Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool

More dispatches from Merseyside as Richard Lewis reports on the latest musical happenings in Liverpool.

Posted on Jul 4th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Richard Lewis
Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool The received wisdom that musical activity in June starts to wind down with all the big festivals gearing up has been amply and happily disproven in Liverpool with a continued run of high-end gigs and accompanying activity taking place.

With appalling weather blighting Sefton Park, landmark World Music festival Africa Oye a high point of the city’s musical calendar was saved from cancellation on the Sunday by moving the entire venture to the indoor surroundings of The Picket venue much to everyone’s delight.

Can legend Damo Suzuki hooked up with venerable space rock ensemble Mugstar at The Kazimier who acted as ‘sound carriers’ for Suzuki’s stream of conscious vocals in a hypnotic rewarding gig, recorded for a future live LP.

Talking of The Kazimier, the venue has recently pressed the outdoor premises at the rear of the building into service, with the Garden hosting the reliably riotous Kazimier Krunk Festival.

Going under the banner of ‘The Day of the Absurd’ this year the event boasted three stages and included performances from stoner blues-punk duo Wet Nuns, West African collective The River Niger Orchestra, singer-songwriter James Canty and prog/pop group Lovecraft.

Elsewhere matchless indie/grunge/rock doyens Death at Sea (see last Guide) continued their rise, with Zane Lowe playing the sublime ‘Drag’ on his BBC Radio One show and the band venturing down to The Smoke to play their first gigs.

LIPA alumnus Mikhael Paskalev meanwhile unleashed excellent debut 45 ‘Jive Baby’ (check out the brilliant video here on Bearded), preparing the ground for his highly anticipated debut EP later in the year.

Also on the releases front West Coast rock/folk duo The Big House unveiled their debut single, the wondrous double A-side ‘Canyon Home in the Sun’/’Caught Up’, the first in a series of singles with a packed gig at The Kazimier.

And now a band for your delectation…

Alt-psych trio All We Are (pictured) have become firm favourites on the city’s gig circuit over the past year and played two acclaimed sets at Liverpool Sound City last month.

Drawn from Norway, Ireland and Brazil the band, signed to local indie label Payper Tiger Records released the hugely accomplished We Hunt EP in April, their second release in under a year.

Founded by singer-songwriter Richard O’Flynn, the group coalesced after Richard recruited two friends Guro Gikling and Luis Gustavo Santos to join him on tour, with the trio going on to release their eponymous debut EP in June last year despite having only been together a few months.

With hints of Warpaint, Bon Iver, Bat For Lashes and a smidgen of Radiohead’s quieter moments, the trio weave a tapestry of compellingly dark alt. folk that matches slowly unwinding melodies with lush boy/girl harmonies.

The highlight of the We Hunt EP ‘Cardhouse’ is a current live favourite, built around a meandering vocal melody and slow military drumbeats that linger long in the mind after the song has departed.

Trainspotting is just as valuable and comes backed with a superb band-produced Raymond Chandler/Dennis Potter inspired video that suits the song’s dark mystery to perfection.

With BBC 6Music and scores of websites sending heavy praise the band’s way, the trio will surely be gaining plenty more followers before the year is out with a mini-album planned for late September.