Liverpool Sound City – Conference Friday 27th May – Festival – Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th
So the festival seasons getting into full swing, and our own local ‘urban’ festival/ showcase, Liverpool Sound City returns to its new home in Liverpool’s slightly austere apocalyptic looking docklands. As usual, it’ll feature a variety of industry conferences, guest speakers and two days rammed with live music.
After last year’s relocation from the city centre to the Mary Tyler Moore Dock erm sorry we mean the Bramley-Moore Dock which brought headliners such as The Flaming Lips and Belle and Sebastian to the banks of the River Mersey, this year’s line-up in terms of the headliners, may perhaps for some not quite feel like the huge leap forward that many anticipated. But perhaps given the current economic climate and the seismic changes that continue to shake the music industry, sustainability rather than an expansionist policy is the sensible way forward?
Personally, we’ve rarely attended any festival based on headliners alone, in fact, these sort of events are, for us, absolutely all about “the discovery.” The thrill of finding emerging artists that are bubbling under or indeed completely new to us, is far more satisfying then catching a headliner playing the hits (with perhaps the exception of The Mary Chain and Lush ;) ) It also gives us a chance to catch up with acts we’ve been championing but have yet to see live.
So here’s a few artists’ we’ll be hoping to grab during our visit to docklands, some we know well – others we are not quite on nodding terms with yet. Let’s just hope the weather holds up because as we type it’s f*cking pissing down, in the biblical sense and the bloke next door seems to be building something that resembles a rudimentary Ark.
The Anchoress – Sunday – Atlantic Stage – 13:00 – 13:30
The Anchoress is the project of Catherine Anne Davies, who first grabbed our attention back in 2009 when she was performing as Catherine AD . As The Anchoress her debut album ‘Confessions of A Romantic Novelist’ saw Catherine join forces with Paul Draper (Mansun) who co-produced and co-wrote a number of the tracks on said album. It’s a dark slice of sophisticated intelligent pop noir, which she has described as an attempt at “deconstructing normative ideas of love and romance.”
Sunday – The North Stage – 21:30 – 22:00
Dilly Dally’s debut album was one of our favourites of 2015. It’s an album of visceral power and soaring pop hooks whilst singer Katie Monks magnificently malevolent throat shredding nettle sting roar is a thing of infinite wonder. So raw and powerful in a fact that it makes Courtney Love sound about as threatening and vital as Lana Del Rey on ketamine. When we interviewed Katie last year we asked her if she ever got nervous before a gig – her response ? ” For me, I have zero stage fright. It feels like sex. Being so vulnerable and so open in front of so many people. I’m addicted. And the better we get at connecting with people in a deep way, the better it feels. Maybe that seems fucked up…. whatever.” Read the full interview HERE
Pink Kink – Sunday – The Cavern Stage – 16.30 -17.00
This young Liverpool based collective are certainly generating a lot of interest locally and after catching them live recently we totally get why. Witty, inventive, political, hyperactive and more than a tad unhinged they’ve definitely got something special going on. If like us you think The Au-Pairs crossed with the Banana Splits sounds a fascinating proposition then this is most definitely the band for you. They currently have no music online but tell us they hope to unleash a debut tune sometime in the summer.
InHeaven – Sunday – The Atlantic Stage 16.00 – 16.45
Inheaven, were one of the stars of the recent DIY Neu tour, and they’ve certainly got a clutch of huge anthemic tunes which seem almost tailored made for some fist pumping , mass sing-alongs at festivals! They stay on the right side of bombastic and at times there’s a touch of The Skids colliding with The Arcade Fire.
Norma Jean Martine – Saturday – The Atlantic Stage – 2.00 – 2.30
We first caught London-based (via NYC and Nashville) singer-songwriter Norma Jean Martine at the Dot to Dot festival a few years ago and from the get go it was obvious her huge powerful bluesy jazz voice was the sort that can stop traffic. Norma Jean’s music is polished, sophisticated but imbued with an emotional honesty. Back then we reckoned it was only a matter of time before that dreadful little hobgoblin dressed in a zoot suit, Jools Holland leaps forth across our screens like a demented Richard III and begins his dreadful gurning before introducing her on his seemingly never ending TV show.
You can read our interview with her HERE
Trudy and The Romance – Sunday – The North Stage 14.45 -15.15
They described themselves as ‘Mutant 50’s Pop’ which is as succinct and on the money as some of the unmitigated bollocks we and other bloggers often come up. There’s a hint of Jonathan Richmond meets Ezra Furman at a B-movie drive -in about their scratchy rough and tumble sound which is perfectly encapsulated on their latest single ‘He Sings.’
Shrinking Minds – Saturday – The Cavern Stage – 15:45 – 16:15
Credit where credit’s due , Linn from Little Indie Blogs recommended these chaps to us , suggesting they may be right up our musical street – and she was right. Our fingers are so on the pulse these days we didn’t even know they were from Liverpool !! The fusion of scuzzy guitar riffs , driving melodies and impassioned vocals on tracks like the visceral ‘Fun’ and latest song ‘Chasing’ are, for want of a better expression and lack of a thesaurus, just f*cking ace.
The Big Moon – The North Stage – Sunday – 20.30 -21.00
We first caught the Big Moon live at Live in Leeds a couple of years back and what struck us, was not just their energy and exuberance but the odd structure of their songs. At times, it really shouldn’t work, and yet somehow the band make it all fuse together. Their obvious enjoyment when playing these songs live is infectious – you can read our interview with them HERE
Feral Love – Saturday 28th – The Cavern Stage (with Wake Island) 22.30 -23.00 and Sunday – The Cavern Stage – 17.15 – 17.45
Two Birds in the bush, make…erm Feral Love. Feral Love rose from the ashes of the dark Bronte-esque Goth pop of critically acclaimed Merseyside band Bird and feature founding member Adele Emmas and Christain Sandford along with the addition of Grace Goodwin on drums. Feral Love, thus far seem to be exponents of glittering dark synth pop and when we caught their live debut at Fest EVOL we were delighted to hear how “fully formed” they sounded.
Sky Valley Mistress – Sunday – The North Stage – 12.00 – 12.30
Bored with the profusion of sincere, earnest, faux bohemia humping trustafarian w**kers with hi-end laptops who gently whimper over a series of plodding beats and repetitive loops and look like they’d burst into tears if they missed the bus. Hardly rock n’roll is it? And at times one definitely feels the tortured poet, actually deserves to be tortured. So if you’re underwhelmed by this outpouring of fey mewling then Sky Valley Mistress could provide the antidote. We featured them in 2013 but it wasn’t perhaps until last year when we caught them live for the first time that we appreciated just how good they are. Classic rock, chunky Sabbath riffs and in lead singer Kayley Davies they have a frontwoman with real star quality and a huge voice. And defo a band for our photographer friends to catch.
Sankofa – Saturday – Mail Chimp Record Store 21.45 – 22.15
Big fuck off guitars with a driving psych blues sensibility are essentially what Sankofa are all about. Whilst there are definitely nods to the past, Sankofa avoid any of the pitfalls of pastiche by the sheer quality of their musicianship, songs and the sort of spiralling riffs you could lose yourself in for hours.
There’ll be plenty of new artists to catch such as the hotly tipped “In Conversation With Sean Adams ” who will doubtless be playing tracks from their seminal debut “Drowned In Sound” ;)
Here’s a handy Deezer playlist that includes a few more highlights