Liverpool Sound City 2018 – Top 10 Merseyside acts to see at this year’s festival

Pale Rider

Pale Rider

As Sound City 2018 looms around the corner, Getintothis’ Amaan Khan reflects on the Merseyside acts leading the way at the festival.

Departing from the dusty bowls of the docklands, Sound City returns to city region while finding its new home centred at the Baltic Triangle.

Moreover, after growing to be a festival of a stature that could have acts SlavesPeaches, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) and The Kills at non-headlining spots while hosting the likes of The Kooks and The Coral as headliners,

Sound City 2018 – for better or worse- returns its focus to the emerging and the underground. This surely benefits a lot of the up-and-coming acts of its home city of Liverpool.

The festival will represent a fair share of the city’s regular noisemakers especially pertaining to the rock and punk acts, be it the psychedelic summer pop of Ali Horn or the punk of Queen Zee – both returning for a second outing.

Toning the loudness down, we arrive at the indie electronica of Aztex and the candyfloss synth pop of TV ME. 

On the softer side, we have 2016 Merseyrail Sound Station winner Astles bringing his dreamy folk while Katie Mac will take the same to darker grounds.

Throwing in a measure of soul and R&B for good measure, acts like Louis Jay will be well worth catching. The city’s veteran songwriters Edgar Jones and Nick Ellis will be right up there with Mel Bowen and Seafoam Green.

Deep Cut and Sound City team up for pre-festival Buyers Club party

A rather special highlight is foreseeable in the Stealing Sheep led suffragette tribute that culminates from a five day residency which is a part of Brighter Sound led initiative Both Sides Now.

The tribute will see several female percussionists from Liverpool along with design and AV students come together to present marching band processions that along with music inspired from women, equality and empowerment.

If the band’s previous outing is anything to go by, the Suffragette Tribute will be an spectacular happening taking place at Camp & Furnace on the Sunday. Not only will the band perform specially feminism inspired music but will also see the material choreographed by Kate Cox.

While we encourage you to check as many acts as possible and make your picks based on your personal taste, here are 10 Merseyside acts, in no particular order, that won’t let you down:

Jalen N'Gonda

Jalen N’Gonda

Jalen N’Gonda – Sunday

Well experienced now with multiple tours around the world behind him, Maide Vale sessions and support slots for Valerie JuneLaura MvulaLauryn Hill etc., Jalen N’Gonda looks ready to join the ranks of the modern Motown and soul revivalists like Leon Bridges and Michael Kiwanuka.

N’Gonda however has his own flavour to the style with apparent 50s and Merseybeat influences. With a new single We Fell Out of Love just out, this festival veteran is guaranteed musical refreshment at the festival.

Beija Flo

Beija Flo

Beija Flo – Hangar 34 – Sunday morning 2am

With just the right amount of eccentricity, Beija Flo is a quick draw with her powerful laments and provocative performance style. Drawing from the cabaret and burlesque culture, her performance is often immersive and direct. You might want to be in the front for this one to catch the intimacy that she commands.

Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Pale Rider – Hangar 34 – Sunday morning 1.20am

If you like your rock with a towering wall of riffs, this quartet is the new hot thing.

They helped us celebrate the one year birthday of Deep Cuts, having played before at its August 2017 edition and we have been impressed ever since. While a lot of the bill might be acts most local ardent music fans have seen multiple times, Pale Rider are fresh enough to be a new experience for many.

Just check out their single I Run on Rain and see if you dig.

Rival Bones

Rival Bones

Rival Bones

Sound City 2018 is predominantly a rock music festival. However, there is significant variety within that genre. Rival Bones are inarguably rock but absolutely different from the psychedelia wall of noise that most of the other acts on the bill feature.

Heavy riffs and heavier drums, this is a power duo drawing from the wells of Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine. Need some rock and roll that takes it back to the basics? Rival Bones should be a good shout.  



SPILT – Saturday

If you like full on blistering punk, SPILT might be up your alley.

Take the aggressive guitar strumming of primetime punk and grunge, mix it upon a psych sonic palette and you have SPILT. With tightness as their forte, SPILT will be good at cleaning your earwax for the rest of the festival.



Zuzu – Sunday

At the GIT Award 2017, we told you that Zuzu is a one to watch, and now she is not only signed to Virgin, but also set for many other festival slots this summer..

Combine sparkling songwriting with a kickass attitude and execute it with precision and sincerity – if that sounds something you’d like, Zuzu is an easy win.

The Fernweh

The Fernweh

Fernweh – Saturday

Fernweh are a trio with an impeccable sense of melody.

The band is what The Byrds might have been if they started in the recent times but still keeping it modern. Their latest single and upcoming album released on Skeleton Key is already set to be one of the top releases coming out of the city in 2018.



Monks – Saturday

Monks take the rampant dream pop of the day and add in some effective trumpet to reinvent itself. The reverberating sound of the five-piece is another act that might be new to a fair share of the regular followers of the local music. Their latest single Dreamboat was released very recently and serves as a good taster for what can be expected at the festival.



NuTribe – Sunday

Not often does this writer feel as confident in saying ‘they have their own sound’ as in the case of NuTribe.

Sometimes grooving like Erykah Badu and D’Angelo and sometimes funking it with some Fela Kuti inspired raw Afrobeat, this trio is all about the rhythm and flow, and plenty of it.

They’ve swooned crowds at Africa Oyé before and were gracious enough to join us at one of our Deep Cuts gigs. Take it from us – if you can appreciate more than the share of rock and roll, you will be smiling by the end of their set.

King Hannah

King Hannah

King Hannah – Hangar 34 – Saturday 11pm

Jarring solos and haunting vocals, King Hannah describe themselves well as gothic blues.

Mysterious yet just like the music they make, the band take away the gimmicks and the noise and keep it to the things that count: all the parts coming together to form a greater sum.




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