Deliaphonic 2022 – Supersonic Kids Gig – Lia Mice performs with her Chaos Bells – Hosted by Anna Palmer
Drapers Hall Coventry – 6th March 2022
Deliaphonic is a 4-day festival to celebrate the sounds and legacy of Delia Derbyshire. As part of the four day festival Supersonic present one of their excellent kids gigs. Created by the UK’s premiere experimental music festival, Supersonic Kids Gigs are designed for families as a way of introducing children to experimental music – BIG sounds for little people!
This special Kids Gig taking place at Draper’s Hall in Coventry saw electronic musician and instrument maker Lia Mice perform experimental techno-pop through immersive soundscapes. Fighting Boredom’s smallest contributer loves the kids gigs and took our writer along to enjoy the event.
We spent an hour in the Cathedral exploring the sound installations put in for Deliaphonic. The little one already knows about Delia Derbyshire, she learnt about her at school, and she’d pointed out the Blue plaque marking her house to me the day before while we were walking the dog. There were quite a few things set up. The IKO speaker is a multisided shape – think Dungeons and Dragons dice. With a speaker on each surface. The ambient style sounds and field recordings are relaxing and absorbing. People are lying on the floor cushions dotted about listening.
Round the corner is the Yuri Suzuki Garden of Russolo, big speakers in flat colured boxes that echo and run sound around as they hear it, there were less rude words echoing around in the daytime than the night before. The little one really liked this one.
Then there were the Art of Noise sonic sculptures that ran down the far side of the Cathedral. By now the organist is filling the massive space with music and the installations are an addition to that. From bubbling water sound coming from trumpets to balloons rudely expelling air with various others alongside, my little one and her Grandma spent a good amount of time exploring and playing while making various noises and music.
By this point it was time for the kids gig and we headed into Drapers Hall, a beautiful room with the most amazing ceiling featuring flowers, patterns and a skylight. The room fills up quickly, it’s the most people I’ve seen at a real life kids gig and as they settle down onto the floor and chairs silver foil is given out to make hats.
Our host Anna Palmer arrives and is dressed in a silver robe, a cape, a jeweled mask on the back of her head and a wonderful silver foil hat. She immediately launches off into space, with electronic sounds and beats, and takes the kids with her. Within minutes they are following her around the room, dancing, leaping around and just getting involved with the spacey synth music echoing all around. A planet is found, the aliens are contacted and then with the Doctor Who theme blasting out we realise they are nasty aliens and have to run for it. The kids just adore Anna, she has a trail of them following her around and the ones who are sitting or standing with their grownups are all engaged and spoken to. She never stops, never ignores a comment and keeps the whole thing running, even as it feels like someone herding cats.
Lia Mice is a friendly alien, space walking to the stage in a mirrored suit with an utterly brilliant pink beehive, plugs in some cables and starts singing as Alex plays the chaos bells. The sound is futuristic and spaced out, her singing is strong and lovely. She comes off the stage and sings as the kids run amok, dance, leap and follow Anna who is still crowd control. They play a good set, at one point letting the children play the bells which is great. The Chaos bells are astounding, a huge installation of scaffolding that Lia, Alex and the children at various points make wonderful music with. They look outlandish and alien in the hall full of kids running around with silver foil hats but the sounds they make are fantastical.
Anna plays again and has the kids chasing the dropped beat around the hall. Lia plays a last song and then the kids are invited to play on the array of synths and keyboards across the stage, the guitars and percussion instruments around the room and the chaos bells too. This goes on until we are told a talk is about to begin next door and we kind of have to stop now. An ace afternoon of music, inspiration and above all, just fun.
All words and Pictures by Adrian Bloxham.