Liverpool Sound City 2009: Johnny Foreigner, Tubelord, Calories, Black Eyes & Neckties, SSS, Bow N Arrow and Cold Ones: Barfly, Liverpool

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Getintothis‘ Jon Davies on Liverpool Sound City’s opening night extravaganza at Barfly.


After the resounding success of Liverpool SoundCity last year, for the opening night the promoters had to put on something pretty special.
Tonight the Barfly treated the crowd to a special 2-for-1 offer to see eight bands, mostly with staggered sets to allow everyone to give each a view.
Opening downstairs were Birmingham trio Calories, who channeled a little bit of everything alt-rock from both sides of the Atlantic.
They could either been described as Hot Water Music with added UK indie abrasion or like 13-era Blur with early Alkaline Trio style pop punk hooks.
Calories are a rough diamond with a lot of promise and it will be interesting to see whether they become harder and heavier, more melody-oriented, or perhaps both.
Like Calories, upstairs with Bow N Arrow take much of their sound from the 90s; this time with more of a view towards grunge and heavy metal.
Again, the band are promising, but at the moment there seems to be little more than stoneriffic hooks and guttural vocals, though there were glimpses of psychedelia between songs. Despite only catching the last two songs from their set, it can be said that Tubelord have a great balance between math-rock and pop to please both the guitar nerds and the indie kids.
Like fellow Kingston scenesters Colour, Tubelord feature sing-along-able vocal harmonies, dance-punk crowd pleasers and complex, but not too complex, guitar passages that seem to meld together seamlessly.

Tubelord: Feed Me A Box Of Words
The same cannot be said of natives Cold Ones, not that it’s at all a bad thing. Cold Ones seem like an outtake from the ‘Decline of Western Civilisation‘, with their frenetic brand of LA style hardcore punk, their lead singer bounding around much like a Black Flag-era Keith Morris to accompany the ‘take no prisoners’ riffing.
After the ceaseless energy of Cold Ones, the biggest disappointment was NME and DiS darlings Johnny Foreigner.
Taking the same musical references as Tubelord, the music seemed to lack either real energy or genuine originality, sounding like a watered down version the band who appeared onstage before.
Liverpool thrash-punks SSS also seemed a little lacking tonight, although it cannot be denied what they do they do very well, sounding like fellow thrashers Municipal Waste with a dose of mid-80s Agnostic Front added for good punk measure.
However due to the stage barrier and lack of mosh pit, SSS looked a little tame compared to their fast aggressive riffing, so it would be advised to see them in a smaller, dirtier venue for the full effect.
Upstairs headliners Black Eyes & Neckties had no problem with motivation putting on a great set that won over the spectators that stayed instead of migrating downstairs.
The music doesn’t concern itself with innovation, firmly stuck in the schlocky horror-punk of Misfits and Murder City Devils, rather it is full of Addams Family keyboard bits, thrashing guitar riffs and throaty singing with b-movie style echo, BENt put on a high-octane performance, with the guitarists continually climbing the PA rigs.
If tonight was anything to go by, this year’s Sound City has the potential to deliver as much, if not more varied musical pleasures for all.

Black Eyes & Neckties: New Womb (Live @ KEXP)

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