Liverpool’s music venue fortunes remain in the balance, but have seen a significant shift over the past few months, Getintothis’ Lewis Ridley ponders how the land lies.
Music venue news in 2019 is rarely good news.
If it isn’t a statement addressing concerns of a nearby student accommodation development, it’s a plea for help to raise funds to secure the future of a venue.
For musicians, promoters, and gig goers – the loss of a favourite venue is depressing, but far from unsurprising.
Earlier this year we learnt that one of London’s key venues was facing closure. The Social luckily raised enough cash to keep itself alive, but for many the fact a venue so popular was threatened with closure raised alarm bells.
But how did it come to this? How did the fact a venue’s mere operation as a functioning business become something so delicate?
In reality, we have become so used to this disappointing news that the the thought of a new venue opening is unprecedented.
This happened last year, when Phase One was added to Seel Street’s offering in Liverpool city centre.
It made its mark early, attempting to serve as a record store, cafe, bar and live music venue. It has since attracted some of the biggest touring names to have come to the city including Tim Burgess, Pete Doherty and Fat White Family.
In just a year, the home of Getintothis’ Deep Cuts has become one of Liverpool’s most important venues.
And Phase One seems to have marked an upturn of sorts for Liverpool’s music venue fortunes.
This Saturday (July 13) will see Deeper Cuts Festival arrive on Seel Street, and base itself in Phase One, Kazimier Garden and the new project from the Kazimier team – Stockroom.
A tight space in the back of Liverpool’s music community beer garden, Stockroom has already hosted a number of gigs including The Claque in May.
While it may not have prompted excitement quite like Phase One, the fact remains that Liverpool has a new venue in Stockroom – this should be celebrated.
Excitement, however, is a word that could be used to describe the imminent arrival of another new venue.
Jimmy’s will open on Thursday, August 1 with a set from The Coral, before an all-dayer headlined by The Blinders on its first Saturday will set out its stall as Liverpool’s new venue to be in.
It’s Manchester sister is a key haunt in the Northern Quarter, and as Jimmy’s Liverpool begins to rack up the listings, there is a sense that this venue is to enter the fray in emphatic fashion.
But it isn’t all good news.
It’s fair to say that one venue has epitomised Liverpool’s DIY music community. The home of the Eggy Records gang, who’ve just been on their travels in Russia, is under threat.
Sound on Duke Street is a vibrant, busy, and independent music venue – but it is operating on the edge, and last week posted worrying news.
“We can’t quite decide if we are beaten, there are some big battles ahead.”
The response to the news was met with a poll that indicated 91% of people want the venue to keep fighting, to Crowdfund, to stay open.
Liverpool’s music community will rally, it always does. But one of my hopes in response to all this was perhaps evidenced in the comments to the post on Facebook.
“Drop me an email and I’ll see if we can put a series of fundraising gigs together. Keep fighting we need independent venues. Much love ❤️.”
The Jacaranda and Phase One‘s Veso Mihaylov set the bar for what must happen.
There is to be no one in, one out for Liverpool’s music venues. Instead, new spaces must be conscious that they are becoming a part of something much greater.
Perhaps the most valuable thing a new music venue could do is to lend a hand to those that came before it, and to ensure Liverpool maintains its ability to fight to keep its music venues intact.