Culture, Music

Liverpool Sound City 2023 review – a spectacular weekend and the perfect festival to discover your new favourite artist

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Featured image and gallery: Lucy Warburton

Liverpool Sound City returned over the weekend and proved it still packs a punch as one of the unmissable dates in any music-lover’s festival calendar. Well-known for being an independent festival that showcases emerging artists and supports the local music scene in Liverpool, Sound City captures the vibrancy of Liverpool while bringing along an extensive line up from all over the globe.

Opening with ‘New Music Friday’, Sound City took festival goers to intimate venues all across Liverpool while showcasing fresh talent, throwing in an exciting set from indie-legends Swim Deep to end the night. We found ourselves in Liverpool’s treasured venues Heebie Jeebies, Metrocola and Jimmy’s seeing the performances from indie alt-pop singer Mollie Coddled, Irish shoegaze artist She’s In Parties, Liverpool’s own Piss Kitti, and dream-pop giants Swim Deep.

Saturday and Sunday relocated to the three venues within the Liverpool Guild of Students giving a more enclosed city festival feel, featuring the Stanley Theatre, Mountford Hall and outdoor pop-up Wider Arts stage.

Kicking off the Saturday was Manchester’s own Alex Spencer who had everyone jamming along to his new song ‘A Night To Waste’ as he opened the festival at the Stanley Theatre. Next up was Little Planets with their upbeat sound but brutal lyrics, the two women lead vocalists lit up the room with their infectious energy that left the crowd with no choice but to dance.

Brummy newcomers The Clause brought their 90s attack disco sound to the Mountford Hall, they left everyone in the room wanting more but promised that they have a lot more new music to come.

Upcoming Liverpool outfit Courting brought their huge debut album Guitar Music to their hometown festival. Well-accustomed to performing to larger crowds, frontman Sean Murphy-O’Neill knew just how to get the crowd going, especially with fan-favourite ‘Tennis’.

Then came Wrexham four-piece The Royston Club, becoming very well known amongst the UK indie-scene, they put on a tight performance that would have you thinking they’d been going for over a decade. Drawing in an excitable crowd with fans clambering onto each other’s shoulders to sing the words back at lead vocalist Tom Faithfull.

The headline set from South Yorkshire independent indie powerhouse The Reytons soon came around, bringing with them their No.1 album What’s Rock And Roll? If anyone in the crowd wasn’t a fan before, then they definitely were when they left. The Reytons could draw energy from a stone. Their down-to-earth lyricism and anthemic choruses had the crowd putting on their own performance with immense energy.

Sunday showcased an array of artists leading up to pop’s one to watch Maisie Peters who has recently been supporting Ed Sheeran on tour, another renowned artist whose earlier career days featured an appearance at Sound City.

First up of the day we caught jazz-punk outfit Opus Kink who are becoming esteemed for their chaotic energy on stage. The six-piece group are quickly becoming notorious amongst the emerging indie-scene for having a sound unlike anything anyone has ever heard before.

Next up were The Goa Express captivating festival goers with their psych-umbrellaed rock’n’roll, clearly taking influence from Manchester legends with their sound and performance style. Summer hit ‘Second Time’ was a favourite among the crowd as they danced and sang along.

Glaswegian singer-songwriter Rianne Downey captivated the hearts of the Mountford Hall with her genius melodies and lyricism, fierce but with a sweet voice. Rianne proclaimed her love for Liverpool as her second-home and Liverpool proclaimed it right back.

Nearing the end we caught London’s hotly-tipped sensation Olivia Dean, with her culturally eclectic sound and flawless voice. Olivia’s set felt polished and professional with her expert four-piece backing band giving a soulful feel to her performance. A name that was talked about as one to watch this weekend and this proved true.

Last but not least, closing the festival with her brilliant headline set was Maisie Peters. A performance that was self-love story from start to finish. Maisie is quickly rising to fame with her storytelling relatable hits and flawless live performances.

The Mountford Hall was filled to brim as fans piled in to hear hits from her debut album You Signed Up For This and latest singles ‘Body Better’, ‘Not Another Rockstar’, ‘Good Enough’ and ‘Blonde’ stirring excitement for her upcoming sophomore album The Good Witch set to be released this coming June.

Maisie Peters definitely left the crowd wanting more and was a magnificent way to end Sound City weekend. We look forward to seeing Maisie at her headline O2 Apollo Manchester gig in October, her biggest headline Manchester show to date.

Overall Liverpool Sound City was a brilliant weekend with an opportunity to discover your new favourite artist whilst exploring the remarkable city of Liverpool. Sound City was fantastically organised and it definitely made a difference on the Saturday and Sunday being able to drift across from stage to stage in close proximity of each other but with also the option to explore the city’s most loved venues on the Friday. We would definitely recommend Sound City to those with a love for music who enjoy the thrill of no doubt seeing artists before they become a household name.

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Lucy Warburton

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