Live Age At B-Arts

B-Arts Coloured With Live Age Festival

Sean Dissington || October 3rd

Live Age is a festival dedicated to understanding how age is represented through artists, and how it changes artists, both personally and in the work that they produce.

B-Arts, is located in Stoke, on Hartshill road, and is a fantastic space. It’s the home of Bread in Common, and Potters Soup, as well as a flexible working space and two massive performance spaces. On entering, there was a large selection of artwork on display, all produced by artists who had taken part in the project, or who had been involved in the documentary, going through to the main performance space there was a huge intimately lit dining and performance area – and very important for the press – the bar! Staffed by Bottle Craft’s very own Chris Wilson there was a great range of craft beverages, including one cider with apples grown upon the slopes of the Himalayas, the efficacy of which I can vouch for!

Spoken word started the evening with Alan B and Marney Dainty providing poignant, wry and outright hilarious viewpoints on life, age and how we perceive ourselves. With the audience suitably warmed, the food started coming out – and I must call out Susan – the Head Chef at B-Arts and her team for praise here. The food was incredible! Fresh veggies, bread and homemade hummus followed by vegan chilli (for me) carnivores could have a stew if they wished and brought to conclusion by stewed fruits and short biscuits made with orange and cardamom.

As we ate, the next act – a trio of ladies calling themselves the Sweethearts - performed a selection of Julie Andrews and other 40’s songs. This genre of music is as far removed from my taste as it’s possible to be, but they were impossible to dislike. Their enthusiasm poured from them, and the harmonies! These ladies can sing well, with genuine delight they sang in close harmony through five or six songs (the cider was taking particular effect by this time), getting much love from the audience.

Alan returned for more spoken word wisdom, and then it was over to Terry Earl Taylor, who took us on a bit of a journey with exquisite banjo playing and wonderful singing.  A singer named Melanie then performed several sixties hits to the delight of the audience, and understandably so since the talent of this lady was undeniable, as was hers and the audiences genuine pleasure of the event.

For me though, the high point was the band at the end – Fine and Dandy. As someone who can only play guitar very badly, I confess to being a little envious of musicians who are adept at playing, especially strings players. And these gents were simply brilliant.

The musical set list was brilliantly curated, the art was wonderful and the food was utterly fantastic. Live Age cabaret was a credit to its organisers, and more proof that we have the spaces and the talent in the city to arrange fantastic nights of entertainment when we want to.