The last day of Threshold V seemed a little subdued at first. Perhaps folks were getting over the riotous shenanigans of the previous night, or maybe it was the bitingly windy weather. I had put aside the afternoon session for a suitably restrained look at the static art on show at the festival in The Craft Beer venue.
I thought the exhibition, ‘Contrasting Geometries’, had some vital contemporary art and sculpture on show, and that the sophisticated way the space was utilised was extremely professional. There was a variety of art in the exhibition including some extremely fine photography and mixed media pieces.
I especially liked the photography by Brian Sayle, as I am always fascinated by decaying buildings and found his compositions in ‘Urbansubrosa’ spellbinding. The Kaleidoscope pieces comprising ‘Verisimilitude’ by Andrew Maher formed another fascinating part of the exhibition. Other highlights included ‘Untitled’ by Esme Curtis, ‘Second’ by Cherie Grist, ‘Meditation Drawing’ by Collette Lilley, and ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ by Robyn Woolston. My favourite pieces were ‘Updowngreen’, the installation by Alban Low, and ‘Fat Boy Bzarre’ by Andrea Visconti. Overall, the standard was extremely high and provided an interesting and thought provoking afternoon’s entertainment.
After a suitably relaxed break for Sunday dinner at Tabac in the city centre, we returned to the festival fully fed and ready to view the closing evening’s entertainment. We started the evening at Unit 51, where the first act of the late session was taking the stage. Mark Steadman and his two band members produced some fine acoustic music, with enough bite and originality to keep the onlookers interested in the stage rather than their conversations. The rhythm produced by the bongo drums provided pace to the thoughtful and melodic sound the band produced. It was exactly the right sort of feel good music we needed after braving the harsh` wind and cold on the journey from town, with songs such as ‘Eternally Blue’ and the humorous country-style track ‘When I’m Drunk’. Mark has a strong voice and the variety of songs showcased in this short set showed it of perfectly.
Next, it was back to District for some more rock/punk mayhem. The first band, The Gentle Scars, a Liverpool punk/indie band, started the evening off swimmingly with their alternative, guitar based sound. The band produce meaty distinctive music with some heavy rock and roll influences and suitably punk vocals. Showcasing a couple of tracks from their recent EP ‘Invaders’ and some of their other, equally strong material, the band provided a diverse and exciting body of sound. Finishing with the excellent ‘Imperfection’, the band had played a chunky, fast set which whetted my appetite and made me want to hear more.
Steve Thompson and The Incidents are a band I have already heard live on a number of occasions, so I knew their set was going to be rock and roll of the highest quality. Starting with ‘Rock and Roll Just Won’t Die’, the band played their smoking brand of pure rock brilliance to the few people who had the sense to catch their set. The jubilant and accomplished quality of the sound the band produce should resonate with true rock fans everywhere. Continuing with songs such as ‘Turn Your Back on Me’ and ‘Deep Under Cover’, the set was a great showcase of the musical artistry this popular Liverpool band have to offer.
Sheepy are a favourite of mine on the local scene. Their brand of elemental punk-pop hits the right note with me every time I hear them. The music is simple and straight forward, but in that lies its brilliance. Sheepy’s vocals are pure and the band red-hot, indie post punk at it’s finest. I love the quirky lyrics on songs such as ‘Stress Mongers’ and the stalwart ‘Ket Party’, and the thunderous drumming and bass produced by Ollie Fontaine and Villy Raze. The set also included the melodious older track ‘Life is Like a Ghost Train’, which had a suitably fairground feel, but I think the finishing track ‘Wild’ was my favourite. The band currently have a demo LP on Bandcamp called ’15 Songs in an Hour’. Check it out and you will see that this band only go from strength to strength. Still unbeaten as my favourites of the Sunday session.
The next and final band of my Threshold V experience, Breakfast Monkey, were new to me but it seemed that I was in the minority. The band played to an increasing number of people as the set went on, and the barrage of photographers reached, at some points, complete overload. The band play what I would call 90’s style rock with rap elements. Think Faith No More and The Chillie Peppers, and my, don’t they do it well. The funk element was a real winner with the crowd; the band moving round stage like true rock stars. There was a lot of riff-changing mayhem and screaming guitar licks, covered by suitably scorching vocals. The track ‘Code Name Caesar’ included a cover of ‘Suck My Kiss’, a fitting tribute to the bands so obviously influencing the quality sound this band produce. Finishing on the excellent ‘Do Not Listen’, the band provided a blazing end to the set and the festival as a whole.
Threshold V has been a great experience. There have been some memorable acts over the Three days and some amazing art and theatre. I only wish I’d been able to see some of the things I missed. I would recommend this festival to anyone, as the scope of the entertainment on offer has something to suit most tastes. If you didn’t make it this year, make sure to add it to your must-see calendar of events for 2016.