ThresholdX – The last one – What a beautiful sadness

Threshold took a bow in fine style. We’ll miss it and despite moving to Zoom and YouTube, it was a triumph.

ThresholdX was always intended to have been the festival’s swan song.

We will miss it and it’s a crashing shame it couldn’t happen in real life. It seems to have been the festival that marked the appearance of spring and was pretty much the marker for the start of festival season.

When we logged on on Friday, we had a taste of what we were to expect, which was Mono LPs doing a guitar / cello thing. They looked genuinely happy to be a part of this fest. And had the chance to give us a listen of new single, Think About It, released the same day.

And then the delight that is Mamatung playing a set from District. And unveiling a new song called Flowers on Bandcamp.

We’ll confess to having paid only a passing attention to Friday’s happenings, but we were super happy to have caught the amazing set from Kapil Seshasayee that rounded off our evening. It was probably the highlight of the Friday session, with superb sound and a political stance that punches upwards. And he says he’s hoping to get back to Liverpool, having played here a few years ago.

We can only hope.

We dipped in and out of the events on Saturday, including a wander around the Baltic Triangle for an hour or so. There was new art to see, including works from Lost Hills, Pamela Sullivan (the pigeons) and Danny O’Connor.

Danny O’Connor
Pamela Sullivan

The afternoon started off with a lovely, dreamy, set from Evie Moran, including her most recent release, the single, appropriately enough called Dream.

Some soft soul from Lyra seemed to fit the taunting sunshine outside as we were tuned into the video from our bedroom. Each one of the six band members had recorded their piece separately and remotely before the individual clips were combined and synced. Can’t have been easy, but it worked perfectly.

A change of style from Dawn and the Embers with their funk / folk harmonies and shocking pink hair from Dawn Hignett was good fun, combining some live video with stop motion animation. They have a new single, Hook Line and Sinker released Sunday on Bandcamp.

Threshold has always combined music with talking shops as well as visual arts. There’s a very cool virtual gallery on the website that’s staying there for 3 months.

Some of the pieces are for sale as well, so you could get yourself a nice bit of original art. Jazamin Sinclair gave us a quick whizz around some of the highlights, but it’s worth spending a bit of time noodling around. The video from Robyn Woolston was a particular highlight, created specially for Threshold.

Flloyd Kennedy gave us some banjo tunes about insects, beetles and the like as well as some spoken word. It was joyful and playful. She mused about writing a book about nothing – “a post apocalyptic book about me”. That’s unfair. There’s a lot to like about Flloyd.

Merry Go Round – a lullaby for a stoical baby is a song with which we could do with taking heed. “Live in the moment for the future will astound you” and “The future is already here and it’s either what you hoped for, or it’s not!” She has books of her poetry on Amazon.

Les Oddities were about to record an album when Covid hit, so their future was probably not the one they’d hoped for. They have the songs, but no access to a studio.

Although they were sporting a decent amount of Covid inspired facial hair. But there wasn’t a lot odd about their performance – some really clever blues / Spanish / Greek inspired guitar work was on display here. The guys can play their instruments, that’s for sure.

This was another delight from the Threshold curators. The guys were obviously keen on their piece said to have been inspired by the idea there should have been a cowboy themed level in Super Mario. We think they should have pitched that to Nintendo a while back. It would have surely been included!

We have a soft spot for Nana Funk’s brand of crazy burlesque, having seen her a while back in Studio 2 supporting Mamatung. Her role as compère for Secret Circus was perfect. She fits their somewhat surreal brand of suggestive imagery. Beija Flo as Captain Seamanstains will give you part of an idea.

An anarchic romp that had the cast shredding pictures of Tim MartinFuck Off – in you go, along with images of others we should chuck in there without debate.

An hour of surreal mayhem kind of shows why Threshold is precious and why we’ll miss it. Nana Funk summonsed the spirits to ask if we should accept an invite from an ex to join a nudist colony. That sort of thing. The answer is that it would be most serene.

Secret Circus

Annoyingly, we had to be elsewhere for a couple of hours after that point because, well, life.

Deliah provided a slick pop / power ballad set. She’s a definite one to watch and her voice is sure to be on a radio near you pretty soon. Classy.

The Soul Rays make a very cool noise. Lots of brass, heavy drums and trousers as loud as their music. They got a big “Wooh” from everyone on the Zoom.

But the evening’s free streams finished up with the super superb Emergency Tiara. Threshold faves, there was probably no better way to bow out. than with a chat with Juri from the band. There’s new music coming out in June. They hope we’ll like it. Oh, we’re sure we will.

They sent two pre-recorded videos over. They were pure, prefect pop. The first called Dancing In The Living Room. What a way to sign out. It’s about all we’ve been able to do for ages. Chris and Kaya suggested they should come back to Liverpool. If they were to do that, then we’d be right up at the front.

We got to do the District Sessions to round off the night.

Starting off with the quite frankly magnificent Seafoam Green as a full five piece rocking to an empty room as if it was a packed house. Teasing their new album, it’s a real shame there could not have been more to hear this ace set. They exhorted us to have a glass of whisky.

We’re well ahead of them at this time of night. Superb on the rocks.

The Good Host have a rather engaging, lazy kind of Americana feel. It was just the thing for a late night session. They’re welcome around our place any time they like. We’ll do the beers and peri peri wings if they bring the amps.

And then we nearly finished with where we almost started with a second round from Mamatung. If there’s any band on this bill that merits a second go, then we’re happy with this choice. They know about unusual rhythm and making odd beats work.

And then there was Mersey Wylie. Who is utterly superb. There’s her gorgeous voice and a melancholic tenor sax. She looks into your eyes. She looks to come out the other side and feel stronger. If we all had a bit of Mersey with us, then that might work. Be more like Mersey. Threshold gave her first ever gig. There will be many more for this most worthy of headliners. She killed it.

We finished up with a full on rock set from Elevant and if there was one minor crit, then we’d perhaps wish there could have been more heavy rocky sets. But, we’ll take what there is.

Thank you Threshold for all your hard work. It wasn’t as you’d intended, nor, we’d suspect as you’d have hoped, but we reckon you pulled it off with some style and skill. There was a superb mix of serious, frivolous, visual, sonic and a lot besides.

It may have been the last Threshold and for that we are shedding a quiet tear. But, you guys need to do more, in some other guise at some other time. And we hope you do.

What a beautiful sadness.

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