Liverpool Sound City (Day 2)
Baltic Triangle and Cains Brewery, Liverpool
May 5 - 6 2018
Reporting team: Jane Davies, Amelia Callister, Leah Raymond
Pictures: As credits
As the crowds once again begin to throng the Sound City festival areas, the weather is holding up miraculously and as Day 2 opens we know we are in for some wonderful music to match the elements.
There was surprise early in the day at Constellations Gardens when Stockport newbies Fuzzy Sun were scheduled, but turned out to be Brighton's White Room putting in an early appearance. Not that we minded. With Jake Smallwood working his vocals and tambourine beautifully in a haze of psych rock, they 'Stole The I.V' and set Sound City off. They are followed by Manchester band Dirty Laces. There's obvious 90s influences here, and they look and sound like a name to watch. The Seamonsters open up the Pirate Studios stage in Baltic Market, with their array of off-kilter songs like 'Blue Movie' and recent single 'Max And Archie', closing on 'Lost And Found' - with them all flat on the deck.
Mary Miller (Jane Davies)
As the sun was at its highest in the mid afternoon, a former industrial unit, come artistic space, the Blade Factory, played host to Mary Miller and her ambient, synth driven dream pop soundscapes. It was impressive to see stripped down kit such as a guitar, computer and pedal generate such a powerful sound. The last time we saw Dominic Harrison, aka Yungblud, play Liverpool, it had been on a small stage in a cellar which did not do justice to his highly charged dance moves. Let loose on the huge Camp & Furnace stage his performance was exhilarating as he raced from one side to the other, jumping, prowling, and leaping sky high. He charmed the audience, especially when he introduced a song about “being Northern” in a broad Yorkshire accent instead of an expected estuary accent. (He is actually from Yorkshire parts: Doncaster.)
Hey Charlie (Jane Davies)
Gaffa Tape Sandy bring their
exuberance, catchy hooks and off-kilter melodies out of the 'Beehive' and onto the Constellations stage. Their dual vocals, manic garage rock coupled with zippy pop fervour proving the order of the day, while Hey Charlie liven up the early evening diners on the Pirate Studios Stage at the Baltic Market venue as they munched on their halloumi fries and Katsu curries. After a quick dash down the M62 from the Live in Leeds, they stepped out on stage in short kilts to unleash some roof-raising grunge numbers, reminding older members of the audience of Courtney Love's Hole.
Seatbelts (Jane Davies)
Newly formed Seatbelts took charge of the Label Records/ Edge Hill University stage down at Kitchen Street and we unfastened ours for takeoff. A new project by Hooton Tennis Club’s Ryan Murphy and James Madden, they have already won plaudits with their debut single ‘Hey, Hey Tiger!’ which got the enthusiastic audience here dancing. Lead singer Ryan - who Little Indie had had a chat with recently for our Sing & Tell - looked bright-eyed and bushy tailed, despite having stepped off a plane from Madrid a few hours earlier. Having shared this with us he launched into ‘Spanish Song’, sung entirely (astonishingly) in Spanish. A larger audience would have surely been forthcoming, had the venue been more central and not out on a limb at the outer reaches of the Baltic district.
TV ME (Jane Davies)
Returning this time to upstairs at the Blade Factory, we entered the electronically kitsch and retro, technicoloured world of TV Me. If Paul McCartney ever needs a soundalike ghost singer, he should call on the services of lead singer Thomas McConnell. Their songs blend delicious electronica with retro sounds and draw inspiration from a gentler era in history when Starburst sweets were known as Opal Fruits - incidentally, the name of a song from their latest EP, ‘A Broadcast From TV Me’, which featured in their set.
Average Sex (Jane Davies)
Back at Constellations Gardens, Average Sex proved a) they were certainly not average, and b) although there was nothing of an adults-only nature about their act, there was a touch of ribald smuttiness when 'You Suck' was dedicated to a male in the front row, some references to "twelve inches" in relation to their EP, and having too.much too drink and ending up in compromising situations on 'Ugly Strangers'. But all done in the best possible taste to make their set enjoyable and fun.
Into the evening schedule which was running to time, over at Camp & Furnace we witness Paris Youth Foundation enjoying the attention and love of a huge home crowd and justifiably so. Meanwhile, the Pirate Studios stage in the Baltic Market sees their biggest crowd of the day for local lads Red Rum Club. Ever growing in stature and currently battling it out in the polls for the Pirate Prodigy 2018 competition, they played a storming set which culminated in lead singer Fran Doran scaling new heights, climbing aloft the speaker system to sing their anthem ‘Would You Rather Be Lonely?’ and whipping up the crowd up into a frenzy of a finale.
Stealing Sheep (Emily Salinas)
Stealing Sheep's Suffragette Tribute performance with female drummers and percussionists, was quite a sight to behold at the Blade Factory. Over at Baltic Market, Queen Zee waste no time in hitting the stage, and the fast-play button. jump right into 'Sissy Fists' to get the crowd pumped. After a couple more songs they then announce their set has been cut short due to over running times. Unfortunate, as these are definitely a band you want to see more of. They did manage to stick in a cover of Dizzee Rascal’s 'Bonkers', however, before ending with 'Porno' and 'I Hate Your New Boyfriend'.
The prime time slot at Hangar 34 belonged to Sunset Suns who crammed their fans into a very hot and sweaty venue as the sun set on a beautiful day with their fitting musical accompaniment. Over at the Camp & Furnace, such was the popularity of headliners Peace, there was a line of suitably disappointed fans desperately queuing up to no avail. Emotions ran high and one woman became hysterical at the thought of missing the band. Perhaps for next year, the size of headliners' venues requires further attention.
Sunset Suns (Jane Davies)
The late shift at Hangar 34 came courtesy of the wacky Superorganism who supplied the best graphics of the evening and out of this world sounds. Lead singer Orono Noguchi was highly engaging as she cheerily took mobile phones from front row fans and obligingly took selfies for them as she sang and danced. Final song, ‘Something For Your Mind’, clearly affected one member of the crowd whose legs turned to jelly as he then tried to leave. Let’s hope it was just the music and graphics that had bent his mind and body.
Superorganism (Jane Davies)
It's been quite a hectic few days for Peace. An album release Friday, a co-headline date at Live At Leeds yesterday, and now today they close Sound City at Camp & Furnace. Even with 'Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll’ material still being new, fans greet every song like old friends from the punchy opener 'Power', through to closer 'Bloodshake'. Harry Koisser shows his ability as a frontman, but is as equally affective when taking to the piano for new album's title track. There can't have been many who felt disappointed by this storming headline set.
Sound City may not have drawn in the biggest headliners this year, but it had brought us a wealth of music, particularly local and national emerging talent which has always been its mission statement. For 2018, mission was accomplished, over and out.