Liverpool Sound City in pictures – day two*Miles Kane*Winter Gloves*Willy Mason*Picture Book

Posted on 21 May 2011
By Purple Revolver
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Part of the attraction of Sound City is stumbling across cool new bands or being tipped off about them just before things catch fire and bigger venues beckon. An early evening slot by Canadians Winter Gloves proves to be an excellent example.

Employing three digital synths at points and the stronger-than-a-laptop presence of a human drummer, when the singer occasionally picks up a guitar, the band sound similar to their garage-rock counterparts south of the border in NYC.

Their tunes ringing out crystal clear at the open-air ruin/seventh wonder of the world, St. Luke’s Church, the quartet are best sampled on storming recent single ‘Dancing My Heart Out’, where the digital thud of LCD Soundsystem and the anguished howl of The Walkmen combine brilliantly to create something of their own.

Ones to watch out for if they venture across the Pond again any time soon.

Elsewhere, The Keys are pretty much perfect for the underground red-lit setting of The Shipping Forecast. With a lead singer who looks like The Doors’ Ray Manzarek if he had traded his Vox Continental organ in for a guitar, the four-piece deal in uncut garage rock gems.

For a band with two guitarists, the axemen are remarkably sparing, doubling up on the simple yet indelible riffs, to create a restrained yet persuasive sound.

With a fascination for wringing the absolute maximum out of one chord during the verses before moving on to the choruses, the group utilise the same less-is-more aesthetic as early Kinks, when the brothers’ Davies kept things brutally simple.

Concluding with a heavy, off-kilter waltz, the four piece shift focus from Blighty to across the Atlantic to revive the likes of vintage guitar slingers The Electric Prunes. Centred around an oscillating guitar riff, the vocals reminiscent of Spiritualized’s epochal ‘Come Together’, The Keys’ bring a swift, superb, half dozen song set to a close.

Picture Book, spotted (and signed) at last year’s Sound City by Warner Bros maverick Seymour Stein play to an almost capacity crowd in The Hold at the still relatively early hour of 8:45.

Considering the band were virtually unheard of at the time of signing, the intervening 12 months provides a useful marker for the trio.

Sounding not entirely dissimilar in places to a certain contemporary pop singer partly named after a Queen song, the ‘Book are sweeter sounding, with the refracted guitar sounds suggesting an acquaintance with U2 or The Verve.

‘Explosions’, the probable future hit single receives one of the best receptions of the set, the excellence of the performance greatly assisted by the presence of their ‘sound guru’, present behind the mixing desk.

Miles Kane’s show at St. George’s Hall was always a dead cert to be one of the biggest draws at Sound City. He far exceeded expectations on that score however, achieving a lock-out over half an hour before he was due onstage.

Playing amid the Victorian grandeur of the Hall, the mounted statues of Vicky and Albert stoically stood on guard outside, the Wirral native easily pulled the largest crowd of the evening and possibly the entire festival so far.

Those fortunate enough to have made it into the hall are treated to ‘The Colour of the Trap’ album in almost its entirety. Throwing under-rated ‘Yellow Submarine’ soundtrack gem ‘Hey Bulldog’ in for good measure, it seems scarcely believable that the Last Shadow Puppets’ debut solo gig in the city was in the modest environs of Mojo barely six months ago.

Words Richard Lewis
Photos Marie Hazlewood/Purple Revolver