Liverpool Sound City Festival 2013 – an overview…

Liverpool Sound City Festival 2013 – an overview…

2nd-4th May 2013

D’ya know ‘ow much I’d like to think I know about what’s going on in this crazy world of rock and roll nowadays?
‘ow it all ticks along nicely week after week and band after band and album after album?
Answer; Everything.

D’ya know how much I’ve realised recently that I actually do understand ?
Answer ; Zilch !
Nuffink !
“This boy Knows not -what- makes – the public – decide to champion and ultimately.
To-
Buy –
Into.
And ‘e knows – he – don’t take notice of what da public are saying to ‘im” (trust me that’s a lyric – not me gone mad) ….Everyday.

If I get my finger out and do stuff like listen to the Radio One chart run downs and read the NME and stay off the (You)TUBES in the evenings I’d probably be able to make a bit more sense out of it all (“the ‘biz”) .
But I don’t, so things ‘appen and I suppose situations occur because of this.

Like standing in a covered car park watching 600 people go bananas to a band I don’t really know and then to have it explained to me that they’ve had a number one album for about 10 weeks (BASTILLE).
I don’t understand how I can have a little “Dad dance” to ALUNA GEORGE for the second time in eight months and sing along to her poptastic tunes when I really don’t know why I know these tunes and how I got to know them.
Have the “powers of be” been subconsciously pumping out these tunes whilst I sleep soundly at night ?
Adverts?
Football Montages?
Shoe shops ?
Newsagents ?
Bookies?
Chip shops ? – Answers on a postcard please – I’m baffled

I’m alright at spotting things tho’.
Like the guitarist of the FAMILY RAIN being a bit Noel G and playing a mean guitar without any observation as to what his other two band members are doing and just doing what he does nonchalantly as though the other chaps don’t matter.
This is because he obviously TRUSTS what’s occurring.
And he trusts them because they’re all brothers and they’re ace and they tell us they’re brothers at the end……. LOOK ! the fuckin “Scissor Sisters” were not actually SISTERS OK …It’s not obvious OK !
Yeah ….
I don’t realise that more people than just ME are latching onto the wonderful “Eliza and the Bear” but I do realise that by the time “The 1975” play I need to have been well inside that tiny bar called “Zanzibar” at least six weeks earlier than those trying to get in five minutes before show time if I wanted to catch a glimpse of them.
I also realise that there’s a chance that seeing someone like DEXYS in a bloody great Cathedral (LTW Review) might be worth catching a glimpse of (and learning that a “glimpse” can sometimes last for over two hours!)

I learn that there are some bands that actually live near me in London that are really awful and I honestly don’t know what they were called and i’m not going to look them up or phone a friend but I was watching and listening and having my dinner in a venue at the time that boasted at the front door WE DO NOT SELL ANYTHING ALCOHOLIC which actually made me cheer on entering it with the previous nights hangover still lingering and threatening a return.

I learn that there’s a band that live just down the road here in London E11 who are great and called BLEECH and it’s taken me about six years to actually go and see them (in bloody Liverpool!) – and i’m pleased they still play they’re debut single “Mondays” which has me whistling the chorus all the way back to my tent in the evening….sorry, my swanky hotel that has a kettle at the end of the bed and a bible next to my pillow and a member of staff who actually tells me to “be calm” when I cant open the hotel door.

However, if you want a REAL Merseyside clich√© then maybe Mr Robb from “Louder Than War” will show us all that picture with KEN fuckin DODD ! – WHY is it that the most famous person I meet all week is a bloke from 6Music who knows how to whistle loud at those Voyeurs boys who along with their label mates TEMPLES and TOY, Smoke TOO MANY FAGS and seem to be sporting make up along with their crap ha……..sorry I promised I would bring that up again ?

I learn that there’s people we probably see standing around looking cool watching cool bands that have probably been running off their arses all day getting equipment sorted for those bands (Thee Oh Sees) who have had their equipment seized by French customs and those bands (BOATS) who have had their equipment mislaid by British airways.
We learn that you can still have mental gigs where people stage dive, crowd surf and throw their clothes around without any bloke that makes a living acting out the health and safety rules in a fluorescent jacket coming into the room and telling people not to.

And ironically we chuckle as the very same clubs have outside, a line of vehicles that i’ll describe as a taxi, another taxi, another taxi, an ambulance, a taxi a police car and another ambulance that no one requires.

We moan about the three people behind the bar which is five deep and the six toilets for 700 pissed punters that have some kind of health and safety sticker inside them explaining you can legally get seven people (maximum) inside them (although i’m sure there was some disclaimer in the small print under that message)

We even make a failed attempt to get one of our favourite duo’s (Too Many T’s) a gig because it’s just not good enough bumping into them inside the Hilton. We want to see them again and we like a challenge.

Some of us are so rubbish that when we queue up for half an hour in order to see French favourites CONCRETE KNIVES for the second time in as many hours we realise an hour later that we’re in the wrong venue but tapping our toes and loving the sound of MELODY’S ECHO CHAMBER and then gasping with delight as THEE OH SEES pull off one thrilling rollercoaster (without any safety belts) of a show (LTW Review).

We get to discover our favourite new band we’ve never heard of before (and I checked and they haven’t previously had a number one record!) of the weekend BOATS on Saturday afternoon who are spending ages setting up in a little courtyard but then playing a blinder using bits and pieces of other peoples gear in order to play and we watch and leave “FIST CITY” who really seem ok with their middle of the afternoon hard core and friendly smiles but ruin it all when singer decides he might be on Stars in their eyes (tonight Mathew I’m going to be “Pink eyes”) and starts smashing things up and pushing people around. Go and watch FUCKED UP and you might learn a thing or two, behave like an idiot (learn the difference) and you may not be invited back.

We discover a new game to play that hopefully someone can put in the itinerary next year. INDY STAR BINGO. This is a game you can play by sitting inside the wonderful venue “Mello Mello” and spot your favourite music makers stroll past. We got Savages. Everything Everything, Dutch Uncles, an extra from casualty, man from “Temples” and the PUKES (with their Uke’s) before we were interrupted by our plate of Beetroot risotto.
Getting it wrong isn’t just exclusive to me though….someone put on London band “DUOLOGUE” at a very good late night spot in a big venue but the rest of the world failed to turn up. They were ace and had three quarters of the room dancing but I wont use numbers here or you’ll laugh. I can see this lot sound tracking my life soon.

Sadly we never saw LULS and we never envisaged what was to happen late Thursday night when a simple message on their facebook page told us they’d called it a day. This is the band that I’ve already penned the words “Band of the year” more than once. I stare at my reflection in disbelief and scare myself with the irony that i’m wearing my “Hope of the States” T shirt who announced they were ending it all AFTER they’d played a gig a few years ago. That’s it then ? The Monday night gig at the empty Highbury Garage, in North London a couple of weeks ago was the last one …. Hopefully everyone in LULS land are safe and well. We’ll miss you guys, thanks for giving us a good 5 months and let us all know you are OK one day please?
Message to self – NEVER take these bands for granted they can go as fast as they arrive.

In the early 80’s when the Cult were still proceeded by the words “Death” and” Southern” they caused a bit of a stir bringing out a single that everyone claimed to love and understand whilst fuckwits like me stood in the corner of the indie, or goth night clubs as they were probably known at the time, scratching my head wondering what the fuss was all about.
Savages do the same. They look great they sound tremendous but they don’t have any songs still. The punters are arriving in droves and the interest they seem to be attracting is obviously a healthy thing BUT …..

Tried as I have to insert the noises from this band into my brain I end up yearning for Siouxsies “ARABIAN KNIGHTS”, and I bloody hated that song but it did have something you could hum whilst delivering the milk in the mornings. This weekends SAVAGES show was busy. I remember the past when bands like this would have had at least 4 bear chested (male) youths dancing like chickens and showing us all how tough they were. This weekend’s late night crowd pretty mush stood with their hands in their pockets. I buggered off before the end and went 20 seconds across the road and danced like a loon the DUTCH UNCLES instead.

And that is what’s great about Sound City. Once we get our bearings we realise that everything is so bloody close together. You can walk between about 10 venues in 5 minutes once you realise where these places are and that meant we all got to see what we all wanted to see and every now and then you could just sit on the pavement and wait for one of your mates to walk by if you were feeling lonely.
The gigs started later than we would have liked (some stuff around 2pm – 5pm would have kick started each day better) but went on ’till late. One felt we could have actually been in any one of Europes great cities (except London) and we knew we could trust whoever was in charge to have arranged some ace bands to play and make most the venues big enough to get people into.

All in all it was great.
Good bands.
Great venues.
Great people working in them not just serving us ale but cooking decent food for a decent value and running everything as scheduled.

And there’s loads I still havn’t told you about but that’s because I don’t want too many of you turning up next year (Even though I think you should) whereas i’ll probably walk over broken glass and pour scalding hot coffee over my legs if it means getting there again myself……

THANK YOU LIVERPOOL – Great stuff xx

Liverpool Sound City 2014 1st-4th May Tickets are on sale now РJust £33 for a Super Early Bird full 3 day pass

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  1. Hey Keith,

    Lovely piece – glad you enjoyed our city and enjoyed Sound City – agree with everything you’ve said about it –

    One point –
    “….I was watching and listening and having my dinner in a venue at the time that boasted at the front door WE DO NOT SELL ANYTHING ALCOHOLIC which actually made me cheer on entering it with the previous nights hangover still lingering and threatening a return.”

    The bar in question is called Brink – it is social enterprise aimed at helping people who have suffered through addiction or alcoholism. It is a bit jarring at first as its unique in our city but an awesome concept than deserves praise –

    I thought you would be interested http://thebrinkliverpool.com/about/

    Thanks again for a great piece

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