A well curated and well tiring success
White Denim - Live At Liverpool Sound City 2012

With 350 bands from more than 20 countries, an expo showcasing an array of products and services and a slew of panels, forums, roundtables and seminars with world-class keynote speakers, Liverpool Sound City is full on. There is so much to see it could easily induce choice paralysis… do you watch that intriguing documentary or attend that seminar that has a great panel discussing a subject you want more insight on? Do you catch that new band you’ve heard lots of people raving about or go and see that already established act that you know will smash it?

Clash avoids indecision and just sets about the whole shebang, gorging on as much music as possible and soaking up the wealth of other cultural enticements on the menu. Thursday started with a packed conference at the Hilton about creating a label - the conclusive message being there are no rules and prepare for a long hard slog but with joyous reward if you achieve your goals. Another incisive talk about becoming a manager relates a similar message and reveals how complicated clawing some success for a band can be - innovation, contacts and commitment being essential.

After some well-earned drinks in the rammed conference bar at the Hilton we spill out and mooch about between the venues. Local band, The Sterlings, eschew any thoughts of image in their jogging pants and trainers but start the night off in the Zanzibar with some well-honed, if conventional, rocking. Fellow scousers Cold Shoulder over at Binary Cell have been playing a lot longer, the singer being the former front man of The Aeroplanes. They give a raucous performance with rasping vocals and tight, blues-infused rock. The City Walls brand of melodic indie drew a decent crowd in The Brink, no mean feat considering it’s a dry venue, but TOY pulled in one of the larger crowds over at the Kazimier. One of the hyped bands of the event, they represent the other end of the scale in terms of image. All hair and thousand yard stares, their motorik, droning rock holds many in thrall. Followed by Death In Vegas, this is more like a DJ set and suffered a lack of impact without vocalists and a full band, but is lapped up by the electronic leaning fans.

Friday sees many bands start earlier in the afternoon, the Bombed Out Church, with the sky for a ceiling, being a great venue to see some performances. The Leaf venue is a favourite, hosting bands upstairs and downstairs there’s everything from Sicilian troubadour Fabrizio Cammarata to hardcore trio Hot Panda.

Friday night at the Kazimier venue has a line-up not to be missed though. The night starts with attitude and balls from local lad Eugene McGuinness who, since signing to Domino in 2007, has been making an eclectic brand of quirky, alternative rock. Next up White Denim pull off a festival highlight. This Texan four-piece crank out a 90-minute long extended jam, segueing from one track to the next without ever stopping for a breather. It might not be how you’d choose to listen to music at home, but what a live performance to behold. They go down a storm and when the next act began setting up we muse how they could manage following such a blistering set. People lingered to see what the diminutive and somewhat feral-looking fella taking centre stage, surrounded by his four Australian mates, would come up with. POND then delivered a psyched out and compelling blinder of a show. These boys from Perth are known for having three members of Tame Impala in the band, but there can be no notion of riding on coat tails here, they are nothing short of amazing.

Saturday rounds off the whole three-day bonanza with standout shows from The Loud, who are gloriously just that, and upcoming hype bands PINS and Ninetails. The Wedding Present give good of themselves for the official LSC closing party with a performance and a DJ set. The celebrated circus extravaganza act Slamboree being another option for the thousands of grateful fans to round off LSC with a bang. A well curated and well tiring success, roll on next year.

Words by Nick Rice
Photo by David Howarth

Click here for a photo gallery of the festival.

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