It wasn’t a typical Saturday 2nd April as the Baltic Quarter of Liverpool was taken over by numerous bands, acts and artworks for the sixth annual Threshold Festival.
With a buzz in the air you could almost taste, the roads surrounding Jamaica Street were thriving with visitors of all ages and backgrounds, orbiting an indiscernible epicentre of creativity, only perceived once you stole away yourself to make new friends by asking strangers in the vicinity for directions to the box office. Less Baltic Triangle and more Bermuda, I have frequented this corner of Liverpool on many occasions, and yet I still need help remembering where I’m going. Threshold is spread across several different venues, injecting an element of scavenger hunt into the proceedings.
Wristbands firmly attached, the first stop was The Gallery in Stanhope Street, a clean base for art and home to none. Many artists came to exhibit their artwork here, which provided an eclectic mix of photography, sculpture, graphic design and fine art. It was an elegant backdrop to what was to be my first musical performance of the festival, with the ethereal voice of Lucy Mayhew, singer and guitarist, whose lyrics glided over the room of strangers and settled like a cosy blanket. I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my favourite Irish folk singers, Cara Dillon, with a subtle breeze of melancholy and Celtic touch.
Soon, time to wake up out of this magical reverie and on to the rousing performance of Future Jack at Black Lodge, headed up by Dogstar Rose (above) whose strong and unapologetic vocals perfectly complemented the Arctic Monkeys meets Catatonia vibe. Later in the set provided some visceral and raw sounds in “Read my Lips”, a song that took me right back to the 90s, that sensational coming of age epoch for many of us.
A sneak peak in 24 Kitchen Street treated us to the Mono Lips, a beautiful composition to behold, on stage they complemented with the aesthetic appeal of the artworks themselves, a dapper ensemble with a female cellist who provided a dramatic edge to an indie meets 1950s collaboration.
Unit 51 lent an air of comfort to the festival, with audiences sharing tables to listen to the heavenly echoes of I am of the Universe, a Bristolian incarnation of London Grammar, who stole hearts right in front of our very eyes.
A complete gear shift gave us Chanel & the Circus (image below) at Constellations, led by the mesmerising Chanel Samson who knows how to work an audience and to fill a house. An all-encompassing performance, whose explosive circus sparkle and radiant glamour was the platform for a range of cheeky anthems inspired by various styles from fifties swing to 1980s electronic in a totally uncompromising, fun-loving stage set.
Threshold is the ultimate fix of novel acts and upcoming music, shying away from the well-known to encourage grassroots bands, showcasing the hidden gems that the alternative music scene has to offer. It is an eye-opening feast to lure anyone back for Thresholds yet to come.
For more images by Tony Knox at Threshold click here.