The 10th annual edition of Liverpool Music Week came to a close on Friday 1st and did it ever reach its conclusion in style. The Camp and Furnace, alongside The Kazimier and the O2 Academy, has hosted a glorious array of musical talent right across LMW14 including the likes of Caribou, Mogwai and Wild Beasts. For the closing party it was the turn of Glasgow synthpop specialists CHVRCHES, playing their first ever show in Liverpool, to take centre stage and top a bill bursting with top local talent.
Proceedings at the Camp and Furnace kicked off at the Camp Stage with Organ Freeman, who I first came across at 10 Bands 10 Minutes at The Kazimier in August, and once again they showed that they know how to get the party started. Playing with a typically limitless supply of energy and enthusiasm, the synth-rockers even took to the benches to bust out a few moves for the crowd, with audience members either grinning from ear to ear or staring in wonder and disbelief at what they were seeing. Entertaining the crowd is what this band do best, and a rousing rendition of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” had everyone singing as loud and hard as they could.
There was time to be entertained briefly by the Speakeasy Bootleg Band before venturing through to the Furnace Stage in time to watch another local band whose star continues to rise in Bird. Playing their last Liverpool gig of the year, it has been a hugely successful 2014 for the ethereal-wave four-piece, and one which saw their brilliant debut album “My Fears and Me” attain serious critical recognition. The group have such an enigmatic presence throughout their time on the stage, as they sometimes drift and sometimes drill through their dreamy repertoire. Having seen the band a number of times already in these past few months, it can only be said that this triumphant hometown finale was by far their most mesmerising, their most impressive and their most accomplished. They are a band who truly lose themselves in their performance, and it is virtually impossible not to get lost along with them.
There was a solid and enjoyable set from the multi-national but locally based band All We Are, and their high-pitched harmonies and dreamy grooves went down well with the crowd, setting the mood up nicely for what was to come. The Furnace began to really fill up for headliners CHVRCHES though, and there was a feeling in the air that this would be a memorable performance from Lauren Mayberry and the boys, which from the opening bars of “We Sink” it became apparent that they wouldn’t disappoint. Crafting easily one of the best albums of 2013, they played every song off “The Bones of What You Believe”, which, without a weak song in the track-list, it was easy for the band to reel off their songs in any order they wished, whilst still managing to save the ‘heavyweights’ for the back end of the set.
The highlights of the set for me therefore were the final four tracks; the anguished narrative of ‘Recover’, the pulsating ‘Under the Tide’, and the hauntingly energetic ‘Tether’. Just as the feeling was at Glastonbury, the song at the back of everyone’s mind was ‘The Mother We Share’, and its arrival at the end of the main set once again matched up to its anticipation. The crowd were rewarded for their appreciation of the Glasgow trio with a further trio of their songs – including an epic and swirling rendition of album closer “You Caught the Light” – which, combined with the incredible stage lights in effect throughout the show, made for an equally spectacular encore.
There was plenty else to see throughout LMW 2014 closing party, and can only imagine the vibes on offer at District and Blade Factory living up what was witnessed at the Camp and Furnace with bands such as The Black Lips, Strange Collective and Veyu amongst those at the forefront of proceedings. Liverpool Music Week is ten years old and continues to grow in both importance and stature, and has long now been a fixed point on the city’s cultural and musical calendar. Without a doubt we can only expect even more great things to come from the decade now in front of this fantastic annual event.