Whilst The Rolling Stones at Glastonbury or Biffy at Reading and Leeds are bound to produce some pretty memorable moments, everyone knows the smaller tents are where the future is really being written. So, before the summer’s big boy festivals can swing into gear, there’s a host of multi-venue soirees on the horizon, dedicated to introducing you to some of the season’s newer stars.
Liverpool Sound City, the first event in the calendar, runs this weekend (May 2-4) and is filled with so many hot young thangs it barely matters that it’ll quite likely be chucking it down outside. From the established (Noah & The Whale, Everything Everything) to the super new (Loom, Popstrangers), the festival is sure to showcase so many exciting new bands that you’ll forget all about the Pyramid stage come June.
Here are our top five picks of the weekend…
Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, psych-rock trio Popstrangers come on like Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s moodier, meatier cousins. Debut LP ‘Antipodes’ may have already dropped, but with the band only relocating to these shores literally this week, their initial run of UK shows are sure to introduce their dreamily catchy riffs to the wider masses. For an initial taster, check out ‘Heaven’ – a gorgeous mix of lovelorn, downbeat build-ups and the kind of giddy, sun-drenched chorus that’s bound to turn any venue, inside or out, into a balmy summer dream.
Sure, one third of Skaters used to be in mid-2000s also rans The Paddingtons, but don’t let that put you off. Last time the New York-based newcomers played over here, they sold out three London shows with ease. Why? Because the likes of early download EP tracks ‘Schemers’ and ‘Are We Doomed?’ sounded basically like everything we wished The Strokes still epitomised. Now, with their first physical single (‘I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How)’) released and an album on the way, the band are back for another, longer stretch of dates. Are they it? Well, they’re certainly worth a punt.
Ok, so Splashh aren’t that new anymore. But, with debut album ‘Comfort’ ready to drop in a mere matter of weeks (June 3 to be precise), the quartet are sure to be armed with a host of new sonic weaponry to add to their already abundant stash. Recent download giveaway ‘Sun-Kissed Bliss’ showcased their hazy formula to perfection; all dappled guitar lines, understatedly sweeping melodies and sweetened lyrics about “your eyes and my eyes… surfing the skies”, it set Splashh up as the perfect summer romance soundtrack. Live, however, Toto and co are a far more ballsy proposition. When they played in London last year, someone literally climbed along the ceiling. Take note: this lot are no one-trick ponies.
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Bowie may have swiftly quashed any touring rumours and even his V&A exhibition may be sold out for the foreseeable future, but the spirit of the Thin White Duke has at least found a home in London quartet Night Engine. Riddled with funk, but centred around singer Phil McDonnell’s raffish croon, the band’s art-pop sensibilities are built for the dancefloor. Check out the Roxy Music-esque stylings of recent single ‘Seventeen’ for proof.
And to round off the weekend, how’s about a bit of feral, howling rawkkkkk? Hailing from Yorkshire and aiming squarely for the Pulled Apart By Horses school of 300mph relentless energy, Wet Nuns are sure to shake any semblance of final night flagging out of your system. All the songs on EP ‘Broken Teeth’ are about “women and/or death,” they claim; their influences may be morbid, but their live show is certainly anything but.