August 25th, 2016

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Event - Liverpool Street Art Festival

Against an endless blue sky, Liverpool's brand new mural by Phibs (artist Tim De Haan) gleamed. Its bright colours and organic shapes afforded the eye pleasant relief from the usual advertising billboards that now dominate our urban landscapes.

Along with an array of other murals being spray painted live, this giant Phibs piece transformed the Bathurst Street South Carpark into an edgy art precinct for the inaugural Liverpool Street Art Festival.

The event, an initiative of Liverpool City Council, is part of a plan to morph the southern part of Macquarie Street into a vibrant eat street. And if my nose is anything to go by, it'll be a great success! A short stroll along the strip had me salivating over the aroma of charcoal chicken emanating from D'Roost, and craving felafel from sticking my nose into Jasmins Liverpool.

As day slowly turned to night, a wide segment of multicultural Liverpool residents turned out, many kitted up to the nines, to enjoy non-stop music and performance. Their appetites were kept sated by street food offerings emanating from a food truck jam, conveniently situated on the carpark's upper level where diners overlooked the stage.

Hank's Gourmet Hotdogs turned out a damn fine dawg. The Texan ($12) won my tastebuds with a good quality smoked pork wiener sandwiched inside a pillowy soft, brioche bun. It was garnished with chilli beef, grilled peppers, chipotle mayo and fresh chilli, making for a messy but ultimately satisfying mouthful. While an old-fashioned Ginger Ale ($5/590ml) lacked the real-ginger zing I remember from my childhood, Hank's golden Cream Soda ($5/590ml) summoned up fairs of yesteryear with a big vanilla hit.

Looking like a piece of street art itself, the Raza Central Food Truck, was my dining highlight, for affording me my first taste of Salvadorian street food.

Pupusas ($12/3) are thick, corn tortillas, cooked full of cheese, refried beans and finely ground pork. They're served with a tangy coleslaw, and a soupy tomato salsa, but are even tastier if you avail yourself of the hot sauce provided on the food truck's counter. You'll also find a range of Salvadorian soft drinks. Gotta say: I love me some pupusas!

Shaun Parker & Company took to the stage with shopping carts in a graceful yet edgy piece of contemporary dance, centred around an urban location most people know quite intimately.

By utilising the familiarity of the supermarket, this five-strong dance troupe presented a very accessible piece that captivated local audience members of all ages.

As the dancers - who including Branch Nebula's talented Thomas Kelly - leapt, pushed, flipped and spun their way down  imaginary aisles, the audience gasped and smiled.

You could literally see ideas forming in the minds of the younger viewers: going to try me some of that next time I get dragged to Coles.

Liverpool's supermarkets are unlikely to ever be the same again.

A hand-picked selection of arts and craft stalls, ranging from Thorn & Green's designer terrariums to steampunk-inspired jewellery by Wokkijabber, ensured many visitors (myself included) walked away from this free event with more than just their memories of good food, street art, music and performance.

Liverpool Street Art Festival
Bathurst Street South Carpark
350-354 Macquarie Street, Liverpool