With the introduction of more residential development coming to the city centre, some of Liverpool’s creative spaces are under threat, Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody was at 24 Kitchen Street to join in the fight.
A round of applause then for CMD Productions (disclosure – CMD is run by one of the Getintothis team) and 24 Kitchen Street who delivered this one night mini fest with style. There wasn’t a bad band on stage and Getintothis danced away into the small hours with a big grin on our face. It may be a modest venue, but this was a big bill.
There was, however, a serious point to all the jollity. The Kazimier was razed to the ground last year to make way for student flats. So too have Mello Mello and Wolstenholme Creative Space disappeared in recent times, albeit for different reasons. Static’s gigs are no more, partly because of complaints from nearby residents.
Progress is progress and all, we get that. But sometimes there is an unintended price to pay. 24 Kitchen Street were the winners of this year’s Inspiration Award at the GIT Award not long ago and yet their existence is threatened by, an as yet, unbuilt block of residential apartments and concerns of associated noise complaints.
It matters not the residents will move into a block next to an existing and established business. If there is a nuisance, then in the eyes of the law, it’s a nuisance whoever got there first.
Tonight’s gig was an attempt to highlight these issues and raise a few funds for 24 Kitchen Street’s fight for its continued existence. At Getintothis we welcome and embrace the diverse atmosphere around the Baltic Triangle – its mixture of new creative, digital industry alongside older, dirtier business creates a space in which differing interests can operate together and to each others’ benefit. Throw in some residential development and you get a thriving collection of bars, sandwich shops, 7-11s and the like as well.
But that’s also where the problems come from. It isn’t always easy to predict where this headlong rush into gentrification will lead and that’s a concern as 24 Kitchen Street’s woes highlight only too clearly. And that’s why we were at this gig. Solidarity, bro.
It may be a first world problem, but art and culture is important to a civilised society. Push it away and marginalise it and the city becomes a poorer place. We take that as a given here.
And, so to the music.
It was an eclectic mix for sure. Punk, pop, hip hop, angry guitar and dreamy synths. All united for the cause and all playing for no fee. Such is the measure of support for the idea. Maybe the bill felt a bit random, but it kind of worked in a something for everyone kind of way.
We’re big fans of SPQR who kicked off the unenviable opening slot and, if we’re being picky, which we are, we were a bit puzzled they were the first band on stage. We think they’re better than that. Their short set was a perfect example of how to do angry punk rock and new single Suffer is a staccato, jangly, shouty, gem.
Butcha B played some laid back chill out hip hop and made shapes on the stage. Disappointingly, he could only manage 2 tunes because of technical problems, but he signed off happy enough with a plea to keep Kitchen Street open and some big loving.
In between sets there was some classy DJing by Galactic Funk Militia who kept the evening running along nicely. Mary Miller continues to grow in confidence and her electronic dreamy pop is a delight with her jangly guitar and synth backing tracks. Impressive stuff and Getintothis is a big fan.
Farhood rapped his way through an energetic set, hardly pausing for breath save to acknowledge 24 Kitchen Street as a place that gave him a chance to perform and develop his confidence as an artist. He makes a good point. New bands need places like this to enable them to grow, to make mistakes, and generally make themselves known. No band’s first gig is going to be at Olympia. This is why the smaller venues in and around the city centre are so important.
God On My Right gave a Velvet Underground-esque feel to the proceedings, although they did mix it up with a superb cover of Roxette’s She’s Got the Look. No really. It was ace. Industrial sounding covers of teen pop songs. We’re sold.
Three lads walked up to the venue half way through the night, as we were standing by the door. What’s on in here mate? they asked. It’s a charity night in support of 24 Kitchen Street. None the wiser, Where’s that? they said. Where you’re just stood, was the response. Ah, boss, man as one of them handed over a £20 note. Keep the change fella. And they walked in having no idea what was happening. We hope they had a good time, although we reckon they could have had a good time in an empty car park such was their mood.
More rapping from the Beyond Average duo went down well with the crowd. A tight performance from the guys and probably the heaviest bass of the night. Kitchen Street was rumbling.
Shy Billy are a proper band. It’s not a disservice to describe them as funk infused rock. Their energy and movement on stage always gets a Getintothis foot tapping along. They recently had to change their name from their previous moniker, Lying Bastards, for pretty obvious reasons. We sincerely hope that works out for them. They deserve wider recognition for their hard work and carefully crafted songs.
And then to Elevant. Oh gosh. If Shy Billy ripped it up, then Elevant brought the shredder with them.
This set is for everyone who is here and not watching fucking Radiohead on TV when you could be watching it on the iPlayer later, said frontman, Michael Edward. Which is what Getintothis did when we were writing this review. A great night rounded off perfectly with Elevant’s fire and venom. The band turned up the volume to 11 and played a blinder. Brilliant.
It occurred to us later that the line up was a pretty good reflection of what 24 Kitchen Street is about. As observed by Michael Edward, the venue is important because it caters for more genres of music than any other in the city. So, yeah, big up to everyone who left Radiohead for the iPlayer and came out to a thoroughly enjoyable night.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody