Getintothis’ Matthew Wood sacrifices seeing The Flaming Lips’ entire show but reveals some undeniable gems.
With the sun high in the sky, Silent Sleep, the multi instrumental Christopher McIntosh breaks us into the day with his seven-piece band. Featuring an excellent brass section that helps the set range from solemnity to bursts of an uplifting amalgamation that echoes early Arcade Fire; a delightful start to a day that holds so much promise.
Popping your head into the The Cavern tent leads to Noise Rock/Punk act Moja hailing from Tokyo, Japan. A Melt Banana minimalistic inspired set up of effect laden bass and drums produces a sound that is a truly cataclysmic onslaught of the senses that perhaps many of us aren’t ready for. Echoing screams call back to Hookworms and the duo boast an energy that requires constant shifting of the drum kit as it shows signs of falling apart so early on.
Brazillian outfit Camarones Orquestra Guitarrística struggle to compete with sound overspill at first, but as their set proceeds a Pixies driven rock layered with haunting synth resonates The Cramps. A free spirited procession disperses the crowd handing out flowers to just about everyone, adding an extra hue to an already eclectic early afternoon.
Taking a moment out of the intense sunshine, Moats saunter onto the Baltic Stage boasting their euphoric squeals and off kilter, jaunty beats. Their performance sways between effortlessness and raw emotion, surprising themselves with the power of their sound, proving they’re quite capable of flooding much more than an intimate venue. Their killer track Hungry draws their set to a close and remains their stand out tune.
Far too early for the sun to be taking its leave, Sundowners present us with an organic folk/rock that’s charged with dreamy psychedelia. Skelly siblings Alfia and Fiona show great communication as the heavier aspects of the set drop in and out impeccably, allowing both spectrums of their sound to show their worth. A prime spot for what was turning out to be a scorcher, both in terms of music and weather.
Spotting Peter Crouch among a healthy North Stage crowd makes a reality out of seeing a professional footballer rock out among the booze and fags, a coca cola clutched under his arm singing practically every word to four piece Judas. Fancying themselves as local heroes perhaps, they offer up a decent array of rock and roll with tales of nights out at Pop World and evil girlfriends.
In their place arrive arguably the most original band of the day so far:Toulouse based ‘freakbeat’ ensemble Aquaserge. Unorthodox vocal approach with tongue wobbles and chaotic jazz inspired timings hosting a modern touch, their set is one that at first leaves the audience confused, but soon many of us become immersed in their curious, albeit inspirational fusion of sound.
Backed by Snow Patrol drummer Jonny Quinn, Dublin based act ELM range of from folk infused elements of The XX to true catharsis in the form of interesting androgynous vocal delivery and melancholy Cello.
Joining the Aussie BBQ party, Millions are a tight, melodic pop band that dabbles in sunny, Mac Demarco-esque riffs layered with beach pop, ¾ waltz beats that make for a delightful set that leaves us, quote from the stage’s compere: ‘feeling a lot sexier’.
Cramming into the Mail Chimp stage is becoming a most welcome affair as two-piece dance/electronic act Becky Becky induce an atmosphere that unfortunately lacks a strobe and urges sweat on the walls. Typical rave vibes draw a large crowd, recalling elements of Daft Punk and their Tron soundtrack.
Beat Market are just what many of us need, straight from Montreal, Canada, a real fist pumping night club affair brings us all back up a level, prepping us for the rest of the evening.
Awaiting Formation but seeing Latvian collective Carnival Youth due to delay present an alternate yet welcomed approach to rock with twinkling finger picking and the surging rhythms, the bands first time in Liverpool proves a success.
Dashing over to the Atlantic Stage for a much-anticipated Thurston Moore Band exhibit energy of a band half their age, as true heroes of experimental rock and shoegaze join forces for a outstanding twilight set. With the sun barely setting, bassist Deb Googe forms a footbridge between rhythm and melody of the highest standard. Thurston has allowed James Sedwards much more freedom on the new tracks and he earns his stripes with a performance that transgresses into early Sonic Youth noise freak-outs help impeccably together by Moore’s ingenious song structures.
With the crowd for The Flaming Lips forming thick and fast the last place you would probably head would be the Mail Chimp tent, however, the handful of us witnessing Paris resident Thousand’s set are met with a mellow dosage of dream pop. A touch of Stephen Malkmus completes a small gem of a set with many in the crowd yelling ‘Fuck the Flaming Lips’ urging the solo guitarist to play on.
Suffering an unfortunate straight clash with Wayne Coyne and co, Gengahr refuse to let this phase them and flourish under pressure to retain their crowd. The lead guitarist steals the show as every song seems to build up to the emergence of the next rip-roaring solo he has in his locker, stamping incessantly on a range of pedals producing sounds that Joshua Hayward and a young Thurston Moore would be proud of. This is to take nothing away from the rest of the band, who are equally dwelling comfortably in their element, a concoction of Antlers and Tubelord resounds throughout the vocals and for such a young band, there’s a wealth of calibre to be found.
Photos by Getintothis’ Martin Waters, Martin Saleh, Michael Hegarty, Jack Thompson, Tom Adam, Vicky Pea, Chris Flack: