Liverpool Sound City – Review

Sean Ward
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Last weekend saw Liverpool’s music festival Sound City take over the city for three days. The vibrant and eccentric city opened its doors to some of the best new British music around. It has previously played host to the likes of The xx, Mumford & Sons and Florence + the Machine, just months before they broke from beneath the radar.

This year’s line up included a host of my favourite artists, as well as a varied mix of acts I was keen to hear for the first time. The weekend began with far too many cocktails and drinking games before we headed to the breathtaking Anglican Cathedral to see folk band Noah and the Whale. The successful group played a strategic set spanning their discography, as well as showcasing some tracks from their new LP which was released this week.

Next up it was the talented Birmingham band Swim Deep. The boys on everyone’s ‘to watch’ list of 2013 did not disappoint in the tiny venue of The Kazimier, delighting fans with their surfer rock. The real headline show of the night took place in The Garage with AlunaGeorge followed by Bastille. After a brief catch up with Dan Smith (of Bastille) outside, we headed in to see the incredibly talented Aluna entrancing a crowd with her stage presence, supported by George’s brilliant mind bending electro. Next up was the main event, the success story of 2013 for British indie, Bastille. The crowd received the band ferociously, cheering along to tracks from Bad Blood . The roof was nearly ripped off due to the applause for their cover of ‘Rhythm of The Night‘. Fantastic evening.

With a huge hangover in tow, I set out to explore Liverpool. It has an eclectic mix of bars, museums and shopping. A great student city with an artistic lean, perfect for a graphic designer with a massive passion for music *raises hand*. Friday night included a fantastic early set from the insanely talented Lulu James. The girl has a ridiculously impressive voice and an innovative way of  merging soul and electro. We also saw Nina Nesbitt perform in the beautiful theatre arts club, the venue was unfortunately more spectacular than the act. Liverpudlian Dan Croll drew a huge crowd to The Garage, and although a couple of tracks were particularly weak, his overall presence and musicianship is commendable. I predict good things for his future. The Friday headliner were Mancunican Everything Everything, a brilliant live band with some real high energy tracks including the bizarre ‘cough cough‘ and fan favourite ‘MY KZ, UR BF‘.

With another beastly hangover, I crawled to The Tate and enjoyed a wonderful Chinese lunch in the city before drinks were flowing for the final night of this intriguing festival. Hip hop artist Brolin put on an impressive performance in The Kazimier before Delphic closed the festival in style with their trippy brand of electro rock. Sound City was a real change from the kind of festival I’m used to. I didn’t have mud up to my knees and I had a real toilet to use, wonderful. I cannot recommend this festival enough, the curiosity and secrecy of the whole event is fantastic. You wander into the tiniest venue and discover a track you will remember for life, or you will jump along to incredible electro on the pure ecstasy of the love of music helped by overpriced lager. Thanks Liverpool, I’ll be back very soon.

About Sean Ward

Design type pokemon, often found in tall grass at festivals covered in mud and neon paint. A strong obsession with tea, cocktails and Kate Bush. Sharing musical nuggets of goodness each week. @Sean_Ward93