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Sound City - good despite the gaffes

Heather Smith on the blunders and the brilliance - and she even made some videos just for Confidential

Written by . Published on May 26th 2011.


Sound City - good despite the gaffes

AFTER a noisy three days of non-stop music, the amps have been unplugged and Liverpool Sound City 2011 has, once again, been heralded as a big hit.

The festival, which started last Thursday, is musically brilliant. It brings a few big names and hundreds of decent up and coming performers to the city. Live music lovers pack into town’s great gigging venues and everyone generally has a bit of a jamboree.

How some of the massive organisational blunders go unmentioned elsewhere in the coverage, however, is anyone’s guess. Someone should buy the PRs a pint. This is LSC’s fourth year. In a change to the usual format (where you could choose either to buy individual gig tickets or a full festival pass), 2011 was to be a wristband only event. If you didn’t have a wristband, you couldn’t get into the gigs. Fair enough, this makes sense, creates more of a festival atmosphere and so on.

Why then, when the wristband-clad turned up to see The Kooks at the bombed out church on Thursday night, where people turned away or told to wait for up to two hours so that the people who had purchased tickets could get in? Tickets? The poor saps must have been sat out in the wind wondering what the hell they’d paid up to £60 for.

On the same night, gig-goers flocked to see The Handsome Furs (one of the big-ish names on the bill) at the Crypt, advertised programme time 8:30pm. Too late, their set was over. It had been moved to 8:00pm without notice. More miffed people. Everyone can understand that shows may run late occasionally, but early?

The good news is that if you got in and saw the music (which the majority did), you probably had a great time.

Frank Turner’s punky protest tunes (above) brought an interesting vibe to the Crypt’s cracking acoustics on Thursday. With no band, his headline slot was a valiant solo show, his guitar providing all the music necessary for songs like Long Live The Queen and Photosynthesis to sound majestic. For some reason, Thatcher Fucked The Kids never made it on to the set list, maybe it was the holy setting.

Miles Kane topped the bill at St George's Hall on Friday night. He came on at 10:00pm (advertised 9:15pm) and showcased his quite brilliant first solo album, Colour of the Trap. In an effort that was both energetic and sweaty, he sent the crowd into a euphoric state with the classically catchy hit Come Closer. Inhaler and Rearrange also went down extremely well, though, leaving the smartly dressed Miles looking surprised and a bit chuffed with his own reception. Se him in the top video.

Elsewhere, the outing of super cool record label, Bella Union was quietly where the talent was at on Saturday. The show was supposed to take place at the bombed out church but had to be moved to the O2 Academy due to bad weather. The ever so quiet Lanterns On The Lake suffered as a result of this move. Their set was somewhat disrupted by the relentless din of Kitten, who were playing to a much rowdier bunch upstairs. Luckily, Marques Toliver (above) had no such problem. After performing standout track White Sails on Later… With Jools Holland last year, there was a fair bit of muso hype around the solo singer-violinist. To the dismay of some on Saturday, he chose not to perform that track and go instead with the majority of his Butterflies Are Not Free EP. All of which are just as beautiful, particularly Charter Magic which almost pushes the 7 minute mark, but who’s counting?

His perfectly intimate set served as a poignant reminder that this festival is supposed to be about the music. When that is spot on, you can be a bit more forgiving about everything else.

No one wants to take away from what Liverpool Sound City does well, but by addressing some of the more embarrassing gaffes, 2012 could be even better.

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VicsterMay 26th 2011.

Great coverage of Liverpool Sound City. Captures all the highs and lows, Heather. The PRs should be buying YOU a pint!

AnonymousMay 26th 2011.

Was a good weekend. I gave up trying to get into the Kooks in the end....

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