Sound City, is the UK’s leading independent festival and conference for new music. It made it’s grand return to Liverpool this past May Bank Holiday.
Liverpool is renowned for its musical heritage and radiates energy unlike any other city in the UK. Sound City captures the vibrancy of the city with the unforgettable 3-day festival. You’ll find established names perform alongside a constant stream of local, national and international emerging talent. This year’s festival was packing in the eclectic concoction of music into a range of venues in Liverpool’s creative hub, The Baltic Triangle. This area was recently voted the coolest place in the UK to live, and in recent years has seen disused warehouses becoming creative hubs, bars, and restaurants.
Sound City+ conference also took place in return to the British Music Experience housed in the Cunard Building plus venues across Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle.
Sound City Saturday
Day One saw an amazing host of bands, acts, poets and performers, take to stages scattered across the Baltic Triangle.
Between the outdoor and indoor stages, there was always someone to see, an art exhibition to take a look at, or a locally brewed pint to drink. Some of the highlights include Marine, an indie three-piece playing in an old pub located off of Brick Street. BINES, a local rock band, took to the Baltic Roastery- and nothing beats a gig where you can sit with a coffee and a cake. The Baltic Roastery was also hosting ‘Gigs and Graphics’. This was a poster sale and exhibition, as well as printing workshop of tons of unique posters for bands and artists from all over the world. It was an amazing addition to the festival, and honestly, was just super cool to see.
Red Rum Club played a massive set to an absolutely rammed District. Queues were too far too long to allow everybody in, but hopefully, those that missed the set can make it to their next Liverpool show. The set was amazing, and it’s solidified them as a name to watch.
Shame were the afternoon’s headliners. The edgy, five piece played a raucous set to an energetic crowd. There were plenty of pits, stage diving, circles, going on. The set nearly ended when a bassist pulled an amp over, destroying the sound set up. The crowd remained enthralled and was dubbed ‘the most sympathetic crowd’ as they waited for the band to resume.
Indie at it’s finest in Hangar 34
The clear standout of Saturday was Sophie and the Giants. The band took to Hangar 34 to play a couple of the biggest and brightest tracks. Lead singer Sophie boasts an impressive, Dua Lipa-esque voice. Think Dua Lipa, but ginger and in and indie band. Absolutely mega. Make sure to catch them this festival season, as they’re hitting them all up.
Blaenavon kicked off with a large number of technical difficulties, but the frontman wore a great Lorde shirt and totally made up for lost time when he could. Their set had the crowd eating out of their hands, and one man consistently shouting ‘MORE OF THE SAME’. If that’s not a sign for how good your set is, what is?
Mabel brought Saturday to a close with a large outdoor show full of tunes we all love to dance to.
Sound City Sunday
Over the weekend, Levi’s Music Project took over Constellations. It provided a great opportunity to learn more about Levi’s work to promote the arts amongst youth in Merseyside, and as someone who lived literally down the road from it, it was amazing to find out this project even exists. Loyle Carner has been a longtime supporter of the city. It’s fantastic to have an up and coming artist like himself championing the next generation of music. Tons of artists took to the stage here, including Warsaw-born Mateusz Franczak, who provided a set chock full of chill, enjoyable indie.
Local bands dominated the mainstage on New Bird Street, with indie piece SPINN celebrating the release of their debut album. Their set was fresh, exciting, and full of dance moves I don’t think my body could physically do. The lads had an amazing energy that kept everyone smiling through the bitter cold. After that, Liverpool legends Clean Cut Kid took to the stage. The four-piece are well known in the area for the frontman’s amazing beard. You know, as well as their fantastic spin on rock music. Their set was the standout of the entire weekend, even with the entire band discussing their intense hangovers doing them in. Overall, it was memorable, all absorbing and a set that felt like a true headline slot.
King Loyle’s Electrifying Set
Later that evening Loyle Carner took to a crowded main stage to close off the weekend. But, he introduced his work with the Levi’s Music Project, gave an hour to the artists he’s been working with, before returning with a full set.
Even if his music was crap, he still has the love of the audience. He begins by shouting ‘F*ck Brexit’, and later pleases all Scousers with a ‘F*ck The Sun and f*ck Barcelona’ due to the City’s long history with The Sun printing abject lies, and LFC’s defeat from Barcelona mere days ago.
Carner played big tunes from his newest album, wore a Liverpool shirt, read a bunch of poems between tracks and had everyone dancing through the unexpected rain. He powered through his equipment going down and losing sound by reading a poem. The highlight of his set was a huge performance of his collaboration with Jorja Smith, ‘Loose Ends’. He ended the festival on a massively high note. However, it’s a shame the main stage was on an uphill road, meaning if you weren’t at the front, you were going to see nothing but the back of someone’s head.
Sound City 2020?
Liverpool Sound City was once again a massive success. For three days, the Baltic Triangle was made even more of a bigger creative hub than it regularly is. Artists new and old mingled, and it provided a true immersive festival experience throughout a couple of city streets. Above all, Sound City know how to create an immersive experience within city limits.
Follow Sound City on Twitter ready for 2020.
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