Getintothis’ Sean Bradbury on a night of eclectic wonderment at The Epstein Theatre as Sound City day one whirls into motion.
Watching Dave Thomas perform is like watching a movie soundtrack come together. The tank-topped Portsmouth virtuoso flits between instruments – tonight accordion, keyboard and toy piano – without a word.
His music does all the talking; swirling, cyclical melodies that stir memories. He is Yann Tiersen here, Philip Glass there.
Sometimes just one form of musical expression was not enough. For his finale he hugged his accordion and played it with his left hand while his right went to work on a keyboard melody line.
This was a great way for the Epstein Theatre to usher in its Sound City 2012 programme and a fitting venue for the talents of Thomas to be demonstrated.
Next on the bill was curly-haired Merseyside singer-songwriter Luke Fenlon, who looked and sounded like the little brother of the Last Shadow Puppets who had been brought up by his uncle Lee Mavers.
Luke Fenlon live at Liverpool Sound City 2012
Together with his tight band (in particular his impressively-mulleted bassist), Fenlon delivered an upbeat half-hour of tunes which, while exhibiting undeniable Cosmic Scouse foundations, largely managed to transcend the usual lyrical themes and musical traits of Liverpudlian pop rock.
The relatively raucous home crowd drawn by Fenlon dispersed after his set, leaving the venue pretty empty for the start of Electric Guest.
Whether it was just a matter of late arrivals or the Los-Angeles based four-piece’s soulful synth funk sound seeping out onto Hanover Street and reeling people in, the numbers soon began to swell.
Electric Guest live at Liverpool Sound City 2012
Footstomping frontman Asa Taccone never stops moving and performed with enough energy to keep an audience of 2,000 entertained, never mind 20.
While their last offering on the night This Head I Hold is a clear gem of a track and the pick of the bunch from Danger Mouse-produced debut album Mondo, the laid-back grooves of the rest of their set were all pleasing to the ear – Amber and American Daydream especially.
Stephan Langstaff brought the evening to a close doing what he does best – crystal clear upper register vocals dancing over the top of his acoustic guitar.
Langstaff played material mostly from his recent release Colours, with Spires a definite highlight; the cellist in his band teasing out the melody line and offering beautiful accompaniment.
Pictures by Marie Hazelwood.