5 May 2014

SoundCity Liverpool 2014 - Review

SoundCity Liverpool 2014 - Review

SoundCity Liverpool 2014 - Review
by Alison Goggin

Its May Bank holiday weekend in Liverpool, so it can only mean one thing.....Sound City has returned for another year, turning the city centre into a music lovers haven for three days. 

With a vast array of different venues, including the atmospheric Anglican Cathedral, the ever popular Kazimier and Duke St Garage to the smaller more intimates venues like Sound Food and Drink and Bold Street Coffee there was a place to suit everyone, and if you had your sea legs with you, you could even head down down to Mersey Ferry and listen to some fantastic bands while taking in the backdrop of the World famous Three Graces. 

I mentioned Sound Food and Drink being a small intimate venue so you can imagine our surprise when wandering past to hear a full on rock set from TieBreaker, a Norwegian based band who most definitely know how to rock. With a huge stage presence, powerful, raw rock vocals, a guitar player who was channelling Prince's stage prowess and a keyboard player whose fingers fly over the keys so fast & furiously to create a heady blur of rocked out funkiness, these guys to say the least were enthralling to watch and I can't fault there performance one bit, so much so, I'm hoping they're back in Liverpool soon so I can see them again. 

As we were on the rock trail, we thought, why not a bit of old school rock n roll and caught Hot Soles, a duo from Yorkshire, who brought the 50's crashing into 2014 with one almighty rip roaring, drums crashing, guitar frenzy wondrous mix. With all the energy on stage, it didn't take long for it to explode around Mello Mello especially when the lead singer decided to take an impromptu tour of the place mid performance, much to the delight and amusement of the crowd.

But Sound City isn't just about rock its also a perfect place to capture those intimate performances, where a solo performer lays themselves bare and delivers their life stories in such a way that it sends shivers up your spine and sends a silence over a venue in case even a single note is missed. This time that accolade had to go to "Amijal", a young singer/songwriter whose songs take you on a journey through his life, some good, some bad but all delivered with such finesse that even the most heart wrenching of songs has you enthralled and wanting to hear more of his beautifully melting vocals. 

East Village Arts Club paid host to two extremely talented solo artists on Friday night. Denai Moore, who was performing in Liverpool for the very first time, created a fabulous atmosphere with her silky soulful vocals which enveloped everybody into a warm musical ball of fuzz. She was followed with a fun upbeat set by ex Kid British member, Adio Marchant, who is now better known as "Bipolar Sunshine". Adio brought that taste of summer from the moment he came onto stage with his mix of lively funk, disco and house beats all intertwined with his fresh uplifting vocals. Behind this upbeat fun music lies meaning in his lyrics though and drawing from life experiences he fully encompasses the name Bipolar long may he be shining down on us. 

Lizzo aka Melissa Jefferson on the other hand is far from calm and serene as she rocks the Shipping Forecast to its very foundations. Her stage presence itself was enough to make you want to move even if you didn't feel like it and the energy and raw power made it one of the acts that needed to be seen.

At Nation East India Youth did his stuff with a mix of electronic music and wild thrashing bass guitar sending some of the audience members into and almost trance like state as they sang the words in an almost tantric daze.

Chloe Howl, the sassy 19 year old made herself known at the Factory stage. Dressed in stripey trousers and a crop top she shimmied her way onstage. Her strong vocals and look accompanied with her look will see her go far although songs about teenage angst is not something I can associate with that much anymore.

Another solo artist to keep an eye on is Demi Louise, a 19 year old Australian, whose upbeat lyrics and happy mellow vocals drifted across the eclectic Moon Museum on a sunny Saturday afternoon. That along with the free Australian BBQ made for a great way to nurse that hangover.

For a bit a quirky venue we decided to head to Mersey Ferry's and go and soak in the retro fuelled performance of homegrown talented band, The Hummingbirds, who have been busy too say the least over the Sound City weekend. They brought a bit of the Merseybeat back to the city with their 60's influenced set with a few Beatles tracks flung in for good measure. With their own songs including Bankrupt Blues, a heady folk fused song and their signature song "Back In Liverpool", which was timed to perfection as we docked back in the city. Which was probably a good thing as Mic Kountis was starting to feel his sea legs desert him. 

For a truly unique, makes you go "what the hell!!" performance I can say without any doubt in my mind that it has to go to Jazz hands....a group of lads wearing matching football shirts, stripping to their Batman boxers and just basically doing what they love best....making music. I have no idea how many members are in Jazz hands, nor can I count how many drumsticks were flying about but my god these guys are so much fun. I'm not to sure whether it was a mad free styling frenzy or this was a perfectly coordinated gig but who cares, it was brilliant, weird, amazing, fun, insane ball of hedonistic noise that works and I love the fact I walked away with that feeling that you're not quite sure you have seen what you have seen. It may not be pretty..but it works.

Speaking of pretty, Kodaline headlined the Anglican Cathedral on Saturday. With lead singer Steve Garrigan looking in every way the rock/pop star that I'm sure these guys will become. Playing songs from their album "In a perfect world" they ensured the crowd got what they paid for. Polished and pitch perfect they cruised from one song to another. Steve interacted well with the crowd even if his little giggles in between sentences went from endearing to annoying after a while. 

The Shimmer Band at factory are not as polished and that isn't a bad thing. Tom's raw, in your face vocals come across like a man with something to scream about and his elongated figure strutting about made you reminisce back to the days of Primal Scream and The Rolling stones.

Ratking from New York, played to a packed house at The Kazimer. Laying down voracious lyrics with and their comparison to the Wu-Tang Klan doesn't go amiss. Mesmerising and totally ferocious in their style.

Then it was on to the Duke street garage, luckily I managed to avoid the massive queues which had formed earlier to get in and entered to a mass of waving hands and dancing crowds as the Tea Street Band did what they do best..bringing the room to its feet. I love watching the enthusiasm and all out love these lads have of playing and as Timo says "Its fucking boss in here" and it was. They provided the perfect support for the headliners The Kooks who immediately kept the crowd on their high playing the songs we all know and love along with a lot of the new album which most aren't familiar with (myself included) this didn't stop the people embracing every minute of the set and with the queue outside still trying to get in onlookers from the barriers watched and danced along with the punters inside. 

You could happily go from genres to genres and never skip a beat in between. In fact, I loved just wandering and let my ear do the makes it more fun and Ive come across some amazingly talented musicians and a fair few weirdly wonderful ones in the past and this time was no different. If you normally plan it with meticulous precision then next year, throw caution to the wind and let your ears take the lead.

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