Photo Credit: Only Child Liverpool

I haven’t really talked to any one who has attended LIPA in any great depth about the core curriculum, what they learnt, what they found useful about their time spent there. And I am sure these LIPAtines would wax lyrically on their experience. But one question that I will definitely be asking is – do the lecturers and tutors broach that metaphysical area of “stagecraft” and “presence”? If not, they would be best advised to invite Alan O’Hare, the driving force behind Only Child, to discuss this quixotic subject.

Alan approaches the aspect of stagecraft in true commanding fashion, and he and the rest of the band, shoe-horned into the compact 81 Renshaw Street stage, treat the 90 or so audience with the same respect as they would if they were playing to a capacity filled Echo Arena. Which is how it should be. In my experience, if you respect your audience, it will be reciprocated many, many times over.

Only Child blasts off with Higher Ground, immediately getting the gathered’s attention, quickly moving onto Green Eyes Singing and Buildings. But it is with Scouse, that suddenly an emotional chord resonates throughout the venue. This is a song about the refugee and the immigrant, about how Liverpool has welcomed people throughout the years, and about the basic human right of feeling belonged, and to be allowed to grow and prosper. To make a way in the world. It might feel a corny title for a song, but it drives to the emotional core of the composition, to who we are. And it is a song the great Leon Rosselson would tip his hat to.

Due to stage times over-running, and a prior promise, I had to leave after the beautiful Accidental Englishman, but I look forward to catching a full set in the near future. And this will be for pleasure, no notebook in hand, only a pint. And then to sit back, let the music of Only Child wash over me, and be emotionally energised. So you LIPAtines, my advice to you is catch an Only Child gig. Treat it as extra homework, dipping your musical sponge into a reservoir you may have previously unheeded. For there is lots to learn, and you won’t be disappointed.

Steve Kinrade