Liverpool Sound City 2015 review: Dave McCabe, Gaz Coombes, VEYU, Bill Ryder-Jones, J Appiah, C.A.R

Gaz Coombes

Gaz Coombes

With sets from frontmen turned solo artists, rising soul stars and some French Techno, Getintothis’ Adam Lowerson just about managed to get through the final day of Sound City.

He’s responsible for writing one of the biggest singles of the last 20 years. His former band were not only a favourite on Merseyside, but became one of the most popular in the country at the time, and now he has reinvented himself, and is ready to announce his return to the scene. Dave McCabe is back, and this time there’s Ramifications.

Playing the penultimate slot on the Baltic Stage, the former Zutons man brought his new direction of pummelling electronica with tracks such as Time and Place, surrounded by his masked and cloak-clad new band. Despite early sound problems drowning out McCabe’s vocals, and the first few tracks having the feel of if your Dad decided to make dance music, the set improved as it went on, with the more familiar, guitar-led tracks standing out amidst the hard-hitting synths. The electronic reworking of Zutons classic You Will You Won’t was a real highlight, giving an already great track a new edge. Closing the set by shouting “Fuck off home you bunch of arl arses” at the crowd, McCabe reminded us just what it is we love about him. Whether he’s playing dance music or indie, the self proclaimed Earl of Knowsley is a brilliant character and top performer.

Another frontman turned solo-star also on show was Gaz Coombes, who brought his Matador LP to the Atlantic Stage. Performing after a chaotic set by the Cribs, the former Supergrass man’s electronic-tinged gospel pop fell a bit flat, despite singles such as Buffalo, Detroit and 20/20 giving the crowd a much needed lift. However, if they gave out a prize for the best dressed man at the festival, Gaz Coombes would definitely win.

Earlier in the day VEYU debuted several new tracks on the North Stage, with the Collector showcasing a darker side to the band, while old favourites Running and the Everlasting stood out with their chiming, hook laden guitars surrounding Chris Beesley’s crooning vocals. Also batting for Merseyside, Bill Ryder-Jones performed a set of melodic, guitar pop tracks such as Wild Swans, and warmed up the crowd declaring “It’s such a privilege to be performing here, in front of the Wirral” while pointing across the river to a chorus of jeers from the Liverpool crowd.

After three days of running between stages, heavy drinking and late nights, the smooth, soulful vocals of J Appiah at the Liverpool Soul Fest showcase was the perfect antidote. Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, Appiah serenaded a packed out Kraken tent, and prompted a singalong with a delicate cover of Otis Redding’s Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, before the rumbling bass of French electro-pop act C.A.R. outside at the North Stage took over.

Despite these sound issues being a minor problem over the weekend, the new site at the Bramley Moore dock proved to be the perfect setting for Sound City’s new beginning. Alongside the brilliant line up, the stunning backdrop of Liverpool’s skyline, offbeat parades and pop up performances, this year’s festival was up there with the best. Bring on 2016.

Photos by Getintothis’ Martin Waters, Martin Saleh, Michael Hegarty, Jack Thompson, Tom Adam, Vicky Pea, Chris Flack.




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