LoneLady, D R O H N E: Central Library, Liverpool

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LoneLady

LoneLady

The splendors of the Central Library played host to album of the year contender LoneLady in the latest Get It Loud In Libraries instalment, and Getintothis’ Tom Konstantynowicz went down to check it out. 

For nine years now, Get It Loud In Libraries –an Arts Council, PRS for Music and Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded initiative – have been changing people’s perception of our institutional but typecast libraries. The Grade II listed Liverpool Central Library has gone under the knife in recent times and is now a state-of-the-art reference hub. LoneLady and D R O H N E, who play here tonight, are at the cutting edge of music at the moment.

If the image in your mind’s eye next to ‘library’ is a poky aisle with racks of weathered books on either side then the sweeping, spherical room in the east wing of Liverpool’s largest one would crush those perceptions. It’s got a futuristic, almost space-like aesthetic with the small pockets of light, tiered, orbicular vantage points and deep electronic sounds preceding tonight’s acts.

Liverpool duo D R O H N E blend perfectly into that concept. Huddled round a laptop and a microphone, their ambient compositions correlate with the current musical landscape of this city. There’s a bedroom project vibe in their short set as they expertly build the atmosphere until it’s akin to a warehouse rave more commonly found somewhere in the nearby Baltic Triangle.

Any semi-regular gig goer is now familiar at least with the concept of live music hand-in-hand with bookshelves and IT suites in lieu of a bar and sweat stained walls. Does it encourage them to frequent libraries when the music aspect is removed? Probably not, however the legacies of these nights lie elsewhere as, upon entry, the place is buzzing with young people at the heart of the operation, taking photos, stage managing, carrying out surveys.

As we prepare to say goodbye to The Kazimier – a venue run by a team so innovative they galvanised a whole arts scene – we could be welcoming the future creatives and techies putting their heart and soul into this, tonight. It really is important that Get it Loud in Libraries are providing these opportunities.

LoneLady (Julie Campbell) and her band emerge beneath uninspiring wasteland scenes projected onto the wall behind, only, her latest album Hinterland was imagined amid surroundings just like these. In her hometown of Audenshaw, walking around the urban landscapes was where most songs began. Each one in her set tonight starts with some kind of wandering, whether it be the bassline on Into the Cave or the drum machine snaps of Bunkerpop.

While LoneLady finds beauty in the concrete outskirts of Manchester, all those inside Central Library find it in the detail of her music as she and her band build intricate elements of which every jaunty guitar riff or seemingly throwaway vocal line is carefully considered. For Groove It Out the pictures behind now display the word ‘groove’ as a fair scattering of people trip the light in an area usually used for children’s book discovery sessions – such is the uniqueness of the location.

The cello-sampling Hinterland brings a masterful performance to an end, a performance displaying the art of layering and the way funk infused music done this well inadvertently demands, at the very least, some vigorous foot tapping.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Keith Ainsworth.

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