Liverpool Music Week 2017 : Preview + Playlist

Liverpool Music Week will celebrate its 15th anniversary in just under a fortnight with ten days of live performances at selected venues across the city. Beginning on 26th October and coming to a close on 4th November, it promises to be another great year for Britain’s number one metropolitan music festival. With past line-ups containing a diverse range of artists including the likes of John Carpenter, Richard Hawley, Gang of Four, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Caribou, Liars and many more, this year’s event looks to continue this tradition with yet another superb selection of shows scheduled for 2017.

The opening night kicks off in style on Thursday 26th October at the Echo Arena with CHIC. Formed in 1976 by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards, they have been hailed as “disco’s greatest band” for bringing more of an organic rock style to a genre that had been criticised for its increasingly overproduced sound. Not only did CHIC create some of the most recognisable dance hits of their time, but they also helped lay the foundation for genres such as dance-pop and hip hop after the demise of disco.

Bernard Edwards sadly passed away after a severe bout of pneumonia during a reunion tour of Japan in the mid-1990s, but the 65-year-old Nile Rodgers has continued to lead the band in between releasing compilations, writing an autobiography, producing albums for other artists, and fighting off prostate cancer. CHIC will be playing their first show in the city since 1979 during Liverpool Music Week and will likely to be playing all the hits including ‘Le Freak’, ‘Good Times’, ‘Everybody Dance’, ‘I Want Your Love’ and many more.

Spread out across four different performance spaces, this year the Closing Party will be taking place at the Invisible Wind Factory and North Shore Troubadour on Saturday 4th November. Topping the bill will be Everything Everything, who for many will be worth the entry fee alone. Known for their off-kilter, genre-hopping approach, the art pop four-piece are among the most innovative indie bands to have gained widespread popularity over the past decade and are currently touring their fourth full-length ‘A Fever Dream’.

Also performing at the Closing Party will be Seattle-based solo artist Perfume Genius, who explores personal topics with fragility and honesty via a blend of piano ballads and glam rock. He will be joined by Zola Jesus, the darkwave solo project of trained opera singer Nika Danilova. Among the most hyped artists at the end of the 2000s, she’s now five albums into her career with the latest being the recently released ‘Okovi’.

With around 30 acts scheduled to perform at the Closing Party, you will also be able to catch second generation grime artist AJ Tracey, the much-hyped 20-year-old Paisley-born MC Shogun (who missed a support slot with hip hop legend Nas over the summer after being arrested during soundcheck for missing a court appearance), surf rock trio The Orielles, and many others including She Drew The Gun, Ali Horn, Strange Collective, FUSS, The Tea Street Band and Peaness.In what could be the most intriguing evening of the entire festival, Princess Nokia and Moor Mother will be appearing alongside GAIKA who brings ‘The Spectacular Empire’ party tour to the Invisible Wind Factory on Friday 3rd November. All three artists were down to perform at the ill fated Safe As Milk festival earlier in the year but will be united under one roof in what is likely to be an unforgettable night of experimental hip hop.

Fiery Afro-Nuyorican rapper Princess Nokia tops the bill in what will be her only UK show outside of London. Blending trap, cloud, R&B and east coast hip hop styles with lyrics that are inspired by everything from feminism to comic books to not giving a f*ck, shes’s far from your average MC. Having just re-issued a deluxe edition of her mixtape ‘1992’ via Rough Trade, expect a party-like performance from one of hop hop’s biggest underground artists.

Also making her first appearance in the city will be Philadelphia-based Afrofuturist poet, soundscape artist and activist Moor Mother who came to the attention of many with her 2016 album ‘Fetish Bones’. The solo outlet for Maryland-born artist Camae Ayewa, she combines an abrasive blend of hardcore electronics with intense sociopolitical-historical spoken word poetry. As intriguing as it is unsettling, it will not be for the faint hearted.

Grime may be stealing all the headlines when it comes to British rap at the moment, but the bass-heavy blend of hip hop, dancehall and dub that Brixton-born GAIKA has been producing since 2015 has been causing quite a stir within UK’s underground. Recently signed to Warp Records, he will be supporting Flohio and God Colony (two members of his 30-plus crew of likeminded artists) with a DJ set as he takes ‘The Spectacular Empire’ – his dystopian history of the future – on a world tour this November.

Benjamin John Power, one half of the experimental electronica duo Fuck Buttons, began making music as Blanck Mass in 2010. With influences ranging from Mogwai to Carl Sagan, his blend of post-rock, drone, ambient and various other forms of electronic music is more accessible than the work he has created with Andrew Hung. Exploring themes such the flaws of humanity and political turmoil in his work, expect some brilliantly abstract stuff when he performs at 24 Kitchen Street on Tuesday 31st October.

Known for their brilliant tribute to the late J Dilla, the Leeds-based 16-piece Abstract Orchestra have turned their attention to a what is arguably the greatest underground hip hop record of all time. The product of a collaboration between MF DOOM and Madlib, ‘Madvillainy’ changed the face of rap music forever when it was released in 2004. Now 13 years after it first blew our collective minds, Britain’s finest instrumental hip hop band will be performing the album, with vocalists, across the UK this autumn including at 24 Kitchen Street on Sunday 29th October.

Signed to Warp Records on the back of their critically acclaimed 2010 debut, London duo Mount Kimbie have been lazily labelled as “post-dubstep” by some for the arty and expansive brand of electronica they’ve slowly been honing over the past decade. Their appearance during Liverpool Music Week will be the first date of their tour promoting their third studio album ‘Love What Survives’, which also features the likes of King Krule and James Blake. It’s unlikely that both artists will be appearing with them, however the duo will be supported by Palms Trax and Young Marco in what promises to be a great night at Invisible Wind Factory on Friday 27th October.

Founded in 2013 by two childhood friends and next door neighbours, the Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland-led collective Jungle have earned a solid reputation for their great live shows over the past four years. Working with a diverse range of artists, their groove-filled and laid back style borrows heavily from 1970s-style funk and soul, but they also blend this together with elements of electronica and hints of psychedelia. You can catch them performing tracks from their Mercury-nominated self-titled debut album at the Invisible Wind Factory on Wednesday 1st November.

One of the most important British indie labels around, Bella Union will be putting on a special show during Liverpool Music Week. Founded in 1997 by Cocteau Twins bassist Simon Raymonde and guitarist Robin Guthrie, it is home to artists such as Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, The Flaming Lips. Beach House, Explosions In The Sky, John Grant, Ezra Furman and many more. The label will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a debut performance of founder Simon Raymonde’s new band Lost Horizons, with support coming from the New Jersey-via-Manchester psych pop outfit BC Camplight. You can catch them at Leaf on Bold Street on Monday 30th October.

Jamaican singer Dawn Penn first made a name for herself during reggae’s rocksteady-era during the 1960s. After a nearly two decade hiatus, during which she worked in the accounting, banking and airline industries, she eventually returned to the charts in 1994 with a Steely & Clevie produced, dancehall-inspired remake of her signature track ‘You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)’. She will be performing this and others at District on Thursday 2nd November.

Staffordshire-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dan Croll attended the the Paul McCartney-founded Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts where he won the national Songwriter of the Year award. He has since gone on to release two full-length albums, the latest being ‘Emergering Adulthood’ which was issued over the summer. Combining guitar hooks with folk, electronic beats and plenty of melody, you can catch him performing at the Arts Club Theatre on Sunday 29th October.

Named after one of the original Pokémon characters,  London-based indie rockers Gengahr formed at Stoke Newington School in Hackney in 2013. Their dark yet soft take on psychedelic rock was given plenty of airplay by the BBC’s Radio 1 and 6 Music around the time their 2015 debut ‘A Dream Outside’ was released. The four-piece will playing one of two shows taking place at The Magnet as part of Liverpool Music Week this year on Friday 3rd November.

Performing at the same venue two days prior will be London-based indie rock outfit Childhood. Formed while attending the University of Nottingham in 2010, their early sound was influenced by the likes of Primal Scream, The Stone Roses and a variety of shoegaze arists. However, on their second album ‘Universal High’ (released earlier this year) more of a classic psych pop and 70s soul/Motown influence could be heard. Catch them at The Magnet on Wednesday 1st November.

EBGBs will host this year’s ‘Breaking Out’ series which is being organised in association with DIY Magazine. The week long showcase kicks of on Friday 28th October with J-Pop//video game/children’s music-inspired trio Kero Kero Bonito. Elsewhere, Glaswegian five-piece Spinning Coin will bring their blend of alt-rock riffs and progressive politics to the venue on Sunday 29th October. Then North London trio Girl Ray will offer up some lo-fi ‘estrogen pop’ ballads on Monday 30th October.

Japanese Breakfast, the solo lo-fi experimental pop project of Michelle Zauner of Little Big League, will be performing tracks from her two well received solo albums on Tuesday 31st October. While South London-based retro electronic pop trio Little Cub will perform on Wednesday 1st November. And the showcase will come to a close with the much talked about grunge-inspired four-piece Goat Girl on Thursday 2nd November.

Liverpool Music Week will run from 26th October to 4th November and takes place at various venues across the city. All-access festival wristbands and individual show tickets are available from

For a better idea of what to expect during the ten days performances scheduled for Liverpool Music Week, why not give our carefully curated playlist a listen?