Post-Sound City Blues: a recap on a weekend of music

Safe to say everyone had an amazing time at Sound City 2021 this year. After what felt like a life-long ban of anything to do with live music, our city was gifted with three full days of gigs and celebrations – and it didn’t disappoint.

The festival saw the likes of beabadoobee, Red Rum Club, Jamie Webster, Rejjie Snow and The Lathums headlining, but unlike some festivals, you couldn’t tell which acts throughout the weekend were headliners, and which one’s weren’t. The amount of support for each act, whether it was early doors or last orders, was heart-warming; with local music lovers singing along to tunes that haven’t even been released on streaming services yet, by artists who were showcasing their debut live performances. From full band shows filling Grand Central Hall, to acoustic sets at the Bombed Out Church, there was talent oozing out of all the respectable venues on the Sound City map.

One highlight performance for me was The Deep Blue, who I’d not seen before until the festival. Their description and press photo on the (rather useful) Sound City ‘gigseekr app’ was enough to draw me in, with instant similarities to HAIM and The Staves as soon as I saw them. Their honest and raw lyrics wrapped in three-part harmonies was enough to keep me hooked for the full live set in Kazimier Stockroom, despite the damp yet roasting conditions due to the gorgeous Northern weather that day. You could hear a pin drop in that venue, with the audience captivated as soon as The Deep Blue started playing, and it was a magical escape from the crazy world we live in (and the torrential rain storm that was happening outside).

Another stand out performance was Luke Royalty, who I already had plans to see after being on our ‘One’s to Watch’ list here at KCC. Having seen him a few years ago at Liverpool Arts Bar with a stripped back piano set, I was counting down the days as to when I could see this act in full – and it topped all expectations. With the gritty lyrics and infectious grooves, you couldn’t stand still watching this set; and it even managed to get the audience singing along and celebrating again, despite the rough-headed, Sunday morning aura around the streets that day. With the guest appearance from Sweets in ‘I Could Get Used to This’, and the live versions of other tunes ‘I Do’ and ‘High Life’ to name a few, it was great to be able to hear these tracks in the flesh, with the backing vocals perfectly complimenting the catchy pop melodies, and the hip-hop drums hitting you hard whilst the guitar takes you on a journey of soulful chords. If you missed Luke’s performance this time, make sure to go and check him and the team out at The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, on 27th November later this year.

Having chatted to Joeys, Bandit, Abbie Ozard, Pixey and Crawlers to name a few, Sound City weekend made it clear to me that the Liverpool music scene really is such a kind and welcoming place – with both the audience and the acts seen as equals, no matter how big the streams or success of each person. To have the opportunity to pass freely through each and every venue, and cross paths with both familiar and new faces, it was a proud moment for Liverpool’s music world – and I’m so excited to attend next year.


Written by Meg Shaw