Ah, Liverpool. It’s not just the land of hearty bowls of Scouse and seagulls the size of pterodactyls, you know. Yes, it’s the birthplace of The Beatles, but the determination to not dwell on the past has given rise to a burgeoning live music and clubbing scene. Away from the tribute acts and swarms of tourists flocking to the Cavern Club, Liverpool has more ‘best kept secret’-style venues than an MI5 dossier, offering up everything from slapdash DIY affairs hosting drone folk newcomers to glitzy nightclubs blaring deep house across a Funktion-One soundsystem.
How To Dress Well at Leaf – Adam Edwards
The independent-minded Ropewalks area houses an array of eclectic venues in a criss-cross network of narrow streets and alleyways. First up, Leaf tea shop provides a glittering backdrop for more intimate shows in its snug upstairs gig space, while a short hop, skip and jump across to Slater Street will find you in The Shipping Forecast, with its underground sweatbox venue, The Hold. Close by you’ll also find MelloMello, which is ideal for a low-key, relaxed night, with the majority of its events costing zero of your hard-earned pennies.
JAWS at East Village Arts Club – Adam Edwards
Other venues to seek out include East Village Arts Club, which sits on the site of the legendary Masque nightspot and, having undergone a complete revamp since its Masque days, boasts a rather regal looking column-flanked gig space, playing host to some of the more established touring acts as well as regular clubnights from local good-time folk, Chibuku. Nearer the station is the reliable O2 Academy, which has recently played host to the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Bonobo – or, if you’re looking for an alt/punk rock fix, the recently re-opened Korova Bar will surely please.
Allah-Las at Leaf – Marie Hazlewood
The indisputable gem of Liverpool has got to be The Kazimier and its adjoining Garden, which the owners recently announced would remain open throughout the winter – huzzah! ‘The Kaz’ is chock full of charm, inside and out, and its extensive and imaginative events programme keeps folk trudging through those doors time and time again.
A bit further out in the sticks, but still worth the trek, music-lovers still flock to the monolithic Picket, which suffered through a series of closures over the years but has now popped up again as District. Also out that way, the towering and imposing Camp and Furnace attracts the more off-kilter acts – as well as the critically acclaimed Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia – and offers a variety of interesting gig spaces, from cavernous rooms to, well …er, caravans. Speaking of festivals, if you hit town in May then it’s going to be hard for you to miss Liverpool Sound City, which turns Merseyside into South By South West for three days as music industry bods and fans alike come together to see pretty much all the venues listed above host the year’s best new talent.
Stealing Sheep at East Village Arts Club – Marie Hazlewood
And finally! If you just want a loud, gaudy night out fueled by pop music anthems of past and present and threatened by the possibility of toppling off your heels, you’ll likely enjoy the friendly vibes of Concert Square, which is home to all of the big-name clubs. Think: Baa Bar, Chameleon, Envi and Revolution. It’s also a short walk to student favourite The Krazyhouse, which draws in punters by blasting indie-rock anthems into the street until the early hours. And we couldn’t write a round-up of Liverpool’s must-see venues without a nod to HAUS Warehouse, playing host to numerous regional and national promoters, including local heads Waxxx.