MellowtoneThat Dave McTague, he’s a busy man. Not content with being the driving force behind Another Media – one of the city’s most dependable publicity and promotions teams – he’s also as passionate as ever about grass roots music in our city. Which is why his Mellowtone nights are always a dead cert, if you’re looking for music from the other side of the tracks. Talking of which, there’s another one rumbling along this coming Tuesday 21st September. And SevenStreets has a pair of tickets to give away to anyone who tweets out a link to this feature. We’ll pick the winner at random. And we might even buy them a pint at the bar. So, Dave, can you spare us a final Summer Spotify Playlist?

So, what can we expect from the Mellowtone night?

A candlelit soiree of live music – folk, blues, roots, acoustic, singer-songwriters and troubadours. DJs playing funk, soul, jazz, hiphop and reggae, in a variety of intimate venues across Liverpool…
For our next night we’re working with Canadian Blast, bringing two excellent acts to Liverpool – The Wilderness of Manitoba and The Mountains and The Trees … Brilliant folk influenced artists from across the pond. We also welcome Karima Francis for the first time at Mellowtone. And Nordic songstress Ragz, who may be more familiar to Seven Streets readers. We’re lucky to have two of the North West’s finest voices at the Shipping Forecast, as well as the Canadians in town for the night.

What are you enjoying in Liverpool these days?

Ragz playing the Philharmonic hall last week, supporting the Christians. She was fantastic. I’m gutted I missed Howard be Thy Name’s show at the Kazimier recently. I’m looking forward to the Biennial (and Independents!) – there are absolutely loads of great things going on.

What else are you up to these days? Anything we can look forward to?

Well aside from my upcoming birthday, there’s quite a few things in the pipeline. Inside Pages is the name of the huge launch event for Liverpool’s excellent new music magazine – Bido Lito. Even though they are 4 issues in… A great lineup at Static Gallery over the 1st and 2nd October. Friction – psyche from DJ Will Sergeant and live music from the Wicked Whispers, SuperCannes and Eva Petersen – that’s at 3345 on the 7th October.  Misery Guts and Denis Jones at the Kazimier – another great lineup there.  Mellowtone’s next gig is in collaboration with Liverpool Irish Festival, we’re back at the View Two Gallery and it promises to be a memorable night – with Atlantic Massey, Dave Owen and Alan Wright, and Stan Ambrose on the bill. Liverpool Music Week have some exciting looking shows – Leftfield coming to town, Villagers, and K’Naan.  And I’m looking forward to John Smith at St.George’s Hall, supported by the fantastic Dead Cities.

How healthy do you think our music scene is right now?

Well, I think just looking at what was mentioned in your last question – which is just a tiny snapshot of what’s going on – indicates a pretty healthy state of affairs… despite the fact it includes a few acts from out of town.

But, I suppose it really depends on how you define ‘healthy’. There is certainly lots going on and much of it at an incredibly high standard, but I do feel more national recognition is needed for our acts.

Is Liverpool a good place to be an independent creative right now?

I personally think so – there’s lots going on and all sorts of people doing interesting things. There’s a feeling of community and a lot of cross-collaborations within the arts. The city is often described as a ‘village’. Maybe we’re lucky it’s a village in the sense that it’s large enough and open enough that allows people to make things happen.

Arts cuts and funding slashes are everywhere these days. Are you worried or optimistic?

Can I sit on the fence please? I think it is a little worrying yes… I’m frustrated by those who feel it is their ‘right’ to be funded, and am concerned at the way in which some funding is distributed and whether it reaches those it’s intended for, so as such both the immediate consequences and longer term repercussions are a concern. Perhaps a positive is that it will encourage more collaboration and help to forge more of a DIY attitude, which could well be very good indeed in unearthing new and interesting artists. Some of the best things are born from the darkest and most challenging of situations.

In relation to Mellowtone, we’re always working on a long shoestring and a lot of love, sweat and tears – cuts or no cuts. Hopefully we’ll be alright.

As for my Spotify Playlist, there are far far too many artists to choose from… so as a start, I’ve tried to pick tracks from the last 10 years, and have selected acts to represent the diversity of the live aspect of the Mellowtone shows… a few who have played at Mellowtone, and a lot more who I would like to!
And if all that’s a bit melancholic for you – check out the more DJ oriented side of things – Richie Vegas’ mix at http://soundcloud.com/beaten-tracks
Enjoy.

Mellowtone, 21 September, Tickets £5
The Shipping Forecast
Slater Street, Liverpool