Liverpool Sound City day one offers up Scouse electronica, summer strumalongs and late-night Americana, Getintothis’ Orla Foster is glad she stuck around.
We decide to start things on a fairly chilled note at the Kazimier, where Afternaut, an electronic producer based in Liverpool, is tucked behind a desk, making alternately euphoric and foreboding sounds float up out of it.
Above him, kaleidoscopic images of the cosmos soar and collide, complementing the astral ambiance of the music.
Then it’s off to Mello Mello for a round of indie choruses courtesy of Collectors Club and Eliza And The Bear. Your enjoyment of the former will probably depend on how you feel about grown men telling you to put on your dancing shoes.
But, as it turns out, this is exactly what the audience want to do, and the band go from strength to strength with each song. Several times they sound as though on the verge of breaking into Stevie Wonder, but in the end they go for an energised rendition of Fleetwood Mac‘s Everywhere instead.
Eliza and the Bear – radiated optimism
London’s Eliza and The Bear perform in a similar vein, passionately and with an almost child-like sense of rapture. They’re a seven piece, and perhaps by sheer force of numbers their music radiates a dazzling optimism, with its emphasis on catchy hooks and summer melodies; the unbridled trumpets wildly amplifying the sense of occasion.
It’s all very enthusiastic – quite unselfconsciously so – each member nodding wildly with grins as broad as their faces will allow. They admit to being pleasantly surprised by the number of people in the room.
The night closes beneath the high ceilings of Leaf, as Alessi’s Ark appear to showcase their sophomore record.
Despite a few initial wobbles with the sound, the band’s stage presence is filled with an easy warmth and spontaneity which makes them a pleasure to watch. Alessi Laurent-Marke graduated from the world of making zines to making music, and there’s a certain note of whimsy to her which makes the performance all the more appealing.
Alessi’s Ark – worth sticking around for
Throughout the set she keeps up a steady rapport with the audience, her unassuming, softly-spoken presence perfectly balancing an unflappable calm. When their planned musical toy interludes didn’t work, she points reproachfully down at the culprit; silver and mirrored and hanging from her mic stand.
A man sneezes, and she slips an effortless “Bless You” into the break between verses. They also play a stunning cover of the National’s Afraid of Everyone.
While their earlier material can sometimes drift a little, the songs from the new release pack a real punch.
She thanks the audience for choosing to watch her band rather than go to bed – “I’d have chosen bed” – but it’s no contest. With so many different acts to catch during the first night, it’s rewarding to stumble in on one where you want to stay til the end.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Matt Owen and Matt Thomas.