With the LIMF Academy and Mellowtone Bandstand stages brimming with talented North West based acts, Getintothis‘ Janaya Pickett, Chris Flack and Vicky Pea found out more.
LIMF Academy Stage
Entering the LIMF academy area we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Shipbuilder and storyteller Matty Loughlin. Prime example of an old soul in a young body and a fine sound to fill the muggy noon air.
As part of the LIMF Scademy‘s link with Westfield Basinstokes Lauren made less of a good first impression with what is always a regrettable cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit, it’s never worth doing. Throughout the remainder of her mainly cover-song set she proves herself to be a capable guitar player and controlled singer, never guilty of under or over doing it. Most noticeably in her own composition Elephant and with a captivating and tending cover of never wanted to fall in love.
There’s always a fear that the academy or smaller stages turn in to one girl/guy and their acoustic guitar. Katie Mac kicks that idea firmly in its ass by bringing her whole band along. It’s no surprise she’s the first on the team sheet for these type of stages and is garnering attention for her soulful and gritty performances. A short sharp set leaving everyone in earshot wanting more.
Astles got off to a hit and miss start from a combination of mixing issues and a more melancholy offering which unfortunately did see people trot off to find music more suited to a jolly summers day. The band still seem somewhat in their toddler stage but show signs of finding their feet with time and experience.
LUNA proves hugely impressive delivering a really polished and established performance giving off undeniably ‘could be set for big things’ vibe. With original competitions with that ‘chart ready’ familiarity.
Shrinking Minds don’t shy away from their guitars as they droll through their emotionless teenage complaints and exaggerations.
Paige Leslie, a soul singer and LIPA student all the way from St. Louis, underwhelmed possibly down to technology, but also because the music had quite a generic sound. It seemed to us that this student was still perfecting her craft and forming her identity.
The Basement Effect arrived next with a crash, bang and wallop. The positive response from the young crowd who ably bobbed along to their tracks warmed the heart and restored faith in young talent. The guys could not have been over 16/17 but showed extreme confidence in their retro inspirred rock with riffs and solos aplenty.
Aztex were another LIPA wonder, consisting of members students from across the globe. Their style was eclectic, best described as pop rock with beats inspired from a multitude of genres.
Elanor Nelly took to the stage like a pro being such a well established singer/songwriter at such a young age. Her sound surpasses her years and it is little wonder that she is celebrating as the LIMF academies rising star.
Last but by no means least is GIT Award nominee and nicest boy on the block LUMEN who plays his quirky repertoire with ease. For one so young the sound is fully formed in a scene were most artists his age are still finding their way. The fact that he creates his ethereal music solo makes for an even engaging impression. A LUMEN set is always an enjoyable one and the future is definitely bright for this Aintree lad.
Shout out to DJ Dan Kraines who with his between set selections also managed to keep the crowd glued to the area.
Henry Pulp, from local lads Lying Bastards, were our first band of the afternoon at the picturesque Mellowtone bandstand. Late onto stage due to the previous evenings shenanigans, he played raspy stripped back versions of his back catalog. The bluesy vocals and confident guitar plucking were a welcome start to the day.
Ben Hughes‘s acoustic guitar playing was something quite special: expansive and experimental, creating awesome sound, using the single instrument guitar, bass and percussion. His vocals however often fell short of the instrumental mastery, but this is none the less an unquestionable young talent who takes inspiration from bluegrass and rockabilly. His performance lit up the crowd as he garnered the first rapturous applause of the afternoon.
Rob Vincent, although established, underwhelmed with his self proclaimed ‘miserable songs’. Not through a lack of talent, his music provided a lulled soundtrack to the grass area filling with camping chairs and picnic blankets. Though his set was beautifully performed it was perhaps best suited to a more dedicated audience rather than the mixed crowd of mostly families just after a lark by the lake.
Anwar Ali & Dave Owen brought sunnier festivities with their lute and acoustic guitar combination. Their eclectic Indian-inspired tunes blended seamlessly into one chilled and dreamy set. They create a noise that sweetens the masses on the hill and to the relief of anyone near Sefton Park they seem to magic up a little bit of the sun to go with the ice creams and beers.
When Pier James comes on stage he brings a decidedly upbeat theme to proceedings, with some old skool rap, some hip hop vibes, a slice of Wu Tang Clan and some on stage banter with his DJ comrade there was a lot to enjoy. We’d suggest a little work on the between tracks banter though… “Next one, next one mate” doesn’t really cut it or do his lyricism any justice.
Kindest of Thieves was next, which was essentially a one man band. The sounds were most unusual and probably the most exciting we’d heard on the Bandstand today. It is perhaps best described as the kind of bastard creation that might come from a meeting between a 50’s balladeer and Nick cave after night of cigars, rum and reminiscing on lost loves. The powerful almost Al Jolson type vocals were encapsulating and offered something different to the families on the grass.
Rimka are last on stage at the Bandstand and they are a hugely engaging proposition. There is the ‘African laptop’, drums, guitar and keys. The lead singer sat happily behind an array of African drums (he sits on a bar stool that we’re sure has been stolen from someplace with the kind of clientele that talk about sunglasses brands a lot, a move we applaud wholeheartedly). Rimka bring everything from soul, blues, a hint of salsa, some proper African beats and a humour that was appreciated. If you struggled to shake of the burger you had for lunch with this lot you’d be in trouble.
Overall both stages showed that the festival has a lot more to offer than the bigger names on the main stage and indeed the gems are often found in the smallest and tucked away corners of ‘Sevvy park’ and we’re already looking forward to LIMF 2017. Check out our full photo galleries below.
Photos by Getintothis’ Vicky Pea, Chris Flack and Peter Goodbody.