Celebrating 45 years since legendary polymath Captain Beefheart held his first art exhibition at the Bluecoat, Liverpool is set to become a hub of music, visual art and performance dedicated to his life and works. Taking place between November 10th and 12th, the programme for the Captain Beefheart Weekend aims to explore the Don Van Vliet’s impact on the city of Liverpool and beyond, featuring everything from music and poetry, to a walking tour and a fanzine. Here are our highlights from the weekend.
THE MAGIC BAND
Philharmonic Music Room – 10/11
Whilst not an official part of the Captain Beefheart Weekend, the return of THE MAGIC BAND, Captain Beefheart’s backing band, to Liverpool makes it a perfect start to the celebrations. Heading out on their final UK tour, former Beefheart musical director and drummer John ‘Drumbo’ French leads the latest incarnation of the band, performing faithful and beautiful renditions of classic Beefheart works.
DIGGING BEEFHEART: A SYMPOSIUM EXPLORING BEEFHEART AS TOTAL ARTIST
the Bluecoat – 11/11
Exploring the work of Captain Beefheart, DIGGING BEEFHEART is a symposium aimed at exploring the breadth of his work and how his music, writing, performance and visual art overlap and inspired each other. Consisting of various presentations and panels, the event will feature the likes of Magic Band member Gary Lucas, Beefheart’s biographer Mike Barnes. Artist Graham Crowley, record sleeve designer Steve Hardstaff, as well as fans who attended his many Liverpool shows.
DOPED IN STUNNED MIRAGES: A POETIC CELEBRATION OF DON VAN VLIET
the Bluecoat – 11/11
Known for his infamously surreal lyrics, Captain Beefheart published many of his poems on his record sleeves. His work has been the source of inspiration for nearly 50 years, influences the likes of Tom Waits and PJ Harvey along the way. Now, as part of DOPED IN STUNNED MIRAGES, thirteen of the UK most enthralling poets are here to perform new poetry in response to a specific Beefheart album, from Safe as Milk to Ice Cream For Crow.
FAT N’ BULBOUS: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF CAPTAIN BEEFHEART
District – 11/11
A specially selected group of Liverpool artist pay tribute to the sizeable influence of an artist who has inspired everyone from Lee Mavers to PJ Harvey. This special event will feature the likes of Edgar Jones, a.P.A.t.T and Strange Collective playing their own songs as well as reworked versions of tracks from the beatific Beefheart back catalogue. Former Magic Band member Gary Lucas will also be making a special appearance.
The Beefheart bonanza doesn’t stop there. There is also a specially mapped walking tour of Beefheart’s Liverpool in FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD which takes in some of the sites graced by Van Vliet’s gigs, happenings and exhibitions. The guys at Make Liverpool present ICE CREAM FOR CROW, a Beefheart response exhibition from young artists across the North of England and Dublin. The wordsmiths at Jarg Magazine are also getting involved with a specially commissioned online zine for the occasion. See you Zig Zag Wanderers there!
For more information go to bluecoat.org.uk