create a match made in heaven. Two Month Itch is a prime example of this coupling, merging the familiar realm of conventional song structures with captivating overtones and clever instrumentation. This is blue-collared lad rock at its best, and the audience agree, eating up their Kasabian-isms

in a performance that is sure to turn heads. With many math-rock bands, their affinity for the obscure overrides their ability for the appealing, HOT LIGHT FIESTA not only supersede this superstition, they craft their own sonic vocabulary, riddled with elements from all of rock’s pseudonyms. Bracing expansive moments of post-rock guitar with surface-level pop traits, their music recounts the graceful vibes of Foals moulded around the complexities of Minus The Bear. Opening their set with the downtempo undertones of Lay ay Me Down is a risky card to play, and despite the audience’s subdued reaction, it is a decision that displays not only their confidence, but also their maturity. This is not especially immediate music, it requires patience, but when reaching its crescendos the results are satisfyingly cohesive. The highlight of their set is the fantastic We Tried, a song that serves up sumptuous vocal melodies while seasoning them with shimmering instrumental

overlays courtesy of four very skilled virtuosos. Their compositions espouse an unerring authority and, although they may not be bona fide architects in their field just yet, a great ambition and a ton of potential means that they are not far off. Samuel Garlick

JEFFREY LEWIS & THE JUNKYARD The James Canty Band Lou Lu And The Boy

Fuel For Fire Presents @ Static Gallery LOU LU AND THE BOY were first to kick off this heavily anticipated soirée, with a bluesy folk set incorporating vocal harmonies to die for, and brilliant atmospheric percussion from drummer Roy Turnham. For a band who’ve played only a few shows, Lou Lu And The Boy boast a confidence that even the most experienced artists have trouble acquiring. Their lyrics and

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overall catchy and uncompromising sound have that world-weary feeling that suggest they’ve been around the block more than a few times, and have been shaped by rather a few lovers’ tiffs. Next up is THE JAMES CANTY BAND, a six-piece who are heavily influenced by bluegrass, and who sound like they’ve just been plucked from around a campfire in the Midwest after a hard day’s work. Their entertaining commentary throughout is somewhat wasted on the crowd; however this doesn’t dampen the band’s enthusiasm and they deliver a blinding hoedown of a set full of fiddles, with even a few bin lids for good measure. An excellent opening line-up did little to fire the audience’s enthusiasm but when JEFFREY LEWIS AND THE JUNKYARD took to the stage, it seemed as though all those who were packed in to various corners of the venue all came together to create a spectacle which was fitting for the godfather of anti-folk himself. It was refreshing to witness a crowd that not only knew every word to every song but laughed out loud at the selfdeprecating humour they’d probably heard a hundred times before. An evening with Jeffrey Lewis wouldn’t be complete without some type of comic strip amusement apparent, and tonight’s crowd wasn’t left disappointed on that score: a documentary of the French Revolution complete with Lewis’ very own amusing cartoon chronology was the highlight. Gems like Slogans Slogans, Roll Bus Roll and personal favourite Broken Broken Broken Heart saw the mix of folk and punk get the crowd tapping their feet, with even a small minority thrusting their hips too. All in all for a night that was advertised on the basis of a lyrical genius taking centre stage, it’s pleasing to say that the local bands supporting definitely gave the fella from across the pond a run for his money. Emma Weston

CLOUD 9 FESTIVAL Love Lane Farm, Cheshire

CLOUD 9 is not just a day festival, it is an education on how to cram as much music as possible into your ears in just twelve hours. Game on. Holding six tents/stages and a few food and other miscellaneous stalls (Vajazzle Area anyone?) on the normally-sleepy Love Lane Farm in Congleton, the tiny space contains an amazing array of artistic talent. The first tent you stumble upon houses The C.A.L.M Stage, from the admirable charity of the same name. This is the scene of one of Cloud 9’s highlights: despite not singing a note or playing a record, the DJ set of Happy Mondays’ groovester BEZ cooks up an atmosphere that is practically tangible. Even though he spends the whole time bug-eyed and pogoing about, his ‘performance’ is still vitally effervescent. If you missed him, you missed a treat. Heading to the Eskimo Mojito Tent high on Bez euphoria, I want and expect big things of ONYX AND CRAKE with their experimental DJ and mixed vocal performance. Unfortunately their own over-inflated sense of their music ruins what could be a great

act. Teaching this duo how to make an appearance on this stage is MARK ABBOTT as he busts out an Electro/ Jazz/Swing DJ set, with his song Slippery When Wet the pinnacle. Take note Onyx and Crake: this guy was the shit. Next door in The Dome tent, MEDICINE 8 are a surprisingly lovely discovery, getting everyone moshing around just in time for the sun to pop its head out of the clouds. SCRATCH PERVERTS take control of this stage a little later and make it hard to leave - too much talent and, sadly, not enough time. The Headculture Tent, representing another worthy charity, brings a nice change of pace to the raving from the other tents. The whiskey-swilling LUKE BROXBURGH is the name to remember from this stage’s performances, if only for the fact that his fan base fills the tent to the brim. His flawless cover of Gym Class Heroes’ Cupid’s Chokehold proves that no one should be wary of performing a well-placed cover at a festival. Aside from Broxburgh’s fans, this is still the festival’s busiest tent, and not without good reason: Headculture pulled out all the stops to bring something extra to the bill of chilled-out acts, with face-painting and a giant game of Connect4 adding

Jeffery Lewis (Phil MacDonald)


Reviews Bido Lito! September 2011

Cloud 9 Festival (Keith Ainsworth)

a bit of fun that drew in the crowds, and helped to raise some muchneeded awareness for the charity. Credit to the festival organisers with the main stage set-up, as it is definitely the best place to soak up Cloud 9’s offerings, be it rain, intermittent flashes of sun, or the acts on show. Earlier on when there are rays to catch, THE MINX and THE PARIS RIOTS are easily the stand outs. As night draws in, the bigger names begin to dominate. Leeds’ THE SUNSHINE UNDERGROUND put in a good performance, but it is topbillers THE FUTUREHEADS who prove the most entertaining, and entirely deserving of their headlining spot. Making time for some crowd banter and bursting with personality on every tune, they are (unsurprisingly) brilliant from start to finish. The rain falls harder and harder, but high energy tunes like Struck Dumb and Robot make sure that no-one’s spirits are dampened. If any in the crowd were unfamiliar with these Mackem indie stalwarts beforehand, Hounds Of Love makes sure that no-one present will be forgetting them anytime soon. Without doubt the highlight of their set, if not the entire festival, the band’s usual crowd involvement antics are the perfect way to bring a grinning end to a headline set. How do you follow that? The Euphonic Stage, which has been a non-entity all day, comes into its own

as the last port of call for festival revellers as the site of Cloud 9’s closing silent disco. Quite simply, you need not associate yourself with anything else, because this is the best way to finish a festival, day-long or otherwise. Fact. N. Philip

PROFESSOR YAFFLE

The Hummingbirds - The City Walls Acoustic Air Raid @ St. Luke’s Bombed Out Church A dreary morning of relentless rain threatened the existence of Harvest Sun’s annual summer fest, but the clouds parted just in time for the sun to come peeking through and illuminate the ACOUSTIC AIR RAID in the ruined splendour of St. Luke’s. Populated by a mixture of the young, the older and the elderly, with a smattering of children, this was clearly a diverse event keen to cater for all ages and leaning towards a family and friends vibe. Half seated/ half standing, with fold-out chairs and picnic blankets strewn about, there was always a constant stream of people flowing into the church. First up was duo THE CITY WALLS, who immediately set the tone with laid back, acoustic-driven ambience that would continue through the afternoon. With a multi-instrumental, folk rock sound and sentimental and emotive lyrics accompanied variously

by mandolin, banjo and violin, it was hard to believe that there were only two people creating this sound. Robert Taylor’s violin created the most effective harmonies, allowing melancholic undertones to drip from their music. A highlight was Wild Flowers, its powerful yet sombre tone serving only to emphasise Paul Crowe’s vocal.

27

THE HUMMINGBIRDS kicked the tempo up a few notches with their energetic and uplifting set. The fivepiece acoustic ensemble, who are essentially five lads and a box, infused a rock sound with an unconventional folk and blues twist. Jay Davies (vocals/guitar) - sporting the tightest jeans known to man - possessed a raw and emotional voice that showed he was able to back up his cocky swagger and arrogance. Upbeat but at times anguished - mostly when his circulation was threatened - the lyrics were not the deepest or most profound, but were impossibly catchy, and not unlike extended ditties with their repetition and punchy diction. The obvious influences of bands such as The Coral and Oasis were hugely evident in the music, style and crowd interaction. Synchronised and extremely rhythmic melodies were interwoven with the bluesy hints of harmonica, lending them a retro feel that fits perfectly with the surroundings. John Doe, Doe with its simple lyrics but infectious beats, had plenty


28

Bido Lito! September 2011

Reviews

of toes a-tapping and the enthusiasm was potent, while Bankrupt Blues had most in the audience on their feet, with its sizzling lyrics and jangling guitar riff seeping into the grounds of the church. Commanding and on form, it’s easy to see why they are a massive crowd favourite. As the afternoon started to spill into the evening, PROFESSOR YAFFLE were on hand to impart their folkdriven, psychedelic pop sound. An eccentric bunch with an array of musical instruments, they produced a beautiful sunshine-suffused groove, combining intelligent lyrics and an upbeat tempo. A hugely characteristic band, they are haunting without being morose and possess a dynamic that made for relaxing listening in the lengthening shadows. Lisa O’Dea

CRYSTAL STILTS Spectrals – Lucky Beaches Static Gallery On a night when two other venues in Liverpool are hosting long sold-out shows from acts at different ends of the musical spectrum (Ed Sheeran and Blondie), it is refreshing to be faced with a well-thought-out line-up and mix of music, each support act complementing the main event. LUCKY BEACHES is the hidden gem of the current scene, and furthermore, offer proof that the spirit of Lennon can be put into song without sounding clichéd or false. Opening with a stomped-up version of the wildly infectious Jenny Mo, crisp and melodic recordings are delivered with more of a crunch and bluster that is, at first, surprising. Not fall-to-the-floor shocker admittedly, but the delivery carries more T. Rex about it than is at first apparent in their recorded material. This is not, as if it ever needs

a fact which is not lost in live delivery. Overall, first class psychedelia, and a splendid example of a band on an upward trajectory. A trajectory which will hopefully ensure that it’s not too long until they return to the city; and which will give them top billing when they do. P.Lee

KENDAL CALLING Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

Crystal Stilts (Keith Ainsworth)

to be said, a bad thing. After a short recess, it’s the turn of Leeds prospects, SPECTRALS. Overall they deliver a set reliant on groove and feeling rather than strong song and melody. With elements of bands such as New York Dolls and Black Lips coming out in parts, they provide a welcome introduction to tonight’s main event. CRYSTAL STILTS wrap song-writing and melodic principles of the Spector era in a dark and cosmic psychedelic shroud. JB Townsend’s guitar creates a howl and distorted rumble that provides a solid bed for vocalist Brad Hargett’s (at times) thoroughly convincing Tom Verlaine impression, and the result is something darkly all-encompassing. From the groove and shake of the opening number, to the classic pop of the Shangri-Las, hidden deep beneath the fuzz and reverb on songs such as the immaculate Precarious Stair, Crystal Stilts’ influences shine Stair through. Rather than studying and emulating too closely one sole era or vantage point, different times and genres are represented here each to

an even degree. There is as much New Romanticism and Punk involved in their sound and delivery as there is the influence of The Ronnettes, Darlene Love and The Crystals. The easiest comparison to make in current times is with The Horrors: both are purveyors of repackaged retro sounds, while avoiding many of the niche elements and clichés which overcome all too many of their peers. At times tonight it can be argued that Hargett’s effortless drone loses elements of the melody which sets them apart from these peers, many of whom are cheap imitators. However, the melody is designed to, on the whole, play second fiddle to the overall sound, which is clearly illustrated by the fact that their recorded material shares these values. Both Alight of Night (2008) and In Love With Oblivion (2011) are given sufficient airing tonight, however it is the material from the latter which provides the more constant highlights. The song-writing on songs such as Shake The Shackles, Sycamore Tree and Blood Barons is simply better,

The sun is baking down, the deer have been shooed away for the weekend and another, now extended capacity, Kendal Calling Festival rolls onto the hills of Lowther Deer Park. The first band we catch are KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS; their vintage 50s rock n roll family affair is given a ska twist, courtesy of guest trumpet player Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton. Recent Life with single Messing With My Life, its almost disco hook, goes to show that there’s more to this group than straight up Buddy Holly trad. With a full band experience, HOUSE OF PAIN seem comfortable with their position of festival party novelty act. And when they play that song, it completely goes off, the natural amphitheatre setting of the main stage proving a stunning spectacle as a mass of 5,000 limbs contort in unison. CHASE & STATUS on the other hand confirm their status as the Status Quo of Drum & Bass (thanks Sam!). These are to Roni Size what Bonkers was to Andrew Weatherall and provide hard evidence of what happens when a movement has reached its bloated, commercial radio addled death. NIGHT OF SEVENS’s Primal Scream inspired scratchy bleeps and BJTM drone, fused with singer Chopper’s impressive presence, result in something close to a Geordie Dead Skeletons. These have been away for


Liverpool’s innovative performance venue

September Milapfest presents Music for the Mind and Soul: Tarang 13:00 Saturday 24 September

Free

November

Gwilym Simcock Trio 19:30 Thursday 29 September

Oysterband and June Tabor

£15

19:30 Thursday 03 November £17.50

October Olivia Moore’s Unfurl 19:30 Tuesday 04 October

£10

Tommy Smith’s KARMA 19:30 Saturday 08 October

£15

Roger Eno and Dom Theobold / For All Mankind (Screening) 19:30 Tuesday 11 October

£15

Liverpool Irish Festival and The Capstone Theatre presents The World Premiere of Gerry Diver’s The Speech Project 19:30 Thursday 20 October

£15

Joanna MacGregor’s Mozart Piano Concerto Series 19:30 Sunday 23 October

£10 (£8)*

Ceremony Concerts and Penguin Fraser Fifield and Graeme Stephen Café presents Arthur Jeffes – 19:30 Tuesday 25 October £10 Sundog The Solid Air Band: 19:30 Thursday 13 October £16.50 The Songs of John Martyn Robert Mitchell 3io 20:00 Saturday 29 October £10 19:30 Wednesday 19 October

£12.50

Milapfest presents Music for the Mind and Soul 13:00 Sunday 30 October

Free

19:30 Friday 25 November

Blazin’ Fiddles

13:00 Saturday 26 November

Piano Music from the Ambient Century: Dianne O’Hara £10

Portico Quartet 19:30 Sunday 13 November £17.50

£10

time being – Harold Budd / The Necks (double bill) 19:30 Monday 21 November

Free

The Cornerstone Festival presents Joanna MacGregor’s Beethoven Piano Sonata Series 19:30 Friday 02 December

£10 (£8)*

The Man with the Luggage (by Lizzie Nunnery) 19:30 Tuesday 06 December £12 (£7)* 19:30 Wednesday 07 December £12 (£7)*

Milapfest and The Cornerstone Festival presents Nirmanika 19:30 Saturday 19 November

£15

Milapfest presents Music for the Mind and Soul

19:30 Wednesday 09 November £17.50

19:30 Thursday 10 November

The Cornerstone Festival presents Kathryn Tickell: Northumbrian Voices

£15

50 Songs: The Music of Ian McNabb 20:00 Friday 09 December (Evening1) 20:00 Saturday 10 December (Evening2)

£15 £15

www.thecapstonetheatre.com e-mail: creative@hope.ac.uk Box Office: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BP. Tel: 0151 709 3789 Venue Address: The Capstone Theatre, 17 Shaw Street, Liverpool L3 8QB. Tel: 0151 291 3578

FRI 30th SEPTEMBER

FOOD

IAIN BALLAMY & THOMAS STRØNEN TICKETS £16 (£15) 8pm CABARET FRI 16th SEPTEMBER

LOGICAL TRAMP

THE SPIRIT OF SUPERTRAMP TICKETS £15 (£14) 8pm STANDING

THU 6th OCTOBER

UNFORGETTABLE THE HITS OF THE 50s & 60s TICKETS £18 (£16) 7:30pm RAKED

SAT 17th SEPTEMBER

DOUGIE MACLEAN TICKETS £16 (£14) 8pm CABARET

SAT 8th OCTOBER

LIVERPOOL MOZART ORCHESTRA DIAMOND JUBILEE CONCERT

TICKETS £15 (£13, £5 STUDENTS) 7:30pm (6:45pm PRE-CONCERT TALK) RAKED

THU 22th SEPTEMBER

THE ANIMALS WITH STEVE CROPPER ALL TICKETS £25 8pm RAKED

FRI 14th OCTOBER

FROM THE JAM ALL TICKETS £20 8pm STANDING

SAT 24th SEPTEMBER

LED ZEPPELIN TRIBUTE BAND

MOTHERSHIP

SAT 15th OCTOBER

THE LANCASHIRE HOTPOTS TICKETS £15 (£13) 8pm CABARET

TICKETS £10 (£8) 8pm STANDING

WWW.PACIFICROAD.CO.UK

0151 666 0000

PLEASE NOTE, FOR PERSONAL CALLERS THE BOX OFFICE IS LOCATED AT: FLORAL PAVILION THEATRE, MARINE PROMENADE, NEW BRIGHTON, WIRRAL, CH45 2JS.


30

Bido Lito! September 2011

a while, but have certainly been busy in their absence. Very impressive. THE CHARLATANS, and their ‘acoustic’ set, could not however be described in such a way. They manage to stomp their way through their collection of various (occasionally classic) hits, with the subtlety of a brute. The Only One I Know is slowed within an inch of its life, before North Country Boy is given the barnyard stomp treatment. Complacent. For those of you unfamiliar with DAVID J ROCH’s previous guise of Little Lost David, don’t worry, absolutely nothing has changed; his aching delivery and vocal gymnastics are still intact. His recent inclusion as an accompaniment on So You Think You Can Dance goes to show that he’s one fucking awful tune away from being James Blunt or Jack Johnson and I sense he’s got the taste for it. Lost cause. A quick scuttle across the festival is necessary for us to catch the first of THE LA’S secret performances. The Houseparty Stage provides exactly that, it’s like having the band in your front room, a rare and special treat! Mavers is accompanied by Gary Bandit on bass as they plough through the contents of the group’s eponymous LP, alongside a cover of My Generation. Generation Mavers seems relaxed, cracking smiles and even enjoying himself despite technical glitches, a state of mind that continues during their second set on the Calling Out Stage the following day. We’re not going to tempt anything, but seeing Mavers on this form does suggest the group are working towards heightened activity. Rumour mill....GO! The La’s performance initiates something of a scouse royalty exchange, as we make our way down to the Main Stage for ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN. Every time McCulloch announces Killing Moon as the “best fucking song in the world” I believe him a little bit more! After the drab, conservative performance of The Charlatans earlier, The Bunnymen’s performance shows a classic, era defining band still pushing themselves musically and growing into their position. UNCUT and MOJO covers await.

www.bidolito.co.uk bidolito bidolito.co.uk

Reviews THE CRIBS position as festival headliners just goes to show the benefit of the slow burn, as the band have built themselves, LP by LP over the past decade. There’s no getting away from the fact that this is punk-pop by numbers, but when the tunes are good, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. They are very Yorkshire, but at the right end of the ‘Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh’ crowd singalong spectrum that The Pigeon Detectives are very much at the wrong end of. Tonight’s reception is a crowning confirmation of their achievement. Over on the Calling Out Stage, the curious case of THE SUZUKIS continues, with an added twist. The group’s long awaited LP is about to land and it’d be fair to say that the initial reception has been lukewarm, but it seems that it may be a monkey off the band’s back, as today’s set is assured and confident, the shackles are off. With new material on show, building further on the groove led approach of Reasons For Leaving, Leaving there may be a new chapter in them yet. To be continued. THE RED SUNS are certainly the most embryonic of the Liverpool acts on show. Technically they’re impressive, creating a tightly textured, interweaving post-punk mass, but they do seem a little like rabbits in the headlights. Perhaps following The La’s second performance was a bit of a tough ask, putting them right under the telescope. Still promising mind. After an unsuccessful trek across the site to find Hatcham Social, only to be met with a chubby kid playing Lady GaGa covers, we refuel on warm cans of Stella and take our place for BLONDIE, which is the perfect closing to a sunkissed weekend. Festival moments are often those accompanied by a signature artist, with an unabridged open singalong, and Kendal Calling have taken the biscuit with this, as the band just knock out classic after classic to the largest crowd of the weekend. Kendal Calling has blossomed into a vital festival of the summer, with the perfect mix of new and old, family and fuck-up, excess and beauty. See you next year in the fields. Craig G Pennington

A Tribute To Sam Jones By David J Pichilingi, Liverpool Sound City Photograph by Mark McNulty

Since the last issue of Bido Lito!, Liverpool has lost one of the greatest music legends that it has spawned in the past 20 years. Sam Jones died recently in tragic circumstances and he was buried on a very sad day in the company of literally hundreds of people who turned out from all over the region and wider UK to pay their last respects. The word legend is often misinterpreted and overused but in the context of Sam it is absolutely appropriate and correct. Sam Jones was a music promoter in every sense of the word. From a very early age he cut his teeth promoting dance music aftershow parties for his friends in ‘The Groovy Garage.’ This was his mum’s garage in Formby. These parties were usually a follow up from what was to become Liverpool’s first serious weekly dance music night Smile. These weekly events have now become part of the folklore for the development of the 80s dance music scene in Liverpool. Sam and partner Paul Myers were responsible for bringing Back2Basics and Flying Records to Liverpool for the first time. Smile is widely regarded as a pre-cursor and massive influence on the start up of Cream. In fact, Sam was involved with the set up of Cream. After Smile, Sam moved to work with his partner Claire on Voodoo. Through his input, energy and vision he turned Voodoo into one of the most widely regarded Techno events in the UK and Europe. It became part of the very fabric of Liverpool and UK nightlife. So much was Voodoo a part of peoples lives that many members of the audience engraved their bodies with Voodoo tattoos and others even chose it as the venue for their wedding receptions! I was privileged enough to work alongside Sam on several occasions. The first time was when we set up Voodoo Records together. We released several EPs under this moniker. It has to be said the strength of the Voodoo brand that Sam built up was the main reason why we did so well in terms of sales and media recognition. In recent years Sam had been at the helm of the O2 Academy Liverpool. In this role he made it his business to bring some of the biggest household names in rock and roll to the city (including one-off shows from Paul McCartney and Snoop Dogg) as well as ensuring the best up and coming local acts got the chance to play on a big stage in front of large audiences. Sam was so full of life. He was gentle and quiet but had the most wicked and dark sense of humour. He was generous in every way and always went out of his way to assist and help others, particularly young people, for whom he always had time and patience to offer guidance. Sam was a fantastic dad to two beautiful children. He was a friend to many more. He is going to be deeply missed and Liverpool is a poorer place now he has left us.


Issue 15 / September 2011  

September 2011 issue of Bido Lito! Featuring OUTFIT, VASCO DA GAMA, LOVED ONES, WOODEN SHJIPS and much more.

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