Mai 68 Records bring the party to Liverpool’s Craft Taproom and Getintothis’s Jane Davies went along to sample their wares.
There were no scenes of partying with wild abandon down Smithdown Road on Brexit night. This was Liverpool, business as usual, deep in the throes of Independent Venue Week.
Not being a pub that I have previously visited, the Craft Taproom has a large shop window frontage and its old curiosity shop styled interior made for an interesting music venue.
A mannequin torso had taken centre stage, forming an amusing backdrop to the musicians playing around it. Down by the front of the stage, the mannequin’s amputated limbs could be found high kicking.
The Shipbuilders started off the proceedings with a stripped back acoustic set, playing to a crowded bar with standing room only. Silk Road won great approval from the crowd which converted into healthy vinyl sales later on.
The spirit of independent music week was epitomised in this room; people gathering together in a small venue to enjoy music together and to have a few drinks.
After a short break, hip hop, dream pop rapper Ennio the Little Brother introduced himself, confessing he had no set list and would just play a collection of slow and fast songs at will.
Ennio is an intriguing and engaging artist, breathing new life into the rap art form, transforming it into musical poetry. How very ironic on the evening that the UK left the European Union we were being entertained by a Welsh artist of Italian heritage.
His set, however could not be fully appreciated due to the increasing noise at the bar area.
No such problems with Campfire Social, save for a few feedback issues. They were well and truly plugged in and audible.
This is a group who grow with every outing and are starting to get a name for themselves on a wider stage. Last year they played on the Boaty Weekender and this year they are due to appear at Wales goes pop and Focus Wales.
Sunstack Jones rounded of the evening’s smorgasbord of offerings, playing to a room that had noticeably thinned out, possibly as the Chester based fans of Campfire Social had gone to catch the impossibly early final Merseyrail to Chester. By the by maybe should have been called, “Buy the Bye” for one night only and shortly before 11 pm they played Europeans raising a muted cheer.
Mai 68 had very aptly chosen a venue as individual as themselves. As a small outfit, they excel in sourcing intimate, alternative creative spaces.
Prior to this evening, we have seen their artists perform in the Second Floor in Chester and the Lady Diana showboat on the River Dee as well as the HMV Chester shop floor.
It was encouraging to see them step out in Liverpool to such a welcoming audience. Mai 68 will be testing the water again very shortly with a series of River Dee showboat gigs and releases as well as a label showcase on April 16 at The Social, London.
Everything seems to be sailing along just fine on Captain Simon Jones’ watch.