The Zanzibar Club has long been at the centre of Liverpool’s world famous music scene, welcoming in newcomers and seasoned performers alike and connecting the city’s inhabitants with a shared love for music. Now, on April 4th, the iconic venue welcomes in friends of the city once more as Mellowtone host a night of ‘alternative folk’.
The line up features Dan The Man, the solo project of The Wombats’ Drummer, Daniel Haggis, a rare solo acoustic set from Eugene McGuinness, and what is set to be another captivating performance from Anwar Ali and Dave Owen.
Dan The Man is a contemplative break for Haggis, who is best known for his time playing drums/keys and warbling in falsetto with The Wombats. Having now spent over 10 years recording and touring across the world with since the band’s debut album, Dan The Man offers him the chance to take full creative control and disregard marketability in place of pure honesty. The project, that Dan describes as ‘Cinematic Bedroom Folk’, is a hole into which he can pour the strangest and most random thoughts that hibernate inside his mind. Having now released two studio albums, Dan is continuing to grow into this project. He’s built up a rich, warming sound that can resonate with everyone, whilst also singing about relatively untouched topics such as ‘Herbal Tea’, ‘The Cinema’ and ‘The Plight of the Dung Beetle’. After receiving high praise for his second album, he is now working on a follow up record as well as doing lots of yoga.
Joining Dan on the line up is lover of all things bright and musical, Eugene McGuinness. Born in 1985 in London to Northern Irish parents, McGuinness started writing songs in his mid-teens. By the age of just 20, McGuinness was signed to the publishing arm of the hottest British indie label of the time, Domino Records. Armed with a truly outstanding debut single, ‘Monsters Under the Bed’, that recalls artists ranging from Beck to ’80s U.K. cult heroes, Television Personalities, Eugene appeared rather out of nowhere in 2007. He is a singer and songwriter of varied tastes whose talents extend beyond what’s currently fashionable, with an eye for mixing and matching unexpected influences. In an early interview, he claimed to be equally enamoured of Broadway master Stephen Sondheim and UK grime star Dizzee Rascal. As well as playing as a session and touring band member for Miles Kane, McGuinness has now released for studio albums and continues to blend nostalgic and contemporary influences to create an enthralling live set.
Continuing on the theme of connecting Liverpool’s inhabitants, this night sees two local folk heroes return to the venue where they first met. Anwar Ali moved to the UK as a refugee, originally hailing from the Bajuni Islands; a tropical paradise off the coast of East Africa. Dave Owen is a guitarist from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, who’s been knocking around Liverpool for years. The pair met in Liverpool’s Zanzibar Club, simultaneously captivated by the others’ distinct and contrasting sound. Anwar and Dave resolved to meet and explore the possibilities and avenues that were presented by their ingenuities. The sound they produce is a unique blend; steeped in Swahili and East African musical heritage, and underpinned by a British folk sensibility. The pair have clocked up several notable support slots including Malian legends Amadou & Mariam, and The West African Blues Project, as well as appearances at festivals including Fire in the Mountain, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and Africa Oye.
With such eclectic folk talent on offer, this night is sure to be one of culture, community and a shared love for exploring the depths of lyricism and song craft. It is an 18+ event and kicks off at 7pm, grab your tickets for just £5 here.