Liverpool International Music Festival, review: Barnstorming Basement Jaxx lift council music fest to a new level

Saturday's headliners pull biggest opening night crowd in the event's history

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The Independent Culture

Basement Jaxx took Liverpool's free council music fest to a new level with a barnstorming performance that eclipsed the paid for acts at the higher profile Creamfields down the road.

Saturday's headliners pulled the biggest opening night crowd to the Sefton Park stages since the event replaced the ailing Mathew Street festival three years ago.

Thousands of people - young and old, rich and poor - danced under a rising super moon as singers Vula Malinga and Sharlene Hector kept the party anthems coming.

The costumes were pure carnival with each outfit more outrageous than the last. No one missed a note even when the stage antics flipped from bouncing to acrobats.

Revellers danced under a rising super moon (Mark McNulty)

Before the tumultuous encore 'Where's Your Head At?' was over a new bar for the festival had been set and The Real Thing rose to meet it the following night.

Old favourites like 'You to Me Are Everything' have been made to feel bang up to date by fusing Seventies Soul with rap rhythms.

Gone are the tribute acts that littered last year's stages. The new look festival, cut from 18 days to five, benefits from being leaner and is now more focused on the future than celebrating the past - though up and coming groups like Liverpool's own Ambition managed to do both with a set that combined golden oldies with new material.