Liverpool Sound City (Day 1)
Baltic Triangle and Cains Brewery, Liverpool
May 5 - 6 2018
Reporting team: Jane Davies, Amelia Callister, Leah Raymond
Pictures: As credits
There were two things noticeably different about this year's Sound City festival in Liverpool. After last year's winds and sandstorms created havoc, this time round the elements were in favour, with everyone able to enjoy not just a wealth of fine music over the two days, but also some great weather.
Also for 2018 there was a site change, seeing the festival go 'back to their roots' at Baltic Triangle and Cains Brewery. Much has changed on the Liverpool music venue scene over the past three years and it was felt that the burgeoning Baltic Quarter would be a most appropriate host for this year’s festival. No less than 20 venues were procured, from large performance areas such as the Camp & Furnace and Hangar 34 to more informal venues such as cafes, bars, a former brewery, abandoned industrial premises and old warehouse units. Although the move was received positively, it was felt that there was a lack of a central hub to the event.
With a number of the artists playing at Sound City doing a double-up with Live At Leeds, it meant that if you missed the likes of Peace, IDLES, The Orielles, Superorganism, The Blinders, Stereo Honey, The Ninth Wave etc. at one, you had the opportunity of catching them at the other. And full credit to Gaffa Tape Sandy, who somehow managed to cram in not one, or even two, but three festivals in under 48 hours, covering Liverpool, Leeds and a smaller affair in their Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk hometown.
While for many a big cooling ice cream and a spot of sunbathing may have been tempting, the music going on indoors was an even bigger pull.
Little Indie recently spoke to Sheffield foursome RedFaces, who put in an early appearance at Hangar 34, to a small, but discerning crowd who were there to hear 'Take It Or Leave It’, and the band's new single ‘Messed Up Feeling’ performed with rock'n'r&b panache and with Harry Lyon winning hearts. Judas bring out some big indie rock guns and probably surprise a few unsuspecting punters who have not seen them before. Their punchy latest single, 'Big Mouth' is a knockout winner. With the air conditioning at full pelt, the swoonsome Matt Maltese brings his own brand of piano-led chill-out love tunes to bear.
Catholic Action (Elspeth Moore)
District venue played host to the Modern Sky showcase and were undoubtedly one of the best visited sites of the day. Glaswegian outfit Catholic Action opened up events, and with a catalogue of tunes like 'Rita Ora', 'The Wash', 'Say Nothing' and 'L.U.V' at their disposal, brought energy and liveliness to their big projected set, and were, to quote another of their numbers, 'Doing Well'. As were London-based Calva Louise. ‘Getting Closer’ and 'I’m Gonna Do Well' saw them breakout last year, and the three - Jess Allanic (vocals, guitar), Alizon Taho (bass, backing vocals), Ben Parker (drums, backing vocals) - fuse their off-kilter, grunge-punk with some vocal harmonies and a pop undertone that sounds fresh and exciting.
SPINN (Elspeth Moore)
SPINN, the ebullient youthful Liverpudlian lads, who can turn a hand to soulful melodies along with their poppy rhythms, are like a new version of the Beatles. They have the delicious indie pop songs, a singer Johnny Quinn, who's the band's Paul McCartney, with a touch of humour and a fine knack for joke telling between songs, and know how to put on a show. "We've been SPINN, and you've been spun." We sure had.
False Advertising (Chris Bye/Pirate Studios)
The dual vocals and guitars of False Advertising's Jen Hingley and Chris War sparked appreciation on The Pirate Studios stage in the Baltic Market, bringing to life with serious killer hooks their grunge-punk sound. Marsicans are always a good bet live, and those who caught their Camp & Furnace set were not to be disappointed. That they'd had a 'mare of a journey over from Leeds didn't diminish their enthusiasm one bit once they hit the stage. The Wholls, back at the Baltic Market, brought a real festival shine to their set with energy in plenty to create a really good atmosphere with numbers like ‘X21’, ‘Roll Out’ and latest single ‘Going Down’.
Bang Bang Romeo (Chris Bye/Pirate Studios)
Bang Bang Romeo can always be relied upon to sound nothing less than supreme. On the Baltic Pirate Studios stage, Anastasia rocks the rock goddess in her as their rock-with-soul set fills the area. Bangers, ‘Runaway’, ‘Natural Born Astronaut’, ‘Chemical’, and ‘Adore Me', were all well-received.
The Slow Readers Club (Mr Hutch)
There's a buzzin' atmosphere in Hangar 34 for The Slow Readers Club who deliver a set that seems to attract a slightly older, and male, fanbase judging by the front row. With three albums to their name, they settle for a mix from all: a bit of 'Lunatic', 'Sirens', 'You Opened Up My Heart', 'Feet On Fire', and 'Forever In Your Debt' were a few highlights of their well executed set. The Camp & Furnace is capacity filled for Brighton's Black Honey who offer some new material from their upcoming debut album like new single ‘Bad Friends’, alongside old familiars, all helmed by inimitable frontwoman Izzy B Phillips.
The Blinders (Elspeth Moore)
District was naturally enough packed out to see The Blinders and they didn't disappoint. Their blistering half-hour set was certainly a not-to-miss experience, from crowd surfing fan who ended up on stage singing with them, to the fire and brimstone frenzy of 'Gotta Get Through' and 'Brave New World'.
Meanwhile, On Air was more the place for those looking for some less bombastic music to savour. Wild Front eased their way through some ambient indie-pop, while local girl Zuzu brought in her catchy, pop-rock-toned set. Jordan Allen are always a popular live band who with a healthy fan following, can be assured of not disappointing any, nor did they today at Constellations.
IDLES (Alanna Green)
With their reputation preceding them, it was full house at Constellations for Bristol punks IDLES late evening set. Singer Joe Talbot exudes raw power on the visceral ‘1049 Gotho’ and ‘Benzocaine’, while new track ‘Lovesong’ is an inescapably exciting live thriller.
DMA'S (Paul Findlay)