Since opening last year The Invisible Wind Factory has gained a reputation as an impressive venue. So far it has proved itself by hosting memorable shows from the likes of Peaches and African psych-rockers Tinariwen whilst also demonstrating it’s flexibility when Strange Collective chose it to host their EP launch. An event that required a two stage setup in it’s main performance area.
Today is the first time that IWF has put on an all-dayer over three stages. In addition to the main hall, which hosts the biggest stage named “Caladan” the outside area and basement have also been utilized.
The day began with local happy indie poppers TVME (a new act featuring Tom Low who’s debut performance was only a few weeks ago at the Super Weird Happening in Toxteth) who play to the hardcore fans who arrived the moment the doors opened shortly after 3pm.
Inside Leeds 60’s inspired retro-rockers The Strawberries gave a rousing set to a near empty main hall. They have the looks and the tunes as well as the right amount of rock ‘n’ roll swagger. They are an outfit who are suited to a later slot and it would be advisable to check them out if they ever headline a show at Buyers Club or somewhere similar. In fact, they would not be out of place at The Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia.
Continuing the strong local element to this years bill Psycho Comedy welcomed back Matthew Thomas Smith when they played the small outside stage to a large crowd who stuck around despite the threat of rain. They also debuted new single “The Hangman” which opens with a Cramps-esq sleezy riff. It will be good to hear new material from this band who are probably the most exciting band to come out of Merseyside in a long time.
In what appears to be a clever move by the organizers several bands who played Arts Club loft as part of the “Breaking Out” series of shows presented by DIY Magazine at Liverpool Music Week last year have been given slots in the main hall. Dutch songwriter Amber Arcades (Annelotte de Graff to her mum), Dream Wife and Londoners The Big Moon all made returns to the city that where clearly appreciated greatly by those who watched.
Brighton alternative band Black Honey also impressed. Singer Izzy Baxter made reference to her pretty “lady shoes” that she could not walk in. However, this did not stop her from making her way to the merchandise stand where she signed cd’s and records and posed for photos with fans. Such is the appeal of smaller shows. You’d not get such interaction with an arean rock band.
Meanwhile in the basement Chester trio Peaness take time out of their set to thank IWF Radio host Howard Storey for letting them film the video for next single “Oh George” in his house. Whilst it would have been good to see more of the acts in this space security had to control entry as it became full rather quickly. Although Ulrika Spacek and The Parrots did look and sound very impressive from the cloakroom!
The Sundowners closed proceedings outside with a setlist slightly favoring their latest album “Cut The Master.” Although some cuts from their self titled debut album had an airing such as the sublime “Hummingbird.” This was definitely the best performance of the day from a band who would be much (deservedly) bigger if they where given more radio play.
Back in the main hall Manchester band PINS where certainly not short of fans. Faith Holgate effortlessly held court and invited women to the front of the stage for the anthemic “Girls Like Us” before closing on “Waiting For The End” which she sang from the front of the stage in amongst the crowd.
Tonights big name name band Wild Beasts opened with “Big Cat” and continued in lighting conditions that where not the easiest for the assembled photographers! Standout tracks in a performance that favored pieces from last years “Boy King” album included “Get My Bang” and “Alpha Female.”
After venue staff cleared some of the debris from the floor the sounds of Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy” over the PA prompted some of those who had stayed behind to dance before adopted scousers All We Are closed proceedings to the obvious delight of those who has stayed until the small hours to see them.
All in all the three stage setup at this adaptable venue appears to have been a success. The possibilities are endless.