The full moon has sent us all a bit doolally, with those cornerstone memories of yesteryear now right around the corner. Is it that time already? Yikes!
We’ve been chatting about last year’s festival run for too long; the slightly hazy moments of music, amigos and soon-to-be-friends that set the world at ease. With all that in mind, and as the sun starts laying out its towel earlier than the rest of us, here’s our monthly round up of what is HOT in Merseyside this month.
Whilst the MDR team might frequent different racks in the record store – and bicker like kids over the studio turntable – there’s a handful of events the whole team are excited about. These three are unmissable:
The Sound of Music: 9th Birthday Thing – The Merchant
Round here, there’s few people we look up to more than Bernard Connor. If you’re wanting a whistle stop tour of Popular Electronics, context around the ever-evolving movements and music that crop up around Liverpool and its wider peripheries, or simply want to listen to some belters, then Bernie is a surefire bet. The fact that he’s an absolute delight to chat with helps a lot too. Bernie is often seen with a brew and a biscuit in hand, talking through one of the many stories he has to share; a personal favourite being the pint he had with Gang Starr…
Taking to the internet every now and then, Bernie shares these aural nuggets with The Sound of Music. A regular online podcast turned physical residency that manifests itself in The Merchant every Saturday, providing Bernie’s insight into the world of music. Celebrating nine years of music, Bernie, Buddy and Joe take over The Merchant on June 1st for an extra special Sound of Music birthday knees up. Touching upon everything and anything, Bernie and the young ones run through musical history and future delights, it’s free entry and they’re inviting you to muck in with the fun. Be with us, dear friends and family, as Bernie sets sail on an auditory journey of sonic proportions in the Seel Street venue. Is right!
Liverpool Soul Weekender – Buyer’s Club
22nd – 24th June
It’s about time Liverpool got its own soul weekender. A chance to show off the soul music community that this city has built up. At the heart of this movement, is a relatively new crew with a wealth of experience (and records) on display. Enter Tuff Love Soul Club, recently celebrating their newest member – congratulations to Ryan – this crew have held down a regular slot on their favourite local radio station for the past year, broadcasting their treasures across the internet for the world to hear. But now, the world is joining them in Liverpool, as international diggers and sought after selectors hone in on Merseyside for the penultimate weekend of June.
Once upon a time, Liverpool was the first port of call for the new sounds of the underground that reached our shores via the behemoths that crossed the Atlantic. Taking place in Buyers Club across the weekend of June 22nd-24th, the Tuff Love Soul Weekender lays out the legacy of this soulful music, it’s subgenres and crossover sounds as well. With Deejays from LA, Stockholm and Barcelona; Manchester, Sheffield and York, this weekend is set to lay down the rarest selection of records the Hardman Street venue has ever seen. And you may well miss it, with tickets as rare as the records they allow entry to. But fret not, we might have something on the horizon that could help you out of a sticky situation…
OUTPUT Gallery Opening & Hassnat Sikander Exhibition Launch – OUTPUT Gallery, 32 Seel Street
28th June, Exhibition launch
Thursday – Sundays, OUTPUT opening hours (from May 24th)
Ebb and flow, amirite? You might associate Seel St. with half scranned kebabs and orphaned high heels but honey, you are wrong. Things are on the shiftie, and Slater St. + downhill is fizzing with creative juice rn. The team behind the Kazimier and Gabrielle De La Puenta aka 50% of The White Pube have had plans (and cakes) cooking down at number 32.
Enter OUTPUT Gallery (and vegan caff). Formerly the Kaz workshop, Output now houses a community-focused programme of exhibitions, only showcasing artists from or residing in Merseyside. With the Tate’s 30th Birthday (and the Biennial’s 20th) this year, it’s a good time to take stock of the Liverpool art scene. There’s no secret that there’s been a trend towards internationalism, with funding and visibility being siphoned away from local art collectives and onwards to artists outside of Liverpool. Output aims to counter-balance the scales, providing a geospecifed platform with a democratised artistic direction taken from their public INPUT forums. They might’ve only launched last week, but they’ve already got months of exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, listening parties and forums in the bag. Next on the line-up is Hassnat Sikander solo sound-based exhibitions, exploring the journey through the trauma of forced marriage and regained autonomy.
Caught a whiff of apple vape smoke on the crowd? Looks like you’ve caught a wild James Zaremba! The MDR co-head honcho will be getting his funky freak on at these two events which caught his eye this month. Pass him an Amstel with a lemonade top, will ya?
Peggy Gou is coming to town!
Since her last Liverpool appearance in October 2016, the Berlin-based, Korean-born artist has become a household name for her dynamic DJ sets and releases on Ninja Tune and Phonica’s white label imprint. With Gou taking influence from a spectrum of different artists – cited as J Dilla, Yellow Magic Orchestra and Patrick Cowley – it’s unsurprising that she has taken dancefloor-focused music to a hugely diverse audience of listeners. With a hugely successful Nike collab under her belt, Peggy Gou is flying the flag high in her efforts to popularise house and techno around the world. Catch her return to the Invisible Wind Factory for an extended set playing for ENRG.
Disco Sócrates – Constellations
A musical manifestation of the Art of Football festival, Bido Lito!’s Disco Sócrates will take focus on the dynamic between music culture and the socio-political imprint it leaves on listeners around the globe… all in the name of football’s greatest anti-hero, Sócrates.
Live and DJ performances come from artists hand-picked from participating World Cup nations. The line-up includes Tartlet Records and Rhythm Section affiliate, Wayne Snow. Hailing from Nigeria, via Berlin, Wayne Snow has a gift for working alongside house and hip hop producers alike. Also billed to perform at Constellations is beats, jazz and performance artist, Oko Ebombo, Egyptian artist Rozzma and Iranian MC Gomnan (formerly known as Farhood). DJing throughout the night will be Melodic Distraction favourites, ASJC Lee and the Africa Oyé DJs. DJ Andy Votel who brings a worldly bag of records to his set, will play music from countries featuring in this year’s World Cup finals.
A judicious groove-lover always pushing for a harder sound, Tom Lye sniffs out parties packed with breaks and wob-wob-wob.
Baltic Weekender – Baltic Triangle
1st – 3rd June
Following this recent flourish of sunshine, leaving scorch marks on Sefton and leftover barbecues for the gulls to pick over, it’s clear that festival season is on our doorstep. Quite literally, with many of the world’s biggest DJs, musicians, bands and artists all heading to Liverpool over the coming months. Kicking off the sunburn in style is The Baltic Weekender, a three day multi-venue inner city festival spread across The Baltic Triangle.
Easing the festival folk into a hedonistic season of pleasure with some familiar names and faces, The Baltic Weekender ties together all sounds across the spectrum of modern club music. Forgoing the need to list the lineup, there’s Detroit house mixed in with spine shattering German electro, Manchester hip hop, Afrobeat and UK bass music, pushing sounds in the forward thinking venues that call the Baltic Triangle home. Out to the venues, the bar staff and the security, the sound engineers, the graphic designers and the dancers.
Students replace their late night sessions hidden away in dark recesses of the library with late night traverses of another altogether more enjoyable kind, and we’ll be joining in the fun. As with any good party, the backbone of it all is the boss crew of local deejays and selectors, promoters and parties that help shape the sounds of this city. So get down early, dig your mate’s bad dancing and enjoy yourself, it’s gonna be a belter.
Human Music with Parris – The Reeds
Whilst the history of UK dance music is as prolific as it is, there is often a tendency for DJs and producers to get comfortable with the status quo. They posit tracks and sets within the safe realms of a certain energy or genre. The same goes for promoters and venues. It’s boss to see a new wave in Liverpool throwing parties and hosting spaces for emerging sounds and interesting narratives. This is not to say that Parris is a risky booking in Liverpool, it’s simply that he’s the best type of booking for Liverpool: one that divides a dancefloor, forcing people to focus on a groove or tempo and lose themselves.
It’s refreshing to see people like Parris truly pushing the boundaries of current dance music, in sets and productions. Coupled with the unashamedly intimate hundred capacity space of The Reeds, there’s no hiding behind a well known anthem. Rising up through a deep dubstep sound, with releases on legendary labels such as Tempa & Hemlock and now running Soundman Chronicles alongside the equally experimental Rabit & Wen, it’s clear that Parris is helping sustain this new sound. To hear it in an old Indian restaurant, with speakers stacks in place of the cutlery draws, on a Tuesday night, is something you should support and hold close.
Notoriously shoddy with telecommunications, you’ll have a better chance of tracking down MDR’s resident studio cat here. That, or rustle a box/bottle of treats (chocolate hobnobs/retsina, respectivly please) and watch her come a-runnin’
Junes presents: Dialect & JC Leisure, w Lucaufer (live) & Lupini – The Reeds
Junes celebrate the release of the physical pressing of Dialect’s Loose Blooms. Originally lithified in cassette form, Loose Blooms made a rotation once around the sun before reaching the discerning ears of the Wirral-based Forest Swords aka Matthew Barnes, who enjoyed the record and decided to press it to a vinyl disc. Loose Blooms has been seeing hella radio play on NTS, Warp Playlists and, of course, the MDR studio. In honor of this polyvinyl chloride musical fractional crystallization, Dialect is teaming up live with JC LEISURE; local tape jigger and founder of the wobby, throbby (and excellent) Pale Master label. Live tape collage meets looped synthscape in a reimagination of Loose Blooms that is ‘fairly loud and noisy tbh.’
Joining them will be Lucaufer, performing her debut live show in support. Making appearances on radio stations up and down the country (NTS, MDR, Radar, others), Lucaufer brings decaying soundscapes and organic ambient fused tight under post-club pressure. Thom Isom comes in on some upcycled A/V black magic, whilst MDR’s own Lupini is on warm-up/cool-down 001’s and 002’s, bringing a spume of gloom, doom and shrooms.
For fans of texture, fog and obscenely strong black coffee.
Anda Union – Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room
This S/S 2018 may well have reached peak ‘ethnic music’ whether it’s a love of Afro-boogie, Turkish psych or Japanese ambient. Yet, placing themselves ahead of the musical curve, the Liverpool Phil build on their track record of bringing truly underrepresented fusion genres into the North West.
Anda Union’s nine members play on traditional Mongolian instruments, including the morin hor fiddle, topshur lute and moadin choor flute, and accompany these with emotive harmonic vocals and my favourite surrealist gargled throat-singing. Transmogrifying traditional elements of Mongolian folk for a post-industrial age, they’re keeping their musical heritage alive whilst tackling themes of modern diaspora and climate change.
For lovers of WOMAD, hummus and German orthopedic cork shoes.
When he’s not cooking up a storm at Kala Festival, Gottwood Festival or MODU:LAR, you can find Josh Aitman brewing up some spicy dance moves at his favourite events over the next 30-odd days.
Africa Oyé, pre-parties and after-parties – Sefton Park, Various
16th & 17th June
With the sun firing off on all cylinders, it’s getting us in the mood for some outdoor action. This June, Africa Oyé returns following a blistering 15 year anniversary in 2017. Whether it’s fantastic music, company, food and culture you are after or just the blissful surroundings of Liverpool’s finest outdoor space, Africa Oyé offers all of these. If the weather holds out, we are in for a real treat over at Sefton Park
With the likes of Benise based group Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and Grammy nominee Rocky Dawuni gracing this year’s festival, it’s a real milestone for the Oye team as they make ground on artists that have been sat on the Oyé wishlist for years. With the Melodic Distraction crew joining some of Liverpool’s top selectors on the Trenchtown and Free Town stages, as well as a selection of enticing after hour events taking place across the city, there is something for everyone. Join Ata Kak band leader Esa and DJ Morfax alongside local selectors, Tom White and Giovanna down at 24 Kitchen Street for a late night boogie, or head over to The Reeds on London Road for Afro Bantu showcasing strictly African artists, African food and African fun.
SisBis Presents RAW SILKS DJS + Giovanna & Macca – The Reeds
Rapidly becoming one of our favourite parties in town, SisBis is back with two of London’s finest female selectors who make up the disco thumping duo; Raw Silk. Bringing together like minded people to the dance, SisBis firmly flies the flag for all those amazing women doing bits in music… well, plus top babe Macca.
This time round Giovanna and the SisBis posse relocate to a new spot in town; The Reeds. With a free-party feel contained within its walls, the collaboration couldn’t be suited more. Previously housing a restaurant and bar, the intricate decor, relaxed feel and homely finishing touches of this space welcome everyone and anyone with wide-spread arms, great food and nothing but good music…
Disco and house lover, Eve Whiteside has been our reliable events maestro for a few months now, and she can always be trusted to uncover an excellent party. Here’s where you’ll catch her shaking down in June.
Boogaloo x Familiar Circes w/ Kornél Kovács – 24 Kitchen Street
With a party set to be as energetic as his dance moves, Boogaloo and Familiar Circles welcome Kornél Kovács to 24 Kitchen Street for an all-day terrace dance, before moving into the night. The Swedish producer and DJ has created his own unique blend of fun sounding beats. Ranging from his track ‘Pantalon’ with his good humour shining through, towards his pitched-up euphoric tracks, such as ‘The Bells’ and ‘BB’. A man of many talents, word is he’s going to grace the crowd with a special old school jungle set, which is not to be missed.
Kovács has established himself a firm spot in the European music scene; curating Stockholm based label Studio Barnhus alongside Axel Woman and Peter Nordkvist, which has enabled them to chart 50 releases and counting from names such as Baba Stiltz. Joining him up on the decks will be Familiar Circles’ YCO and Boogaloo’s Jack Tilston. Expect a combination of colourful genres which will be sure to have you grooving alongside him as the day turns to night.
Positive Vibration – Liverpool Baltic Triangle
With festival season nearly in full swing, it’s time to welcome back one of Liverpool’s favourite festivals which will run across two whole days to celebrate all things reggae. Positive Vibration were granted the title ‘Best New Festival’ in the UK Festival Awards in 2016, and it’s not difficult to see why with its vibrant selection of acts. Across the weekend, they have hand-picked a bouncing lineup which showcases the wide range of talent this genre has. Mungo’s Hi Fi, Dub Pistols, Iration Steppas and Lee Scratch Perry are just a select few of what the weekend has to offer, from live performances to DJ sets. All of this, whilst appealing to the masses with family friendly activities available, such as dub poetry, and arts and crafts.
Even better, catch the Positive Vibration takeover of Melodic Distraction Radio across the weekend, in association with MCR Live and KCC Live, where a wide range of pre-recorded and live mixes will be running all day and night. Not a weekend to stay indoors and miss out, after all what goes better with sun than a bit of reggae? Grab your weekend tick for £40!
Liverpool is spoiling us with excellent events left, right and centre. As well as the big guns that we’ve covered up top, here are some other events this month that are very much worth your while as well…
1st June – Chemtrail Party Mix: Garridge / Newcastle Upon Tyne Speed Donk – Drop the DUMBulls
3rd June – Corey James Production Masterclass – Constellations
4th June – Smithdown Selects: Dance For Dogs! – Buyers Club
5th June – Human Cargo: Stories and Songs of Emigration, Slavery and Transportation – Liverpool Philharmonic
5th June – Brazilian Percussion Course – Invisible Wind Factory
9th June – On The Corner Soundsystem w/ Tom Ravenscroft – The Reeds
9th June – Kitchen Street Summer Yard Party – 24 Kitchen Street
13th June – Humanise – Constellations
16th June – Four To The Floor & Down To Funk // Bellaire – District
16th June – JollyCon – Liverpool (Jollyboat 2018 Tour) – The Nordic Church/24 Kitchen Street
17th June – Klezmer-ish Live – Princes Road Synagogue
27th June – Wolves in the Throne Room 7 Dawn Ray’d – Invisible Wind Factory