REVIEW: Liverpool Sound City, 1-3rd May 2014

Sound City NN

Liverpool Sound City brought another class lineup to stages across the city this year, and despite its metropolitan location and not exactly summery temperatures, Sound City had all the good vibes of a festival surrounded by people who really were all there for the music.  Arrived with a mapped out schedule of bands to see over the three days of the festival, it soon became clear that many of the highlights of the festival came from the most unexpected moments.

Liverpool’s Kazimier tops the list of the more than twenty participating venues (all conveniently within a five minute radius from one another): an intimate and trendy theater reminiscent of the Deaf Institute, which played host to top talent.  Bands of note included Brighton electronic five-piece Phoria, who played a gorgeous and pulsating set before the flawless as ever Glass Animals, as well as guitar and synth outfit We Have Band and, closing the festival, Sao Paolo DJ duo Mixhell, which kept the venue rammed with festival-goers who clearly still had the enthusiasm and energy to dance (and this all took place just on Saturday night).

A surprisingly charming venue found itself in Leaf Café, whose incorporation of hanging disco balls in the least tacky way imaginable created an ambiance not to be dismissed, as found sitting on a sofa at midnight on Thursday, sipping a beer and simultaneously discovering the incredible vocal prowess of Mancunion act Sivu; which proved to be time between sets well spent.  Other noteworthy artists to grace the venue included Sons & Lovers and Southern, two promising bands with unique and varying pop sensibilities.

Bluesy rock and roll bar the Zanzibar supplied the perfect venue for late night sets that saw the likes of Thumpers, Syd Arthur and the Sunshine Underground play into the early hours of the morning to a packed setting, while Liverpool favourites Circa Waves lived up to their mounting hype at the East Village Arts Club Loft, and it’s easy to see why this might be one of the last times you’ll catch them playing a stage so small.  The latter venue also hosted northern surf rockers Spring King, whose recently released catchy single ‘Mumma’ is a must add to your summer playlist.

The mysterious band that’s seen widespread attention of late, seven piece Jungle, were the epitome of cohesion and enthusiasm at their closing set at the Factory, and it didn’t get much better than the watching (and grooving along to) impeccable Cambridge electronic pop group Clean Bandit take the stage within the unbeatable aesthetics of the Angelican Cathedral.

The only downside to the festival came from lines down the street to catch festival headliners Jagwar Ma and the Kooks, with many forced to spend time in long queues or denied entry, but one needed only to venture down the street (or next door) to be assured of a good time and more great tunes.

Words by Ruby Hoffman (@RubybHoffman).

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