Liverpool Sound City

Various venues, Liverpool, 30 April – 1 May

Words by Gary Lambert

Well let’s confront the elephant in the room before we go any further, Liverpool Sound City this year is going to be a different festival than planned due to the untimely demise of Grand Central Hall. The result is that the festival headliners in particular are going to play in front of smaller full-to-capacity crowds and a couple of hundred people aren’t going to get to watch The Lathums and Self Esteem when they previously would have been able to. The festival organisers have already put out messages to say that you will need to get to those venues early in order to catch your favourite bands, so if you’re desperate to see them, get down and watch the other bands on that venue too. There are some crackers in store for you regardless of which stage you find yourself in front of.

However as much as we might think of those two particular acts, those bands are not really where Popped Music are looking, and Sound City once again is going to be a thriving festival for new music filled with opportunities to see the next great bands. Plus, for me, a metropolitan festival is about bouncing from venue to venue to stumble across a band you suddenly fall in love with, so I think I’ll just avoid Arts Club Theatre for the weekend. At least it’ll mean one more fan can squeeze in to see their favourite band.

With the festival taking place in the heart of Liverpool city centre, once again there will be the curious and contrasting mix of music fans alongside the fancy dressed stag and hen parties that fill the city’s streets. This will guarantee that Sound City has a carnival vibe throughout the weekend. This is always a festival for letting your hair down, so really try to get involved with the vibrant city centre. And if you can afford it, treat yourself to food from one of the many restaurants and bars on Bold Street, including Sound City’s partner Bundobust. It’ll be well tastier than a meal deal from Tesco.

But having a good time and eating boss food are only added bonuses. Liverpool Sound City is a music festival after all, so let’s get on with our recommendations…

Torture and the Desert Spiders
Fresh on the back of the release of double A side Sinead I’m Afraid / New Brighton, the hardest working band on the frankly electric Liverpool music scene are going to make your Saturday if you get along to Kazimier Stockroom to see them. Mixing a love of being in front of an audience with tighter than tight musicianship, Torture and the Desert Spiders will blow you away. You’ve got a couple of days to learn the new singles too. (Saturday, Kazimier Stockroom)

I don’t think I’ve ever bought tickets for a gig before in the middle of a moshpit, but that’s exactly what happened when Thumper played in Liverpool last year and my mate and I realised we needed to see them in Manchester three days later. Whilst the easy comparisons might be to Fontaines DC and The Murder Capital solely on account of them being Irish (eye rolling emoji), for me Thumper remind me of Nirvana such is their incredible ability to mix power, well lots of power to be honest, with incredibly beautiful pop melodies. It’s breathtaking and incendiary. If you only see Thumper at Sound City, I’d say you got value for money from your ticket. (Sunday, The Shipping Forecast)

San Lorenz
One of the finest art rock bands in the country (and formerly known as SPQR until the racists started using the term so the band changed their name), San Lorenz are guaranteed to be beautiful. It is maddening that they are not one of the biggest bands on the scene right now such is the craft and artistry their instruments create. They’ve even got their first release as San Lorenz coming any day now. It’ll be an exciting watch make no mistake. (Saturday, Arts Club Loft)

We love Crawlers, everybody loves Crawlers. It’s going to be impossible for everybody to fit in either EBGBs or Arts Club Loft to watch Crawlers, so I ask you to be fair and only watch them once. You might lose Stan points, but it allows other people to share the magic of a Crawlers show. The Hopscotch show at EBGBs (FYI: it is pronounced E-B-G-Bees not E-B-G-B-S) in particular is going to be intense. Just thinking about it sets the butterflies off. I hope we can squeeze in. (Saturday, EBGBs and Arts Club Loft)

Prima Queen
I first saw Prima Queen two years ago supporting The Big Moon and they were fabulous. They have only improved since then. This is one of the acts at Sound City that I’m going to make sure that I get to see – which means I’ll probably turn up and the room will be full already but I’m never going to complain about lots of people rightly wanting to see a band I think are ace. There’s no gatekeeping on tunes like Invisible Hand. (Saturday, Jimmy’s)

Liverpool Sound City 2022… I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be a cracker.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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