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The Sand Band by Jennifer Pellegrini

The Sand Band Mugstar Indica Ritual The Loud The Seal Cub Clubbing Club Sound City

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Editorial

So, first things first, let’s get the important stuff out the way – I’m off to Berlin this weekend and I’m shitting myself. Not because I’m afraid of Germans, I’m pretty fond of them to be honest. Not because I dislike Berlin, I’d say it’s my favourite major European city and I love it. Neither is it because I’m going to Berlin on my own stag weekend and the chances of me being bound, gagged and publicly humiliated by some Bavarian dominatrix are terrifyingly high. Nope, my concerns are closer to home, over on the Wirral to be more precise. Tranmere play Milwall this weekend and, in reality we need to win to avoid relegation. Our infamously short-tempered cockney chums from the New Den also need to win to maintain their very plausible push for automatic promotion at the expense of Leeds. They’ve sold out their away allocation n all. Great. By the time you read this, we’ll know what fate Tranmere have met at Prenton Park and for that matter, I’ll know only too well what fate I’ve met in Berlin. Fingers crossed that Les Parry’s men come out of the weekend’s festivities in better shape than me. Go kind dear, frauline, go kind. If you’re starting to panic, thinking that there has been some horrid mistake at the printers and this editorial has been written for a very different publication than the music magazine you hold in your hands, calm down. I constantly need to juggle my affections between the sounds of our city and the disasters of lower league football grounds so I feel it’s imperative that you understand my plight from the start of this, hopefully long lasting, relationship. Because yes, this is the start. After hours of painstaking planning, trawling across the venues of our city in search of the finest new scouse sounds and burning the midnight oil - admittedly having far too much of a good time in the process - here is Issue One of Bido Lito! I’m going to resist the urge to run off some Jim Jones or Michael Foot-esque mantra and calling card. Instead, I think you’ll already have the gist; Bido Lito is a magazine for the music scene of Liverpool. The bands, DJs, promoters, producers, cloak room assistants, designers, photographers, record shop staff and, most importantly, the revellers who make up Liverpool’s buoyant music scene. This is a magazine about, and for, new music in our city, what’s going on now. Liverpool’s musical history is consistently lauded, packaged and exported - I’ve got no problem with that, I’m proud of our past - but Bido Lito is for the now. The scene, musically, is buzzing at the moment and hopefully the pages of this first issue bear testament to that. But, in comparison to other major cities, the independent media to support it is thin on the ground. Which is the reason why Bido Lito has been launched; to celebrate the new music of our city and provide a media through which it can be explored. Just as our friends over at North By North West are seeking to do with their online radio show - myspace.com/nxnwshow the first instalment features many great local acts, including Bicycle Thieves, Vasco Da Gama, James Kelly, Emily and the Faves and The Loud – and as Obscenic are looking to do with their musical films – obscenic.co.uk - Bido Lito is here to provide a local, enthusiastic voice of support for our artists. On a more sober note, it’s important to spare a thought for everybody affected by the fire recently at Korova. The promoters, staff, DJs, management and everybody else who have lost their jobs in the short term, and the people who’ve lost a hell of a lot more than that in the long term. It’ll be a hard hitting loss for the local music scene. Hopefully, in whatever form it may be, Korova can come back from the fire stronger than ever. I’d like to extend a massive thanks to all the writers, photographers and illustrators who have contributed to this first issue and to all the bands featured for providing the inspiration. Thanks must also go to Bido Lito’s designer Luke. I’ll leave you alone now man…for a couple of weeks at least! Enjoy Sound City and see you next month (if I make it back!) Craig G Pennington Editor

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Bido Lito

Volume One – Issue One bidolito.co.uk Bido Lito Static Gallery, 23 Roscoe Lane Liverpool, L1 9JD info@bidolito.co.uk Editor Craig G Pennington Designer Luke Avery - earthstudios.net Words Craig G Pennington, Paul Meehan, John Still, Christopher Torpey, Andy Hill, Alan O’Hare, Hugh O’Connell, Sean Fell, Bethany Garrett, David Lynch, Hannh-Grace Fitzpatrick, The Glass Pasty, Nik Glover, Kadie Dobson, Rebecca Jackson, Nic Lowrey, Adam Hicks, Lee Boyle, Amy Konate Photographs Jennifer Pellegrini, Chloe Pattie, John Johnson, Simon Thelwell, Scott Partridge, Greg Brennan, Katherine Oliver, Bob @ Probe, Mischa Richter, Mark McNulty Illustrations John Biddle, Sean Wars, Luke Avery, Rachel Veniard If you would like to advertise in Bido Lito please email the publisher: ads@bidolito.co.uk


Features

MUGSTAR.

‘Mugstar are a breed unlike any of their local peers in terms of sonic mastery, attitude and style.’

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INDICA RITUAL.

‘Indica are nothing if not esoteric…their schizophrenic structures and no-holds-barred approach makes their sound refreshing, and very much their own.’

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THE LOUD.

‘The Loud’s scuzzy garage rock style is really finding some resonance.’

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THE SEAL CUB CLUBBING CLUB.

‘This is a band who defy categorisation. And indeed, that is somewhat the point.’

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THE SAND BAND.

‘For a band who’s music is so elegant, poised and delicate, they have a staunchly fierce streak when it comes to the power of independent art and music.’

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RICH FURNESS.

‘This man has become a staple of Liverpool’s electronic music scene, he is Rich Furness.’

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DELTASONIC RECORDS.

‘What is the state of the music industry in 2010 and how have we got here? Alan Wills (Deltasonic Records founder) was only too happy to help us out.’

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THE COMPANY STORE.

‘The Company Store have played host to some of the finest new bands from across the UK, with a real mix of Alabama Stetson & Adidas Samba clad folks along for the hoedown.’

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LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY. ACE PL

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‘This is a new music festival that could change your life, whether you’re on stage on in front of it.’

D

EB AT

OF PORTLA E N TL

THE BATTLE OF PORTLAND PLACE.

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‘The proposed closure of BBC 6Music has provoked widespread debate. Bethany Garrett and Hugh O’Connell lock horns.’

SMALL TALK ON HOPE STREET. 30

‘Wherever pop and politics are mixed with great music, the shadow of Gil Scott-Heron looms large.’

Regulars 24 THE MIDDLE EIGHT

32 HOT IN VINYL

33 RANTS/COMMENT

36 REVIEWS

46 SPORTS


MUGSTAR Words: Paul Meehan Illustrations: Sean Wรกrs


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Bido Lito! June 2010 It is very often an educational experience when you watch a band that really knows what they are doing. Liverpool kraut rock veterans MUGSTAR most definitely fit into this category with considerable ease. Their experience and musical expertise exudes from their live shows with them being in particularly fine form at Korova for the launch of their new album, Sun, Broken. Broken Bido Lito caught up with the band before the gig and got a unique insight into one of the best alternative, underground bands to come out of Liverpool since the Walking Seeds. They are a band who considers acts such as Sun Ra, Kraftwerk, Mudhoney, Devo as well as John Peel (they appeared on one of the last ever Peel Sessions) to be major influences, have been compared with the likes of Hawkwind, Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth and have toured with legends such as Mogwai, Acid Mothers Temple and Onieda. Some big name dropping there but this is not to say it is not warranted or deserved. Mugstar have built a reputation on improvisation and forward thinking approaches to music which then very much speaks for itself. They have not intentionally set out to sound like any of the bands aforementioned with some critics even daring to say that they have managed to carve a genre of their own; creating a unique sound that isn’t and shouldn’t be confined to any specific musical association. The guys themselves are very much of this opinion. They don’t like to pigeon-hole their sound: “I don’t think we fit into anything. We are a band that play together to create, we have a vision that relies very much on intuition,” says guitarist Neil Murphy. “We start off with very loose arrangements. Improvisation is a big part of what we do” adds Neil. Drummer, Steve Ashton agrees: “Yeah, we just start kicking ideas around and then let them develop organically. You know when something sounds good.” They don’t tend to buy into the comparisons that have been made with bands such as Pink Floyd; they very much prefer to be enjoyed for what

Floyd however it is not something the band believes is truly reflective of their sound. “Psychedelic music has become fashionable again. These music critics can’t seem to make up their mind. One minute we are experimental, the next we are progressive rock or even psychedelic rock,” says Neil. It is exactly this confusion that makes Mugstar all that more special. Their genre defying sound is something they have been developing and nurturing since their early days. The band, as the four-piece they are now, have been together since 2002 and consist of multiinstrumentalists Neil Murphy (guitar, flute, viola), Peter Smyth (guitar, keyboards and occasional vocals), Jason Stoll (bass, saxophone) and drummer Steve Ashton. This wealth of musical abilities epitomises the talent within the band as well as adding extra dimensions to their music that makes them so difficult to categorise. “You get used to how each other play. We have all got different interests and it all comes together in a sort of fragment of noise. It’s hard to describe, it’s just felt,” explains Neil. Mugstar are a breed unlike any of their local peers in terms of sonic mastery, attitude and style. Their musical lineage side steps the familiar sound of other famous Liverpool acts such as The Beatles and Echo and the Bunnymen and instead shifts perspective from the pop route to something much more cerebrally challenging. The new record, which is the band’s second album offering is being released under the American label Important Records. This may seem like an unusual step for a British based band who have had success with labels such as Lancashire and Somerset and the much celebrated Irish imprint, Trensmat which released 2007s groundshaking 7” single Bethany Heart Star. Star “This label fits with the philosophy of the music. It has a broad range of artists on the label, the sort of sludge-rock and drone music styles similar to us. We thought it would just make sense,” says Neil. Their thinking behind the new record is based very much on trying to capture their live sound on record, however, as Neil describes, it was approached with an even more open-

they are. There is certainly no shame in being compared with the likes of

minded philosophy than the first album: “We had even less of an idea when we

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Bido Lito! June 2010 started this record. There was a lot more give and take on the first album. We would get the core of the track and then tweak it and add layers later. I would say that this album is much more layered.” With a band like Mugstar it is not surprising to hear that their artistic and creative energies are not just saved for the music as they are currently putting together a DVD which was inspired by the Melvins, who the band saw a few years ago in FACT: “They (the Melvins) had been working with a film maker. They played along to a live soundtrack and Jason thought it would be a good idea if we did a similar thing. We are going to put together a soundtrack with live projections for it which we play along to. It’s going to be separate from the album because something like that has to be seen on its own,” explained Neil. Mugstar are a band who truly believes in the artistic aesthetics of music. They see their music as an art form and with the incorporation of visuals into their live shows they further expand on their artistic capabilities. “We have always liked bands that have done it in the past, bands from the 60s and 70s. I think because we do instrumental music it just adds another dimension. We are all quite visual people; we are all into arts as well as sounds so it just kind of grew out of that”, explains Steve. “A lot of it is quite abstract,” adds Neil. “There is not any particular theme for certain songs or anything like that. Sam (visuals) has particular graphics that he likes to use for different songs. He likes to have a set list so he knows when to use certain images. Stuff we are doing now is more colourful and psychedelic. It tends to be very well approached.” “Yeah it’s great. We always ask for the lights to be turned down at gigs so that we can fully appreciate the visuals. It feels good on stage,” says Steve. Adding visuals to music undoubtedly provides more for an audience at a

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that need visuals to make their music more interesting. They are a powerful live force with textually layered sonic masterpieces that penetrate your very consciousness. Their epic soundscapes leave you mesmerized, as their meticulously structured yet equally frenzied songs provoke, engage and bewilder. The complexities and unrelenting intensity in songs such as Technical Knowledge as a Weapon leave you in agreement with the fantastic analogy that “Mugstar sound like 10,000 suns exploding.” With a foundation of straight up rock n’ roll riffs, swirling and dense bass lines backed up by pulsating drums, Mugstar are a cosmic entity in a league of their own. Their experimentalism truly pushes the envelope and creates a multi generic cauldron of sound. Underneath the huge noise they produce are also some beautifully arranged melodies. Their ability to slow things down adds a strangely uplifting darkness and moodiness to their songs which they can then as easily transform back into massively atmospheric, multi-dimensional pieces of music. Epic is not the word, they are grander than that. They are a sonic juggernaut that impresses enormously. They have crafted their art to a staggering level that makes it very difficult to understand why they are not more recognised by the likes of Kerrang! or Metal Hammer. Perhaps that’s what makes them who they are. They are a musical treasure and one of those bands you love to still consider underground and as selfish as it sounds they’re best kept with a degree of mystery surrounding them. They’re the kind of band that you probably won’t have heard of but will be completely blown away by. Mainstream music scenes probably wouldn’t understand or even be able to handle the mighty Mugstar, and anyway they’re too good to be number 1! mugstar.com

live show, however, needless to say Mugstar are not one of these bands

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Indica Ritual Words: John Still Illustration: John Biddle

Since emerging in their current form nearly 3 years ago, INDICA RITUAL have grown into one of Liverpool’s most popular underground acts. Through exhilarating live shows, pop-hooks and memorable colour scheme, they have become the party band of choice and garnered rave reviews from press and fellow bands alike. The Indica Ritual sound is difficult to categorise. Some aspects fall under the already fairly general ‘post-punk’ tag, while elements of folk, electronica and even hardcore are also detectable, all inside concise pop songs. Andre Hunt (guitar and vocals), explains their approach to writing music. “Most of the time one person will come with the basis of a song, and then we all come together at practice and arrange the tunes, which is where the personality of our band comes through. What we’re really into is dense arrangements, lots of things going on simultaneously, while keeping focus on the cohesion of the song.” This focus is evident on most recent single Seamless Ejaculation/Alpha

Male. Both songs are mini-prog epics, containing multiple sections and melodies, but clock in at under five minutes. It’s a breathless song-writing style, the most striking feature being the ease of the interplay between such disparate styles, without it feeling forced or shoehorned in, “It’s the way we like to do things. We’ve never enforced many rules on ourselves, just to not make it boring. Our only real remit is to try to not sound like a typical guitar band. Saying that, we’re still making pop music. We just want to carry on developing our own style.” Indica are nothing if not esoteric, and although there are touchstones to be found in Devo, Deerhoof and Dirty Projectors, their schizophrenic structures and no-holds-barred approach makes their sound refreshing, and very much their own. Andre and fellow Indica Ritual members Tom, George, Ferg and Nick are active in various other projects such as Balloons, Stig Noise Sound System, Gorton vs. Berger, APATT and Pariah Qarey. These projects are among those in a Liverpool underground


scene, which has a small yet devoted following, and through bands such as Indica Ritual and The Seal Cub Clubbing Club is beginning to receive a small amount of attention in the national music press. “The Liverpool scene is still under the radar in terms of the UK industry, there are still preconceptions people have about ‘Liverpool bands’ that aren’t true. There is a small but fertile scene in Liverpool trying to do something new, where the only priority is to be progressive, but in terms of reaching a wider audience, I’m not sure it has yet, which can be quite frustrating.” This year the Sound City Festival returns as many of music’s current big names descend on Liverpool. Both Sound City and Liverpool Music Week have grown into huge events in recent years, attracting talent from around the world. As part of Sound City, Indica Ritual will play a show with Domino Records’ Max Tundra and Holy Fuck. “That’s a great show for us. The whole Sound City event does offer some good opportunities for local bands, but the emphasis they place on a locality seems fairly arbitrary. It’s a good event for the city to host, but in terms of the publicity, little emphasis seems to be placed on local bands.” Through their reputation as an exiting live band, Indica Ritual have earned support slots with diverse acts such as Deerhoof, HEALTH, Crystal Castles and 2 Many DJ’s. US act Ponytail cited Indica as ‘one of the best bands we’ve ever seen’ in their Drowned-in-Sound interview. “Live performance is good for us as a band. The way we play and the way we are, it’s definitely a live thing. Personally, recording and arranging is my favourite part, but playing live is a great part of the experience.” The band describe themselves as ‘gig-keeno’s’ on their website, and have toured both in the UK and into Europe, although everyday life sometimes restricts how much they can do. “We haven’t toured as much as we’d like, given we have jobs and other commitments. But the tours have been great, especially into Europe. There’s a lot more collaborative, progressive music and art scenes, and so many council or government funded events, which it’s been a privilege to be involved in. Playing at the Mars-Attacks festival in Marseilles and playing Rome were amazing experiences. We tend to play more electronic events in Europe, not exactly sure why.” Although these fleeting excursions into Europe haven’t bought world-wide recognition, they’ve proved worthwhile to the band “We sold a few records and made a few friends, so definitely a positive experience.” Despite this, touring isn’t the immediate priority for the time being, the band are taking a short break from live shows to concentrate on finishing a new EP

for release towards the end of 2010. “We were going to do an album, but we decided to cut it down, probably to about 6 or 7 tracks. We always seem to want to record our newest material, which poses problems for composing an album! But the EP is nearly done, and we’re hoping to maybe be touring again in June.” With the band currently releasing on the POSTMUSIC/Samizdat label, the business side of the music industry has not become a concern as of yet, “We’re just happy getting our music across to as many people as we can, I’ve no particular problem with becoming a part of mainstream culture per se, but we certainly wouldn’t want to endanger our ideals about making music. We’re much more focused on making music than selling product, which is a good and a bad thing. Maybe we can improve on the business side, But for the time being our focus is on our music.” You can hear the results of this focus on the Seamless Ejaculation/Alpha Male single and catch Indica Ritual live at Sound City 2010 myspace.com/indicaritual

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Words: Christopher Torpey Photos: Chloe Pattie “There have been no good bands in Liverpool since The Coral,” announces THE LOUD’s bassist Matthew Freeman halfway through our interview, as he hangs out of the window of his band’s tiny rehearsal space, blowing smoke in to the air outside as seagulls wheel overhead. There is a beat while the three band members look at each other as if to confirm this statement, then turn to fix me with a steely gaze. No big statement? No declaration to be the ‘next big thing’? No need. The Loud don’t prescribe to the myth that the more you eulogise about yourself the more successful you’ll be, as bands with lesser talent tend to do. Instead they are happy to let their music do the talking, and their’s is certainly getting tongues wagging around the city at the moment, more so with the release of their first EP last month. “We’re definitely seeing more new faces showing up at our gigs,” says singer and guitarist Pennington Lee. “That shows that we’re going in the right direction.” Like The Coral, all three band members hail from our country’s Leisure Peninsula, but that is where similarities with the Wirral-rockers start and end. I had seen Pennington Lee and Freeman play in their previous band, a more jazzily

Oxton, their scuzzy garage rock style is really finding some resonance. The dynamics of a three-piece are benefiting the songs too, letting them evolve naturally and preventing them from being pulled in too many different directions, with an emphasis on a stripped-back, simplistic playing style that creates one helluva racket (hence the name). Describing their sound as ‘modern glam’, Lee draws a line through their influences that connects T Rex, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Black Angels, but it was their mutual admiration for two bands in particular that really brought them focus as a band: the fury of Knebworth-era Oasis is there in spades, and their shadowy soundscape lends heavily from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, giving them a darkly threatening sound that grooves and thrashes until your ears bleed. Built on dirty, undulating bass-lines and the incessant thrash-crash of the drums, The Loud’s music twists and broils in a maelstrom of reverb, with Lee’s cutting guitars soaring in to the mix and ratcheting up the volume still further. Pity the bands who share their tiny attic-space rehearsal room then. “Ha! Yeh, we do pretty much blow

psychedelic affair. The Loud are far from that and represent them going back to basics and, with drummer Leroy

them all out of the water with this noise,” jokes Lee, the band’s songwriter.

The

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Bido Lito! June 2010

In this cramped space they have the look of a 90s American grunge band, stealing moments in between school and paper rounds to sneak in to the garage and bash out some tunes. It also lends well to their sound, providing the acoustics needed to create that distorted fuzz that makes them sound like they’re playing from behind a wall of shadow. With the lights turned down low, the boys retreat behind their instruments ready to play, and this is where they look most at home: any discomfort they showed when answering questions seeps away when they start to play, and they have a tightness, communicating more by looks than by words. They obviously relish making music together, which is a refreshing characteristic in a band today; some are too busy blowing their own trumpets to worry about picking up a guitar. As a live prospect, you might think they would struggle to fill a big venue when they are so used to being crammed in to their matchbox-sized studio. But it is a credit to their songs that they don’t look lost at all, instead swelling their size so that they almost resemble a greyscale version of The White Stripes, taking possession of the colours black and

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apocalyptic Five Years, are testament to this, but the real highlights come in the glam rumble and roll of A Little Taste Of Home and Good Intentions, sounding like a sinister Beach Boys demanding that you dance to their tune. The howling lyrics are spat out by Pennington Lee as he moves through the gears, at times growling (‘You can do what you want, yeh/You can do what you please’), at times lamenting (‘every time I pick up a paper I see it’s bad news’), and even occasionally showing that he does have a generous heart too (‘Send a kiss out to every stranger who hears this sound’). I Am A War rolls in on the wheels of the heavy artillery and explodes around you like a full-blown battle, with glam shells going off in your face, and the siren-aping guitar tearing at your eardrums. Make it through that to the relative safety of I’m Easy, where your only danger is being cut to ribbons by the razor-sharp guitar, and trampled to death by the galloping rhythm, and you should be fit to take on anything. The Loud may not be a name you’ve heard of before now, but you will not escape their sound in the coming months: it’s coming to get you, and you’ve got nowhere to hide…

Loud

white and really bringing them to life with their music. The bleak picture painted by It’s Nothing, Nothing and the

myspace.com/thelouduk

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Bido Lito! June 2010

The Seal Cub Clu Words: Craig G Pennington Illustration: John Biddle

Wirral’s THE SEAL CUB CLUBBING CLUB are a unique bunch. From their commix of music reference points to their abstract song structures, a varied lyrical direction to mindbending artwork concepts and that name, this is a band who defy categorisation. And indeed, that is somewhat the point. The SCCC bludgeoned their way into the nation’s musical consciousness in 2005, as a result of their two debut, self released EPs Number One In A Serious and The Seal Cub Clubbing Club EP EP, which were met with critical acclaim from, amongst others, Rough Trade and Steve Lamacq. This resulted in tours with Brakes, Field Music, British Sea Power and a host of festival appearances. The band’s debut LP Super Science Fiction was heavily delayed due to legal wrangling with the group’s former label, before finally landing in 2009 aboard Jack To Phono Records. The album stands as one of the finest pieces of work produced by a band from our region in years; an abstruse post-punk mix, combining the soaring tension of Yucatan, the prog-Kraut rumblings of Can and Super Furry Animals at their odd-pop best. Bido Lito caught up with Nik Glover, the band’s lead protagonist, to gain an insight into the world of The SCCC.

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Bido Lito: For readers new to the band, how would you describe the music of The SCCC? Nik Glover: Confusing. We tend to mash together genres as much as possible so our albums can swing from one style to another even within songs. We’re kind of weird-indie/ambient/trip-hop. BL: There is a depth and variation to the arrangements and the sonic landscape of The SCCC’s music. Is this something that comes naturally, or is there a constant strive to find new sounds and present them in interesting ways? NG: We start with a sound and decide where that sound should naturally build to. We structure everything else in the song around bringing out what is good in that first sound, trying to stick to whatever first impressions and ideas sprang from hearing that sound for the first time. We never start with lyrics, everything comes from that first moment of inspiration. BL: Literature is key to the subject matter of The SCCC’s work and the band’s overall aesthetic. What is your view on the relationship between popular – or not so popular – music and literature? NG: Popularity comes and goes. 90% of the music that is popular now will be forgotten about


Bido Lito! June 2010

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whatever is big in indie/dance music that month, while also playing host to a few stalwarts. We’re one of the older bands in Liverpool now, which feels strange to say. There has been peaks and troughs, but there is always enough good bands around to pull the rest up.

ubbing Club by all but a small section of the population by the time it’s ten years old. Our music is built on the idea that everything is transient, and that there is no point trying to create timeless music. Art usually becomes timeless because of the critical reaction it receives, or occasionally because it has an extremely polarising effect on a large audience. BL: Your material is often lyrically abstract, hung around various identifiable, common themes. This theme strikes me as being similar to your artwork. Is this juxtaposition between the everyday and the abstract something you strive for in both your lyrics and artwork – and I suppose in your arrangements and song structure – as an identifiable aspect of what The SCCC is all about? NG: The lyrics we write take themes from whatever we’re reading at the given moment, though in the very few ‘story’ songs we do there is always a ‘real’ character at the centre of them, based on someone we know. At the moment I’ve been reading lots of graphic novels so there is a lot of references to super-heroic feats in our songs. We’ve been fortunate with artwork in that three very talented artists (John ‘The Doog’ Dowswell, Jon Owen, Elley Suggett) have come along at the right moments in our development to supply us with the right artwork. We don’t give them anything to listen to to prepare them for ‘painting’ the music, we just give them a rough outline of the themes involved and trust that they’ll produce something extraordinary. BL: What impact do you feel being a band from the Wirral has on the music and outlook of The SCCC? Has it also had an impact on your relationship with the scene in Liverpool? NG: It used to make us feel a bit seperate from the Liverpool scene, but since three out of five of us live in Liverpool now it doesn’t make much difference. We know a lot of the Liverpool bands so we do feel a bit more part of a scene, even if it’s a constantly changing one. BL: You have been involved in the Merseyside and UK music scene for many years now. How would you regard the strength and depth of the current local scene? NG: Liverpool changes every year, depending on fashion. Like all British city-scenes, it mirrors

BL: From the current crop of Liverpool bands, which of these musical peers would you say you share an affinity with? NG: We’ve never really had a group of bands around us playing similar music, I don’t think we’ve influenced many people to try, so I wouldn’t say we share an affinity with anyone. Other bands we like or respect haven’t really changed, The Laze, Indica Ritual, Balloons, aPAtT, Hot Club, Wave Machines, Married to the Sea, all of them are very good bands. BL: I can imagine that the release of Super Science Fiction was quite a liberating experience. Was this the case? NG: It’s hard to feel liberated after such a long, painful process. It does feel good to have it finally out. BL: What has been your take on the critical reaction to Super Science Fiction? NG: It was OK, for what we got. We were lucky to get a lot of radio play from 6Music which has really helped raise our profile in certain circles. It polarised the people who reviewed it in that everyone liked certain bits and couldn’t understand why we’d done other bits. The bits that polarised people were always different, some people liked the poppier stuff on it, some people only liked the weirder stuff. That’s the reaction I wanted. BL: How would you say your new material differs from the band’s work on Super Science Fiction? NG: It’s a lot nastier, and a lot more studied. There’s more words, faster lyrics, faster guitars and a lot more synths. We haven’t gone all 80’s. After the turmoil and drawn out nature of Super Science Fiction’s release, its been extremely pleasing to see The SCCC emerge this year with new material – in the form of frenetic new single Made Of Magic - a flurry of live shows and a session on the ever supportive Marc Riley’s 6Music show. Many bands would have simply fallen apart as a result of the drawn out legal jousting and emotional baggage emanating from the impasse. Luckily, The SCCC are thick skinned chaps. I asked Nik what their perseverance said about the band and he replied simply, “We’re mugs”. Thank goodness for that. myspace.com/thesealcubclubbingclub

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The Sand Band Words: Craig G Pennington Photos: Jennifer Pellegrini


Bido Lito! June 2010

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Around 10 years ago, when I was an annoying, opinionated, scruffy-headed mid-teen (some may say little has changed) I used to go into a music shop in Wallasey most weekends. I played on the guitars incessantly, demanding that the shop assistant get each and every instrument down from the walls for me to pluck away at in my own endearingly awful, ham-fisted fashion. On one occasion, I was perplexed when the shop assistant informed me that I couldn’t play on them anymore, as I was pretty unlikely to ever buy one. After about ten minutes of chatting with THE SAND BAND’s David McDonnell (guitar and vocals) and Jay Sharrock (drums), it turns out that David was the very shop assistant who told me to sling my demanding hook. “I’m so sorry man” he offers, with a genuine regret in his voice. “The guy who ran the shop was a nightmare. He told the staff not to let kids play the instruments. He used to rip off old ladies taking their pianos for nothing and then he’d stick a £1000 price on them in the shop. He was a real bastard.” Gladly, David’s time in music retail was short lived. A hasty exit from said shop followed an attempted wage bribe by the boss with a knackered second hand organ. I say gladly, as David was free to concentrate on his own music, which would ultimately culminate in The Sand Band. The group started as a musical collaboration between David and Scott Marmion (pedal steel). Their first offerings were heard by Simon Tong – former Verve, Blur & Gorillaz guitarist – who released Spinning Wheel on the first Butterfly Records compilation, What The Folk? in 2007. I picked up a copy of the compilation back then and Spinning Wheel was a standout highlight, with its aching, Drake-ian fragility. This was followed by The Secret Chord EP – released on US label HappyParts Recordings in September 2008 - a warmly received, Elliot Smith inspired collection of five tender, heartfelt home recordings, featured a cover of Just Like Anything, Anything a song by American folk singer Jackson C Frank. For anybody unfamiliar with Frank, his story is tragically fascinating. At the age of eleven he was scarred for life and hospitalised for seven months after an explosion at school which killed fifteen of his class mates. When he was 21, he received an insurance payout and left for England, where he was active on the mid sixties folk circuit – though he was plagued by depression his whole life. He penned the classic, Blues Run The Game – a song later made famous by Simon & Garfunkel, which perfectly captures his experience of the time, as well as his deeprooted melancholy. Frank’s story is one of loneliness, heartache and loss, all theme’s strongly apparent on The Secret Chord. David, “When I first gave a cassette to Scott, he said it sounded like Jackson C Frank. I’d never heard of him at the time. I just got into him so much, I could relate to him musically from the subject matter of his material. He seemed to be coming at his music in a similar way to myself. The man is unbelievable.”

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Bido Lito! June 2010

The featuring of Frank’s Just Like Anything on The Secret Chord, is also symbolic of the band’s musical outlook – an outlook based on art, collaboration, community and a sense of respect for musical lineage akin to the Greenwich Village beat poets and folk singers of the 1960s. David, “Chuck - head of HappyParts Recordings - agreed to pay $350 to the estate of Jackson C Frank so we could use Just Like Anything on the EP. It meant we couldn’t press it up physically – there wasn’t enough money - and we’ve not made a penny from the release, but it was so important to us. The guy has been a huge, huge influence’. In the current world of ‘cut and paste culture’, where pinching a musical gem from the past is seen as a triumph, this outlook is starkly unique and refreshing. The inclusion of Just Like Anything on the EP, and this story behind it, only deepens the allure and appeal of the record. The Sand Band release their first full length LP this spring, entitled All Through The Night. Night The record sees a change in direction of how the band function both musically and collaboratively. “The original, frail sound was one somewhat born out of necessity” says David. “On The Secret Chord we had no bass or drums, but we did have something to say. There is an inner gang aesthetic to the band now, we are all pulling in the same direction. In a similar way to The Smiths, or even Shane Meadows; when he makes a film he’s surrounded by creative talented people, all pulling in one direction. It’s in the power of the collective…a collective strength.” And it seems this collective strength is powerful indeed; having finished All Through The Night just last autumn, the band went straight into rehearsals for their next album, When We Kiss which will follow later in 2010. Jay, “As a band its important to document where you’re at at various stages. You always seem to focus on the now and the new, the songs which you’ve written this week. With Dave writing 5 new tunes a day sometimes, it can be quite tempting to just focus continually on new material.” Where as When We Kiss sees the birth of The Sand Band as ‘a band’, the fluid informal, collective nature of imminent release All Through The Night showcases the group in a way which would be impossible to catch again. David, “The early recordings are a great artefact, the footprints in the sand as to where we’re at now. Out of

respect to yourself, it’s good to put them down and release them when you can. We were mixing two records virtually simultaneously, so it’s been really important for us to release All Through The Night now.” All Through The Night was recorded at the band’s home studio and produced entirely by the group. However, for the sessions on When We Kiss, they decamped to the legendary Sawmills in Cornwall – the studio where Definitely Maybe, Fools Gold and Storm In Heaven were all recorded. However, one thing didn’t change; the band were at the desk. David, “It’s really important to us that we produce our own work. We have a very specific mental image of how we want the record to sound. When you’re an eighteen year old kid you don’t have the money to go out and get a producer, but you can do it yourself with an 8 track. Its really important to us that kids know they can do it themselves. That’s when the magic happens.” This was the first time The Sand Band wrote as a full band and put down the tracks live in three or four takes. David, “We wrote and learned all the songs as a band before we went down to Sawmills, which was a very different experience to early Sand Band recordings. We were pretty militant about it, doing twelve hour days non stop for two months in Elevator (rehearsal rooms on Jamaica St). When we went down to Sawmills we knew exactly what we wanted to do and how we

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Bido Lito! June 2010

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wanted to make the record.” Though the band are thrilled with the results of the Sawmills recordings, they turned out very differently to how they were originally intended. David, “We were originally going to go to Sawmills to rerecord All Through The Night, Night but we ended up doing two months at Elevator and writing When We Kiss. It was really exciting, but very scary at the same time. We spent twelve grand of our own money recording the album, which was shit scary. Luckily Deltasonic liked it and are putting it out, but if they didn’t, we’d have released it ourselves.” This attitude is illustrative of The Sand Band’s whole outlook. For a band who’s music is so elegant, poised and delicate, they have a staunchly fierce streak when it comes to the power of independent art and music. Throughout our interview, David and Jay enthuse about independent fashion boutiques in Quiggans, organic café’s on Lark Lane and the strength and support of the local music community. David, “Liverpool has a buried network of support and people are very positive and excited about the record which is very reassuring. There is a great community of people out there in music, art, film, fashion and photography who have something to say and will help people out.” This isn’t a front and a veiled attempt to fly the fashionable independent flag, they genuinely value and believe in the essentialness of people going it alone and forging their own culture, which is why working with a newly independent Deltasonic Records was so attractive. David, “We were approached by Bella Union and Parlophone, but Alan Wills at Deltasonic was straight on it. He just wanted to release the record straight away as soon as he’d heard it. Deltasonic is a true independent now, since the split from Sony. Its not under the same pressures as it was and they’re free to release whatever they want. Its not awash with money, but they’re giving their bands complete freedom to do whatever they want, from the artwork, direction of the records, production, everything. It’s a Liverpool label, for Liverpool artists and there is a trust between the label and the bands, its both ways.” And the second bloom of Deltasonic also comes at a time when Liverpool’s music scene is as healthy as ever and as musically diverse as it’s been for years. “This year is the start of an exciting new time. Along with the re-emergence of Deltasonic, the scene is as broad genre-

wise as its ever been” points out David. “With bands like The Sixteen Tonnes, The Red Suns, The Loud, The Seal Cub Clubbing Club, Wave Pictures and Clinic doing their new LP, its very diverse. When you think of great city scenes such as San Francisco and Portland, they have such a mix of different styles within the scene. In the past Liverpool has been packaged up with one specific sound, but I do think its as diverse now as its ever been.” One thing is for certain, that with The Sand Band leading the way, our scene is in very safe hands. Still, a quick strum wouldn’t have hurt? myspace.com/thesandband

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Words: Andy Hill Illustration: Luke Avery If you have ever looked at the endless rows of posters plastered on billboards, roadside fences and abandoned buildings around Liverpool, it is likely there is one name that you have seen more often than any other. That man has become a staple of Liverpool’s electronic music scene, he is RICH FURNESS. Rich is a local guy who has grown up in and around the city, his musical influences and references are embedded in our local culture. His musical ascent to resident DJ of the mighty Chibuku club night began way back in the early 1990s. After being influenced by his older brother into listening to old rave groups like SL2 and The Prodigy, he began to rob his compilation tapes. After spending his adolescence in 3beat record shop looking for old Drome and Helter Skelter mix tapes, Furness finally got his chance to go to a live show when his older brother took him along to a New Year’s Party in Milton Keynes. When he was standing in the club, surrounded by 10,000 comrades, Rich Furness had an epiphany. He recalls, “I had always wanted to be an MC, but that night I saw Mark EG (hardcore DJ) play, and he looked like he was having more fun than anyone in the entire venue. I remember just watching him transfixed and thinking ‘that’s what I want to do’.” A year later, Rich had his first decks. Rich’s musical influences are not too dissimilar to that of many other dubstep and electronic DJs, he quotes David Rodigan, Marky & Mala as 3 of his heroes. He continues to say, “the influences on what I am actually playing at the moment are mainly from the multi genre ‘post dubstep’ garage stuff, there’s so much good stuff around at the moment its getting very difficult to keep track.” He really isn’t wrong. Through speaking with Rich, it

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can quickly be ascertained that he has a vast knowledge of the subject; he is a regular contributor to Core Mag, as well as running his own blog. The evolution of dubstep is a touchy area, especially for those in the inner circle, though Rich shrugs away the animosity for the growing popularity of his beloved music. “Its been really weird to have watched Dubstep grow into what it has become. It’s really strange now as I think Dubstep isn’t even Dubstep any more, the main sounds you hear at clubs now are so far removed from what Dubstep sounded like in 2005 when the term was first given, tracks have just been getting more and more aggressive and sillier, which doesn’t really bother me because I like it all.” This one-for-all attitude has lead Furness to being a popular DJ around the city; you are just as likely to catch him playing dubstep at Chibuku or Electro at Korova. His adaptability assures him a place at the top of every promoter’s booking slates, and he has amassed a very impressive list of support slots. He recalls one of those nights as his best, “Warming up for Chase & Status to 700 of the rowdiest people ever in The Theatre at The Masque rank as some of the greatest hours of my life.” As I’m sure you have also noticed, Rich has one of the best attributes for anyone associated with the business: he simply loves the music. He revealed that, “I don’t think in the future I could possibly work somewhere doing something that isn’t involved in music without becoming clinically depressed within an hour.” It is this level of respect and admiration for his music that signals Rich Furness out as one of our great city’s leading DJs. myspace.com/djfurness


Deltasonic Records Words: Craig G Pennington Photo: Jennifer Pellegrini

Since releasing the debut EP by The Coral in 2001, DELTASONIC RECORDS have basically provided the soundtrack to Merseyside for the past 9 years. Now completely independent, Craig G Pennington met up with label boss and Deltasonic founder ALAN WILLS to talk about the challenges facing the music industry and the future of the label… In July 2001, Deltasonic released the Shadows Fall EP by The Coral. This predated the first ipod by three months and came out at a time when the music industry was still, on the surface at least, sitting pretty smug. True, there were rumblings of discontent, largely growing from the whole Napster affair, but that little niggle had successfully been nipped in the bud. There was no myspace, facebook or twitter. Going by the rabid consumption of these digital hangouts by the folks of today, it’s hard to remember what people actually did with themselves back in 2001? Digital radio was in its embryonic infancy, BBC 6Music hadn’t even been launched yet and blogging was about as commonplace within sixth form common rooms as bird watching, that of the aviary variety. So, as the trains start rolling into Lime Street, carrying with them some of the music industry’s biggest noises for Sound City, what is the state of the industry in 2010 and how have we got here? Alan was only too happy to help me out. Bido Lito: We constantly hear about the music industry being in turmoil, how would you say this has come about? Alan Wills: “Essentially, the cat is out of the bag. In the old days it was all about the song, before recorded music there was publishing and you would buy the sheet music for the hit song of the day, to play at home on the piano. When disks came along, singles still outsold albums for a long time, before it moved the other way and the album became an art form in itself, which probably peaked around 1967 until 1982.” “Eventually the album became diluted. In the 1980’s when CDs came in, you had a lot of the marketing guys running A&R at the major labels, who came with a different approach. They didn’t really understand how to make

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records properly and wanted to market them as cheaply as possible, which meant getting them on the playlist at Radio One or the equivalent network in America, on the back of two singles plugged to radio and a load of filler on the album.” BL: Which seems to be completely evident today? AW: “Yeah. You buy a Kaiser Chiefs album for instance, its two singles and a load of shit. It’s not like Dark Side Of The Moon where its a whole album as a piece of art, or Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring which works as an entire album. All that’s happened now is digital has come along and kids can pick their tracks, breaking the record up. But, if you can release a really strong album, kids will check it out and be like ‘Hey, I like all these tunes, it’s cheaper for me to buy the album than the tracks individually.’” BL: So where does that leave the future of the album? AW: “People need to make the effort to make amazing albums and if you can’t, you shouldn’t be in the business of making albums. And people will make amazing albums. Pop people on the other hand will only really release singles in the future.” BL: One of the main concerns about the future of the music business is the reduction in investment which will inevitably occur as the revenues in the industry contract. What do you see happening in that situation? AW: “When people are going around

saying ‘fuck the record companies’ and all that, they’re actually saying ‘fuck the bands’, because the bands will be much worse off. A major record company is an investment vehicle, when that vehicle becomes unprofitable, the investment goes elsewhere and bands suffer as the money isn’t there to develop them. If you’re currently investing in Universal Music and the money is being used to develop new music, but buying shares in Apple is going to yield more money, as an investor, where are you going to put your money? People will just stop investing if you take the incentive to make money away. Young musicians need a recording deal to pay for their equipment, to pay to go on tour, to pay to travel the world, to pay for John Leckie to record their new album, its not the labels who’ll lose out, it’s the young artists. Nobody else is willing to pay for that development.” BL: But with illegal downloading now being such a huge issue for the industry, it makes it incredibly difficult for record companies to make their money back from purely selling records. How do you see that issue being tackled? AW: “I think fine every Internet Service Provider (ISP) that allows people to download illegal music. They are making billions of pounds a year providing pirates with a getaway truck. You can track every illegal download so for every one you can charge the ISP 79 pence. It’s not the music industry’s responsibility, this is theft. If people were walking into HMV and stealing records, it would be HMV’s responsibility to stop it. It’s up to the ISP’s, but this is big business, Google and all the ISPs are much, much bigger than the record industry and the US Government won’t step in, they don’t really care.” BL: Deltasonic was for a number of years affiliated with Sony. What happened to result in the label going it alone? AW: “We were with Sony for seven years and towards the end of the term they wanted to renegotiate and extend the deal. Rob Stringer had gone to America and Muff Winwood had retired, these were the guys I had dealt with originally at the label. The new people who’d come in didn’t share the same vision that Rob and Muff had. I fealt that we’d


Bido Lito! June 2010 never make a great record with those people. They were so focussed on Radio One and that is not the business I’m interested in being in, if we get played on it great, but I’m not interested in sitting down and trying to make records to get played on Radio One.” BL: So Sony’s influence was adversely effecting the direction of the label? AW: “Towards the end it got really boring. Making music should be fun, that’s why we do it. When you start selling records you can apply marketing, but until you’ve got a business it’s purely artistic. There was a lot of messing around with The Zutons third album and the band were put it a really shit position they shouldn’t have been. If it was down to us Tony Visconti, Bowie’s producer, was going to make the record, but the people at Sony, naming no names, changed it all.” BL: Is that part of the deal when working with majors? People are widely sceptical? AW: “ No, its not down to working with majors, its down to working with wankers. There’s some really good people working at majors, they just weren’t at Sony at that time. They’re interested in making money, not music, and they’re not very good at it. They’re sitting in a building where one guy is really good at it called Simon Cowell. I’ve got no problem with Simon Cowell, he doesn’t say he’s into music, he’s honest, says he’s into money.” BL: So what is Deltasonic’s role in the whole process now and where do you see Deltasonic in the future? AW: “We’re in the business of finding new artists and developing those artists and we’re quite hardcore with it. Its like if you’re playing football, you’ve got to be George Best, if you want to be average player you won’t go down in history. If you’re not aiming at making a truly great record, what’s the fucking point?” “Deltasonic will no longer just be a record company, we’ve gone into publishing and management, we manage a new band called The Red Suns, and we’ll probably go into other services. The brand of Deltasonic will essentially be a broader music company.” BL: In a similar way to Rough Trade, having various different facets within the industry? AW: “Yeah exactly and they’ve been really successful. We, like everybody, don’t really know where the business is going to go, but we know if you’re small you can move really fast.” BL: The Suzukis album is due out this year. Is the LP ready to go? AW: “We actually finished the album today so it’s very exciting. We’d originally done it once, but it didn’t work. We, the label, had made a mistake. Sometimes as a label you need to hold your hands up and say ‘the band played great,

but the production wasn’t right’ and it’s our responsibility, so we needed to record it again.” BL: That’s a pretty refreshing perspective

AW: “Well it’s your responsibility, you’d be letting the band down otherwise. The band are releasing a record that in history is always there as a representation of them, and you’re responsible for it.” BL: The Coral have just announced details of their new LP. How do you see their career developing from here? AW: “I remain a huge Coral fan, but, I just don’t think they’ve made an album which is as good as they are.” BL: Even the first one? AW: “Even the first two. People who saw the band live at that time will know that the records, though amazing in parts, aren’t as good as they were. Don’t get me wrong, The Coral’s debut is a classic first album, but its not quite as good as The Stone Roses first album, yet the band were every bit as good as The Stone Roses live at the time.” “The difference between a really good, amazing band and a truly great, classic band, is delivering that album. Forever Changes, What’s Going On, Pet Sounds, Sergeant Peppers, y know, the album for all time. This new record by The Coral, Butterfly House, House is the moment where they’ll be come a truly great band, as opposed to a really, really good band. The Coral are the best band in the country yet release their great work.” BL: Would you say that Deltasonic is a label for Liverpool? Could it be from anywhere else? AW: “It’s fundamentally an opinion on music but, the reality is it’s from Liverpool and based on the early work with The Coral and what we built on that. Even though we’re more inspired by Factory Records than anything else. There’s a lot of boring, retro nonsense in Liverpool. Everyone goes on about how amazing The Beatles were, but they were focussed on the future, they weren’t sat around making

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Revolver going ‘we want to sound like Buddy Holly’. Listen to Tomorrow Never Knows, they’re constantly moving forward, people need to focus on that part of The Beatles career and stop regurgitating this retro nonsense because its bollocks.” BL: What is it you love then about Factory? AW: “Firstly, Joy Division. Secondly, the artwork. Thirdly, it was the fact that Tony Wilson could take a band like The Happy Mondays and get across to people that it was art and wax lyrical about why Shaun Ryder was a poet. It was the fact that Tony Wilson loved Manchester and everything he did hat a root in the area he was from. I love that Tony Wilson didn’t have contracts with his bands, even though it lost him £40 million, I completely admire him. If he didn’t do it, I’d have been stupid enough to do it. He was a visionary. Tony Wilson and Factory will be around for a long, long time in popular culture.” BL: So you share a northern affinity with Factory? AW: “It’s why I like northern bands, it’s my culture and I understand it more. I guarantee you one thing, if Nirvana were from England, they’d be living somewhere north of Birmingham, that is a fact of life. The Velvet Underground would have been from the north of England. You know for a fact that The Smashing Pumpkins would be from London. You can go around the world, Can or Kraftwerk would definitely have been from Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow, certainly wouldn’t have come from Swindon. It’s a northern mindset that translates to the rest of the world.” BL: But when we talk about great bands and truly great albums, Factory only ever had one truly great band. AW: “Who’s that?” BL: Joy Division AW: “Yeah you’re right. But they then went on to serve the rest of Factory and that’s brilliant. And we’ve had The Coral who are a great band and that legacy will go onto serve something else. I think The Red Suns will be The Echo & The Bunnymen of their generation.” It would be easy for Deltasonic Records to rest on what they’ve achieved, sit smug in their Mersey royalty and become a pastiche of themselves. But, in much the same way as Alan is infuriated by our city’s pang for nostalgia and encourages musicians to drive their creativity forward, the label is set to be anything other than retrospective. After our conversation, Alan played me three songs from Butterfly House, House The Coral’s new LP. When he says this record is set to be their truly great work, their Forever Changes…I tell you what…he just might be right. deltasonicrecords.com

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Bido Lito! June 2010 Words: Craig G Pennington Illustration: Rachel Veniard

THE COMPANY STORE

is a monthly blues, gospel, rock n roll, soul, country, doo wop and Americana knees-up run by roots enthusiasts Danny ‘Sixteen Tonnes’ Roberts and John ‘Big John’ Bayliss. Since 2008, the club has provided a haven for our city’s whiskey sippin’ blues lovers and a safe house from the carnage of Slater Street on a Saturday night. But, this isn’t a snooty stare down reserved for those in the Nashville-sanctum, no sir, The Company Store have played host to some of the finest new bands from across the UK, with a real mix of Alabama Stetson and Adidas Samba clad folks along for the hoedown. When Bido Lito met up with Danny for a brew on Bold Street to talk socialist mantras, gingham tablecloths and the blues, we caught him in the run up to their night featuring Howard Eliott Payne, “its crazy in the run up to the shows man, dead busy like, but we love it.” Well cool. Let’s get down to it then. The Company Store was launched as an opportunity for Danny and John to provide an environment for people to enjoy the kind of music that they obsess over and also to create an ideal setting for Danny’s band, The Sixteen Tonnes, to ply their American rhythm and blues wares. “We’d talked about doing a night for a long time because we thought there was nobody in Liverpool doing a proper country, Americana, roots club” said Danny. “There’s some in Manchester and in London there’s a few, but there was nothing here. We wanted it to be different from nights we’d done in the past and provide an environment for people to listen to The Sixteen Tonnes and the kind of music which we’re influenced by.” The club was set up to be more than just a straight up, four bands on a stage, led by a half arsed facebook group, middle of the highway band night. The Company Store have recently included a vintage fashion stall as part of the night, as well as their regular mix of star-spangled quirks, which Danny filled us in on; “We always announce our line ups at the club a month in advance and are meticulous about our playlists. We decorate the venue with Americana themed posters, have gingham tablecloths, we give out free shots of whiskey at the start of the evening as well, all little things that people don’t do, but make a difference when people come to the night.” As well as the guarantee of sour mash, we can let you in on another little secret that Danny and John don’t shout about, early comers to the club also get in cheaper than the advertised six buck door tax, making that bourbon taste all the bit sweeter. All these extra ends that the boys

go to, only help to demonstrate the passion they have for the night and for the music which they showcase. The Company Store takes its name from an American country classic, Sixteen Tons (can you see the links y’all?). “The name comes from a Merle Travis song Sixteen Tons, which was also the inspiration for the band’s name. Johnny Cash did it, Bo Diddley did it, Tennessee Ernie Ford did it and Stevie Wonder did it” Danny informed us. So the night’s name is steeped in good pedigree. But, why was it this song that Danny chose to lead his band, and s u b s e q u e n t l y, the club with? “My Nan died recently and, when I was a kid, she was the main music influence in the family; she got me into Elvis and all that. But my granddad used to always sing Sixteen Tons, he used to sit there at the dinner table with you sat on his knee and he’d sing it a’capella. Over the years I realised what it was and when I started thinking of a name for the band I was like ‘yeah, that can be it’” said Danny. The club then grew as a natural progression from that, with the lyrical content of the song being so perfect. Also, Tennessee Ernie Ford, who recorded one of the most famous versions of the song, has been inducted into both the country and gospel halls of fame in the US, so maybe he symbolises the night’s musical pallet pretty well? “Yeah definitely” offered Danny. “We’ve had bluegrass bands and barbershop bands, anything that has that roots feel.” “When we started the night we did four posters, using the lines from the song, and had them all around town” said Danny. “The first one was ‘You load sixteen tons, what do you get?’ the second was, ‘Another day older and deeper in debt,’ the third was, ‘Saint Peter, don’t you call me, ‘cause I can’t

“...there was nobody in Liverpool doing a proper country, Americana, roots club”

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go,’ and the fourth was, ‘I owe my soul to the company store’. They were just random posters all over town.” As well as providing some solid gold tag lines, such as the club’s ‘sell your soul to the company store’ staple, in many ways, the lyrical content of the song was topically hitting, especially given the fact that the country was teetering on the brink of economic collapse when these posters went up around town. So, does this starkly symbolise the relevance of the blues today? It seems amazing that a record about a coal miner recorded in 1946 could seem so relevant over sixty years later on the other side of the globe? “Yes definitely, When we first put the posters up, especially” Danny confirmed. “‘Another day older and deeper in debt’, man it was at the back end of 2008 and it was just starting to hit home how bad this climate was going to get. I can only imagine people looking at those posters and thinking it was some kind of socialist rally….. which in a way I suppose it is.” And, The Company Store’s posters have remained an integral part of the night’s identity since it started. “Me and Rachel (Veniard) sat down early on when we started working on the posters” Danny said. “She specialises in company branding and typography and just got the logo perfect. The posters have lots of references and the colours are always strong. I’ll have an idea and she’ll go away and come back with a variation on it which is always perfect. The posters have definitely affected posters in the city, lots of people have gone for that 50s, vintage rock n roll vibe with their posters since. It’s like when a good band come along, people copy, and there’s definitely been some of that.” The Company Store has made The Zanzibar on Seel Street its home. With the live venue scene constantly changing around the city and various new spots springing up in recent years, what is it about The Zanzibar that endures? “Sound, it’s all about the sound” Danny confirmed. “Andy and Pat (resident engineers) just know the room in there so well. I played my first gig in The Zanzibar when I was 16 and have known Tony (Zanzibar owner) for years. He’s backed us and lets us do what we want.” So, its coming up to two years now since The Company Store started. I was keen to know what Danny’s secret is to promoting a club with long term form and success? “That’s a good question. I ain’t got no secrets man!” He laughed. “Probably hard work, focus and commitment, which I lack to be honest! We do it so we’ve got somewhere to go on a Saturday night, have a bevy and listen to some good music. That’s the bottom line for me.” Well man, saddle up the steed and tune up the banjo…. cos’ we’ll drink to that. myspace.com/liverpoolcompanystore

“I can only imagine people looking at those posters and thinking it was some kind of socialist rally…..which in a way I suppose it is.”

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Bido Lito! June 2010

The Cubical

of Norway has been colourful to say the least. We played Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen and the reaction has been really amazing, really something,” says singer Dan Wilson. “The Netherlands ran smoothly and was absolutely amazing too. We have met great people in Holland and Norway.” Sound. So, what next? “We are all set to record the next album in the summer and have the material in place… its road tested too! We’ll be working with the talented and dashing Keith Thompson, so it will be a home grown affair this time,” says Dan. “We’re hoping that the positivity from the first album will be a great platform to build on. With all the collective bullshit that is the music industry, the easiest and most enjoyable thing is writing and its always come natural to us. So here’s to album two!” myspace.com/thecubicalthecubical

Bicycle Thieves

The name? Well it comes from Vittorio De Sica’s Italian neorealist film about a poor man searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle which he needs in order to work. Pretty self-explanatory really. Anyway back to our friends The Thieves, who weren’t responsible for that poor man’s two-wheeled loss. Their recent London debut went down a treat and they’ve been busy in the studio hammering out songs before they tackle a hectic summer that includes an inevitable slot at Liverpool Sound City where their appearance last year earned rave reviews. myspace.com/bicyclethievesuk

Sound Of Guns

off: their anthemic guitar rock is reminiscent of early Bono and Edge (before the egos landed), and exhibits all the heart and fire that propelled U2 to the very top. There are even flecks of The Verve and other Britpop luminaries in their sound that give you that eerie haven’t I heard this before? sensation. Latest single Alcatraz follows this trend, a glorious piece of rock’n’roll that is destined to be perfect summer’s day listening, and shows that they have added a punch to their songwriting. All this makes this month’s album release seem all the more exciting. Check them out live at Sound City at The Kazimier on May 22nd, before the heavy artillery arrives and claims them for their own. myspace.com/soundofguns

Bagheera

Bagheera are a talented trio who are barely out of their teens and are students of music at the University of Liverpool. Tom Cowcher is the principal Tweeter (It’s all about engaging with the new technology peoples) and he does the business alongside Sam Twidale and Jacob Silkin. Circadian Clock catches your ear for it’s beautiful opening harmony which gives one a feeling of walking on water... but obviously you’re not so don’t try it at home. Anyway the point is that this is gorgeous stuff which will be played not once but twice at Liverpool Sound City. Check the listings for dates at The Kazimier and their own Guild of Students, naturally. myspace.com/wearebagheera

The Cubical are what happens when you make music without a care in the world. Guitars rage, drums pound and vocal chords get shredded. Tom Waits sneaks his head into the rehearsal room for a nose… and decides he can’t live with the noise. No compromise? No problem. The group released debut record Come Sing These Crippled Tunes last year and everyone who heard it went mad: Mojo loved it, The Guardian got behind it and the lads gathered a following. The record was produced by Dave Sardy, the man behind Oasis’ last two psychedelic mushrooms. They’ve gone from strength to strength since and are just home from touring Europe: “Our recent tour

This Liverpool based five-piece have been getting plenty of positive press in 2010 and, in some quarters, for being not at all like your typical band of our city. The Thieves, as we’ll affectionately refer to them, certainly pull off the big coats, shaggy hair, heads down, get on with the music look and some say their music is all a bit too gloomy, but then are these not gloomy times? Their recently released first single Stop To Start made the NME’s top 10 songs of the week and it’s real crowd pleaser with a solid and somewhat infectious chorus.

It would be fair to say that there is hardly a more talkedabout band in the city today than Sound Of Guns, with Radio 1, NME and even Soccer AM all recently clambering over each other to throw plaudits at them. The reason for this seems to stem less from their not-so-unique brand of swagger-and-swoon ‘big rock’, and more from the fact that their music grabs you by the balls. The fire and passion that the band put in can be heard in every shimmering riff and battered drum, and this gives an urgency to Sound Of Guns’ music that is seldom heard any more. They have been likened to U2, but don’t let that put you

Some interesting animal related artwork is what catches your eye about this bunch initially. Not surprising given their name is also that of the leopard in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Useless information aside, the Liverpool based trio are currently unsigned but have an E.P. called Hollow Home which they are offering for free. You should get involved with it. This is steady new age, some might say, progressive folk that involves two keyboards, guitars, synths and different drum samples to create an interesting and original sound.

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Words - The Cubical: Alan O’Hare // Bicycle Thieves: Hugh O’Connell // Sound of Guns: Christopher Torpey // Bagheera: Hugh O’Connell


Bido Lito! June 2010

Dire Wolfe

You may remember the days of crunchy, chronically thoughtful indie-pop with fond memories. You remember, it was right before all the atmospheric dub-folk-surfer-grrl renaissance took over your play list, without even so much as a warning or apology. There we go. Dire Wolfe will remind you why you loved all that no nonsense, straight forward shameless indieness, and do it with heart warming and enthusiastic style. Front man Dan Croll has the caramel vocals of someone beyond his years, a bit like Good Books before they cracked under the pressure of puberty and were nowhere near as painfully quaint. Second guitarist Joe Wills plays with the starry eyed excitement that people are watching

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him play guitar, and more often that not, enjoying it. In truth, Dire Wolfe are not a new concept, thousands of young men have tried and failed in the past – the Casablancas state of indie-stardom always out of reach. But while most band’s primitive years seem to blend together with tracks that offer no significance or cause to remember them, Dire Wolfe seem to play for the moment, having a good time without pretending to be ‘unique and individual artists with creative needs, man’. Starting life with a hand-full of good songs and assured performances to match is a promising start. In a time when it pays to be different, weird, wacky with something to prove, this Liverpool band will let that go over their heads and play the type of music that they probably hummed in year 11 English Literature. myspace.com/direwolfeband

The Last Gambados

from their website) zip along like The Coral when they care. The record is good - but it’s live where The Last Gambados really thrive though. Three part harmonies, beats that nod at your favourite dub records and meandering arrangements; all mixed in with a dash of taut Telecaster stabs, punching horns and a way with a chorus. So far, so dead sixties. Or should that be, so far, so Dead 60s? Not quite. But certainly more the former: the songs are good and the singing is from the top- table. Throw in a bit of grace and charm and they’ll have everything. But we can’t have that. Can we? www.thelastgambados.com

The Neat

force to be reckoned with. Citing a range of influences from The Fall to Radiohead, their short, perfectly formed though frayed to retain that nonchalant edge, tracks make it hard to pick a stand out, though debut single In Youth is Pleasure is a must hear and is worthy of becoming a dance floor filler. Handpicked by music mogul Steve Lamacq to perform at legendary Maida Vale studios, they played the BBC introducing stage at Leeds and Reading last summer, looking incongruously yet quietly confident for a stage usually wracked with nerves, throwing angular shapes left, right and centre amidst the refrain. You can catch them at The Jacaranda during Sound City to see for yourself. Neat. myspace.com/uptheneat

Everything Everything

first band to deliver on this promise for a long time. Playful piano keys, funky bass lines and even a cappella segments are graced with the soaring falsetto of lead singer Jonathan Everything to create irresistible dance numbers which would get Stephen Hawking’s foot tapping. The recent single MY KZ UR BF BF, a tale of adultery discovered, is a prime example of the lyrical artistry Everything Everything command. When a song uses a complex scientific device such as a Faraday cage as a metaphor for a relationship then you know you’re onto something a little different. The band is set to tour the UK extensively for the rest of 2010 joining the NME Radar Tour. Catch them at Sound City supporting Delphic. myspace.com/everythingeverythinguk

Sick of Scouse bands and their La’s-esque harmonies? Us too. The Last Gambados are the same - but a little bit different. In a good way… It’s as if Mike Mills has left Athens, GA and REM; arrived on Seel Street, just in time to join in with a Beach Boys tribute night at The Zanzibar. That good? Well, maybe… The five-piece released their debut record The Way We See in late 2009 and it created a small stir by sounding familiar, yet brand new, all at the same time. Songs like Hollywood Hollywood, Neverman and Leafspring (available free as an MP3 download

I’ve always lamented not growing up in an age when pirate radio defiantly ruled the airwaves, mods were terrifying residents of quiet seaside towns or when punks could be caught sneering on every other street corner. There are but a mere handful of artists around today that for me redeem this anticlimax of a generation, The Neat could easily be one of them. Hailing from Hull, this impossibly talented quartet clad in patterned jumpers and plaids are a muchanticipated breath of fresh air in a year which has seen the death of icon and punk connoisseur Malcolm McLaren and the proposed closure of BBC 6Music. The Neat are a post-punk

Manchester is moving on. It appears ‘swagger’ has been banished from any description of new bands from down the East Lancs paving the way for an emergence of slightly nerdy looking musicians with an ear for a synth hook and a disdain for ‘banging riffs’. On the back of this revolution, Everything Everything, a four-piece currently signed to Geffen Records, have released 3 singles to coruscating critical reception and with an album due in August their rise does not look likely to end. The electro tinged outfit regularly state that they aim to avoid clichés at all cost and, though they might need to drop the ‘same last name’ routine, they might actually be the

Words - Dire Wolfe: Sean Fell // The Last Gambados: Alan O’Hare // The Neat: Bethany Garrett // Everything Everything: David Lynch

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Liverpool Sound City

Words: Sean Fell

McCulloch performs at the St Georges Hall on 22nd May as well as taking part In the Conference. They both provide the warm and knowing faces in a sea of new talent who are scratching at the stage doors to run away with your imagination and, hopefully, your heart. Bands that are capable of running away with your internal organs include HOLY FUCK, a band from Ontario, Canada, who use anything that can be plugged in to make some random, yet beautiful electronic music. Their flexible take on song structure and set lists provides a truly exciting, fast paced show, which hits Static Gallery on 20th May. Liverpool’s own WAVE MACHINES, fresh back from a sterling effort at SXSW, head to The Kazimier 20th May and, with their varied sound, promise a special night. The energetic, London-based ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT bring their pulsating party-tracks to the Kazimier, 19th May, at the end of a European tour. The band released their first LP on Domino Records at the beginning of March; their first two albums received strong reviews from both sides of the Atlantic. The Sound City festival as we know it is a seed from the SXSW tree in Austin, Texas, borrowing heavily from the flagship festival’s core aims - bring people who want to play music to the people who are looking to sign some talent. It’s a relationship that has flourished since the beginning of time, overcoming Simon Cowell’s parade of Christmas number one chasers. Add a crowd who have an unquenchable thirst for new music, and we have some

Three years ago, SOUND CITY organisers paid £100 to bring Florence and her unheard of Machine to Liverpool for one of her first festival appearances. She’ll command a lot more than that today but it shows LSC may be onto something when it comes to introducing new and alternative talent before they’re dragged through the mainstream. This is a new music festival that could change your life, whether you’re on stage on in front of it. Excited? We are. This year will see the old-guard of British indie prop up the festival with IAN McCULLOCH of Echo And The Bunnymen glory performing and debating key issues in contemporary music with other heavyweights. THE FALL, fronted by Mark E. Smith will showcase their latest album Your Future Our Clutter at the O2 Academy on 19th May, due to be released on Ian McCulloch Domino Records. In the same vein, Ian

BIDO LITO’S TOP 10

If you were to pick ten shows to catch at Sound City 2010, we’d suggest it was these. Clearly some will clash, so it’s not all that practical, but we’re listomaniacs at Bido Lito and couldn’t help ourselves. So, here you go -

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GIL SCOTT HERON @ The Philharmonic Hall THE FALL @ o2 Academy BRITISH SEA POWER with THE BICYCLE THIEVES, THE SAND BAND and THE RED SUNS @ The Masque Theatre HOLY FUCK with MAX TUNDRA, DOGSHOW and INDICA RITUAL @ Static Gallery WILD BEASTS with ESBEN & THE WITCH, FLASHGUNS and BAGHEERA @ The Kazimier

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•  •  •  •  • 

BLOOD RED SHOES with TITUS ANDRONICUS, MALE BONDING, CROCODILES and FLY WITH VAMPIRES @ The Zanzibar THE LOUD @ Mojo SOUND OF GUNS with MY AUNTIE SAM @ The Kazimier ERRORS with O. CHILDREN, CRYSTAL FIGHTERS, LONELADY and TEENAGERS IN TOKYO @ The Haigh ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT with OH NO ONO, WHITE HINTERLAND and MUGSTAR @ The Kazimier


Bido Lito! June 2010 truly exciting times right here on our doorstep. This could be the country’s coolest city centre music festival. “I was going to SXSW with The Coral and a few other bands I work with, but I was always conscious that the bands were only getting one bite of the cherry to play,” said LSC organiser, Dave Pichilingi. “We started doing parties under the name of Sound City. It would help bands from the North West, give them a better platform to perform on and give them a chance to shout about what they do in Texas.” “I don’t like it when bands do festivals just for the sake of doing festivals. We like to work with bands who have something to say, or at least have something new to say. We’ll work with heritage artists as well as new ones but we always like them to have something to offer.” Dave still takes bands across the Atlantic for the indie-fest, but the concept travels back across the water, strongly. Urban music festivals are nothing new, The Great Escape in Brighton has been match making for bands and labels for some time, but stops short of any real musical discussion, and that’s where Sound City steps in. The concept of debating the sounds and themes that shape our play lists is an idea that has been used at music festivals around Europe, and SXSW, but the Sound City team is offering a different take on it. “I didn’t want just another live music festival,” said Mark E Smith Pichilingi, “It needed to be a little more edgy so with the conferences, we’re doing things a little differently. There’s a real opportunity for the audience to engage with the speakers on stage, for a real two-way debate with the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.” Industry legend SEYMOUR STEIN, the man who discovered Madonna and signed The Smiths, Talking heads and The Ramones to his Sire Records, will be in conversation with Ian McCulloch offering Insights and drawing on years and years of experience. It has all the ingredients to make one big indie-superfestival - low-fi enough to be cool, yet accessible enough to showcase artists like Paloma Faith. Crucially though, this is the first year of Create Sound City, the part of the festival that is designed to not only open the door for people who want to get into the industry, but offer some insight into what’s on the other side of it. As Pichilingi put it, it’s the part that “will change lives”. With bands eager to show their worth, labels looking to unearth something special, it seems everything is in place for four days of exciting new music. The beauty of this festival is that it mixes the old with the new, the established with the bands who need to force themselves through your veins. It’s here to help, giving you the answers to all those questions you had when you first plugged in your guitar or dreamt about starting a label for the small band that you love. One of the new acts you see will probably be pretty high on the Leeds and Reading bill in the not so distant future. There lies the glory of Liverpool Sound City. liverpoolsoundcity.com

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Hannh-Grace Fitzpatrick takes her pick from the festival crop

Paloma Faith

Seymour Stein

Following the reign of Amy Winehouse, in the last few years there has been a wave of pop princess wannabes. Simultaneously less laddy but more edgy than most of this group is PALOMA FAITH. And this contender is set to be a success. Faith offers a modernised (3 years is a long time in pop world) updated version of Ms Winehouse - all that appealed (fantastic voice, great songs) and less of the unappealing (unreliability and annoying husband). Faith’s soulful, bluesey, yet quirky and dramatic sound has produced the hits New York and Stone Cold Sober. Known for her theatrical stage performance, due to her skills gained as an burlesque dancer and magician’s assistant, Faith defiantly knows how to put on a show. Catch her on her way to world domination at the Philharmonic Hall on 19th May. The rapper SPEECH DEBELLE was the surprise Mercury Award winner for best album of 2009 for Speech Therapy. Up against Friendly Fires, Kasabian, Glasvegas, Therapy La Roux and Florence Against the Machine, competition was clearly stiff - demonstrating the high esteem she is held in. With this major recognition under her belt Speech is surely set for big things in the future. Find out what she has to offer at the o2 Academy on 21st May. THE MACCABEES play the closing day of the festival, 22nd May at the O2 Academy. The artsy-pop band from Brighton have built a dedicated fanbase since their arrival in 2003 and this is reflected in the Sound City line-up; there are going to be two shows, the evening event plus a matinee performance for 14-18 year olds. This way everyone gets a chance to see them. And there will be much to see. The band has matured in age and sound since their debut album Colour It In and their new album Wall of Arms offers a darker side to The Maccabees. This promises to be an excellent gig. With fantastic tunes to rave to such as Put You In Your Place and instant classics like Borders, its easy to see why THE SUNSHINE UNDERGROUND have a large and ever increasing following. With such enjoyable gigs (a great mix of mad dancing and belted out lyrics) and new album Nobody’s Coming to Save You out now, this would be the perfect time to see The Sunshine Underground. They play the O2 Academy on 22nd May. Joined by the likes of ELIZA DOLITTLE and DELPHIC, this event clearly has more to offer than simply niche or obscure music. Great venues and reasonable prices are just more reasons to check out the line up and get down to Sound City.

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Sound City Venues

2 Stanley Theatre Metropolitan Cathedral

If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re from out of town, or just need things clearing up, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve included a map of the Sound City venues to help guide you around the festival. For full gig listings and to buy tickets and wristbands, visit liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

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The proposed closure of BBC 6 Music has provoked widespread debate ranging from the irascible to the condemnatory, on both sides of the divide. Whatever your perspective, its important to put the brannigan into context; will new music be critically effected if the principle radio output for it is scuppered, or has media moved on from the heady days of radio’s role as the principle disseminator of new sounds? Bethany Garrett and Hugh O’Connell lock horns….

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THE BA T

It is just under a month since the decision to close BBC 6 Music was announced and on a wet weekend outside Broadcasting House in London, the station’s DJs Adam Buxton and Liz Kershaw lead the protests. On Twitter #SaveBBC6Music is trending again and the inevitable Facebook group has over 171,000 members. But what it all boils down to, when you, for a moment, disregard the public outcry, the Facebook group, the editorial from Lily Allen and the criticism of the closure from David Bowie, is how relevant is the station in reality? 6 Music launched in March 2002 in a blaze of glory as the BBC dragged itself into the digital age with a wave of optimism and a lot of tax payers money. A total of £39.9m has been spent on the station to date. Has it been worth it? Well, only one in five UK residents were actually aware the station even existed before the closure was announced and it had fewer than 700,000 listeners at the end of last year. The campaign to save it is receiving a fair amount of bandwagon jumpers. Just look at Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey who first claimed that closing the station would be “intelligent and sensible” before listening to it in light of the public outcry and then declaring himself an “avid listener”. At least Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw was more honest when he said 6 Music is: “A bit too rocky for me.” The more emotive defences of 6 Music include former presenter Phill Jupitis’ whose show was the first ever broadcast on the station. He wrote in The Guardian that the closure was “a slap in the face to thousands of licencepayers.” A slap in the face to the small percentage of the licence fee payers who actually listen to the station yes but what about everyone else? Other arguments suggest closing the station would deny an outlet for many up and coming artists. But with such a plethora of other outlets out there, not least online, what difference is it really going to make if you cut one of them? This was the argument put to me by one No. 1 artist, who was told by her record company not to speak about the closure. She said that whilst it was sad to see the station go: “I think that people need to realise that there’s loads of ways of getting new music…the closure is not the be all and end all.” There will be many more arguments for and against the axing of 6 Music right up until when the BBC Trust decides what is going to happen. The campaign will continue apace, the fight goes on but if the station is saved, will its listenership rise anymore than its current level? Can 6 Music grow beyond its current status as niche? If so, great. But if not, was it really worth saving in the first place? Hugh O’Connell

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Radio has always been my preferred method of discovering new music. I’ve always found it hopelessly romantic, the lack of visuals enabling listeners to create their own discernment of the music that they hear before any distasteful or simply badly-directed music video or overly-pretentious blog causes them to judge the artist in question before they’ve barely took the time out to listen to them. Musicians have feelings too, you know (ask Morrissey, but be careful - he might throw flowers at you). Not only is radio a haven free of musical prejudice, but it’s also passive; you can listen to the radio whilst taking part in any of the myriad of tomfoolery we all get up to on a daily basis. To put it simply, when it comes to discovering new music or reigniting that lost love for an obscure yet classic gem, radio will always be my first love, which is why I’m disappointed in the BBC for believing that it’s acceptable to axe both 6 Music and the Asian Network. How Mark Thompson, the current Director-General of the BBC, believes that this is forward thinking I have no idea when one station consistently does what no other station does; plays music by creative artists presented by creative broadcasters and the other, in this melting pot of a country, promotes cultural diversity without being secular - a feat in itself that the BBC should be immensely proud of. If the BBC think that those who listen to 6 Music will contentedly be herded into listening to Radio 1 and Radio 2, they are hiding behind a delusionary wall; 6 Music is a dulcet oasis amidst the drone of other radio stations (both those funded by the license payer and commercial). The shows are original, the presenters witty, warm and implausibly knowledgeable of the music they play and the guests equally appreciative. It’s no wonder a range of artists including Liverpool’s own Ian McNabb, legend David Bowie and indie heartthrobs The Maccabees have been quick to support 6 Music; it’s a platform for new artists and it capitalises on the copious archive sessions that the BBC has at its disposal (a word I use with relish). Even Domino Records, one of the UK’s most prominent and successful independent labels has issued a statement condemning the proposed closure, including quotes from the artists themselves who all seem to say the same thing; that there are certain artists who would have nowhere to go for that all-important radio airplay should 6 Music be discontinued. They’re not wrong either. Though the music itself would still be out there, the opportunities for up and coming bands lusting after the chance to have their music heard would sadly become a more limited affair. This is why 6 Music should stay, so that it may continue to introduce pertinent and exuberant artists to the public on both a national and international level, using the BBC as their foundation for promoting excellence in music for many years to come. Bethany Garrett

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Bido Lito! June 2010

SMALL T ON HOP

ALAN O’HARE ON GIL SCOTT-HERON C Photos: Mischa Richter

“Wherever great rock music is being made, there is the shadow of Bob Dylan.” Bruce Springsteen said that. It is only right to point out, then, that wherever pop and politics are mixed with great music, the shadow of GIL SCOTT-HERON looms large. Especially in this century, a time when the biggest selling music in the world is derived from a genre created and defined by the Chicago-born poet. The high priest of hip-hop? Some would argue that. Others would simply call him a great human being. Or a prince of perception. We’ll just call him a legend.

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Gil Scott-Heron is in town and don’t we know it. Tickets for his comeback gig at the Phil have sold out; anticipation is rising and the town is full of tales of the last few times Heron visited Merseyside. You’ve all heard stories of the noshows and his legendary artistic temperament. Here’s one such cracker from the early 90s: “The gig was in the Royal Court. I fed the band at The Gallery, a small arts venue I used to have, while Gil stayed in the hotel… that was a sign of things to come,” says music fan and Scouser Joe. “I was in the wings watching, when

Gil came off-stage moaning about the keyboards not being in tune with each other (they sounded fine to us). He never went back on and the tour manager told the crowd that Gil was ill and that was that. Shouts of “we want our money back” exploded everywhere and many did get it, I think! Gil at his best. Great stuff…” Great stuff?!?! That’s the rub with Gil Scott-Heron: he’s that good, you’ll forgive him anything and everything. It’s never boring, see. In an age when people pay big money to watch a tribute band in an arena, we desperately need great artists who never tread the same path. Who never

need nostalgia. And who never look back. It’s exciting. Just like the news was that Heron, now 61, was releasing a brand new album and heading to Liverpool to play it, at the start of this year. 2010 is in full swing now and I’ve still yet to hear a better record than I’m New Here. The album sees ScottHeron reflecting on his life with trademark vocal power and insight, sharing his visions among producer (and XL label owner) Richard Russell’s flickering, electronic soundscapes. The pair started recording the album in 2007 - after XL boss Russell visited Heron during a stint in jail - with the majority of the tunes being recorded over the last twelve months in New York City. It’s a five star revelation. With nods to Gil’s groundbreaking late 60s and early 70s work alongside collaborator Brian Jackson, I’m New Here is packed with vital proto-raps that could only come from one of 20th century music’s most important figures. Tunes like New York Is Killing Me and On Coming From A Broken Home will surely take their place at the right hand of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and Small Talk At 125th And Lennox. Alongside the likes of The Bottle and Whitey On The Moon, these are the tunes that Gil is best known for. But it’s not just the music. Wherever Chris Rock is telling a joke or delivering a line, there is the influence of Gil Scott-Heron too.


TALK PE STREET

COMING TO TOWN

Bido Lito! June 2010

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LOVE STREAMS

Words: Alan O’Hare Photo: Mark Mcnulty

“Passion and sincerity,” are where it’s at for the funk-filled, soulful superstar and he doesn’t see a lot of it about in the artists standing in his shadow today: “They need to study music. I played in several bands before I began my career as a poet,” says Heron. “There’s a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There’s not a lot of humour. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms,… you don’t really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing.” Posturing is something Heron could never be accused of though.

Throughout a colourful life, this legendary talent has always remained true to his art and written about what’s in the air. There is a scene in Black Wax - a documentary Heron made in the 80s in Washington DC - where Gil is walking around a lake, rapping into a ghetto blaster. A duck swims into the shot and Heron’s eyes glare, the corner of his mouth raises on the right hand side and he says: “Hey, we’re all sitting ducks with Ronald Reagan in charge…” Welcome back Gil. We’ve missed you… gilscottheron.net

Everyone loves Shack. Local legends and all that. But times are changing for the Head brothers and guitarist John (writer of my favourite Shack tune, ‘Cornish Town’) is branching out on his own. The softly spoken Scouser is in the middle of recording his debut solo album and the signs so far are magical. He’s already debuted songs like the gorgeous 1967 and Carnival on local radio and his live performances with new band The Stream have been nothing short of a revelation: acoustic guitars, flutes, delicate harmonies and a splash of the colour on the electric guitar all help to make a classic, Van Morrison-esque sound. “I’m enjoying it,” says John over a cuppa’ at the Little Green cafe in Aigburth. “I’m really happy with the sound we’re getting. We’ve got no aims – just let the songs grow organically.” John’s in no hurry to get the songs out there. He’s set up a label with a friend and may put an EP out shortly – but he’s letting the music dictate the schedule: “Listening back to what we’ve done so far is inspiring and made me write more songs. There’s no formula or identity to what I’m writing now and it’s exciting. With Shack, writing and recording was almost telepathic but this is different... I want to be free to do anything. Shack has always been in a band open to trying anything in the studio, but this is even more wide open and I love it.” Audience reaction has been great too. John has played a few, smaller gigs here and there and his loyal followers all seem prepared to follow his muse with him. And they’ll be at the Philharmonic Hall too, when John supports the legendary Gil Scott Heron for Sound City’s launch. “It’s a sit-down gig and that’s great for us. We need a listening audience, as the music is quiet with more finesse. We’ll be concentrating on rhythm and melody for this one and not changing our sound too much to suit the gig. Just let the songs speak for themselves really...” He won’t have a problem if he does that. The tunes are great and the Aigburth soul orchestra are coming your way. Don’t miss ‘em. For John Head and his solo ambitions, it’s too late to stop now...

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Hot In Vinyl

Those lovable high fidelians at Probe Records let us in on what is raising the temperature in the shop this month, on wax only though, naturally.

Moon Duo - Escape (Woodsist) Four long hypno drone poems from Sanae Manada and Erik of Wooden Shjips - repetitive riffage, reverb drenched keyboards and vocals and pounding rhythms from the Loop, Spacemen 3, Suicide, Silver Apples end of the psychedelic spectrum. A real head-trip, man.

Sun Ra - Sleeping Beauty (Kindred Spirits) The cosmonaut from Saturn (via Chicago) and his Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra get groovesome and funky on this reissued 1979 album, even down to using electric guitar and bass (somewhat unusual for Ra, la) - far-out cosmic tones for terrans of all faiths.

The Fall - Your Future Our Clutter (Domino) Spiffing new album from our unofficial poet laureate and his current fall-gruppe and it’s a real rock fest. Petty much everything’s already been said about Mark E and his post-punk-garage-kraut-rockabilly Ludd gang - just buy it. Plus two extra trax on the vinyl, y’all.

The Doors - L.A. Woman (Rhino/Elektra) Incredible 180 gram reissues of all six studio albums - indistinguishable from original 60s US pressings - they’re all great (yeah, even Soft Parade) but this was always our favourite. Apparently there are some strange people that dislike this band. Odd...

MGMT - Congratulations (Columbia) Future classic alert? Hand crafted psychedelic prog-pop of the first order from the Brooklyn duo and their associated. Pete (Sonic Boom) Kember in the producer’s seat adds increased lysergic sound dimension. Great sleeve too.

and finally... if the new album by Liverpool Space-Rock heavies Mugstar - Sun, Broken (Important) had been on vinyl it would have certainly made this list. But it isn’t ...so it didn’t.


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The Glass Pasty

Notes from the Cultural Abyss Hopefully this will be the first in a long series of broadsides, rabbit punches and thought faeces aimed at the flailing rotten corpse of popular culture. I aim to help those undecided swing voters to think again before slipping into the insipid general unwellness of modern cultural consumption. I will guide you through the bloodsoaked tracks of my own aesthetic torment by cherry picking a few bad apples from this months cinematic and musical “output” or as I like to call such offerings, assualts on human dignity. Here’s to reclaimation!! Most people remember where they where when certain historical moments occurred, things that not only shaped events but captured the imagination of a people transcending socio-political boundaries, Kennedy’s assassination, The Falling of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid or Diana’s accident. I on other hand can recall where I was when I first heard The Feeling, traipsing through a B and M in St Helens still reeling from a chance meeting with a dismembered pigeon in a gutter. It was then, there, in the unclean air, between the super noodles and the funsize fanta that my little world filled right up.. with vomit. A band lauded by princes Will I Am and Hazza the Tosser, championed by vile pig man Elton John (old sausage fingers himself) went on to produce some of the most unspeakably bad music in human history. Well it happened again.. This time I’d been warned, a close friend an ally in the ongoing struggle had given me a heads up on this particular brand of noise. I wasn’t prepared though gentle reader, whatever poise I had was shattered, mid stride on a treadmill in a city centre gym when I heard Fireflies. And so Fireflies is this month’s poison. Another example of obligatary vocoder usage, bland nouveau-electro whimsy dressed up as some kooky slice of art. A toddler with his train set, playing with his star wars figures,

pushing buttons, making shapes and nodding vigorously at the “krazy” world of the 1980s. The only people you could forgive for making such music are those kidnap victims held against their will, those driven insane by the soul sapping mundanity of forced incarceration. Expect a post-houmous cover from Anne Frank as this years Summer Party Anthem. The Glass Pasty verdict? Naff. And from the experimental genius of Owl City we move on to cultural forefathers and all round pillars of creative prowess - The Black Eyed Peas, whose massive hit “Good Good Night” taken from the four times platinum album Music for the Master Race scooped all the gongs at this months Human Bilge Awards. The band was initially dreamt up in a marketing suite by a handful of ponytailed capitalist creative media hacks but it was only when they drafted in a few nazi death doctors that the band realised their full potential. Labcoats, swastikas and the coca cola company. How do you rate the morning sun? Just ask gaping wound Rob Williams he’ll tell you but prepared to be bored senseless, it was almost as tiresome as watching those allegorical smurfs running around in loincloths in 3D shit-flic Avatar. Come Gentle Reader - to the world of celluloid where we look back on the movie of the month and look forward to what tinsel town promises in the coming weeks. Buy a ridiculously large drink, a huge popcorn, breathe in for two hours sandwiched between a fat guy and an imbecile and kick back as we go to the movies. Chan’s back and this time he’s worse:The Spy Next Door - without going into too much detail my bizzarre job insists that I watch certain films twice and this month Chan was on my radar. A mix of pre Newsround knockabout environmental low budget cbeebies tat and actual turd, it washed over me like warm vomit, a comedy Russian stereotypical villain and Billy Ray Cyrus couldn’t out-turkey Chan who was at times as interesting to watch as revolving doner meat and at other times as sympathetic and as heart warming as that evil simples meerkat that Britain seems to have fallen deliriously in love with. Overall a pretty poor film, but a phenomenal chinese lullaby sang acapela from the kung fu dreamboat at certain points did actually bring me to tears. Worth watching twice as an act of self hate. Look out for chubby Brendan Fraser’s new vehicle of simpleton schmalz Furry Vengeance it will have you dipping those cookies in cyanide. BF is a property developer about to build a state of the art shopping mall on a nature reserve but the animal kingdom has other ideas... Queue hilarious consequences. A skunk dog-egging whilst Brendan’s at the wheel, a team of badgers chewing through the wiring of Brendan’s gaff. You get the idea. Other imaginative set up sequences with nature sticking one to the man. Simulteounously ticking the green and daft boxes, its a sure fire hit. At one point a broken and beaten Chubby Fraser asks his kid “what’s happening” his kid replies through peroxide teeth “you pissed off nature Dad?.” Needless to say I cringed from the core of my being. Join me again next month for more tales from the undead. Scouse insult of the month. “HELMET” usage :- a freaky little queen with a hoody of velvet opened his mouth and said “fuck off yer helmet.” Worst word of the month:- “RANDOM”:- usage :- there was this totally random guy right... don’t think it and for God’s sake don’t say it. You’ve been warned!

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Nik Glover

The BBC spends oodles of cash on big projects every now and then, and mostly no-one really complains. This is because the programs are generally very good (e.g. Planet Earth), sport-based (and therefore probably being shown during the day, and superior to the usual daytime crap, e.g. Winter Olympics) or because noone ever hears about them (e.g. the subject of this article). It’s a given that every couple of years a David Attenborough-voiced nature program will take a large slice of the viewing figures on a Sunday night, that a high-minded historical drama starring country houses and corsetry and minute attention to hairstyles will unfurl over the course of a long winter, and that big sports events will carry great packs of baying journalists off to far-flung corners of the globe to watch people fall down mountains on planks. We don’t really get angry because on the whole, they’re done well, and because, at the end of the day, it’s only money, and the BBC is like a sofa. It’s too much bother to change it, and what are you going to sit on when you’re waiting for the next one to come? Dave? A History of the World in 100 Objects is the best thing I’ve heard on the BBC since This Sceptred Isle. That might sound a bold and controversial statement, if you’ve ever

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listened to history programs on Radio 4. If you haven’t, bear with me. There are those of us who scour the iPlayer looking for worthy bits of history (Wales and the History of the World!; John Dankworth in South Africa!), and the BBC’s newest Big Project is scheduled to run for ten years (or something) and will feature relics from every civilisation worthy of the name throughout human history. It also has the greatest abbreviation ever. Every episode of AHOTWI100O’s (how often can an abbreviation make you smile from ear-to-ear?) focuses on one object, usually a golden bull or a piece of textile or a footstool from Sumatra (or something) and through the magic of inter-textual historical contextualising explains how that particular footstool brought about a revolution in the way we saw footstools, and may have led on, indirectly, to the Hun invasion of Western Europe. What I like about AHOTI100O’s (other than the fact that if you abbreviate the name, it sounds like a 14-year old Emo girl’s MySpace URL) is that each little piece of history is shown to join two or more civilisations together in a kind of organic chain of causality. Everywhere on the globe, people were creating footstools that would one day be copied across the bay (where the savages live) and in a slightly different fashion. This bit of copyright infringement would then lead to yet another civilisation realising that what looked like a footstool to civilisation A, had in fact been so engineered by civilisation B as to make it work for civilisation C as a kind of primordial sofa (civilisation C being a lot shorter and more easily pleased). Thus, in the rainforests of the Delta of the meeting place of the two great rivers D and E, the sofa was invented two thousand years before DFS (BDFS). AHOTWI100O’s is therefore a kind of Rock Family Trees, where the rocks are actually rocks, and not Rolling Stones. Bearing in mind all the controversy over 6Music and the Asian Network, it’s good to know that the BBC is, at least, doing something to alleviate the stresses of everyday people in the UK. Programs like AHOTWI100O’s are recording in minute detail the inter-connections between groups of people in this world which led to things being How Things Are today. Digital Radio may be just the next primordial sofa in the great chain of technological improvement, but it does at least allow us to hear Newness, that chain of human creation that has produced some wonderful results that will live through the ages (Philosophy, MF DOOM, Adam Smith’s Trading Company) and some forgettable old shite that we enjoyed at the time (Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not). Raise a glass therefore, to Human Ingenuity.


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Abandon Silence

Dubstep. You are probably already sick of hearing about it. Personally I will never grow tired of hearing it. I love it. I love watching it, I love hearing it, I just love the whole experience that the genre has to offer. However, when you inspect the progression of the sound, a degenerate musical cesspool has been created. A disgusting and embarrassing cesspool that has unfortunately been pigeon-holed along with the quality tunes into being called dubstep. The higher ground of dubstep has foregone such an extreme makeover over its short existence that it is incredibly difficult to spot the similarities between productions from 10 years ago and today. However (on the whole) most of the tracks being produced are top notch and feature artists showing their influences on their sleeve. There is Zomby and Doctor P with their rave tendencies, Joy Orbison and SBTRKT indulging in deep house, 6Blocc and Mungo’s Hi Fi with the Dubreggae, and Instra:Mental, D:Bridge and other luminaries playing with the 2step and light d’n’b sounds. Despite the existence of these fantastic, forward thinking and progressive producers, there is the formerly mentioned cesspool, let’s call it the dark side of dubstep. This dark side consists of recycled and horribly generic nonsense being played to kids who know no better as a direct replacement for The BlackOut Crew and PleasureRooms or whatever bollocks they used to have as their ringtones. You may recognise “DJ” names (I would definitely recommend inverted commas for them) such as Chrispy, Cookie Monsta or Funtcase. The path that has been followed to get to this point of embarrassment can be traced back to a precise time a few years ago. In 2007, Rusko and Caspa released a

collaborative FabricLive mix tape that became eponymous with the ‘jump up’ style of dubstep. This genre focused heavily upon the bass wobbles that had previously been just a part of the furniture in dubstep. I appreciate that I may be sounding a bit silly now, but the wobble really is important. The wobble that was so prominent in that FabricLive compilation formed a basis by which we have observed a musical revolution. These days, almost every artist plying their trade under the dubstep tag creates tracks that use wobbles. I do not hate them, most of the time I love them. Now back to the characteristics of the dark side. The sounds they emanate usually come in the form of a remix; which is easier to produce as the beat patterns are already laid out for them. Once they have successfully signposted these patterns, they add an almost undetectable crescendo which leads into some plain ridiculous bass wobbles that a 10 year old could produce if given 5 minutes with Ableton. After their own personal abomination has been ‘finished’, they then turn to their computers and plaster their ‘tunes’ all over the internet. And seen as they have created a remix of a popular (probably also piss poor) track, they then generate a lot of hits as unaware fans of the original will give it a go and then believe that they too are dubstep’s latest fans. The sad fact of it all is that dubstep’s depressingly crap alter ego has forced the whole genre into the public consciousness. In the last year we’ve had Rihanna and Britney Spears release dubstep tracks. If you were to gaze back at the start, over a decade ago, then that would be unthinkable. Over 10 years ago at Big Apple Records, Croydon, a group of friends, including amongst them Skream and Benga, found the new sound (Boosh fans). An amalgamation of dub, 2step and UKG; the new sound would be called dubstep. Such legends as the late John Peel and Mary Anne Hobbs were interested and subsequently gave it to a national audience. Despite the hard work that has geared the progression of the genre, it is incredibly sad to realise that the genre has only gone over ground on the back of the previously mentioned remixes and wobble attacks. I hope that you haven’t mistaken the last eleven paragraphs as me saying dubstep is dead. Not in the slightest. Well, in a way it is. It has been reborn so many times that it is a completely different figure to that that first invaded our national soundscape. It is unrecognisable. But, beyond the cesspool, it is still brilliant. Abandonsilence.blogspot.com

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Bido Lito! June 2010 Reviews

THE CLIENTELE Sparkwood&21

Harvest Sun @ The Williamson Tunnels The Williamson Tunnels visitor centre is the focal point for the work of mysterious social Ghandi Joseph Williamson. During the early 1800s, not content with the lack of employment for local men in Liverpool, he put an army of labourers to work constructing a largely pointless network of tunnels beneath the city. Some say he was creating the network to escape from an imminent Armageddon, others say he was a true socialist, I just think he sounds like an all round upstanding gent and definitely a bit of a fruitcake. After my taxi driver has taken me to Williamson Square and the entrance to the Birkenhead tunnel – both despite my protestations – I arrive at the visitor centre, an impressive structure on Smithdown Lane. The venue has a large T shaped structure, with a spacious, open bar/reception area housing huge 24ft, floor to ceiling windows. The imposing tunnels run off it at 90 degrees, combining the eerie, gritty reality of Victorian Liverpool with the open, comfortable reality of Liverpool present. It is at the end of this first tunnel where this evening’s musical delights are served. SPARKWOOD&21 have their own take on alt/Americana. This acoustic guitar, bass, drums and vocal four piece are set atop by mandolin, taking exclusive lead duties. And it works, providing an interesting interpretation of their Jackson Browne-inspired, west coastleaning country. The arrangements of their pieces are also well constructed with particularly tasteful percussion complimenting proceedings. Led by the mandolin and guided by more than proficient bass and acoustic guitar, the whole package is convincing. This may not be particularly ground breaking stuff, but Sparkwood&21 certainly bring a personal interpretation of their genre to the table, which should be commended. THE CLIENTELE stumble onstage

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rather understatedly, fresh from a trip to the USA where they played numerous fabled hangouts, including The Bowery Ballroom in New York City. Before long, Alasdair Maclean (vocals and guitar) fesses up that the group are, “indeed from the home counties”. Don’t worry Alasdair, we’ll let you off, as the group’s loose, breathy vocals and shimmering, reverb laden guitars have the audience sold immediately. As does the dexterity of multiinstrumentalist and, lets be honest, blissed out beauty Mel Draisey – within the first three songs she’s played violin, xylophone, organ, tambourine and weighed in with backing vocals, all whilst looking like a projection of a Carnaby Street UFO club regular circa 1967. The Clientele wear their influences on their tie-dyed sleeves; Felt, Arthur Lee, Belle and Sebastian, The Left Banke but oh, they wear them so well. They share the dreamy, opportunist adventure of Love, the neo-60s sparkle of Spacemen 3 and Galaxy 500, the lustful vocals of The Pastels. Indeed, this is all very revivalist and live, The Clientele do nothing to distract from that assertion but, they revive with true craft and affection. In much the same way as the volunteers

at Williamson Tunnels have restored their burrows and set them in a modern context, The Clientele do so with their music. And when there is so much love and attention to detail in the restoration, it becomes an art form in itself. In that sense, The Clientele are archaeologists and they’re practicing archaeology of sound, dusting down their influences and presenting them in their own, joyous interpretation. Tonight, Joseph Williamson would be proud. Craig G Pennington

THE COURTEENERS

Detroit Social Club – Bicycle Thieves Liverpool University The giant Parka-shaped hole left in the British music scene by the departure of Oasis may have caused consternation in some circles, but the people of Manchester have long since adopted THE COURTEENERS as their new darlings. Their blend of Britpop and Morrissey-influenced guitar rock has won them a legion of fans and a cult following. The 2,000 capacity Liverpool University venue sold out months in advance for this

The Clientele (John Johnson)

gig - and could have sold out a few times over on the evidence of their 10,000 sell-out gig at Manchester Central in December - as the usual exodus of loyal fans made the short trip down the M62 to see ‘their’ band, who are cementing themselves as the successors to Oasis’ Madchester icon status. Local boys BICYCLE THIEVES did their best to make the hoards of Mancunian visitors feel at home by providing a glimpse of what Joy Division might have sounded like today, possibly, with their dense and threatening tunes building an impressive Spector-esque wall of sound. The insanely addictive Stop To Start is clear evidence why they are making waves in this part of the world, and while they may not yet be entirely comfortable in a venue this big, it is surely only a matter of time before they are. Fellow support act DETROIT SOCIAL CLUB perform an excellent job of convincing you that they are genuine residents of Motor City: pounding rhythms, swirling guitars and Gospel-like vocals, channelling Arcade Fire and The Warlocks, give their music a wholesomely American edge. Americana via Newcastle upon Tyne that is, a fact not discernible until lead singer David Burn admits in his Geordie drawl “we played to 24 people here last week, it’s nice to see you all back”. With the Levellers-aping Thousand Kings and hook-laden setcloser Sunshine People, People they should play to a considerably larger crowd next time around. It’s all about The Courteeners, however, and tonight sees them embracing their new-found mass popularity for the first time, and revelling in it. The show kicks off with Oasis’ paean to deadheaded hedonism Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, which whips the riotous crowd up in to a frenzy as the lights go down, preparing them for the blistering opening onslaught of Cavorting and Acrylic Acrylic, the Courteeners’ two most combustible and ballsy tracks. All this outward swagger belies a depth to the Courteeners, a musicality and intelligence beneath


Reviews the laddish exterior, and that comes from frontman and songwriter Liam Fray. Strutting about on stage like an Ashcroft/Gallagher hybrid, Fray looks every inch the part as a rock ‘n’ roll star, but there is altogether more to him and his band than beery pubrock, something very evident on new album Falcon, hinting that Fray’s ambition has surpassed the levels set down by debut album St. Jude. Jude The strings and pianos and distorted guitars employed on the new album give the songs a grander, more epic feel, with Lullaby and Sycophant in particular soaring about the room and filling the venue in a more complete way than anything on St. Jude can. The rumbling thump of Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips is the closest any song on the new album gets to a traditional Courteeners style, with the pure, almost Take That pop of Take Over The World hints at the slightly different direction in songwriting taken on Falcon, with the emphasis on atmospherics and undoubtedly on filling bigger venues. Even though the biggest cheers are reserved for old favourites from St. Jude - Fallowfield Hillbilly and Kings Of The New Road in particular sparking mass crowd riots – it is clear that this is a band intent on making the step up to the next level of the rock hierarchy. If they are to make that step though certain pruning needs to be done: That Kiss has one too many cumbersome line, and too many of the new tracks pass without noticing amid a sea of woooaahs and oooohhs. It seems as though the inheritors of the Gallaghers’ crown have been found at least. The Kings are dead. Long live the Kings of the New Road? Christopher Torpey

EXIT CALM The Feberals

Ink @ The Masque Rough diamonds are, by their very nature, rough: jagged and dirty, they have a certain logic-defying magnetism

that draws you towards the untapped glamour that lurks beneath their rugged surfaces. THE FEDERALS, a genuine rough diamond of a band, have this magnetism in buckets, but their appeal lies not in what they could be if buffed up to a nice sheen, but in their raw and unpolished style, with all the razor sharp edges left on. In a similar way that Iggy blazed a trail through the late-60s psychedelicobsessed America, this York fourpiece are breathing new life back in to the British music scene with their stripped-down garage rock, at a time when 80s-reviving indie guitar bands are suffocating the airwaves. This is evident tonight as they play second fiddle to yet another U2-soundalike band, EXIT CALM – recent touring partners of The Charlatans – and blow them off the tiny stage. Dirty, raucous and thrusting, The Federals exhibit a bite and snarl that evokes mid-noughties garage rockers The Hives and Jet at their furious best, with Jim Feakes’ wailing vocal at times reminiscent of the caterwauling howl of Jet’s Nick Cester. Amid the constant biscuit-tin din made by drummer Jack Haldstock, Feakes and fellow guitarist Eddie Coates weave hit after catchy hit around Jack Jewers’ beefy basslines, creating songs that only the coldblooded would have difficulty tapping their feet to. It is on the tracks Get Out and Transistor 1969 that their biggest influences come to the surface – the former an energetic and bouncy take on BRMC’s stoner groove, and the latter a pure Stooges-infused stomper. They might not yet have the raw power, but they certainly exhibit Iggy and co.’s pure rocking attitude as they thump away, oblivious to the crowd and the pole-dancing Pussycat Trolls. The promoters tonight may believe that the only way to inject some pizzazz into their shows is by employing some jail-bait to dance about in their smalls, but The Federals show that music need not be glamorous to be sexy; that their sleazy rock’n’roll will soon see them amassing crowds and attention by the wagonload, with no

small amount of help from the hype around that Fearne Cotton t-shirt. This is a band who’s star is definitely in the ascendancy. Christopher Torpey

CHIBUKU 10TH BIRTHDAY Nation

As I cast an eye over our fair city’s recent cultural regeneration, I found that Liverpool’s progression as a hub for Electronic music has been proportionally aligned with the growing success and popularity of the club night CHIBUKU. As the club night reaches its tenth birthday, Chibuku gathered a lot of old friends, and some new ones, to have one massive party. The organisers created a very impressive line up, one that would’ve confused the unknowing, but would’ve captivated those in the know.

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The line up effectively documented Chibuku’s progression from electro and house raves to the now familiar sub bass leanings of the dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass genres. The 3000 attendees had one hell of a choice in scheduling where their nights would take them, with all three rooms crammed with colossal DJ talent and some huge names. Despite all the British tradition and pedigree instilled in the venue, there was a distinctly foreign look to the line up for the Courtyard and the Main Room. The organisers decided to fill the Main Room with six hours of high end electro from the French super group CLUB 75, which consists of DJ Medhi, (one half of) Justice, Cassius and Busy P. Their set was a journey into the unexpected; the concept of four DJs playing back to back paid off fantastically, the sense of oneupmanship lead to a historic set. Over in The Courtyard, one of America’s foremost musical producers,


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Bido Lito! June 2010 Reviews

CLAUDE VON STROKE, played to a jubilant crowd. His strictly minimal set was a fresh change from the unpredictable nature of Club 75; the American producer came in hard with tracks such as Monster Island and Who’s Afraid of Detroit, which plunged the crowd into wild hysteria. With Von Stroke being joined in The Courtyard by Dutchman JORIS VOOM and the Swede ADAM BEYER, you began to wonder whether this celebration of a very British club night was descending into a continental affair. However, over in the Annexe the Brits were coming! This room was colloquially titled as ‘The Dubstep and Drum n Bass’ room. Despite its comparatively small capacity, the most forward thinking and diverse music was being held in there. The Annexe was begun in earnest by MIXMASTER MIKE. The DJ extraordinaire has been The Beastie Boys’ resident DJ since co-producing their seminal album Hello Nasty in 1998. Anyone who has had the pleasure of watching DJ Shadow’s fantastic On Tune and On Time DVD would have recognised the live video feed highlighting MixMaster’s DJ Skills – despite not being an original idea, it was most certainly effective. However,

his attempts at MC’ing along to his music, was not so. “Hello England!” does not constitute a heartfelt and personal introduction. CASPA, accompanied by the brilliant ROD AZLAN on MC duties, followed MixMaster Mike. The increasingly sweaty crowd were treated to cuts from Caspa’s sole LP, Everybody’s Talking, Nobody’s Listening, Listening as well as familiar dubstep anthems from Doctor P, Bassline Smith and Joy Orbison. Caspa only played for an hour, but in that short time he laid foundations for a great musical celebration. As we toured the large Nation venue, we asked around attendees as to whom they were there to see. Truthfully, I would estimate that around 75% of the people we asked said they were there to see CHASE & STATUS. The news that they would not be fulfilling their headline slot due to a mysterious ‘car crash’ would not have gone well with the hordes of fans that flooded the Annexe with the anticipation of greeting their heroes. To be honest, it has been great to see Chase & Status’ progression to the poster boys of the scene that they are today - however it has not been as nice to see their musical regression. Their forthcoming second LP seems

destined for the Electro-Rock shitheap that Pendulum have been consigned to since they released In Silico. Big respect must be given to FUTUREBOUND for extending his set a further hour to fill Chase & Status’ absence. His forward thinking drum and bass antics were more than enough to replace what the crowd were missing out on. After two hours of very loud crashing high hats and cymbals, it was down to Dubstep co-founder SKREAM to conclude the night in style. Despite the fact that the crowd was witnessing by far the highlight of the night, way too many people headed for the exit doors, seemingly frightened by the prospect of the rapidly approaching daylight. Skream played until well after 6am, finishing with new album highlight Listening To The Records On My Wall to finally bring the house down on a brilliant celebration. With their tenth birthday Chibuku have eclipsed their previous efforts - Bido Lito! thoroughly encourages them to continue to grow and succeed in Liverpool for the next decade and beyond. However, next time guys, don’t dump all best stuff in the smallest room, ok? Andy Hill

The Crookes (Jennifer Pellegrini)

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THE CROOKES Sensorites – Slopes Mojo It was a warm April Monday which took me to see the much hyped band THE CROOKES at the lovely Mojo bar. The carefully disheveled SLOPES were up first and proved to be very listenable and appealing. Natural on stage it’s always enjoyable to watch a band who are having fun. Most memorable were the catchy numbers Glue and Its So Easy (To Mess Up) which had a funky baseline making it foot-tappingly good. Next up were the SENSORITES. A duo of brothers on guitar originally from Stoke-on-Trent who are now located here in Merseyside. They definitely had stage presence, coming across as relaxed and likeable. Their haunting vocals and poignant lyrics made for a memorable set of melodic folk with some well placed twangs. Highlights include their new single Spaceman and the use of some impressive technology. And it may be personal preference but I like to actually be able to hear the lyrics, and their annunciation was first rate. Unfortunately, the clips on their Myspace page don’t do them justice, the use of more instruments is not as effective as just guitar and vocals and the singer seems to lose that great regional accent. So don’t judge them on this, go and see them live. Finally The Crookes made the stage. This Sheffield-four-man-band have received rave reviews in recent months from the likes of NME, The Guardian and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lemacq who has personally championed the band, so I was looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. Opening with the delightful Yes, Yes We’re Magicians, lead singer, George has a Magicians positively angelic voice. Bloodshot Days was a standout number. I suspect the whole look of the band may be a carefully constructed image but if it is I don’t care, I like it. Very war-time romantic. This was reflected in the thoughtful lyrics. These


Reviews elements were totally juxtaposed with energetic music and dancing to a lovely effect. They have a decidedly eclectic and woozy sound, reminiscent of The Smiths. It looks they’re headed for great things so check them out. Given that I found myself wanting my boyfriend to button his shirt all the way up and quiff his hair, they clearly had an effect on me... Hannh-Grace Fitzpatrick

SEXUAL MUTUAL Alright The Captain - Chrik

Dance-On-Toast @ Mello Mello Mello-Mello, the self-proclaimed ‘raggle-taggle Jazz café’, is certainly one of Liverpool’s stranger venues for live music. With an interior seemingly filled with furniture found in skips, an old bike above the door and a knitting group perched in the corner, entering is a strangely comforting experience. The perfect venue in fact, for the inaugural Dance-On-Toast, Liverpool’s newest band night. It’s hard to imagine where else a gig with a table of free toast and jam as its centrepiece would find a home. The first band on are CHRIK, made up of Chris (guitar) and Rik (drums). They play songs with wonky timesignatures and soaring melodies more akin to jazz than the guitar rock. Both are gifted musicians, and despite the intricacy of the songs they play, are compelling to watch. Chris jumps and writhes around the stage feeling every beat, and Rik has an almost permanent smile. What’s more impressive is that through all the technical nature of their playing, the goal always seems to be the song, which is never lost to excessive musicianship. Which is a little more than can be said for Derby’s ALRIGHT THE CAPTAIN. Like Chrik, they are wonderfully proficient at their instruments, and play similarly minded music. The addition of a bass-player gives them added depth too. They completely fill Mello-Mello with sound, with some of their heavier moments bringing

to mind early Kyuss. However, what they have in power they seem to lack in memorable hooks, which are sometimes left behind in favour of extra layers of guitar feedback. Despite this they are a tight live band and pack enough grooves to get the crowd moving. And now for something completely different, the last band SEXUAL MUTUAL (now known as Dembones). Playing their first gig, they are a guitar and drums two-piece who play fairly straight rock and roll. After the intelligence and craft of the first two bands, Sexual Mutual certainly provide some lighter entertainment. Some of the songs they play are sloppy, some ill-conceived and some are just evidently half-written, but in spite of this they do have some definite pop potential as some of the riffs and refrains stick with you. Drummer/ singer Rob is a charismatic showman, half talking to the crowd and half performing a stand-up routine. Sexual Mutual hold the same rough and ready charm as the venue they are debuting in, providing a fitting end to the evening. John Still

JOY ORBISON Leaf Cafe

Liverpool’s dubstep followers circa 2009 were a loutish lot; popping pills and stomping through venues like hordes of Viking warriors. However, as the genre has branched out, so has it’s fanbase. The crowd of individuals populating the Leaf tonight were a regression and evolution on that rather sinister and intimidating bunch. There were dubsteppers trying to find a rhythm that was long lost in the mix, there were Indie kids coming to see what the hype was about and there were the local glitterati who I assume were the most at home at this gig. The old crowd did infiltrate these peaceful and serene surroundings, a couple of pissed bellends decided to push into everyone in the venue, and

I quote directly, “For a Laugh.” Others in the crowd certainly did not share their outlook, as angry confrontations followed them around the dance floor. I am not attempting to come across as some ‘Cooler Than Thou’ lothario, just that there is a time and a place, and this certainly was not it. This was a gig for all, from a middle aged couple to the indie kids, everyone was at home. The unifying denominator was the music. And it was enthralling. Fresh off the release of his The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow EP EP, JOY ORBISON sparked this chilled venue into life. As he stepped up to the decks, there was an air of anticipation rippling through the crowd, and Mr O’Grady certainly didn’t disappoint. He came in hard, playing BRKN CLLN within the first ten minutes. As the crowd warmed to his 2-step/dubstep hybrid, the tunes began to come in heavy. Continuously mixing the tempos, Joy Orbison’s set was an amalgamation of all that has created such a buzz around the man. Throwing in cuts from Martyn, Instra:Mental, Joker, Roska and a few exclusives from the man himself, his track list was essentially a ‘Who’s Who’ of the new wave of producers. The crowd stepped on for their lives as they were confined in the ‘no man’s land of percussive crossfire’ emanating from the parallel speaker stacks.After the adoration of the crowd over flowed into a huge round of applause, Orbison ended his pulsating set with the rapturously received Hyph Mngo. After being named in BBC, NME and Pitchfork’s ‘Ones to Watch’ lists,

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2010 is going to be a big year for Joy Orbison. Andy Hill

WILD BEASTS O2 Academy

Approaching this gig after listening to a WILD BEASTS record one almost expects Dickensian gentlemen, equipped with modern instruments, to take the stage and croon for the assembled masses. Surprisingly, it’s four nervous northerners who greet us awkwardly as they take their places to the opening synthesised drone of The Fun Powder Plot. This beautifully placid groove, written in support of Fathers 4 Justice campaigners after an attack on Tony Blair, is just a small taste of the erudite lyrical observation and soothing accompaniment we are to be treated to throughout the night. The Lake District natives, staged in front of a fittingly sparkling backdrop, cite Kate Bush as one of their biggest influences and evidence that they have been permeated by her flair for eccentricity continues into recent single Hooting and Howling. Howling If there was an award for the most eloquent song about violence ever written then surely this ditty would win it hands down as Hayden Thorpe describes a “fisticuffing waltz” over spritely guitars. The strength of the vocals provided by Thorpe and bandmate Tom Fleming is one of Wild Beasts’ greatest assets and it is underlined repeatedly as they alternate lead and backing vocal duties. Their seemingly boundless

Joy Orbison (Scott Partridge)

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and practically operatic range is a wonder on record but to see it reproduced effortlessly in the flesh is a moving experience for all. On All the Kings Men it is unpredictably Fleming who takes falsetto duties during the introduction, returning to baritone during the rest of the track, an indication of the flexibility within the band which is substantiated by His and Fleming’s constant instrument rotation. The song itself, a chauvinistic number with references to women as “birthing machines”, is somewhat hard to conciliate with such mellifluous backing and yet in typical Wild Beasts fashion you just can’t deny the beauty of the results. Further examples of their stylistic choices come in Please, Sir a deliberately old-fashioned story of a rowdy pupil whose trouble making has ended in his expulsion. The protagonist begs a teacher to be allowed to “stalk the corridors once more” after downplaying his misdemeanours in a song clearly inspired by the band’s past in Cumbrian schooling. The topic of misbehaving in school is not the most noteworthy of subjects yet the band’s delivery, using such an antiquated motif, and flawless live execution is what sets them apart from their peers. The crowd mostly remain stationary during the gig, seemingly in wide eyed reverence, but the familiar bounce of first album favourites The Devil’s Crayon and Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants is matched by more vociferous head-bobbing and foot-tapping. These two songs remain the nearest Wild Beasts have ventured towards traditional pop-music and are probably the best chance fans have of grasping the attentions of their friends when passing on this dearest of treasures. It’s hard not to feel that despite the fact their two albums were released to widespread critical acclaim, Wild Beasts do not get enough attention from mainstream music outlets, but songs such as these will undoubtedly help them gain the larger following they deserve. Fleming takes a small break

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before the encore to thank the large crowd for turning up and his praise is unmistakeably genuine as he mentions that their first gig in the city was witnessed by just 10 people. You cannot help but admire the humility of a group who display such proficiency in every aspect of their trade. They are set for a tour of Europe in the coming months and this modesty will hold them in good stead as they enter unfamiliar territory in an attempt to enamour a new audience to their arty genius. The denouement of what has been a thoroughly wonderful experience is marked by the aptly titled Cheerio Chaps, Cheerio Goodbye, Goodbye yet another exhibition for the band’s vocal talents. As the last chord is struck and this fondest of farewells draws to a close you get the feeling that many of the audience will be hoping this is not a “Goodbye” but merely a “See you later.” David Lynch

NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB Is Tropical - Teeth Korova 2007’s next big thing never really reached the heights they were predicted to. Nevertheless, NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB are still here, second album The Optimist in hand. Tonight the UK leg of their tour reaches Korova, where a couple of hundred people have gathered in the basement to cast their judgement. TEETH are a London three piece who come armed with a unique brand of shouty electro punk. They pull off their set despite a lack of audience participation, although from no lack of trying on front woman Veronica SO’s part. The room is barely half full and the night is young. The stylish crowd are still feeling self conscious and are critically sober. SO appears to be the most intoxicated person in the room, although this does nothing to detract

from her onstage performance, where she is a gripping ball of pure feral energy. The audience start to properly warm up around four songs into IS TROPICAL’s set. First single When O’ When and B side Seasick Mutiny are standout tracks which sound like Does It Offend You, Yeah? combined with a sea shanty. Almost every track performed by Is Tropical has an absolute killer keyboard hook. Throughout their set, arty visuals are projected onto the screen behind them, adding to the deliciously moody atmosphere. But there’s one thing that cannot be ignored with Is Tropical: the bandanas worn over the band member’s mouths, which also feature in the music video for When O’ When. Not particularly offensive, but maybe trying too hard when the two vocalists clearly had trouble singing with big pieces of cloth covering their mouths. But this is a minor niggle for a band which pulled off a quality performance. New Young Pony Club take to the stage with a roaring rendition of new track Chaos to set the tone. The basement is packed and the cool crowd are now suitably drunk. Everybody in the room begins dancing as though their lives depend on it. It is clear that this crowd don’t need working on when it comes to new tracks from The Optimist. Optimist New track We Want To is a perfect match for Bulmer’s vast on stage presence. A stomping defiant number, with a chanting chorus which allows the audience to sing along even if they haven’t yet heard the new album. The other three members of the band are eclipsed, but appear happy to take a back seat. Lou Hayter seems content on playing keyboard while rocking her hips and pouting seductively at the audience for the duration of the hourlong set. New single Lost A Girl is dedicated to “a boy who wasn’t very good at knowing what he wants”. Bulmer sang it with such a raw emotion that it seems unlikely to be the heat radiating from the audience which smudged

New Young Pony Club (Greg Brennan)


Reviews her eyeliner down her face. Her glassy eyes and choked tone do nothing to defer from the quality of the song, adding an organic emotional depth to the catchy disco gem and reaching out to the audience on a personal level. Bulmer seems liberated by the crowd, and this is the high point of the night. Of the older tracks, Hiding On The Staircase is performed brilliantly, with toned down ‘jungle drums’ and turned up bass. Ice Cream, the bands most commercial success, is received generally well but the audience seem to have understandably lost interest in it. Sandwiched between the 50:50 mix of new and old tracks is a cover of Dress by PJ Harvey. This is lapped up, the crowd recognising it immediately and dancing frantically. The encore consists of disappointing new track Oh Cherie, then classic The Get Go. Oh Cherie served its purpose of winding down the evening’s events, but that and Stone are evidence that The Optimist does have filler tracks. The Get Go picked up the mood once again, ensuring that the New Young Pony Club finish on a high. Bulmer is a one woman explosion of exaggerated dance moves and gestures. When performing she has limitless reservoirs of energy, her endless dancing having no damaging effect on her vocals. Between songs we occasionally see her appearing out of breath and even collapsing to lie down on the stage for five minutes before standing up for the encore. But the front woman never lets this affect her captivating performance, holding people’s attention for every second and drawing them in like a new wave siren. Kadie Dobson

THE SPATIAL AKA ORCHESTRA The Philharmonic Hall

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Jerry Dammers’ new project, THE SPATIAL AKA ORCHESTRA. Even

reflecting on it now, a week later, I can’t really explain to anyone else what to expect from it. All internet reviews and articles pointed to it being a complete break from any of the re-hashed versions of Specials classics that are doing the rounds on the second or third leg of the 30th anniversary reunion tour, a tribute to Sunn-Ra and an experiment in the fusion of different musical genres. Even when I asked Jerry himself what exactly the Orchestra was, he mumbled quite vaguely about it being “a mix of jazz, ska and reggae.” Being a massive 2-Tone fan, I have almost complete faith in Dammers in that whatever the gig entailed, I knew it would be special (excuse the pun). Set in the beautiful ambience of the Philharmonic Hall, the 17 piece orchestra waltzed in through the sparsely populated crowd and took their seats on a stage littered with dozens of instruments and a bizarre array of props - skeletons with glaring red eyes, bird cages and an adapted motorbike sidecar hanging from the ceiling. With each musician covering their face with glasses, hats and masks and dressed in tie-dye cloaks, there was such an element of theatre that every time you looked at the stage, something new was there to catch your eye. Combined with the psychedelic light show combing the walls of the vast hall, the show exuded an air of being an optical illusion, with even the stagehands wearing capes. The instrumental set-up was spectacular, two pianos, an entire brass section, guitarist, bass, double bass (my favourite instrument in the world), percussion, xylophonist and two singers as well as Jerry’s own thirteen keyboard set-up. With much of the set composed of Sunn-ra adaptations or tributes, there seemed no gravitation towards any of Jerry’s most famous work, though we were treated to an early reworking of Specials classic International Jet Set, Set to Intergalactic Jet Set. Set Jerry skanked away behind his wall of sound, a Pharaoh’s mask fixed to the back of his head, introducing each song with

what was presumably once a small sound bite, but became, in typical Jerry fashion, a rambling digression. Whilst the first half was mostly improvised jazz, it segued easily into a second half of reggae jazz and dub which included a few Specials tunes, which the majority of the audience seemed to have come for. I know I said that I didn’t know what to expect from the Orchestra when I arrived, but I knew that it most certainly wasn’t a ‘Best Of ’ night, a feeling that evidently wasn’t shared by many others in the room, as a large party in front of me left, following vocalist Francine Luce’s conclusion of a song through birdlike squeaks. The set also included Jungle MadnessMadness a tribute to the voice actors behind animal noises in films, and consequently a performance composed entirely of monkey screeches. We’re Gonna Unmask Batman, a reworking of the Batman theme-tune, and a performance of the Exorcist theme-tune, where we were treated to Jerry howling and gurning into the microphone, “because we’re dark, y’know,” added to the eclectic set-list. As Jerry invited the audience to cough up some phlegm into our throats and gurgle a well known song intro, many thought the time for the Specials tracks had finally come, and after being treated to a lyrical overhaul of Ghost Town, making it as relevant today as it ever was in the 1980s, and a rehash of Man at C&A, it became evident that this was all that was needed for a night that was about something new, something fresh, and something that wasn’t necessarily safe. I had to sneak out before the final note and, as I did, so too did the orchestra, sashaying into the Philharmonic foyer for one last performance, Space Is the Place, Place clearly revelling in what they were doing, they were performing for noone at all, until the crowd exited, and this was perhaps what struck me most as the differences between Jerry and his old band-mates. As Terry Hall and co continue to tread the festival

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circuit over the summer, Dammers has returned to his roots and what is important to him in music and, rather than relying on his legendary status and early writings, is pushing the boundaries further and further, always with the edge, always wanting to find something new. For any true music lover, I absolutely cannot recommend this show enough. Rebecca Jackson

WE HAVE BAND

Indica Ritual – Pink Film – Picturebook The Kazimier The Kazimier was undoubtedly built for dancing; the wooden floors, the spherical theatre and the burlesque fixtures mark the venue as a place of worship for those devoted to getting off their face and on the floor. Tonight, it is to be suitably graced by up-andcoming Londoners WE HAVE BAND who bring their infectious Indie/ Electro crossover to Liverpool’s ever eager congregation. Before they can take to the stage however, there is a fastidiously assembled support cast of local talent just waiting to strut their stuff. First up are PICTUREBOOK, an outfit hailing from as far as the Faroe Islands and New York, who have made Liverpool their spiritual home. Their energetic onstage presence is instantly transferred to a captive audience and is powerfully driven by what lead singer Greta describes as “tribal” beats. These beats are often preceded by ethereal trance intros, making use of their lead singer’s haunting violin and stylish vocals, to create an irresistible dynamic. The group’s final track Love Lane is a perfect realisation of their ethos as a joyous chorus of, “He loves you, he loves you not” soars over what can only be described as the first digitally constructed summer’s day. Lovely stuff. The next band, PINK FILM, boast several televisions as stage props and when their lead singer takes the stage, complete with extravagantly

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We Have Band (Simon Thelwell)

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Reviews tasselled shoulder pads, I quietly hope the music can match the eccentricity of its creators. Their 80’s styled funk opener Living a Lie does not disappoint, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with its memorable vocal hook and inspired synthesised bass line. Their televisions flash throughout with crude digital imagery reminiscent of 90’s programme The Word and you get the impression that this band would have fitted in just fine in those surroundings. By the last note of their thoroughly enjoyable set it is clear we are dealing with a band that has a great sense of their style and audience; this is one of their first gigs and already they move with such belief in their approach it’s undoubted that we will be hearing the name Pink Film more in the future. The final support act of the night are local favourites INDICA RITUAL who bring their Devo-inspired new wave to a now bumper crowd. However, after what has been a fantastic start to the night, the atmosphere does unfortunately lull somewhat during their set. Indica Ritual are an act with an exciting dress code, talented musicians and a lead singer with a very distinctive delivery but unfortunately they are also an act with artistic ambitions that are often beyond realisation in the live arena. Their undoubted math-rock influence added to a tendency to intertwine several intricate melodies often amounts to an equation that Isaac Newton would write off as “fucking unsolvable”. On record Indica are a coherent, if not a little idiosyncratic, pop force and

thus it is unfortunate to hear them in this manner though that is not to say they were without their moments. Set closer Seamless Ejaculation with its Hot Club-esque finger tapping and resplendent chorus is just sane enough to get your head around on a first listen and even encourages a bit of crowd participation. However, whether moments like this can be repeatedly captured by the band, who are admirably recalcitrant to conformity, is up for debate. After a brilliant build up, which was notably interspersed with some fine choices by the house DJ, it is finally the turn of the headliners We Have Band. The three piece jump straight into recent single Divisive, its dirty bassline and alluringly repetitive chants make this one a great opener and by its conclusion the audience are already immersed. You Came Out keeps the tempo up with its Phantom of the Opera styled sinister theme matched

by descriptions of grubby nights out on the town which undoubtedly many attendees tonight can relate to. Reassuringly, We Have Band are willing to show they have more than one trick up their sleeve by briefly discarding the grimy bass in order to display their gentler indie leanings in How to Make Friends and the Depeche Mode influenced Centrefolds and Empty Screens. Screens It appears the group are not just interested in making people dance uncontrollably; they have also set their sights on nailing anthemic choruses. The set closes on the crowd favourite Oh which is at its frenetic best despite the fact that it appears to have had some of its vigour inadvertently removed during the recording process. The angular guitar riff of its intro is welcomed by all including those who mimic an unforgettable chorus upon first hearing it. Clearly tonight there are several audience members like

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these who have never seen WeHave Band before and yet it is without doubt that they leave this epochal event as converts. In fact I must say; I too am a believer. David Lynch

THE SOFT PACK Egyptian Hip Hop Korova EGYPTIAN HIP HOP open up this evening’s show with a diverse musical experience – both odd, in parts interesting, yet inconsistent – with one or two moments of clarity. On occasion, they employ the pop-goth of The Cure to great effect, particularly on new 7” track Hazel Groove, which is joined by Heavenly on a Pure Groove exclusive 45. They also have a tendency to deviate along paths of prog-polka, which may work on record, but seems

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insular tonight. Given the hype around these chaps at present, it seems likely that they’ll stick around long enough to pick some sense from their web of sounds, as there is clearly something going on here. Tutankhamen was in his late teens when he popped his clogs – apparently he had some decent, if not slightly odd ideas – who knows what damage he could have caused? THE SOFT PACK provide an almost effortless melodic spectacle. The San Diego group, previously known under the unfortunate moniker of The Muslims – a name which seemed to bring unwanted attention in these political times – embody an ease of cool comparable to Atlanta’s Gringo Starr or the Texan Strange Boys; other groups worthy of heightened praise within the current crop of US garage bands. The Soft Pack are four men at complete ease onstage. They aren’t static or dower, but nonchalantly bob and sway through their work with a respectful arrogance. The whole event sits on a drum and bass swell. Brian Hill’s standing drum set up seems impossible to co-ordinate; the guy is a bundle of sweat, tears & elbows as he lashes at his cans. This is Mo Tucker with 967 Duracell up her behind and sledge hammers for arms. David Lantzman plays melodic, weaving bass, which drives the music along as a Hook-ian take on Dear Prudence. Mexico, taken from the groups self

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titled debut LP, is an oozing, sun burnt, doo wop hottie which shines this evening. The track’s mix of bass boom and shimmering, slide guitar – doused in fuzz & overdrive by guitarist Matty McLoughlin – stands out alongside current lead 7” tune Come On. Matt Lamkin is hardly a highly ductile frontman, in either the physical or vocal sense, but a performer completely comfortable within himself. He holds a light, tight careen - bottle of beer in hand - with a stare fixed above the heads of the crowd, out the back of the room, way back to LA (where the band now reside). Dressed in a polo shirt, dark sweater & straight cut jeans, with a reserved and relaxed demeanour (reminiscent of a stoned Chris Veasey), he seems more St Helens than San Diego. In fact, The Soft Pack do have a definite ‘Englishness’ to them. Their sun drenched, hot surf garage - evident on tracks such as Beside Myself Mysel & the aforementioned Mexico - is balanced with a Joy Division inspired tilt to the darker side of modern life – Parasites lends heavily from the Manchester group’s classic Disorder. Though the influences are wide and ranging, with The Sonics another reference point, as well as The Walkmen, the fondness for our manc cousins is given another nod – Answer To Yourself is the surfbum estranged cousin of Monaco’s What Do You Want From Me? The Soft Pack provide a timely balance to the current wave of US garage groups, extracting the

finer, more tasteful sinus from the movement. They mix a Pebbles & Norton Records catalogue of influences, with modern guitar pop, without the need for head bands and neon hair gel. They are The Black Lips without the need for gold teeth, Girls without the asexual confusion, Smith Westerns without the onstage fans (yes, the spinning, electrical variety). I’d be lying if I insinuated I didn’t love those groups LP’s, I do, but sometimes it can become a little tiresome. The Soft Pack embody the class and craft of Joe Calzaghe, in comparison to the cock rock/glam grunge of Prince Nazeem Hamed, and we all know which of those is going to come a cropper. Craig G Pennington

OXJAM

Broken 3 Ways – Asbestos Popcorn Hoylake, Wirral A large-scale festival for Oxfam, OXJAM was held across a handful of venues in Hoylake, Wirral spanning the afternoon and evening of a Saturday in early April. This somewhat trepid reporter made it to Jack Rabbit Slims in time to catch ska band BROKEN 3 WAYS just before they took to the stage. For a first time exposure to the local band scene, and my first dose of ska in literally years, my impressions were that they’re a competent band, if not exciting, and yet I’m led to wonder what the point of ska really is in 2010. Do we expect ska to innovate at all or just to entertain? Certainly if entertainment is the key then Broken 3 Ways succeeded well on the day, with a dancefloor full of skanking, jumping, stamping and posing appreciators and some obviously seasoned fans. The band seemed... er... merry enough themselves, obviously assisting Jack Rabbit Slims to raise some liquid lucre over the bar whilst donating time to the cause. From here, it was a short lurch post-ska to the Glassfire (one great advantage of Hoylake’s bar district is that it was a relatively short stride to

catch bands, although they seemed to be staged concurrently rather than staggered which was somewhat of a shame) to watch intriguingly named ASBESTOS POPCORN. My confession is that I chose them as the second band to sample based purely on the name, using my newness to the area as an excuse for no better educated decision. I must say, I found them to be a puzzling and yet enjoyable experience. Sounding like a ‘So you think you want to be The Fall’ competition entrant formed just days before performance, they were chaotic, awkward and random, yet ascerbic, clever and undeniably intriguing. With a deliberate nod to anti-style typified by the guitarist’s beige flasher-trench and the singer’s Ian-Curtis-School-ofDance awkward cavorting. Sadly, few people were there to notice the savant genius of this reformed band’s set, and I can only hope there are other opportunities to evaluate whether they were channelling Mark E Smith for the day or truly addictively odd in their own right. I’m a firm believer that every scene needs their own indulgent art-rock weirdo bands just to keep things from getting staid. Asbsestos Popcorn did a great job of shaking it up, even if it was just myself and their families looking on in approval and confusion. Their misanthropic anthem Hungover, Depressed, Horny as a live rendition was my highlight of the day. I’d risk familiarity potentially breeding contempt to see them at least once again. After dropping coins in two Oxjam boxes, picking up a badge and a twovenue tab, and realising little could top the oddity of Asbestos Popcorn, I took a visual survey of venues Vanilla and Tides around the corner, which were pleasingly full, and realised the fundraising was healthy and the sonic tide was high... and bid Oxjam an early evening farewell. It was great to see a good cause so well supported and look forward to a repeat exposure next year as a seasoned local. Nic Lowrey


Reviews

These New Puritans (Katherine Oliver)

THESE NEW PURITANS The Seal Cub Clubbing Club – Bagheera – Pink Film O2 Academy Liverpool It’s really empty here at the O2 Academy. Like, painfully, I’m-so-gladit’s-not-my-party empty. Nevertheless first band on for the night, PINK FILM, soldier on. For a band so new to the game they’re well competent, parading a post-post-disco sound, with the trademark pitch-bends and funk infused basslines. These are tracks made for dancing – but no one’s askin’ so, leaning against an unpeopled wall, I observe at leisure and am struck between the eyes by the visual homage to fellow Liverpudlian Paul Rutherford, Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s proto-Bez, plus a hint of Prince in the jacket fringing, of lead singer Ziyad Al-Samman. Why is my initial response. But then again why not. All change – next up are the currently name-checked BAGHEERA, named presumably after the mythic leopard from ye olde Jungle Book by Kipling – or possibly after Bryan Ferry’s forest creatures from the Mighty Boosh? Regardless, they’re developing somewhat of a mythology of their own for their post-rock harmonic folkish pop. What strikes me most is the harmonic capabilities of this band - all three members (Jacob, Sam and Tom) chime in with some vocal action

and the result is ethereal, beautiful and most importantly on point. Also getting merit badges are their time signature changes and wonky ambience, some of which obviously test the ADD of what is still a meagre crowd, seemingly comprised mostly of people chatting to mates over Twitter. I like the daring Jonsi falsetto moments although they do seem somewhat reminiscent of the fey feathered and famed one. A note on the venue at this point: either it is a top-end heavy venue or the sound person has been listening to way too much Sun 0))) in the 24 hours before because my ears feel the high end squeak all night. Next up, the anticipated SEAL CUB CLUBBING CLUB. It’s all aboard the good ship Made of Magic for The SCCC, being released end March as it was, and it seems they’ve a few fans in tow, as the room transforms from its initial bleak cavernousness to at least seeming like a band venue. Although, in truth, the gig never peaks much beyond the hundred mark and it seems there’s quite a bit of free-list action amongst them. Quelle domage. Nevertheless, it’s good to see the SCCC getting some well deserved attention and the bodies are starting to soak up the room-squeal nicely. Their mathy qualities impress me as something I didn’t notice so much in brief pre-gig listens. Complicated rhythms in a nod to post-latin percussive notions, when live, hit a mathy studious edge, taking comparisons from the usual Fall/

Radiohead nods closer to a Battlesalike ambition. Is it working for them? Mostly, I suppose, although after thirty minutes I begin to wonder whether they could possibly use a variety injection. Also, I’m gobsmacked by spying a Pivot tshirt on stage. As a exantipodean it is uncanny to see one of our own mathy geekling bands venerated so far from home. THESE NEW PURITANS are the band I’m here for, I’ll be up front about that. Having bought the 7” of Non Pluvial way back in 2006 and followed them from there I’ll have to swing with a biased bat. I think they are monster. And by that I mean immensely good. Compelling even. I love the Hidden album and have high expectations going in which I’m rating as fulfilled. As their sound develops, I hear more and more connections with industrial bands like Test Department and Einsturzende Neubauten, alongside the more experimental side of dubstep. Their musique concrete notions are also present and correct: finding, using and building sound as opposed to constructing melody to construct song. I’m up for their schtick and lap up the martial elegies like Three Thousand, Attack Music and the magnificent We Want War. Doubled drumming is never an easy trick to pull off, and Thomas Hein (sampler and electronic drums) and George Barnett (drums) take a while to sync but once they do, and once the rather tricky We Want War is

Bido Lito! June 2010

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over, they’re matching and marking well indeed, with the electronic pads complimenting the acoustic kit well. Emphasising Hidden but also a nod here and there to Beat Pyramid including Swords of Truth, Infinity ytinifnI and of course crowd pleasing encore Elvis, the hour long set is a pocket full of jewels for this reviewer. However, it is fair to say that not all share my affinity with the martial beat and cerebral minimalism, and there is a restless hum to the crowd by set’s end, something the band remedy effectively with the liberal dose of Beat Pyramid tracks which are, dare I say it, more approachable, more of a nod to melody and pop formula. Walking out I feel not only some surprise at the thin crowd for this line up, but a great hope and satisfaction for These New Puritans. Long may they bang the drum. Nic Lowrey

Pink Film (Simon Thelwell)

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Bido Lito! June 2010

The Protracted War Not a words been uttered for over an hour, she is under the covers nestling in the cave of illness; I am under siege, alive, asunder and alarmingly awake. Sporadic noises are made by both of us, coughs, sighs and the occasional shifting of bodies. Each one of these is a valuable weapon in our collective arsenal it is designed to make the opponent (lover) patently aware that this protracted struggle is not by any means over that the commitment and steadfastness imbued in the self is still there for all to see and that furthermore the flag is not being unfurled but is gathering cobwebs. What is at stake here is irrelevant, academic it doesn’t concern you nor us that was too long ago to recall, all that is clear is that a struggle, a battle, call it what you will is taking place between her beneath the sheets and me by the window and the distance, all though merely three feet is growing by the minute. My weakness which she is aware of is to bridge the gap, make a concession, draw up a treaty but not today. Her strength has always been her undying commitment to a cause; she exhibits the unfettered belief the incomparable passion and the pure will of a revolutionary monk. However today this strength plays second fiddle to a more justifiable strength a more inarguable string in her bow namely: her illness As long as she remains ill she has the upper hand she is the one in need of compassion And I am the one who fails to provide it She is the defenceless lamb I the indignant Wolf Thus she has frightening fire power and God on her side, she rather triumphantly has assumed the role of the underdog and it is well documented that people root for them. This new-found strength of hers also muddles the lines make our war a little harder to decipher for example she has her back turned ( a symbol in itself one may say) but no, Am I to fathom that this affront of hers is an UP YOURS to me and a sign of her allegiance to the cause. One maybe say she is digging her heels in tending to her trench and exhibiting the same desire not to speak as she always has a little more than me, I must add. Or rather that felled by the poisonous dagger of the common cold she is reeling with pain and reserving her energies and thus her refraining from speaking is merely a result of this. Thus one can appreciate the quandary I am in this “cold” has set the cat amongst the pigeons it questions the very basis of our going to war in the first place. Am I to do the decent thing and break the silence wave the white flag and enquire of her physical state to be thrown to the dogs when she answers “Oh I’m much better” and then once more turns her back and resources her position of contempt or am I to stay true to the ideal of all revolutionary combatants and die for my principle and never back down but risk the stigma of being labelled the unfeeling monster incapable of compassion too wrapped up in himself to “see the wood for the trees” and swat that petty little bee in his bonnet. I am at a loss I am feeling the heat of the battle I am doubting the War I am doubting myself I am no longer the War leader commanding his troops from the front but I am one of those whinging War Poets too busy scribbling to get any killing done. I should never have picked up my pen the moment I did that I flirted with the idea of surrender I hinted at defeat and I bolstered her defences. She knows I am rattled she can’t have failed to have noticed I must end this and tend to her wounds.

Words: The Glass Pasty Illustrations: John Biddle

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Bido Lito! June 2010

Our Malcom Our Malcolm has a bedroom in the loft He has an interest in snakes He longs for a tattoo He rifles through books on reptiles and gothic art He plays his records backwards Our Malcolm wears shirts that are too tight He has a problem with bodily hygiene He once owned a hamster He called it Earl He cried when it died Our Malcolm keeps tissues in his pockets He has blocked sinuses He only comes down for tea He draws pictures of women fighting He smokes out of the window Our Malcolm hates Xmas He always goes red He never touches a drop He talked to Stephen about witchcraft He doesn’t like me Auntie Val Our Malcolm believes in aliens He’s always on the internet He’s got a good sense of humour He thinks we talk about him behind his back I suppose we do.

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