John Cale has announced the details of the artists who will join him in Liverpool at the end of May to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Velvet Underground’s seminal debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico.
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Taking place at Liverpool’s Sound City festival on May 26, the album will be “reimagined” by founder member John Cale and will feature contributions from The Kills, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, Nadine Shah, Fat White Family, Wild Beasts and Liverpudlian psych evangelists Clinic.
“It’s such a privilege to have this calibre of artistry about – it’s not that they fit the legend, rather the legend is part of each of them.” Cale said of the lineup in a press release.
He added: “Stand back Liverpool – here we come!!”
Cale performed The Velvet Underground’s debut album in Paris last year where he was joined by Animal Collective and The Libertines. This year’s gig will see him and his guests perform on a bespoke open-air stage in Liverpool’s docklands which will face outwards towards New York where the album was recorded.
Released in 1967, The Velvet Underground & Nico is widely regarded as one of the most influential albums of all time. Blending Lou Reed’s rock’n’roll sensibilities and uncompromisingly adult and literary themes such as drug use, sada-masochistic sexual practices and observations on New York’s afterhours demi-monde with John Cale’s avant-garde leanings, the band was topped off guitarist Sterling Morrison and the minimalist drumming of Maureen Tucker.
Though the album sold poorly upon its release, it went on to inspire subsequent generations of musicians. David Bowie was an early and enthusiastic supporter as were Roxy Music. Not only was their influence on punk rock huge, their music also led the way for the explosion and aesthetic for independent labels in the early 80s and what went on to become “indie”.