Vanessa Murray sits down at the table inside the F.A.C.T. café, the youthful expression of anxious enquiry and stunned reaction to a new set of songs and what someone may think of them, is both endearing and rather cool. For Vanessa Murray, her debut solo E.P. is one that Time has had a huge hand in, the strength of purpose and will coming together to make a set of songs sound vibrant, exciting, a simmering darkness welded throughout and yet with the beauty and passion flowing throughout.
With so many music nights in Liverpool it could be quite easy to get lost in the crowd. Away from the big names that come to the city, the music of the young bears fruit, even if some in higher places wish to attempt to take down venues that offer opportunities to the young, the hopeful and the aspiring.
One such night is Strings and Things which happens every first Sunday of the month in Studio 2 on Parr Street and offers the chance to bands and solo artists to perform. It is a very unique night, an evening of entertainment in which Liverpool Sound and Vision has had the great privilege on numerous occasions and which the music has been of the highest of quality.
As Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre prepares to open its doors and welcome audiences to the new stage play of Helen Forrester’s Twopence To Cross The Mersey, meeting with renowned singer Emma Dears is something in which to appreciate, to recognise as being part of the same story that hundreds of thousands of people everyday who make their living by the shores of the River Mersey. Whether that was in the time in which the play was set or the mirroring of the generations that have followed, if not to the extreme felt and experienced by Helen Forrester’s family, each has their own story at some point of hardship, adversity and woe. It is these stories that fuel the fire of not wanting any of those negative aspects to visit Liverpool again.
When it comes to history, the theatres in Liverpool are so entrenched, so immersed in the ‘pool of life, that when it comes to putting on a production that deals in part with the chronicle of the city, with the fabric of the people who have made the streets and buildings, the city, what it is today then that history somehow takes on a more meaningful and significant expression of artistic value.
Angela Simms has come so far in what seems such a short space of time. Undoubtedly one of the bright young things of Liverpool theatre comedy, her performances in productions such as in the superb If The Shoe Fits, Ladies Day, Special Measures, The Hitchhikers Guide To Fazakerley and The Rainbow Connection, have had audiences flocking to see more of this talented and approachable Liverpool actor.
From working with the gifted Donna Lesley Price and Richie Grice in the superb If The Shoe Fits, to performing at the Royal Court Theatre, Angela Simms has captivated audiences with a seamless elegance intertwined an a great aptitude to her craft and boundless energy.
Some moments in life are so wonderfully off kilter and off the cuff that you cannot help but smile at the situation they surround. Tea in hand at the Everyman Theatre, tape recorder ready and a barrage of thoughts on how to talk to a man who has made the art of the interview a joy to behold in modern times, Peter Gabriel’s seminal solo song Games Without Frontiers comes over the building’s P.A. Knowing that Mike Neary is a huge fan of early Genesis and knowing that he is listening to the intelligently written lyrics with the same appreciation and thought that he prides himself upon when listening to any of the major interviews he conducts for Gemma Aldcroft’s and Karen Podesta’s hugely well produced Little Atoms company in St. George’s Hall, puts me at ease. After all it can be a daunting task interviewing somebody who in a media driven society stands aloft and above 99 percent of interviewers concerned.
Rob McGuffin has already had the urge to create music fully engrained into his being, a man whose previous band Kids With Lighters was very highly rated and it was with a sense of undisguised regret that the band were not able to go any further. However you cannot keep a good man down and the harder people try to, the harder they bounce back. Rob has spent the last few months fine tuning his set, creating new music and now with a great sense of timing has come back stronger and wiser and ready for another go at proving his music should be taken seriously.
In a city dominated by musicians who were either born within reach of the lifeblood that feeds the city, The River Mersey, or those that came to Liverpool to study at L.I.P.A. or any other of the institutions that makes Liverpool the cultural hub of the country, too come across a man from Stechford in Birmingham who has become part of the music scene is a thrill.