The Beat Goes On

World Museum, William Brown Street
12th July 2008 – 1st November 2009

Reviewed by Anthony Swords

Anyone familiar with the World Museum since its transformation a few years ago from a more traditional museum into a more family-orientated place of learning will not be disappointed with this exhibition of Liverpool’s proud and important contribution to popular music.

Almost since the birth of rock ‘n’ roll and the inception of the pop charts, Liverpool has contributed to popular music as much as any other city and certainly more than any other of a comparable size. In keeping with the child-friendly feel to today’s museum this exhibition is easily accessible and suitably loud. Anyone wishing to gain a greater insight into any of the key figures or movements that the city and its artists have been a part of in the last fifty years or so will be disappointed. But considering there is so much to cram into this time period - and within a modest space - the exhibition is surprisingly enlightening.

It is brave enough to avoid giving too much space to the better-known groups and instead highlights the role of the clubs, promoters and fans who have created the unique environment for the many groups who have made Liverpool a capital of pop. Not content to stop with Echo & the Bunnymen or Cast, the exhibition is careful to point out the city’s continuing impact upon the world’s cultural make up with a section devoted to the Cream phenomenon and the city’s diverse dance scene.

With a focus on the people of the city, this exhibition is comprised of many pieces of memorabilia, photographs and documentary footage to provide a rich textural insight of the times and the many social factors that have had a unique impact upon Liverpool’s grasp of music.

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