There was a bit of a secret gig up on Hardman Street last night. Well, it was a secret… until Michael Head’s name slipped out on social media and tickets were suddenly as rare as a copy of ‘The Olde World’. What’s it all about? Introducing La Violette Società. By Graham Ennis.

La Violette Società  is a modern cabaret featuring music, poetry, visuals… magic perhaps. All with equal billing. It’s run by the people behind Violette Records – essentially Michael Head and a ragbag collection brought together by the website Shacknet.

The first night of La Violette Società, at the Buyers Club on Hardman Street, featured poet Paul Birtill, The Blue Soul and a singer songwriter billed as Joni O’Shea. Ticket sales were light until it clicked that Head had written a short story under the pseudonym Joni O’Shea and then it sold out in minutes.

So it came to pass that over two hundred people crammed into that long room – with sight-lines worse than the Lower Bullens – to watch the old grump poet, Paul Birtill. I missed him, unfortunately, but was assured he was excellent. So is his book, a collection of poems. Buy it – he’s as miserable as sin and funny as hell.

Next up came Mick. Sobriety suits him – fit and healthy, he looks twenty years younger. A musical Benjamin Button. Moreover, after decades of abuse, his voice is developing a real richness. At times here, he positively crooned. He even hit high notes not heard since Shack’s ‘Zilch’.

The crowd lapped it up. Liverpool has a deep-seated love for Michael Head and his music. I can’t help thinking that that devotion is about to be rewarded with a remarkable late-period renaissance.

Finally, The Blue Soul took to the stage. Featuring ex-The Maybes singer Nick Ellis, they are a bit of an enigma. A bluesy rock band in the main, but within their set there were songs which sounded a bit like The Jam or even The Stone Roses. Occasionally, too, they hit on a deep New York drone and sounded wonderful. Sadly, a large section of the crowd made their way home after Mick’s set and therefore missed The Blue Soul’s tightly played set of songs…

That kind of goes against the ethos of the Società. Then again, it’s a new idea and hopefully people will get the hang of it. Eventually.

Pic by John Johnson




John stammers
August 26, 2017 Reply
Hi P.J. How's it going ? 1st of all thanks for getting in touch ! I'm just contacting you regarding this potential gig in November. We're well up for it by the way ! Have you heard the new album ? Would you like a copy ?? Was wonder if you knew that we're a 4 piece ? I'm just thinking that as we're comin up from London it would be good for us ( selfishly ) to do a Friday or Saturday so we can play MCR on one of those dates too . Give me a bell if you like on 07446 866613 Thanks again , John . Sent from my iPhone
John stammers
August 26, 2017 Reply
P.s. wE're off on our honeYmooN On Thurs so wont be back till 11th Sept . Nice one ...