Liverpool Sound City 2010: Rated!
We sent Stephen Greenwood to tackle this year's Liverpool Sound City, here's how he got on...
Overall – 10/10
Liverpool Sound City has already become a key date within the festival calendar even though it has only been running for three years. Stretched over four main days there are 35 stages that are packed with performances from some of the most exciting musical talent from around the globe.
A lot of the festival is about promoting up-and-coming artists, though on each day there are several performances from more established artists. On top of all the music on offer there are a number of alternative events that might also tickle your fancy. With film screenings, photo and poster exhibitions, and a football tournament, there are plenty of options to keep you entertained throughout the day. Alternatively, if you have a delegate pass you are able to attend a variety of conferences and meetings with some of the key figures within the industry.
There is also ample opportunity to mingle with them and establish working relationships, pick their brains for some useful advice, or possibly forge worldwide partnerships. Liverpool is an ideal setting for this as it has a distinguished history in music and the arts.
Getting There And Back – 10/10
Take your pick. Being a major European city there is a large international airport which travellers can fly into, providing there is no volcanic ash in the atmosphere of course. If you drive then it is an easy place to find and once you are in the centre all the venues are fairly close together. There should not be a problem arriving by train as they continually pass in and out of the station on a regular basis. One thing to be mindful of is the journey back as four days of partying can leave you in a fragile state.
The Site – 9/10
Liverpool is a city with a lot of interesting history so if you have any spare time there are plenty of places you can visit where you can learn more about it. All of the venues are close together which makes it easy for the swarms of punters to stagger between them. There is a good variety in the settings of the gigs, in both capacity and the surroundings of the buildings themselves. Some of them were difficult to find, and unfortunately one was closed on the opening night which prevented anybody from feasting on the talent of Holy Fuck amongst others. This could be fixed easily with a more detailed map included in the live guide and an improved system of announcing alterations to the line-up. If you are a red-bloodied heterosexual male you cannot fail to be impressed with the high standard of women around the city. A fair proportion of them did however look like they had fallen victim of a vandal who had doused them with a bright orange Cuprinol* product.
*other leading woodcare commodities are available to buy.
Atmosphere – 8/10
As a whole the atmosphere in and around the city was great. The same can be applied to all the venues. There was not much sign of trouble and everyone seemed in high spirits as they soaked-up the sounds and the scorching sunshine. Due to the high volume of gigs happening simultaneously the audience was spread out and this meant that no time was wasted queuing outside. The main reason for the loss of marks was following a few isolated incidents of the doorman’s attitude being unreasonable. One particular incident instantly springs to mind, when the said Neanderthal/meathead/doorman (delete as appropriate) forcibly ushered out a number of customers who had purchased a drink only moments before. Poor form.
Mickey 9s – 10/10
Not only do this four-piece possess plenty of wit, but they are also blessed with a load of talent too. So whether you are watching them get their groove on or just enjoying a beer in their company, prepare to be entertained. The eye-captivating moves of the masked frontman combine the freaky dancing of Bez with that of a camp-drunk-Uncle who is hogging the dancefloor by doing his best Riverdance impression. It is always refreshing to see a band that resists the temptation to conform like a lot of post-Britpop bands do. In other words, they are not just the same old indie shite that is so commonly regurgitated. Well worth checking out.
Christine Owman – 9/10
The Swedish solo artist was the most unique performer over the four days. Anyone that can make a saw sound good is doing something right. Christine is clearly passionate about all the elements that make-up her performance including her image. Her laptop controls the pre-recorded instrumentals which she adds live her vocals, some ukulele, and also throws in a spot of headbanging for good measure. Meanwhile in the background short films that she has created are being projected which adds another dimension to her act. The only negative about the whole thing was only a handful of people actually witnessed her.
The Phenomenal Handclap Band – 8/10
The large collective that is The Phenomenal Handclap Band managed to have large sections of their audience dancing throughout the entirety of their performance. Their sound is not completely original as they feed from large elements of seventies New York funk and soul. It does not matter when the songs are this well crafted as their hits already sound like classics. Infectious joyful vibes transfer from the band to the fans creating a party atmosphere and then they played popular tune ‘15 to 20’ which picked it up a couple of more notches. The only major grievance with this show was the huge delay in the running order.
The Sunshine Underground – 8/10
Fighting off all the competition on the bill the Leeds-based group still managed to pull in a good-sized and rather boisterous following. The set was packed full with a mixture of their hits from the first album and a number of tracks from their latest offering, ‘Nobody’s Coming To Save You’. They blasted through their set rapidly which helped keep the crowd to shake off any excitable excessiveness.
The Second Grace – 7/10
The charming Sicilian two-piece played their set within the grounds of the quirky little venue that is Studio 2, Parr Street Studios. This place used to be a hub of activity as a recording studio with artists as globally huge as Coldplay recording material there, these days though it is more well-known as an events venue and a live music bar. The true quality of singer-songwriter Fabrizio Cammarata voice shone during the whole set, but the defining moment was during the final song when he performed in front of the intimate crowd without using the microphone and just utilised the natural harmonics of the room to great effect.
Chilly Gonzales – 0/10
Not sure what the reason behind the decision was but he never played his concert, which left a lot of people feeling deflated when they found out.
Lost Knives – 2/10
The performance was completely unbearable to listen too mainly down to the terrible sound. There was feedback constantly coming through the PA system, which made it hard to take much out of the performance. When the soundman could not solve the problem many left after a couple of numbers.
To be serenaded by three beautiful New Zealand-based ladies down a dark alley is something this journalist doesn’t think happens too often in Liverpool. The fact that the tones of their voices and the harmonies complimented each other perfectly was a bigger bonus. The ladies in question are part of a rising classical collection of trained singers going by the name of Eve.
Shoshin are a Manchester-based three-piece band that set-up in various locations around the city and played their tunes to the passing public. It was a good idea to help make people talk about their group and their carefully selected locations meant that they were probably seen by the highest volume of people over the course of the week.
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