“Under The Radar” – The Violet May

THE VIOLET MAY at the Jacaranda Club, Liverpool – Friday April 3rd.


Its “Ladies Day” at Aintree and about 5.30 in the evening. Some of the “Ladies” who are staggering around Hanover Street have had a good day and are now fairly scary. Assorted members of “The Violet May” and friends/crew etc have emerged from the gloom of the Jacaranda’s cellar to take a break from setting up for their forthcoming gig.

It’s a little slice of history in the making because its many years since a band last performed here. Fact is, as the mural behind the cellar bar proclaims, “the place the fab four first played”, its quite likely that the fab five could well be the last band to play here. Everyone finishes their cigarettes and we mooch back down the stairs drooling over the posters and pictures of the Beatles, Stu Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr. I get my photo taken in front of the Astrid poster (it doesn’t really work sadly).

A little history lesson reveals that the The Violet May were thrown together in Sheffield’s post Monkey evolutionary slurry. Emerging from 6 months of rehearsals in their tumbledown attic room they played an unannounced debut at Sheffield’s own legendary “Frog and Parrot” under the guidance of Lord Parrot.

Ex “Barricades” genius John Kubicki and drummer Allan Whittaker were at a loose end and found Black Light Theatre frontman Jono How asleep at the bar in the afore mentioned Frog and Parrot and made him an offer. Bassist Dan Booth was found hiding behind a pint of Carling and the whole fancy cupcake was topped by Mr Chris McClure who was in the process of setting up his own political party and needs no introduction! The name? A legendary Sheffield Record Emporium that removed many pounds from this writer’s wallet in years past.

Its later. Sound is checked, DJ’s Amy and Kayleigh are treating the Liverpool crowd to a musical education. The band are hungry to play. Outside things are weird. Polyester and Chiffon everywhere. No one is sober. There are sights young men should not be exposed to. Some of them have appeared in the Cellar Bar. By the time the band are into the third tune they are steaming. Its cramped and hot in the tiny cellar. At the back of the room the Race -Goers are not paying much attention. Mr McClure leaves the stage, into the crowd, and offers the people in question some timely advice. They seem a little perplexed by this we, however, are loving it!

The Violet May are a sensory blitz. John seamlessly moving from guitar to synths and back, Jono’s Les Paul effortlessly rhythmic pulling out riffs in harmony with John. Alan and Dan an absolute rock steady foundation. Out front, Chris orchestrates the proceedings while trying to strangle himself and audience with his mic lead. It’s provocative, dark, loud and sometimes nasty but the quality of the compositions and the lyrics shine through. “Teen Queen” is hot, “Mothers Milk” awesome. By the time “Bright or Better’s” apocalyptic ending of howling feedback fades away the band are outside, pulling on roll-ups and lager, emotionally drained.

The rest of Liverpool wanders by in a seemingly alcoholic haze with no idea what just took place in a dark and sweaty cellar. Could this have happened before?

www.myspace.com/thevioletmay …I believe The Violet May are invading Camden Barfly 3rd May..should be fun!



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