Across the Threshold Festival / Baltic Triangle, Liverpool | 13/14th of April

Across the Threshold Festival / Baltic Triangle, Liverpool | 13/14th of April

Well, it wasn’t really a competition, each of the acts that I had the pleasure of seeing at Across the Threshold were remarkable in their own way. So, whilst Arctic Monkeys fans were scrambling to pay up to £4000 a ticket over the weekend, I saw some sense and headed down to Across the Threshold Festival which took place in the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool and saw some of the country’s best up and coming talent. The festival has been showcasing local and not so local talent for the past eight years. It was my first Across the Threshold festival, but it’s safe to say I’m a convert, I will definitely be heading back next year to check out the next serving of stunning musicians, artists and performers. The event organisers passion for curating the best line up to bring together artists, musicians, promoters, academics and musical enthusiasts was nothing short of noteworthy.

OVVLS by AB Photography

As I bounced between the venues, the first act to really catch my eye was the experimentally dark duo OVVLS. I wasn’t alone in the enthusiasm for the duo’s sound; the crowd stood in awe and wonder at the bewitching aural alchemy created through the haunting resonance which was poignant enough to leave shivers down your spine. OVVLS played in their home turf of Liverpool, yet their compositions of sound will undoubtedly be universally adored, whilst it was only a short set, the performance was chillingly unforgettable. It’s no wonder that OVVLS have already managed to get themselves on line ups alongside bands such as Warpaint for their cinematically ethereal soundscapes. Whilst I was already familiar with the duo’s sound, nothing could prepare me for the live rendition of Pain Is Beauty; one of their effervescently immersive tracks, the lyrics are as deep as the vocals are arresting; the striking melancholia of the synthesised sound hit you as your pulse quickened to the complex rhythm of the drummer’s technical drum rolls and snares that perfectly rounded the edges to the harmonious cinematic sound.

OVVLS debut single Mind Leeches is out now, you can check out the slightly macabre video on YouTube.

Salt the Snail by AB Photography

As OVVLS set concluded, Friday’s headlining act kicked off at District. Which for me was when the climax of the festival happened as I saw (or should that be experienced?) Salt The Snail dominate not only the stage, but the entire venue of District. Their gloriously abrasive approach to their Garage Punk sound provided not only a serving of raucously rhythmic angst, but an unbeatable stage show. Whilst my review could centre on the stage antics of Salt the Snail front man Krystian Hudson alone, I can’t not mention the veracious sound of the 3-piece powerhouse of talent. Hudson’s vocals were fuelled by his charming angst which won me over after the first track, which is a pretty good job as he slapped me round the head with an inflatable crocodile and threw me to the front not too far into the set. There’s not many people that could get away with that. But, I’ve definitely found a soft spot for Hudson’s eccentricity combined with the diversity of his vocal range which meandered Post Punk to Hardcore Metal. Their Rage Against the Machine riff driven sound, cacophonous drumming combined their personas is an act hard to beat.

If you missed out on Salt the Snail, you have plenty of chances to catch them in the Northwest this Spring and Summer, head on over to their Facebook page to find out more and read our review to their debut track Spanish Announce Table.

Salt the Snail were an impossible act to follow, yet as Saturday’s acts took to the stage the sun was glaring through Unit 51 to provide that perfect festival vibe. The first act to catch my hungover eye was Mersey Wylie; a 26-year old singer songwriter who performed with a little help from her 9-piece backing band. Witnessing the soulfully slick, radiant vocals combined with gut-punchingly raw lyricism was one of the most grounding experiences I’ve ever had whilst watching a live performance. The honesty behind her lyrics was nothing less than noteworthy. The progressive vocal build alongside the Funk-addled bassline to tracks from the upcoming EP was an empyreal sound to soak in. There was a palpable jazz element to her sound paired with a contemporary Pop vibe that made her music shine so much iridescently bright compared to the rest of the acts that took to the stage that weekend.

Mersey Wylie by AB Photography

To find out more about Mersey Wylie and her pioneering approach to Contemporary Soul Pop head on over to her official Facebook page. You can also check out her music on SoundCloud.

Whilst there were many acts that won me over throughout the festival, a special mention has to go to these three iconic in their own right artists who brought something pioneering to the table. They didn’t just assimilate the same old sounds or put music out there for the sake of it. They were all uniquely enigmatic and I have no doubt we’ll all be hearing a lot more about them in the months to come.

You may have missed out on Across the Threshold 2018, but the festival will return once again in 2019 where more organic material will be on show to soak up. Head on over to the website to find out more.




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