Preston’s The Continental to host Steve Barker’s ‘On the Wire’ radio show celebration

Steve Barker and Bhajan Bhoy aka Ajay Saggar

The Continental is hosting a celebration for Steve Barker of BBC Radio Lancashire this weekend.


On Sunday, September 19, from 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the musicians will meet at the Preston Restaurant for a performance-packed evening.

Afternoon sessions, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., are free and include showcases from labels from Preston Them There Records and Concrete Tapes. The evening session, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., features sets by Dean McPhee, Bhajan Bhoy and Gwenifer Raymond.

Steve Barker’s On the Wire (OTW) radio show has been broadcast from Lancashire since 1984 and weekly via BBC Radio Lancashire.

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OTW is the oldest underground music radio show, but in the days when it was only available on AM / FM radio, OTW only crossed the Lancashire border in good weather or was dubbed onto C90 cassettes. .

Over the past 20 years, the show has consolidated its global reach, with each edition being made accessible anywhere via the Internet.

The aberrant music featured on OTW has evolved over the years. Dub and roots reggae have been constant features, often on Adrian Sherwood’s On U Sound label, which also provided the melody for the instantly recognizable OTW theme, Dub Syndicate’s Ravi Shankar No 1.

Very early on, Steve mixed it with hip hop, underground rock, jazz, blues and R’n’B. More recently he has focused on contemplative sounds, atmospheric electronic music, world music, and guitar instrumentals.

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Steve always puts the music first, and listeners often spend half an hour or more in an episode of OTW before it appears, or as The Guardian puts it, “announces in return eight or more records. in a row with occasional gnomic comments ”.

OTW disappeared from Radio Lancashire’s programming in March 2020 as part of the BBC’s local radio programming reorganization, which occurred during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Since then, while being rested by the BBC, Steve and the rest of the On the Wire team have continued to post editions of the show on Mixcloud, with links posted weekly through the OTW webpage.

Following a sustained fan campaign, BBC Radio Lancashire has reinstated On The Wire, but only for a token of four shows per year, although Steve continues to post weekly shows on Mixcloud. We do not yet know what the future of specialized local radio will be, but what is certain is that On the Wire will continue no matter what.

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The Continental and Tuff Life Boogie said they were thrilled to be involved in organizing the concert to celebrate the music Steve championed recently on the show and helped persuade the BBC to bring the show back to its own. weekly spot.

Concrete Tapes will feature Lorentzian’s analogue techno-witchcraft Preston, followed by one of the electro bands of the moment, the Warrington-Runcorn Development Plan, whose Ghost Box-style presentation on boutique label Castles In Space has earned them accolades.

Them There Records features exclusive sets from The Universal Veil and Powders. The Universal Veil is a duo made up of Sam McLoughlin (Twisted Nerve) and Folklore Tapes director David Chatton Barker. Their improvised live performances with their ritual handmade instruments are alternately meditative, trance, joyful and surreal.

Their latest 12-inch vinyl-only Helios / Hind album is a sonic artifact that unearths lo-fi cassette recordings from years of past performances and weaves them together into a new whole, using an array of esoteric processes.

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The organizers said he was possessed by the same spirit of mystery and discovery that is present in their live shows, where unusual sounds are spontaneously generated, recycled and transmuted into a deeply eerie, magical and psychedelic soundscape.

Powders is a new live project from Josh Horsley (Cello) and Carl Brown (Electronics). Their live setup combines granular synthesizers and samplers with minimalist string repeats to create lush drones that build and swell within the walls of sound.

Starting at 6 p.m., the evening session features three providers of different shades of solo guitar, all of which have featured prominently on OTW in recent years.

West Yorkshire-based electric guitarist Dean McPhee plays a Fender Telecaster through a tube amp and effects pedals. He has perfected his craft over the past 10 years, with occasional LP form bulletins on the Blast First Petite and Hood Faire labels.

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Expect flowing, finger-picked melodies combined with atmospheric drones and trance-inducing loops.

Ajay Saggar, Honorary Lancastrian and now based in Amsterdam, is an old friend of On the Wire, having appeared on the series in various incarnations over the years: first with the legendary band Preston The Dandelion Adventure in the late years. 80 and over the next three decades. with Donkey, The Bent Mustache, King Champion Sounds, Deutsche Ashram
and The common cold.

The last four acts have lit up various Tuff Life Boogie events at The Continental in recent years. Bhajan Bhoy is Ajay’s latest solo incarnation and switches from Deutsche Ashram’s textured guitar. It combines with an arsenal of oblique strategies, sound and atmospheric samples found from Brian Eno’s textbook.

Bhajan Bhoy’s debut album Bless Bless received acclaim this year and is expected to be Time Lord Ajay’s most successful incarnation.

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Gwenifer recently released her second album, Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain, on the famous Tompkins Square label in the fall of 2020 and is one appearance from Jools Holland to be the next big thing in roots music.

Growing up in Wales and now based in Brighton, Gwenifer specializes in sparse American primitive instrumentals drawn from the roots music of the Mississippi and Appalachians.

Steve himself will also be DJing between sets during the evening session, along with OTW contributor Michael Fenny Fenton.

For tickets visit –

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