Ukulele Club Liverpool, Gig Review. The Cornmarket, Cornmarket Acoustic Festival. Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

The ukulele might be seen as a poor relation in terms of musical instruments to some, however within this small beast lies the beating heart of a scheming God and in the hands of the Ukulele Club Liverpool, that beating heart thumps as loudly as you could possibly wish.

For the inaugural Cornmarket Acoustic Festival, the organisers could not have asked for a better collection of musicians to kick start the event off in superb and astounding fashion. The ukulele has many fans; their numbers seemingly have swelled over the years as more and more mainstream musicians have someone in the band who professes a liking for the sound the instrument makes. For the nine members of the group who filled the entire width of the walled end of The Cornmarket, the converts they have made on the afternoon was in tandem to how well they went down with those making their way to this chilled and relaxed afternoon and evening music extravaganza.

The men and women who made up this delightful band performed a set of old favourites and even though they were their kazoo player down on the day, tracks such as the opener, a breath-taking version of the Moldy Peaches hit Anybody Else But You, a very exultant version of the Monkees’ track I’m a Believer, a delightful take on the classic version of Sloop John B  from the extraordinary Beach Boys album Pet Sounds and an interesting mash up of Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy and the Four Non Blondes hit What’s Up, two tracks that you wouldn’t necessarily think of placing together, but the result was one of seeing the audience with huge smiles on their face, if that is the crowning glory of any band or group to have the chance to see an audience grin enthusiastically at your work and whistle along with joy then the Ukulele Club Liverpool made their mark.

The group finished with what they called the difficult one, an inspiring take on Toto’s Africa which bought huge applause and congratulations from the assembled crowd.

A great start to a festival that was up against a day in which Liverpool showed why it the natural home of music in the U.K., with so much going on, to have this haven of culture within the most cultural city of them all was just very cool.

Ian D. Hall