Liverpool Sound City 2012
Some might jokingly refer to it as "Scouse By Scousewest", but as Charlotte Pattullo reports, LSC is opening the door on a thousand new bands a year. Photos: Mark Mark Mcnulty.
Taking music outside its traditional venues made Liverpool Sound City more of an experience than an urban music festival. A bombed out church; an abandoned car park, art galleries and hip coffee houses allowed the audience to interact in a different way, at times it felt like you were raving in a Berlin warehouse, at others like you were at the best house party ever.
Hearing the upbeat guitar riffs of Last Dinosaurs spilling out of the venue and down into the street was the perfect start to the festival. An Antipodean Two Door Cinema Club, their foot tapping, youthfully exuberant pop was followed by hotly tipped Liverpool band Stealing Sheep, the psychedelic folktronica trio’s songs casting a gauzy, glittery spell, beautiful harmonies underpinned by the jangliest of guitars and primordial rhythms making them really quite special.
At the Kazimier Alt-J (∆)’s devotional keys, trippy beats and a refusal to show their face in photographs is all a bit Wu Lyf-y, but they’re definitely a band to watch, evinced by the numbers they drew.
The ‘big’ bands were anticipated to the point that there was a one in one out policy hours before Death In Vegas were due on stage. Opening with Dirge the darkly brooding soundscape took the crowd back to the nineties, but it was it was clear they wanted to stay there, the newer material which interposed the band’s hits was greeted with tedium, it was the same for The Temper Trap, who posed and pouted their way through an overly long set.
Oxford’s Spring Offensive played a coffee shop acoustic set which silenced the usual audience chattering. Stripping back their melancholic, earnest pop showcased their rich vocal melodies but rhythmic hand clapping and heavy foot stomping kept the performance powerful rather than twee.
It seems orchestral indie has got gutsy, a case further proved by local band Tibi & Her Cello, whose singer Teresa Bernabé furiously plucked her cello while Revere’s whirligig keys and brass was balanced by violinists playing as aggressively as the guitarists.
There were so many bands at Sound City, perhaps too many bands, leading some to dub it Scouse By Scousewest - but it’s a great festival to make new discoveries and, with all the venues reasonably close together, to move on if you don’t like what you hear. More next year please.