Getintothis’ Ryan Craig looks back on a rare appearance from the near mythical band, The Pies as they release their first album in 30 years.
The Pies, arguably the greatest Liverpool band that Liverpool hasn’t heard. Gaining fame – rightly or wrongly – for their (in)famous motorway graffiti, many didn’t realise The Pies were actually a band. And a very good one at that. Occasional appearances have been made by the almost mythical musicians, playing only two gigs since 2005, the first in Walton Prison and the second to mark a decade since the September 11 attacks. It’s fair to say St. George’s Hall made for quite a change from their previous settings.
The night was hosted by veteran radio presenter, BBC Radio Merseyside’s Spencer Leigh, whose knowledge of music provided great insight to what The Pies were really about. As the man who inspired The Pies to continue on and make music, he was the best person for the job.
Opening a night of music history was Liverpool’s own Anthony Miller. With just his voice and guitar he managed to give a hint into what was to be expected for the night. Inviting the audience to converse with him as he asked questions and told the crowd about the songs he had written. Sarcastic jeers were aimed at the singer/guitarist when he messed up on the lyrics of the song, Falling, and started again. Heckles were all in good jest, of course.
Next support on the stage was youngster, Bethany, who impressed with her powerful vocals and ukulele skills. Warming up the room with covers of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode, Riptide by Vance Joy and Stealers Wheel, Stuck In The Middle With You. A song list like is guaranteed to have people singing.
Before The Pies were set to play, Spencer Leigh conducted an interview with frontman Ashley Martin. With tales of how The Pies started, near misses with the police and Ashley’s new found relationship with famous streaker, Mark Roberts – who did actually come and ‘streak’. Thankfully, not fully.
With some of The Pies graffiti on its third or fourth revision, Ashley Martin told the tale of how some of their graffiti has stayed up for so long. “What I find is that usually the council sometimes will paint over it and if you replace it straight away, it gets them peeved and then it stays up a bit longer, but once you do it the third time then they just throw their hands up and go ‘nah, leave it, mate. It’s The Pies.’”
A brief interval allowed time for drink refills, and then it was time for The Pies to show they’re more than just writing on a bridge. Kicking off with the song This Is Your Time, but after realising that the bass wasn’t correctly hooked up, The Pies played the whole song again, to no one’s displeasure.
Ashley Martin would give a short description of each song before playing, talking about the meaning behind the music or the origin of the song. The song, Batman, was a prime example of The Pies story telling through music. Pointing out that the number was about a flawed law in the system for those not being able to see their kids. Bringing up a trio of girls, no older than 7, to the stage to assist with the vocals, the tone became emotionally moving as they each sang into the shared microphone whilst attempting to dance in sync with one another. The ballad ended and transformed into an epic guitar solo from original Pies member, Si Lee, earning a standing ovation from many of the crowd.
After claiming to be playing their last song, three songs later it was actually the last song from The Pies. Electronic was the perfect ending to a night that will go on in Liverpool folklore. Each person headed to the front of the stage to bask in the sound not many get to hear live. Dancing flowed through the hall and although everyone was invited to join them on stage, the security team wouldn’t allow it to happen. Bores.
So what’s next for The Pies? Well, nobody knows. But that is of course what makes The Pies, well, The Pies. An unknown elusive aura shrouds them in mystery. It could genuinely be another decade before we hear from The Pies again, or perhaps this was the last ever event for band. Either way, The Pies legacy will live on through their aged motorway graffiti, and now, hopefully, their music.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Simon Lewis.