Liverpool Sound City 2012: Initial impressions and festival launch party

By on Wednesday, 6th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

You might be surprised to hear it after sunny Brighton, but I was really looking forward to heading oop North and on to Liverpool for Sound City. It really is like being in a different country, going from as far south as possible on English land up to the Northwest’s biggest port city. It’d been 5 years since my last visit to ‘pool and I was quite excited. A security man in the Lime Street station helped me with my bag, said he enjoyed my accent (which seems to be a running theme whenever I visit blighty?) and directed me to help his coworker figure out a honeymooning place for he and his future wife in America. Do I look like a travel agent? Maybe it is my disarming American nature. Or my bashful grin. Who knows!

I had a “pinch me I’m in Liverpool” moment realising that indeed, the place I’d chosen to hang my hat for 4 days and nights was within sight of the Liver Building. Upon arriving at my hotel, an old but kindly old man helped me carry my bag up the steep stairs into the lobby and all he wanted was a hug. I couldn’t say no. Besides, the man was wearing a red Liverpool F.C. jacket and then unzipped it to reveal further LFC kit. Yep, I was definitely in Liverpool! (Unfortunately, while I was having lunch next to a tv tuned to Sky a couple hours later, I learned that they’d given the boot to Kenny Daglish. I decided then it was probably not the week to visit either Anfield or Melwood. Next time. Instead, I spent the sunny day taking some snaps of the Albert Dock.

That evening, I was pleased to be asked to join an invite-only party at the Town Hall, the official launch to this year’s Sound City festival, the night before things officially got underway. The Lord Mayor, dressed in all his medals and finery, gave a speech welcoming everyone to the city, as did David Pichilingi, the festival director, explaining that the festival was merely “5 years young” and getting bigger and better every year. Besides bigwigs making big speeches, nice hors d’oeuvres and free alcohol, there was also a performance courtesy of local sons the Hummingbirds.

If you’re a regular TGTF reader you probably could tell from reading the Bands to Watch piece I did on them in January that I really dig them. This night was just the start of their busy gigging schedule for the next couple of days, which included an appearance for the Queen the next morning when she made a visit to Albert Dock and an appearance on CALM’s stage at Bumper on Thursday night. I’m glad that I made it to this launch party, as I missed the show for the Queen (too many people, though you can see in the video below, people get very excited to see her car go by) and the timing was just too tight for me to run down to Bumper and back between the last two acts I planned to catch. It also appeared that their interview schedule was busy because I never managed to get them in one place so I could chat with them for a TGTF feature, but I believe our friends at the AU Review cornered them, so I’ll keep an eye out for a link.

Let’s face it, playing for a bunch of industry types who are there more to mingle than to actually pay attention to the band performing on stage is a bit rough going. Despite this, I thought the Hummingbirds sounded great and the upstairs reception room in the Town Hall had good acoustics for their skiffle-y setup. Rather appropriately, they ended their short set with ‘Back in Liverpool’. Aww. I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about that song. That was a definite coulda shoulda woulda videotape moment that I did not take advantage of. Sniffle. (Yes, I can be a big softy…sometimes.)

The night ended on a sad note, when I realised the next day after turning over everything in my hotel room, confirming I’d a favourite pink scarf I’d had practically forever somewhere between the Town Hall and walking back from an Irish pub in the centre of town to my hotel. End of an era. Hope a nice lady found it and gets as many years of use as I did with it.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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