Bonobo, Gilles Peterson, Danny Fitzgerald: St Luke’s Church, Liverpool



Ignoring the warning flyers passed around Liverpool’s inner city residents, Getintothis’ Paul Riley braves St. Luke’s, even though “raves don’t belong in churches”.

RAVES. Feared by Alan Partridge and alarmist Daily Mail readers throughout the land as dangerous gatherings of ne’er do wells, hippy drug people and other dodgy undesirables. Luckily for the anti-noise moral crusaders of Liverpool, the bank holiday bacchanalia of deviant disc jockeys such as Bonobo and Gilles Peterson didn’t go unchallenged.

A leaflet was circulated to a small number of local residents last month, with such dire warnings as ‘public urination on our doorsteps‘ and ‘crowds bring potential disturbance and drug taking‘. Understandably terrified of these dangers, Getintothis put on some sensible shoes, filled a thermos, and went to find out what was going on.


Flyer that was passed around residents prior to the event

Thankfully, on walking into St Luke’s, first impressions indicated that we were fairly safe. There was some music to be sure, and there were other people around, dancing, but no one tried to eat us, wee on us, or sell us a drug sandwich.

The disgruntled source of the aforementioned flyer would have us all believe that a church is not a suitable place for a rave. St Luke’s is deconsecrated ground and therefore technically not a church. But more to the point, there may not be a single space in the city centre more suited to host such an event. The sun was even making an effort, peeping through the clouds; by the time Gilles Peterson came to the stage the afternoon was, quite frankly, beautiful.

Sunshine, good vibes and a wide selection of music from all over the world was the order of the day. Early birds may have been lucky enough to catch local boy Danny Fitzgerald, who smashed a vinyl set that deserved a higher billing and a bigger crowd. Later on, dancing to the eclectic sounds of Gilles under a beautiful blue sky was a uniquely uplifting experience. Gusts of wind whipped round the interior walls as Hardman Street bustled away outside. Gilles‘ selections quickly built up a carnival atmosphere and by the end of his set almost everyone in the sold out crowd was dancing and grinning with abandon.

The sky began to change to a deeper blue as Bonobo played his opening few tunes, and the dusk complemented the change of vibe. Upbeat world selections were still in attendance, but complemented by the former Simon Green‘s signature sounds and a healthy dose of progressive European house. This was accompanied by a change in pace, as Bonobo gave St Luke’s a performance that was hypnotic, compelling and powerful.

To the relief of possibly tens of local residents, scenes reminiscent of the firebombing that gutted the bombed-out church in 1941 resolutely failed to materialise. There was a massive dance, plenty of awestruck music fans gazing in wonder at their beautiful surroundings, and a respectful celebration of one of the most striking buildings in Liverpool. A truly memorable experience, and one that we hope to repeat very soon.

As for the flyers, if you don’t like music (‘noise‘), don’t live in a city centre.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Waters