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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

astral coast @ the floral pavillion, new brighton (19/07/2014)

Astral Coast is a 'festival' of sorts, designed to showcase the local up-and-coming talent across Merseyside. Liverpool is a city rich with musical talent - and the scousers had their fair share of names on the bill - but the Wirral is too, which was certainly proven on Saturday night. 

Holly Fletcher, the 17-year-old behind the emerging ambient music phenomenon L√•psley, was someone I was keen to see live. Often artists who rely heavily on electronically produced elements can be disappointing live, but this girl is an exception. She joined Ghostchant halfway through his set to provide vocals, and blimey, that girl can sing. Her voice is outstanding live; so much more powerful than I'd imagined from the sparse selection of tracks you can find online. 

VEYU were next; a band who paired infectiously catchy melodies with Dry The River-style vocal arrangements. They've only been together since last year's Astral Coast, but you'd never have guessed.

   By the Sea are a band I've spoken about many times, and it's for a good reason. This was actually the first time I'd seen them play live, and - unsurprisingly - the room was packed  out for their set. Opening with their latest single, 'I See A Crystal Sky', went down well. They continued to play a good stint of new stuff, which sounds a lot less dream-like than their debut, but excellent nonetheless. 'Endless Days, Crystal Sky' is released on 18th August.

The festival organisers had clearly thought about reducing delays and keeping performances constant throughout the day by having two stages at the festival. This meant that as one band finished on one stage, another began on the next so there was always something to see, and no clashes! Bird were a discovery I made due to this setup, and their music was absolutely mesmerising. Having two female vocalists added depth to their barely-there melodies, giving the sound a Warpaint feel. They occasionally erupted into something more brash and grungey -particularly around the choruses - shattering the peace and livening the pace. 

I finished off my time at Astral Coast watching Bill Ryder-Jones. He's another one that I've spoken about multiple times, and never seen live. He was joined by a full band, but made it quite clear that he is a multi-instrumentalist himself, hopping between his guitar and a little upright piano. Probably one of the most talented, honest songwriters of our time - and he doesn't even know it. I couldn't give you a highlight, because all of it was just beautiful. It's the sort of music that you'll never tire of, and there are very few who can achieve that. 

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