The three things I’ve missed most during this period have been going to the match, going to gigs, and writing about gigs. So thank The Lord for Everton in the Community and their Blue Family Lockdown Sessions for bring me some sense of normalcy.
Everton in the Community is the charity wing of the club that for many years has run projects to help homeless people, people with addiction issues and people with mental health problems among others. During these challenging times, the charity has launched the #BlueFamily initiative to support the most vulnerable in the community. To help raise funds and awareness of their work, the charity put together the Blue Family Lockdown Sessions, bringing together some of the best artist from the city, and further afield, to give some unique, pre-recorded isolation performances.
First up on our screens, and introducing the event was BGT judge, and top-toffee, Amanda Holden. Well like the rest of us, she’s got a bit of spare time on her hands at the weekends.
The evening started big with The Wombats using split screens to unite Murph, Dan and Tord to perform Lemon to a Knifefight off their last album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.
The last time I saw Red Rum Club performing one of these sessions, the songs were punctuated by scenes of singer Fran Doran attempting to chip a ball into his washing machine (which he managed). Tonight the six members of the band, groups of dancers, inflatable trumpet players, and a cast of thousands were united on the screen, to give just a flavour of their raucous live performances, as they played the aptly titled Alone Together.
One thing Liverpool is never short of is talented singer-songwriters, there’s one on every corner. Howie Payne is up there with the best of them and he played Faster Than Light from his latest E.P. In Dreams, a song with a real Beatles, Rubber Soul, feel to it.
Next up was one of the city’s emerging talents, purveyor of Scouse indie-pop, Zuzu, accompanied by Kurran Karabal (a.k.a Munkey Junkey) who treated us to an acoustic guitar mash-up of her song Get Off and Z Cars. Outstanding.
Almost like a half-time break comes guitarist from The Farm, Keith Mullin, a man whose pension plan is the royalties from Altogether Now being played constantly at Goodison Park. Due to his recent illness, Keith can’t sing, so instead he read two poignant poems by Liverpool poets; Mr If Only by Brian Patten; and A Face In A Book by Richard Le Gallienne.
The second half kicked off as it were with SPINN, surely the most ‘Everton’ of all the bands on the list. Johnny Quinn and Sean McLachlan from the band both having had part-time jobs at Finch Farm, the clubs training complex. Split screen again uniting the disparate band members, they played their jangly guitar laced tune Sunshine. Being as he was in his house, Johnny was unable to regale us with his usual enthusiastic dance moves.
Dan and Tord from The Wombats make a reappearance in the guise of their side project Sunship Balloon and play Up on the Moon. If you haven’t heard this song, think Flaming Lips and you’ve got the feel of it.
Earlier in the day, the next band let out a secret on Twitter that they would be perfoming a cover version tonight, one written by another Blue, who was not playing on the event. If you could have got a bet on, you’d have lumped on a Lee Mavers song, and so it’s no surprise to hear Louisa Roach from She Drew The Gun beautifully deliver the lyrics to The La’s wonderful Timeless Melody. What is slightly more surprising is seeing what appears to be a UEFA coaching licence holder on percussion in the shape of The Coral’s Jack Prince.
Who do you get to introduce RATS. There can only be one choice, Everton’s most successful captain, Kevin ‘The Rat’ Ratcliffe. Singer Joe Maddocks looked the most delighted of the participants on the night as he played rhythm guitar along with Mikey Duncalfe’s lead on an energetic acoustic version of their song Figure It Out.
Penultimate artist on the night was Kieran Shudhall from Circa Waves playing a solo acoustic version of the bands latest single Sad Happy. The fact that he was sat, alone, in a small room only added to the poignancy of the subject matter of the song.
Introduced by Everton’s most famous Australian, Tim Cahill, the event concludes with Australian band DMA’s. Singer Tommy O’Dell’s family are originally from Liverpool, and he shows his colours by wearing an Everton 1982 ‘Silky Hafnia’ top, while singing appropriately the beautiful, delicate, The End.
I’ve seen a few of these isolation events, and I can honestly say this is one of the best. Well done to all involved. Do you self a favour, I haven’t done the event justice with the few words I’ve written here, go and watch the whole thing on YouTube. Do someone else a favour and donate a fiver quid to a good cause by texting EITC to 70970.
Up The Toffees!