The Liverpool Echo, April 28, 2000
Little-known Ormskirk band takes centre stage with star names at pop spectacular

Playing with the big boys
'Interview' by DEBBIE JOHNSON

SINGER Chris Ashcroft is used to appearing in front of a crowd.

He's not shy; he's performed with his* band, Monkey Steals the Drum, before audiences of a couple of hundred before now.

But on May 29, when he walks out on stage, the scene will be slightly different. He will be looking out at a sea of 25,000 faces.

For the band has been chosen as one of the support acts for the BBC Music Live spectacular at the Kings Dock.

Also on the bill will be New York rap kings Run DMC, Public Enemy, and local bands Space and Bullyrag.

"We still can't believe it," says Chris, "when we were asked to do it and I went back and told the rest of the band, they were like 'what? With Run DMC? Are you sure?'

"By the end of the consversation, even I was starting to think maybe I imagined it..."

It is the latest success for the Ormskirk-based four-piece, who, who have become firm favourties with cult radio DJ John Peel - a man renowned for breaking some of the best bands in Britain. Wirral-born Peel has

described the group as "the next big thing to come out of Liverpool", and the Kings Dock event as "an opportunity to have a great time".

Chris says: "We did a demo on our own little eight-track, and sent it off to John Peel. Then, to be honest, I just forgot about it.

"The next thing I knew, I was lying in bed one morning and the phone went. It was him, saying how much he loved the demo. And it's not the kind of voice that you don't recognise, is it?
"He's played it a lot, we've done a session for him, and he also included us in his Peelennium - his end-of-the century best band round up.

"It has been really amazing recently, especially as we have only been together for about a year**.

"We are really looking forward to playing Kings Dock, although it is a bit hard to get your head around the thought of appearing with people like Run DMC and Public Enemy in front of those many people."

The licence has now been granted for concert, which will be part of a 48-hour music special broadcast from all around the UK by the BBC.

Liverpool band Space and special guests Asian Dub Foundation will also be performing, along with The Chinese Youth Orchestra, Muglnkyo drum group, Manabozoh Drum Orchestra, Extra Stout and the Enkingmogun Afro Beat Orchestra.

Mike Hindly, of the council's Millennium Unit - also owner of the city's L2 and Lomax music venues - says the aim is to create a day-long multi-cultural fest.

He says: "We want the atmosphere to be like a very big village. There will be big beer tents, smaller stages for the other acts, a funfair and food from all over the world - not just burgers and hot-dogs.

"The BBC wanted to reflect the fact that Liverpool is the gateway to the Atlantic, and a city that has a diverse culture of its own.

"The value is absolutely phenomenal, really - 15 for a whole day. When you look at festivals across England this year, they are all about 60.

"This is accessible to everyone - and let's face it, it's cheaper than a day out at a football match!"

The day starts at 12 noon, with a finale at 10pm when Liverpool links up with other major cities around the UK to sing Lou Reed's anthem Perfect Day

The concert will form part of a special weekend broadcast of music all over the nation being shown on BBC1 BBC2.

It has been part funded by the city council, the BBC and various sponsors.

All major cities around the UK will be taking part in the live music marathon which starts on TV from late Sunday, May 28, until late Monday, May 29.

Tickets for the Liverpool concert are priced at 15 and are available from Ticketmaster on: 0870 151 4000 or from the Royal Court Theatre box office.

* Chris wants to say it's not 'his' band, but that it's completely equal and he wished the piccy showed the whole band.
** They've been GIGGING for a year. They've actually been together a lot longer.

(C) Copyright 2000 Liverpool Echo.

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