Claire Elshaw braves some wet weather to bring us a full report on Liverpool Music Week 2010.
Overall – 9/10
Rapidly gaining a reputation as the winter festival to attend, Liverpool Music Week boasts a variety of venues, events and music that offers something for everyone. Despite the name this festival has grown to take place over the best part of month. Several venues host line ups that go from big names to local undiscovered talent. And with prices starting at free, it should be to the taste of everyone’s pocket. Its popularity is growing as are the numbers attending every year.
The variety of gigs, special events and a feeling of embracing a local scene give the festival a unique atmosphere. It also fills a hole at a time of year where there’s not much going on and little to look forward to until Christmas. Being mainly evening events locals fit the gigs in post work. Those unfamiliar with the area use it as an excuse to spend some time in a city with great musical heritage; with plenty of culture to explore in the daytime and a plethora of gigs in the evening.
Of course there are some drawbacks. Unlike most music festivals that take place on one site over a couple of consecutive days, this one is seriously spread out. The venues in Liverpool are quite close together but as you have to pay for each gig individually you’d be unlikely to flit from one to the other. The time of year also means you are at the mercy of November weather, which can be grim. Obviously the gigs are indoors but you still get to the front door dripping wet. There is also a danger with some of the larger gigs that they feel disconnected from the event.
Overall this is a gem of an event. It takes you into the heart of a bustling music scene and really shows you the best Liverpool has to offer.
Getting there and back – 7/10
Being city based you can get trains and buses into the centre very easily. Whether you’re local of further a field public transport there shouldn’t be a problem. Getting home late at night is another matter.
It’s an easy enough drive on the motorway, no country lanes and farm tracks to negotiate. But beware, as with any city centre, parking its extortionate. We’re talking £10 upwards per 24 hours. Plus there’s no camping. So unless you are local you’ll need accommodation and many of the central hotels don’t have their own car park so the parking is extra, which can work out quite expensive. So it’s a good job there’s plenty of free gigs!
The site – 7/10
Once you have arrived, as long as you stay centrally everything is within walking distance. Most of the venues are all located around one of the main drinking areas of the city, mainly within five to ten minutes of each over. The 02 Academy is a bit further out, but being the other side of Lime Street station it’s still only a 15 minute walk at the most.
Atmosphere – 9/10
The crowds vary depending on the genre. Some are older indie-lovers, some young electro aficionados. They all share a common love of live music and an enjoyment of the event. The welcome shown to the smaller acts is warm and appreciative, and as you would expect, there are a large portion of locals at the gig. This helps gives the event a northern feeling of fun, laughter and humour. The weather may be dull and grim up north, but the people certainly aren’t.
Music – 8/10
There are a veritable smorgasbord of styles going on. From James Yuill’s electro-geek, boy genius to Micah P Hinson’s soul-bearing country, by way of Scroobius Pip’s politically savvy comedy gems.
Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip – 10/10
Insightful, entertaining, thought-provoking and downright hilarious. The live show of this wonderfully combined duo is what a gig should be: toe-tapping, awe inspiring and a bloody good evening out. Not many people can take issues such as waiting before procreating (‘Get Better’) and make it a danceable ditty.
Diamond Rings – 7/10
It takes a lot nowadays to crave out a niche as a unique and original performer. Remove the eye make-up and skin-tight gold leggings and solo performer Diamond Rings could easily have looked like any skinny indie boy. But it’s the unique style and sense of fun in his music that really stands out, not the entertaining attire.
Chapel Club – 8/10
Up and coming soulful indie quintet are good, old fashioned solid performers, they know their instruments and are getting to grips with well-rounded tunes. Sometimes you don’t have to juggle your instruments to be a pleasure to watch, sometimes you just need to be really good at what you do.
Misty’s Big Adventure – 7/10
You probably wouldn’t want to see a band this off-the-wall everyday of the week. Like a very rich chocolate dessert, it would be too much. But a small portion every now and again is good. Kooky and fun, they brighten the dreary November skies.
Capac – 8/10
Their combination of guitar and electro gismos has just the right balance. Funky, fresh and in places, spine-tingling.
Silver Columns – 4/10
Imagine watching Moby and a Yeti, both having inhaled helium, fight over a series of knobs on a set of decks. It’s amusing, for 5 minutes, then you look for the next youtube hit featuring a cat smoking a kipper.
The Drums – 3/10
They have their fans, who love them, much like their mothers do. But the words ‘nowt special’ spring to mind. Their energy onstage feel contrived and all-in-all their stage performance is lacking zip. Technically they are fine, but not really memorable.
O Children – 5/10
Without the mesmerizing tall lead singer and his velvet smooth vocals they would be another run of the mill grunge band trying too hard.
Punter 1: “This is exactly the same as the Mojo Bar in Manchester.”
Punter 2: “Yeah mate, it is. Expect for the bits that are different of course. But just the same though.”
We'd like to thank Novotel for their wonderful hospitality during Liverpool Music Week.