What went down at Liverpool Sound City 2022?

Saturday saw the return of Liverpool’s Sound City, now in its 14th year and still proving to be a highlight on the festival calendar. Split over numerous venues over two days, each was packed with music fans eager to catch a set from the wide variety of musical genres on offer. 

My day began with a set from Fife-based indie rockers The Shambolics. Having once shared a local pub with this four piece, it was exciting to see them play at a sell-out the festival. The band have developed a huge following over the last couple of years, not only in their native Scotland, but UK wide and from the reception they received on Saturday evening the fan base will have increased even more.

The main venue, The Arts Club Theatre was next on the agenda. Manchester’s Seb Lowe was the first act up and delivered a powerful impassioned performance with just vocals, a guitar, and a very talented keyboard player.

Seb Lowe has risen up the ranks in the Manchester music scene, his lyrics are thoughtful and mature for someone so young, and his voice is powerful and melodic. Saturday was the first time I had seen Lowe perform, but certainly will not be the last. Seb has a forthcoming headline slot at Gorilla on the 7thof May and I would urge you to get a piece of the action and see what all the fuss is about, you will not regret it.

A short walk to Jimmy’s followed with Tinyumbrellahs, a nineteen-year-old solo artist from Leeds who takes inspiration for her music from the films of Hayao Miyazaki and current affairs, primarily climate change and the environment. The set was intimate, and the vocals were calming and quite a contrast to other bands I had seen earlier in the day. Tinyumbrellahs latest single ‘Please Don’t Make This Weird’ is out now. 

Retro Video Club were up next, hailing from Edinburgh, this indie-rock four piece have built up quite a following on social media and have already got some pretty big gigs under their belts. The bar was the busiest I had seen so far, and it was a battle to get to the front for photo opportunities due to the number of eager fans crammed against the front of the stage.

The band delivered an energetic pop punk set, with catchy melodic harmonies sung along by a number of audience members, proving that they have built up quite a large fan base since they formed in 2015. Having sold out shows at the prestigious Liquid Rooms in Glasgow and supported The Libertines on tour, these lads are definitely heading in the right direction by gaining a prime-time slot at festivals such as Sound City.

Just down the road Laura Lee & The Jettes were preparing to take to the stage at Zanzibar. This grunge four piece from Berlin had attracted a sizable crowd. Fronted by Laura Lee, previously of the band ‘Gurr’, she took to the stage with plenty of noise and energy, backed up by her bandmates Eilis Frawley, Mario Quezada and Mark Eric Lewis. The band played songs from their debut album ‘Wasteland’ which certainly played homage to 90’s grunge, moving away from their indie roots. 

The city was buzzing and filled with impassioned music fans, often queuing out the doors and down the streets of certain venues, especially The Arts Club Theatre. I was disappointed, along with many other fans to miss out on Yard Act, but due to the large number of people in the queue and the venues minimal capacity for such a band as Yard Acts calibre, the venue had to install a ‘one in one out’ policy which unfortunately left a lot of fans disappointed.

Hopefully, next year issues such as this can be addressed to allow everyone an opportunity to see the headline acts. Regardless of this, the event goes to show just how diverse Sound City is as an event, which really does offer something for everyone.

Words and Photos by Helen Millington