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  • Charity Shop Pop
  • Blackaby
Glasswerk @ Grand Central 22/5/21

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It’s hard to ignore the cyclists, cars and passers-by outside the window of the intimate Grand Central. It all so looks so chaotic out there. For us though, we’re looking forward to our first gig in what seems like forever, and this one feels like it’s going to be one of those constantly-smiling-to-strangers-because-it’s-all-so-wholesome kind of nights. Touring her latest album Monthly Friend, WYLDEST is supported by CHARITY SHOP POP and BLACKABY. Monthly Friend is a reflective journal of 2020, with its main theme being inequality, inspired by events of 2020 from #MeToo to Black Lives Matter. The LP shows the versatility in Wyldest’s writing and her ability to evolve by harnessing new sounds and themes.

Ormskirk-based indie-pop artist Charity Shop Pop presses play on the event. His tongue-in-cheek style and charming personality instantly remind us of what we’ve been missing all this time. His set, although relying on some pretty modern equipment for a backing track, could live comfortably on the setlist of a high school prom band from a noughties teen movie. Reminiscent of The 1975, Charity Shop Pop successfully delivers an advert for the summer.

Blackaby takes his seat behind his flower-dressed kick drum and foot-operated snare. Along with his notched guitar and angelic voice, Blackaby dedicates every last muscle to his indie folk music. We are in a daze from the off, hypnotised by its beauty. He jokes that one of his songs was inspired by a chatty audience member from a past show. That won’t be an issue for this event, though. We daren’t speak over this.

Finally, it’s the headliner. Wyldest is the moniker of Zoe Mead, a North London artist whose latest album is the third of her career. She wastes no time in painting the walls with colour and creating thick sheets of harmony through trigger pads and loops, confidently demonstrating the value of creating your own backing track live. Wyldest has such maturity in her writing and a clear vision in her set, which is really quite remarkable given that this project is still relatively new. Her voice glides from note to note effortlessly and possesses a real folk quality. She compares her voice to the lottery and states that it’s a risk if her voice is “going to be there,” but we certainly got the three cherries in a row on this one.


Slinky took part in Bido Lito!’s Bylines writers programme, developing young culture writers of the future.  For more information and to find out about the next intake, visit bidolito.co.uk/workshops

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