Liverpool Sound City delivers sound music from international talent

Liverpool Sound City Review 2013

published: Thu 9th May 2013

around the festival site (crowds)

Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th May 2013
Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 6RR, England MAP
£45 for festival wristband
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Tue 16th Apr 2013

And so Saturday begins. I get my phone out. I feel the need to plan a schedule for today. If I attempt to pack as much in as I have over the previous two days, I suspect that I might be leaving Liverpool in a coffin. This is going to be a day of less rushing around. I'm going to find time to eat. I'm going to find less time to drink. Fortunately today, there feels like there's fewer band clashes. This feels more manageable. I want to see some of the venues that I haven't seen yet. I definitely want to go to the Cathedral because I've been hearing fantastic things about the way that bands look within. I want to check out the Black-E, the old congregational chapel that's also an apparently stunning venue. These are places a little more off the beaten track from where the main cut and thrust of the festival is taking place.

I remember the promise I made to check out Deep Sea Arcade at the Aussie BBQ at Heebie Jeebies, yet another brilliantly cool venue amongst all of the venues I've been too. It's a bright day and this feels like a nice way to start it off. This back garden feels like a crazily small venue to see an act such as Deep Sea Arcade who are possibly a more established bands on this circuit having previously had Radio 1 airplay and all sorts. There's an fair splattering of 60's beat pop about them but I'd be doing them a disservice if I gave the impression that this was pure retro. There's something charmingly unique about them – they appear to be a sum of all of their parts and with a singer who knows how to work even the oddest of venues. Before their set is through I'm texting friends to tell them that Deep Sea Arcade are my new favourite band of the day.

Perhaps influenced by the 60's pop I've just heard, I recall a conversation I'd had with a decent fellow who ran the bookings at the Cavern. The Cavern are desperately keen to support new music in Liverpool but are also fully aware of their position in the heritage of the City. Today, they are putting on a Liverpool showcase in their back room whilst still allowing the tourists who come and do the Beatles trails into their front space to watch the Beatles tribute acts. Being deep underground feels like a sensible way to spend a warm, summer's afternoon so I take a day trip up to Mathew Street. I take a few wrong turns but eventually find my way. A thoroughly pleasant way to spend a couple of hours it turns out to be as well. The Mono LP's are creating a mini buzz in the City with their Stones influenced thing with a twist – the twist being the cello at the front of the stage. The Hummingbirds are not to be confused with the indie pop/jangle pop band of the same name who came out of Australia in the late 1980's. It feels right that I can say I first saw this band at the Cavern because given the noise that's developing about these guys it could only be a matter of time before they go the way of the Beatles. They have a modern take on a skiffle like sound which initially gets me thinking that they might be trying to be Liverpool's answer to Mumford and Sons. We all know that the world doesn't need any more of that and I'm glad to report that my initial feeling was replaced with something more akin to timeless pop with good tunes.

I deliberately take a break and grab some food to eat before heading up to the Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. Last night amongst the busyness of bands I would have loved to found time to get up here to see The Walkmen but it didn't work out. Tonight I plan to make my home here and watch what I'm hoping will be a set of epic proportions from Dexys. I love their album of last year and can only imagine that the theatre across that album will be transcendental within these religious surroundings. First up is Amsterdam with Ian Prowse, the former frontman of a blast from the past, Pele. I'm really enjoying taking in the surroundings – it's a truly beautiful space for live music – although the tunes of Ian Prowse just gently wash over me with no real impact. A mystery of last night is solved though when 4 young, beautiful women come up to me chuffed that they were able to help me get home last night after finding me asleep in a venue. I have no recollection of being asleep but apparently they had helped me find a taxi. I thank them profusely and buy them a drink. This is one of the loveliest things that has ever happened to me at a festival.

Dexys are stunning from the word go. Their set is one full of gems from their album of last year, 'One Day I'm Going To Soar' and I'm pretty sure they play it in track order on the album. Musically, vocally and charm-wise, everything about this set works for me. They're not afraid to mix it up and when they play 'Geno', the soul of the music and the soul of the setting wash over me and I can do nothing but smile (and move my feet a bit!). Special.

There's time to see a few more acts but I'm feeling my tiredness returning and I want to leave on a special Cathedral high. Egyptian Hip Hop back in the Art Academy don't seem to get going and even their belter of a tune, 'Rad Pitt' seems a little muffled and lost; Brolin, and Amateur Best in the Kazimier show why there's lots of media interest in what they're doing. Particularly with Brolin, a man in a mask, I wouldn't be surprised if he's a name appreciated by many more by the end of the Summer. I call it a day for this year's Liverpool Sound City by seeing another Liverpool band making waves across the city and wider, The Tea Street Band. The Black-E is truly another fantastic venue, not as spacious and serene as the Cathedral but still an interesting place (with undeniable history) in which to watch live music. The Tea Street Band make rave music on guitars. This is Liverpool calling out to Ibiza and I dance a bit more. I didn't notice a killer tune within this set but if they find that you can bet they won't just be playing in Liverpool or Ibiza.

With that I call a night a night.

This has been a truly stunning three days. I cannot begin to believe how much organisation has gone into getting this to work in the way that it has. The pace of what they're attempting to deliver here shows no sign of abating. In the six years that it's been running it's evidently met it's aim of being the best city centre music festival and business conference in the UK. People make the place and I have had the best of times with people from around the world who simply love sound music. Kind people, proper people, decent people. When the only real downside was Bastille fans and a couple of dodgy portaloos amongst a plethora of international talent then you're doing something very, very right. Battered, bruised, tired to the core but wondering if my first festival of 2013 will indeed be my best.


review by: Sean Tizzard

Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th May 2013
Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 6RR, England MAP
£45 for festival wristband
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Tue 16th Apr 2013


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