01 September 2014

News // Threshhold V Submissions Window Opens for Performers!

With seven months to go until Threshold V, the fifth annual Festival of Music & Arts in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle, the organisers have officially opened the submission window for bands, artists, performers and promoters. The three day event, which takes place on 27-29th March 2015 will include; Music, Visual Art, Spoken Word, Theatre, Street Art, Comedy, Stalls, Workshops, Panels, Digital Technology, Science and Family Activities.

Regular readers of #SRCZ will know that it’s one of the festival calendar’s key events for us and that, as per recent years we will be delivering official coverage of the festival through the Official Threshold Blog produced by this very ‘Zine. Make sure to submit an application to get involved with what promises to be an excellent fifth year for the pioneering festival.


31 August 2014

New Music // Scarlet – Harder To Be

Liverpool based band Scarlet have debuted their first video for song Harder To Be.

The moody video shot in an abandoned venue that some who know the city’s back cracks well may recognise, sees the band in performance against a graffiti strewn backdrop. The song is a straight ahead piece of grunge imbued rock that none the less keeps it’s melodies on the beautiful side and is sure to catch more than a few ears along the way. Make sure to keep an eye on this band! 

TV Catch Up // Doctor Who, Series 8, Episode 2: 'Into The Dalek'

Warning: contains spoilers!

Cast: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Zawe Ashton, Michael Smiley, Samuel Anderson, Laura Dos Santos, Ben Crompton

Written by: Phil Ford, Steven Moffat

Directed by: Ben Wheatley

The Story: The Doctor journeys to the most dangerous place in the Universe - inside a Dalek. And we’re introduced to Coal Hill’s new maths teacher, the mysterious Danny Pink.

Here we go. A new Doctor, a new Dalek story. I have to confess that rather than scare me senseless, Skaro’s evil tin pepperpots usually do no more than irritate me. They may be Doctor Who’s most iconic villains, but they’re also the most easily defeated and easily the most annoying.

It’s difficult for any Doctor Who writer to get it right with the tin menaces. Robert Shearman did an absolutely sterling job with Christopher Eccleston episode Dalek and a single menacing Dalek, while Mark Gatiss’s Victory of the Daleks introduced a bunch of fairly ludicrous M&Ms type Daleks that we’d rather not mention again.

Into The Dalek takes a new/old approach and literally injects the Doctor, Clara and some soldiers from a rebel spaceship into a solitary, captured Dalek who the Doctor calls Rusty.

The main theme permeating Into The Dalek is the age old question of good and evil. The Doctor asks Clara if he is a good man and he has to face an inherently evil creature that has apparently become good. But of course, life is not black and white/good or evil. While Rusty waxes lyrical about seeing “endless divine perfection” and the birth of a star, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor continues to demonstrate the moral ambiguity we saw in his debut episode where the viewer was left in some doubt as to whether the Half Face Man jumped or was pushed to his death. This again has echoes of early Doctors and makes for an incredibly unpredictable character, which can only be good for the programme as it moves forward with this new Doctor.

The boyfriend Doctor is most definitely resigned to the annals of Who history as his relationship with Clara becomes less of a hug-fest and more of a joust.  I was never completely sold on Clara as a companion in the Matt Smith days, but it is becoming a joy to watch her relationship with this new Doctor unfold. Clara here is better than she’s ever been and Coleman and Capaldi really work brilliantly together.

Into The Dalek writer Phil Ford’s last Doctor Who episode was David Tennant special The Waters of Mars, which gave us an excellent portrayal of the Doctor as cold and largely unsympathetic. In Into The Dalek we’re treated to a Doctor who is casually callous; one whose hatred of the Daleks succeeds in reanimating Rusty’s hatred, although not with the results you (or indeed the Doctor) would expect. Ford’s dialogue bristles with wit and some malicious and twisted humour. The interplay between the Doctor and Clara is great, but by my reckoning Rusty got the best lines.

Ben Wheatley takes on director duties again here and he gives us a beautifully cinematic episode on a BBC budget. There are some hilariously naff set pieces with the shrinking of the capsule that’s injected into Rusty and the fantastically Adam West/Burt Ward climbing-up-a-wall scene, but there are also some impeccably executed scenes both inside and outside the Dalek. The Doctor emerging from the capsule into the Dalek is particularly breathtaking as are the Dalek/human battle scenes.

Supporting cast members Zawe Ashton and Michael Smiley are great additions to the world of Doctor Who and Zawe’s soldier Journey Blue’s plea to the Doctor to take her with him (and his rejection of her) may be something that plays out further in future episodes. We hope so, anyway.

And so on to Coal Hill school’s new maths teacher and former soldier Danny Pink. Male companions in the new era of Doctor Who have a tendency to be over-shadowed by their more charismatic girlfriends/wives. Think Mickey’s “tin dog” and Rory before he became a kick-ass Roman. So how will Danny Pink fare? Based on his debut here, this delightfully awkward and obviously damaged young man is a mystery to be solved as Clara (who last week told us that her poster boy was Marcus Aurelius) sets off in shameless pursuit of him.

Who will he turn out to be? We’re not ones for speculation or spoilers here at SRCZ, so we’ll watch with interest as the series unfolds.

Did you know? Rusty’s shout of Death To The Daleks! is also the title of a 1974 Jon Pertwee episode.

It’s whatshisname: Michael Smiley played drug-addled raver Tyres O’Flaherty in Channel 4’s cult comedy, Spaced

Definitely not a boyfriend Doctor: “You’re not a young woman any more”, “You’re built like a man” and “I’m his carer”

Music of the Week: Murray Gold’s March of the Stormtroopers-style theme as humans and Daleks go into battle

Best Line: You are a good Dalek

The ‘Call My Agent’ award: goes to Ben Compton, who may not have been told that playing a soldier called Ross in Doctor Who is the equivalent of a new guy in a red shirt in Star Trek.

Words by Andrea McGure. Images (c) BBC Worldwide. 

29 August 2014

Event TV x Behind The Sofa: Watching Doctor Who Series 8 Premiere 'Deep Breath'

When it was announced that Peter Capaldi would portray the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor (leaving anniversary special related numerical issues aside) it was almost certainly an event. There were empty streets when the announcement was made live on BBC 1 and almost one year later there were packed sofas, cinema seats and other various locations in anticipation of the debut of his Doctor in Deep Breath.

Unlike most occasions of a television broadcast, there was a choice of where to catch it. Between the two of the writers here, we used the medium of (behind) the sofa and the big screen of the cinema. The two are equally advantageous in terms of digital technology and thrill factor but give a very different feeling to the experience of catching an event such as the debut of Peter Capaldi in one of British television’s most iconic roles.

When I arrived at out chosen venue to catch the screening, just off Bold Street in Liverpool, my companion immediately noticed the presence of a lot of people cosplaying. Most notably, there were a great number of fez’s in evidence, plus at least one homemade Dalek costume non-exterminating the passers-by. Not to mention the presence of many more distinct accoutrements related to the world of Doctor Who.

Having gotten past the horde of cosplaying fans it was a pretty uneventful journey of to the customary snack stand and finally to the screen. But once the room started to fill there was a certain sense of anticipation in the air perhaps unique to any show. Having had the foresight to book front row seats the sound of murmuring and chatter behind in the minutes before the lights dimmed was a potent experience. If there was complete silence, it would have been uncomfortable sitting in semi darkness with a room full of people but it’s not an understatement to say that once the cinema exclusive prologue from the deadpan Strax detailing the previous incarnations of the show began a hush descended over the room you’d have been wary of breaking.

Of course, with any film you’re always looking for what’s going on up there on the screen but the sight of a dinosaur in the River Thames spitting out the Tardis in perhaps one of the most audacious sequences of a very audacious episode of the longest running science fiction show in the world. Needless to say, it looks good on the big screen and works very well considering how much budget there must have been in the pot for such a costly debut outing.

If you were lucky enough to have been in a cinema watching Deep Breath, you were treated to a ten minute behind the scenes feature and a live streamed interview with Capaldi and Coleman that was entertaining, certainly a lot better value than your average ‘bonus feature’. Getting people to sit still for two hours for any reason is quite a task, but having seen Deep Breath on the big screen it was an odd experience seeing it on a much smaller screen almost a week later and it almost a different, but still very positive, experience; Which then brings us onto the small screen experience from our own Andrea McGuire…

I’m a massive Doctor Who fan and I love a good DW event as much as the next Who fan. I’ve spent good time and money travelling the country on Doctor Who business and I’ve amassed new and interesting chums via the wonderful world of Doctor Who. I’ve met Doctors old and new as well as various companions, Deleks, Cybermen and other nefarious villains.

I’ve watched in awe as twelfth Doctor Who Peter Capaldi and companion Jenna Coleman have jetted round the globe as part of the world tour to launch series 8.  So, when the Doctor Who team at #SRCZ Towers were deciding whether to join in the world-wide celebrations with a showing of the new series opener Deep Breath at Liverpool’s Picturehouse Cinema , you’d think the decision would be a no-brainer. If only!

Last year I went to the huge 50th anniversary celebrations in that there London where I had a chance to catch up with my pal, the author and world-wide authority on Doctor Who, Cameron K McEwan. Camsy (as he’s known in our house) was smack-bang in the middle of the whole Doctor Who 50th celebrations, but when I asked him where he’d be watching The Day of the Doctor, Camsy told me he’d be at home alone. His thinking? He didn’t want anyone else’s opinion to cloud what he got from the episode as he was going to review it for his BlogtorWho website.

And that’s the approach I took with Peter Capaldi’s first series opener. I’m pretty sure it’s meant that I’ve missed out on some excellent cosplayers and the excitement of being part of something big and special with equally devoted fans. But then, when I filed my review of Deep Breath, it’s safe in the knowledge that it’s my own view on the programme and no-one else’s.

Whichever way you watched Deep Breath - in a crowd or from behind your couch - I hope you loved it as much as we did.

Read the #SRCZ reviewof Deep Breath here! Keep checking back as we follow the series over its twelve episodes here! (You can also read some previous reviews as well)

Words by Sebastian Gahan and Andrea McGuire. 

28 August 2014

Preview // For The Love of St Lukes - An Exhibition by Love ArtUK

What’s not to Love? Love ArtUK returns with a new exhibition in collaboration the Bombed Out Church in Liverpool.

Following a popular show for Valentine’s Day earlier this year, and preceding his second appearance at Wirral Earth Fest, urban artist Love ArtUK is back with a show that celebrates the much loved St Lukes Church, also known as The Bombed Out Church, from Saturday 30th August.

Look for Signs of Love about the area of Liverpool’s Bold Street as Love Artuk puts on another of his always uplifting exhibitions for St Luke's (the bombed out) Church. Jay Wheeler, Love ArtUK originator, is working with Ambrose Reynolds, formerly of Urban Strawberry Lunch and overseer of the project Leona Harris to celebrate the beloved bombed out church space with some excellent art.

The installation entitled ‘For the Love of St. Luke's’ takes inspiration from one of the artist’s 3D pieces 'Love Street' “Love is a journey with its ups and downs. In order to get where we want to be we need to notice the signs. Actually... see signs, take notice! Love is a fantastic thing but you've got to read the negatives and positives and use them for your direction." Said the artist.

Several 3-D works with some familiar graphics and additional new pieces displayed throughout the pronounced setting of St Luke's will create a tour of insight and thought provoking art around the already remarkable landmark that dominates the skyline when you look down Bold Street. Love ArtUK will be doing master classes during the exhibition which encourage interaction with art geared towards the young and young at heart. What's not to Love?

27 August 2014

Ten Songs We Want To Hear from Kate Bush

When Kate Bush returned to the stage after 35 years away it was to almost immediate acclaim. Her request that camera phones, iPads and other such devices be put aside in order to enjoy the show through the non-digital eye was very deliberate, it seems. But as set lists inevitably trickle out from fans lucky enough to be present at the long sold out gigs, #SRCZ began to wonder just what Kate Bush has planned for the whole series of gigs. Will she vary the set list as the weeks go by? As ever, it’s hard to say just what might happen. But just in case, here’s ten songs we’d like to see performed during the gigs…

And Dream of Sheep

Older readers may remember the old days of vinyl LPs, and Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love is widely recognised as one of the all-time greats. Side 2 of Hounds of Love is called The Ninth Wave and comprises of melodies seemingly wrought from dreams (or nightmares). And Dream of Sheep is the first of these and is a lonely and haunting song, but also an incredibly beautiful one.

The Big Sky

A big song about small pleasures. The Big Sky wallops you with a loud, booming wall-of-sound you’ll never forget. I’ve seen this done live by a Kate Bush tribute act and I’d give serious consideration to selling a child to see this done by the woman herself.

Experiment IV

This is a sinister song that starts with a soft vocal and ends in a blood-curdling wail. Definitely a song of its time before the fall of the Berlin Wall; the video for Experiment IV was even banned by Top of the Pops for being too violent. It’s well past time to dust it off and unleash it on a new live audience.

Army Dreamers

With it’s unusual 3/4 rhythm Army Dreamers is unique in showing a woman’s perspective on the horrors of war. It’s also wonderful in its off-beat, gun-cocking eeriness.

Sat In Your Lap

An eccentric and wildly off-kilter song, Sat In Your Lap is from Kate Bush’s “I’ve gone mad album” The Dreaming. It might have been relatively unsuccessful in commercial terms but this song about the search for knowledge vs the effort to go out and get it is as distinct and idiosyncratic as the woman who wrote, sang and produced it.

50 Words For Snow

This song from the album of the same name would make a perfect intro or, indeed, an interlude (heck, it just needs to be performed!) As sonically minimalist as Bush gets, the song seemingly utilises a dictionary, some comfortingly chilly atmospherics and the voice of Stephen Fry to make something truly memorable.

Heads We’re Dancing

Dancing, they say, is a very political act. In Heads We’re Dancing, Bush dances with a devilish but charming stranger whom she discovers, upon reading the morning papers, was none other than Hitler. Amazing, funny and very listenable.

Rubberband Girl

The Red Shoes is not the best Kate Bush album by far, but it’s still got a lot of great music on it that works better on its own terms rather than a sequence of songs. The song opens the album, and has a rather odd video made for the US market that almost works in visualising the intricate eccentricity of the artist.


The ultimate in 'math' rock, Pi describes a sweet and gentle and kind man with a passion for the calculation of Pi. Touching, as well as educational, this songs proves there is a truth in the adage that to be a Kate Bush listener is to embrace intelligence.

Wild Man

This song never fails to make you stop what you’re doing and just contemplate the snow storm that envelops it. Despite being quite sedate, the song is beautifully energetic expedition to meet a mysterious creature that could be called the Yeti or any other name. And that chorus just works its way into your subconscious…

Of course, there are many more songs Kate Bush could perform but perhaps it’s best to wait and see what tricks she pulls out of the bag?

Words by Sebastian Gahan & Andrea McGuire. Image by John Carder Bush 

26 August 2014

News // Liverpool Vocal Specialists Launch New Studio

Renowned Liverpool artist training centre Balance Vocal Studio celebrate the launch of their new base with a launch event featuring performances by Nu-Folk band Kalandra (pictured) and others on Wednesday 27th August. After merging with Aurora Borealis Music in early 2014, the studio has relocated to 56 Wood Street, in the vibrant Ropewalks district of the city. 

 Ian Davidson and Kaya Herstad Carney, Directors of Balance Vocal Studio, are two of only ten practitioners in the UK, qualified in Vocology in Practice (VIP), a US based organization headed up by vocal specialist David Stroud who has worked with many noted singers including Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean.

 “I have personally worked closely with both Ian and Kaya for quite a few years and cannot recommend anyone more highly than I do these two.” – Dave Stroud, VocalizeU

Kaya and Ian met over 14 years ago while studying at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). For the last decade, they have both taught and coached singing technique and songwriting to many of Liverpool's booming music scene. 

"It was always my vision to provide the best vocal service in Liverpool; merging with Kaya is the final step to making this a reality"
– Ian Davidson

In July 2014 both Ian and Kaya travelled to LA, the home of VIP for their 10 day ‘VocalizeU’ summer intensive where some of the best vocal teachers in the world hone their craft. 

"After coming back from Los Angeles this summer teaching at the world's leading vocal and song writing VocalizeU artist intensive: we can't wait to share our knowledge with our new and existing students in our new city centre studio."
- Kaya Herstad Carney

#SRCZ will report from the launch event. Look out for coverage soon!

25 August 2014

Preview // PRINCE & 3RDEYEGIRL – Plectrum Electrum

The long awaited debut album from 3rdeyegirl, featuring a certain Prince, has been announced for release on September 29th. Released via NPG Records under licence to Warner Bros Records, the album will be released on the same day as the new release from Prince himself, Art Official Age.

Plectrum Electrum will feature the singles PretzelBodyLogic and FixUrLifeUp and ten more tracks for a total of twelve. Final track FunkNRoll also features on Art Official Age.

Other tracks include ‘WOW’, ‘AINTTURNINROUND’ & ‘TICTACTOE’. Make sure to check back here for the #SRCZ review of the album!