Liverpool Sound City 2013 begins in Taiwan, takes in New York and London before landing in Liverpool. Getintothis’ Sean Bradbury endures a topsy turvy voyage.
This Sound City story starts in Taiwan…with T-pop trio Tizzy Bac first out of the blocks in the Garage.
Seemingly the radio in their neck of the woods must feed a constant diet of Ben Folds and the Foo Fighters, as the band laid huge virtuoso piano melodies on top of pounding bass and drums.
They were no one-trick pony though, also proving capable of slower, stirring moments.
Tizzy Bac will take some beating in the ‘Most Filmed Band of Sound City 2013’ stakes, with at least 99% of the crowd whipping out their camcorders during the set.
The Zanzibar was a sea of leather jackets and curt, knowing nods for the femme fatale-fronted, riot rock of London’s Blackeye.
Chloe Little shot shy, seductive smiles to the audience but she wasn’t fooling anyone; the band wore the London punk tradition on their sleeves and constructed big, bold tunes with tight double-tracked Jam vocals over sledgehammer pop rock recalling early, edgy Feeder.
Taylor Fowlis – short and sweet in the Garage
Next it was back to the Garage for a double bill of scouse soul.
Taylor Fowlis lit up with Heartlight and carried off a short, sweet set in the manner of a pint-sized, Liverpudlian Janelle Monae – even rocking a bit of a similar quiff – with able support from former Ninetails man Ed Black on guitar.
It is almost impossible to believe the massive voice comes from the tiny frame, but it’s not all full pelt, as proven by her sign off with a stripped-down slow jam of Yesterday.
Then it was the turn of Esco Williams, whose star quality seems to be growing by the gig.
His backing band are getting tighter all the time and were more of a unit than ever tonight, decked out in black with the main man in contrasting white t-shirt.
They’ve got plenty of winners now too, with Day One, Just Friends and High Score all glistening with pop perfection – the latter somehow morphing into a jump-up, dancehall trance track as it kicked into its coda.
There can’t be many acts who could get away with introducing their whole band while lapping up applause at the end of their set this weekend, but Esco is one of them.
Esco Williams glistened with pop perfection
In between was a quick dive to the Zanzibar for an impressive two-song glimpse of Skaters.
The Strokes with baseball caps was the brief verdict, their slacker look belieing an irresistible New York layered guitar sound.
There was just about time for a quick pitstop for These Reigning Days, who didn’t seem too happy with the turnout but ploughed on with their huge, earnest rock and roll regardless. Think Editors meet Muse at an AC/DC convention.
There was a bit of a 404 error at the Kazimier with Oneohtrix Point Never.
Aside from a few Wikileaks types bopping along to the bleeps down the front, the android ambience appeared to leave most of the crowd cold and struggling to get into the sound of one man and his laptop.
His records may well be works of art but this was hard work on a first live listen.
Oneohtrix Point Never proved a laptop slog at the Kazimier
Lastly, Lunar Modular landed in the Kaz greeted by a late-night crowd of space cadets and sonic adventurers, some there to throw intergalactic shapes and others to show respectful appreciation for the three-pronged synth attack led by James Rand.
Their organic tones, techno with a human heartbeat, were delivered masterfully with skillful build-up of tension and potent release. Those who love their vintage handclaps were not disappointed.
Even a temporary pulling of the plugs mid set could not disrupt their stellar flow.
Lunar Modular in stellar flow at the Kazimier
Pictures by Getintothis’ Conor McDonnell