Liverpool Sound City & Rock IM Park 2010 Shenanigans
So regular readers will be aware that every so often I take a break from telling you how to live your lives and be an all-round pleasant artist to work with to bring you something a bit more whimsical. This is usually around festival season and hey ho, wouldn’t you know I’ve already attended two and following is a list of the artists I saw alongside my humble musings …
Late May saw Liverpool Sound City return for its third year within musical Merseyside. It promised to be bigger and better (a promise which they also promised the second year, if this trend continues they’ll have to relocate to the Irish capital. Why? Because it keeps ‘Dublin’! – I’m really, really sorry) and I well and truly filled my boots with new music:
I Am Austin – A bass player with an amp setup so filthy it should have an 18 rating and a drummer who hits his kit so ferociously you’d think it would have wronged him some how in the past and that’s it. Yup, drum and bass. Who needs anything else? They’re genuinely ace and recently played darts with Edith Bowman live on Radio 1. Nope, I don’t know why either. Lordy.
We Are The Grande – Four lads who decided their home of Chile couldn’t offer them what rainy Liverpool could. Nope I don’t know why either. That said there were an awful lot of teenage girls in the audience for this gig. Dream (living the).
Red Suns – Lot of fuss being made about these at the moment in Liverpool, said fuss is helped by the fact they’re currently being looked after by Delta Sonic boss Alan Wills. Very young and are showing a lot of promise. Watch this space. Potential.
Scams – Been a fan of these guys since they were called ‘Out From Animals’, alongside the change in name they’ve also clearly changed their sound dropping the synths and going for a more standard indie angle. Very tight and very much worth checking out if you get the chance. Direction.
Philadelphia Grand Jury – Simply one of the best gigs I’ve been too in years. Three blokes going ape shit on stage and, get this, the drummer has hit the skins for EARTH WIND AND FIRE?! My original highlight of the set (the lyrics to the song ‘Going To The Casino’ which you can download in exchange for an email address here) was usurped by their encore where they did a rather chaotic cover of 99 Problems by that Jay Zed bloke. Go see these live. Instruction.
The Staves – Three rather attractive girls from Watford who make sounds I’d personally wouldn’t mind hearing when I walk towards that ever inevitable bright white light when my over indulgent life style finally catches up with me. Expect to hear these on US TV shows within 12 months. Tuneful.
Kowalski – These guys are part of Northern Ireland’s finest at the moment and watching them live really shows why. ‘Get Back’ was the highlight of an extremely strong set. They’re an attractive bunch as well for you lay-dees out there. Package.
Alice Klar – Take one MASSIVE German and one TINY Scouser, chuck in some synth, a couple of moody female keyboard players and some lyrics about bored housewifery and voila! You’ve baked an Alice Klar! These guys are currently being tipped by BBC Radio 1’s Kissy Sell Out so if you don’t trust my opinion then trust his instead. Intercontinental.
Summerskin – Headed up by Liverpool singer/songwriter Lee Broderick, Summerskin is his delve into the murky world of AOR, losing the acoustic guitar and picking up his trusty electric axe. These guys are tighter than [insert inappropriate Yorkshire Nun joke here] and although their EP is enjoyable, it does their live sound no justice at all. Professional.
Dirty Goods – These lads are Welsh. Proper Welsh. They make a plate of cheese on toast in the centre spot of the Millennium Stadium surrounded by daffodils look English. They also make very good music, ‘Honest’ being extremely radio friendly and the highlight of the set. Boyo.
Kid Adrift – I’ve harped on about Kid Adrift for quite some time now and it’s only a matter of time until he breaks through. This was the first time I’ve seen his live show and there is some very exciting potential there, I especially like the contrast between his own voice and the female vocal he’s brought in for the live act. Check him out at all the big festivals this summer. Future.
Revere – Easily one of my highlights of the festival, I was completely blown away by their performance. Their new single ‘We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow‘ is astonishingly good and has recently had a healthy amount of BBC 6Music plays. If you want to hear it then download the latest podcast or if you can’t do that then imagine the Acrade Fire… ON FIRE! Yes, it’s that good. Epiphany.
Minnaars – I was thoroughly looking forward to seeing Leicester’s finest for the first time and they didn’t disappoint. The crowd were a bit sparse and weren’t really giving them the attention they really deserved but they soldiered on through regardless. If their new track Amstrad Lions is a good indicator of what’s to come then I’ll be keeping an eye on them. Maths.
Capac – As I waltzed into Capac’s gig at Mello Mello I had the pleasure to witness a rather drunk punter being escorted off the premises with an inebriated grin on his face. Intrigued I enquired to someone I knew stood in the crowd who proceeded to inform me said jolly fellow had just been dancing on the tables before quite spectacularly falling flat on his arse. Yes, they’re that good. Smashed.
Thomas Speight – Things seem to happen to Thomas J Speight that don’t appear to happen to most normal artists. For example; he’s recently just finished recording an EP with two thirds of Keane after they invited him to use their new studio and he spent time in New York writing with Remy Zero after the guitarist from Travis introduced them. How did this happen? Well-connected manager? Loads of label money behind him? Nope – they just sent him a message on MySpace. Fair enough. Check him out now before your mum buys his album and starts fancying him. Fortunate.
Strait Laces – Another one of Belfast’s finest, if you like your music loud then you’ll like these guys. Their manager is bloody lovely as well and I’d happily go out of my way to help her out. So there is a lesson in this blog for you – get a nice manager (cue endless emails asking ‘how do I get a manager full stop?! – There is no answer to that question I’m afraid. Look on Gumtree?). Tinnitus.
Sound Of Guns – I finished the four days marathon with a set from current BBC Radio 1 favourites (Greg James single of the week) showcasing songs from their new album ‘What Came Of Fire’ due out at the end of June. If their momentum carries on like it currently is doing these could be on your mates whose-musical-tastes-aren’t-as-cool-as-yours iPod very soon (and that is genuinely meant as a compliment). Check them out at Leeds and Reading. Anthemic.
Other things I learned:
- Everyone reading this should sign up to the FREE CMU Daily mailout as not only is it very informative, it’s also written by two very lovely and witty gentlemen
- Swear words have very different meanings in the US than they do over here and visa versa. Unfortunately I cannot go into more detail here, but needless to say the conversation I had over a pint of Guinness with someone from HBO has mentally scarred the bar staff at the fine establishment where we were.
- Radio is an awesome and undervalued medium and when we can get Internet radio in cars the whole landscape will change. DAB is apparently dead in the water as well much to my mothers disappointment (“Will I still be able to listen to The Arrow when it changes?!)
- Vegans aren’t to be feared
Early June saw me fly over to the 13th highest populated city in Germany (which I’m sure you all already know is Nuremburg right?) for the festival ‘Rock IM Park’ which is the Leeds to Rock AM Ring’s Reading. Within the four days of glorious sunshine I was lucky enough to witness…
Rage Against The Machine – When I saw these guys two years ago it felt really special. I mean, there they were on stage; RAGE! I was too young to fully appreciate them the first time around but here they are, reformed for my audible pleasure. This time, although they were superb, it didn’t have that same je ne sais quoi due to the fact they appear to have written nothing new. The cynic in me now is just thinking ‘paycheck’ rather than ‘genuine want to make and play music together again’. I did read somewhere that we should be expecting new material soon but if so, they didn’t showcase any of it here (I think anyway? I was remarkably toasted). Angry.
Rammstein – Ooooooh this was creepy. This festival is held at the Nuremburg rally grounds, which is probably all I need to say. The keyboard player played the whole set whilst walking on a treadmill though, which was, well, funny I suppose. There was one particular moment where the lead singer straddled a giant phallic object, which then proceeded to (erm, how do I say this politely) sow its foamy seed all over the front of the crowd. They appeared to enjoy this. European.
Them Crooked Vultures – I love Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age, so put all three together and you’ll get love x 3 yes? Not quite. They’re very good, but they probably should be awesomenessness. That’s probably quite harsh though as they’ve only done one album which is very Queens of the Stone Age-y so maybe if they carry on their second, and dare I say it, third albums could be infamous. They looked like they were having fun though which was nice. Friends.
The Hives – Is it just me who thinks they deserve to be a lot more popular then they currently are? I’d watch these just to hear the lead singer talk inbetween songs. Charisma.
Cancer Bats – I won’t lie, I went to see these purely for their version of the Beastie Boys Sabotage which I thoroughly recommend you click here to listen to as it’s rather brilliant. Homage.
The Cribs – The smallest stage at this festival is actually inside an arena and when I went to watch these mid Rammstein needless to say the entire German contingent of the attending festival goers were stood at the main stage getting covered in fake semen. Stood by the barriers in an arena watching a band that currently includes on of Britain’s most influential guitarists with roughly 30 other people is an odd experience. The lead Jarmin (the one with the hair) seemed a bit annoyed but the rest of them were giving it beans and it was a truly enjoyable gig. Cheat On Me really is a good song isn’t it? Northern.
Kiss – THESE LOT ARE JUST RIDICULOUS. I managed to catch these a fortnight prior in Liverpool and if you will, I’d rather talk about that because it’s funnier. So, the arena in Liverpool is modest in size and despite this it was criminally undersold for the Kiss concert. The entire top half was empty, the bottom half was two thirds full and the floor maybe the same so for Kiss who are used to playing in front of 2.5million people minimum this was quite the experience. Near the climax of the show Paul Stanley announces; ‘I’m coming down there to see you!’ and moments later he’s flying through the air on a zipwire to a small stage towards the back of the venue. Now this would usually be a moment of pure elation for those with the crap seats at the back, but it quickly turned into quite the awkwardly heartfelt moment, as Stanley was stood there, slowly rotating, singing to no one in particular. Even the people on the floor couldn’t be arsed to walk over to stand closer to him apart from one bloke who brilliantly walked over, gazed up, made eye contact and then carried on walking to the toilet. Stunning.
Jay-Z – My favourite artist of this genre, I had some high expectations for Jay-Z and by crikey he didn’t let me down whatsoever. As the cool kids are currently saying he well and truly ‘smashed it’. In fact; he smashed it, jumped up and down on it, shot it a couple of times and then made Danny Dyer punch it in the face with his massive cockney fists. As it stands I currently cannot stop listening to Jaydiohead. Mashup.
Slash – He played Night Train and that made me happy. Retro.
Airbourne – Giving them a honourable mention as the lead singer who is more Australian than a can of Fosters wearing a cork hat and watching neighbours on top of the Sydney Opera House climbed the rigging of the main stage with his guitar and did a solo on the roof. Which was really high. Balls.
Lamb of God – Went to see these as my friend is a fan and was pleasantly surprised, especially by the drummer. Beardy.
Muse – And what better way to finish a festival than with a Muse set? Don’t bother trying to think of one because there isn’t one. I’ve harped on about them far too much in the past so I won’t bore you again. One thing though – to anyone who has yet to see them but has ever had just the slightest inkling to do so then I implore you to check them out at their summer dates in Manchester and Wembley. You won’t be disappointed. Promises.
Other things I learned
- German metal fans are fearless and don’t mind living in destitution for five days if it means they get to see Rammstein
- When you’re at a foreign festival it’s ALWAYS the UK acts hanging around the free bar. I’m looking at you Dizzee Rascal
- Weissbier is potent
There you go. You’ve just read over two thousand words and not learnt anything productive. It’s like GCSE Religious Education all over again.
What I’m reading this week: My Band’s Better Than Your Band