Maddie, Gig Review. The Party In The Park, Bootle.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

It’s almost a hundred years since the London tabloid press used the phrase The bright young things to describe a group of bohemian socialites, ravaged perhaps by the decade’s greed and eventual bust which dominated the inter-war years. Looking back at that time it is hard to express sympathy for them, as it is difficult to acknowledge any empathy or kindness to another so called bubble of enlightenment and entitlement, the bankers and the money makers who, arguably, act nothing more than spoiled pirates.

If you want a true representation, perhaps captured by the writers of the age rather than their subjects, you look North, not to the grand and the wealthy around London’s old regal haunts, but to the suburbs of once big industrial cities, you look to that generation of young adults, of those that have come through the new millennium with optimism of change and spirit but to whom society finds ever more increasing ways of doing them injustice.

These are the bright young things, the set of musicians, actors, artists to whom have not been given every opportunity on a plate, who have worked hard to create something beautiful, tangible and lasting; and in the shadow of the now derelict Johnson’s factory in Bootle, one of those bright young members, the elegant and poised Maddie Stenberg, gave once more a performance in which lifted the spirits of all those who had made their way to The Hub on the day in which Bootle celebrated its Party in the Park.

Maddie has long since engrained herself into the music of Merseyside, a talented songwriter, a forceful yet compassionate soul to whom music is everything, a woman to whom substance is passion. Her songs took on a life that many might not have heard, moments in which her natural voice is enclosed by the venue, bouncing off walls; in the open air she comes across as a colossus in waiting, joining the ranks of musicians in the area such as Eleanor Nelly and Daisy Gill.

In the songs Lost Within, Mad Love and Take Me Home, Maddie took the audience down a road of delight, the once dirt track road that nestled in history’s grip little more than 150 years ago, now a shining example of what can be achieved when we give this particular generation the tools and the encouragement to strike against the tainted and damaging decrees of old.

The bright young things, they live and breathe now, not hampered by social niceties, they are all that we could have been.

Ian D. Hall