Liverpool Summer Pops: A burial ground for music

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Bring out your dead!


Here’s a date not for your diary: Monday July 27.
Fancy seeing a 50-odd-year-old Cuban belly-flop the La Bamba?
Well now’s your chance as Gloria Estefan Dr Beats her way into Liverpool – and she’s all yours for a paltry FORTY EIGHT POUNDS FIFTY PENCE!
Quick, pass me the credit card, I’m remorgaging my life…
There are few things more depressing than this year’s Liverpool Summer Pops line-up.
Like an vast open casket waiting to be filled with little but the rotting corpse of a forgotten failure, Liverpool’s rather fine new Arena will this summer play host to a plethora of deadbeats, cabaret whoppers and no-hopers.
Putrid, wafting heavy with ammonia and dragging their bloated limbs up Monarchs Quay, the forthcoming bill reads like a list of stand-bys for Loose Women should Tony Hadley strain his larynx.
Once again, there’s something all too familiar with this stale cast of wrinkly skinsags.
Like an annual pageant for the undead, rising from their crumbly, moistened soil-topped crypts, The Pops celebrates the creme de la creme of has-beens, nearlys and never-got-anywhere-near-its. And Idlewild.
There’s pasty-faced twat Mick Hucknall who returns to provide more aural aneurysms while slowly morphing into a hybrid of Art Garfunkel, Tom Baker and one of Tolkein‘s goblins.
There’s the altogether lovely, but consistently sleep-inducing Sharleen Spiteri whose ex-band Texas managed to single-handedly write some of the most annoying tracks in the history of recorded sound.
The type of mind-ruiners you’d find impossible to shake off for an entire morning resulting in a self loathing for innocently turning the radio on.
Texas’ ear-farts had the effect of occasionally inducing a form of psychosis where you’d accidently blurt out a one-line lyric which in turn forced friends or work colleagues to mock, or worse still, find themselves joining in thus resulting in a collective Texas singalong the type of which was very probably used as a Guantanamo Bay torture method.
Speaking of torture: Jools Holland. How anyone can endure – let alone pay – to listen to two hours of honky tonk cockplod is baffling. The only saving grace is he won’t be employing his astoundingly poor interview technique.

Jools ‘Pear? Avocado?’ Holland.
Other delights arrive in the form of Holland’s old charges Squeeze who’ll share the stage with Chrissie Hynde‘s The Pretenders in a bill which would be half decent were it 25 years ago.
James Morrison, meanwhile makes papering that wall in China seem like a decent alternative to enduring his mind-numbing blandess. Such is his rock & roll appeal it’s statistically proven that his records are played more often in ASDA than the radio.
Presumably this kind of line-up is too cutting edge, so in a bid to cover all age-bases, Pops organisers have contacted the Natural History Museum and unearthed Macclesfield’s 128-year-old blues dude John Mayall, last seen jamming with a triceratops in the Jurassic age.
In a bid to cram as many pop stars with bus passes into one arena in one month Mayall is swiftly followed by The Buzzcocks, The Pogues, Deacon Blue and Simple Minds – the latter emphasising the point with the slogan ’30 Years Live.’ Can someone tell Jim Kerr it’s not a competition.

Buzzcocks: Ever Fallen In Love (when they were ace).
Finally there’s the Pops’ omnipresent staple – The Australian Pink Floyd – a band that while awesome in their homage to the real thing, have become such a permanent fixture that their magic has diminished resulting in a shrug when you see their inevitable addition to an ailing line-up.
After all they’ve now played the Liverpool event more times than the actual Pink Floyd graced a stage together.
All of which begs the question who the Pops actually appeals to?
Sure there’s kids who love chart-friendly fodder and will surely lap up the £35-a-pop tickets for the likes of The Pussycat Dolls and Neyo – fairy muff.
This type of extravaganza is acceptable, as they’ll no doubt put on a stageshow of outrageous fluff while cart-wheeling to trebley backing tracks and pulling off dance manoeuvres which involve trapezes, elaborate walking canes and high-backed chairs much to the delight the Wacky Warehouse crowd. This is good.
What’s far from good, is Billy Idol‘s Welsh albino bastard offspring and all-round failure Rhydian supported by another reality gang of chancers Only Men Aloud. Tickets are a laughable £32.

Mick Hucknall and Tony Ferrino
But perhaps we’re being harsh. On the Pops facebook site, the question is asked to members, who would you like to see this summer?
Among the 11 responses – one of which concerns a bloke advertising cheap hotel
accommodation – comes this rather fitting suggestion from Liverpudlian Martin Kelly, ‘How about getting Heather Small – M People were amazing in the 90s and Heather has done well in the 2000s‘.
What a remarkable suggestion.
For Heather – she of dying hippo boom vocal – last charted at number 57 with her 2006 album Close To A Miracle, in which all three singles, one of which is ironically titled Radio On, spectacularly failed to chart.
Which in itself is something close to a miracle, given you only need to sell 17 copies to break into today’s decrepit singles charts.
So in answer to Martin’s call – yes, sign up Heather Small.
She’d be a fitting addition. And while you’re at get that perma-grinning baldy percussionist twat too, then we can charge an extra tenner and ensure the Pops go off with a real bang.
Glorious line up in full

Heather Small: Radio On

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