Thursday, 30 May 2013

WOW, 22/02/13

WOW: A Celebration of the Music and Artistry of Kate Bush @ Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Kate Bush, a singer famous for her love of privacy and seclusion, only ever toured once in 1979, so it is understandable that people will pay good money to see musicians attempt to capture the magic of her records in a live setting. The band behind WOW: A Celebration of the Music and Artistry of Kate Bush are able to do just that, with a little help from some special effects and a ‘troupe’ of dancers.

Maaike Breijman, the Kate of the show, is an outstanding tribute artist whose impressive attention to detail means that even her hand gestures and facial expressions are spot on, let alone the dancing prowess and huge vocal range required for the part. Seeing her act out the story lines of lesser known tracks such as James And The Cold Gun and The Wedding List (with the help of two male dancers) really made the unique creativity of Kate’s peculiar brand of pop come alive.

The band, most of whom are Liverpool-based musicians, managed to make their relatively small ensemble of guitar, bass, drums, keys and backing vocals sound huge, which ensured that nothing was lost in the transition from record to stage. Breijman herself created a beautiful contrast to their full sound in the second half, when she performed The Man With The Child In His Eyes and a haunting This Woman’s Work at a grand piano.

The visual aspect of the show was clearly heavily influenced by Kate’s (often eccentric) music videos, so Breijman danced with a double bass as a partner for Babooshka, fought with men in trilbies for Them Heavy People and during Cloudbusting actually operated a rain-making machine that was pushed onstage. Indeed, the most spectacular moment of the night came when Breijman, re-enacting the video, performed Breathing from within a large, transparent sphere. The apocalyptic lyrics about a foetus in a nuclear fallout zone were intensified considerably when delivered by a woman lying in a plastic ‘womb’.

Perhaps inevitably, they finished with the classic Wuthering Heights, but as Wow have successfully demonstrated, there is much more to Kate Bush’s body of work than a woman in a white dress singing about Heathcliff.




(MiC LOWRY - Janiece Myers)

All photography by Gaz Jones (@GJMPhoto)

This gig was something of a family affair for ESCO WILLIAMS. With close collaborators as supports acts and an audience full of family and friends, the atmosphere from the start was one of homecoming for a local boy done good.

Singer-songwriter and Esco backing singer JANIECE MYERS showed off her impressive vocals with nothing more than a couple of acoustic guitars to back her up, and made the crowd collectively melt when she brought her tiny niece onstage to sing with her. Work, Myers’s urban blues about the 9 to 5 grind, was a deceptively sweet ode to exhaustion and paranoia, while her experiment in audience-led improvisation resulted in a belted out jam about being betrayed by Justin Bieber.

MiC LOWRY’s appearance onstage prompted the kind of screaming hysteria among the teenage girls in the audience usually reserved for members of One Direction, and the five local teenagers displayed real boyband talent with their Esco Williams-penned originals and tight harmonies. The Scouse JLS?

As the man himself strutted onstage, however, it became abundantly clear where the MiC LOWRY lads had learnt their charm. In trademark snapback and glasses Esco Williams, accompanied by his band The Kontrollers, was a man at the top of his game, effortlessly rolling out hit after hit from debut album New Challenger. The lilting, feel good Starry Eyed emphasised his dedication to the music with its mantra “We don’t care ’bout no A list/ Just wanna be on your playlist,” while the sultry soul of I Want You More easily stood its own next to a mash-up of Rihanna’s You Da One and Usher’s Climax. In fact, despite being a self-professed nerd Esco plays the part of the confident ladies’ man well, as in the smooth RnB of Hi-Score, where he promises to “make your girlfriends hate you,” and in the often dark and ominous sounding Just Friends. Throughout the gig The Kontrollers sounded tight, funky and very loud, and the three backing vocalists especially played off Esco’s exuberance to create the kind of live energy impossible to capture on record. Their first ever performance of a brand new and as of yet unnamed track also hinted that Team Esco have no plans to slow down and featured a blinding, Prince-like guitar solo. An adapted cover of Estelle’s American Boy delighted the crowd as a charismatic Esco sang about getting a Nandos from L1 and being taken to Toxteth by his Liverpool girl. The highlight of everyone’s night, though, was undoubtedly the triumphant closer New Challenger; a slice of defiant funk about beating the bad guys and winning the girl, video game style, complete with N64 sound effects. Esco had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand as he led them in an extended refrain of “I win, I win/ Perfect!”

In Hi-Score he rapped “I’m like King Kenny I run Liverpool,” and by the end of the night no one needed convincing that Esco Williams is the new challenger to be reckoned with on the local music scene.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013


So a couple of months ago I did an internship with Liverpool's coolest music magazine, Bido Lito!, and wrote about some pretty cool stuff, as well as editing copy and uploading stunning images from local photographers to their Lens Galleries. The people behind the pink pages are a friendly bunch and I've continued writing for them ever since!

I interviewed Andy Delamere of DEAD BELGIAN, who play dark yet raucous covers of legendary crooner Jacques Brel:

I also interviewed a very cool, up-coming producer called BJØRN DAVID BANCEL who recorded an amazing compilation of 5 Liverpool artists in 5 different Liverpool locations, which I urge you to listen to NOW 

The Previews & Shorts page of Issue 32 is worth reading if only for the section on Bongripper, who played the Kazimier in April, which saw me spending a whole afternoon attempting to describe the stoner sludge doom metal favourites : (find it on page 20).