Liverpool gig calendar: Summer 2015 edition

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Liverpool Docks Map

Sitting on the Dock of a Bay – A Liverpool Summertime Gig Guide

Proving that summer in Liverpool is anything but quiet, Getintothis’ Paul Higham provides a comprehensive round-up of the best and brightest gigs on the Liverpool horizon.

With the days starting to lengthen and balmy summer evenings becoming tantalisingly close, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the live music scene would begin to quieten as thoughts turn to beer gardens, holidays and festivals.

Not a bit of it.

Just check out the list of gigs below, with no doubt many more to be announced before the season is out. There really is something for everyone.

Fans of post-punk are in for a real treat as Wire, The Fall and The Pop Group head to town, likewise Motown and R&B enthusiasts as the city entertains twins icons Martha Reeves and Mavis Staples. We could go on but we wouldn’t want to spoil the list for you…

Remember that this list is not exhaustive, there’s always something going on so don’t forget to keep checking these pages and venue listings if you want to discover the best in new music. We’ll try to update the list for new announcements, do keep checking back for the latest news and previews.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the very latest news on new gig announcements.

Matthew E White at LEAF – 18 April 2015

With his acclaimed new album Fresh Blood proving a worthy follow-up to his startling debut, The Big Inner, Virginian native Matthew E White makes his long awaited return to Liverpool.

Read our full preview here.

Adam Ant at Arts Club – 18 April 2015

80s pop legend Adam Ant makes a welcome Liverpool return to play his debut album with The Ants, Dirk Wears White Sox in its entirety.

Read our full preview here.

Ben Ottewell at Magnet – 18 April 2015

Southport’s Ben Ottewell won the Mercury Prize with his day band, Gomez, way back in 1998. Having released his second solo album, Rattlebag, last year he brings his riff-inflected folk-blues to Magnet this weekend.

Girl Friend at The Shipping Forecast – 18 April 2015

Coming from Manchester but sounding positively mediterranean, Girl Friend bring their synth-pop and propulsive disco sounds to The Shipping Forecast. Debut single Monte Carlo leaves you wanting more. Support is provided by Tear Talk and Lives.

Wombats at 02 Academy – 18 April 2015

With a sell-out warm-up gig in the city already played in much acclaim, one of Liverpool’s best-loved bands, Wombats, makes a welcome home-town stop off on their blockbuster European tour in support of their new album, Litterbug. Read our review of their show at Magnet earlier this year here.

The Hollies at Philharmonic Hall – 18 April 2015

Legendary Manchester band who took the distinctive Merseybeat sound a few miles along the East Lancashire Road in the early 1960s. Now performing without founding members Graham Nash and Allan Clarke, the band have never officially broken up or stopped recording.

Villagers at Epstein Theatre – 19 April 2015

The mercurially talented and Conor O’Brien brings his acclaimed indie-folk band, Villagers, to Liverpool in support of their third album, Darling Arithmetic. With a surefire melodic nous and a wistfully fragile vocal delivery and a this is will surely be one not to miss.

Read our full preview here.

Polar Bear at The Kazimier – 19 April 2015

London’s experimental jazz collective and Mercury Prize nominees, Polar Bear gets set to play The Kazimier. Now onto their fifth studio album, the band found wider fame with their second album Held on the Tips of Fingers with its distinctive blend of jazz, funk, electronica and drum and bass proving an unlikely crossover hit.

Young Kato at Studio 2 – 20 April 2015

Cheltenham indie-pop band whose 2013 gig at the Barfly in London’s Camden Town was featured in reality TV show Made In Chelsea.

Of Montreal at The Kazimier – 21 April 2015

The brain child of Kevin Barnes long associated with the Elephant Six collective, Of Montreal get set to showcase their new album, Aureate Gloom. Always idiosyncratic, distinctive and entirely unique the record recalls the glam-rock of T-Rex and the New York new wave of Television. It promises to be a thrilling fusion of styles.

Read our full preview here.

Wire at The Kazimier – 23 April 2015

Legendary figures on the post-punk circuit, Wire became renowned for their commitment to their artistic vision forever pushing boundaries and evolving into new artistic dimensions. New album, the eponymously titled, Wire, proves that their powers remain undimmed by their advancing years.

Read our full preview here.

Mike Skinner at Arts Club – 24 April 2015

Mike Skinner, better known for his dizzying wordplay in his music project,The Streets, heads to The Arts Club to perform a DJ set. This reflects his latter career as The D.O.T. were his skills as a producers feature more prominently than his urban lyrical poetry.

Portico at The Kazimier – 27 April 2015

Mercury nominated Portico are a London based jazz outfit. While earlier albums revealed strong folk influences, later recordings have become increasingly experimental incorporating electronica and ambient textures into their sound.

Twilight Sad at The Kazimier – 29 April 2015

A welcome return for the Scottish noisesmiths following their excellent gig last year. Latest album Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave is terrific and as good as anything they’ve ever done. Just remember your ear-plugs.

Check out our review of the band’s Arts Club show last year here.

The Twilight Sad performing live at East Village Arts Club

The Twilight Sad performing live at East Village Arts Club

James Holden at The Kazimier – 30 April 2015

If ever there was a gig to get excited about this might just be the one. Acclaimed electronic producer, James Holden, is set to embark on his first ever live UK tour and Liverpool is lucky enough to play host to him. He will be joined on drums by Tom Page of Rocketnumbernine and as the duo look to bring his most recent album, The Inheritors, to life.

Read our full preview here.

Calexico at Philharmonic Hall – 1 May 2015

Americana veterans, Calexico, bring their mariachi-imbued and desert-influenced south-western americana to The Philharmonic Hall in May.

Read our full preview here.

Lonely The Brave and Seawitches at Arts Club – 1 May 2015

Cambridge rock band Lonely The Brave have had a meteoric rise. They have shared stages with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young and are possessed with a full and uplifting hearts-on-sleeves rock sound.

They will be joined on the night by Liverpool art-rockers Seawitches, who make distinctive gothic-pop sounds that reveal an interesting creative core at the band’s heart.

Moon Duo at The Kazimier – 4 May 2015

A welcome Liverpool return for Ripley Johnson (of Wooden Shjips fame) and his wife Sanae Yamada. They were mightily impressive playing to a packed out Camp and Furnace at Liverpool Psych Fest a couple of years ago. This will be mega, be in no doubt.

Al Stewart at Philharmonic Hall – 5 May 2015

Scottish singer-songwriter who played a prominent role in the folk revivalist scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s and is perhaps best known for his 1976 single Year of the Cat.

InMe at Arts Club – 6 May 2015

’00’s alt-metal band InMe go back out on tour to promote a trio of albums to be released this year as a result of a Pledge music campaign. The project is to be titled Trilogy and will consist of three albums, a melodic rock album, a soft rock album and a heavy metal album. The first, titled Trilogy: Dawn, is to be released on 4 May.

Foxygen at The Kazimier – 7 May 2015

LA’s Foxygen bring their irreverent and quirky take on late 60s psychedelia to The Kazimier in May. The boys’ latest LP, …And Star Power is a sprawling double album that heads off in about ten different directions at once. The band have announced that this will be their last ever tour, so if you want to see them it’s literally now or never.

Read our full preview here.

TOPS at The Shipping Forecast – 9 May 2015

Canadian indie-rock band from Montreal, TOPS produced one of 2014’s finest pop records, Picture You Staring. What could have been a soulless homage to 80s MOR pop is elevated by the band’s lo-fi sensibilities and the world-weary meloncholia of vocalist Jane Penny. Utterly charming.

Ren Harvieu at LEAF – 10 May 2015

Salford singer-songwriter Lauren Harvieu is blessed with an evocative voice and her music has a timeless quality to it. Her music recalls the 60s chamber pop of Burt Bacharach and Dusty Springfield.

The Pop Group at The Kazimier – 11 May 2015

This season offers rich-pickings for fans of early 80s post-punk, joining the likes of The Fall and Wire for a final hurrah on the soon-to-be-no-more Kazimier stage will be Bristol’s The Pop Group. Pioneering, influential and taking inspiration from the leftist avant-garde movement the band effected a marriage of arresting and aggressive punk, funk and dub.

Recently reformed the band have released Citizen Zombie, their first album in 35 years. Support on the night will be provided by Bristol’s Zun Zun Egui.

Read our full preview here.

The Fall at The Kazimier – 13 May 2015

Enduring post-punk survivalists, Mark E Smith‘s infamously ever-changing The Fall head to The Kazimier with their most stable line-up since the 1980s. It is no surprise that this has yielded both their best run of recorded material and consistent live performances for many a moon.

While a Fall show comes with no guarantees (part of the appeal is to expect the unexpected), if Smith is at his snarling and malevolent best then this will be a performance to remember.   

John Joseph Brill at Studio 2 – 13 May 2015

A song-writer who seems to bask in old fashioned virtues of songcraft. Not one to rely on big hooks or rousing choruses, his songs creep on you subtly and ease their way into your subconscious. Sparse in their arrangements his songs nonetheless possess an emotional punch ably delivered by Brills warm baritone. The intimate confines at Studio 2 should provide the perfect setting to witness this at firsthand.

People Under The Stairs at The Kazimier – 14 May 2015

Liverpool and the Kazimier in recent years have developed a growing reputation for putting on some spectacular hip-hop shows. You will no doubt be able to add People Under The Stairs to that list. Formed in 1997 in Los Angeles, California the duo have surprisingly not achieved the mainstream success their talents deserved, although their DIY ethic has drawn praise from fellow musicians.

Gemma Hayes at LEAF – 16 May 2015

Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who shot to fame with a critically acclaimed and Mercury prize nominated debut album, Night On My Side, way back in 2002. Subsequent albums saw her collaborate with Kevin Shields and her latest album Bones and Longing was released last year to positive reviews.

Lau at The Epstein Theatre – 16 May 2015

Former winners of Best Group at the British Folk Awards Lau, now onto their third album are a contemporary folk three piece. Their name derives from an Orcadian word meaning natural light, which might provide some indication of their sound.

Jad Fair and Norman Blake at LEAF – 17 May 2015

Jad Fair and Norman Blake have a history of collaboration. In 2002 the Half Japanese frontman recorded an album with Blake‘s Teenage Fanclub and played a gig together at the Barbican that divided the audience of Fannies devotees.

The duo’s collaborative juices were rejuvenated last year as Fair, as part of his role as Artist in Residence at Joyful Noise, set down a record with Norman BlakeYes will be released on 11 May on Joyful Noise and the gig promises to be a rare treat for fans of Half Japanese and Teenage Fanclub alike.

Swervedriver at O2 Academy – 20 May 2015

With the current trend towards shoegaze revival remaining buoyant, it seems like a good time to see one of original from the scene in the flesh. With contemporaries Ride also having reformed it seems fellow Oxonians Swervedriver are keen to take advantage of the current trend. The band released their first new material in 2015 so this might suggest that the current tour has artistic merit and is more than another cynical cash in.

Don McLean at Philharmonic Hall – 23 May 2015

Legendary American singer-songwriter best known for his early 70s compositions American Pie and Vincent.

Jamie xx at The Bombed Out Church – 23 May 2015

Perhaps now as acclaimed as a producer and remix artist as he rightly is as a member of the innovative and boundary-pushing band The xx, Jamie xx will play a really special solo show at The Bombed Out Church in support of his first album proper, In Colour, which is set for a 1 June release date.

Chas & Dave at O2 Academy – 25 May 2015

Rockney duo Chas & Dave will no doubt turn the O2 Academy into an old-fashioned music hall when they show up in Liverpool next May.

Bryan Ferry at Philharmonic Hall – 26 May 2015

Former Roxy Music frontman turns up in support of his latest album, Avonmore, which was released in November last year. Following the Jazz reinterpretations of his older songs on The Jazz AgeAvonmore is principally comprised of original material.

Read our review of his last visit to Liverpool here.

The Saints at The Kazimier – 28 May 2015

One of the original punks, The Saints were the first Australian punk band to break out internationally with a genuinely groundbreaking debut single, (I’m) Stranded, which pre-dated The Sex Pistols first release. As testament to their influence on Nick Cave, Chris Bailey featured on Cave‘s 2003 album, Nocturama. With a sound that recalled the primeval rock n roll of the likes of MC5 and The Stooges, The Saints came to recent prominence with Bruce Springsteen covering Just Like Fire Would. Boss.

Maroon 5 at Echo Arena – 29 May 2015

American pop and rock group formed California in the 1990s. The band have won three Grammy awards and count the likes of PrinceJustin Timberlake and The Police as influences over their sound.

Bop English at District – 30 May 2015

The solo project of James Petralli from Liverpool’s favourite Austin live band, White Denim. If Petralli‘s work with his main band is any indication, we can expect a beguilingly eclectic and technically proficient set full of loose rhythms and Texas soul. This will be a cracker.

White Denim's James Petralli

White Denim’s James Petralli

Earth at The Kazimier – 1 June 2015

Doom metal pioneer and friend to Kurt Cobain, Dylan Carlson is to bring Earth to The Kazimier this summer. With experimental and cacophonous sounds to the fore this promises to be one not to be missed. 

Read our full preview here.

Giant Sand at St George’s Hall – 3 June 2015

With former band members John Convertino and Joey Burns playing the Philharmonic Hall as Calexico this coming May, Howe Gelb will also be bringing his current incarnation of Giant Sand to the city, this time to the salubrious surroundings of St George’s Hall.

With a vast discography and a laid-back style each Giant Sand show offers something different, although to categorise as alt-country or Americana perhaps does Gelb a dis-service. His music offers something infinitely more interesting than such platitudes would imply. Head along to find out for yourself.

Read our full preview here.

Holly Johnson at Philharmonic Hall – 4 June 2015

Thirty years on from Two Tribes and Relax Holly Johnson is to play what is a rare homecoming gig. 2014 saw the former Frankie Goes To Hollywood embark on his first tour since the band’s valedictory 1987 dates. As well as the well-known and much-loved classics, expect to hear tracks from Europa, his first album for fifteen years which was released last year. One most definitely not be missed.

Young Fathers at The Kazimier – 7 June 2015

Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers are set to make a triumphant return to Liverpool. People still talk about how great their last show was so make sure you don’t miss out on their return visit.

They recently played Skelmersdale Library (yes, really!) as part of the Loud In Libraries series. Check out our review here.

Ariel Pink at District – 13 June 2015

Acclaimed lo-fi star, Ariel Pink will play District in June in support of last year’s album Pom Pom. The album released on 4AD features a number of collaborations, most notably with the late Kim Fowley, who died earlier this year. He made a big impression on his last Liverpool outing so this is likely to be a popular one!

Read our full preview here.

Todd Terje at The Bombed Out Church – 13 June 2015

Norwegian DJ, songwriter and record producer Todd Terje‘s 2014 album, It’s Album Time received plenty of acclaim last year soundtracking the summer with its invigorating rhythmic urgency. This is sure to be a popular one – and with much justification.

Elvis Costello at Philharmonic Hall – 15 June 2015

Acclaimed singer, songwriter and punk and new wave pioneer returns to his one time home to play the Phil next summer. One of this country’s greatest lyricists, Costello has frequently adapted and reinvented himself.  This has ensured that his musical output has remained forever interesting and attention worthy.

Suzanne Vega at Philharmonic Hall – 16 June 2015

Known as the “The Mother of the MP3” owing to her song Tom’s Diner being used in early trials of MP3 compression in the format’s infancy, the eclectic American folk veteran Suzanne Vega is to play the Philharmonic Hall in June. Developed from playing new songs in a live context, 2014’s Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles was her first album in 7 years and her first to reach the dizzying heights of the UK top 40 since 1992.

Outfit at The Kazimier – 18 June 2015

With an eagerly anticipated new album, Slowness, set to be released on Memphis Industries in June this homecoming show by Outfit looks set to double up as an album launch. We premiered latest single Genderless on these pages last month and the track’s glacial dissonance and ambient textures pointed to an exciting evolution in the band’s career. On the basis of the teasers we’ve heard so far, this has all the indications of being one of the shows of the summer.

The Dead Kennedys at the O2 Academy – 26 June 2015

Inspirational and influential seminal Californian punk band The Dead Kennedys return to Liverpool to play their first gig in the city since 1982. Despite the acrimonious departure of original vocalist Jello Biafra, the band have been in fine form since reforming in 2001.

Read our full preview here.

Mavis Staples at Philharmonic Hall – 28 June 2015

Legend is a much overused term to the extent that it has been rendered meaningless yet if any artist merits such an epithet it is Mavis Staples. Combining gospel with rhythm and blues, Staples took the music from the church to the forefront of the civil rights movement in an era where the lines between political activism and popular music became increasingly blurred.

Blessed with a distinctive and striking voice, Staples has enjoyed a late career revival thanks to fellow Chicagoan Jeff Tweedy who as produced her last two albums.

Goldie Lookin’ Chain at Arts Club – 4 July 2015

Novelty comedy rap or subtle social commentators? Whichever side you fall, that Goldie Lookin’ Chain are still around, still making albums and still treading the boards is perhaps to their credit. Who knows, maybe the Newport lads will provide some Independence Day mirth and merriment.

Rufus Wainwright at Philharmonic Hall – 13 July 2015

It is often difficult to live up to famous parents, harder still to enter the same industry and gain not only respect but also outstrip their achievements. Son of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, Rufus is a genuine original blessed with a prodigious talent that has excelled at whatever he has turned his hand to. From the opulent pop of Want One and Want Two, to the the Grammy nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, and his acclaimed opera Prima Donna whatever he touches seems to turn to gold.

It is no surprise that the list of people wanting to work with him (from David Byrne to Elton John, The Pet Shop Boys and Mark Ronson) is lengthy and ever-growing. The Philharmonic Hall will be the perfect setting to catch this unique talent at the peak of his powers.  

Martha Reeves and The Vandellas at Arts Club – 14 July 2015

A bit of genuine Motown R&B to get you dancing in the streets this summer. Expect to hear all the hits such as Nowhere to Run and Jimmy Mack from this Rock n Roll Hall of Famer. Martha Reeves in Liverpool? You’d better believe it, even if we’re still pinching ourselves.

Read our full preview here.

Rosanne Cash at Philharmonic Hall – 19 July 2015

With a career that has garnered fifteen grammy nominations as well as three awards for her latest offering The River & The Thread, it is fair to say that Rosanne Cash has stepped free from the shadow of her more famous father. With her album receiving rave reviews, Cash is also an accomplished performer who reminds that, in the right hands, country music can break free from cliché and remain emotional and heartfelt.

Mama Roux at Magnet, Liverpool – 20th June

Our favourite voodoo shamans Mama Roux launch their brand new self-titled EP with help from fellow fast-risers The Springtime Anchorage and The Stamp, while UPtiGHt! DJs keep the party going well into the early hours with the best of 60s soul, funk and rock to take the party well into the night. A stellar bill with some of Liverpool’s very best emerging talent for only a fiver.

John Power at The Kazimier – 25 July 2015

A solo outing from the Cast frontman.

Tame Impala at Olympia – 9 September 2015

Kevin Parker‘s neo-psychelicists, Tame Impala, play a hugely anticipated gig at Olympia in support of their third album, Currents, set for release later this year.

Read our full preview here.

The King Khan and BBQ Show at Studio 2 – 12 September 2015

King Khan backed by his Shrines provided, in our view at least, Liverpool’s gig of the year in 2014. This show is likely to offer something slightly different. The King Khan and BBQ Show is a collaboration between former Spaceshits bandmates King Khan and Mark Sultan (BBQ) and, if previous shows are anything to go by, promises to be a raucous and unpredictable affair.

New album Bad News Boy is an intoxicating mix of doo-wop, garage-punk and with elements of hardcore chucked in fro good measure.

Read our full preview here.

Peace at O2 Academy – 24 September 2015

Having played and wowed The Kazimier on consecutive nights at the start of the year, Peace‘s headline show at the larger capacity O2 Academy provides further indication of a band on the rise. While the baggy revivalists’ star remains in the ascendancy this one will be sure to prove popular so get in their quickly.   

The Icicle Works at O2 Academy – 26 September 2015

A rare live outings from Ian McNabb‘s The Icicle Works who were a prominent member of the vibrant Liverpool scene of the early to mid-80s alongside contemporaries such as Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. A band whose rich talent deserved wider recognition at the time, The Icicle Works fell into the void between huge commercial success and NME poster-boys for the pre-hipster generation.

What is striking now is the quality of the songwriting, McNabb‘s humane intelligence and  the strength of their live shows. This one will be a riot, that’s for sure.

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