There are few finer voices than that of Midge Ure, especially when the vast majority of the evening spent in his company at the Atkinson in Southport is listening to an album that, arguably unfairly, was played against the workings of corporate turmoil and interference. There are times in life when you know that just want to hear the artist being lauded for them alone, not having an agenda pushed down their throat, it’s bad enough in the democracy of a band but when it comes against what is an especially beautiful solo album such as Breathe, that’s when you know the agenda has got rotten.
Steeleye Span at The Atkinson, Southport. February 2015. Photograph by Ian D. Hall.
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
The tag line of the manner of the band may not sit well in some quarters but for others they are the undisputed royalty and arguably pinnacle of the English Folk revival and as the packed out audience at the Atkinson Theatre in Southport came to the very end of the set, the appreciation and acknowledgement of Steeleye Span creativity and fine music was palpable and endearing
To get to The Atkinson Theatre’s Studio in Southport you have no choice but to pass paintings by various artists, all in the Victorian mode. They are worthy of taking a lingering pause by, they capture the imagination and make you think; they nurture a blossoming idea of what the ideal should be, they might not be the first paintings you think of but then what is until you behold it for the first time and it takes your breath away.
LHK Productions returns in 2014 with their amazing celebration of Merseyside talent, One Night Only. After successful shows at the Liverpool Empire in 2010 and Southport Theatre & Warrington Parr Halls in 2011 the show will be making its way, due to popular demand, to the Epstein Theatre and The Atkinson this autumn.
One Night Only is a feel good variety performance with some of your favourite Merseyside personalities as the stars of the show. This must see production includes show-stopping numbers from the world of musical theatre which has All That Jazz and enough Razzle Dazzle to leave you wanting more than one night only.
Just watching Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts on stage for a short while is enough to confirm what the whispers and folk murmurings have been about for the last couple of years. To witness it live though is a pleasure that in some old fashioned way might feel as if it was knocking too much upon the memory for example of the likes of Ralph McTell, the genius of the narrative story laid out for all to see is worthy of the some of the greats of British Folk.
Rita Payne, a band name so good there just had to be two musicians in there to fill the space and neither of them are called Rita. For Rhiannon Scutt and Pete Sowerby the last two years has been a big curve and the music they perform is not only enticing but also fulsome in its delivery and as they tour with new Folk heroes Gilmore and Roberts, the excitement they generate in the stories and playing is enough to convince all who made their way to The Atkinson in Southport that they had witnessed something very special and utterly adorable.
To a generation and beyond Suggs is a man who has been with them probably throughout their entire lives. He and Madness are so entwined as part of the very fabric of the U.K’s glowing music history that to dismiss him would be reckless, even a crass thoughtless statement.
For all those that made their way to Southport’s Atkinson Theatre to listen to him relate, admittedly in a condensed form, moments of his lifetime from his best-selling autobiography in the two hour My Life in Words and Music, were left thrilled, amused, slightly stunned at the candour and the utter excitement of a man who has lived and been admired.
No matter how good the venue, no matter how respectable the recording history of the artist, sometimes going out on the road with an album that has generated such good feeling towards it, can seem a little dull when heard live in comparison to the image that the listener has built up in their head.
To undertake the task of performing two gigs in two very different venues in one day is perhaps something only Phil Collins would have thought of undertaking as part of raising awareness on the starving people in Ethiopia as part of Live Aid in 1985. However laudable, he did some help from all the organisers behind the event and the good fortune to have the luxury of Concorde to take him between London and Philadelphia.
They are one of the great young bands and artists that call Liverpool their home. Alongside many others that in the last few years have made the city’s music addicts sit up and take notice of the new and tremendously exciting breed coming through, such as All We Are, Stealing Sheep, Path Unknown, Joe Symes and The Loving Kind, Only Child, Mono L.P.s, Matt Breen, Buckle Tongue, Rob Vincent and Carrianne Hayden, The Hummingbirds name has travelled far and wide, beyond the metaphorical city walls and out into the open world. People outside the city have once more discovered what makes Liverpool tick like no other in the U.K. and perhaps in the world.