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Sound City Guide// Thursday 1st May

Exploring a new city can prove problematic at the best of times, and even local Liverpudlians may not be able to negotiate the many streets and alleys that will house the most sought after venues over Sound City weekend. And yes, more often than not the best course of action is to employ your more impulsive side and stride headlong down any of Liverpool’s many passages, trusting your ears to find your way. Given the sheer multitude of options on any given day over the course of the festival, you’re guaranteed to find something. But for the more anal festivalgoer, who can’t bare the thought of not planning their every move, LsRadio is here to help. Here’s where we think you should be heading on day 1.

Kicking off day one, it can be tempting to try and find the venue that supplies the highest volume and energy as early as possible. If this is your plan, then East Village Arts Club Loft or Studio Two are the places to go, starting off with indie band Sun Machine or synth driven Skyroads respectively. However, given the quantity of high profile acts playing this style of music later on in the night, I’d be treating this stage of the evening as a chance to explore, drink and discover some new music. Bearing that in mind, I suggest heading to Kazimer Gardens; chilled music from the likes of Alana Henderson, a great bar and an even better venue when the sun is shining. This also sets you up nicely, location wise, to nip over to neighbouring Bold Street where at 19:00 you will catch the start of singer/songwriter Jack Garrat’s set at Leaf Cafe, a favourite venue among the student population of the city.

 A few acts and drinks under your belt, now is the time to start seeking music that will give you the chance to exercise your limbs. Providing you’ve stayed for most, if not all, of Jack Garrat’s set at Leaf Café, I’d be heading back towards the Kazimer but this time for their main venue, where you’ll find Gengahr starting their set. With only a few recorded songs to their name and therefore a smaller fanbase than others, they will be looking to win over what should be a healthy sized crowd given the popularity of the venue. Impressing and entertaining should be no problem at all given their distinct and wonderfully crafted style of lurid indie music.

 Here’s where it gets difficult. You’re going to have to make your first, of many, big Sound City decisions. You’re options:

1)     Clean Bandit at the Anglican Cathedral, 21:00. Undoubtedly one of the most widely anticipated acts of the festival, at what is undoubtedly one of the best festival venues in the country, never mind the city. After having the opportunity of experiencing Noah And The Whale there last year, I can only begin to imagine the kind of atmosphere that Clean Bandit’s brand of feel good dance music will conjure.

2)     Gruff Rhys at East Village Arts Club, 21:30. Although Gruff Rhys starts later than Clean Bandit, the timing unfortunately means you will not get the chance to see both sets in full. Where the Anglican Cathedral is very much a temporary venue, East Village Arts Club is a staple throughout the year for any local music enthusiast. The atmosphere here therefore will be equally as electric, also taking into account Gruff Rhys’s dedicated following and imminent new material.

3)     Carry on exploring! Of course, seeing the bigger acts won’t be on everyone’s agenda and some may choose to carry on exploring what the festival has to offer. In which case, Jaws at The Shipping forecast (21:00), Flyte at The Kazimier (21:30) and Circa Waves at East Village Arts Club Loft (22:15) will supply ample opportunity for jumping, shouting and further alcohol consumption.

 At this point in the night, most people will just want noise. Sheer, unadulterated walls of noise to prevent any feelings of fatigue creeping in. As always you are spoilt for choice, but the venue I would be heading to is Duke Street Garage. Building a reputation last year for its seemingly tireless and ever-present capacity crowds and this year finishing the first day hosting Slaves, DZ Deathrays and Blood Red Shoes it is the perfect place to finish your first Sound City night. 

/George Aird

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