Though most were concerned about the return of those monolithic marionettes, the ‘Giants’ meandering around town and in some cases ‘farting’ and losing their head to the delight of thousands, 26th July also marked the return of a more subtle spectacle, namely Liverpool Calling. Like the ‘Giants’ Liverpool Calling is an event still in it’s infancy, with this being only its second year, but any music fans who failed to answer it’s call, in favour of those defective titans should hang their own heads in shame, at missing this marathon, one day, music extravaganza.
Taking place in venues all around Liverpool city centre, from the humble gardens of the Kazmier and featureless backrooms of Maguire’s Pizza, to the headline stage at the universally acknowledged ‘Bombed Out Church’ LIverpool Calling promised a bigger selection of music than a lovechild between SoundCloud and a jukebox. Still more impressive than the sheer variety of bands listed was the talent themselves, ranging from little known up and comers The Cheap Thrills to local Liverpool legends, Space whom graciously occupied a headline spot.
With Liverpool quickly becoming a hotspot of activity for tourists and music enthusiasts alike, the festival organisers put a little extra care into the structure of the acts, providing fans with a ‘Clashfinder’. Not the map to a Joe Strummer themed scavenger hunt it suggests, but a handy-dandy timetable, indispensable to those more studious music fans, who wish to catch all the acts without any of the hassle.
The festivities kicked off suitably early at 1pm, to accommodate for its fifty plus lineup, with local alt rockers The Next Life and Gold Jacks playing to a sunbathed St Lukes Church and adding substance to the attendees of its hallowed, hollow interior. After a couple of short and sweet sets from these young talents, the Bombed Out Church made way for its next act, The Southbound Attic Band. This self proclaimed ‘token oldies’ duo of Barry Jones and Ronnie Clark, demonstrated their experience with a pitch perfect set of witty, folk parables concerning everything from sexual frustration to international espionage, “obviously” announced Jones as he broke into ‘Compromised’.
Continuing on from the acoustic vibe propagated by Jones and Clark, Liverpool’s own ‘Sound Food and Drink’ played host to yet more folk acts. Most beguiling of all was young singer- songwriter Shannen Bamford of Ryvers, whose soulful solo performance; at times reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie, in the intimate venue, went down like the third bowl of porridge (That’s just right).
Over at ‘The Kazmier’ the festival was experiencing it’s first bout of ‘technical difficulties, leading acts such as Low Winter Sun and Reva going on later, but this did little to dampen the festivities and Rufus Hok’s appearance in ‘The Kazmier Gardens’ came as a release from any tension built up from technical issues, with a spirited, jittery performance of troubadour anthems.
Despite the carefully planned schedule gradually unravelling, the talent took a decidedly relaxed approach and seemed unconcerned. This unforeseen hiccup in proceedings did nothing to hamper the spirit of the festival. In fact, it gave fans more time to flock to the Bombed Out Church to catch the act most had been waiting for, Space. Appearing on stage and ready to perform half an hour later than they were billed and ready to play to their packed congregation, Space secured their place as one of the true highlights of Liverpool Calling.
Dressed all in black and looking like a cross between Johnny Cash and Freddy Mercury, frontman Tommy Scott pranced around the stage singing fan favourites ‘Avenging Angels’ ‘Mr Psycho’ and getting the fans involved in a sing-along of ‘Female of the Species. This made for a memorable experience, one that may have had fans wondering how staring into Space could be so entertaining.
Though Space may have functioned as the last hurrah for most festival goers, there was still plenty to see at Maguire’s Pizza. Performances from The Mighty Ibex, Kusanagi and Cleft put on some powerful performances, leading up to the close of the festival at Magnet’s dance stage, in the early hours of the morning.
Until next year then, for Liverpool Calling; a festival briefly overshadowed by those ubiquitous ‘Giants’, but ultimately outlasting the spectacle with equally entertaining acts that will have attendees demanding, that ‘little’ girl take her Grandmother and head off back to Brobdingnag, because it’s getting in the way of the music.