Five Acts that played Liverpool Sound City before they made it big

On the 10th birthday of the ever-growing festival in Liverpool's Docklands, we take a look at which artists made an appearance there before they became superstars.

Lorna Gray

Last updated: 16th Mar 2017

 Image: Liverpool Sound City

Festivals are always a great place to discover new talent, and with Liverpool being one of the most musically diverse cities it comes as no surprise that it's biggest inner-city turned dockland festival, Liverpool Sound City, has managed to host to some huge names before their break-through. Credit to them for seeing something special in these unbelievable artists. 

This year, for the events 10th birthday it brings their biggest line up yet, including John Cale of the Velvet Underground, The Human League, Metronomy and The Kooks (see the full  Liverpool Sound City line up). Ahead of it we've cherry picked five artists who cut their teeth at the festival long before global dominance loomed.

Florence and the Machine - 2008

She's since played Glastonbury so there needn't be a huge introduction for one of the biggest British female acts of this generation. In 2008, the flame-haired Florence and the Machine took to the humble stage of Liverpool's Barfly (another incarnation of what is now Arts Club), and released the debut storming success of an album Lungs the following year.  

Ed Sheeran - 2010

He's an international superstar and has had a collection of number ones in the UK charts - but years ago Ed Sheeran was playing smaller shows rather than filling stadiums and his 2010 Liverpool Sound City performance is one that stands out. A young and tattooless Sheeran won over a humble crowd in the Liverpool's Masque Theatre (now Arts Club) The following year his song 'The A Team' gained him worldwide recognition.   

Catfish and the Bottlemen - 2011

The band's 2016 headlining performance came as no surprise since they've got a huge fanbase behind them as well as two brilliant albums. What might come as a surprise though, is that it wasn't the band's Sound City debut - five years previously Catfish had played to a humble crowd of 50 in the Attic bar.  

Lady Leshurr - 2011


'Queen's Speech' rapper Lady Leshurr started her musical career from small beginnings - learning about music at her local youth club. Fast forward and she's back and forth between the UK and US having been signed with Sony's RCA imprint and recently working with Rihanna's producer as well as Timberland. It's safe to say that this grime girl is on the up. Liverpool Sound City must have known this as she performed on the sticky floors of Bumper's back room in 2011. 

The 1975 - 2013

There was definitely a bit of hubbub surrounding The 1975 prior to their 2013 Sound City appearance. The state of the Zanzibar when they hit the stage only confirmed that the indie four-piece were to be something of a success story - we're talking a completely packed out, sardine style crowd in the 300 capacity space. The band have recently won several awards and show no sign of stopping anytime soon. 

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