The second day of Liverpool Sound City kicked off in a Bombed Out Church, where you have to sign a waiver to get in. Basically, if the roofless building collapses, they’re not responsible. I must say I'm a fan of the setup. Oliver Tank (pictured above) was playing when I arrived, and his melodic tunes sounded beautiful in the venue – though they had to turn the bass down a touch more than usual so as not to disturb the architecture (seriously). Sydney’s Step-Panther were playing next, I wonder how their rock music translated in the setting... as it was raining and quite cold, I headed along to a venue with some cover instead.
Wet Nuns (pictured above) were sounding fantastic in the Red Bull Garage; the two piece rocking out Motorhead style – the lead singer something between a Lemmy and a Kram. Very cool. Guitar and drums – what more do you need? Inland Sea (pictured below), meanwhile, were playing their beautiful tunes on a stage next door; a tiny stage in a small creative space where the ten members were like sardines in a tin. It was great to see, and an amazing track called “Hollow” ended their set, with some great beats and lots of strings. It’s possibly my new favourite song by the Brisbane ensemble.
Midnight Youth were sounding grungier than usual in the Heebie Jeebies beer garden at the New Zealand party next, with tracks like “Who Said You're Free” and “World Comes Calling”, off their new album of the same name. This worked in their favour, and sounded the best I’d ever seen them. They still held their obligatory Kasabian-ish feel to the music, however.
Local artist Jake Bugg (pictured above) was performing at the Epstein Theatre, performing with a backing drummer and bass guitarist. He has a bit of a young Gallagher vibe and look, and is a fantastic guitarist and a very impressive singer. “I’ve Seen It All” was particularly Oasis inspired, while new single “Lightning Bolt” was a little bit more of a hoe-down. “Countryside” slowed things down, while “Trouble Town” ended things on an upbeat note. Definitely a talent to keep your eyes on.
The artist I had been looking forward to seeing my entire trip finally hit the stage – Splendour in the Grass bound Michael Kiwanuka. With an incredible voice and a soulful/bluesy guitar style (jumping between the electric and the acoustic), he reminds me of a young Ben Harper. He was performing with an incredible five piece behind him, for all but two songs, which he played solo and acoustically. Playing primarily tracks off his debut album Home Again, including the popular single after which the album is named, that sounded phenomenal, and lead into a great singalong at the end of the night. He also threw in a cover of “May This Be Love (Waterfall)” by Jimi Hendrix, who he said was a great inspiration to him.
Whatever this inspiration for this talented artist is is definitely working. He’s one of the most buzzed about artists to play Splendour in the Grass, and while he would perhaps be more at home playing something like Bluesfest, he’s definitely going to impress when he comes to town next month. Don’t miss it! This is one massive star in the making.
My night ended with Austin, Texas based rock outfit White Denim, who aurally penetrated me with an hour and a bit of frenetic, fast paced rock and roll. At times it reminded me of Battles, at other times more epic and/or psychedelic. All I know is that this barrage of music didn’t stop for a beat… it was a truly impressive experience that they promise will come to Australia… eventually. Don't miss this rock and roll experience when they do - and in the meantime, you’ll be able to check out my interview with the band very soon!
As the clock headed towards 1am, I decided to call it a night, but there was still one more day of incredible music to come…