If our first day at Sound City (SEE HERE) was about getting our head around the festival and orientating ourselves to the site layout, the second day felt like the festival had begun in earnest (A lot goes on in earnest, but we prefer Liverpool.) The sunshine helped spread the good vibes, the site came alive and so here’s part two of our own Sound City recap. We can’t mention all the bands we managed to see because we’d be here until next week, so we’ll stick with just some of our highlights in words and pictures.
Pic: Festival Captain Dave Pichilingi, (centre) with Jon Morter (left) and Bruce Findlay
Sound City – Round Up Part 2
Pic : Silent Sleep
THE SUNDOWNERS – Atlantic Stage
The Sundowners always deliver and looked perfectly at home on the big stage. Their sound has steadily evolved and is now a formidable thundering psych-infused juggernaut. Alfie Skelly’s guitar riffs were as inventive as ever complimenting Fiona Skelly and Niamh Rowe’s vocal harmonies which still on occasion recall the Mama’s and the Papas/ Fleetwood Mac but perhaps more so of late if they’d have been influenced by Robert Plant or Grace Slick.
THE SERPENT POWER – Atlantic Stage
They reckon, at any given time you’re never more than 100 yards away from an ex-member of the Fall. Well at Sound City it seems that principle could apply for ex-members of The Coral, or The Zutons, or indeed the Skelly family – they were everywhere ;). After The Sundowners The Serpent Power, arrived on stage, which is if you didn’t know, the latest musical project from anti- fracking champ and ex Zuton Paul Molloy and Ian Skelly ( The Coral). They looked a little like incredibly stylish horsemen of the apocalypse and as you might expect there was an air of both their previous bands within the songs we caught, but with a weirder twist.
Pic :Camarones Orquestra Guitarrística
Pic: The Vril Society
Pic: Tei Shi
FLO MORRISSEY – Cargo Stage
Flo Morrissey’s debut album ‘ Tomorrow Will be Beautiful’ is a beautifully crafted affair, and her performance in the Cargo Tent made the present seem quite beautiful too. Outstanding tune ‘ Pages Of Gold’ does sound have a whiff of an acoustic version of Lana Del Rey, although unlike Lana, Flo sings her songs like she’s actually lived them and isn’t simply playing a role.
You certainly can’t complain about the diversity on display at Sound City, because, after Flo’s delicately woven set, it’s time for some inspired lunatic anger over at the Baltic stage from …..
BAD BREEDING – Baltic Stage
Bad Breeding are loud, very f*cking loud, they also sound angry, very f*cking angry. Their singer Christopher Dodd didn’t seem too concerned with staying on the f*cking stage and hurled himself into the f*cking photo pit, eyeballing the f*cking crowd, as if daring them to f*cking disagree with the f*cking messages contained within the band’s fucking songs. ( you get the picture ;) ) It was Killing Joke meets Big Black in a huge dockland warehouse, and it was compelling and viciously beautiful to watch. Mr Dodd and his cohorts proved that punk isn’t about having the correct haircut; it’s about challenging, provoking, and having the balls to rage against the machine.
BLACK DELTA MOVEMENT – North Stage
Having already caught these chaps supporting the Mary Chain we knew their live performances can be bit special, and on the ‘awkward’ North Stage’ they soon had the crowd dancing in the sunshine and supping beer. A towering sound and a great performance.
BECKY BECKY – The Record Store
The smallest tent on site was bustling for Becky Becky’s performance. A duo that due their love-hate-hate-hate relationship often perform with the sort of edge that you hope won’t overspill into serious friction. We didn’t catch all their set but what we did see was hugely impressive. And a bit barking and barking is always a good thing when it comes to the arts.
Amusingly one inebriated punter insisted that Becky Becky is in reality Rebecca Hawley’s (of Stealing Sheep) secret side project. I assured him it isn’t … and then left him befuddled and amazed when I let slip that Rebecca Hawley is actually the daughter of Richard … (she isn’t)
FEMME – The Cavern Stage
Bringing some glitz and glamour, uber-pop act Femme is the brainchild of Laura Bettinson (previously known as Dimbleby And Capper, who we interviewed back in 2011). Alongside her are the feisty ‘Bullet Girls’ and Femme certainly whipped up a party mood with slick synchronised dance moves, crowd baiting hand gestures and plenty of sass and style. At times, things threatened to get camper than Liberace’s Christmas tree, but behind the Pink Ladies meets Cindy and Kate from the B-52’s shtick there are some seriously great pop tunes.
Always tricky when you don’t really know a bands material and one imagines that part of the appeal for some in the audience was the fact that the Ghoastt’s singer and guitarist is Sean, the son of John and Yoko. Nevertheless, legendary parentage notwithstanding Ghoastt stood proudly on their own musical feet and there was slick musicianship on display allied to some rather interesting arrangements.
STEALING SHEEP – Atlantic Stage
Stealing Sheep win the “most difficult act to photograph” award, hidden as they were behind keyboards and all manner of technical jiggery pokery. For such a visual band, there was a strange stillness to the bands physical performance, which perhaps would have been better suited to the vast cavernous structure of the Baltic Stage? The visuals looked incredible, a kind of MC Esher meets Westworld aesthetic, and technically, it was a flawless performance.
Pic: Hotly tipped hip young gunslingers 35 Summers produced a set that should all but guarantee their return next year : )
BLACK HONEY – The Kraken Stage
One of our favourite new bands on one of our least favourite stages certainly didn’t disappoint. Every time we catch Black Honey live, we think, well …. they can’t get any better and yet they just do. There’s no finer sight than Izzy and the boys starting with the slow intro of Spinning Wheel before exploding into life. Mics are kicked over; Izzy B straddles the stage barrier than hurls herself onto the floor, wrestling with her guitar and her demons! When they leave the stage, you can tell from the reaction of the audience that this was one of THE festival highlights! Epic
THE FLAMING LIPS – Atlantic Stage
If you haven’t seen Flaming Lips live before it’s quite possible it could blow your mind. We have, and so we rather knew what to expect, but it still doesn’t diminish their colossal ‘wow factor’. It really is an all–encompassing sensory vortex of beautifully off-kilter psychedelic art rock with a deranged theatrical visual aesthetic. Whatever Wayne Coyne’s sprinkles on his Corn flakes in the morning we want some, because Flaming Lips live is a hallucigenic experience without the need for weapons grade Merry Prankster endorsed LSD. A stunning piece of musical theatre on the banks of the Mersey that will be talked about for many years to come.