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Producer’s Graveyard by Adam Bresnen

Issue 13 July 2011

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Editorial Maybe I’ve got blood on my hands? The blood of an unknown generation of Record Producers - and my shallow guilt - drip, as I tap away on this now slightly off-white keyboard. By writing this piece - and by us publishing this magazine - via the nodes of the MacBook, are we helping to subsidise the very corp. that could be held responsible for the death of the Record Producer, or indeed the Record Producer as the twentieth century has known them? I hope not, and I strongly suspect that I’ll be free of a call in from The Hague for a little while yet, but it’s an interesting point. As we heartily gobble up the technological advancements of the ever changing world around us like Pacman with the munchies, do we stop to think of the implications for the world we’re leaving behind? This month’s cover sets that question in a context that affects the way the music we all love is created. There’s a balance to be struck between the neo-punk empowerment of anybody being able to put their music down on tape and the scenario where the further and further down the road of digital simplicity we go, the more unlistenable the records become - broadly and personally speaking, of course. The knowledge and experience gleaned from a century of recording music needs to be used to inform the producers of the future. As I write this piece, the latest chapter in the Arab Spring (which is gradually moving into an Arab Summer) is playing out in Syria. This weekend, the BBC carried the UK Foreign Office’s message urging all British nationals to leave the country - regardless of whether they feel they have a pressing need to stay. At the same time, when sifting through the Bido Lito! post bag, I came across the record The Road To Damascus by the group Syriana, on Real World Records. The album is a fusion of Eastern strings, the quanun, virtuoso soprano and fuzzing surf guitar, all bound together with a truly kinetic, and uniquely Arabic, rhythmic spine. The group consists of a mix of musicians from the UK (including former Transglobal Underground member Nick Page on guitar), Palestine, Egypt and Syria and uses its infectious music to investigate the changing relationship between the East and West (spy novels and Cold War iconography included). I’ve not had it off the office stereo all week. The strings for the album were recorded by local players in Damascus, along with the vocals of Syrian soprano Lubana Al Quntur, at the Chhadeh family home in Bab Touma, old Damascus. As a project, it shows the essential role of artists to portray existing relationships and offer a view to the future as a counterbalance to the world’s political institutions. The Road To Damascus documents a Syria embracing its relationship with the world and offering an understanding of the historical context of those relationships. The record oozes hope and offers a forward-thinking demonstration of possibilities, completely at odds with the darkage style oppression of Syria’s people currently being carried out by the country’s leaders. The LP was only released in September last year. I’m sure the musicians behind it could not have even imagined the deep social and political symbolism it would represent so soon after its release. I was thrilled to realise that the reason the record had made its way into the Bido Lito! post bag is because the group will be performing at The Philharmonic on 7th July, alongside the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. However, the string players of Damascus are unable to travel for shows outside of the Middle East. A resonant absence that will vividly provide the concert with a sobering sub-plot. Craig G Pennington Editor

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Issue Thirteen - July 2011 bidolito.co.uk Bido Lito! Static Gallery, 23 Roscoe Lane Liverpool, L1 9JD info@bidolito.co.uk Editor Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk Assistant & Reviews Editor Christopher Torpey - reviews@bidolito.co.uk Photo Editor Jennifer Pellegrini - photos@bidolito.co.uk Designer Luke Avery - info@earthstudios.net Words Craig G Pennington, Christopher Torpey, John Still, Richard Lewis, Bethany Garrett, Mick Chrysalid, Peter Devine, Jonny Davis, The Glass Pasty, Nik Glover, Dave Monks, Pete Charles, Helen Weatherhead, Sam Garlick, P. Lee Photographs Jennifer Pellegrini, Keith Ainsworth, John Johnson, Dave Higgins, David Howarth, Tarek Musa Illustrations Adam Bresnen

Proofreading Debra Williams - debra@wordsanddeeds.co.uk

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


Features 8

HAS THE MACBOOK KILLED THE RECORD PRODUCER?

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A MESSAGE TO PRETTY AMANDA LAVENDER

“The rise of technology hasn’t killed creativity; in fact the opposite has happened, and I welcome that.” Tim Speed, Elevator Studios

“We’re not trying to completely recreate something, we put our own spin on it, there’s a modern element to it as well.” THE WICKED WHISPERS

THE BARITONE OF BOLD STREET

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A musical chameleon, NEVILLE SKELLY was once marooned at a musical crossroads and chose to take a sinuous passage of self-discovery.

THE LAST GANG IN TOWN

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THE RIALTO BURNS are a five piece Liverpool rock’n’roll outfit carving a place for themselves among the city’s vibrant and vital elite.

YOUSEF

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“I listen to a lot of jazz, funk and loads and loads of authentic, proper disco. I can’t listen to anything on Radio 1.”

Regulars 6 NEWS

18 RANTS/COMMENT

20 PREVIEWS/SHORTS

22 REVIEWS


JUDY COLLINS

LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, STANLEY THEATRE

SAT 4TH JUNE £17.50 ADV

BAY CITY ROLLERS Les McKeown’s 02 ACADEMY2, LIVERPOOL

FRI 10TH JUNE £15.00 ADV

THOMAS TANTRUM 02 ACADEMY2, LIVERPOOL

WED 22ND JUNE £6.00 ADV

WALTER TROUT

LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, STANLEY THEATRE

TUES 28TH JUNE £18.50 ADV

EMMY THE GREAT LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, STANLEY THEATRE

FRIDAY 7TH OCTOBER £12.50 ADV

PURESSENCE

LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, STANLEY THEATRE

SATURDAY 8TH OCTOBER £9.50 ADV

DAMIEN DEMPSEY & AMSTERDAM 02 ACADEMY, LIVERPOOL

SATURDAY 15TH OCTOBER £16.00 ADV

JULIAN COPE

LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, STANLEY THEATRE

THURS 27TH OCTOBER £17.50 ADV

THE SMITHS INDEED LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, STANLEY THEATRE

THURS 28TH OCTOBER £13.50 ADV

THE COAL PORTERS LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, STANLEY THEATRE

THURS 12TH NOVEMBER £13.50 ADV

Tickets available from hmvtickets.com and ticketweb.co.uk Like us on Facebook to get the latest news and photos from all our gigs. www.themusicconsortium.com


News

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

Edited by John Still - news@bidolito.co.uk

The Picket THE PICKET celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and is celebrating by releasing a book. ON MUSIC’S FRONT LINE: 25 YEARS OF THE PICKET will be a compilation of anecdotes, tales and opinions through the eyes of those who have seen it first hand. People are invited to share their experiences for inclusion in the book at an event at The Picket on Thursday 30th June, which will also see a screening of a film of the same name, charting the venue’s coveted history. wegottickets.com

Hot // Light // Fiesta To coincide with their new EP, the energetic tykes of HOT//LIGHT//FIESTA are holding a remix competition. Running throughout July, stems for each of their songs will be available to download on their website for you innovative folk to mutilate. The competition closes on 30th July, and winners get a bunch of Hot Light prizes, along with their remix on a limited edition CD. hotlightfiesta.bandcamp.com

Oxfam Bold Street’s most charitable store needs your help! Due to a fire at their warehouse which destroyed hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of merchandise, our local OXFAM is experiencing a severe decline in stock. Any of your unwanted clothing, shoes and accessories would help massively in raising the money necessary to continue the vital fight against poverty and suffering. Please pop in and donate whatever you can!

EDiLS Records EDiLS Records release another of their globe-spanning compilations this month. Bear Left features tracks from Liverpool’s very own ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY, GO HEELED and MARK MAGILL (SSS/Down n Outs). In addition to the local boys, the compilation is made up of carefully selected tracks from across the rest of the world, including Swedish shoegazers MOONLIT SAILOR and Finnish minimalists GET AWAY CAB. The compilation is available for download from edilsrecordings.bandcamp.com

It’s Miller Time Bido Lito! are pleased to team up with Miller Genuine Draft, who are running a series of live music events across Liverpool from 29th July to 11th August. As well as the opportunity to win plenty of prizes, the events will showcase some of Liverpool’s most exciting emerging bands, in our best new venues. Bido Lito! will be curating and hosting the official closing party on 11th August. Full line-up and details will be announced in next month’s magazine. itsmillertimelive.com

COMPETITION! For this month’s competition we have teamed up with Greetings From Beacons Festival to offer a pair of tickets to this year’s event, which takes place over the 12th, 13th and 14th August at Heslaker Farm in the stunning Yorkshire Dales. Lucky winners will be able to enjoy the sounds of Jamie Woon, Summer Camp (pictured) and Frankie & The Heartstrings among others as they relax in the picturesque setting. To be in with a chance of winning this great prize just answer the following question:

Friday night headliner Jamie XX remixed whose album I’m New Here to great critical acclaim? To be in with a chance of winning, email us at competition@bidolito.co.uk. The closing date is 15th July. The first 10 correct answers will be placed into the big pink hat, the winner picked at random and notified by email. Good Luck!

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Big Deal Talk MOSHI MOSHI RECORDS As boy-girl duos go, BIG DEAL shape up like a teen version of Hince and Mosshart, all coy looks and twee vocal lines that are just ready to burst from behind their fringes in a frisson of sexual tension. Moshi Moshi snapped them up on a (big) deal, meaning an album is imminent.

Super-Cannes Idée Fixe EP SELF RELEASED The literate art rock of SUPER-CANNES finds its way onto disc for the first time. Conjuring up a paranoid, Ballardian world, this EP is shot through with a dark thread; the epic When People Die In Small Rooms and the compelling Things Fall Apart do the master of dystopian sci-fi himself proud.

Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi Rome PARLOPHONE/EMI Reassembling the original choir from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly film score may seem a vainglorious attempt to add a cool sheen to a Spaghetti Western-inspired album project, but in the hands of Brian Burton, Rome oozes sumptuous strings and killer imagery.

Guards Swimming After Dark KITSUNé RECORDS Our favourite New York reverb merchants GUARDS are back stoking the fires of internet hype with this new effort, on the reverse of the re-worked UK 7” release of Resolution Of One, proving that Richie Follin no longer needs the help of big sis (Cults’ Madeline Follin) in his tilt at blissful, dream pop perfection.


SO LD

ECHO OU T AND THE BUNNYMEN

Friday 30 September 7.30pm £27.50-£50

TINDERSTICKS A Night Of Music and Film Performing Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009 Tuesday 18 October 8pm £18, £24.50

Box Office 0151 709 3789 liverpoolphil.com


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Bido Lito! July 2011

Has The MacBook Kille Words: Mick Chrysalid

“The era of dudes in white suits is long gone and this has led to the whole process being demystified. It is not a secret language anymore.”

Markus Dravs

n 1st August 1981, The Buggles broke onto the newly formed MTV screen, posing the observation that the ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’. The record caught a moment, like at many points in music history, when a change in format and a change in the method of music’s delivery have supposedly predicted the death knell of the music world as we know it; the ‘Home Taping Is Killing Music’ campaign wasn’t far behind. However, over recent years the conversation has moved beyond the methods of music’s circulation, to the very essence of recorded music’s production. Home recording has been an escalating phenomenon since the rise of the Home PC, but Apple’s launch of GarageBand in 2004 started a development of events that would eventually put a workable recording suite at the fingers of anybody able to blag a loan for a Mac. So...Has The MacBook Killed The Record Producer? Liverpool has a wealth of recording studios, engineers and producers, but what is their role in this world of recording capability for all? Is the role of the Record Producer now a nonentity, a dead end? Mick Chrysalid toured the live rooms of Liverpool to find the answer ...

The Visionary, The Sound Weaver, The Great Sonic Magician ... Record Producers have historically been afforded such plaudits; from the mercurial Spector, with his ‘Wall Of Sound’ to Joe Meek’s Telstar and over 200 Top Fifty singles. And George Martin doesn’t need much of an introduction. Yes, The Beatles wanted to push pop boundaries, but it was Martin who provided the catalyst to get them where they wanted to go. This was the first rise of the producer in post-war terms: the boffins in lab coats with their ambitions being matched by the

advancements in engineering technology. Throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s the stock of the producer held strong; Brian Eno, Martin Hannett, Steve Lillywhite, Nigel Godrich, Dr Dre all achieved mercurial status, and the recording studio remained as the principle location in which to make records. However, as we have moved into the new millennium, technological advancements (principally affordable and easy to use recording suites born as a result of the domestic computer’s rise and the digitalisation of everyday life) have broken down that monopoly. Musicians can, and do, produce their own records in their bedrooms, flats and rehearsal spaces. To use a current local example, Dan Croll’s single, Home,, made the trip from his MacBook to Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 2 playlist without a Producer or traditional studio in sight. So, where does that now leave the role of the Record Producer and the traditional recording studio? Speaking to Bido Lito! from his studio in New York, MARKUS DRAVS, who has produced Coldplay, Arcade Fire and Björk, stated, “The era of dudes in white suits is long gone and this has led to the whole process being demystified. It is not a secret language anymore.” On the whole, Marcus sees the rise of affordable technology in direct correlation with an increase in knowledge: “I hear some great demos coming in and sometimes you have to get out of the way and be careful to leave the essence of the song alone.” The SAE Institute has benefitted from this fervent interest in audio engineering, now with over fifty schools, on all continents. So, everyone’s tech savvy nowadays? Well, yes and no. As XANDER SNELL, once head of Liverpool’s SAE (but now heading up the Miami school) and an absolute fountain of knowledge when it comes to production, states, “An amateur will very rarely better a professional, especially when all practical considerations have been taken into account.” The sheer quality of equipment available to musicians in professional recording spaces provides a completely different experience to that of recording at home,


Bido Lito! July 2011

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ed The Record Producer? Illustration: Adam Bresnen

as explained by The Clash producer STEVE LEVINE: “The classic Neumann microphones that everyone is using cost a couple of thousand pounds and a vintage microphone can cost up to ten thousand pounds. Big studios have heritage microphones, so when you use the space you buy into that.” Look at WHITEWOOD STUDIOS in the Baltic Triangle, for example, run by ROB WHITELEY and DANNY WOODWARD. You’d need some money and time to put such an operation together and then - obviously - somewhere to base it. As Danny explained, whilst he sees some decent demos coming in, “they lack the focus that dedicated professional producers can give. We work with our equipment day in day out, equipment that most amateur enthusiasts haven’t got.” This is a view shared by JON LAWTON of CROSSTOWN STUDIOS: “Recording at home is a great way to gather your ideas and prepare your music before entering the studio. By taking your home demos to be recorded professionally, you not only benefit from the quality of sound, you benefit from the knowledge and creative experience of the producer.” So maybe the home demo is more of a sketchpad, with the intricate details being added in the studio? RUSS COTTIER (formerly of Cybaddiction Studios), who is now setting up a facility in Parr Street, places an emphasis on running sessions against budget and time constraints, which he sees as, “a major role for the producer”, adding “you can tinker with a sound as much as possible, but then get lost on a MacBook because you may not know what you’re searching for, whereas a producer with good knowledge and good gear can cut through this.” Like many producers, Cottier is willing to provide the finishing touches to files that bands give him; as well as starting off with the basics in the studio and then letting the bands import the material onto their equipment to finish off elsewhere. In this latter case, overdubs are then attempted in a band’s own time, whether in practice rooms, homes or spaces rented solely for this purpose. TIM SPEED of ELEVATOR STUDIOS notes that this is exactly the

process Liverpool band Clinic have been through recently. The already overlooked Bubblegum (their most commercial and, in my opinion, best) album was initially recorded in Elevator and then finished off in their rehearsal room and elsewhere. Tim explains that, “The rise of technology hasn’t killed creativity; in fact the opposite has happened, and I welcome that. However, pressure can be a positive in a studio, knowing things have to meet a deadline.” Also, according to Tim, some ‘mothering’ has to be done from people outside a band and this is where the producer is still of the upmost importance, “getting that extra bit out of a performance when individual members of a band need help; knowing when enough is enough and knowing when to push it.” The title of this article, much like the lament of The Buggles, is certainly a misnomer; the Record Producer is very much alive. They’re still here and in Liverpool we have some excellent people as well as studios. However, over recent years the Producer’s impenetrable position has been questioned and their job become more dynamic. Obviously, technology empowering the masses is a positive step, breaking down the barrier between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. But perhaps, in a world of endless possibilities, the role of the producer as a knowledgeable guide, to help artists see the wood from the trees, is as important as ever. Less the Ghandi figure of days gone by and more a studio-based Ray Mears. I’ll leave the last words to AL GROVES from SANDHILLS STUDIOS: “If anything, technology has made the presence of a producer all the more important. It’s not about what you are playing, but affecting your audience that is important and a producer can help you achieve that. This can be a very difficult distinction to make when you are trying to be both musician and producer. More impressive demos are forcing me to work harder to stay on top, which breeds more creativity and passion in the record. It encourages you to explore ideas even further, and I love the challenge!”

“It's not about what you are playing, but affecting your audience that is important and a producer can help you achieve that.”

Al Groves


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Boasting an immaculate Roger McGuinn haircut, Michael Murphy leads THE WICKED WHISPERS out on to the stage at The Kazimier. Opening with the uptempo Odyssey Mile, Mile the song immediately focuses the audience’s attention stagewards. YouTube hit Amanda Lavender receives the biggest response of the set, with Poison Ivy following close behind. After what then feels to be roughly ten minutes, Michael introduces the final track. It then becomes apparent that the band have raced through their entire twelve song set in thirty-five minutes. Michael explains the band’s live brevity a few days later over a pint in The Shipping Forecast. “When I go and watch bands, when you’ve got a riff, a verse, a chorus, I get the point. I don’t wanna hear it again and again, I get bored.” The ‘leave ‘em wanting more’ ethos also applies to the band’s recorded output, the quartet of tracks on their new The Dark Delights of… EP, clocking in at under twelve minutes. Shoehorning a wealth of sixties influences into short bursts of sound, the 10” vinyl release is surely set to become a coveted item. “We want exclusivity for the listener,” Michael says of the disc. “You go and buy the EP, it’s yours, no-one else’s. You can’t hear it on MySpace or Facebook; it’s for you.” Formed twelve months ago, the Wicked Whispers have created a sizeable profile without playing many gigs in the city. After backing Bunnyman Will Sergeant at his Fiction nights, the band quickly coalesced. Michael ensured all of the players were on the same page musically before being recruited, however. “Things were kinda all prepared previously” the singer explains. “After the last band [acclaimed rockers Whiskey Headshot] finished, I spent a lot of time recording on my own, all the arrangements, all the instruments. I put thirty songs down; it took me about six months.” “There was already a template there and we all just slotted in,” organist Ste offers.

a song taking her name) initially caused confusion, yet the Emma Peel-esque figure only added to the intrigue. “The amount of people who said ‘I thought it was a Sixties’ clothes shop,’” Michael grins, shaking his head. “We had guys dropping her messages

The mysterious Amanda Lavender (the group’s fictional online persona and heroine, who also has

inherited from their parents, or it’s something we’ve learnt ourselves.”

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Words: Richard Lewis Photography: Keith Ainsworth

saying ‘Hi, do I know you?’” Ste laughs. The song’s video, shot by photographer Mark McNulty, was filmed in Snowdonia, at the world’s largest garden maze, the mist-shrouded affair featuring model Charlotte Cooper in the title role. In view of the band’s adherence to 1960s music and imagery, do the group mind being tagged a ‘sixties influenced’ band? “I’m happy with it,” Michael responds. “I need to keep into my old stuff; I need my writing to be where it is,” he adds. Aside from garage rockers The Keys, Michael steers clear of modern music. “To be fair, we really can’t hide the truth at all,” Ste shrugs. “It’s deep-rooted within all the band members, whether it’s something they

“We’re not doing it to be cool, we’re doing it ‘cos we’re obsessive about the music and we have been for a long time,” Michael adds. “We’re not trying to completely recreate something, we put our own spin on it, there’s a modern element to it as well.” The band’s signature sound - aside from Michael’s Syd Barrett-like vocals - is Ste’s Vox Continental – an organ made famous by The Doors and The Animals; whilst another esteemed composer was the previous owner of Ste’s particular model. As he recalls, “After I bought it, I took it apart to make sure it was all OK and I found a servicing date, signed by [The Specials’ songwriter] Jerry Dammers.” One aspect where the band differ from their sixties forebears is in the way they conduct business. Where many sixties bands were managed by Svengali figures employing dubious business practices (Don Arden, Alan Klein, et al), the present band’s modus operandi is more in keeping with punk’s DIY aesthetic. As well as putting out releases on their own label, Electone Records, the group’s management and PR are also handled in-house. “The music industry’s fed up of bands saying, ‘We think we’re really good, we want a record deal’, because to be honest with you, you can do it yourself.” Michael says. “No matter what happens, we can always keep on releasing records and do whatever we wanna do. This is what new bands should wake up to. You don’t need a manager, you can do it all yourself, you really can.” The Dark Delights of The Wicked Whispers EP is out now on Electone Records. Bido Lito! have managed to get our hands on one of only five, signed, white label, 10” test pressings of The Dark Delights Of The Wicked Whispers. Whispers If you’d like to get your hands on it, drop us an email at competition@bidolito.co.uk. The tenth entry scoops the prize! thewickedwhispers.co.uk


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THE BARITONE OF

BOLD STREET The Chameleonic World Of Neville Skelly Words: Bethany Garrett – Photography: Jennifer Pellegrini Liverpool’s very own Count of St. Germain, NEVILLE SKELLY has adjusted his style dramatically over his years in the industry, and possesses a head with a minefield of ideas. Yet, the transforming troubadour has a voice that flows like nectar to the ears, and proudly wears a beanie hat as a woolly two fingers up to the rest of the bewildered world. Perhaps not quite an international man of mystery but certainly elusive, we managed to pin him down one drizzly Sunday dawn to discuss his mesmerising new record, Poet & The Dreamer. A musical chameleon (with his days suited and slick in front of his swing orchestra long behind him), Neville was once marooned at a musical crossroads and chose to take a sinuous passage of self-discovery. “By doing the album I wanted to find something that was more personal to me. I still like that music and I wouldn’t change where I’ve come from. Songwriters like George Gershwin and Cole Porter, well I think everyone from The Beatles to The Beach Boys were inspired by them, but I wanted to find something that represented me.” His current influences are certainly not clandestinely concealed either - the album incorporates his own versions of two Beatles covers along with numbers from Neil Young, Phil Ochs, Marc Bolan, Woody Guthrie and Jackson C. Frank, the latter whom he “connected to more so than any other artist,” inspiring him “in a way to make music that was honest and soulful.” His own lingering rendition of Frank’s signature song Blues Run The Game captures the torments of a young man haunted by despair, although Neville’s honey-drizzled sombre baritone croon could soothe even the most abstinent of listeners. Eleanor Rigby comes as a brave choice, but the kaleidoscopic arrangement inspired by a Bobbie Gentry cover version makes his rendition a unique move rather than another copycat Beatles cover to be piled with the rest of them. But did he find it daunting to cover such a recognised song? “Well, the thing is, no-one ever thought about it in that way. It was just like ‘that’s a great song’. Which is what happened with all of them. All the songs we did covers of - that’s the way we found them. It wasn’t

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like ‘oh here’s twenty songs lets pick a few’. It happened very quickly.” Whisking away a handful of musicians from across the city, and the distant shores of the Wirral peninsula, to A.P.E. Studios set on the lapping banks of the River Dee, the record - from its conception to its May release on Setanta Records - took a process of four years to formulate. Surrounded by friends and partisans, Neville recorded the album on “rare analogue equipment from the sixties”; labouring with Ian Skelly of The Coral behind the controls. It was, as Neville laughs endearingly, “quite an experience, as he can be very opinionated as a producer.” Working with both Ian and James Skelly, he found the song writing process “can happen very instantaneously. You get the bare bones of a song in a flash and I think they’re the best songs when that happens. With these songs on the album, they were already partly formed with James and Ian, so it was me bringing something to the table: lyrics or a melody line. I think James is one of the best songwriters to ever come out of Liverpool. When someone’s that good it’s effortless in a way because you’re not trying too hard, it’s not contrived. When you’re just playing acoustic, without even thinking about the arrangements, you’ve just got the skeleton of it and you can tell that it’s gonna be a good song.” The richly illustrated and wonderfully orchestrated Colours Collide exemplifies this efficacious ability, while the succinct title track ups the tempo, the quietly persistent drum track keeping pace behind the double bass and the caramel consistency of Neville’s voice. Referring to his upcoming gig at our very own Bido Lito! Social Club on the 21st July, he notes, “I don’t really do many gigs in Liverpool so this is one I’m quite looking forward to. There’s a song I really want to cover called Silver Raven by Gene Clark. It’s one of them songs that as a writer I wish I had written, so we’re gonna do a cover of it definitely.” Surely it’s worth gliding down to The Shipping Forecast to catch a rare glimpse of the intriguing Neville Skelly live with his alchemical, solid-gold voice. nevilleskelly.co.uk


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Bido Lito! July 2011

THE LAST GANG IN TOWN...

Words: Peter Devine Photography: Jennifer Pellegrini

The country is in recession. A new Tory government prioritises inflation, reduction through public spending cuts, and increased taxation. Unemployment soars. The NHS suffers and The Rialto burns. Surprisingly, it’s 1981 and not 2011. In July 1981, The Rialto Ballroom burns in a sociallymotivated Toxteth riot. In 2011, THE RIALTO BURNS are a five piece Liverpool rock’n’roll outfit carving a place for themselves among the city’s vibrant and vital elite, among the bands chasing creative passion over the old-fashioned, ‘music=success=yourvery-own-guitar-shaped-swimming-pool’ equation. Perhaps the spotlight has never shone so brightly on the bands that rehearse in your local youth centre or above your uncle’s pub (and my uncle has never been more surprised (or frustrated for that matter) by the work these groups are putting in after hours). Meeting four fifths of The Rialto Burns on a rainy Saturday afternoon in town, talk soon turns to the need to work full-time and juggle the heavy hours needed for any band taking themselves seriously these days. “It’s just got to be done,” says bassist Paul. “When we’ve gone down to London and played with bigger name bands before like Dogs, you ask them ‘Where’s the aftershow party?’ and they all say they have to get up early for work.” With a record industry in constant decline it’s the DIY ethics of the

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local bands taking recording into their own hands that are shaking things up today. A fact not lost on The Rialto Burns, having just finished recording their much anticipated first album, Learning to Fight, Fight in their practice space at Elevator Studios. But today the boys are here to talk about their astounding For The Asking EP: a ten track bundle boasting remixes from fellow Gung-Ho! Recordings’ artists Welfare For The Digital and Tom Maddicott, three live tracks, and a sublime angular take on U2’s New Year’s Day. Day Frontman Adam believes that, “... everything these days is based first and foremost online. The album as a concept isn’t dead but with every new online music medium the listener’s appreciation and understanding of the art of writing, recording and presenting weakens every time.” Indeed, gone are the days of school kids saving up a week’s lunch money to buy an album on a Friday afternoon - now they can stream virtually any song from their iPhones. Guitarist Al explains how the band’s agenda is to keep pushing themselves regardless of current trends: “Our album is finished. The day we finished it we listened to it and we were happy. The following day we began writing our second album. You just keep at it, judge yourselves and push new boundaries.” The Rialto Burns’ ‘last gang in town’ mentality

is evident throughout our interview. Although they come across as highly likeable and funny, there is a side to them that takes their art very seriously. After this meeting today, they leave for band practice until the early hours of the morning, whilst a week later, catching up at Bido Lito!’s first birthday party, they arrive after having enjoyed another lengthy postwork weekday practice. But all the hard work pays off on For The Asking’s Asking title track: clocking in at just under three minutes, it’s a song of humble beauty. Fans of Interpol and Bloc Party will find obvious comfort in the down-strums of a slightly overdriven telecaster against a strong melodic bassline. But beneath this there is a much more human, contemplative approach that removes any sense of the pretence those said bands could be accused of. Available now from the band’s website, For The Asking is a profile of a Liverpool band absolutely on the rise. When listening to them I’m reminded of seeing Sound Of Guns progressing from The Zanzibar to St George’s Hall; such a stellar rise seems completely viable. In 1981 The Rialto burned. Three decades later, The Rialto Burns brighter and stronger than ever before. Be sure to get caught in the flames. therialtoburns.com


MOJO WISHES TO THANKS ALL THE ARTISTS THAT HAVE PLAYED THE VENUE SINCE LAST SUMMER...

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Bido Lito! July 2011

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Bido Lito! July 2011

17

Yousef Words: Jonny Davis Photography: David Howarth

YOUSEF is a name synonymous with Liverpool. Topping the bill on Circus posters everywhere you look, those six letters are burnt onto the retinas of every music lover casually checking the listings. So how has he become so deeply ingrained in the fabric of the city? You would be forgiven for thinking that most of his time is taken up with running Circus. But add to that a dizzying tour schedule, a Circus Reworks EP and an upcoming artist album in 2011 alone, and you begin to wonder how Circus even happens at all. My preconceptions of a man with an un-silenceable phone and an eye on the clock could not have been more wrong. Yousef is instantly likeable as we discuss his passion for classical music, being beaten in a marathon by a woman dressed as a chip and how so much chart music tastes like McDonald’s. EP, featuring remixes of artists as Having just released his Circus Reworks EP disparate as Four Tet, Giles Peterson and Sven Vath, he is evidently no stranger to pushing himself in new directions. “I wanted the EP to be essentially reflective of my musical taste but also as a guide to what’s happening at Circus.” Taking the lo-fi skittering of Four Tet’s Love Cry as a starting point, Yousef crafts a house monster which, whilst remaining faithful to the song’s motif, builds into a dance-floor hit. The centrepiece is a take on Moby’s chilling Wait For Me that loops a snippet of piano and layers it with emotive strings underpinned by a satisfying bassline. Listening to the EP’s final track (and Yousef’s own) Come Home, the song is elevated skywards as he eases off the beat for a moment of arpeggiated euphoria. It’s these occasions that hint at a broad spectrum of influence. “I listen to a lot of jazz, funk and loads and loads of authentic, proper disco. I can’t listen to anything on Radio 1.” There is little in the way of gimmicky build-ups and bass-drop moments on the mix. “People have got lost in making things loud. If you listen to classical music, it’s got a dynamic range of peaks and troughs. If the track is loud from start to finish, all it can do is get louder and more distorted.” To counteract the noise of Radio 1 he immerses himself in classical music. “All I listen to at home is

strongly recommend it. I love the way the music makes you feel.” This appreciation of subtlety in sound enables the mix to rise above what he calls “popstep” and find its own sound. “A lot of drum n bass and dubstep is just a different variety of synth pop. It’s McDonald’s: it looks tasty, it might taste good, but ultimately it makes you feel sick. No nutritional value whatsoever.” The analogy is a sound one, and if anybody has the right to make such an assertion it is somebody whose club night has been running for almost a decade and shows no sign of stopping. He believes the success of Circus is down to a mixture of hard work and a dedicated crowd. “I think a lot of people misunderstand the effort we go to in order to make Circus happen. People don’t understand that I pretty much do it for nothing as well. For me it is the best night in the country from a DJ’s point of view. Obviously, I’m biased but it’s down to the crowd. DJs come to play and say ‘What the hell is this?! It’s great!’” Yousef is a complete workaholic. “I’m always working my ass off. I had a day and a half off and I looked out the front door and the garden was like a jungle; I couldn’t even see the cat! I spent all day doing the gardening then got into the studio and felt like I’d had two weeks on holiday.” In these rare days off many would be content to just chill out but not Yousef. Finding a bit of spare time whilst living in London he ran the London marathon for local charity C.A.L.M. “During the training I listened to a lot of Greg Wilson mixes but on the marathon you just don’t need music. You soak up the atmosphere. On the last stretch I got overtaken by a woman dressed as a chip. Chiplady beat me! Maybe she did it to piss me off; she’d been following me for 25 miles.” Yousef is currently working on an artist album so watch this space. The Circus Reworks EP is available now for one month on Beatport, to be continued on iTunes and all other digital stores thereafter. yousef.co.uk

Classic FM or Chopin. I go to the Philharmonic at least once a month; I

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Bido Lito! July 2011

Rants/Comment

The Glass Pasty Post-It Notes From The Cultural Abyss

“Peer through the glass and ask the Pasty.” Good Morning readers. After the astounding success of my previous stargazing turn I have realised that my talents lie in giving a helping hand to those in need in this dustbowl that we call home. Regular readers’ wives of my column will know that deep down I’m a people’s person, a glass half full kind of fellow; well move over Stoppard you intense Moronic bitch because it’s Agony Uncle time! Dear GP, I am an impressionable midtwenties female with an excellent face/body but not much up top. I have been hanging about around the bars of Bold St and Renshaw in an attempt to snag myself a musician, any tips with the lingo? Mimi Fifi Loren III

Mimi, thanks for the wonderful letter! A few tips to get you started, use words like “cool” “man” and “Stratocaster” whenever possible but moreover if you simply laugh at all the musicians’ jokes and pretend to enjoy their songs intensively then they will be easy pickings. They are by nature terribly conceited and insecure egocentric mammals. Best of luck Mimi. Dear GP, I am an up and coming musician whose star is on the rise. I have received a lot of media attention and thankfully things are going well, however, I feel that soon I will be found out as I can’t read; so far my idiotic musings have gone unnoticed but I fear my time may be running out, please help! Protagonist 56b

Nik Glover There’s an old joke about Charlie Kaufman. Charlie is pitching his new film to the execs and one says, “So what’s the movie about, Charlie?” Charlie replies, “It’s about a writer who kills himself”, and right there and then he pulls out a revolver, puts it in his mouth and blows his own brains against the wall. The execs turn to a guy sat next to Charlie, dressed in exactly the same clothes as Charlie, with the same pencil moustache, grey slacks, exactly the same nervous air, and say, “We love it Charlie, here’s fifty million dollars.” That isn’t an old joke. Or, it may be, in Hollywood, somewhere I’ve never visited and therefore could not possibly

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comment on. My idea of Hollywood has something of the Kaufman-esque about it. As with every place I’ve heard of but which I’ve never visited, I try to imagine the most mundane of images first, to bring some reality to all the other junk. In his story ‘The Goldfish Pool’, Neil Gaiman tells the tale of an English writer who goes to Hollywood to work on a script for a big studio. “Each afternoon I would go for a short walk down Sunset Boulevard. I would walk as far as the ‘almost allnite’ bookstore, where I would buy a newspaper. Then I would sit outside in the hotel courtyard for half an hour, reading a newspaper. And then, having had my ration of sun and air, I would

Protagonist, thanks for your moving disclosure, I can suggest a basic literacy course, I would also be willing to work with you one to one, I excelled as a paired reader back in High School and have an up to date CRB. On the upside 56b you live in an age in which lyrical talent, or indeed words, have no place in music, don’t worry if the fools want gruel then you keep feeding them it, so long. GP. Dear GP, I have just opened a “trendy” business in the city centre buying and selling arms and want to attract the young professional pretentious type. Any tips? Venture Capitalist Bobby McTurncoat Bobby, that’s excellent news just what we’ve been crying out for. Well if you can give it an eco spin in some way and invent some kooky cartoonish character as the face then the sky’s the limit, also why not sell a few posh coffees whilst the arms

go back into the dark, and turn my book back into something else.” The place I imagine most in Hollywood: the space between a pair of one-storey apartment buildings on Sunset Boulevard. I am looking towards the street, ten feet before me, a high white fence, freshly painted, blocks my view. It is midafternoon, and very quiet in this little alley between buildings. There is a chest-high chain- link fence halfway between the two apartments. I think I’m on the left side of this fence, but it’s hard to say. Charlie takes the stamped cheque from the exec’s executive secretary and stuffs it into the inner pocket of his corduroy blazer. He exits the building without looking at anyone’s face, and emerges out onto the street where a car is waiting for him. He climbs into it, without saying a word to the driver,

dealers peruse? Certainly get yourself a Facebook and Twitter account it could be a great forum for feedback. Maybe a low quality open mic/ poetry night every second Tuesday? Happy Hunting. Dear GP, I feel abandoned, lost; it has been over two years since I have had any form of human contact, and it’s as if everyone has forgotten about me. Please help me gentle Pasty I’m getting old! MXR Phase 90 MXR I don’t know how to break this to you but it seems that your owners have abandoned you for good my poor little flanger, they have probably moved practice rooms or worse still quit. Someone will come along when you least expect it and breathe life into you once more my friend, stay strong little guy. Join me next month and keep your collective chin up.

and it pulls away into traffic. ““What did you think of it?” They both nodded, more or less in unison. And then they both tried, as hard as they could, to tell me they hated it while never saying anything that might conceivably upset me.” If you want to imagine somewhere you’ve never been, you first need to remind yourself that, regardless of what that place contains, film stars or fishmongers, it is a place with all of the mundane little spaces you know now. The world turns, carrying everything. At some point, right along the equator, someone else is standing in the same place you stood, waiting to be shown in. If you’d like me to talk about your music, email takemeforanexample@ gmail.com


TR AN

rted by

RE SS O

BOLD STRE ET COFFEE

l Festivra To u 1 201 ig ht

I am writing this just after what has been a very long, tiring and eventful weekend. It’s Monday morning after some mammoth gigs at Liverpool Sound City, I am sitting contemplating the last four days and four nights of my quest to cover, compare and consume as much music as I physically could. Thursday evening was partly spent in the bombed out church watching Delta Maid and The Kooks - it actually felt like a festival with the grass around our feet. The sound and location was very atmospheric even for the latecomers who, despite the entrance issues, seemed to be enjoying themselves. And The Temps are worth a mention as they really held my attention throughout the whole set earlier that night at the Masque, with their utterly fearless acidic post-punk attitude. On Friday and Saturday I was hosting nights at the Krazyhouse and Picket respectively, with great performances from Luke Fenlon, Killaflaw, Bird, The Fallows, Filter Distortion and Fly with Vampires. It’s been a great year so far for local artists. In the past few weeks, I have featured new albums from Miles Kane, Delta Maid, The Wombats, Strawhouses, and Lovecraft. Sound of Guns are at work with Idlewild and Manics producer, Dave Eringa, and Wave Machines are in standby mode There Slightly with the follow-up to the brilliant Wave If You’re Really There. more under the radar but just as tempting, The Loud’s new offering is out soon on Payper Tiger Records, together with a nice, simple little video for You their new single Amy’s Gonna Get You. Another BBC Introducing recent success story is Luke Fenlon who has a new single out; plus the always improving formidable live band Fly with Vampires; and the amazing Owls*, who are tempting the local crowd with a well-planned drip feed of new tracks with influences straight from a David Lynch soundtrack. I have also been impressed with two bands that have links in both Liverpool and Chester: The August September are duo Mat and Brit, featuring all the hallmarks of The Kills or White Stripes. Make sure you catch them live at Krazyhouse on 24th June. The Thespians are another recent session guest to keep an eye on; they play the region’s next big festival, Chester Rocks. When I first heard there was going to be another music festival in Chester, I can’t really say I was overly excited. However, organisers have this time contemplated their audiences and offer a different palate of music for both days – Saturday is more pop with a younger audience and on Sunday there are some great established names such as Iggy Pop, Lightning Seeds, Feeder, Leftfield, and I Am Kloot. The alternative stage has a strong line-up, with the likes of Dustland, The Wicked Whispers and Owls* guaranteed to be firm favourites at this first Chester Rocks event at the racecourse. It’s going to be like Aintree only the trains are going the opposite way. Have fun and remember: keep your feet off the seats! Every Sunday night from 8pm - 95.8FM and Online

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Dave Monks - BBC Merseyside Introducing

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Bido Lito! July 2011

Previews/Shorts

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

VETIVER San Fran psych-folks VETIVER are back in town and ready to wow us all over again with their experimental charms and new album The Errant Charm, which maintains those Grateful Dead-esque hallmarks, and songwriter Andy Cabic’s solo flair. Support comes in the shape of local faves BY THE SEA and DAN CROLL. Mojo – 1st July – Tickets through seetickets.com and Probe Records

MISERY GUTS Superlative folk band MISERY GUTS are set to play and curate their own festival at the Bombed Out Church. THE BIG HOUSE, THE RANDOM FAMILY, BIRD and DAVID BARNICLE all feature among the stellar supporting cast. With vintage clothes stalls, and a cake and lemonade stand in place, it looks set to be a winning event. Bring your own booze mind. St. Luke’s Church – 3rd July – Tickets through skiddle.com

SYRIANA

Strawhouses

STRAWHOUSES have been bubbling under around the fringes of the city’s music scene for the past few years and are now ready to move centre stage with the release of their debut album. These Are The Willing is available as a physical-only order from the band’s website for £1, a ludicrously tempting offer that shores up the band’s commitment to their fanbase and turns the release into a full-blown, old fashioned ‘event’, rather than the usual streaming and free download malarkey. As intense as a band who aspire to sound like Interpol fronted by Jeff Buckley should be, recent cut Batteries proved to be an inspired single. The anguished Radiohead squall of Malaise, The Way Of The World and Runaway Child follow in a similarly strong vein, singer Paul Donnelly racking up the unease, as exemplified by his performance in the video for Train Wreck. Helmed by Jon Withnall, (Coldplay/ Feeder/Elbow), the album pulls together the group’s run of singles with tracks they have worked on feverishly, the band describing the LP as ‘the culmination of four years of songwriting.’ With that in mind, the band are clearly in it for the long haul and by the looks of things, quite a few fans will be as well. These Are The Willing is available for £1.50 (inc p&p) from strawhouses.tv now. myspace.com/strawhouses0

The Road To Damascus is one of enlightenment, and in the case of the multi-national SYRIANA, it is also one of breaking down cultural and musical boundaries. This collision of oriental and occidental sounds and ideas will benefit from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra lending a few strings. Philharmonic Hall – 7th July – Tickets through boxoffice.liverpoolphil.com

THE COMPANY STORE The evergreen night run by THE SIXTEEN TONNES makes a welcome return after a short hiatus. Aside from the organizers, THE LOST BROTHERS are welcomed back to these shores after a stint in Nashville. Hopefully the weather holds out for their sunbaked and whiskey-soaked sound. Stetson optional. The Zanzibar – 21st July – Tickets through skiddle.com and Probe

GRADUALE NOBILI Currently on tour with Björk on her three-week stint at the Manchester International Festival, the 24-piece all-female GRADUALE NOBILI choir are being whisked away for a one-off special performance at Static Gallery. Expect haunting, soaring vocals from these Icelandic chanteuses. Static Gallery – 12th July – Tickets through Probe Records

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The Temps

Supporting The Fall in their three night residency at The Stanley Theatre, THE TEMPS are flying the flag high for native talent: a band that wrap post-punk melodies in indie sensibilities, their music bypasses all the hoopla of pretence and goes straight for the jugular. “Playing with The Fall is really exciting for us,” says Temps vocalist Joseph Wainwright. “They’re a big influence on our sound, so managing to bag all three dates was a great achievement.” A band of ambition, any potential hesitation is shrugged off as they look set to grab this opportunity with both hands. “We’re looking at having three separate sets to keep it fresh,” he states, “this way, people who see us for the full three nights won’t be able to predict what’s coming next.” The luminary himself, Mark E. Smith, has spoken of his admiration for the quartet, and what better indication of musical conviction. The next few months are going to be a pivotal juncture for them, as they are in the process of recording their first ‘proper’ record. If they are to live up to their raw potential then now is the time; not only to show Liverpool what they’re capable of, but also to show their peers what Liverpool is capable of. The Temps play The Stanley Theatre in support of The Fall and John Cooper Clarke on 30th June, 1st July and 2nd July myspace.com/thetempsliv


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Bido Lito! July 2011

JAMES BLAKE Cloud Boat

Stanley Theatre The Stanley Theatre is dark tonight. We’re talking Miroslaw Balka’s steel container kind of dark, with everybody feeling their way around like zombies. Perhaps this is part of the setup; feeling lost but then comforted by the soothing music and brightly lit bar, shining like a beacon at the back. Or perhaps there are technical issues. Who knows? CLOUD BOAT are made up of Sam and Tom from London who play a modern form of trip hop with guitars and programmed beats. The sound is quintessentially modern London, all looped vocals, Burial 2-step drums and Mount Kimbie aesthetic, but there is an obvious attempt to humanize the sound through the clean vocal layering. There are moments when the vocal harmonies lock in to create mesmerising chords, but actual lyrics are few and

Reviews far between, often leaving little to hang your hat on. It takes a beautiful piece of music to warrant a lack of words and Cloud Boat don’t quite offer enough interest to maintain a meaningful connection. Having said that, they certainly have the potential to create some captivating music, if only they’d embrace lyrics the way tonight’s headliner has. The crowd for JAMES BLAKE is surprisingly modest: not so small as to be a problem but certainly no sell out. This is strange for an artist as critically lauded as Blake, and in a city as electronic-friendly as Liverpool. Perhaps this is a reaction to the sharp left-turn made with his debut album, placing him more in the arena of singer-songwriter than dubstep producer. Either way, those who are in the Stanley Theatre tonight are respectful of his decision to leave the dancefloor songs aside for an evening of soft, piano-led ballads. Bringing with him a drummer and guitarist, Blake manages to recreate the subtleties

of the album and even add more bite to songs like The Wilhelm Scream as he layers up the keys until the song seems to have disappeared into the ether, before stripping it back to basics for a final softly sung line. It is this relationship between sound and lyric that raises James Blake above his peers. Repeating a line such as “I’m falling” while the music swirls into the abyss is a wonderful marriage, before ushering in a post-storm calm and conceding “Might as well fall in”. The lyrics are timeless but the music is futuristic, and when underpinned by his classically-trained piano-playing, the performance is all but infallible. James Blake is an extraordinary talent and at just 21 he has an exciting future ahead of him; and, as he is not willing to align himself to a particular style, we are sure to hear some real surprises from him in the future. From the dark of the Stanley Theatre, there comes a shining light. Jonny Davis

FIESTA OBSCENIC Wolstenholme Creative Space

The bare floors and MDF walls of the Wolstenholme Creative Space have never felt particularly suited to gigs, and indeed, ‘space’ is far from the operative word, as we stumble over prostrate bodies and trolleys full of clothes in what feels like little more than an electrified broom cupboard. For one night only the venue’s chipboard aesthetic is perfectly placed, transforming the WCS into the mother of all student house parties for the purposes of FIESTA OBSCENIC. If only more student house parties could conspire to cram over thirty of the city’s most thrilling live acts into one space and raise more than one thousand pounds for the British Red Cross. As we flit from floor to floor, we catch glimpses of artists lugging their gear about or pummelling away at the puny PA systems. Floor lighting creates a quaint ‘summer indoors’ effect for math-rock duo CHRIK, as


Reviews Bido Lito! July 2011 they skitter through their melodic brand of off-kilter instrumental indie-pop. Despite the convoluted arrangements, it’s tight and incredibly listenable, scoring points off hipsters and passers-by alike. And this trend continues when guitarist Chris Lynne picks up axe duties with VASCO DA GAMA, their electrifying performance widely regarded as one of their best live shows, drawing admirable glances from a variety of revellers, who are falling between rooms in scenes reminiscent of a Young Ones episode. Seven-piece skiffle band SIDNEY BAILEY’S NO GOOD PUNCHIN’ CLOWNS inhabit a different world, and offer a refreshing aside to the ‘lad-rock’ centric acts on show. Transporting us back to depressionera New Orleans, their act is more of a musical antique show, combining banjo, muted trumpet, double bass, washboard and, er, cider jug to create their vintage sound. Surprise band #1 are returning heroes WAVE MACHINES, who

James Canty (Tarek Musa)

somehow manage to shoehorn all manner of equipment and eager fans into the attic. The ever-changing prices at the bar encourage drinks to be mixed, but spirits remain high, which is handy for Wave Machines as it

provides an already appreciative (and boozed-up) testing ground for their new material. The usual array of funk and dancing beats are still the bedrock of their appeal, but the best reactions come from the old faves: The Greatest

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Escape We Ever Made is practically a rallying call, but it is Punk Spirit that is the anthem, grasping the epitome of the event and stealing the show. Downstairs, THE KAZIMIER KRUNK BAND invade the area in front of the stage where THE LOUD are setting up, unleashing an impromptu circus mash-up. With no clear boundaries between band and audience the Krunkers go all Arcade Fire, bashing away at an assortment of instruments and props in a carnival jamboree. By way of restoring some order, The Loud crank up the volume past ‘ear bleeding’ and let rip with their set opener, Avida Dollars. The stark white backdrop (with accompanying Granny’s lamp) might not be their usual canvas, but the chop and charge of their garagerock groove works surprisingly well in the bedsit-like venue. The usual lads are joined in the head-nodding crowd by a bowler-hatted groover who totally gets the danceability of the band’s T.Rex flashes. (Note to self: umbrellas are excellent props for dancing around.)


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Bido Lito! July 2011

The subtlety and charm of earlier performers, such as JAMES CANTY and LIPA favourites HOMESTEAD, has now been replaced with all out energy and aggression, as STIG NOISE exemplify. If you like your music coming with a host of flailing arms, legs and trumpet bells then this is for you. Appropriately, the stroke of midnight marks the appearance of Liverpool’s most macabre exponents of surf, EL TORO! The usually commanding figure of singer Jimmy-O looks a mite uncomfortable sans stage tonight, but he refuses to let it dent their performance. The ghostly intro of Down To The River instigates immediate shape-throwing by a crowd which is now in various stages of inebriation. The sensory overload of DOGSHOW’s extreme theatrics usually comes with a government health warning, but tonight’s scaled down set lacks their trademark, festival-slaying oomph. Which is to be expected given the paucity of space,

Reviews and it matters not one jot to their audience, who lap up every second of the wonky experience. Looking round at the grins plastered over fellow revellers’ faces, it’s evident how the Fiesta’s laidback and carefree ethos has rubbed off on all, feeling more like a summer shindig than a bog standard gig. Yes, it was a bit ramshackle with clothes strewn everywhere; yes, the odd singer got their teeth electrocuted; yes, the sound wasn’t perfect for every band; but that was part, if not all, of the DIY, independent charm of the event, and why it felt that by just being there you were helping to contribute. Pete Charles, Helen Weatherhead, Jonny Davis, Christopher Torpey

LADYTRON Outfit

Evol @ St George’s Hall St George’s Hall is gradually building up a head of steam as a recognisable venue for contemporary

Ladytron (Keith Ainsworth)

live music. The music hall is wonderfully decadent with a high stage and seating for a more civilized live experience. Despite its functional drawbacks (the bar is a country mile away), it is impossible not to be in awe of the grand surroundings of Liverpool’s most luxurious venue. OUTFIT begin their set having played only a handful of shows, but having already collected a ridiculous amount of attention, including a tagging by

THE DEBUTT ALBUM, RELEA ELEASED ELE ASED 6TH JUNE 2011 ASE AVA VAILABLE V AILA IL BLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM STRAWHOUSES TRA .T FORR AN INCREDIBLE £1 .TV

NME on their ‘ones to watch’ list. It is difficult not to add to the hype; Outfit are getting better and better. Tonight they play with a verve and swagger that hasn’t necessarily been present in their previous performances. These are a band that are comfortable with their sound, and the tall stage tonight only proves to highlight the confidence they have gained in the short time since their inception, with lead singer Andrew Hunt swinging his


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hips to the beat and pulling shapes on guitar. Success for Outfit, it seems, is a mere formality. LADYTRON take to the stage looking chic all in black. This, coupled with their stark, synthesized electronic music, provides an interesting juxtaposition with the neoclassical surroundings. After a short while it becomes apparent that a seated venue is not ideal for music that is essentially aimed at the dancefloor and so lead singer Helen Marnie invites the crowd to come and dance at the front. As an overwhelming number of people oblige, the atmosphere lifts and it begins to feel more like a proper gig. Having recently released a greatest hits compilation spanning their decade of existence, ‘the Tron’ play a set of songs old and new. Despite the music stretching over four albums, there is little variation in sound or style. Whether this is classed as consistency or a lack of progression is open to debate, but the fans flailing at the front will no doubt testify to the former. The band have certainly carved themselves a path that they follow meticulously, from the elongated synth drones to the echoed vocals, and it is this guarantee of coherence to their manifesto that will ensure that upcoming album Gravity The Seducer will maintain a loyal fanbase. Jonny Davis

acid-house era in the early ‘90s. Ringleader Andy Butler and his everexpanding troupe grace us with their presence a little later than planned but the inebriated crowd have their eyes on the stage rather than the clock, the band’s low key entrance rippling front to back by word of eager mouths. As celebrants are still racing towards the stage with arms flailing, Butler drops a taught, funky beat and the place goes nuts. As somewhat of an outsider looking in, this music seems to mean a hell of a lot to these people: there is something about a four to the floor drumbeat and simple chord progressions on a synthesizer

and Butler’s possibly ironic chav attire (complete with Burberry hat and chain), they bring a party atmosphere just the right side of children’s entertainers. With three vocalists handling a variety of roles, from singing the highest register to belting out the deepest growls, they cover a fantastic range and complement each other perfectly. Knowing when to let the driving rhythm do the work is an art that H&LA have perfected, but more importantly they have the ability to add so much to a simple piano loop. The songs are elevated beyond the confines of house music by Butler’s will to craft pop songs that

that is instantly pleasing. It is a vintage combination that has stood the test of time from its underground roots to its consistent appearances in pop music over the last 20 years. Familiar to everyone and rarely loathed, it taps into a simple ingrained desire to flex the muscles to a rhythm. H&LA are real performers bringing an element of theatre and a whole lot of camp to Mojo. From the sequinned leather jackets to an African headdress,

are accessible to the masses whilst remaining faithful to the blips and squeaks that club-goers appreciate. H&LA remain eager to please throughout, and often interact with the audience in a successful attempt to blur the boundaries between performance and party. Tonight is less about an artist showcasing a body of work than about simply trying to have a good time with a group of lively people. There is something humbling

HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIR

Liverpool Music Week @ Mojo

ANDY CREEGGAN ANDIWORK III FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE BARENAKED LADIES Distributed by Proper Music. Available: HMV.COM, iTUNES AMAZON, PLAY.COM, eMusic, Spotify, etc BONGO BEAT

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label curated by Ralph Alfonso

Having been forced to postpone their UK tour in early 2011 due to illness, HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIR are finally here at Mojo ready to play to an eager and sizeable crowd. As soulful vocal house blares out of the bass-heavy soundsystem there is a buzz of nostalgic excitement in the air. The age of tonight’s clientele averages around the mid-30s mark, suggesting that perhaps many here enjoyed a spell at the Haçienda or were at least revellers in the northern

Hercules And Love Affair (Dave Howarth)


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Bido Lito! July 2011

Reviews tonight’s showing it was not clearly evident that he was – as is often described – a victim of his vices over the years, so the ‘crazy’ heckles which were heard tonight were insulting. They served to only offend his wit and intelligence; traits which, when allowed the space, were afforded ample room to shine. For a man whose story is built on the irony of the fact that such an intelligent and wellrounded person could be dragged into a life of crime with terrorists and drug dealers as his peers, it was depressing that tonight the irony was in the fact that he was being revered for the deeds he had done rather than the manner in which he did them. Anybody can sell and smoke drugs; there is only one Howard Marks. P. Lee

about this inclusive and outreaching attitude to performance: rather than being a presentation, the songs are used as a conduit to creating a shared experience. No pretension, just good vibes. Jonny Davis

HOWARD MARKS HOWARD MARKS

Liverpool Music Week @ Mojo During Howard Marks’ years serving out his jail time in Indiana, a petition for his release was signed by thousands. There were more signatures from people in Liverpool than in the rest of the country put together. Arriving onstage to an American news clip detailing his life and crimes up until his imprisonment, the likeability of this most down-to-earth raconteur was ruthlessly apparent from the start. Marks’ legacy is one of a modern day Robin Hood (at one point responsible for 10% of global hashish sales; smuggling drugs in the amplifiers of Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton without their knowledge; and gaining acquittal on two separate occasions by claiming he was working undercover for intelligence agencies infiltrating drugs gangs). However, the groundbreaking hedonist, one of Britain’s greatest antiheroes, to some extent tonight fell victim to his own myth. This is no fault of Marks’. At his most engaging when recalling his true-life experiences, it was disappointing that the loudest cheers were calls for him to smoke on stage. The audience were, on the whole, here tonight for the wrong reasons. Granted the show

EMILY AND THE FAVES The Wild Eyes - Stealing Sheep Static Gallery

Emily And The Faves (Keith Ainsworth)

is a comedy routine, but the fact is that the comedy is in the surreal nature of Marks’ life and times, in the coherent, intelligent and likeable manner in which he recalls his life experiences, and less in the wacky student humour that the audience wanted to see – and which was sadly missed. There is nothing clever or funny about asking Howard Marks to come back to a party in the kitchen of your student flat. At times Mark did play up to this persona, at one point downing a

glass of red wine in one slug; if this was to calm his nerves rather than as an act of bravado then he is a master not solely in the manipulation of disguise, but also in the manipulation of eyesight. It is obvious that Marks is proud of his life and times, and who wouldn’t be? He is a true man of the people and fits the persona of the lovable rogue perfectly. He is no saint but his crimes inspire not hate or loathing in those who hear his story, but rather amazement and admiration. On

With drapes hanging from the ceiling to improve the décor as well as the sound, projections on back cloths and standard lamps aglow, the Static Gallery this evening looks unusually cosy. STEALING SHEEP draw a large crowd first on, the trio confidently powering through their set. While Bob Dylan may have coined the term ‘The NeverEnding Tour’ for his near-constant stream of live work sine the ‘70s, the ‘Sheep come close, having spent almost the entire year on the road. The interminable service station food has paid off however, as a clangorous


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rendition of recent 7” I Am The Rain amply proves. THE WILD EYES up next are on superb form, drummer Sam smacking at the skins like the progeny of Mo Tucker and Mary Chain-era Bobby Gillespie. One of the few non-charting guitar bands who can induce girls dancing at their gigs, How Does It Feel To Feel? provokes the kind of wig-outs last seen on Woodstock: The Motion Picture. New track Frustration gives singer Huw the chance to exercise his finest John Lydon appropriation, the sneery vocal well matched to the stinging riffage taking place beneath it. Kosmos, the closing track, emerges out of the soft shimmer of the opening section into the guitar maelstrom that cuts in halfway through. Headliners EMILY AND THE FAVES change tack, opening their set in unplugged mode. A performance ostensibly to launch the band’s self-titled debut LP, the gig doesn’t merely find the band wandering onstage to trundle through the track

Reviews listing, as songs are re-ordered, rearranged and newer material is interspersed amongst the album tracks. Replete with nylon-strung acoustic, trumpet, percussion and double bass, the group commence with the lazy sway of Darth. A quick re-shuffle of the instrumentation and My TV sashays from the stage. Markedly different to its recorded version, the song’s evergreen indie pop is re-moulded into a suave bossa nova, the tribute to John Logie Baird’s invention sounding strangely akin to The Girl From Ipanema. Despite a few sound glitches, the band simply over-ride them, the minor sonic upsets incapable of obscuring the songwriting talent on display. The creepy Wicker Man vibe of White Knights is enhanced with trumpet, while a redux of The Formula, retooled into a longer form, also proves to be an inspired re-invention. The highpoint of the set (and the LP), I Never Saw, essentially the musical equivalent of being let off

work early on a sunny day, sprints past deliriously. Taking early MBV jewels such as Strawberry Wine as a starting point, the song is steered by drummer Andy’s nimble sticksmanship, the over-lapping vocals of the chorus meshing brilliantly. Elsewhere the unison guitar/vocal of Golden Hair and the seamless interplay between the guitar and bass on Is It Still Nighttime? supply more gems in a set practically strewn with them. With the gig spanning the debut LP and the embryonic workings of the second, the band’s talk of releasing a follow-up soon is likely to become an audience demand if tonight’s winning performance is anything to go by. Richard Lewis

AXIS OF

Alpha Male Tea Party - At Any Time Right On! @ The Shipping Forecast There’s a distinctly progressive rock theme to tonight’s proceedings in the Hold, and we’re a little disturbed, but no less intrigued, by the revelation that one band’s guitarist often appears on stage in lederhosen and confesses to a minor obsession with, well, cocks. Almost as if to trick any prog/ post-rock fans gathered tonight into thinking that this will be anything other than a headfuck of a rock show, AT ANY TIME do Pearl Jam-infused riffage, but don’t so much belt it out as dribble it all over your new brogues. They start brightly enough, but a couple of low tempo mid-set turkeys, I Need Your Hand and Jane Jane, are simply too monotone and the lyrics too clichéd to pique anyone’s interest. However, our patience is rewarded, but not until the penultimate song: Sam’s Command is a faster, livelier and more robust rock effort, and much more punchy live than on record. Their stand-in sticksman comes into his own and brings the song to life, attracting approving nods from his bandmates every time he unleashes a fancy drum fill. He looks perfectly

natural in his substitute role and we’re left wondering where he usually plies his trade. Final track Ice is an equally commendable tribute to the 90s American stadium rock of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, and demonstrates the band’s potential, if an audience for this sort of music still exists. If At Any Time are still chained to the past, the brilliantly-named math rock trio ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY have clearly broken free from the shackles of conventional songcraft. They play facing each other, their gaze locked on some invisible point in space that only they can see, as if their sense of timing flows from this point, through their brains and into their fingers. If we’ve learned anything from watching math-rock bands, it’s that communication is vital, lyrics are secondary or even absent altogether, and dancing in a way that doesn’t make you look like the Churchill dog on speed is, dear friends, nigh on impossible. This lively trio have the eye contact nailed, and thanks to a distinct love of a great riffs and funk basslines, they somehow keep time by dancing in a kind of ‘kick-your-ownarse-meets-running-man’ style. Guitarist Tom Peters is more tastefully attired than we had hoped, but he does mention that he hasn’t been in work today because he has been “spraypainting things”. We assume that he means cocks on toilet walls. Impossible to pigeonhole, AXIS OF’s clear hardcore punk sensibilities are stretched in all different directions as they fly through a high octane set of loosely structured, largely tuneless noise-rock, with intricate time signature changes and lungwithering vocals. Sacrificing a small amount of form and a large amount of discernible melody in favour of raw aggression, theirs is a progressive punk medium. Virtually all lyrics are screamed, a proverbial middle-finger salute to At Any Time’s polished vocal style, and none of the three members have any reservations about playing out of their skins to ten people. Punk points all round. Pete Charles


Reviews Bido Lito! July 2011

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THE KAZIMIER KRUNK FIESTA The Kazimier

Piñatas, sangria and fake moustaches as far as the eyes can see; this is an event that could only be fathomed by the lovable, yet eccentric folk at the Kazimier. With three uniquely poised stages, this madcap brethren have really excelled themselves with the inaugural KAZIMIER KRUNK FIESTA, with each stage offering varying evocations and moods, while maintaining that trademark unconventionality that they do so well. Having said that, an air of trepidation looms above proceedings, no-one quite knowing whether the threat of a bull run was an empty one or not… HARLEQUIN DYNAMITE BAND are, hands down, one of the most enjoyable live experiences you are ever likely to encounter. Quite the bold statement I know, but their zany personification of what live music should be about (good old-fashioned fun if you didn’t know) is the Piazza Stage’s high point. Mixing and matching various schematics only adds to their quirky character: who’d have thought that an accordion and a loudspeaker could work so well together? Even if you don’t enjoy the music, their enthusiasm is tangible, as they churn out upbeat warblings as if it were on tap in the happy hour of a mentally unstable pub. One part musical deftness, two parts fun. The Garden Stage may be petite, but its intimate tone is perfectly appointed for HEEL THE LAST STAND, as it complements their endearing natures and acute musicianship. Although it was difficult to understand exactly what these young rapscallions were singing about, their heart-on-sleeve

The Kazimier Krunk Fiesta (John Johnson)

approach made their sentiments readily accessible. Credit should be given to the Kazimier bunch, as this is reflective of their all-encompassing understanding of character; on any other stage, Heel The Last Stand would probably have been greeted with quizzical looks due to their lack of finger-clicking goodness. But the greenery-draped walls, coupled with the makeshift wooden stage, prove to be quintessential to this set’s tenderness. THE LOOSE MOOSE STRING BAND were also beneficiaries of this stage’s allure, making use of the intimate space to transform one corner of the Krunk Fest into a rockabilly hoedown. PADDY STEER: a musician so weird that I’m surprised he has such as

pronounceable name. ‘One-man band’ would be something of an understatement; with techno beats, xylophone melodies and intense drumming, even if you see it, you won’t believe it. Following in the same vein as The Publicist, Mr Steer’s compositions have a faint whiff of ‘70s progressive and popular music about them, but through digital tomfoolery, he drags his potentially rooted music into a defiantly modern form. The highlight of his set? As great as the music was, it has to be the hat. MOTHER EARTH’s appearance on the Club Stage is one of their rare outings, and still leaves people non-plussed on what to think about them. Is it weird instrumental rock?

Is it spaced-out visual prog? Are they actually real? Those whose brains are not scrambled by the Isle Of Man’s fnest, and who manage to survive the midnight bull run, are treated to a live set from BINARY TOAD, and the Krunk Fiesta’s hosts finally getting stuck into their own various projects (DOGSHOW and THE KAZIMIER KRUNK BAND). Gypsies and matadors, punks and drunks, tonight is about one thing: the nutters of the city, the ones who say no to normality, and embrace joviality. As a spectator, I may have been treated to some of the crudest dances moves to date, but that’s the beauty of this whole day: an overwhelming feeling of nonchalance and freedom. Samuel Garlick



Bido Lito! - July 2011 - Issue 13