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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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“Testing Testing, Rock n Roll”

Explore Liverpool Music Writer Matt Jacobson reflects on the recent Sefton Park Test Concert.

Sefton Park recently provided hope and promise and over the last year both have been in short supply. The recent test concert at Sefton Park seems a lifetime ago already, but the memories are fresh and vivid. The event provided much needed resuscitation to a strangled industry. Tickets for the concert were instantly swept up by gig lovers. Covid tests prior to the event were required but this was a small step for a big reward and 5000 people welcomed this opportunity to hear and experience live music .

Entry into the festival was slick and checks were handled well by calm and friendly staff. As I made my way through the checks I could hear a booming base and screaming fans singing and cheering inside the huge tent. Checking the time I thought I may have been late for the first artist, but I wasn’t, the crowd had eagerly gathered inside the tent to enjoy live music from a DJ supplying droplets of crowd pleasing tunes to build up the atmosphere. 

I could see and feel the excitement from all. Seeing a stage, bars, food vans and to hear group voices and laughter with thousands of people with no masks with no social distancing was beyond a relief. It really provided a warm feeling. This is it, this is what  we have missed.

Zuzu – Photography by Michelle Marshall

Zuzu opened up the concert with the line “ One small step for Scousers” and led a further hop, skip, jump and promising leap into the future. I interviewed Zuzu over 12 months ago and the dedication and vision was evident. She was destined for bigger things and this is just the start. Zuzu brought the scouse love, wit and charm to the line up with pulsating tunes and anthems. Zuzu may have opened up the concert, but after her set she was there in the crowd dancing with friends and taking in the historic atmosphere.Enjoying every minute, just like her adoring fans.

Alex Moore, The Lathums – Photography by Michelle Marshall

The Lathums appeared fresh and authentic with Northern sounds and huge hooks and straight into ‘Villainous Victorian’. The band are lyrically smart and clever and naturally on their way to global stardom. I watched in awe as the band swept the crowd along with power and a determined desire to make sure every member of the audience enjoyed every minute. 

After the outstanding set, I met with The Lathums singer songwriter, Alex Moore and asked how he found the gig. “It was amazing , I’m lost for words”. I asked, after so long in lockdown, how did you find the first ten yards of walking out onto the stage?.  “Well, because i’m processing so many things , I don’t think of it at that point, but then i see the crowd and it feels like an out of body experience”. And how was the last ten yards when you left the stage ?  “I was shaky, in a good way – you know, I had butterflies in my belly”. 

Alex Moore & Matt Jacobson backstage – Photograph by Michelle Marshall

I was keen to see if lockdown had stopped creativity for songwriting?  “it gave me more time to slow down and reflect on everything. I was writing loads because I had nowhere to go and nothing to do “ And finally we discussed Liverpool hosting the event. Alex summed up “ we have strong ties with Liverpool, the gigs and the studio we use and our management. Liverpool has good people, you know, scousers are good friendly people”. 

And for me, the Lathums provided the Great Escape for us all.

Tom Ogden, Blossoms – Photograph by Michelle Marshall

Blossoms appeared with style and swagger and provided hit after hit , ‘Your Girlfriend’ and ‘There’s A Reason Why’ brought cheers and screams and scenes we haven’t seen for far too long. Flares lit up the tent as songs lit up smiles. Singer, Tom Ogden, patrolled the stage and orchestrated a solid setlist with a surprise of “Paperback Writer “ thrown into the mix. A solid set of songs brought by the lads from Stockport to our port. Their set ended with the wonderful and special “ Charlemagne “ and I noticed the tent nearly took off as fast as the planes at John Lennon Airport. 

This was special. This was really special. 

The only negative was the test result. Fingers crossed this works as a world without creatives isn’t a world.   

Love and Peace

Matthew Jacobson

Explore Liverpool

READ MORE: Local Author Matt Jacobson reflects on a warm summer evening in Liverpool

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