In Review: Liverpool Calling

Back from their break, this weekend saw Liverpool Calling take over Liverpool’s city centre and Baltic Triangle music venues for it’s 2018 return. With Friday’s events taking over brand new venue Phase One, alongside The Jacaranda, EBGB’s and OGS favourite Studio 2, before moving onto The Baltic Triangle’s Constellations and Brick Street on Saturday; the weekend had potential to prove Liverpool as a strong supporter of new music.

Previous years have seen the festival host the likes of Coasts, Spector and Reverend and The Makers, while 2018 gave Pulled Apart By Horses and The Wytches the headline spots, with a whole host of up and coming artists taking over Friday’s slots.

As a Liverpool Calling first timer, I was intrigued to see how the festival ran across the city. With Liverpool Sound City having set the bar high back in May, there was a lot to live up to this weekend. (On a smaller scale, of course.)

(Mint - Photo by Ianthe Warlow)

Line up wise, Friday was definitely the stronger day; offering a neat selection of some of the strongest upcoming bands the UK has to offer. Phase One played host to the likes of Himalayas, Strange Bones and Mint, while EBGB’s saw Generation and Blackwaters storm the underground venue; and Hey Charlie and Saytr Play took over Studio 2.

Saturday however was a little on the sparse side, despite headliners Pulled Apart By Horses and The Wytches taking the main spots at Constellations, most of our day was taken up wandering to and from Brick Street in the hope of seeing the likes of Spilt or The Old Pink House, but with the stage running over two hours late most of the afternoon was left a guessing game.

Overall, the weekend provided solid value for money. With Friday night alone being well worth the £22 cost of a weekend ticket, Saturday’s events can be discarded as a chilled day out. For sure, Liverpool Calling have some areas to improve on, but if they take from their city centre successes this year and continue to offer such a strong selection of talent, next year will be a huge success.

Check out our top picks from the weekend below.

(Photo by Ianthe Warlow)

Generation - EBGB’s

Loud, punky bands aren’t hard to come by as of late, but to find one with the confidence and swagger of Liverpool lads Generation may be a bit of a challenge. Ripping through EBGB’s with thrashing drums, brash riffs and snarling vocals, a later slot may have been more suited to the four piece. With heads thrashing and mosh pits ensuing throughout the set, Dean Carne’s gritty swagger is perfectly suited to his frontman position; giving Generation’s loud, in your face sound the finishing touch.

(Photo by Ianthe Warlow)

Blackwaters - EBGB’s

Continuing the dominantly punk-ish line up of Friday were Guildford’s Blackwaters. Smashing through a 30 minute set which I can only deceive as hectic, the energy from the four-piece was relentless from start to finish. Frontman Max Tanner’s rowdy performance added an extra level to the band’s fast paced riffs and deep bass, with barely a second spent still. Earlier releases Down and Fuck Yeah earned Blackwaters a loving reaction from the slightly sweaty crowd they had gathered, while tracks from their upcoming People Street EP gave a taste of what’s to come; and something tells me that’ll just be the start.

(Photo by Ianthe Warlow)

Saytr Play - Studio 2

Nobody does fun quite like Saytr Play. Taking over Studio 2’s final slot of the day on Friday, both their cheery upbeat indie-pop and even cheerier personalities were all that was needed to make them the highlight of the weekend. The addictive sound of Don’t Go East is just a taste of the feel-good sound which Saytr Play are overflowing with, causing every person in the venue to at least nod a head along to their plucky riffs and catchy choruses. Even the failure of the lead microphone couldn’t prevent the fun that was to be had in Studio 2, with frontman Fred Farrell bouncing from mic to mic to complete their set. Leaving smiles on everyone’s faces, there’s no doubt in my mind that Saytr Play are deserving of every success that comes to them.

(Photo by Ianthe Warlow)

The Old Pink House - Brick Street

Taking to The Baltic Triangle for their first visit to Liverpool, Newcastle’s The Old Pink House played Brick Street on Saturday; even if at a much later time than planned. Their plucky, synth led indie-pop sound is the perfect match for a sunny afternoon, infectious bass lines and the catchiest of choruses give the quartet a sound which is very much their own. It’s undeniable Brick Street’s poor sound quality took it’s toll on the set, but none the less The Old Pink House pulled off a delightful set which would maybe have been more suited to Friday’s line up.

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