All photos by Stuart Moulding
LOUD WOMEN were invited to Sound City in the beautiful city of Liverpool, which is loaded with music venues and history.
I usually prefer a festival in a field, but having the opportunity to wander around bars at my own leisure, and enjoy artists in small venues. created a festival atmosphere. And we got flushing loos, well stocked and staffed bars. I’m a convert.
New Music Friday was set in small venues located within walking distance of Seel Street, which holds iconic venues such as The Kazimier, Zanzibar and Heebie Jeebies (or EGBGS downstairs).
The Saturday and Sunday were set in Mountford Hall, better known as the Student Union for the University of Liverpool. With the Saturday and Sunday hosting bigger artists such as the Reytons and Maisie Peters, it makes sense that larger venues would be needed. I worried that Sound City would lose its festival vibe in these larger spaces, but I was wrong. Two main rooms providing music and an outside courtyard with a DJ and street food venders created a party atmosphere with enough space for dancing.
One of my fave acts from Sound City were Peaness. Charismatic and witty band members Jess (bass), Balla (guitar), and Rach (drums) were accompanied by an additional ‘tem-pea-rary pea’ who they fondly called Nicky Noodles (keys). Having only seen this band with the addition of keys, I now fear that future experiences without this might be less than. Hopefully not, I’ll keep an open mind.
I was a little surprised to find Peaness on New Music Friday, since they were formed in 2014, indeed Jess made a comment to this effect. Nevertheless, this performance was excellent. The harmonies from this band are nothing short of gorgeous, with catchy guitar riffs, indie pop melodies and thoughtful lyrics. The band brought their set of self-defined ‘sad bangers’, combined with an anti tory chant and lead into a song dedicated to George Osborne. This joy-inducing performance was supplemented by the comedy of Jess, who tasked an audience member to be the caretaker of the egg shaker, championed by the audience’s cheers as it was successfully thrown between them.
The audience were treated to a few new songs. One played only once before which was their first song with a shuffle rhythm. It was about wanting to leave the country; I hear you girls but please don’t go. We’d miss you.
When I got out of the gig, I received a text advising me I’d missed a Lady Leshurr secret set and whilst I was momentarily gutted, upon reflection I’m pleased I caught this whole performance. They have a new fan. I can’t wait to see them again.
Another Sound City favourite of mine, Piss Kitti, who are formed of Esme Brown (vocals), Clara Cicely (bass/harmonies), Paul Morris (guitar) and Daniel Melia (drums). Esme said she felt Piss Kitti were the ‘sore thumb’ of Liverpool before singing a song titled ‘Do You Hate Me?’. I don’t know why this would be the case because they gave a high energy, raucous and perfectly pitched performance. In a full venue, the band took turns entering the crowd mid-song to dance and strike poses; the atmosphere was electric. They played one of their newer songs ‘Leather Forever’ which is an absolute indie pop banger.
The venue was Metrocola, a brilliant space for a gig like this. Initially I wondered how it would work as Metrocola seemed rather chic, with its hanging plants and open roof, but actually the contrast of the bare brick walls and Piss Kitti’s jarring sounds worked beautifully, creating a modern and exciting vibe.
Keep going Piss Kitti, I know there’s lots of competition in Liverpool but I think they should be screaming about you from the Liver Building roof, you’re that good.
Eva Liu, London-based songwriter leads the band Mui Zyo, accompanied by a piano player. Singing into a double mic which gives a cool reverb sound, she creates a futuristic, psychedelic experience. Interesting and introverted, it felt intimate like I was witnessing the workings of an artist’s inner mind. It felt special.
Singing a song that she states translates from Cantonese to English as ‘self-respect’, she said she wrote this to her younger self who felt lost between cultures. I felt that sense of her finding her way and I enjoyed the vibe, the blend of cultural tradition with electronic ambience and iconic front woman poses that really worked. It was atmospheric and engaging. I can’t wait to see how it develops.
This was located in the larger venue, Mountford Hall on the Sunday. Olivia was singing, backed up by an excellent live band. She warmed the crowd up quickly with her affable performance and managed to create the same casual intimate experience that I would have expected from one of the Friday performances. Starting with a slow groove but promised to warm up to a party by the end she handled the larger setting with ease.
She chatted comfortably to the crowd about her songs. Her jazz song ‘Cross My Mind’, she said, was about being bad at texting. She described writing her song ‘Be My Own Boyfriend’, to challenge the concept of being someone’s other half. That you are a whole person.
She even has a song called ‘Ladies Room’ about not wanting to leave it because you’re having fun, and we at LOUD WOMEN appreciate a good song about the ladies’ toilets. This song had her drumming on a wood block, shaking an egg shaker and also had an excellent piano solo in it.
As an extra little note, I enjoyed catching her chatting to fans afterwards. What a great human.
To conclude, we had a great time. Thanks Sound City for putting on an excellent festival which platforms new music and importantly to us…LOUD WOMEN!
Here's some photos captured by our awesome photographer, Stuart Moulding ...