Liverpool Sound City 2016 review: Young Fathers, Levelz, XamVolo, Aussie BBQ & more

Young Fathers

Young Fathers

With appropriate weather for an Aussie BBQ, Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby checks out the finest from down under, before heading for The North Stage headliners.

Day one of Sound City at the Cargo Stage celebrated the best of down under, in what was labelled an “Aussie BBQ“. Disappointingly, the BBQ was notable by it’s absence.

Oh Pep! provided a breezy, laid back start to the day. It was effectively WhiG-WAG (White Guy/Girl With Acoustic Guitar), so the placement of the stage was such that it was impossible to listen intently to the music due to the audio overspill from the Baltic Warehouse‘s dance stage. This was a persistent problem for some the day’s quieter acts, such as the stoned out vibes of Suzie Stapleton.

Tempesst were a little tepid, and things at the stage didn’t really kick off until Julia Jacklin literally stopped the passers by in their tracks. Jacklin is a serious storyteller in the Courtney Barnett mould and – on top of a great voice – was saying something we were interested in.



She may have been hard to follow, but Slow Dancer managed it pretty well with a handful of great tunes and a dry wit (“Liverpool! You got that slavery museum here, right?“). Hein Cooper didn’t fare quite so well, but he was a little different from the rest of the acts with a mixture of the electronic and the acoustic. He seemed to pull a mostly female crowd, given that he looks a little like Justin Bieber had a massive growth spurt.

Aussie closers City Calm Down seem like the kind of band who would be popular with audiences, but not necessarily with critics.

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

Over at The North Stage, XamVolo remains one of the city’s best soul acts, and Mez brought some grime that went down a storm as day turned to dusk. Mez powered through some problems with the microphone before they were solved and held the audience in the palm of his hand.

Seramic‘s McCartney-esque pop sensibilities were perfect for the time of day, before Levelz totally owned the stage with a bravado that was hard not to fall into.

Novelist pulled out of the festival earlier in the day, so Young Fathers‘ headline set was brought forward. Scheduled for 9.45, they eventually took to the stage at around 10.20 (meaning they managed to be both early and late at the same time). They seemed to be the only band on the stage that actually had people waiting for them. You could feel the bass in your throat as they played. One word: intense. Undoubtedly stole the day for this writer.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Vicky Pearson, Mark Holmes and Tom Adam.