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They’ve been asking if they want to come back all these years, and this week it was confirmed that The Vaccines would indeed be coming back to Liverpool Sound City after a 2-year absence. They’ll be joining Belle and Sebastian and The Flaming Lips at the top of an already incredibly tantalising bill of talent.
The four-piece who shot to prominence of the back of their first album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ have barged their way back onto the scene in proper Vaccines fashion. That is, in the form of another 2-and-a-half minute banger, with guitars so fast you’ll miss them if you blink and a chorus as catchy as a cold at this time of year. The guitars are frantic, as they were on all of The Vaccines’ releases we’ve heard up to now, and the four-piece have undeniably stuck to the same formula that has worked so well for them over the last four years.
‘Handsome’ may not have as killer a chorus as ‘Do You Wanna’, but it’s a fantastic pop song with wide appeal, there is no doubt. The new single is released on the 8th of March officially, but is already doing the rounds on social media and the radio, and all around it looks like everybody is pretty happy with what The Vaccines have produced. Will the album be on the same form? Well, from this evidence what can we expect from The Vaccines, more of the same…
As for who’s joining them on the bill at the rejuvenated Liverpool Sound City, which has been moved to pastures anew at the docks, there are some fantastic up and coming talents ready to catch the eye on Merseyside. Female four-piece Dum Dum Girls will bring a bit of shoegaze to the Sound City festival. Math rockers Dutch Uncles have also joined the bill and will be looking to move away from being a festival buzz band and to a group which can really excite people on a festival bill – is this festival the right platform? We shall see.
If overblown hipster chic is what you enjoy , eccentric duo The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger are certainly a feast for the eyes. Whether their off-colour take on psychedelic rock will captivate or confuse, they’re likely to be an interesting draw alongside Roni Size /Reprazent, The Thurston Moore Band, Gaz Coombes, F*cked Up, Evian Christ and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
But with a BBC Sound of 2015 nomination and countless plays of their new single on Radio 1, the act I’m undeniably the most excited about catching a glimpse of at Liverpool Sound City (barring the headliners anyway) are Slaves. Their no nonsense approach on indie rock and incredible tunes like ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie’ are certain to draw a capacity crowd to their slot at the festival, and as it did with me at 2000 Trees 2014, they’re almost certain to leave you asking, “Debbie… Where is your car?”
Uproar. There’d be upper-middle class uproar in the streets of Soho if Worthy Farm were to be ditched in favour of a new location for the yearly Glasto bash. People would be throwing down their bowls in cereal bars and tossing their £4.50 mini-paninis in the air in Starbucks. Imagine Reading shifting itself from Richfield Avenue, or Download departing from Donington: it just wouldn’t be on.
These are just a few examples of why Liverpool Sound City 2015 will undeniably the most important year in the festival’s history. The festival is moving from the established inner city in and around Wolstenholme Square, where it has grown and evolved, to the Bramley Moore Dock. It’s a move that Sound City CEO Dave Pichilingi says aids in “our goal year on year being to evolve, grow, challenge, inspire, surprise and delight.”
It did surprise me, there’s no doubting that. As in its 2014 guise, the festival seemed to work a charm, with the tightly knotted interlocking streets of Liverpool city centre providing a maze for punters to stumble through on the way to the next new band they wanted to watch. The decision to ditch the old locations may have been assisted by the old area to soon lose one of its most charming venues, The Kazimier, and alongside this, TGTF favourite The Kazimier Gardens, two of the most atmospheric and chilled venues that the festival had to offer in its old guise.
So barring a location change, what else are the Sound City crew throwing our way to entice us to Liverpool? Well, the most recent headliner announced is bound to draw fans of all demographics to Liverpool. Even if they haven’t released a solid record since ‘At War with the Mystics’, The Flaming Lips (pictured at top) will arrive in Liverpool with one of the most notoriously fun live shows in tow for Saturday night. Frontman Wayne Coyne, who’s known to ride the crowd at the start of gigs in a zorb, is the kind of focal point who will sell tickets on the site of their name on the bill.
The festivals Web site also says, “the site change also opens Sound City up to bigger artists, the first being the legendary Belle and Sebastian, who will play on the historic Liverpool waterfront backed by a full orchestra.” Now after bearing witness to the power of some of Liverpool Sound City’s special sets – including a rousing performance by Noah and the Whale playing inside the Anglican cathedral with the rest of the TGTF crew in 2013, the prospect of the legendary group backed by an entire symphonic orchestra, to close out the event even, is enough to have me chomping at the bit.
So with only two announcements so far to sink ones teeth into, even in its new location the festival looks almost certain to be another success. The only question is, with two bonafide indie legends topping the bill, who have they got up their sleeves for the opening Friday? Most of the announcements have been a huge, welcome surprise. Who Friday’s headliner are is anyone’s guess, but I for one can’t wait to find out.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 8th November 2013 at 10:00 am
Leeds duo Fossil Collective have covered the Flaming Lips‘ hit ‘Do You Realize?’. And now they want to offer it up to you for absolutely nothing. Have a listen below and if you like its dreaminess compared to the original, you can download it for free. Happy Friday!
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 1st November 2013 at 4:00 pm
The Flaming Lips recently released their cover version of Tame Impala‘s ‘Elephant’. It wouldn’t be the Flaming Lips without something a little off-kilter about the performance, and Wayne Coyne delivers in that respect by flapping the edges of a giant silver disc around his ears like a fly’s wings. It has to be seen to be believed. Watch it below.
If you’d like to compare this version with the original, head this way to watch Tame Impala’s promo as this previous Video of the Moment.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 16th July 2013 at 6:00 pm
Here is The Flaming Lips‘ new video for ‘Turning Violent’, filled with blurry close-ups and other things to make you uncomfortable. But hey, at least things aren’t coming out of unmentionable body locations.
South by Southwest 2013 is almost upon us (like next week!), and at TGTF towers we are honing our scoop sniffing skills, polishing our camera lenses and preparing ourselves for a glut of musical goodness. So who can you catch in Austin that you haven’t seen paraded in front of you on MTV and the BBC? Well, probably no-one, but I’m going to point you in the direction of one of the shows I for one, would not be missing. (And best of all, it’s absolutely free – along 2 other nights of outdoor music goodness.)
That is of course, The Flaming Lips‘ Auditorium Shores show on Friday, the 15th of March. Drawing from a back catalogue of (deep breath please):
- ‘Hear It Is’ (1986)
- ‘Oh My Gawd!!!…The Flaming Lips’ (1987)
- ‘Telepathic Surgery’ (1989)
- ‘In a Priest Driven Ambulance (with Silver Sunshine Stares)’ (1990)
- ‘Hit to Death in the Future Head’ (1992)
- ‘Transmissions from the Satellite Heart’ (1993)
- ‘Clouds Taste Metallic’ (1995)
- ‘Zaireeka’ (1997)
- ‘The Soft Bulletin’ (1999)
- ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ (2002)
- ‘At War with the Mystics’ (2006)
- ‘Embryonic’ (2009)
- ‘The Terror’ (2013)
Yes, they have that many albums in their backpocket,s ready to unleash a cornucopia of funkadelic sounds at you. So the question before you go and see this show is, could you bear a medley of Wayne Coyne’s latest album, or will you hit and hope for a collection of Flaming Lips singles, from ‘Do You Realise?’ to the mind bending ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’?
The audience may not be big enough for Coyne’s signature zorbing trick, but hey, would you put it past him pulling the trick out in Austin, Texas?
Get ready to carry the man, that’s all I would say! He is getting on.
But while the band are growing senior (at least compared to the majority of acts showcasing this year at SXSW), their live performances have not suffered in the slightest, and they remain a festival of the weird, the bizarre and the downright whimsical. So take a night off from the un-established and just rock out to one of the most challenging/rewarding bands of the last two decades. Read more about the 3 nights of free shows at Auditorium Shores here.
For your information, tickets to the music portion of SXSW from Tuesday the 12th of March all the way to Sunday the 17th of March are still available; music badges are now US$750 (approximately £499 at the time of this writing) but the walk-up rate increases to US$795 the week of the festival (approximately £529) and hotel rooms are going fast, so if you are still interested, we recommend you act quickly. Please note TGTF as a music Web site does not support ticket touting of any kind and we have been advised by the SXSW folks that wristbands for the gig portion only, which can only be bought by those with an Austin credit card billing address, are not transferable. So be prudent with your purchases to avoid getting ripped off.