THEY were the band most likely to: a fistful of wistful melodies, a dedicated following, some of the most tightly rehearsed players in town.
So why on earth did nobody outside of Liverpool, 1989, ever get to hear or appreciate the talent that was The Vernons?
As a live act, with a repertoire of whimsical and exuberant songs to carry audiences home from the Haigh Building (or the Sunday Night Everyman Bistro into Monday morning), there were few to touch them.
Running Free on the TGV, Passiondale, Everyone’s Got Friends in London.... tracks all born out of life in Wavertree's student bedsit land. Eventually there was vinyl, an album of earworms called Smithdown Road, released by the parish record label, Probe.
Google this band and you will discover little. As Mersey musical eras go, 1988-1989 is one you won't find being talked up. Nevertheless, things were far from quiet.
Nationally, the record business and media were busy struggling to put their finger on the pulse of the Second Summer of Love. Liverpool, however, was spinning things its own way, with a little help from outside friends. Among the university and polytechnic freshers landing at Lime Street, came creative migrants from small towns with big ideas.
Just as years before, with Deaf School and those on the Zoo roster, in 1989 came incomers who would add a different musical pollen to an already considerable scene of homegrown talent that included Shack, Benny Profane, the La’s, and, elsewhere, Peter Coyle’s frenzied Donny and Marie Handbag Revolution.
Experimenting with digital music in the L8 attics - and to be found with Atari consoles at the newfangled acid house parties - were computer science graduates from anywhere but here such as Where’s The Beach, F and Timeshard. Up in St Helens, Poisoned Electrik Head were providing strictly analogue Moog music at Dead Fly and The Citadel.
During all this, and out of The Vernons, morphed the Wizards of Twiddly. Sax and trumpet Simon Jones and Martin Smith led the way with drummer Andy (Dead Belgian) Delamere and multi-instrumentalist Andy Frizell on the heels.
With a raft of original material, the Twids cranked the dynamite up to a whole new level and attending their (always-sold-out) live performances was akin to experiencing Captain Beefheart meets the Bonzos meets Lemmy - and all on steroids.
As individuals, the above mentioned have since earned their stripes and livings as highly respected session, theatre and jazz musicians.
The intervening years, however, are swept away this Saturday when The Vernons and the Wizards of Twiddly reunite for a gig in the dirty old town that took them in. They are joined by more 1989 settlers, St Vitus Dance, from across the Irish Sea, playing acoustically for the occasion.
The Vernons, minus Jez on bass, are now calling themselves Vernons Future. Guitarist Andy Harding says: “The change of name was basically because we weren't playing with the brass section guys.”
Ah yes, but could this occasion be a bit different? Most of the molecules are present for a wizard to twiddle with. Could an almost-full compement of Vernons make it onto the stage this weekend?
“We’re hoping to be joined by some 'special guests' for a few songs,” Andy adds with an emoji wink.
Neither band is resting on the laurels of the past so expect plenty of new material (see below).
The diminutive Caledonia is the venue - well they had to restart somewhere. Even those friends in London might be coming up.
*Vernons Future, The Wizards of Twiddly, St Vitus Dance (acoustic set). The Caledonia, Catharine Street, L8. Saturday September 26, 8.30pm. Free.