As Independent Venue Week 2019 approaches, Getintothis’ Luke Halls reflects on another tough year for venues, and his top picks for this years national event.
It goes without saying that Liverpool’s independent venue scene has been going through a tough period during the last few years.
As a former University of Liverpool student, I was beyond privileged to embed myself within the city’s vibrant musicscape for three amazing years. Some of my fondest memories lay in Liverpool’s haunts, including The Shipping Forecast’s basement, Arts Club’s loft and The Zanzibar, which all remain personal favourites to this day.
Leaving Liverpool to embark on life’s next chapter meant saying goodbye to my old hangouts. It never once struck me to think I would never step foot in some of them ever again.
Over the last few years, the city’s lost some of its most beloved venues in the wake of financial difficulties and ever increasing urbanisation.
At the close of 2016, Wolstenholme Square’s The Kazimier bid its farewells to make way for a sprawling new residential development; 2018 saw Hardman Street favourites The Magnet and Buyers Club close up shop, as well as Lime Street’s Maguire’s Pizza Bar; and finally, 2019 promises the close of the Baltic Triangle’s Constellations, a RIBA-awarded institution, as part of the area’s redevelopment.
It’s in the face of this adversity that Independent Venue Week highlights the importance of our local music environs, both at a personal and national level.
The annual festival returns for its 2019 iteration at the end of January, continuing to draw attention to international talent and the stoic, hard-working venues that nurture it.
The 2019 edition of the festival promises yet another stellar roster of musical offerings.
Getintothis kicks off the Liverpool celebrations with the Independent Women gig, hosted at Jacaranda Records Phase One on Monday, January 28 and headlined by Manchester’s hotly tipped punk-metal outfit Witch Fever.
Support comes from Liverpool songstresses Sara Wolff, Niki Kand and Mersey Wylie, with spoken word and poetry from Getintothis’ very own writers Cath Holland and Janaya Pickett.
Throughout the week, Jacaranda Records Phase One will host a further mélange of musical cuisine.
Elsewhere in Liverpool, widely-acclaimed rap-metal group Hacktivist will take to EBGBs on Seel Street as part of their first headline UK tour since 2017, with new songs and a new guitarist to boot.
Over in Birkenhead, Amsterdam’s finest indie-pop mastermind Pip Blom brings her brand of rock n’ roll ruckus to Birkenhead Library. Her understated instrumentation is undeniably powerful, making Pip Blom one to watch for 2019 hands-down.
Now with a taste of what’s to come, it’s evident that the North West alone features arguably some of the best of the week’s shows on offer (I’m biased, go figure).
From Bury to Birkenhead (and everywhere in-between), here are the top picks from Independent Venue Week, which runs from Monday, Thursday, January 24 to Monday, February 4.
Tim Burgess and The Anytime Minutes: Jacaranda Records Phase One, Liverpool – Saturday, January 25
Perhaps Independent Venue Week’s most prolific attraction, Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess makes his Liverpool return to Jacaranda Records Phase One.
Accompanied by backing band The Anytime Minutes (otherwise known as Average Sex), Burgess will be performing tracks from his 2018 Record Store Day release As I Was Now (which, funnily enough, was actually written ten years prior to release).
Witch Fever: Jacaranda Records Phase One, Liverpool – Monday, January 28 – TICKETS HERE
As previously addressed, Witch Fever are on an absolute roll at the moment, making them more-than-worthy headliners for the Getintothis’ Independent Women gig.
The Mancunian all-girl grunge outfit will bring fight, power and riffs-a-plenty. They are worthy headliners of a night celebrating women and the impact they have to music and art in our area. A Witch Fever gig is intense, and this will be no different, so hold tight.
They’ll be accompanied by up-and-coming Merseyside via Norway talent Sara Wolff, sythpop songstress Niki Kand and, having just released her debut EP, Mersey Wylie.
Also joining the fun are Getintothis wordsmiths, in more ways than one, Cath Holland and Janaya Pickett. If that’s not enough, there’ll be an art exhibition from print artist Johanna Wilson, what’s not to love?
Cancer Bats: Jacaranda Records Phase One, Liverpool – Thursday, January 31
Canada’s finest Cancer Bats will make a trip over the pond for their largest UK tour to date. Covering the UK’s bigger cities as well as some smaller towns, the hardcore group are doing the UK true justice. 2018 saw the band release a surprise album, The Spark That Moves, and they also toured the UK with co-headliners Anti-Flag.
The band have just released their brand new track Inside Out, ahead of their upcoming Liverpool date.
Sister Sister: The Zanzibar, Liverpool – Thursday, January 31
Liverpool locals Sister Sister have been turning heads as of late, and so will rightly bring their dreamy brand of slacker-pop to a mid-week slot at The Zanzibar. Chimey, chorused guitars, seductive vocals and tasty hooks? What’s not to love? Sold.
Ally Dickaty (The Virginmarys): The Salty Dog, Northwich – Friday, February 1
The Virginmarys frontman Ally Dickaty will step away from his rock group (which has been embossed with the seal of approval from Slash, Feeder and Queens of the Stone Age) by taking to an intimate set at Northwich’s best hideout. Be one of the first to preview brand new material for the first time, a tease of what’s to come in the near future.
Hacktivist: The Brickyard, Carlisle – Friday, February 1
It’s a tough split between this and Ally Dickaty for the go-to Friday 1st show. Coming back to a full-band lineup after a scattering of DJ dates over the last few months, Hacktivist make their long-awaited return with a new guitarist in the mix. Expect rap-metal fury and preview new tracks from the band’s latest incarnation.
Pip Blom: Birkenhead Library, Birkenhead – Sunday, February 3
Pip Blom has been building something of a cult following since her debut 2013 release Short Stories. Ditching the stigma of girl-with-a-guitar, Blom has built up her repertoire over the last five years with a full band in tow. Gritty vocals and guitar heaken back to 00s indie rock, yet Blom’s 10s twist makes for a refreshing head-banging experience.
Richard Hawley: The Met, Bury, Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3
Bringing Independent Venue Week to a close, critically-acclaimed songwriter Richard Hawley will play a pair of dates at Bury’s The Met. Following a duo of sold-out shows at Independent Venue Week’s 2018 edition, expect another unmissable set of awe-inspiring, stripped-back performances in a truly rare setting.
Selected North West listings:
Sunday, February 3 – Pip Blom
Saturday, February 2 – Richard Hawley
Sunday, February 3 – Richard Hawley
Friday, February 1 – Hacktivist
St Mary’s Creative Space
Friday, Feburary 1 – Liela Moss
Saturday, February 2 – Sisteray, Blanketman, Anhedonia
Thursday, January 31 – False Advertising, Cave Party, Crapsons
Friday, Feburary 1 – Mugstar, Mincemeat, The Cubical
Thursday, January 31 – The Murder Capital and Lemonade Fix
Jacaranda Records Phase One
Thursday, January 31 – Cancer Bats, Underside, Bleed From Within
Wednesday, January 30 – Creatures and Champagne Superchillin’
The Zanzibar Club
Monday, January 28 – Adam Jay, The Dissident, Reign, Flogging The Dead Horse, Joe Moylan
Tuesday, January 29 – Clementine, Red Zenith, Bag Of Tricks, Sick
Wednesday, January 30 – Maddie Steinberg, Molly Green, Gunmen Of The Apocalypse, Rob Rundle
Thursday, January 31 – Sister Sister, The Entire City, Incipio, Aaron Ellis, Harry Bowness
Friday, February 1 – Bobby West, Lemonade Fix, Sankofa, Elijah James and The Nightmares, Shy Billy DJ
Sunday, February 3 – Bronnie
Friday, February 1 – Rubber Dub, KYAMI, Astles, NULLA
Monday January 28 – Jerry Williams
Saturday, February 2 – Rozi Plain
The Salty Dog
Tuesday, January 29 – Softlad Presents New Music
Wednesday, January 30 – Charity Music Quiz
Thursday, January 31 – Tommy Scott (Space)
Friday, February 1 – Ally Dickaty (The Virginmarys) and Arms and Hearts
Saturday, February 2 – Rick Witter (Shed Seven) DJ Set
Sunday, February 3 – Ed Tudor Pole, Kid Klumsy, Chris Tavener
- You can find the full Independent Venue Week venues here.