Liverpool’s Acoustic Festival made its debut at the Unity Theatre last weekend bringing a variety of sounds and complimentary locally brewed beers to sample. Each artist had their own distinct unique style, which gave an insight into the wealth of beauty and diversity found within all that is often grouped together under the label of ‘acoustic music’.
Silent Cities, Photo Credit: Liverpool Acoustic Facebook
The first instillation was from Silent Cities, a beautiful set that exhibited the triumphs that can be accomplished by one man and his guitar. With Bon Iver-esque effects and vocals reminiscent of Buckley, he gave a mesmerising and affecting performance. The simple darkened intimate setting complimented the ethereal feel of his music, taking those who were privileged and early enough to enjoy his pieces through echoes, whispers, and as if across vast expanses of oceans twilight . An impressive opening to the festival.
Contrasting with this, Thom Morecroft took to the main stage next with his bassist to deliver a great performance of more conventionally crafted songs, with mainstream appeal, encouraging the audience to get involved and join in on the choruses. The larger, lighter space and audience contribution gave this set easiness, leaving the audience feeling uplifted and eager to see what more delights the next spaces held.
Shannen Bamford, Photo Credit: Liverpool Acoustic Facebook
Shannen Bamford’s style could be described as a classic singer-songwriter, with beautiful heartfelt lyrics of lost love, longing, and lonely sleeps, melancholy minor chords and angelic harmonies. She played to an absolutely silent room, a feat that is only possible when the audience truly understand the value of what they are experiencing. It highlighted the beautiful scratchy string sound as she slid between chords, with lyrics that resonated “to shiver like I used to, just for you”.
Southbound Attic Band brought a lot of energy and humour in their bar set. Again, delivering a completely different sound and vibe from the Shannen Bamford performance that immediately preceded it. It led with walking bass, harmonica, humorous lyrics, a great waist coat and an excellent hat. Playing in the bar area brought everybody closer in, and those that had seen the band play before encouraged them to play what can only be their classic, ‘Where’s My ******* Sausage’, which everyone joined in with. It is impossible not to smile while watching this band.
One of the things that this festival highlighted was the abundance of talent in Liverpool’s music scene, and the lovely nurturing nature of the friendships and collaborations between artists. As a solo artist, Natalie McCool is a very talented and engaging lady. Her presence dominates the stage, and she captures attention through the intricacies of her fairly minimal and widely spaced guitar work, which give platform for her enchanting vocals to dominate. Deciding mid-set to bring the Silent Cities artist on stage with her and perform an impromptu performance of ‘Daydream’, they showed why we should feel privileged to live within such creative city. Their performance of the song was a personal highlight of the festival, and left me with a real need to seek out more future acquaintances with both Mccool and Silent Cities. She told the audience that she often finds herself writing about the elements, she has a penchant for water and the sea, which is reflected in her natural charm and soothing musical beauty.
Words: Johanna Tidmarsh