Liverpool Sound City 2015 review: Fat White Family, Peace, Broken Men, Dead Buttons, Repetition, John McCullagh, The Hummingbirds, White Room

Fat White Family

Fat White Family

Getintothis’ Matthew Wood laps up every last moment of the final chapter of Sound City 2015, it’s a delightful conclusion that exhausts, entertains and astounds. 

The third and sadly, final day of Sound City 2015 is upon us and with another captivating line up ahead it’s hard to ooze anything but anticipation despite our exhaustion. Warming up The Cavern tent is Berlin-based Anne Haight whose melodic folk/pop drifts wistfully carried by a delightful voice recalling the irresistible harmonies of Regina Spektor.

 Returning once again to the Atlantic Stage a sharp, suited and booted The Hummingbirds embark onto the stage neatly packing the greats of British Rock and Roll into a tight collection of acoustic blues and folk. Vocals emblazoned with a John Lennon finish prove that with the right touch of originality, staying true to one’s roots can be the best decision you could make as a musician. Accompanied by a loyal fan base braving the bitter winds, the band fully deserves a later spot on the bill next time.

Brighton boys White Room, tipped by Paul Weller as one’s to watch, swagger on to a Cavern stage for a set embellished with psych rock influence, built on a sturdy foundation of Madchester scene. Frontman Jake Smallwood brandishes his tambourine in a way that nods to Joel Gion and the Gallaghers leading a cool, confident five piece towards a successful early afternoon slot.

Fortunate enough to have time to head over to The Baltic, a stage that has won a place as arguably the best stage of the weekend in terms of eclectic mix and sheer consistency of quality, another excellent act in the form of two-piece Honeyblood grace the stage. A tightness of equal standings as The Black Keys and a vocal capacity rivalling that of Alison Moshart forms a simplistic yet compelling collaboration.

Although slightly disappointed to miss the remainder of Honeyblood’s set and returning to The Cavern stage, the crackle of a dusty record surrounded by an unorthodox arrangement of instruments and a floppy haired Berliner drowns us in obscurity and originality and goes by the name of And The Golden Choir. Replacing a band with his own vinyl recordings, multi-instrumentalist Tobias Siebert apologises for being weird, laying his varied sound that touches upon reeling Radiohead and the earnestness of Death Cab For Cutie.

Clearing the gloom of the early afternoon, Stockport’s Blossoms intertwine a shimmering set with touches of Tarantino-esque psychedelia that floats hazily over ‘the stately homes of England’ (Blown Rose). The live performance enhances their tunes no end and is a spectacle to behold.

In stark contrast to previous acts, the convivial Splintered Ukes are an endearing novelty act abundant with classic covers such as This Charming Man and Loveshack. While lacking originality in songs, their setup is one loved by all in the Mail Chimp tent who sing gleefully along but are careful not to spill their extortionately priced cider.

A persistent problem for many live acts is that of the music drowning out the vocalist, but very rarely is the problem reversed, that is, vocals drown out the instruments however this became apparent during Deliah’s set. The band’s stripped down RnB loses potency as a Kraken tent struggles to hear the acoustic guitar and one can’t help feeling the insertion of an acoustic bass is necessary. This is unfortunate, but a learning curve for the band perhaps.

Giving a 10/10 to the hot dog stand’s acapella Fleetwood Mac cover, Essex five-piece Eden Royals take to the North Stage. It’s a safe, albeit catchy set that incorporates dance-y aspects of modern guitar bands along with solo work echoing Johnny Marr and Doug Castle (Peace).

Embarking on outings with his band, solo artist John McCullagh has been turning heads since the age of 14. The Doncaster lad however opts for an obvious approach that is becoming more and more painfully prevalent and unoriginal. While he displays a song writing talent that transposes to a full band well, his slice of rock and roll which mirrors Jake Bugg and The Strypes is a slice of something we’ve stuffed our faces with far too much already.

Flying the flag for the New Serbian Scene, Belgrade act Repetitor make for another cosy encounter in the Mail Chimp tent with their riotous post punk revival that proves that Serbian is perhaps best suited to such a genre, being somewhat terrifying.

A Dead Buttons set continues the international vibe of the evening, hailing from Seoul, South Korea offering up a tasty plate of Blues Rock that features a uniquely alluring pronunciation of lyrics.

Riotous five-piece Broken Men accompany a rare trip to the Cargo stage for a set that draws on a vast pool of influence but leads to a confused sound overall. Weaving in and out of genres without quite striking any of them completely and struggling to offer any melody to clutch to with Editors inspired vocals their sound is one that is powerful, erratic and could do with some refining.

Peace frontman Harry Koisser seems to have traded in his usual, glamorous self for a downgraded model with trackies and oversized denim, while the rest of the band sport TOADZ (Totally Original And Dangerous) leather jackets from their latest video for Gen Strange – feat Peter Crouch. The charismatic frontman has acquired a status and realised he can do pretty much anything he wants leading Peace to become like that bit of Chewit you get stuck in your teeth, slightly annoying but sweet on the tongue and leaves you craving another helping.

Their set begins with aforementioned Gen Strange followed by earlier single Lost On Me their latest album paving the way into their set. Refusing to allow Doug Castle’s guitar difficulties ruin their set, a subdued Float Forever is followed by an onslaught of hits with 1998 a prevailing stand out track and one finds themselves on the brink of a circle pit every 30 seconds. While Perfect Skin struggles to standout as a live success, it seems a shame that more of their new record hasn’t been exhibited during their live shows. It’s a strong set, however and despite his sluggish appearance, Koisser is on top form, particularly vocally and set closer World Pleasure has the whole room shifting in a Bez-like fashion whether they like it or not.

If Peace had just put the cherry on top of the success of the Baltic Stage, Fat White Family take the cherry, throw up on it, set it on fire and smoke the remains as they drain every last ounce of energy left in the Baltic crowd. This is real rock ‘n’ roll and something that no other band are doing anything anywhere near to at the minute. There’s sweat, booze and probably blood smattered across the warehouse and the remaining participants give it their all, knowing they’ve reached the end of an incredible weekend that has been worth every trodden toe, busted lip and all 36 hours of standing. Thank you Sound City 2015.

Photos by Getintothis’ Tom Adam, Chris Flack, Martin Waters, Martin Saleh, Jack Thompson and Vicky Pea:




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