Courtney Barnett, Gruff Rhys and Thurston Moore help kick off Liverpool Sound City

Day one of the annual Merseyside event also sees appearances from The Fat White Family and Jon Hopkins

Press/Michael Kirkham
Liverpool Sound City kicked off yesterday (May 1) with appearances from Thurston Moore, Gruff Rhys and Jon Hopkins.

During the first day, the music conference side of the festival featured a well-attended talk from Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore. Later in the evening, Gruff Rhys’ 90-minute acoustic set in support of his new audio/ visual project, 'American Interior', saw people turned away at the door after the East Village Arts Club reached full capacity.

Earlier in the same venue a screening of the American Interior film had taken place – which makes up the project alongside a book and an album – with the Super Furry Animals man then answering a Q+A. Rhys took to the stage for his live performance wearing a wolf hat with floppy ears, and proceeded to inform the packed audience of his relative, and the subject of American Interior, John Evans. Evans left Wales for Baltimore in 1792 and walked into the wilderness in search of a tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans, with Rhys illustrating this throughout with a Powerpoint slideshow.

Also performing live elsewhere in the city was Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett. Playing in Zanzibar, one of the smaller venues of the festival, the 24-year-old had people queuing outside the door to see her before she even walked onstage. Playing with a drummer and bassist, Barnett's set was just 25 minutes long and drew from her 2013 release, 'The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas'.

Barely pausing between songs, Barnett did stop once to ask the audience "Do you like AC/DC?" before playing 'Avant Gardener'.

At Black-E, Glasgow post-punk trio The Amazing Snakeheads endured technical problems early on in the set. "You fucking hate this," snarled vocalist Dale Barclay at one point to the audience; later, during a stoppage he asked "Are you our enemies or our friends?"

Straight after them, Fat White Family received a warmer reaction. Vocalist Lias Saoudi looked to be paying a homage to northwest frontmen Ian Brown and Liam Gallagher with his long green coat and sunglasses; over the course of the set, though, he stripped down to his trousers, crowdsurfing throughout the set.

Finishing off the first night, Jon Hopkins played at the Nation venue and mixed tracks from his Mercury-nominated album, 'Immunity', with older material.

Liverpool Sound City continues today (May 2) with live sets due from Albert Hammond Jr, East India Youth and Drenge, among others. The Velvet Underground’s John Cale is the conference’s keynote speaker.

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