Liverpool Music Week 2014 pulled out all the stops for their closing party, Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby and Sean Bradbury took in a mammoth night of music.
After 11 straight evenings of live music – some the brightest and most memorable of the year – there was only one way for Liverpool Music Week 2014 to bring it all to a close. One massive party.
Organisers duly delivered, with a whole host of acts playing in several venues across the Baltic Triangle in eight different spaces. While the early evening saw performances from some of Liverpool’s emerging talent, the night brought sets from some of the hottest acts around.
The cavernous Furnace was full to the brim for headliners Chvrches, as they played their first ever Liverpool show.
The love wasn’t lost on the band who had spent the afternoon excitedly exchanging tweets with a parody account of Brookside’s Sinbad. Their synth-heavy 80s alchemy was a hit with the crowd; such is the strength of their material, debut single The Mother We Share was barely a standout. Indeed, it was held until the end of the night and no-one grew restless waiting for it.
Earlier in the evening, Amique opened at Constellations – almost exclusively for Getintothis. He took it in his stride, playfully asking us to humour him during his relaxed set on the piano. Although quite why the light man felt the need to turn all the lights off mid-song is a question even Amique felt compelled to ask.
Numbers increased by the time the aptly named Natalie McCool took to the stage. Dressed like Robert Palmer hired a grunge chick for Addicted to Love, McCool played guitar that was heavier than it sounded over almost tribal percussion, before We Are Catchers entered with some light, unselfconscious pop. Though, after a few numbers with a similar piano rhythm, it started to feel closer to Dirk McQuickly than McCartney. Luckily, that was forgotten as they kicked into a new song that they had only rehearsed once and added a slight country tinge to their style.
Early doors in the Blade Factory was a set of short, sharp shocks from local indie rockers LIVES, providing a wake-up call for anyone struggling at the tail end of an intense Music Week. Tonight they traded in the type of tight, hurtling tunes that Bombay Bicycle Club and Friendly Fires fans will definitely dig. It’s loud, effortless and looks as good as it sounds.
Following on were Hooton Tennis Club. With the ink on their recent Heavenly Recordings deal still drying, on this evidence the band appear to have further augmented their already impressive armory of improbably-titled slacker gems (Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair and Much Quicker Than Anyone But Jennifer Could Imagine to name but two) with a few more big hitters, the force especially felt on Up In The Air.
Of all the bands to take to the stage at Constellations, Southern were the only ones to successfully campaign for the crowd to move forward. Suddenly, there were geeky white guys, barely-rhythmic nodding as far as the eye could see. Brilliantly danceable new single Cool Kid and an ending rave-up of Where I Want To Be ensured we were on their side.
There was genuine anticipation for former Portico Quartet man Nick Mulvey. Once he arrived the near-capacity crowd lapped him up. Choosing to finish his current tour here, he produced a largely dreamy set of laid back, pitch-perfect folk, though a joyously brash mid-set rendition of Juramidam picked up the mood accordingly.
Over at District, things were much more uniform. Probes came on sounding like Berlin-era Bowie, playing almost proggish instrumental passages, before getting political at the end with Glass Prison, and ending in a deliciously apocalyptic rage.
A quick dash over to the main hall saw it ready to be bathed in Bird’s gothic dreampop. Each song they deliver is like an irresistible endothermic reaction, with instrumental ice melted by heavenly harmonies and yearning vocals. The result is big, bold and beautiful, filling up every crevice and corner of Furnace with something a little warmer than The xx, but colder and darker than Warpaint. Worryingly the band tweeted (no pun intended) that this was to be their final Liverpool show – whatever happens, we wish them well.
— B I R D (@Bird_Official) October 31, 2014
Then it was back to Blade Factory for a suitably industrial surge from Baltic Fleet, before All We Are fired up the Furnace with their deadly combination of laid-back grooves and ‘ooh-ooh-oohs‘. Getintothis has caught them numerous times and they get still seem to get better on every occasion; their tracks now taut, polished to perfection and ready to burst out big time when the eponymous debut album is released early in 2015.
Parts of Oxygen Thieves were like Garage Rock 101, though they played to a disappointingly unenthusiastic crowd. But weirdly, it was Good Grief who really showed us what it’s all about. Despite the crowd emptying further in between, they pulled out a LOUD, ballsy set that came complete with a leftfield Lucinda Williams cover. The first band of the night that deserved an air punch and a scream of “fuck, yeah!”
A few technical issues didn’t stop Moats. Matthew Duncan shows promise as crowd-pleasing frontmen go and the material they played constantly went into areas you weren’t necessarily expecting it to go. Their final two tracks, Flicker and Castaway, worked so beautifully together that they could be the same song.
VEYU were up next and they continued to demonstrate why they are one of Merseyside’s hottest prospects. Each tune they have put out has subtly revealed another string to their bow. Everything so far has managed to sound unique, but all offerings have been united by the ability to hit a sweet spot and soar. So it is with new efforts All That We Know and In The Forest, and the effect is keenly felt live in the Blade Factory.
Strange Collective definitely had their audience. At some point during their set, the dancefloor was transformed from the No Man’s Land it had been to a place where people actually felt the music, paving the way for the band it was obvious most people came to see; Black Lips.
Their reputation precedes them, but thankfully there was no onstage vomiting or urinating tonight. Instead, they just brought the festivities home in a gloriously shambolic style. Balloons and toilet roll being thrown around the full, pogo dancing crowd added to an overall feeling of celebratory chaos, and was probably the perfect ending to the night. There isn’t much more to say – it was Black Lips being Black Lips.
Blade Factory possibly saved the best till last in the shape of Minneapolis hip-hop whirlwind Lizzo. She boasts an incredible set of pipes and they get through some serious work during 45 minutes of singing, rapping, and skatting; not to mention some furious and fancy footwork which includes plucking LIVES drummer Jonny Alderton from the floor for some onstage booty-shaking action. Highlights were the tasty Batches & Cookies performed with DJ and sidekick Sophia Eris, and dirty stomp of Paris which included a neatly-worked Jay-Z and Kayne West mash-up.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tom Adam, Gaz Jones and Vicky Pea.