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Sounded out

Preview queen Heather Smith tells you what's what music wise as Liverpool Sound City gets under way.

Published on May 20th 2009.

Sounded out

FOUR days, 30 venues, 400 acts and 25,000 gig-goers. Liverpool Sound City 2009 is here.

For £60 you can buy a festival wristband that will get you into every gig, capacity permitting. You can pay per-gig, if you prefer, or simply take advantage of the stacks of free-entry performances.

LSC is by no means just about the music; this year there's football and photography fun to be had as well.

On Friday, the John Peel World Cup makes a welcome return to Anfield's Power League all-weather pitches. The six-a-side soccer showdown has LSC bands don their shin pads and battle it out for the prize of playing two Peel favourites live on stage at an after party/award ceremony (£5) at Studio in hardman Street. First on 2009's team sheet are The Zutons and the Farm. Who else might turn up is anyone's guess but there will be 12 teams. The free tournament, in aid of the British Heart Foundation, kicks off around 12pm.

From pitches to pictures, the 'Crucial 3-0' exhibition, in which photographer Kevin Cummins carefully captures Liverpool in the post-punk period, is to be unveiled on Friday. Featuring Echo and the Bunnymen and the La's, the specially commissioned collection, showing 30 photographs from as many years, will be displayed in the Hard Days Night Hotel, North John Street, until 13th June.

Variety may be the spice of life but come on, a decent festival depends on the bands. And lucky, LSC offers plenty…

Day One, Wednesday 20th May. All aboard the adventure....The Rascals headline Liverpool University’s cosy Stanley Theatre stage (from 7pm, £10). Notorious for storming live sets Miles Kane and co. are the safest of bets for opening night, the band will undoubtedly speed slickly through tracks from rocking debut album Rascalize.

In 2008 The Rascals played the Sound City launch and this year they're one of the major bands. Festival tip: don’t be put off if you barely recognise a name on the line up. LSC is like a big pre-festival season bash, all of the billed names are bound to get bigger.

Down in the docklands, local graffiti legends The Maybes, take on the Picket crowd (from 7pm, £5). Known for encouraging giggers to Get On The Resin, the supercharged indie quintet have been dipping their toes into the mainstream for years. With gigs at Reading and Leeds and arena support with The Farm under their belts, maybe 2009 will be the year they finally take the plunge.

Free gigs include Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies @ Bumper (6.30pm), The Drellas @ Metropolitan (7pm) and the Gaymers cider Jimmy Campbell tribute @ Heebie Jeebies (7pm)

Day Two, Thursday 21st May. Hotly tipped Blackpool-born songstress Karima Francis will also be playing a free gig at Parr Street’s Studio 2. The 21 year-old androgenic rock chick is quite the eye-catcher but it’s her raw vocals that have helped debut record The Author to score particularly well on the press-o-meter so far this year. Those in the up-and-coming-know will eager to show their faces.

If you’re willing to pay or have festival wristbands, you might fancy NME’s latest indie icons Black Lips @ Barfly (7pm, £10), Domino’s alternative dude Eugene McGuinness & the Lizards @ Zanzibar (7pm, £6) or actress-cum-punk princess Juliette Lewis @ Stanley Theatre (7pm, £12.50)

Day Three, Friday 22nd May. Stephen Fretwell, otherwise known as the Gavin-and-Stacey-theme-tune-guy, will top a mammoth line up at Zanzibar (7pm, £8). The Scunthorpe born star is currently on a full UK tour, belting out beautiful acoustic gems such as Run which caught the aural attention of the Beeb a few years back.

Elsewhere, the O2 Academy 2 will play host to 2009's most talked about, all round industry-favourite, Little Boots. Congratulations to electro 'Pool popsters, Soft Toy Emergency, who have managed to bag a slot beneath Blackpool's newly crowned Queen of pop. It could be an important one for them.

Freebies include Hey Rosetta @ Mello Mello (7pm), Tucker @ Chameleon (7pm) and The Val Verde @ Metropolitan (7pm)

Day Four, Saturday 23rd May. It’s all about The Zutons at St Georges Hall. The well established Liverpudlian five-piece last played live in the city at the arena. Gaymers are responsible for the gig which comes as part of the Grass Roots homecoming series. The Zuts have become one of the country’s biggest and best live festival bands but nothing beats seeing their psychedelic-style bounce off a small stage. Advance tickets have sold out so attendance is now by festival wristband only.

The Saturday night action does not stop in the grottier more traditional gig venues though and there is still plenty on offer away from the mainstream. Enter Shikari step up for a matinee show at Barfly (1pm, £10), You Me At Six invade the O2 Academy (7pm, £12.50) and Detroit Social Club add to the free gig list at Studio (8pm).

For full LSC line up/ festival tickets etc visit www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

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