LIMF 2016: Academy & Bandstand ft. Hicari, Halem, Loveless, Mersey Wylie, Spares & more



The Academy Stage, with its tagline “the best new music is from Liverpool” sits a little out of the way in Sefton Park, Getintothis’ Cath Bore and Del Pike find some tasty bits on the final day of LIMF 2016.

With few signs cheerleading the way, the Academy Stage felt almost like a secret den. The audience was young, under twenty five – good – mates of the bands performing and family members, smiling and proud. They welcomed Native Kings loudly, young men in black, and the band were worth taking in, rough and tough alternative rock. A threesome who make a hell of a noise, we’d like to see how they develop over the next year, so much energy in there.

Alex Hulme sits comfortably within the sensitive singer songwriter category. The tousled haired Hulme debuted new songs this afternoon, a risk worth taking. His new single, Flow, out in the autumn, was well received, and TeethYour bark is worse than your bite, My teeth are like a wolf’s” shows Hulme has depths he’s only just starting to reveal.

We’d been looking forward to Spares, and they didn’t disappoint. It starts pissing it down as they take to the stage, but the scissor-kicking leopard print punks stare the rain out, and win. Songs like Ciggiestump and Honey Mouth Girl are fucking ace. There’s so much to come from this band, born performers if ever there was. Theatrics too, and balloons, audience participation welcome.  And with suits like those, Spares win. They need to play a bigger LIMF stage next year. Should be there already, goddammit.

Smooth pop by Daryl David is followed by more gentleness from Claire Sophia, tracks like current single Cold and the forthcoming Voices. But it’s left to Sub Blue to pick up the afternoon’s pace on this, his nineteenth birthday. His commercial R&B/soul hybrid works well, and debuts Fading Black, inspired by a trip to Ibizia.

This time last year I See Rivers were ready to leave university in Liverpool and head back home to Norway. It was only when the three piece bagged a support slot with Newton Faulkner that plans changed. With smiling harmonies, I See Rivers glided from song to song tonight, with elegant yet quirky harmonies. The whole set bewitched us.

Next up, Hicari, like Halem earlier on show love for 1980s electronic music. New single Catch Fire, out in August, is bright and clever, and the band’s entire set crammed with more prettiness. Joyful choruses, swirling synths and even some rock god guitar is thrown in later on. Hicari is Japanese for light, spookily appropriate, the gloomy threatening clouds ahead buggered off at long last once Hicari hit the stage.

The Academy Stage performed well today, showcasing new music, some artists further on than others. Job done.

All the rest of Getintothis’ comprehensive LIMF 2016 coverage here!

The bandstand Sunday Session played like a great album or a classic mixtape. It’s a Mellowtone stage though, so this is no surprise. These guys know their stuff.

Shamona kick it a off with classic rolling rock rhythms and crisp vocals from Pete Riley. After a horrible rainsoaked wait, Shamona miraculously bring sunshine as they start. Friendly banter between fresh songs like Hit and Miss, Freefall and Fly make for a positive start to the afternoon.  Minor Moguls are much darker and brooding but in the best possible way. Conjuring up the spirits of Ian Curtis and Jim Morrison vocally they sound similar to Baltic Fleet and Poltergeist. This is a meditative yet enthralling experience.

BHKB, a collaboration between pianist Bruno Heinen and guitarist Kristian Borring are a beautifully laid back jazz journey that sends us sky high. Calling in on Bill Evans and minimal arrangements to chill the soul, BHKB are tonic for the soul.

Black Mountain Lights bring bluegrass to the stage and a sense of the Deep South on occasion and their e.p. lead track Submarine sends us to the merch man, just superb. Comparisons with Fleet Foxes are inevitable and lyrically they echo Father John Misty all the way.

Wild Rossa and the 88 are big, brassy funksters whose great tunes bring life to the grim grey day. A cover of Craig David‘s 7 Days sits a little askew on an otherwise great set.

Yez Fentazi Trio bring Gnawa, Chaabi and Andalusian vibes to the bandstand. The traditional jazz and blues of North Africa are perfect for the festival crowd. A cheeky version of Misirlou from Pulp Fiction hits the mark.

Mersey Wylie keeps spirits up with her effervescent cheeriness and elfin face. Fighter carries the spirit of Carole King‘s Tapestry album while Stand Up offers positivity to the morbid landscape of 2016. A cover of Jill Scott‘s Golden and an upfront funk workout through Don’t Give Up On Me change the mood completely. Mersey is great and already has some top self penned tunes up her sleeve.

Loveless suffer from an end of day diminishing audience which is a shame as their clean laid back sounds are spot on come down tunes. They sound much more at ease than at last year’s LIMF performance. Lone guitars and metronomic beats echo The XX but much sunnier. A great closing act to an inspired line up.

Mellowtone got it so right. Respect.

Photos by Getintothis’ Gaz Jones, Peter Goodbody, and Martin Saleh