Taking in the sun, sounds and an almighty sugar rush, Getintothis’ Emma Walsh just about keeps up the pace as Sound City delivers another stormer Saturday.
It’s not often that stages overunning works to a reviewer’s advantage but as we dragged our tired ass back dockside we were just in time to catch the last couple of splendid tracks from Gulf on the slightly behind Atlantic stage. And glory be! Sunshine! Wonderful sunshine! What a time to be alive!
With a hug and a flower from those fantastic Gloryville folks all weariness was forgotten. And so, once more onto the breech.
The fine weather didn’t really so any favours for NLF3 baking in the heavily unpopulated Cargo Stage while festival goers sought their kicks in the open air. But Tei Shi did much better drawing in the numbers with her pysch poppy goodness, giving her all to an afternoon stage time – that’s what we like to see. There were more sound clashes unfortunately though, this time, bizarrely, from the Bulmers beer garden outside.
Dropping in on the cosy affair at Mail Chimp/Record Store we savoured the slow, smooth, lounge room jazz sounds of Oliver Heim just briefly. It didn’t sound all that bad but the aesthetics were all off. We know its warm but there’s never any excuse to wear a wifebeater. Particularly if you happen to be quite a small, white American gentleman.
Goldenboys of the moment, Hooton Tennis Club drew a stonkingly big crowd to the Baltic with their ever summery sounds. They make Hooton sound like it should be some far off exotic utopia – a bit like Bombay Bicycle Club (Wait.. is that where the name came from? MIND BLOWN). We cannot get enough of new single Kathleen Sat on the Arm of her Favourite Chair.
The enchanting Flo Morrissey fell curse to the chitter chatter of the Saturday afternoon daytrippers, her sweet songs barely audible over the mumble of the crowds’ conversations. She does admirably though, even politely hinting, “its tough to get the songs across in this atmosphere”.
Everyone seemed a great deal more focused over at the Atlantic Stage where people were pinking up nicely under the glare of the sun. GOASTT, naturally, commanded a full crowd. Lennon may be of Liverpool Royalty but like his dear old dad he slips more naturally into the ‘man of the people’ stance, none of the egos or swagger or showboating you might find elsewhere on stages today, just friendly, gracious appreciation and top notch tunes. It must be impossible to disregard The Beatles from your mind at times like this but today we couldn’t ignore how many wonderful shades there were to be found in GOASTT‘s sound. It’s charmingly subtle.
As stage times went out the window at Cavern Stage we arrived to find FEMME, a later appointment already on stage, momentarily confusing but hey, you roll with the punches. And FEMME delivered the big punch of Eurovision we were really missing out on tonight. There were sequins, there was gold, there were coordinated outfits and dance moves, and all the beauty of slightly dated, but endulgent European pop. Throwing an outstanding cover of RESPECT into the mix, we weren’t sure things could get any more incredible. And then out came the pompoms. Delicious stuff.
By the time Attaque took to the stage we were getting a little bit tired again, and everyone else appeared to be getting drunkety drunk drunk. The band brought the beat with just the right groove to kick that evening lull to the curb and mellow those overly enthused movers and shakers into a less violent rhythm. There just isn’t enough xylophone around these days, is there?
And so to Real Lies. We should state clearly from the get go we have a real sweet spot for these lads. It’s odd because on the face of it they feel like real “lads” music with all the standing about looking a bit cool, producing incredible things while not really being seen to exert too much effort. Very Blinded by the Lights, 90s grit, a bit Irvine Welsh even. Whatever it is that we can’t quite put our finger on, it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Perhaps it is their stunning track North Circular which manages, through all the loud, attitudey steam of things, to soothe the soul like a lullaby. Then again, perhaps it’s just us..
The Cavern welcomed us back again as the sun went down and the cold crept in. Lonelady had the audience spellbound, swaying and nodding along throughout the set, right up until Groove it Out when the black magic really took hold and shit got real. We’ve witnessed some crazed dance moves this weekend, but this was something truly special.
Her exit marked the mad exodus for the main stage as the world and his wife awaited Flaming Lips, and we sat ourselves down on a flightcase and ate skittles, watching GIT Award winners All We Are go through one of the most frantic set ups ever. As they finally struck up the opening track we wondering how long it had been since the rising stars had played to a crowd this small, but it wasn’t long before they were drawing more bodies, and thankfully, more body heat, in from the cold. No matter the numbers out in front, the band were high on their earlier Atlantic stage performance and delivered a scintillating set, with Feel Safe and Wear You right off the bat. In honour of the festival season they threw in a cover of Caribou‘s Can’t Do Without You, that they’d witnessed in all it’s live glory the year before at Liverpool Music Week. Bringing our Saturday night to an enxhausted but happy end with Keep Me Alive we wandered out into the Sound City night with the tune still buzzing round our head and watched the Flaming Lips lights from the bridge.
Beautiful stuff altogether.
Photos by Getintothis’ Martin Waters, Martin Saleh, Michael Hegarty, Jack Thompson, Tom Adam, Vicky Pea, Chris Flack: