Liverpool Sound City 2016 review: Sugarmen, Las Aves, Norma Jean Martine, Viola Beach tribute and more

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon Five

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon Five

Splitting his time between the Atlantic Stage and The Tall Ship, Getintothis’ Amaan Khan catches some surprisingly good acts and an emotional tribute to Viola Beach. 

It was a strange start to an intriguing edition of Sound City. The Atlantic stage opened with a funny set by Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 teaching a small crowd (which for the first few songs was smaller than the band itself) to cross the road and to dance off. A proper crowd was finally formed when New Yorker Norma Jean Martine graced the stage with her pop ballads of love and heartbreak. Her abilities most evident in her finishing number, Game Over with its Adele-ish powerful vocal hooks and thumping drums.

Main Stage flavour hit the Atlantic when Sugarmen took charge. The band that today signed with Warner  radiated an undisputed confidence and Lou Reed flavoured rock and roll attitude. Their songs were filled with uptempo backbeats and Link Wray-ish guitars and any feedback caused just seemed to work for them. With the Mersey nearby and the partly sunny sky, the softness of their fourth song felt intimate and showcased some Bunnymen vibes.

After a set of some standard indie-pop by Kyko, it was time for Viola Beach‘s tribute which was an audio recording of their final live set. While something like a heartfelt announcement or visual additions could have made the tribute more fulfilling, the loyalty of the fans who stuck around the stage to applaud at every song was indeed emotional.

Be sure to check out the rest of our Sound City 2016 coverage here. 

At The Tall Ship stage, the mojitos weren’t the only recommendable things. Energy and synchronised jumping packed punk of The Bulletproof Bomb and the fiery electro-pop of Las Aves turned out to be our favourite surprises of the day. Both acts seemed to deserve a bigger stage in future.

Las Aves

Las Aves

After a sunset-suited set by Liverpool’s one-man army Johnny Sands, came the day’s disaster when the grooves of Deadbear‘s otherwise likeable DJ set collided with a nearby dance-off display of what appeared to be ninjas.

In the end, the surprises and shortcomings of the day provided just enough discontent and pleasure, that we look forward to the final day of the festival with more excitement.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Gaz Jones.