British Music Experience
14th June 2017
The British Music Experience is an exhibition all about the history of the British music industry. It was previously on show at the O2 in London but it’s now on at the Cunard Building in Liverpool, which is rather fitting considering Liverpool is a UNESCO City of Music.
As soon as I heard that the exhibition was coming to Liverpool I knew I had to go. I’m very passionate about British music and the history of the industry is something that fascinates me. So after a crappy couple of weeks, Tyrone and I decided to buy ourselves so tickets and headed over there one Saturday morning.
The Cunard Building itself is absolutely stunning. I can see it from my house and I was pleased to discover that it’s just as beautiful inside as it is on the outside. Once we were inside, the friendly staffed showed us around and then presented us with our audio guides.
If you book your tickets online you are guaranteed the free audio guide. Personally, I found it easier to look around the exhibits without the audio guide, but there’s definitely a lot of information available if you want it.
The exhibition is split up into 8 zones or galleries, each covering a different period of time from 1945 to the present day. In the centre of the exhibition is a stage which shows holograms of artists performing. They were advertising loads of different artists, such as Oasis, Queen and Led Zeppelin, but all we saw was Boy George, so that was somewhat disappointing, haha!
If you make your way around the exhbition in order, you’ll start of in zone which covers 1945 to 1962. You’ll learn about ‘Trad’ jazz, Skiffle and Rock n Roll, as well as the American influence on British music at the time.
Zone 2 covers 1962 to 1966, which is all about the “British Invasion” of bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in to the United States. The suit in the image below belonged to John Lennon.
If there is one thing I will take away from this exhibition it’s that a lot of musicians are/were quite short! And also incredibly slim. I kept looking at the outfits thinking “How on earth did they manage to fit in that?!”.
Zone 3 takes you through the progression of pop culture from 1966 to 1970, where things start to get a little psychedelic, before entering zone 4 which was probably my favourite part of the exhibition. In this zone, which spans 1970 to 1975, you will find some incredible memorabilia including this jumpsuit worn by Keith Moon. I recognised it as soon as I saw it as I used to have a photograph of Keith wearing it on my wall when I lived in student accommodation!
Also on display in this zone is a drum kit belonging to Roger Taylor (of Queen, not Duran Duran!) and a collection of David Bowie’s costumes.
I also enjoyed walking through zone 5. This covers 1975 to 1985 which is probably one of my favourite periods in music history (even if I wasn’t born then!). The suit on the right in the picture below belonged to Roger Taylor of Duran Duran.
Throughout the galleries you will also find these interactive boards where you can select an image to find out more about the music produced in each era. Naturally, in this section, I navigated straight to The Police; one of my favourite bands of all time.
Zone 6 was another gallery I found interesting. This covers 1985 to 1993 and features memorabelia from Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Iron Maiden, as well as a feature about Live Aid. I have to admit, I often watch clips from Live Aid and wish that I had a time machine so that I could go back and be in that crowd in London.
Zone 7 takes us into the new millennium, spanning 1993 to 2004. It showcases bands such as Blue, Oasis, Pulp as well as one of my personal favourites when I was a kid, Spice Girls. In the photo below you’ll see the handwritten lyrics to Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis.
Zone 8, covering 2004 to the present day, was probably my least favourite zone because, to be honest, I don’t really like a lot of the music that is produced nowadays! It was mostly about the “X-Factor generation”. They had a few outfits that were made for X-Factor contestants, but they weren’t behind glass like all the other exhibits. I guess that says everything!
After you have travelled through the years, just before you head to the gift shop, there is the Gibson interactive studio. This was probably my favourite part of the whole exhibition as they have keyboards, drums and guitars for you to learn to play. There are different booths with different musicians and their relevant instruments, so obviously we went straight to the Keith Moon and Pete Townshend booths!
I also had a play on the bass guitar, because I absolutely love the sound of an electric bass, and now I really want to buy one and take lessons to learn how to play. Basically I want to be able to replicate John Entwistle’s 5:15 bass solo!
Do you think this guitar suits me?!
Tickets cost £16 for adults, and as say, if you book online you will be guaranteed a free audio tour. It took us about an hour and a half to look around the galleries and we probably spent a good half an hour messing about with the instruments! I would highly recommend you pop along with you are in Liverpool and you love music as much as I do. I think it’s well worth the money.
Although it’s described as being a permanent exhibition, I expect it will move on in the future, so get down to the Cunard Building as soon as you can!
Are you a fan on the British music industry? Do you think you’d enjoy this exhibition?
P.S. I apologies for the photo quality. As you can tell, it’s very dark in the exhibition.