Ah, autumn. Season of mists and mello mello-ness. There’s so much goodness approaching next season, we thought we’d give you a tasty preview of 25 events that caught our eye on the first pass. And this is just for starters. Just an amuse-bouche, if you will. We’ll be highlighting more as the weeks progress. So long summer. Frankly, you’re overrated.
25 Aug -10 September: Liverpool Shakespeare Festival, St George’s Hall.
Staging ‘the greatest love story ever told’ (no, not Twilight, Romeo and Juliet) in the sumptuous surroundings of St George’s Hall, the engaging Lodestar Theatre Company return with new productions: including a premier of a non-Bard-penned piece about the violence and terror of Liverpool’s Victorian street gangs. What would Theresa May make of them, we wonder?
8 – 15 September: On The Waterfront, The Mersey River Festival, Pier Head.
Returning for the first time since 2005 (and quite rightly, too!) this spirited family-friendly festival will feature a royal naval visit, the historic Tall Ships and Cunard Cruise Liners Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2 seeking permission to lay alongside.
The Waterfront will be abuzz with aerobatic displays, street theatre, a bistro village and jazz sounds from the 1930’s.
8 – 17 September: Tartuffe, Playhouse Theatre.
If you missed it the first time, don’t hesitate in getting a ticket for its return. Roger McGough’s whip-smart adaptation of Moliere’s Tartuffe is brilliantly, relentlessly, painfully funny: and returns to the Playhouse before embarking on a national tour. Don’t miss.
18 September: Founders Day, Port Sunlight Museum
Celebrating the 160th anniversary of the birth of Port Sunlight Village. If you’ve never made the trek to this sublime model village, incongruously hunkered beneath the scars of New Heartland New Ferry, this is the day to do it – and uncover Leverhulme’s singular, and inspiring story.
18 September: Hope Street Feast, Hope Street.
Celebrating the urban village, and our favourite up-town street, the 6th Hope Street Feast brings a riot of music, dance, theatre, art and great food, drink, and local produce to the holy thoroughfare.
23 September: Slow Club, Kazimier.
Beloved of Ad-men everywhere, Folk rock chancers Slow Club rip up the rule book and create disarmingly beautiful noises with guitar, glass bottle and kitchen-chair percussion. But it’s their gimmic-free honesty, and way with a tune that lingers. With added Steeling Sheep and Dead Cities, this is a red circle event.
24 – 25 September: Wirral Open Studios, various venues.
It’s a hot bed of creativity on the peninsula that likes to call itself ‘leisure’. Go check out the work of artists, metal workers, jewellers and ceramicists based over the water, and start ticking off that Christmas present list.
27 September: Translunar Paradise, Unity Theatre.
Life, death and enduring love in this balletic evocation of loss, hope and pain – and the inexorable march of time. Performed to five star reviews in this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Theatre Ad Infinitum show the rest how it’s done. Bring a hankie.
29 September: Spectres of Spectacle, AND Festival.
We’ve always known Wirral sound machine Forest Swords could peer into our very souls. But little did we know his superpowers extended to playing out his dubby, lo-fi R’n’B on self-destructing X-Ray vinyl too. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime hauntology art/gig, the opening night of this year’s AND Festival, organised by Mercy. Also featuring Maria Minerva / Anat Ben David.
The partnership of Crosby and Nash blends hook-laden pop and introspective workouts – and, of course, those harmonies are as blissful as ever. A masterclass in the craft of the singer-songwriter.
7-31 October: Farmaggedon, Flatman’s Lane, Downholland, Formby.
‘Forged in hell, but conveniently located off the B5195’ – yes, we know they’re just out of work drama students, but try telling yourself that when you’re terrified out of your senses in this enjoyably macabre institution. Now with not one but three interactive horror houses and InsaniTy – set to prey on all six of your senses, flaunting your phobias and leaving you a shadow of your former self… Sounds like a night in the Krazy House to us.
‘Most people don’t realise that I was a stand-up comedian before I met Ricky Gervais and his coat-tails,” Merchant says. “Life can be lonely as a TV writer so this tour is a great opportunity for me to get out there and meet my fans. And make at least one of them my wife.” Refreshing, ego-free and inventive – we’d marry him over the gurning one tomorrow.
7 October: Reginald D Hunter, Philharmonic Hall.
Sharp as a Saville Row suit, and an adopted cousin from across the pond, Reginald D. Hunter is much, much more than a panel-show gun for hire, as his biting new show proves.
9 October: Run Liverpool Marathon, city centre.
The inaugural outing of the city’s newest running event, the Marathon starts in Birkenhead Park and, 26 miles and 385 yards and several layers of skin later, finishes at the Pier Head. Good luck, if you’re taking part. We are. Well, we’re wrapping ourselves in Bacofoil and drinking Guinness. So it’s as good as.
14 October: Void Story, Unity Theatre.
Forced entertainment’s CV is almost unfairly scattered with critic-lauded projects. Their inventive stew of exciting, boundary-shifting theatre is spine-tinglingly good. They’re back at The Unity with the ‘bleak and comic’ contemporary fable, complete with vivid projections and nightmarish cityscapes, Void Story.
14 October: 2manyDJs, Chibuku, The Masque.
The Belgian mavericks return for a night of ripped-up, mashed-up, funked-up madness. How many tunes can they squeeze into a set? Take a tip from us, don’t try and count ‘em.
15 October: Neo Kei, Mello Mello.
A whole night of Japanese electro-pop, hip-hop and para-para – in aid of Oxfam’s work in Japan. Expect lights, sound, and Mello Mello’s rather excellent range of world beers, together with the latest material from artists such as X Japan, Utauda Hikaru, L’Arc~En~Ciel.
18 October: Tindersticks, Philharmonic Hall.
When spellbinding Nottingham orchestral band Tindersticks meets French filmmaker Claire Denis you can expect something rather special. Projected scenes from Denis’s films (Nénette et Boni, Trouble Every Day, Friday Night, The Intruder, 35 Shots of Rum and White Material) are the perect backdrop to these widescreen sonic adventurers . Expect a dark hued soundrack that will stay with you all season.
20 – 29 October: The Swallowing Dark, Playhouse Studio.
Celebrating the Playhouse’s centenary, the theatre’s re-opening its legendary Studio space. First performance is a new piece by the unfairly talented Lizzie Nunnery. The Swallowing Dark lifts the veil on the horrors of Muagabe’s Zimbabwe, and promises an unsettling, intimate evening of thrilling new theatre.
21 October – 15 April: The Art Books of Henri Matisse, Walker Art Gallery.
Their first showing in the UK, the exhibition features 63 framed original illustrations with text from four of Matisse’s most significant books, including his famous Jazz (1947), one of the most celebrated artists’ books in the history of modern art. In addition to the core group of Matisse works, a number of artists’ books from the Walker Art Gallery’s permanent collection will also be on view, by artists such as Ed Ruscha, Derek Boshier, Gilbert & George, Tom Phillips and Jeff Nuttall.
21 October: The Irish Sea Sessions, Philharmonic Hall.
Bigger and rootsier than ever, the hands across the Irish sea hoe-down features Damien Dempsey, Niamh Parsons and Jennifer John – and some of the meanest fiddle playing this side of the Ring of Kerry.
22 October: Wu Lyf, Kazimier.
Believe the hype? Well, opinion is still somewhat divided. But the Manchester posse have skillfully navigated a course into our consciousness this year. And their debut set just about delivers on their promise. Live – there’s no doubt, they’re the real thing.
1-30 November: Homotopia, various venues.
This increasingly important – and ground breaking – celebration of LGBT/Q life focuses, this year, on ‘Cruising For Art’, showcasing the queer, the bold, the unexpected and the daring in a programme of 30 events from visual art, theatre, film, debate, dance, literature and glittery balls. We’re looking forward to the Alternative Miss Liverpool at the Kazimier on 12 November: with its roll-call of Peacock Punks, Neo-Romantics, Confirmed Bachelors, and Queens Of The Nile. Oh, and a special VIP Tribute category – Liz Taylor.
8 November: Polish Radio Choir, St George’s Hall.
Their 1992 Elektra-Nonesuch recording sold more than a million copies and stayed at the top of the US Classical Charts for 38 weeks. If you’re after a night of spiritual lyricism and uplifting, massed voices, this concert – celebrating the work of Górecki – and the venue’s acoustics, will confirm – these really are the last choir standing.
14 November: Bill Bailey, Dandelion Mind, Echo Arena.
There are few comics we’d pay to see in an arena. Our home grown superstar? No thanks. Bill Bailey? We’ll give it a shot. Fusing his musical diversions, and grape-shot musings, Bailey’s mixture of the surreal and the sublime leaves the rest standing. And he hasn’t got an annoyingly contrived Scouse accent – result.
25 November: Wire, O2 Academy.
Seminal punk/post-punk pioneers, Wire reform for a whistle stop tour to show the rest of us how it’s done. The spirit of 76 never sounded so vital.
So, what have we missed out? Let’s know what you’re looking forward to over the next couple of months…