Liverpool to celebrate Captain Beefheart with a weekend of special events

Liverpool to celebrate Captain Beefheart with a weekend of special events in November dedicated to the musician.

In 1972, cult American musician Captain Beefheart (1941-2010) had his first ever exhibition of paintings at Bluecoat. 45 years later, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts is the focus for a weekend that will consider him as a ‘Twentieth-century visionary’ working across music, visual art, writing and performance.

Taking place from Fri 10 – Sun 12 November the weekend is devised by independent curator Kyle Percy, working in collaboration with Chris McCabe (poet and Head Librarian, National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, London) and Bluecoat’s Artistic Director Bryan Biggs. The programme features music, poetry, a symposium, a walking tour, a fanzine, an archival display and a student exhibition – involving artists, experts and fans.

The programme includes:

  • Captain Beefheart’s band, The Magic Band, plays Liverpool Philharmonic on their final UK tour
  • A symposium interrogating Beefheart as a ‘total artist’, looking at his music, visual art, writing and performance.
  • 13 poets, including Patience Agbabi, Vahni Capildeo and Peter Finch, perform new works produced in response to Beefheart’s albums.
  • A music event with a range of Beefheart-inspired musicians performing their own original works alongside reworkings of Beefheart songs. Line-up includes Edgar Jones and the New Joneses, Dave McCabe (The Zutons) and special guest and former Magic Band member Gary Lucas.
  • An exhibition, curated by John Hyatt, of art students’ work made in response to Beefheart’s 1972 Bluecoat exhibition of paintings.

The programme also aims to explore Beefheart’s specific relationship to Liverpool, where he performed several times, and his continuing impact on the city’s musical and creative scenes.

Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at Bluecoat, said, “We’re really looking forward to hosting the event, 45 years after Beefheart first exhibited here. The weekend will explore the idea of him as ‘total artist’ who moved between artistic disciplines, and frame him as more than just an idiosyncratic musician of the 1960s counter-culture who gave up music to develop a career as an expressive painter. The variety of events will spark interest and discussion with existing fans, but we also want to expose Beefheart’s art to new audiences”.