So along came March, and perhaps given some pretty dubious interpretations, spring as well.
But I was full of joy and excitement. Every time I left the house, I was clicking my heels. Most days anyway.
Threshold Festival for me didn’t just mean a very busy Sunday. It was going to be a very fun, rewarding experience.
Due to a little gig at the Sapphire Lounge on Bold Street on Friday the 8th March, I could not attend on the Friday, which looked incredible. So my Threshold Festival began on the Saturday watching the brilliant Gary Edward Jones at the Elevator Bar for Graham Holland and Stuart Todd’s Liverpool Acoustic stage. Stuart’s own project Three Minute Hero played with a bass player I hadn’t met before and a cajonist called Chris Cousineau. I think he’s from Walton…
I also got the chance to watch Louisa Roach perform in her new project ‘She Drew The Gun’ after bumping into quiet a drunk Dawn Georgeson. I could just about make out that her girlfriend was playing at Siren for the Women’s Organisation as part of the Threshold Fringe. Fantastic music! I hope Dawn is over her Sunday morning hangover…
Later that evening, in the Elevator Bar again I had the pleasure to watch my good friend Simon Maddison perform as ‘Silent Cities’. Despite technical sound issues, it was a really incredible set of understated yet proportionally epic balladry, dynamic class and experimental innovation. Next up was the brilliant Hedda Aronssen; her band were really on top form and her guitarist particularly has remarkable tone and feel.
What really capped that Saturday off for me was Robert Vincent. A mate of mine, I also find myself behaving like some insipid geeky fan boy, calling out requests when he asks what he should next play. If people have not seen Rob before, it’s a genuine experience and a half. I was particularly happy that he played “Blue” after I yell-requested it, and that he decided to make special mention of me for doing so. Fantastic set.
Sunday started with me joining the Terry Gray band in the Elevator Bar as a saxophone player otherwise known as Squirrel Sax. Also in Terry’s band were Ste Leggett (bass) and Chris Haywood (cajon) – it was a pretty joyous experience! Was good to catch my old friend Oxtoby play a set immediately afterwards, but then I had to head upstairs to the artist studios to play a couple of songs for my friend James Addis to film for his Addistock Sessions. We found a nice quiet room, and recorded a version of an unreleased and pretty much unheard song of mine called ‘Joe Allan’, as well as a version of ‘The Beast’ I hope he leaves on the cutting room floor.
Later in the afternoon, I headed over the Camp and Furnace with my friend and bandmates to watch Dave O’ Grady play his brilliant brand of electric blues. He was sensational! I also enjoyed the Bear Beats Band, who went on after him.
Then it was my turn: at around 5 o clock I popped onto the Paper Garden stage to deliver a 25 minute set, consisting of Pea Soup, Pay No Mind, Daisy, On All Night and Holly, most of which are new or unreleased bits of material. I was backed, I think quite sublimely, by Elle Schillereff, Chris Cousineau and James Baxter. The room was enormous, and my usually quite-loud-as-it-bloody-well-is voice came out enormously in the overall mix.
Later on in the day, I was to be a part of a Little Atom Productions (Gemma Aldcroft, Karen Podesta and interviewer Mike Neary) interview and Q&A Session with the legendary Paul Du Noyer. Paul is the founding editor of Mojo Magazine, as well as the former editor of Q and the NME. The talk specifically dealt with his fantastic book, ‘Liverpool:Wondrous Place’ and featured live performances of some of his favourite songs by myself and the outstandingly talented Natalie McCool.
I played ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ by The Dubliners, ‘Wake Up Boo’ by The Boo Radleys and ended the evening with ‘The Power of Love’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Natalie played two songs, as she had to quickly head downstairs for her fantastic at around 9.15 on the Paper Garden stage in the Camp and Furnace. These were incredible. She gave us a terrific rendition of ‘Dear Prudence’ by The Beatles a la Siouxsie and the Banshees as well as a really unique and haunting performance of ‘Wondrous Place’ by Billy Fury.
I was struck by many things during the event. The obvious chemistry between Mike Neary and Paul Du Noyer, the sheer enthusiasm and love Du Noyer has for the history and vibrancy of the Liverpool music scene, how much he comes out of his shell (I had previously met a very quiet reserved man), how funny and warm on stage Natalie was, and what a good job Karen and Gemma had done of putting the event on.
I also struck up an immediate friendship with Brian Roberts, the event’s photographer, as well as Andrea and Michelle Neary, and a very colourful character by the name of Elizabeth Mathie, who some cheeky upstart later dubbed ‘the Liverpool ambassador of decadent wisdom’ in the Camp and Furnace bar.
I was bought a couple of glasses of wine and afterwards, and after a nice few conversations at the bar, went over to the Elevator to catch up with Greedy Jesus, as well as Chris and Kaya. All in all, I was very happy.