Liverpool Music Week 2017 culminated in a collaborative evening for Getintothis‘ ten year celebration, editor Peter Guy reflects on the event’s finale and the festivities as a whole.
Contextualising the epic scale, ambition, man hours and emotional investment, of what went into this year’s festivities is a Herculean task. However, anyone who bought an early bird wristband for a mere £20 would surely have a small insight into how great that task is simply by attempting to attend all that was programmed. For this writer, we tried our best – kicking off in late October with that CHIC and Nile Rodgers show and culminating on November 4 and the colossal Closing Party – we took in nine of Liverpool Music Week‘s gigs, and quite frankly our entire being is broken yet suitably inspired.
For the 2017 edition built upon many of the smaller glories of last year’s event. Organisers worked even more closely with the rising and finest artistic talents of the Merseyside region, once again selecting a programme of some of the finest UK and international new artists and perhaps reaching a festival zenith with it’s Echo Arena headliner and several of the Invisible Wind Factory performers, most notably Princess Nokia. While we’d argue there is perhaps too much of an exhaustive programme to be truly appreciated by even the most ardent and adventurous music lover (believe me, we tried), unlike many of the festival’s previous years, Liverpool Music Week‘s 2017 edition had a genuine festival experience coursing throughout.
— LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK (@LivMusicWeek) November 3, 2017
There was a distinct energy and flow. The utilisation of almost all the city’s key spaces was evident – only Drop The Dumbulls a notable absentee. While there was as rich a line up as one can possibly imagine for a festival which aims to cater for a contemporary pop music fan.
The line up was so strong it willed punters to return time and again to EBGBs for the Breaking Out Series. Legends including Dawn Penn and record label Bella Union‘s 20th birthday feast implored heads to drag their weary limbs across Liverpool and up tea shop flights of stairs or down the depths of the Baltic Triangle on freezing winter evenings. If you had little willpower, you simply wouldn’t have been able to keep up.
Perhaps the underlying message of Liverpool Music Week, however, was its affection both for the city’s music community and the wealth of new music talent emanating from the region.
While Harvest Sun promotions were once again in the back seat doing much of the booking alongside LMW boss Mike Deane there was younger promo team Yeah Buddy handling the Breaking Out gigs on a nightly tradition. So too the likes of Positive Vibration, Bam!Bam!Bam, Horse and Meshuggy, Cartier 4 Everyone, Abandon Silence, No Fakin and Getintothis all helping out to assist with programming and the finer details. A collective effort was evident from the off.
And it repeatedly bubbled to the surface at the shows with Liverpool’s cast of new musicians reciprocating the feelings.
While this year’s Liverpool Music Week may have lacked the massive break out success stories of Louis Berry and She Drew The Gun‘s 2016 Leaf headline gigs there were undoubtedly as many mini highs tucked away across the city in smaller venues.
Blanck Mass, Jungle and the aforementioned CHIC and Princess Nokia, meanwhile, provided more than enough clout among the heavy-weight bookings to satiate even the most picky of music punters. There were of course downs – the Mount Kimbie evening felt like more than a missed opportunity while it was inexplicably misguided idiocy by Glitterfuck who self-destructed with their contemptible antics resulting in them being pulled early by organisers on the Princess Nokia show were two notable exceptions in an otherwise superlative festival.
And so to the finale. There’s perhaps been enough superlatives above to glean over a line up in which we hand-picked 27 of those on the billing. However, it’d be unfair not to share a narrative which will live long in the memory. While it may not have had the unbridled lunacy and bedlam of Liverpool Music Week‘s 2010 closing party, we’d argue it was far, far superior in terms of new music and organisation.
Indeed, the four different spaces carved out their own distinct stories.
The cavernous Invisible Wind Factory staged the fruit-wielding characteristically chaotic and colourful punk chaos of Pink Kink; SPQR warmed early comers with punchy post-punk noise, VEYU aired freshly written, direct rock & roll to their sonic palette alongside the more familiar cinematic stylings including a quite mammoth version of The Everlasting; Trudy and the Romance‘s Oliver Taylor proved that every band in the city missed a trick not recruiting him with his Grade A star presence aligned to instant-classic Baby I’m Blue while She Drew The Gun continued their war against societal apathy and political ignorance with a triumphant set which closed with the sax-assisted cover of Come Together.
There was, however, little escaping that North Shore Troubadour was the place to be. This relatively new space on the adjacent road to the Wind Factory debuted live shows at Liverpool Music Week‘s closing party exactly a year ago – and what was basically a space in development, is now one of our favourites in the city.
The loose navy themed, bare brick and wood venue housed two smaller stages with the addition of an upstairs balcony allowing punters varying vantage points to what was six and half hours of relentless, high octane music. Ramped up to quite ferocious levels of sound, Violet Youth kicked off proceedings with bleak doomy goth. Fellow Getintothis Deep Cuts alumni The Bohos explored a maturer rock sound while SPILT and Ali Horn provided heavy rock and roll and hazy beach surf vibes by the bucket load. FUSS (‘We’re from Aigburth’), Danye, godonmyright and Deja Vega applied varying levels of fuzz, feedback and fury; the latter producing a hurricane of motorik mayhem it seemed the venue was set to implode before RongoRongo cemented their status on the top tier of Liverpool’s live bands whetting appetites for their upcoming new material.
— LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK (@LivMusicWeek) November 4, 2017
Peaness, The Orielles and Strange Collective provided frenetic pop diamonds, progressive DIY pearlers and dark weighty grooves respectively while in among all this glorious fusion, Jo Mary pulled off one of the days spectacles by combining rip-roaring future garage classics and stripping down to their pants while clambering over speakers, drum-stacks and falling over barriers. A 10 minute version of Sister Ray, complete with customary stage invasion, was the tin hat on North Shore Troubadour‘s finest live experiences to date.
Back in the Invisible Wind Factory, and downstairs in the newly opened Substation, AJ Tracey played to a rammed house following on from prodigious sets by Merseysiders Rico Don, Suedebrown and Shogun while upstairs Perfume Genius stole the show with a rousing, hypnotic and utterly beguiling set which was both profoundly moving as it was mesmirisingly malevolent. Frontman Jonathan Higgs of headliners Everything Everything proves adept as Wind Factory hype man as his remarkable vocal range aligned to set highlights Can’t Do and Cough Cough induce hysteria along the adoring masses.
Fittingly, it is left to Liverpool new music vets The Tea Street Band to finish this most epic of parties. A band who’ve endured a roller-coaster of a career both in their latest incarnation and as The Maybes? – here they sound as vital as ever; older tracks weaving in and out of new before a wild rendition of Donna Summer‘s I Feel Love sends the remaining dozens into delirium at the lip of the main stage.
This is but a fraction of the full closing party story, the full hit had to be experienced in the flesh, however if you were there you’ll know it was the rousing, apt finale to a 15th anniversary Liverpool Music Week which will live long in the memory.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody and Kevin Barrett. Additional reporting by Lauren Wise, Peter Goodbody and Mark Rowley.
Getintothis‘ Liverpool Music Week coverage team:
Tom Adam, Keith Ainsworth, Banjo, Kevin Barrett, Cath Bore, Daniel Bundy, Luke Chandley, Christopher Flack, Stephen Geisler, Peter Goodbody, Peter Guy, Amaan Khan, Craig Macdonald, Lucia Matušíková, Lucy McLachlan, Warren Miller, Sinead Nunes, Rick Leach, Michelle Roberts, Lauren Wise, Matthew Wood.