Death In Vegas and Liverpool sweethearts, Stealing Sheep apply Liverpool Day One with spatterings of magic, but it’s Willis Earl Beal that proves the show stealer, Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman reports on a true one-off.
A derelict NCP Car Park sponsored by Red Bull might well sum up all that is wrong with modern music but tonight Liverpool once again showed that its annual Sound City festival is still the venue for all that is interesting and vital in the world of pop.
Our evening starts with hotly tipped Australians Last Dinosaur who do their best to show indie pop is still a music to be savored and not mocked. Their case is somewhat lessened by an alarming tendency to sound like Hard Fi but when they employ a baggy beat and set their hearts for Blur 1991 they display as much fizz as a pint of Fosters Lager with none of the unfortunate side effects.
Local heroes Stealing Sheep continue their rise up their ladder with a stunning set of 6Music approved harmonic folk. Instantly likable and catchy as hell, Emily, Becky and Lucy create a brand of folk-a-tronica which is genuinely psychedelic.
Stealing Sheep live at Liverpool Sound City
Based around the Mo Tucker-esque stand up of Lucy’s tom toms the three piece soar tonight with harmonies, meldiocas and analogue synths all bubbling away in a way which belies the urban setting. Lovely, original and genuinely popular based n the swelling crowd, Stealing Sheep should steal your affections.
As good as the Liverpool threesome are they pale into insignificance when faced with the sheer odd brilliance of Wilis Earl Beal.
This is a man with one hell of a back story: a black, homeless man from Chicago, Beal made a series of CD demos left in public places with a phone number attached. Encompassing blues, Dylan and a a touch of Prince, it wasn’t long before the right people came calling and the Cassius Clay look-alike is now set for a very real kind of stardom.
Thankfully Beal’s live performances take him beyond the novelty of the likes of Seasick Steve and Wild Man Fischer.
A genuine one-ff, Beal’s booming soul vice testifies from the small stage of the Zanzibar, rasping and pimp-rolling like a modern-day John Lee Hooker. It’s hard ot believe there will be a better, more memorable performance all weekend.
Over at the Kazimier Death in Vegas are returning to the fray after almost ten years away and there’s an undoubted Proustian rush as they launch into Dirge.
Death in Vegas live at Liverpool Sound City
Instantly you’re taken back to smoky back rooms in super clubs in the late nineties as Richard Fearless and co remind us of that glroius time when they, the Chemical Brothers and Primal Scream injected a huge rush of dark psychedelia into the Ecstasy induced comedown of many a raver.
Of curse there is no Dot Allinson to add her icy tones to proceedings and no Iggy to menace his way through the still thrilling Aisha but Death in Vegas still sound vital and exciting as they power through the likes Hands Around My Throat and Scorpio Rising. A triumph.