Liverpool Sound City 2014: Day 3 Roundup

By on Friday, 16th May 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

For all my photos from Sound City 2014, head this way; for all my Sound City 2014 coverage from Liverpool, use this link.

Saturday at Liverpool Sound City 2014: on the homestretch now, but it’s also sad to know that something you’ve waited for all year is about to end. But I had something unusual to start my last day in Liverpool with: if it’s not music in Liverpool, it’s got to be football, innit?

The legendary John Peel was famously known as a Reds fan (good man) so it makes sense that the football tournament taking place during Sound City, a major music event for the town, is named after him. As much as I am a footy fan, I’d still not managed to make it to Chavasse Park, the nice stretch of green hovering above the hulking Liverpool One shopping district, over the last 2 years for the John Peel World Cup. That all changed this year when Geordies Boy Jumps Ship, the nice boys I’d met the previous night after I’d rocked out to their music, invited me to come watch them play five-a-side as Boy Jumps Ship F.C. Or as they had said, eke through a couple rounds of five-a-side and wonder why they’d agreed to play in the first place, the morning after they’d gigged at the festival.

I am sure John and Martin will get a kick out of this, but as can probably imagine if you’ve met me before, I’m not an athletic person (I prefer to be a sports bystander) so arriving at Chavasse Park, surrounded by loads of cute boys (albeit exhibiting varying shades of intimidation and being generally loud to match the intimidation) was akin to me being a duck out of water. I was, however, dressed to the nines for this, as I was sporting my new, perfect red Steven Gerrard jersey obtained from Anfield on Wednesday. So nyah!

Soon enough, I found the Boy Jumps Ship fellas in their white kit and even though the matches were only 10 minutes long, everything I watched at the park that afternoon was tense and fast-paced. I have to say, if you’re going as a spectator to this event, it’s sure a lot more fun cheering on your mates. Football expert John has said (threatened?) that he needs to participate in the tournament next year, so keep that in mind as a definite reason why you should attend Sound City 2015.

I didn’t hang around for the finals but from all accounts, Boy Jumps Ship was doing pretty good when I’d left to meet up with my next interviewees, Dave Bayley and Joe Seaward, who were sound checking with their band Glass Animals at the Kazimier. The Kazimier, along with the Zanzibar, would prove to be the most important venues of the night to me, which judging from this post-event report from famed Liverpudlian music man on the street Peter Guy, turned out to be a smart move.

Red Found Glory @ Zanzibar

While I waiting for my next interview subject Tommy Wright, the well-coiffed frontman for Young Kato, who was delayed, I had time to kill. Going off our Irish friends Kodaline‘s earlier Tweets, I skulked around the inside of the Zanzibar to look for them, as they’d said first band up Red Found Glory were a good shout and they were hoping to make it in to see them before they were due on to headline at the Cathedral that night. (I guess they are friends?) I don’t know if it was anxiety waiting for Tommy or if these guys from London were just not very unique, they were a good enough rock band I suppose but nothing special jumped out at me.

Glass Animals @ Kazimier

I thought I’d mosey back to the Kazimier for Glass Animals‘ set. It’s quite ironic that Carrie fell in love with their music (at the Harvest Records showcase Tuesday night at SXSW 2014) before I did, because the dance / urban sound is much more my thing than hers, but I really wasn’t having any of “those peanut butter vibes” initially. Saturday at SXSW during ‘Black Mambo’, Carrie was going mental (then again, it was everyone’s last day in Austin, so everyone present was already sauced by noon) and maybe I was off that afternoon, but I wasn’t completely sold. Until I saw them in Liverpool, that is. Playing to a daytime crowd in Austin at Latitude 30 is entirely different than playing a rammed Kazimier, filled down the front with women with drink in hand, grooving to the music in their summer dresses. Maybe it was the magic of Liverpool that made me finally see what I had been missing for months?

While Martin waxed philosophical about them in October of last year and described their song ‘Exxus’ as having “mellifluous mellotron mixes with otherworldly, disembodied voices, as if Gyorgy Ligeti and Edgar Froese were having a bromance right there in one’s Eustachian tube”, I found something more tangible and oddly down to earth about the band’s sound. Songs like ‘Hazey’ from their forthcoming album ‘Zaba’ and yes, that ‘Black Mambo’ tune show a collected coolness from Bayley and crew that seems to be at odds with most of the music I saw at Sound City. The music slides and glides seemingly effortlessly and judging from the fact at their first American headline show in New York Wednesday night sold out well in advance, America is ready for Britain’s latest hip dance export. It was inevitable that they would end their set with ‘Gooey’, but why not when it’s the most recognisable of their songs to date and the one that brings the house down every time?

I rushed away after them to the Brooklyn Mixer with every intention of catching Pennsylvania’s The Districts. You’re probably wondering why I was bothering to catch a band from the state directly due north of mine, but I had a good reason: I missed them at this year’s SXSW. Just like Thursday night, I knew something was amiss when I arrived. For one, there were all these non-Anglicised shouts of approval and I had to ask someone at the door who was playing, because they didn’t look American. I guess the Districts cancelled, as a Brazilian band the Parrots had stepped in for them. I stayed for a short while since I didn’t like what I heard, I went back to the Kazimier to ready myself to see We Have Band, who I’d been waiting to see for years. Who should I run into on my way back but Glass Animals loading out? A discussion between Dave Bayley and me of various places in America ensued. Oh, English music festivals. You never cease to amaze and amuse me!

We Have Band @ Kazimier

We Have Band‘s ‘Divisive’ from their debut album ‘WHB’, one of my favourite dance anthems of 2010, was the sole song I had on my mind initially. I figured they had to play it and if they didn’t, I’d be quite cross, ha! And it didn’t disappoint at all live. But the band had a more important mission that night with their set: to get out the new songs from their brand new album ‘Movements’. Measured in its chaos yet also glittery synth-wise single ‘Modulate’ saw sole female band member Dede Wegg-Prosser take centre stage, and she commanded attention from the word go, whether it was when she was singing or she was gyrating on stage in minimalist black clothing, which no doubt wasn’t lost on her male admirers. Another album cut, ‘Heart Jump’, was a dance revelation on steroids, with its relentless beats, and even after such a short festival set, the crowd was sweaty but yelling for more. With their flurry of synths, bass grooves and drum pad beats, they were definitely worth the wait!

After the excitement of We Have Band, I wanted somewhere to chill and it occurred to me that maybe the best plan of attack would be to stop in at the Zanzibar, where I had planned to see Young Kato later. It was with major disappointment that I learned of Dublin’s the Minutes cancelling their Sound City appearance in favour of performing in their hometown that day instead, but considering they haven’t gotten a record deal for ‘Live Well, Change Often’ in the UK, I guess it kind of makes sense that they wouldn’t bother with trying to promote an album in a country where people can’t actually buy it.

Serotonin @ Zanzibar

I’m not sure where the band Serotonin is from (there are several on the interwebs), but they haplessly filled in for the absent Irish band. Who wears black turtlenecks in Liverpool, unless you’re a beatnik from the Sixties? Also, me and another female journalist were laughing at what the frontman was ‘packing’ in his trousers… You just couldn’t take them seriously.

Young Kato @ Zanzibar

After a changeover, Young Kato were next, and I was happy to explain to punters not familiar with them about their history. Well, at least the fact that they were on Made in Chelsea, but perhaps in hindsight, that’s not a good factoid to offer up to the more discerning music fan? Either way, it didn’t matter.

Although I was situated on a sofa overlooking the stage for most of their set (hey, it was Saturday, I was tired, don’t judge), I was standing up and cheering like the rest of the audience for them. Tommy Wright did his job in ‘selling’ the free mp3 ‘Ignite’, which we gave away in this previous MP3 of the Day post; as usual, the sparkly ‘Lights’ went down a treat, as did ‘Revolution’, which seems like an unlikely competitor in a town with a band with an untouchable history with a song of the same name. Naturally, the song that concluded the proceedings was ‘Drink, Dance, Play’, which has become the band’s rallying cry: is this the sound of young Britain? I certainly hope so, I’d rather it be Young Kato than Bastille.

Public Access TV @ Zanzibar

I would have been happy with them ending my Sound City experience this year, but I was convinced by some newly made friends that I should wait for the next band, Public Access TV (not to be confused with London historical PSA-repurposers Public Service Broadcasting, who were without a doubt making a big noise on the next street over at Nation at the same exact time). After I left Liverpool, I did some research on Public Access TV to find that NME had tipped the New York band for big things at the start of the year and that Lindsay Lohan was in attendance during one of the group’s earliest performance. (Er, so what?) I’m truly confused. As I watched them, I saw nothing special: guys with guitars…playing pop with a tinge of guitar. Hello, the Strokes? Michael Hann of the Guardian has since jumped onboard this bandwagon, presuming off the back of their appearance at the Great Escape the following weekend and I’ve figured out why everyone’s putting their money on the band (finish Hann’s article and you will see what I mean).

But just because a band has talked to the right people doesn’t mean they’re good. See them live and decide for yourself. That’s the greatest thing about a festival like Sound City: it just goes to show when a great place like Liverpool can put on hundreds of bands over a weekend, you’re bound to find music that will astound, make you think, is just plain fun, or all of the above. Make the most of such an opportunity.

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