26 May 2015

Sound City Liverpool 2015 - Friday Review

Soundcity Liverpool 2015 - Friday Review

Sound City Liverpool 2015 - Friday Review

This year the Bramley Dock site was what Sound City Liverpool 2015 was all about. Moving from multiple venues to consolidate the festival into one area of docklands north of the city centre is a gamble, but is one that had to be made to promote the continued growth of the festival and attract big name acts.

Getting there (or back) wasn't the easiest which has drawn some complaints from festival goers.

The laid on bus finished at 10pm so ignored the fact that thousands of people would be leaving after the headline acts finished, to either compete for a limited number of taxis, or start the half hour walk back to the city centre.

That aside once there the site was great the way it had been decorated and was easy to navigate with all the stages in a five or ten minute walk from each other, although this did give rise to some noise bleed across different performances. It could have been laid out slightly better and used more of the warehouse space as only the Baltic Stage was in one of the large structures, but then this may in itself have been detrimental as I think it was with YAK's performance. This loud rock outfit with a touch of psychedelia didn't struggle to get themselves heard as they filled the venue with their sound but possibly the acoustics of the gigantic warehouse they played in let them down.

Moving on to catch some of KOF at the Cargo stage, I found him to be engaging with the audience with his upbeat music. His alternative souls style is easy to listen to and he aims to spread a more modern message with his music. His backing band had one great character in the lead guitarist, but some of the others were a tad too moody which didn't compliment his performance.

Spector on the Atlantic stage tried to warm up the audience with their energetic enthusiastic performances of their Killer's­esq music, but this was marred with smatterings of pretentiousness.

Whilst singing “Celestine”, Macpherson (vocals) stopped the performance to try and rouse the audience more before restarting the song. This had little effect. When announcing “Chevy Thunder” a handful of fans, stood at the front, whooped with joy, understandably so as it is one of their better releases, but not all the audience were as receptive. It was a shame, maybe it was the time they were on, or the chill wind coming up the Mersey that sapped enthusiasm from the crowd.

Iceage on the Baltic stage, these Danish rockers were loud and moody, maybe a bit too moody. It may just have been this performance, but they finished early with the lead singer saying “that's all were doing tonight” dropping his mic and walking off.

Close Talker on at the Cavern Stage, an energetic 4 piece Canadian alt­indie/ rock group showed how friends who are gelled with each other can make great solid sounding music. Having formed in 2012 they gained more exposure through being finalists in a CBC competition for best Canada's Best New Artist in 2013. Seeing how good these guys were I've have see who they lost to to understand why.

Taffy I must admit was stumbled upon whilst passing The North stage and was one of Fridays best, if not the best, performing groups. Their faultless playing incorporated an excellent rendition of The Cures “Boys Don't Cry “ which captured many passers­by who paused and enjoyed these Japanese rockers. They also must have had the happiest drummer of the festival as he beamed throughout the set. The only downside was the vocals of lead singer, Iris, were drowned out, which went unnoticed by the sound mixer who was happily enjoying the performance.

Everything Everything on the Atlantic Stage I found their live performance although promising with their energy, was just not my thing, and did not live up to their recordings. In­between their plugs for their new album (‘Get To Heaven’ ) I found myself checking Facebook to pass the time before going for a wander.

Once The Vaccines hit the Atlantic stage the large crowd were ready for some high powered music. This was delivered to them with a professionally honed performance including tracks from the new album English Grafitti. One of the few bands to utilise the massive screen behind them they provided a visual experience to match the performance.

All in all not a bad first day of the Soundcity festival and aside from certain hiccups like the aforementioned travel, the long queues for the toilets (must have forgotten the urinals), plus overpriced food and drink that are commonplace for such events I would easily return to the location next year especially if they had a better transportation links. I would also advise people to get a weekend pass as that would also allow you free movement in and out of the site which is very handy when you can pop over the road to The Bramley Moore pub (which soon got crowded) for cheaper food and drink.

Review by Mike Stanford

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