A weekend lost in music

Liverpool is unique, it’s edgy, political, passionate, contrary and chaotic. Above all else it is very definitely a music city.

What a weekend eh? The 6 Music Festival was only here for a few days but they (and us) crammed a helluva lot in. was everything a great festival is about. Of course it needs great music but just as important is the sense of community. A big crowd of people having a great time, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Personally, after too long worrying about insignificant things I rediscovered the importance of just hanging out with like-minded people, having a laugh, sharing your enthusiasms and also that it is OK to occasionally talk nonsense or have a mate talk nonsense to you.

Liverpool is the absolute perfect place for a music festival. Our rich homegrown festival programme demonstrates every year so we all know that’s the case. But for some of the 6 Music team I spoke to this was their first real experience of how much music is an essential part of the Liverpool way and were blown away by it. This really is a city that likes to party and we showed our best face to a national audience.

On the tele the city looked amazing, and every one of the 6 Music team I spoke to was suitably impressed by the unique grand old beauty that is the Olympia. Although the thing that impressed them the most was the sheer enthusiasm and sense of fun displayed by the people they met.

The Baltic in particular was a really buzzy area with the wonderful Threshold festival’s usual eclectic mixture alongside the 6 Music’s daytime programme at Camp and Furnace.

Even though I’m obviously biased the highlights for me were all about Liverpool! It started with the BBC Introducing night at the Cavern where Radio Merseyside’s Dave Monks put together a brilliant line up. First band up where The Mysterines. They were stunning and produced one of the best sets of the whole weekend. They are my New Favourite Band. The four groups that played that night for me exemplified how genuinely exciting and diverse the music scene in the city is at the moment.

But it wasn’t just about the newcomers. I’ve been a huge fan of The Coral since the early days and seen them play countless times but their Saturday afternoon set was as good as I can ever remember. I wanted to see them again straight away. I think (like most of the festival) their set will be available on I Player, so if you didn’t catch it live then you really should give it a listen. And even if you were there have another listen and remind yourself how good it was.

On the same afternoon Craig Charles was clearly having a ball DJ’ing in the Camp part of the building and succeeded in the not inconsiderable feat of making late Saturday afternoon feel like a Saturday night party that everyone wanted to be at.

Every artist from here or hereabouts seemed to triumph. The Olympia in particular seemed to get the very best from She Drew The Gun and Stealing Sheep.

There was so much going on that I only caught bits of what was a great Fringe Festival programme too. A personal highlight for me was the Eggy Records night at Sound. It’s a great little venue and that label has some stunning talent to showcase with Eyesore and the Jinx everyone’s favourite at the moment.

Of course although we’d all like to it be so it actually isn’t possible to exist on music alone. So at one point I sought some sanity, a seat and some relative quiet in my favourite pub, The Belvedere. Although even there the talk was all music. And after all that standing up and occasional drink you also need to eat too. Although the Belv isn’t a gastro pub by any stretch of the imagination it does serve some fine crisps ( salt and cracked pepper are my personal favourites). So suitably rested and nourished I was able to set forth into the breach once more.

I’m a well rounded individual I like to think. I have other things going on in my life apart from music. So obviously on Sunday I had to put music on hold for to attend to the really serious business of going to the match. I know there was stuff going on at the festival but obviously I’m crucial to the success of Jürgen and the boys so not attending was never on the cards.

Liverpool were one nil up and all seemed well with the world. Then Spurs threatened to put a real dampener on the weekend with a late equaliser. But given what a great weekend the city had enjoyed I was quietly confident that the footballing gods wouldn’t let us down. When the ball crawled over the line in the 90th minute Anfield erupted. If you weren’t there it’s impossible to explain that outpouring of sheer relief and joy. Do you know what though? Music is easy and stress free compared to the agony football puts you through.

So that’s it pretty much. A perfect weekend full of great music, people and football.

I was asked to do a ‘Thought for the Day’ type piece about Liverpool music by Steve Lamacq. You can probably still find it on the I Player but at its heart my piece basically says Liverpool people and the music they produce is special because Liverpool is like no other place in the world. I think this weekend perfectly reinforced this simple theory. Liverpool is unique, it’s edgy, political, passionate, contrary and chaotic. Above all else it is very definitely a music city. Make the most of this special place we are so lucky to live in.

NB: While I think on, I highly recommend a viewing of the Two Tribes film, premiered on BT Sport at the weekend. It shows how football (and music) brought some light to the people of the city during the dark, economically hard years the city suffered during the 1980s.

View the BBC 6 Music Festival highlights here.