Already in its fourth year, Liverpool Sound City (LSC) has established itself at the forefront of the UK indie music festival circuit.
The festival draws upon the business model of the South by Southwest festival in Texas, with label showcases and strategic conferencing ensuring significant industry attendance. Over 400 signed and unsigned artists, industry insiders and hipsters descend upon the city to partake in the three-day music marathon; venues across the city range from cathedral crypts and art spaces to bombed out churches (St Luke's).
Opening up at The Static Gallery were avant-art outfit Chain and the Gang, the latest incarnation from Washington DC's revolutionary son Ian Svenonius. Overt leftist philosophies and fight-the-power political ideologies coexist with blues grooves and freakbeat sounds. Master of his medium, Svenonius is a creative genius.
Taking time out from his Jonquil project, Hugo Manuel's Chad Valley remix Bee Gee disco pop with Balearic beats, while Trophy Wife's infectious and melodic synth-based dance sound salutes Marr and Sumner's preeminent Electronic. Both bands have been hotly tipped on the blogosphere.
Saturday night headliners and hometown indie veterans Clinic played a faultless set at the atmospheric St Luke's. They charged through a selection of songs from their back catalogue, plus more recent picks from their latest album, Bubblegum, with sublime dexterity. Aussie trio Our Mountain trade on heavy electric guitars infused with hard rock blues rhythms; the atmosphere on stage took on a Hendrix-esque quality. Supermodel band member, Abbey Lee Kershaw, is the face of Gucci, Versace and Prada – and also the band's passport to becoming a fashion-pack favourite.
US singer and songwriter Kurt Vile (accompanied here by The Vilolators) is an exceptional talent; he creates a curious blend of addictive Americana and lo-fi astral folk rock. His set here was less experimental than his solo recordings and veered more towards classic American rock. Festival closers Mugstar played crashing, thunderous songs.
LSC is an adventurous voyage of discovery; it caters for the most arduous of musical tastes, but also offers the unique opportunity to experience the delights of a wonderful city.