Liverpool Sound City 2012: Bear in Heaven, White Denim, Common Tongues, Hot Panda, Fabrizio Cammarata, Wet Nuns: Leaf Cafe, The Kazimier, Red Bull live at the Garage, Liverpool


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Liverpool Sound City goes POP! As Bear In Heaven and Wet Nuns straddle all manner of genres – and speaker stacks – Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman loses himself amid the volume.

Remember when pop duos used to look like the Pet Shop Boys? Blame the White Stripes or more latterly the Black Keys but these days keyboards and campness have been replaced by tattoos and leather as the rock coupling becomes de rigueur.
Wet Nuns are another one dedicated to devil horns, a lack of bass guitarist and a lack of seriousness which detracts somewhat from the occasionally brilliant racket they make. Full marks too for some excellent speaker straddling.
Wet Nuns live at Liverpool Sound City
Over at Leaf Cafe Canadians Hot Panda are amazingly chipper despite having their van broken into earlier that day. They’re a tricky band to get a hold on – there’s definitely something angular and Talking Heads-esque about the way bassist Catherine Hiltz anchors their sound while frontman Chris Connelly yelps like David Byrne.
There’s also something pleasingly reminiscent of the Pixies about their ability to pluck a pop song from a maelstrom of disparate noise.
Downstairs Fabrizio Cammarata is struggling with both crowd noise and broken strings. He’s from Sicily so I’m not going to slag him off too much but his polite acoustic tones and impossibly good looking face somehow grates with much of the audience.
There is originality here: witness the way he plays a tambourine with his foot while beating out a rhythm on his guitar’s body but it’s all somehow lost amongst the hubbub.
Brighton’s Common Tongues face similar problems with a distracted audience but soon win people over with their polite but tuneful folk.
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White Denim at Liverpool Sound City
Their fantastic harmonies and way with a hand clap makes the Leaf goers look up from their pints and gradually take heed. The dark spectre of Mumford and Sons hangs over them but there’s enough here to save them and us from any future pain.
After a quick saunter down to the Kazimier to catch an impossible brilliant White Denim, Getintothis is back in Leaf watching Brooklyn’s Bear in Heaven.
Here’s a band who have made the journey from droney, psychedelia to a brand of clipped synth pop full of crescendos, volume and intensity.
Bear in Heaven have gone pop and although I miss the old Bears there’s no doubt this is a stomping and welcome departure. A triumph of Liverpool Sound City 2012.
Pictures by Richard B, Conor McDonnell and Marie Hazelwood.