So, how did you spend John Peel Day?
Needless to say I felt duty bound to be gigging, but perhaps going to see two bands that the old fella used to play misses the point. Maybe I should have gone to see something new.
As it was I went to check out Cranebuilders with their slightly changed line-up at the former Las Vegas amusement arcade, an excellent new venue near to Lime Street Station. They certainly seem to miss their departed guitarist, but once the new guys timing is up to scratch, perhaps they will veer back from being uncharacteristically abrasive. That said, they have been on form for such a long time, I think we can allow them a bit of leeway to regroup.
In an excellent bit of luck, the headliners for the night were Ella Guru who I have been meaning to see for ages but life always seem to get in the way. Their election night show had to be missed due to my volunteering for vote counting duties
Named after a Beefheart tune, they have nothing off his perversity, but do manage to capture the sound of dusty, deserted plains, but in an altogether more hushed manner that sweeps tumbleweed gently along the high road toward alt.country. However they by-pass country & western itself in the same manner as post-rock diverts past the excesses of the more mainstream brand.
An excellent night, and an ideal combination. Nothing new on the bill but Peelie was certainly one for continued support of old favourites too, so I'm sure he'd have been pleased with that as well as all the others going on around Liverpool, the country and the world. He'd have made some faux arrogant joke about it if he were on air, but would likely have been a touch embarrased by the attention in reality.
We still miss you John.
However the spirit of checking out new things was in evidence on Tuesday. It has been much of a bugbear of mine that I only seem to check out interesting new theatrical productions when I'm in Edinburgh and nowhere else. With the Everyman and Unity theatres in Liverpool, it is not as though the opportunities are not there.
So it was to the Unity on Tuesday to see Lost Ones
(do check out the gallery for it), a show that had been at Edinburgh on a much larger scale. Utilising sliding doors, carnivalistic grotesque fantasy and an ethereal, haunted storyline, bitter folk music as part of the narration and big performances from the cast, it was startling and inventive. The use of shadow, even on this small scale, was brilliantly done, and even the sticking of the doors did not detract from it.
They seem to be touring very few places outside Scotland but if you get a chance, do go and see it.