Pleasantly surprised by the new, if not so shiny, Sound City surrounds, Getintothis’ Emma Walsh witnesses sound battles, dancing queens, too much PDA and a head trauma.
Cautious as we were of change, trepadacious as we happened to be about the logistics of the new Sound City site, this writer has to admit, Bramley Moore does have a certain charm to it, doesn’t it?
That’s not to say there aren’t teething problems, problems that made themselves heard at several hundred decibels the moment we reached the Cavern stage.
Both His New Atlas and Emerald Armada faced a battle of the bands against the imposing sound of The North stage just outside. While His New Atlas’ SOHNish sounds had the potential to wow they lost the crowd with the slower, more heartfelt tunes. Loud and shouty, that’s the only way to compete, but vocalist Eoghan O’Hagan bravely went unplugged, pitching his vocals against the armageddon outside. He wisely retreated back to the mic fairly sharpish.
Emerald Armada faired a little better with numbers, and a bodhran on their side. New track This House tickled our earholes but the real showstopper was the dancing superfan who matched the band for tempo throughout even after singer Neil Allen‘s warnings “This one will finish you off, you’re buggered”.
By 5.20pm the Cargo dancefloor already had a few movers and shakers as Ady Suleiman brought the groove. Sporting the casual look in a hoodie and shorts you might have thought he’d have dressed up for the occassion but then we did pass a man dressed as a beer bottle on the way in so perhaps not.
Suleiman‘s smooth tones were clearly setting the mood for lovin’ as Sound City‘s worst case of PDA (Public Display of Affection) unfolded before our poor, sweet, innocent eyes. It was all quite graphic. A man eating noodles actually had to vacate the premises, so violent were the rather tipsy pair’s very public affections. We hear organisers will be setting up a support line for anyone affected.
Vaults charmed on the main stage, though the crowd was thin and hands were very cold. Such a crisp sound compared to other stages, and such a beautiful backdrop with the Liverpool skyline – some stages have all the luck.
But who needs luck when you’ve got the Young Benjamins. Pure unadulterated fun and games, there was not a stationary being in the Cavern tent for their lively set. Noise interference be damned, if the band’s good enough, you just don’t notice the chaos outside.
Just next door on the Kracken stage, Jesse Sheehan faced the same old trouble, but with an apology and a shrug of the shoulders he soldiered on, throwing up belly busting tunes with heavy guitar and machine gun lyrics to heat up the crowd drifting in from the dusk. One gent even warmed his hands by the stagelights.
It might have made logistical sense to put a little two-piece band in one of the smallest tents on site, but why then leave three idle tables in the middle of Mail Chimp/Record Store to take up the remaining space that all the Mouses fans needed to lose their shit in? An envigorating breath of life, the punk duo were nowt but a mere headbanging bob for all we could see over heads and shoulders but they still bowled us over. When they asked midsong “Anyone like Fleetwood Mac?” before lashing into Dreams midsong, we could have died, right there and then.
But had that happened, we would never have witnessed the insane beauty that is JPNSGRLS. Amid the mic stand antics and hip thrusting on stage we couldn’t quite contain ourselves. And it seems neither could singer Charlie Kerr who pracariously balanced himself on a safety barrier, bounced back on stage and earned himself quite a nasty looking head injury. With a blood smeared face he told the crowd “How’s this for a deal? I bled for you, you can dance for me” and off he went again with the hips, draping himself over an amp and kicking up at the tent roof.
As a parting gift Kerr told the crowd “In just two hours I’m going to turn 24 and I can’t think of any better place to be than here with you and a head trauma.”
Photos by Getintothis’ Jack Thompson, Martin Waters, Martin Saleh, Tom Adam, Vicky Pea, Michael Hegarty: