Despite some sound issues and teething problems, Getintothis’ Adam Lowerson saw the unique potential of Sound City’s new home after an impressive day one.
If you were at Sound City at any time throughout the first day, for any amount of time, you probably caught some of Swans’ headline set on the cavernous warehouse space of the Baltic Stage. You might have watched the whole of another headliner’s set, but still probably saw some of Swans. They played for bloody ages.
For anyone who’s witnessed a performance from the American noise-merchants before, you’ll be fully aware of their droning, motorik, repetitive shows, where songs blend together, seemingly never ending while slowly developing and morphing. Even if you didn’t stay around for the entire two and a half hours of punishing noise, you could still get a good idea of what the band are about. It’s a bit like Eastenders. You can dip in and out every now and again and it only takes five minutes to pick up where you left off. The set was intense, brutal and at times difficult to withstand, but if you persevered would discover new layers, hidden melodies and intricate details amongst the wall of madness.
Equally impressive were Lithuanian psych-poppers Garbanotas Bosistas, who although bore an uncanny resemblance to Tame Impala (the guitarist even looked like Kevin Parker), had a fresh multi-textured approach to an increasingly imitated genre. Ending with a warped, synth-soaked cover of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, the four-piece left a strong impressive, with their crowd tripling in size by the end of the set.
Also representing a European country beginning with the letter L, were Latvians Carnival Youth on the Kraken Stage. Their groove-laden, chiming indie rock was an easy listen despite the overwhelming overspill of sound from the far too nearby North Stage. With the festival only in its early days at its new home, teething problems were always inevitable and understandable, however the extremely close positioning of three of its stages did cause many sound issues, and the likes of Circa Waves, Fist City and JPNSGRLS suffered as a consequence.
Elsewhere, pop three piece M.O. announced themselves as potential future stars with their funky, electro pop belters and tight harmonies accompanying their confidence and swagger. Sticking to the hard hitting, ear-splitting theme of the Baltic Stage throughout the day, YAK impressed with their raucous punk inspired tunes.
Earlier on, closing an impressive two days of conferences speeches, interviews and panels, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and the band’s manager Scott Booker spoke in conversation with Dave Haslam, who has been prolific throughout the conference hosting many talks himself. Coyne and Booker spoke at length about the psych-pioneers’ career as a band, their new found and unexpected friendship with Miley Cyrus and matching tattoos, and discussed in incredible detail the origins of the much famed space bubble.
Despite the very few problems which arose on day one, the new Sound City has exciting potential to be an incredibly unique event, with its brutal landscape and stunning Liverpool backdrop acting as a special surrounding for watching great new music. Let’s just hope it’s a bit warmer tomorrow.
Photos by Getintothis’ Jack Thompson, Martin Waters, Martin Saleh, Tom Adam, Vicky Pea, Michael Hegarty.