We took our Deep Cuts night on an away day to Ormskirk’s Arts Centre at Edge Hill University, Getintothis’ Jack Bishop was there to see it go down a storm.
The first Deep Cuts awayday gig might just have created a new venue.
There’s been plenty of music on at Ormskirk’s Arts Centre before – Stealing Sheep, Agathe Max, Steve Pilgrim and Kyla La Grange spring to mind along with regular folk and jazz offerings – but these have mostly happened in the sedate, seated environments of the venue’s theatres.
This night however was in the bar, proof of concept that a high energy gig could work in one of the Centre’s more informal spaces. It’s on a university campus but if you’re envisioning classrooms or sticky-floored student unions, don’t.
The Arts Centre Red Bar, as well as being exceptionally red, is a long room lined on one side with windows giving views of woodland with a few weird sculptural objects dotted around – the effect is like being inside a spaceship that has landed on an apparently paradise-like planet where you know something bizarre is going to disrupt the tranquillity.
As the sun set on this pleasant spring evening an audience of around 150 drift in to see what was afoot. There are plenty of students but the majority of the crowd are ‘the public’, a mixture of folks from the local area and Liverpool faces.
First on were late addition to the bill The Cherries, a new group linked to the Edge Hill Music degrees. Playing two acoustic guitars and a cajon for percussion, the trio eased us into the night with a pair of sparse and enchanting songs. With their harmonies and acoustic sound, put some cable-knit sweaters on these guys and they could be a lost 60s Greenwich Village folk band, but who knows which way they will jump next.
Chaps to watch.
Next up was Ormskirk legend Charity Shop Pop, bringing the night’s first everybody-rush-to-the-front moment.
Playing lo fi glam stomp with jangly bits and a slight twist of delirium, the charming Mr C. S. Pop was clearly having as much fun as the audience, adding voice and guitar to his bedroom-made tracks and videos. A dancer in a Scooby Doo outfit added to the fun during one song. His single Always You (on Edge Hill’s The Label Recordings) made a big finish to the shiny merry-go-round experience.
TRACKY, another loveable star from the musical powerhouse that is Ormskirk, set out his name in lights on the stage and proceeded to illuminate the room with a super-energetic, hooky bright and beaty set.
Rapid-fire poetics and irresistible grooves spread the happiness.
By now the place had found its form, as the spacial dynamics of the audience worked itself out – a dancy crowd rammed to the front and a spread of folks sitting around at the bar end, the venue somehow energetic and chilled at the same time; we even saw someone having a kip. Between acts people went to the bar, wandered off into the gardens or stumbled across the photography exhibition in another part of the Arts Centre labyrinth.
Hanover aimed for the anthemic heights and reached them, delivering propulsive melodic pop with massive energy and commitment. Bit of a The 1975 flavour to these. Single Away from Grace was a highlight – a strong track with an important message, about the need we all have to talk openly about mental health.
Big Bambora brought an intense big-melodic-racket climax to the evening. The Skelmersdale band’s exuberant, yearning pop verged on overwhelming in this size venue; it will be great to see how they scale up in bigger places.
Deep Cuts playing away made an entertaining night of discovering new music, and the experimental use of the venue for this kind of stuff worked well. Hopefully there will be more Deep Cuts awaydays and more nights like this in Ormskirk’s Arts Centre.
Images by Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody