June 15, 2015

Fri., May 22nd—Last Day & Show in Liverpool–Maxi & the Zanzibar!

Category: European Tour 2015 — admin @ 8:37 pm

There were several new (and thankfully positive) experiences ahead of us for this, our last day in Liverpool for the tour. In previous trips here, including the two shows we did here last Sunday, all of our shows in Liverpool had been part of David Bash’s International Pop Overthrow Festival. This was the first time we’d stepped out of that protective coating and been part of setting up a show on our own. But it really wasn’t ‘on our own’—and that leads to the next ‘new experience’ we had.) A local singer/songwriter/record-maker named Maxi Dunn set the show up. We’d met her through Mike Lidskin (our friend at Twirl Radio in Sacramento).

Maxi Dunn

We’d asked her if she would set up a show, if we learned and backed her on a set of her songs.This would never have worked if Maxi wasn’t very professional, patient, and able to hold out in the often ridiculous world of Booking a Rock Show. (The true story is, that this show had negotiated itself through THREE different venues before landing at The Zanzibar. Every time something fell apart, Maxi picked up the pieces and put them back together again. What a great sport she is.) We met up with her at a place called Crash Studios (which turned out to be down a rather lonely ,spooky, Film Noir alley way—would you have it any other way?) in downtown Liverpool.


Inside there was just what we needed: helpful staff member, PA, drum set, amps, etc.. We got down to work: 3 or was it nearly 4? hours of rehearsal. We had 6 songs to work our way through. One of them we’d done last Sunday with her at the Cavern, but the other 5 we’d only worked up on our own, and things were still a bit dodgy—it’s not like we’d played these over and over on stage; we’d be playing all of this for the first time, and we really wanted to do well to show our appreciation to Maxi for helping us out.


After some serious work, we headed over to the Zanzibar…a bit of a trek on foot. Did that whole load in, hear a bit of a band soundcheck [this band was good: Gyrus...I wanna say Gypsy/WorldMusic/Radiohead mix],get a bit of a soundcheck in for ourselves, then we snuck off for a bite to eat–a noodle shop just around the corner. We got back as the music began–a solo gal delivering her set. This was a younger crowd. Interesting to see how we’d do. We got up. First song: “Sun Up”..half-way through a string breaks on my guitar. ah, on that particular guitar, the Mustang, one string breaks, the vibrato tail piece relaxes, and all the strings go wonky and out of tune. Maybe our streak of strong shows was about to fizzle, skid, and crash into the wall. The soundman, a friendly guy who was very much on our side, immediately saw what was up, popped in a tune on the PA.

The band waited patiently as I threaded on another B-string, tuned it up, and as the song on the club system finished, we were ready, and amped up with enough attitude to bring it home–and we did. Another strong set for the score card thanks to my good partners in the Trike Shop. “I am the Walrus” was especially raucous and shook the room nicely.
After a short break, up came Maxi Dunn ready to take the reins. She did well. We did mostly well. A lot of details, hand-signals, nods & winks, had been decided on in that mighty rehearsal earlier in the afternoon. Some of them worked, some of them were forgotten—I know I dropped the ball a couple of times, but all in all, for a band who’d played these songs with Maxi for just the one rehearsal, I think we delivered the whole thing fairly solidly. I hope she felt the same.

playing behind Maxi Dunn for her set at The Zanzibar in Liverpool

Lauri had thought the set was strong and had enjoyed the songs. She’s usually pretty straight up if we screw up, so I’ll trust her judgement.


After our set and Maxi’s, Lauri and I went to explore all the action happening on that corner. People were out in droves, and there were several interesting clubs right close by. The Jacaranda, and the Blue Angel, both places where the early Beatles played, were within a stone’s throw. The Jacaranda features some murals done by one-time-Beatle, Lennon’s friend and fellow art student: Stu Sutcliff. Lauri and I went downstairs and soaked it up for a bit.

downstairs at the Jacaranda Club

Then we headed back over to the Zanzibar to hear some more of the music, several of the young folks came up and told us how much they’d enjoyed the band. It seems odd typing about it here, but one young man was very moved by our theremin arrangement of “Caravan”–we had a good talk about how that was pretty much the point. When seeking a good answer to ‘why do we do this sort of thing’, a young person telling you how much the music lifted them up is the best answer I can come up with. So, after enjoying the solid rock sounds of another couple of bands, we headed back to the Pineapple and a close to the Northern Chapter of our tour.
the club's poster for the night's show


with the singer of Gyrus

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