Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Mathew Street Festival

Bank Holiday Monday saw me in Liverpool for the 18th Mathew Street Festival with my friends, Steve & Sharon. This festival just gets bigger every year: the city centre is blocked off and large stages erected across them. You're allowed to take your beer into the streets (in plastic glasses) so you can watch the performances suitably refreshed. The streets were packed out, as were the pubs, and the weather was beautiful.

Water Street
Tribute bands are not everyone's cup of tea - not mine when they're rubbish - but there was something about hearing Clube Big Beatles, who are from Brazil, playing the entire White Album all the way through, although I only heard the second disc and the end of the first. It was lovely seeing a tiny girl on her dad's shoulders punching the air with both hands to Helter Skelter. We also heard another band play Help! right through. Apparently every Beatles album was played in its entirety at some point in the festival.

To another stage, and we watched a set by the Small Fakers followed by the Kinx. Again tribute bands, but it was good to hear these great songs live. The Kinx set particularly turned into a community singalong with nearly everyone in an entire city street joining in, including to my surprise many young people, clearly born decades after these songs were in the hit parade. 

There was loads more to this festival than I saw, and it's not all tribute acts ~ Billy J Kramer played on the Sunday, and Boomtown Rats made an appearance too.

The beer:

We met in the Lion pub in Moorfields and took our pints of Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold and a half of Deuchars IPA in Sharon's case to watch the White Album being played. After that we went back into the Lion and refilled with JW Lees Bitter to drink while watching Help!

Ye Hole In Ye Wall provided Steve and me with, respectively, St Austell Tribute and Palmers Bitter, which we took to watch the Small Fakers and Kinx.

After it was over, we went to the Globe in Cases Street, which was packed the rafters, with most of the punters singing on the top note to the CD player: Beatles numbers (of course) but also some even older, such as Happy Days and Lonely Nights and a few George Formby songs. I had Keltek Gold and Steve was on Black Sheep - Sharon was on 55 Orange by this point. The Globe is a wonderful pub, but as Steve said it's good points can be its downfall if you are being crushed against the bar or find it hard to follow a conversation. But it's a very good-natured clientele in there, always friendly and ready to chat. Not for nothing is it Steve's favourite pub.

Sharon had to catch a train, after which Steve and I ended up in the Dispensary, Liverpool CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year, on Renshaw Street. The Brimstage Scarecrow and Fernandez Ale to the Tsar were both in very good nick.

An enjoyable day, even though I missed the train I'd intended to catch and didn't make last orders in Southport.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good day was had by all, though I have to confess my favourite band of the day was USB at Stamps Two, quite some distance from the main stages of the city centre!

    Had no idea you could bag a bit of Fernandes' finest in Liverpool. Will def have to keep an eye out for that, next time I'm in the Dispensary vicinity. I had a couple of belting beers on BHM: Liverpool Mist, from Liverpool ONE Brewery, at the Baltic Fleet, and a particularly flavoursome chilli chocolate stout by tbc (ah, the joy of TBC!) at the Ship and Mitre.


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