Liverpool Sound City is now the largest city centre music & arts festival in Europe playing host over 360 artists in 25 venues in Liverpool city centre. Based on the popular South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Sound City aims to be a platform for the up and coming bands/artists whilst also showcasing more well known performers.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the Thursday due to other commitments but below I’ve provided a breakdown of my movements for the Friday and Saturday.
Alexandra Burgos – The Attic
Argentinian born singer songwriter Alexandra Burgos is a blues/rock artist with clear influences from the likes of Wanda Jackson, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Accompanied by her Dad on lead guitar and her Sister on bass the Burgos family must be one of the coolest families I’ve ever encountered (her mum sells the CD’s incase you were wondering). Alexandra’s bluesy tones set my Sound City 2013 experience off to a great start.
The Ruen Brothers – East Village Arts Club (Theatre)
The Ruen Brothers sound sits somewhere between The Black Keys and the 1960’s, (yes I did just use a compare a band to a decade). You only have to listen to their most popular track “Aces” to understand why I’m making that last comparison. The band played a solid, energy infused set, unfortunately the energy didn’t transmit to the crowd who we’re largely seated a fair distance from the stage. I can only imagine how well their gigs go down in their Hometown of Scunthorpe, where I am sure they have a decent following.
Raevannan Husbandes – Sound Food & Drink
Winner of the Next Big Thing 2012, the award that helped launch the career of Ed Sheeran. Raevannan (Rae) is at the start of what promises to be a big career in the music industry. Rae’s songs are heartfelt and beautiful and it only takes a quick Google search to find out why a young girl can write/sing songs with so much depth. Ad-libbing between songs Rae shows real humility despite the amount of high profile support she has received in recent months. I look forward to hearing more from this girl in the future.
The Chapman Family – Leaf
Don’t really know what to say about this one, wandered over to Leaf as I had no other bands planned at this time and I like the venue, BIG MISTAKE!!
London Grammar – East Village Arts Club (Loft)
***HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY*** London Grammar are a fantastic live band. As much as I don’t want to, I have to draw comparisons to Florence and the Machine (pre-selling out). Take a singer with gorgeous vocals that are chilling and unique, add a couple of incredibly talented musicians, throw in some impressive lyrics and fantastic arrangement’s and you would come close to the stunning sound that is London Grammar. These guys (and girl) absolutely blew me away, and I can’t wait to see them again.
Fire Beneath the Sea – Brooklyn Mixer
One of my favorite live bands in Liverpool, I first saw these guys at “Speakeasy” and couldn’t wait to see them again. The Brooklyn Mixer was packed with people waiting to see them too. After a couple of sound issues, to be expected when you are seeing a 15-piece band, they kicked things off with “Hips Go Wild” and got the party started. If you haven’t heard/seen Fire Beneath the Sea before it’s incredibly difficult to pigeonhole their sound but the band give it a good go in their own description:
“Our sound is centred around Hip-Hop but from there we go into Jazz/Ska/Gypsy territory, with funk as our backbone.”
When you get past trying to figure out what you’re actually witnessing, you can then start to focus on what’s more important, having a good time. This seems to be something that this band does to impressive levels. Awesome Live Band!
Goonam @ Korea Rocks – Kazimier Gardens
I kicked Saturday off at Korea Rocks, one of the many themed events held during SoundCity. It couldn’t have been a better start, We we’re outside, the sun was shining, there was complementary Korean food and refreshments, a top venue and a bizarre Korean four piece rock band having a great time onstage.
Fist City – Heebie Jeebies
I decided it was too nice of a day to spend too much time inside and so headed to Heebie Jeebies to make use of the courtyard. Canadian four piece Fist City were playing and what an experience that turned out to be. The lead singer was quite the eccentric and spent a considerable amount of time on the floor, dry-humping beer barrels and trying to get members of the crowd to sing along to songs they’ve never heard before. For sheer energy alone I enjoyed Fist City’s set.
PIT STOP – Maguires Pizza Bar
Quick stop off at Maguires Pizza Bar for a pizza dog, some garlic knots and a refreshing bottle of Kopperberg. For anyone who doesn’t know what a pizza dog is, it’s a hot dog wrapped in a pizza, GENIUS!! Also for anyone who hasn’t been to Maguires Pizza Bar before, GO! The food’s superb, the drinks are cold and they regularly project classic wrestling onto a wall. What’s not to like.
Ian Prowse & Amsterdam – Cathedral
Ian Prowse is a constant presence on the Liverpool Music Scene and I’m a massive supporter/fan of his Monday Club at The Cavern Pub, It’s a fantastic showcase for original music. Having said that, I’d never seen him perform live with Amsterdam so I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.
Firstly lets consider the venue, The Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is the Largest of its kind in the UK, and the fifth largest in the world. Why wouldn’t you want to go to a gig here? Secondly, the band are all phenomenal musicians and Ian Prowse is a fantastic writer/vocalist/front man. Thirdly, playing the song “maybe there is a god after all” in a cathedral is comedic genius. With ad-libs saluting the death of Maggie Thatcher and a rousing cover of the Clash’s London Calling, Ian Prowse confirms his status as an original folk/rock outlaw! Frank Turner who??
Ady Suleiman – Zanzibar
***NEXT BIG THING*** I’m introducing my own award for this one. Ady Suleiman is a Nottingham born future Superstar. Currently learning his craft studying at LIPA, He’s been doing regular gigs with support from another LIPA student Ed Black. On top of this Ady has had some serious industry backing from BBC radio 1 and BBC introducing. Quite deservingly the Zanzibar was packed with people wanting to see him and he didn’t disappoint. His vocals are in another league to any RnB singer in the UK at the minute and his song writing skills are second to none. I managed to catch up with Ady at the Black-E later on and was massively impressed with his attitude towards his art and towards the support he’s been receiving. ADY SULEIMAN – remember the name, if this lad doesn’t have a long and successful career in the music industry then there is something seriously wrong.
Dexys – Cathedral
I was having a great day until I witnessed this shambles of a gig. I went because Dexys are relatively iconic, largely due to the song “come on Eileen”, but I couldn’t bare to stay any longer than 2-3 songs. I can’t believe I missed Jacob Banks for this.
The Hummingbirds – The Black-E
I, along with a group of mates chose to end the day at the Black-E where two of my favorite bands where closing the Anfield Wrap event. I’ve been a big fan of the Hummingbirds for a good while now and have seen them live on countless occasions. These lads never disappoint, their music is a fresh take on the MerseyBeat sound. The now 6 piece band has honed their sound over the past 12 months with the introduction of a permanent keys player and an upgrade from a box to a full drum kit (for this gig anyway) providing them with a fuller sound.
The band took to the stage kitted out in Adidas Originals jackets, a banterous stab at the Tea Street Band, with whom they have been involved in a twitter war of words prior to the Anfield Wrap event. The jackets came off after their first number and the Hummingbirds got into full swing (even if the sound tech guy was asleep). Once again, a top gig from The Hummingbirds.
Tea Street Band – The Black-E
It’s safe to say I was a little bit worse for wear by the time the Tea Street Band took to the stage (I’d been drinking all day) but having seen this band before I knew their music would carry me through. If you’re from Liverpool then you will more than likely know who the Tea Street Band are. You will also know that their music somehow heightens your senses. If you don’t know who the Tea Street Band are then get a grip, and check them out. The average song is about 5/6 minutes long and still feels like it’s too short. As a Live band they are superb and I can’t wait for them to start announcing festival dates.