Festival Review: Liverpool Calling 2018

Liverpool Calling 2018

22nd -23rd June 2018

Words: Jenni Kickhefer
Photos: Graham Smilie 

A warm summers evening welcomed the first  day of Liverpool Calling, taking place around Liverpool’s patron area, Seel St and Parr St, with  the venues being The Jacaranda Phase One, The Jacaranda, Parr St and Maguire’s Pizza Bar on Renshaw St.

 

Starting off in Phase One, we caught the delightful sounds of Ukebox, bringing in the festival with sweet harmonies and laid-back English country vibes, they provided the right atmosphere to get the crowd going for the next two days.

 

Next up were Monks, that brought a meticulously planned show of indie rock, laced with 70’s synth sounds and 80’s fever of catchy riffs and chorus’, with the frontman throwing flamboyant shapes they were akin to a slightly rough around the edges modern day Roxy music.

 

Hailing from Cardiff, the much anticipated young lads in Himalayas whipped up a storm on the stage with heavy solos,  call and response vocals between the two singers, with layerings of keys and synths, sharp drumming, with sounds reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age, Jimmy Eat World and Arctic Monkeys, they’re a band everyone should be keeping an eye on.

 

As we meandered down the road to Parr St Studio 2 we were transported back to what I can only describe as the heat of 90’s industrial rock with Avalanche Party, feeling like we had entered a club scene for 90’s cult film The Crow, with a hypnotic presence, unwavering eye contact, cat crawling in the audience, along with their thick bass lines and dark guitar licks, it was a spectacle not to be missed.  

    

There was quite the buzz around the next band, Hey Charlie, who stepped up to the stage bringing us their dose of Californian punk rock. big bass licks and an attitude reminiscent of The Runaways.  

 

As our day came to a close we made a pit stop in the Jac, where we caught Forever in Debt, waving the flag for Liverpool’s metal scene serving a ferocious energy to a tightly packed room. What a way to round off the evening. 

 Day two saw another glorious summers day welcome the festivities, this time migrating to Liverpool’s up and coming creative sect, Baltic Triangle, with the chosen venues of Constellations, The Observatory and Brick Street.

 

I joined in on the action during Thomas Morecroft’s set in the observatory, a line up that provided chilled acoustic vibes, with the likes of Bennett, and Liverpool favourites, Southbound Attic Band, throughout the day for those sun dwellers basking in the weekend weather.

  

Making a trip to Brick street, we had found they had come upon some technical difficulties that pushed back their set an hour or so it was a shame to see such hard work being put out and the best was done to re-accommodate bands as possible.  Brick Street was a lovely little beer garden DIY set up, complete an old Jazz Organ with a double decker bus providing foods, who themselves were facing difficulties with cables and a few brawly Chesteraians.

 

Talking about Chester, Peaness brought with them their sugary upbeat indie rock, with their addictive chorus and infectious melodies, it was impossible not to have your toes tapping and head bopping.  

Cockney Emily Cappell graced the observatory complete with a white Gretsch guitar, winning us over with her sharp wit and charm. She came with tales of life as a Londoner, and one surprising song, ‘Joey’ about her love for Joey Barton, as in her own words,  ‘someone has to love him not just his mother’.

  

 Soeur had to be the highlight of my festival, unsure of what to expect I was blown away by their grungy licks that transformed into classically infused guitar solos and harmonies with ease, clad in all black, allowing the music to speak for itself with no gimmicks, a seemingly laid back attitude I found them absolutely awe-inspiring, a must for anyone who hasn’t heard them yet.

 

The headliner of the night in the Observatory was Will Varley, bringing with him his own style of folk music, reminiscent of Frank Turner, taking us through his everyday life, and the political idiocracy of our country and the world, his gathering of loyal disciples and eager fans hanging on and singing along to  his every word , a perfect way to welcome in the sunset and close the night outside.

 

Pale Rider hit the stage, donned in black and white face paint serving up a round of otherworldy atmospheric sounds, with fuzz fuelled bass lines, dynamic drumming, ethereal guitar sounds, building to an enormous  climax with ‘I Run On Rain’ you could see why Pale Rider are fast becoming Liverpool’s biggest ones to watch.

 

Heading up with the big bands, The Wytches came out with their brand of dark psychedelic rock, enormous hooks, bone chilling shrieks and dirty bass lines creating an electirc energy throughout the audience, they  left the crowd ravenous for more.

 

The clock struck and my train was near and the train company doesn’t care about anyone wanting nights out and festivals so I had to leave Pulled Apart By Horses. I was kept up to date and believe that they satiated the crowds hunger with an incredible set, complete with mosh pits and crowd surfing from an older gent, who had been given the task by the band themselves, choosing him as a bench mark for the success of their gig that night, ‘its not a good gig if he hasn’t crowd surfed by the end.’  

 

It felt like Liverpool Calling had a name to live up to and judging by this weekend, it has proven it has power and ability to get back up to being a staple of Liverpool’s music festivities.

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