Saturday 5 September
“Unquestionably one of the city’s most enjoyable, and reassuring displays of the sort of inventive, thrilling creativity you only get from the ground up” – SevenStreets
Tomorrow, Saturday 5th September, will see Liverpool grassroots festival Above the Beaten Track return to the Bluecoat for its eighth year. Below is everything you need to know ahead of the event.
The festival re-located to the Bluecoat from View Two Gallery in 2010 to cope with growing demand. Originally conceived to celebrate the diverse array of songwriters in the city, it has since expanded to reflect the wider range of musicians, DJs, artists and makers of Liverpool to provide a fully immersive cultural experience. For the day the Bluecoat’s historic building plays host to many varied aspects of the underground cultural scene, including two stages of live music, poetry, participatory events and live art.
Live Music Line Up
This year will see the debut performance from The Blue Soul. These beat modernists are the new project of songwriter Nick Ellis: soulful and bluesy – with a Scouse filter – delivered with Nick’s trademark vocal and backed by some of the city’s finest players.
Acoustic sets from the region’s finest will feature throughout the day from acts such as Paul Dunbar, Paul Wilkes, Moguls and Chris Woolf. Whilst taking it up a notch will be the likes of Spectral Chorus, Seafoam Green and Xander and the Peace Pirates.
Young singer-songwriter who is fast becoming a regular on the open mic circuit. Drawn from real-life happenings, Anthony is dedicated to writing honest lyrics through a smooth, easy-listening vocal.
Cabin in the Woods
Predominantly instrumental, crafted, impressive guitar work and immersive sounds.
With music that is highly influenced by her environment – she resides on the Liverpool coastline – singer songwriter Caroline England recently earned the title ‘One To Watch’ as chosen by the BBC.
Signed to the iconic Viper Label, Chirs Elliot brings a silce of rootsy country and Americana.
A well-crafted songwriter, who’s finger-picking musical style has a timeless quality, with soft yet enchanting vocals.
Jez Wing goes back to his musical roots – a combination of pop inflected songwriting with folk-inspired arrangements.
A rich blend of folk, old blues and country. Wilson’s deep vocal and eerie strings add to this melancholy and sometimes spooky sound.
David James Robertson
Musician and troubador, David James Robertson is a poet, a melodist and artist.
15 year old singer/songwriter from Liverpool.
Kindest of Thieves
A one man rag band. Simple hooklines and dirty electric guitar, this is scuzzed-up blues that you will find impossible not to foot-tap along to.
Layered vocals and blues riffs across guitar and piano, Moguls play a stripped back set in the Sandon Room.
Celtic-inflected acoustic songwriting with its soul rooted in Ireland and Liverpool.
Oscar & Francisco
Two Chilean brothers who have been playing together for decades – expect a fusion of Chilean, Latin and many World styles.
Paul Dunbar – lead singer of the Midnight Ramble – presents his solo tales with a powerful vocal and bluesy delivery.
Singer-songwriter and composer, renowned for his well crafted, full-bodied, self-produced ballads and tales. Paul’s recent EP ‘River Running With Me’ has receieved great local success from BBC6 Music.
Switching from keys to acoustic guitar, Richard delivers powerful vocals and heart-felt lyrics.
Melodic Americana and Country-inspired vocal slurs will make you think cowboys, convertibles and sun-setting on the Arizona highways.
Rob Jones & Rob White
60s inspired harmonies, acoustic guitar-delivered with an up-beat, simple writing style clearly inspired by The Beatles and their Merseybeat peers.
Science of the Lamps
Folk, dream pop, electronica and blues influences combine to create a haunting, layrered and melodic sound.
Whiskey-soaked, dusty road Americana delivered with big vocals from Dave O Grady, and underpinned with blues riffs and psychedlia.
Sweeping strings, haunting ambience and biting, sarcastic lyrics not dissimilar to those of KT Tunstall’s. SheBeat’s songs are short but sweet, filled with clever and unexpectedly-placed hooklines.
Signed to Skeleton Key Records, Spectral Chorus bring a slice of trippy Americana. Team this with hazy guitars and echoey vocals for a deep, dark and haunting sound.
The Blue Soul (Nick Ellis)
These beat modernists are the new project of songwriter Nick Ellis: soulful and bluesy – with a Scouse filter – delivered with Nick’s trademark vocal and backed by some of the city’s finest players.
One-man band aka ‘Parker & The Suitcase’. Pedal-smacking, foot-stomping goodness – a fixture on the City’s busking scene.
Xander and the Peace Pirates
Expert musicianship that combines blues, soul and rock at it’s finest. Discovered by Gibson and catching the attention of super music producer Eddie Kramer.
An authentic and rootsy delivery, modestly great with insightful and fluent lyrics – a voice you’ll never tire of listening to.
Yellow Belly Stranglers
A timeless, bluesy jazz three-piece playing original Hokum-inspired tunes.
DJ Line Up
This year some of the finest DJs Liverpool has to offer will be taking over both the bar and the garden. Playing from the festival’s start till finish, these selectors will provide the perfect soundtrack for the eclectic festivities. This time around the ATBT will be welcoming back some old favourites as well as introducing some fresh faces such as The Chicken Brothers and Danny Fitzgerald.
The DJs will be taking festival-goers on a journey through American music history, with each set showcasing a snapshot of different styles. From Blues, Jazz, Funk, Gospel, Roots, Country, Swing, RnB and everything in between.
Monkey has been DJing in Liverpool for over a decade, taking his eclectic mix of tunes to numerous venues, nights and parties. Influenced by the likes of the Scratch Perverts, 2manyDJs and Don Letts, Monkey likes to explore the ‘culture clash music’. Mixing the likes of soul with punk, blues with hip hop, and reggae with drum and bass. You will never see the same set twice…
A local favourite, Stuart Borthwick has been on the scene for 25 years, starting his DJing career at festivals and clubs in Liverpool the early 1990s before branching out and DJing all over the country. Expect to hear an Afrocentric roots journey with a few surprises thrown in.
A Liverpool-based DJ whose long-standing fascination with Caribbean folk music led to the release of his fantastic compilation, Calypso: Musical Poetry In The Caribbean 1955-69″ on Soul Jazz Records in 2014. Fitzgerald has heated up stages for the likes of Norman Jay MBE and Gilles Peterson with deep selections built around scratchy 45s and LP cuts from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and beyond.
The Bluecoat’s Artistic Director, will be hotfooting it from playing an all women set at the Unitarian Church on Ullet Road. Biggs keeps the faith with an eclectic mix of vinyl goodies – from The Andrews Sisters to the Louvin Brothers, Nervous Norvus to La Lupe – selected to entertain and delight.
Artist, songwriter and DJ, the multi-talented Mike plays his delicious brand of dusty hard hitting Rockabilly rarities along side Some deep South Juke-joint Blues.
Carl Combover has been spinning records in the clubs and bars of Liverpool since the early 90’s. He has Dj-ed at nights all over the country and at festivals including Glastonbury, Liverpool Psych Fest, Hipsville and Born Bad in Paris. Carl also runs the 60’s Garage, Surf and Rock n Roll club The Go-Go Cage! which has monthly residence at The Shipping Forecast and will be soon celebrating its 10th birthday.
Beaten Tracks are a Liverpool-based collective of DJs who champion the rare, the dusty and the forgotten. For this year’s Above The Beaten Track, expect a set packed full of early blues from the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, Charlie Patton and Blind Lemon Jefferson.
Gig-sketcher and co-founder of Draw the Line turns his hand to DJing. Playing an eclectic all vinyl set from carefully selected records spanning funk, hip-hop and electronica.
X-Ray Katt is a Liverpool based DJ and 1 sixth of renowned collective Mixnots. Having unlearned everything he understood DJing to be under the wings of his Mixnot comrades playing at festivals internationally such as Glastonbury, Lake of Stars (Malawi), Isle of Wight, Creamfields & Standon Calling amongst others. X-Ray has developed his own solo style, which picks the finest bits of nearly all genres and celebrates music in the non-pretentious ethos of Mixnots. Expect good music, mixed questionably, but always selected with integrity.
The Chicken Brothers
The Chicken Brothers are resident roosters and co-programmers of the Speakeasy nights at the Kazimier. Fittingly they will play a Jazz origins set for Above the Beaten Track on Saturday afternoon. Come down and ride the vibes as the old greats come alive.
Dave has been an integral part of the Liverpool underground scene for many years having been involved in Earthbeat festival up to the 90’s and also resident of the legendary Magnet.
Returning to above the beaten track for the sixth time, expect the choicest cuts of funk, soul, afrobeat, hip hop , reggae, ska and just about anything else with a stone groove.
But there’s far more than just the two stages and DJs…
MERSEYRAIL SOUND STATION will be presenting a fantastic opportunity for young Merseyside talent as they give a limited amount of artists the opportunity to play an unplugged, acoustic, buskers-style set at the festival. They will be bringing their Pop-Up Stage to Bluecoat for the day and are sure to unearth some gems as they have done at various other Merseyside festivals this year already.
Liverpool Live TV’s infamous RED SOFA SESSIONS will be making their second appearance at Above the Beaten Track, also appearing as a pop up stage inBluecoat’s front yard. LLTV will be offering musicians and bands already playing at ATBT a chance to give a 20 minute showcase performance, with one track from the set being professionally filmed and recorded for sound by Liverpool Live TV’s skilled team of volunteers and shown on LLTV’s website.
Liverpool’s urban market CAPSTAN’S BAZAAR will set up shop at Above the Beaten Track, following a fantastic pop up event at last weekend’s Liverpool Loves Festival. The Bazaar will have over 30 stalls selling the finest local produce, arts, crafts, vintage home wares and much more.
The creative art social event DRAW THE LINE also makes its return to ATBT in 2015. Aimed at the artist and everyman alike to unite under one roof and enjoy a casual scribble together, Draw the Line is part networking, part art therapy and all about a love of doodles. Drop in and leave your mark. HOBO also returns to the festival holding workshops where you’ll learn to make ‘milk ghosts and Humuments’.
Anne Harild is the recipient of the Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award (ARMA) Artist in Residence 2015 at Bluecoat. The resulting commission, WE APPROACH, is a colonnade-like structure inspired by the architecture of the building produced in collaboration with members of two participation projects: Blue Room and Out of the Blue. The sculpture is installed in the front courtyard until October.
Notes to editors
Above The Beaten Track
Established in Liverpool in 2008, at the View Two Gallery on Mathew Street, Above the Beaten Track hosted four annual events before taking a break. 2014 marks the return of the festival and it promises to be an even bigger celebration of Liverpool and Merseyside’s creative grass roots scene, bringing emerging and under-the-radar live music to the fore.
Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at the Bluecoat said, “Above the Beaten Track returning to the Bluecoat in 2014 was really welcome. The event presents some of the best grass roots music talent in the region, and the format of the festival seems to suit the Bluecoat, with its informal atmosphere and accessible and varied spaces. We look forward to working with them again, which promises to be another packed day of quality music and associated fun!”
Mellowtone have been brining the best songwriters, blues, folk and roots artists to the most intimate venues in Liverpool for over 10 years. Resident DJ’s spin the finest funk, soul, blues, jazz, hip-hop and reggae, making for the perfect cocktail of laid-back good times. More info
Beaten Tracks are a Liverpool-based collective of DJs, promoters and afficionados who champion the rare, the dusty and the forgotten… expect funk, soul, reggae, afrobeat, latin, hiphop, blues and jazz; leftfield beats and soulful enlightenment… The Beaten Tracks DJs are renowned for framing some of the most interesting and diverse live acts from the city and beyond. More info
Liverpool Acoustic acts as a central resource for anyone interested in the thriving acoustic music scene within Liverpool and the surrounding area. They are famed for their award winning events and also provide news, podcasts and gig reviews.More info
Capstan’s Bazaar – a pop-up urban Market in Liverpool celebrating their 5th birthday this year, that champions local independent businesses and artisans. Like traditional markets they offer a diverse range of goods from arts and crafts to locally grown food to vintage trinkets and much more besides. More info
Draw the Line is a Liverpool art social event bringing together the everyman and artists to enjoy casual doodle workshops together. This relaxed and open event is a chance to network and vent some artistic expression, share ideas and techniques or a place to scribble your name and drink with friends. More info
the Bluecoat – Liverpool’s creative hub, this A Grade I listed, 300 year old building in the heart of Liverpool’s city centre showcases talent across all creative disciplines including visual art, music, literature, dance and live art. The venue also accommodates a community of artists and businesses and runs a participation programme with local communities. More info
Merseyrail Sound Station objective is to celebrate and spread the word on emerging new music from Merseyside. A free monthly podcast showcases a variety of quality music from the region and their annual prize goes to support a specific artist with professional music management and studio recording. More info
The Red Sofa Sessions offer a platform for under-the-radar & established musicians to perform. The format is simple: quick intro, original song, acoustic only. Alongside emerging musicians, artists have included Miles Kane, James Walsh, John Power and Nashville’s Jenn Bostic. More info
Oxjam – Local Music. Global Impact. Oxjam is a month long celebration of local music in October, with hundreds of events taking place nationwide all in the name of charity. This year the Oxjam team for Liverpool will be staging their biggest event yet on October 17th. More info
Threshold Festival is an annual three day event based in the Baltic triangle area of Liverpool. The focus of the festival is collaboration, grass-roots music, first view visual arts and innovative performance. Established in 2011 Threshold is dedicated to artist development and driving forward the music and arts industry. More info
Merseyside Arts Foundation is an independent development organisation supporting engagement in the arts and creative industries. Their remit is to identify, nurture and establish creative talent, be that a young person or a more established artist. More info
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One Fell Swoop
Static Gallery, 23 Roscoe Lane, Liverpool, L1 9JD
One Fell Swoop Limited
Registered in England & Wales 7943676