Bees, Gests, and a Lovely Old Fort

posted on June 21st, 2007 by Anthony

Arriving at Perch Rock

On Saturday night we had the very good fortune to go and see one of our favourite bands in a very apt setting. And on the Wirral!

The Wirral

Our lovely little peninsula doesn’t get much of a look in when it comes to… well anything really. We will forever be that unofficial annex of Liverpool Over the Water. This has its good points and bad points, and overall the pros far outweigh the cons so I won’t complain too much – but when it comes to music we very much play second fiddle.

The Coral, for instance, are from Hoylake in the (relatively posh) North West of the peninsula… but you probably didn’t know that because they are always billed as cheeky Liverpool scamps. The legendary John Peel was brought up on the Wirral too, but again it’s Liverpool that takes the credit.

I’m getting side tracked, sorry.

Anyway the point I’m trying to get at is that the Wirral is not a hot destination for bands. So it’s absolutely awesome to see bands like The Bees tripping up to play – in flipping New Brighton!

New Brighton.

The New Brighton Tower

To get an idea for New Brighton first you need to think Blackpool. Then divide that thought by 100.

Then think Morecambe and imagine something about 3-4 times more desolate and dying on it’s arse (it is possible).

Now try Rhyll. Yes it makes Rhyll look like Vegas.

New Brighton is an old school sea side resort on the mouth of the Mersey. In it’s hey day it was where the working class of Liverpool came on holiday – which as the crow files is about half a mile away… It had a tower that was as good as Blackpool’s. It had a Pier. It had an outdoor swimming pool. It had a clean River Mersey. It had people that wanted to visit.

Now… well it has a bowling alley, two or three clubs/bars (even in my day it had twice the number of clubs – it’s where 16 year olds went before they could get into Liverpool bars…), the worst type of ‘amusement’ arcades and a row chip shops. It’s a bit crap really.

Certainly not your average place for playing host to top bands.

However, it does have Fort Perch Rock.

The Fort

According to the font of all ‘knowledge’:

Fort Perch Rock is a coastal defence battery built between 1825 and 1829. It was built to protect the Port of Liverpool and as a fortified lighthouse to replace the old Perch Rock Light. It was originally built on an area known as Black Rock and was cut off at high tide, but now coastal reclamation has made it fully accessible.

It looks quite impressive, but it’s never really done an awful lot… it hasn’t really had to. We’re pretty sheltered really, but I suppose it made people feel safer. It’s changed hands a few times and it’s been used for a few things, at the moment it’s used as military aviation museum, which makes perfect sense in old naval fort. Well I’m sure it must do to someone.


Anyway a trio of lads from Wallasey last year decided to put it to better use and managed to start a summer gig night called Nautical. British Sea Power, among others, did a great job of making a cracking evening… so good they did it again this year.

So on Saturday we made the short trip up the coast to New Brighton to pass through the gates of the Fort!

The Gates

Blimey it was small! Which was brilliant, but a bit unexpected. Intimate is the word I suppose.

Jonjo Feather

After settling down with a drink and watching dapper solo artist Jonjo Feather I turned around and did a classic double take and said “what the f*** is he doing here!” as David Gest walked past on the walkway behind us. Definitely one of those more surreal moments of life that mean you have to text everyone in the area about what just happened…

David Gest at Fort Perch Rock

He later came on stage to announce the Bees. He made the cardinal mistake of declaring “Hellooooo Liiiverpoool!!”

Booooooooooooooooooooooo we said.

He was quickly corrected!

There was no reason for him being there except that he genuinely seems to be a big Bees fan and just missed them a the Isle of Wight Festival! Which is kind of cool really.

And who can blame him because, quite frankly, they are fecking awesome.


The Bees have already delivered mine and Claire’s fave album of the year so far with Octopus. The other albums are pretty damn good too… we had high expectations.

The Bees

They leaped over them like a Bulgarian pole vaulter.

They are hugely talented, with four of the six members swapping instruments at will. One minute they would be on guitar and lead vocals. Then bass. Then trumpet. Then Piano. Then drums. Then, occasionally, some cheeky sax.

And my god they were effortlessly tight. Their (specialist) drummer is like a bleeding sample machine… when he’s not on bass.

Their tune sounded awesome live, with even the stretched out dub sections of their instrumental effortlessly recreated… oh it was good stuff.

OK it was a bit nippy, but the atmosphere was awesome inside that little fort. The Bees have an affinity with the sea. Octopus mostly consists of the New Shanty sound… which is a genre I just made up… and an old naval fort was just spot on for it to be played in.

They seemed to enjoy it as much as the crowd.


The music was also accompanied by some performance atristes who juggled fire and things. It was pretty cool, though the wind caused some problems. Like flaming torches being dropped from balconies. Nearly on peoples heads.

Fire Juggler

They also did that angle grinding trick…

Grind that crotch

it looked nice, but it was a bit uncomfortable to be showered in sparks.

Conclusion of the night

Awesome, we can’t wait for the next one in July!