John Cale & Guests, Marvin Powell, Sound City 26/05/2017

The legendary John Cale steps onto the Sound City main-stage to preform a three-in-a-lifetime show in Liverpool, he celebrated 50 years of The Velvet Underground & Nico with some special guests. 

I’ve said this before, every once in a blue moon we get a very special gig here in Liverpool, and John Cale preforming Velvet Underground material for one of the last times is definitely one of them. 

The scene was set, the only sold out event on Sound City‘s weekend plans and it’s been sold and hyped for months now. Blessed that Cale decided Liverpool is the place to show his VU identity once again. 

Firstly though, just about 7pm we saw the arrival of Cale‘s chosen opener Marvin Powell who delivered a great set of his folk sounds. 

The singer-songwriter was a great choice to open the show, while obviously nervous, Powell kept his proud head high and sealed himself as a one-to-watch. 

After what felt like a lifetime, almost on the dot to 9:30pm, the iconic John Cale finally took to the stage, with a massive crowd at his feet awaiting his performance. 

Like a man who shoots first, immediately Cale delivers “I’m Waiting for the Man”, a signature Velvet Underground number.  Without stoppage, Cale and his band lead into the bouncing “White Light/White Heat” as he’s joined by The Kills


Mosshart is powered, on-fire and giving the song all she has and the song rolls. The first appearance of The Kills at Sound City this weekend and it somewhat ended quickly, like a flash. However, they would soon return. 


Throughout an hour and a half set, Cale delivers reimagined VU tracks with the best guests he will likely ever preform with. 

Wild Beasts join the man for standout track “I’ll Be Your Mirror”, proving the art-rock band’s prescene may be more suited for the slower songs. 

It’s hometown heroes who steal the night, Clinic brought their flavour to the set by joining Cale on two songs, with their electric attack on “Run Run Run” being almost divine. 

While sound issues, especially around the joining of Clinic, may have tried to ruin the performance, it seemed Cale and co. ran trough the stop lights and prevailed. 

The defining moment of the night would be when Cale stepped away from his keyboard set-up to perform a mesmerising rendition of “Venus in Furs” on the electric violin. 


However it may be the ending song that could stick out in every attendee’s mind, the overall finish with a long, jam of “Sister Ray” with Cale joined by his guests. 

Shooting way past the curfew time, the crowd are unaware and are engrossed in every movement of the song. 

It’ll be hard to find another show like that, the sheer-magnitude of the performance will always stick out like a sore thumb in our history and we’re proud Cale decided to let us join him in the celebration. 

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