#AD – We were gifted entry via Visit Liverpool
As we were pulling together our Liverpool weekend itinerary the British Music Experience caught my attention. I really enjoy a bit of social history & music is a great way to tell the story with politics from a period of time. The Cool Britannia Brit Pop memorabilia jumped out as this was my teenage subculture & it was a time when I was really into my music and gigging! Happy days.
This British Music Experience was previously a temporary exhibition at the O2 arena in London before it settled in a permanent home in the Cunard building on Liverpool’s waterfront.
Before heading into the exhibition we grabbed some cold drinks in the cafe, which was really pleasant (& air-conditioned) space with plenty of comfy seats.
The piano-playing Elton John sculpture was a brilliant introduction to what was in store & set the scene for the rest of our time here.
Headphones at the Ready
As we entered the room we were handed an audio guide which was kind of like an iPod from back in the day. As you wandered through each section you clicked on the audio guide from that time period, starting with the post-war Skiffle bands of the 1950s who used everything from washing boards, kazoos & banjos to create a hillbilly American influenced sound. It was a skiffle band ‘The Quarrymen’ that John Lennon had his first brush with music. We might hear more about the Beatles while we are here – just a hunch! The audio guides meant you could go at your own pace & in any order which meant that the gallery never felt overcrowded.
Music Through the Decades
As we snaked our way through the gallery we learned how pop music became more flamboyant in the late 1960’s thanks for Jimi Hendrix through to the glitzy Glam Rock era. Here we saw some of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costumes & Marc Bolan’s guitar. This led to the 1970’s/80’s era of New Romantics, punk & heavy metal. The audio guides were such a great way to tell the story & point out some of the hidden details you could miss in the cabinets such as Elton John’s glasses!
Spice Girls & the 90’s
It’s always scary when your childhood becomes history (yes we’re getting old!) and you look back on the music from when you were growing up. I wasn’t really into the Spice Girls music but you couldn’t miss them in the 90’s. The costumes from their Brit performance were here in their glory with THAT union jack dress along with their replica dolls. At this point the girls finally recognised something!
Britpop was my favourite when I was growing up so I loved this section with Liam Gallagher’s duffle coat, Richard Ashcroft’s suit & loads of other memorabilia like setlists & handwritten lyrics.
The last section through our romp through the history of music led us to the phenomena that are TV telly music telly shows & in particular the X-Factor. Without this show, we’d have had no One Direction, Little Mix or Honey G (yes her outfit is there in the middle!)
Every half an hour the stage in the middle of the gallery would spring into life with a hologram performance. We caught this one of Boy George. Have to say it was actually pretty good & definitely added to the experience. I’m not sure who else we could have seen if we had been there longer as there was no timetable or schedule that we could see anyway!
Dancing & Playing
Although I really enjoyed learned about British music through the eras the girls were a bit bored at this point so the interactive section was well received. At this part of the gallery, you could learn to play an instrument, do some dancing & record your own vocals.
As we left the gallery we caught a very busy Fab Five sculpture in the sunshine outside which reinforced that the city’s connection to the Beatles & Liverpool’s contribution to pop music. We had spent a good 90 minutes in the attraction which could have been longer if your kids are really into instruments & are happy learning some tunes!
Address: British Music Experience, Cunard Building, Liverpool
Opening times: Daily from 10am to 6pm
Prices: (Full Prices) Adults £14 Children £9 – online & annual pass discounts are available.