16 facts about 16 acts you will see for free at the Mersey River Festival this weekend
Another weekend on the way, that means another music event in Liverpool and with the incredible Sound City still ringing in our ears we’re gearing up for yet another jam-packed music weekend as the International River Mersey Festival 2016 kicks off on Friday 3rd June, and guess what – it’s completely and utterly free!
We will be there to bring you all of the action as it happens on The Guide Liverpool and Jay Hynd will be hosting the main stage Saturday and Sunday, feel free to heckle!
Here are 16 facts about 16 of the acts you will be enjoying, oh and some more good news the weather isn’t looking too bad either with highs on Sunday of 23c.
Headlining this year is none other than R&B legend, Billy Ocean. Having sold more than 30 million records worldwide, Billy will be rocking the main stage on Sunday with a whole host of his classic tracks such as When the Going Gets Tough, Caribbean Queen and Suddenly.
Did you know: Billy’s real name is Leslie, and his stage name came from the Ocean Estate, in the East End of London where he used to live!
Brit Award winning soul singer, Shola Ama is bringing a 90’s R&B feel to the festival this year. Everyone knows her most successful track ‘You Might Need Somebody’ which reached number 4 in the UK singles chart back in 1997.
Did you know: Shola’s silky smooth vocal talent was discovered when she was singing on a platform at Hammersmith tube station at the age of 15. Producer Kwame Kwaten overheard her and on her 16th birthday she signed a recording contract with label WEA!
Fun Lovin Criminals frontman Huey Morgan is hosting BBC Introducing on Friday night and officially kicking off the festival with his own DJ set, we have heard some very special things are on the way when he takes to the stage, we wish we could say more…trust us, just be there!
Did you know: Rumour has it that Huey once served as a US Marine and despite living in some pretty awesome locations around the world (Hawaii, Dublin, NYC, London) he now lives in Frome, Somerset!
The Real Thing
Credited with restoring Liverpool’s musical reputation back in the 1970’s, The Real Thing are adding some home-grown scouse charm to this year’s festival.
Did you know: Band member’s and brothers Chris and Eddie Amoo, along with Dave Smith grew up in the city and once released an album titled Four from 8 to represent the racially mixed, culturally diverse L8 area of the city they knew so well.
The Wack Pack
Continuing the theme of local acts, The Wack Pack will be mixing things up with a sensational swing performance this weekend. Liverpool lads, Asa, Steve, Joe and Jamie will be paying tribute to the great Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr with hits such as Fly Me to The Moon and New York New York.
Did you know: Wack Pack member Asa Murphy is a regular performer at Duke Street club, The Green Room which is part owned by scouse actor Ricky Tomlinson!
Soul ll Soul
Fresh from performing at ‘Funk the Format’ in Brighton last month, our next big act is none other than Soul II Soul! (Jay Hynd is particularly excited about introducing them!)
Did you know: Frontman Jazzie B once worked as a tape operator for cockney pop legend, Tommy Steele and went on to sell over 10 million albums in 35 territories worldwide with Soul II Soul. Not to mention 2 Grammy’s and an OBE!
Soul and R&B Singer Jalen N’Gonda hails from Maryland in the US but is currently based in our magnificent city.
Did you know: Jalen is hitting the road to play a tonne of UK dates before opening for Lauren Hill at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal in July! Awesome Sauce!
Gwen Dicky’s Rose Royce
Ever found yourself wishing on a star? Well this weekend your wish comes true as Gwen Dicky’s Rose Royce will be performing their classic hits such as ‘Ooh Boy’, ‘Wishing on a Star’ and ‘Car Wash’.
Did you know: Rose Royce track ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ was covered and released by the Queen of pop, Madonna, not once but twice, in 1984 and 1995!
The Tea Street Band
The hardest working band in Liverpool, The Tea Street Band are set to rock the Pier Head stage on Friday with their unique blend of dance, electro and guitar pop. No strangers to that famous water front stage and certainly no strangers to Liverpool audiences, the lads are back this year with new music and a live set that is a cert to kick off River Festival proceedings in style.
Did you know: Despite being wickedly busy, band member Timo teaches guitar to budding musicians at a Liverpool community centre. Top Lad!
We’re finishing our run down with one of Liverpool’s most exciting acts. Kirby lad, Louis Berry burst onto the local music scene just over 12 months ago and has just conquered the BBC Radio 1, One Big Weekend in Exeter with rave reviews.
Did you know: Louis was once asked in an interview which track he wish he’d written, his choice was ‘Dear Mama’ by rapper, Tupac Shakur. What a legend!
One of the most exciting bands in Merseyside will be taking to the waterfront stage on Friday evening. Wirral psych-folk band, The Sundowners have done it all – from Glasto to supporting none other than Kasabian and Paul Weller on tour. If you have never seen these guys live then now is the time. After headline gigs across the country and one of our favourite shows of 2016 at the Smithdown Road Festival, The Sundowners have most definitely crafted their live performance and we don’t think there are many bands out there who’s sound is as recognisable, unique and distinctive.
Did you know: Band members Fiona & Alfie are siblings of The Coral’s James & Ian Skelly, and with that incredible headline slot at Sound City how can you not go see the prodigy’s of these now Liverpool music icons?!
Halem are one of the freshest acts to be performing on the Mersey River Festival stage and will be performing on Saturday afternoon on the Pier Head. Three LIPA graduates who’s sound is an electronic/pop/dance infused mix which is perfect for a sunny afternoon next to the glistening River Mersey. The band have recently been one of the headliners for the Rock n Roll Marathon and have been named in the LIMF Academy 2016.
Did you know: Lead singer Katy Alex is no stranger to the local music scene in Liverpool, she was named as a LIMF Academy ‘One to Watch’ back in 2014 and was crowned winner of the Merseyrail Sound Station prize 2015.
Clean Cut Kid
If you have never heard of Clean Cut Kid then where on earth have you been hiding? Again a sound that is perfectly distinctive and a presence on stage that instantaneously turns any music lover into a fan. A Liverpool based qaurtet who’s singles have included the infectious ‘Runaway’ and ‘Vitamin C’ and who’s hotly anticipated debut album is released later this year. Think Fleetwood Mac, Vampire Weekend, Haim and Simon & Garfunkel, times that by ten and you have Clean Cut Kid.
Did you know: The band played their first festival last Summer at Latitude, this year they not only play Leeds/ Reading, Glastonbury and more but they also headline the Lake Stage of Latitude where it all began just 12 months ago.
We can’t not mention the other acts your will see across the weekend too. Natalie McCool is one of the finest pop artists to break out of Liverpool in recent years, she’s about to embark on a headline tour and you will get to see her for free on Friday evening.
Don’t miss The Ambition at the Mersey River Festival, these lads have a huge following not only in the city but across the UK too and bring their energetic mix of pop rock anthems to the waterfront on Sunday warming up for Mr Billy Ocean.
We have to mention one of our favourite local artists too, there is possibly more excitement at the moment about Amique and what he brings to the table, than any other local artist. It’s hard not to compare him to a young Prince, and you will be instantly drawn in to his captivating performance on Dockside on Sunday afternoon.
So there you have it, some trivia to share with your mates as you head on down to the International River Mersey Festival 2016, June 3-5th Pier Head, Liverpool. Don’t forget to check out our event updates throughout this week and head to www.cultureliverpool.co.uk for further info.