KREWE Liverpool: The Mardi Gras Experience: Sefton Park Palm House, Liverpool

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KREWE (Luis Santos)

KREWE brought a fantasy night to Sefton Park’s Palm House, Getintothis’ Coco Flannel was swinging and dancing along with the crowd.

The January blues seem to be slipping away as all the beautiful people assembled for the inaugural Krewe Liverpool: The Mardi Gras Experience.

The concept – a surreal New Orleans-themed masquerade – is the brainchild of Laura Brownhill (co-founder of the Kazimier) and Dave McTague (Mellowtone) and is an intriguing proposition.

The Palm House provides a naturally stunning setting for the Mardi Gras gathering.

On entering the venue, the masked party goers were enveloped into a surreal bubble of majestic plants, quirky mannequins dressed for the occasion and masked cake stands adorning the tables.

A sense of community spirit prevailed, the scene was other worldly and the atmosphere held high vibrations.

It’s a 6pm start, and there is swing dancing a plenty from early on, with local Lindyhoppers Mersey Swing getting the crowd moving.

DJ Jonnie O’Hare (Beaten Tracks / Mellowtone) keeps the crowd jiving with his eclectic New Orleans selections.

The first live act onstage are the Jubilee Stompers, a Liverpool ‘super-group’ of sorts with Parabhen Lad (Long Finger Bandits), Lucie Mercer (Stealing Sheep), Nick Branton (Liverpool’s go-to reed man) , trumpet maestro Martin Smith (Michael Head, The Weave, Wizards of Twiddly) and Violette Records’ Charlie McKeon delighting revellers with their upbeat jazz numbers.

As the ‘Stompers played, the venue busied up and the Krewe performances approached – the natural centrepiece of the evening.

First up were Movema – with a bespoke dance piece, combining world-voodoo carnival, with all the colours of the rainbow – and black!

Next were the Harlequin Dynamite Ancients of Balance – a jester led band and Capoeira troop, performing the ritual of opposites, celebrating the unity and oneness of all things; bringing order to chaos and paying homage to the harmony that is found when two sides act as one whole.

The third KREWE performance is from more familiar faces, as the Wind Factory’s Intergalactic Krunk Collective brought the Dogshow-show to the Palm House.

New gig venue and recording space Q U A RR Y to open in Liverpool’s North Docks

With the IWF and Brownhill’s coming together, the night has nostalgic echoes of the heady days of the Kazimier’s parties, albeit in a slightly more sophisticated manner, and only adding to the friendly community feel of the night.

Adding to this reunion and melee is Howard Ashley Storey – hosting the evening along with Rob Longson, the pair and leading the parade which lapped the venue following the final KREWE performance.

New Orleans’ outfit Frog and Henry headline the night with a foot operated tuba machine – apparently the only one on the world!

Gorgeous string and brass New Orleans sounds fill the room, as violin, mandolin-banjo and banjo, sit alongside clarinet, alto and baritone saxophone … and the crowd of old and young danced into the night to the sounds of the 1920s.

This has been quite the gathering. Quite the Mardi Gras. Watch this space for more from KREWE.

Images by Getintothis’ Luis Santos and David Edwards.

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