Words by Tilly Louise with a segment by Chloe Russell


Day 2 in sunny Birkenhead! We kick it off by heading over to St Mary’s tower, the three graces set in the background stood in the dusk of Saturday early afternoon.

Brad Stank swept us away with his lush vocal melodies and chilled vibes, it was the first time I’d properly listened to Brad’s music and he blew me away! Highlight from his set had to be ‘Pond Weed’, I got goosebumps with the contrasting between his low vocals and the atmospheric guitar licks.

"Future Yard had a real buzz. Those interested in music, like me, had their appetite truly Wirralised with local and national acts."

He stood up on stage with a jumper and funky patterned shorts and had everyone grooving along. He had a really cool, calm and collected style on stage and had everyone locked into his set. Brad’s music had such simple yet so incredibly cool beats, it was so relaxing just watching all of his band vibing and having a good time playing some lovely tunes. You wouldn’t expect the style and feeling surrounding his time on stage, I think that’s what I liked most about his set, which made it really special.

Added his music to my spotify playlist ;)

A little way around the corner was the Bloom building, we were all curious to see Working Men’s Club. We made our way around and you could hear the retro electronic beats pulsating through the streets. Once inside, what seemed like an old shack, it was like a massive party.

People were bumping and dancing around each other, the band themselves were bursting with energy. You could barely move around because of the number of people jumping along with the lead singer, Sydney Minsky-Sargeant.

They had full control over everybody in that shack, their songs had repetitive retro style melodies that got stuck in your head for all the right reasons! Especially their song ‘Teeth’, also added to my spotify playlist ;). They have a similar sort of feel to a couple of 70’s bands such as The Human League, Duran Duran, and Simple Minds, they mastered the whole feel and vibe entirely. From the tone of the synthesisers, style of beats from the drum machines, guitar tone, vocals, alternative lyrics and yes, they were all dressed very cool and retro-ey!


After their set, we headed back to Birkenhead Priory to watch the final act of the night there Nilüfer Yanya. Her voice sounded phenomenal from the front of the church, as we made our way around she was stood drenched in purple lights blessing the audience with her music! Her band was all so engaged and on the same wavelength with each other which made the atmosphere so light and breezy during her set, her music is easy listening and fun.

The standout song to me was ‘The Unordained’, I feel her and her whole band were completely present and enjoying themselves throughout this song! I really enjoyed watching each instrumentalist individually during Nilüfer’s set, each of them was so skilled and passionate for their instruments and you could tell with the energy they gave out throughout the entire set!

My cousin Chloe came along with us as a part of the ICYMI team for the second day at Future Yard and she shared her thoughts on the festival!

To be honest, I’d never expect Birkenhead to be the place of choice on a sunny August bank holiday but Future Yard was absolutely worth the

venture over the Mersey from Liverpool City Centre. Evidently, the friendly, upbeat staff felt the same!

Future Yard had a real buzz. Those interested in music, like me, had their appetite truly Wirralised with local and national acts. The music and beautiful repurposed venues made for a truly cool atmosphere. A steel room from the outside, The Bloom Building contained an energetic audience, dancing to the confident, unconventional Working Men’s Club. I loved every minute! On a completely different note, 2 minutes away at Birkenhead’s Priory, Nilüfer Yanya’s soulful, indie rock tunes pulsates through the crowd as the sun set.

My excitement was real for Anna Calvi and she certainly didn’t disappoint. It was humbling to see a crowd of people of all different ages enjoy Calvi’s powerful, outstanding voice as she gave us all a masterclass in wielding her guitar. Her set spanned her whole career. For fans like me, it was refreshing to hear tracks like the matured Suzanne & I next to the more recent Alpha and Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy in perfect harmony. The lights set the mood as the tracks pulsates throughout the Birkenhead Town Hall. It was truly astonishing to experience. Made me wonder, why isn’t an Anna Calvi gig on everyone’s bucket list?

Closing out the weekend was the otherworldly talented Anna Calvi. What a show she put on! The mood was set from the minute the lights blacked out, the whole audience geared themselves up for her to take the stage. This woman has a stupid amount of coolness, by the way, she took to the stage and altered her microphone stand and everyone was quaking!

She performed songs ranging from her first album to her most recent release, she was mesmerising on stage, especially during her song ‘Don’t Beat the Girl out of My Boy’ she was so incredibly expressive and passionate. On her knees leaning until she was lying on her back, belting crazy high notes with such power and style. I actually couldn’t believe what I was seeing in front of me! Anna had every person in the crowd hanging onto every last beat, note, and breath!

I loved her song ‘Indies or Paradise’ the atmosphere inside the Town Hall was electric, red lighting beaming out behind her and her band. A strong silhouette holding her famous telecaster guitar stood and sang over a sea of high pitched synths and cymbals. Everyone swaying and singing along which added to the mood of the whole room. The bassline rattled the floor and the intricate drum beat had everyone grooving, her set was so intense and I loved every minute. I literally didn’t want it to end.

This was the first time I’d seen Anna Calvi live and I hope I can see her again, her performance has really made an impact and stuck with me. As a singer-songwriter myself her whole show was so incredibly special and inspirational, she’s doing something so different from what many women in the music industry are doing. I feel so, so lucky to have experienced that, being able to tell her that afterwards and speak to her made it all the more special!

Check out all the photos I took at Future Yard on my Flickr and Instagram!

Disclaimer! I'm by no means a photographer or think I am one, I just enjoy taking photos :)

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