This Liverpool Music Week Closing Party gig review was written by Daniel Kirby, a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by John Gittins. Lead photo by Lolimontana
Liverpool Music Week came to an end this past Saturday with the Closing Party at Camp and Furnace playing host to almost 20 acts across three different stages. Camp 1 and 2 featured the likes of Deerhunter, Gang of Four, SOAK and LA Priest, while the smaller Blade Factory stage saw a selection of up-and-coming artists including performances by a number of local bands, as well as some from further afield. There was also a Halloween party along with the venue’s weekend Food Slam taking place simultaneously in Furnace, making for a very busy and interesting evening
The Blade Factory stage saw a number of good performances, with three standing out in particular. Wirral four-piece Holy Thursday put on a great starting set, consisting of an alternative take on psychedelic-pop. Australian five-piece Holy Holy travelled from Bruges in a van that morning, but showed no signs of tiredness with their wintry, yet soulful, atmospheric rock. Headliners Spring King performed at SXSW earlier this year and the Manchester four-piece closed things in style with their energetic and poppy post-punk.
The majority of the crowd turned up for SOAK and her Camp 1 set. Recently nominated for the Mercury Prize, it’s been a big year for the Irish-born teen after her debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ appeared in May. In the past she’s performed solo, but here two band members accompanied her to produce a full and powerful live sound, helping to elevate her fragile but poignant vocals on the main stage.
Baio, better known as Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend’s bassist), sounded very similar to his work with the New York four-piece , in the melodic piano chimes of his infectious single ‘Sister of Pearl’. And yet, the rest of his set mostly consisted of dance breaks and emotional electro-pop with Brian Ferry-esque vocals. It was entertaining enough, especially his ‘rock star’ dance wiggles, but his overall performance on Camp 2 was a bit hit-and-miss.
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There was a fair amount of intrigue surrounding LA Priest leading up to his set, primarily because of his work with short-lived electronic art-rockers Late of the Pier. Although not quite as exciting as his former band, he’s still got a head full of interesting ideas that make him worth watching. Dressed in all white and wearing a home made foil mask, an opening performance of single ‘Oino’ was a particular highlight. The crowd were certainly into it, with LA Priest incorporating a loop of cheering at one point, as well as using his mask to manipulate his guitar.
Deerhunter caught many off guard by starting a little earlier than scheduled; the sound of ‘Desire Lines’ caused a rush towards the main stage. Their strong opening was followed by a series of shorter, quick-fire songs, including a couple from their latest album ‘Fading Frontier’, before the highlight of the evening ‘Living My Life’ had even the most stubborn members of the audience dancing along to its tropical-esque melody. After playing some older, pre-‘Halcyon Digest’ material, they unleashed an ear splitting extended version of ‘Microcastle’ centrepiece ‘Nothing Ever Happened’ bringing the set to an end with several minutes of feedback blasting out from behind a bright yellow haze.
Judging by the numbers that remained, the majority had come along for Deerhunter. It was Gang of Four who stole the show with an absolutely blistering performance. Playing just after 1am didn’t help matters, but those that decided to stick around were not disappointed. Only Andy Gill remains from the original line-up, with his jagged, buzzsaw-like guitar craft being backed up by a fantastic rhythm section, which gave the post-punk legends more of a funky dance-punk edge. Original lead vocalist John King left the band in 2012 but John Sterry did a fairly solid job of replacing him, energetically hopping between mic-stands and barking politically charged lyrics throughout. Those who remained mirrored the energy on stage, with plenty of beer puddle dancing to songs like ‘Damaged Goods’ from 1979 classic ‘Entertainment!’ and the 1981 single, ‘To Hell With Poverty!’ bringing the night to an official close.