Liverpool Sound City is an annual music festival showcasing lots of new talent and some of the greatest bands currently touring England. Founded in 2008, Sound City was originally based in Liverpool’s City Centre in venues like The Kasimier, The Zanzibar and the Liverpool Cathedral. This year for it’s 10th anniversary the festival relocated to Clarence Dock in Liverpool’s historic docklands; a dusty wasteland with industrial buildings as the backdrop. It may sound like a dismal place to have a festival but it fit the vibe of the festival perfectly as Liverpool is known for it’s industrial background and it brought a music festival into the heart of a city recognised for it’s musical heritage.

Sound City was spread across four days with acts like The Human League and A Certain Ratio opening the site on the Thursday and John Cale bringing sounds from The Velvet Underground on the Friday. Saturday boasted an impressive lineup with Mentronomy, The Hunna, Violet Youth and VANT playing throughout the day.

Playing on the main stage during the afternoon on Sunday were one of the best new bands to breakthrough into the mainstream – The Sherlocks. The Sherlocks have an impressive repertoire and have been playing some big shows across England and have just announced extra dates to their upcoming tour. Songs like ‘Live for the Moment’ have the crowd dancing every time. The Sherlocks have an obvious influence from The Courteeners and are making their way into becoming an indie favourite.

The Shimmer Band played Soundcloud’s Baltic Stage as The Sherlocks finished their set. They filled the tent before they even played their first note and it’s not surprising with songs like ‘Jacknife and the Death Call’ and ‘Sunkick’. The Shimmer Band have an excellent sound and are a perfect festival band as they bring lots of energy and an infectious electronic sound to match their catchy lyrics.

One of the best acts of the day were Milburn, who played early evening on the main stage. A band that many of the best acts around name as an influence; Milburn have returned bigger now than they were 10years ago when they were releasing their excellent hits like ‘Send in the Boys’ and ‘What Will You Do (When The Money Goes)?’. With many fans adorning their t-shirts the crowd looked like football hooligans bouncing off each other to the sound of the Sheffield band.

The Cavern Stage was a small stage at the back of the Sound City arena which hosted small up-and-coming bands breaking into the music scene.  The stage held bands like I Set The Sea On Fire, Deja Vega and stand out band Violet Contours. Violet Contours are a new band from York who are making themselves known all across the north of the England.

After supporting The Courteeners the day earlier, Tim Burgess was featuring in the Tim Peaks tent, he was interviewed about the new album Different Days and all things about his life. Burgess was spreading lots of knowledge about his lengthly history in the music business and giving helpful tips for bands wanting to follow in his footsteps.

Having just released their debut album, The Amazons are becoming one of the biggest new bands in England right now. Despite most of the songs being very new, the Baltic Stage was full of people singing every word back at them and soaking up the jangly guitar riffs on songs like ‘Black Magic’. Even though they only have a handful of songs, The Amazons set seemed like a best of album full of hits.

White Lies were the main support for headliners, The Kooks, on the main stage. They pulled a fairly large crowd and most knew their new songs, although the audience erupted to ‘Fairwell to the Fairground’ and ‘Bigger Than Us’. White Lies were a bit too heavy for the crowd that was at Sound City, as by this stage most of the crowd was made up of people who had come early to watch The Kooks.

The Mayor spoke on the main stage and proceedings halted on all other stages as they held a minutes silence for the tragic events in Manchester the previous week. The minute silence was adhered to by most of the spectators and then the entire festival burst into ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ which has become the song attributed to Manchester after the attack.

The Cribs headlined the Baltic Stage and was packed from wall to wall despite clashing with The Kooks. It is 10 years since their iconic album Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever and they played the album from start to finish to commemorate it. The Cribs boast many amazing songs and are continuing to release more, however their performance emphasised how influential tracks like ‘Men’s Needs’ ‘Moving Picture’ and ‘I’m A Realist’ to many peoples lives.

The much awaited headline band The Kooks took to the main stage to a sea of eagerly anticipated spectators. They have recently finished a ‘best of… so far’ tour and brought there stunning performance to the docks forLiverpool’s Sound City. With many singalong anthems The Kooks are one of the best festival bands and everybody knows the lyrics to get involved. The Kooks played a few newer songs that weren’t received very well by the crowd and it went a little quiet during these songs, however they certainly made up for it during ‘Naive’ and ‘Seaside’.

Words: Stuart Daley
Photo: Michelle Roberts