New Generation Takes Over Mathew Street Festival
Liverpool - home of Dolphin Music - once again hosted the Mathew Street Festival, the greatest outdoor free music festival in Europe. But this time it was different - a new generation is finally taking over...
After being cancelled last year, the Mathew Street Festival had to make a splash in 2008, and it did. It returned bigger and better than ever. The legendary event, now in its 16th year, took place during the August Bank Holiday, and thousands of people, of all ages, packed the streets in the central area of Liverpool to enjoy hundreds of music acts.
As usual, most of the big stages were filled with an assortment of tribute acts that always go down well with the tourists, and are certainly great fun, but have little to do with the rich music heritage of Liverpool: Robbing Williams, Kaiser Thiefs, Antartic Monkeys and Led Zed. No prizes for guessing who they pretend to be!
But some of this year's new themed stages also paid tribute to many unsung players of the Liverpool music scene, old and new, and that was a great thing to do! The Old Merseybeat Stage, on Sunday, hosted bands from the 60's who were eclipsed by the Beatles and most tourists don't know about, but who are still alive and kicking: The Merseybeats, The Fourmost and The Undertakers (below), to name a few.
The New Bands Stage on the other hand, showcased some new talents from Liverpool, at the last day of the festival, bank holiday Monday. Finally giving space to new bands was the best thing about the Mathew Street Festival this year, as they've injected some new blood and vitality to the event. Amongst the newcomers, we can mention The Great Northwestern Hoboes, The Mojave Collective, F.O.E. and perhaps the best of the lot, Asbos.
They played a great set and the sound of their Fender Jazzmaster and Telecaster guitars was really good, reminding us of the best bits of Pavement, Television and The Pixies...and proving that Liverpool bands can still come up with fresh and interesting ideas.
Long after all the main stages were empty, the Mathew Street Festival still carried on through the night, with several indoor fringe events taking place - also a first in the festival 16-year history. Dozens more new bands played, including cult punk band from Nashville USA, Be Your Own Pet, who played their second-to-last ever gig. The band was supported by local acts The Daisy Riots, Soft Toy Emergency and The Hot Melts. BYOP, fresh from performing at the Reading and Leeds festival, made a righteous racket, and their chaotic set culminated with the crowd invading the stage.
The Mathew Street Festival 2008 made it really feel that Liverpool was to place to be during the August Bank Holiday (if you were not in Leeds/ Reading...) and for the most part, it was thanks to the new bands who played at the outdoor stage and fringe events!
We hope we'll see more of that in 2009!
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