Music Profile - Mellowtone
By Stevie Law
Gigs are grimy affairs, right? I mean, you haven't been to a concert unless you leave with your shiny, new white trainers polarised by the slime that crawls across the boards underfoot, your tee shirt smelling of somebody else's week-old sweat, and your hair freshly conditioned by that pint of piss having completed its perfect trajectory to smack you right between the eyes. Well, no. The live music scene really doesn't have to be like that.
Replace the abysmal ear-feltch of Razorlight with some rather lovely candlelight and the mind-churning hysteria with understated acoustica and you'll get the right idea. Bringing sofas, comedy, quality DJs, the cream of Liverpool's acoustic talent and a heady sense of calm to the party, Mellowtone is an altogether different experience. The brainchild of a promoter who prefers things a little more laid back than your average gig or indie-disco, the night has established itself at the forefront of Liverpool's acoustic music scene. A regular haunt of local luminaries such as John Smith, Eugene McGuinness and The Prelude, as well as hosting some of the country's best emerging talent, Mellowtone is less the gig and more the monthly social, encouraging a friends and family atmosphere that spills into every member of the forever burgeoning audience.
Between the top-class acts meanders a splendid selection of rare groove funk, soul, blues and jazz that leaves you horizontal with melodious sedative, and a selection of comperes who have you bent-double clutching at your stomach with laughter.
And with the night not having a fixed abode, Mellowtone has picked up many friends along the way.
"It's easy to see why people keep coming back," explains Dave McTague, Mellowtone's promoter, "its all about getting the vibe of the night right. I think that Mellowtone manages to strike a balance between a high standard of musicianship and a friendly, receptive audience. Loads of acoustic nights that you go to are either so pretentious that they leave you feeling a bit cold as a spectator, or are filled with an audience of twats chatting away and not paying any attention to the acts."
"People come here, they enjoy themselves, they listen to good music with their mates and then they go home not feeling cheated out of a decent night on the town. Just because we are dealing with acoustic music, it doesn't mean that people don't enjoy themselves."
The man doesn't lie. Never before have I seen 33/45 so alive. The bar is heaving and in good spirits having already seen the bluesy delicacies of Gareth Gregory, a storming set from local upstarts Saint Sebastian, only for the bluegrass brilliance of Ernie's Rhythm Section to turn things up a notch and have the entire bar singing and stomping along to Leadbelly standards. The atmosphere is electric, the music entirely acoustic, and me? I'm well pissed.Printer friendly page