Getintothis’ 2019 Year In Review: best gigs, event, albums, venues, festival, label, hero and more

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Getintothis’ End of Year 2019 Review

Another year comes to a close, Getintothis’ Peter Guy offers his reflection on a momentous 12 months and ponders what’s ahead in 2020.

Sorry, we’re a little later than usual. Another year, and the end of another decade.

I’d usually spend the introduction of our annual review reflecting upon the state of play within our city of Liverpool and the wider UK new music landscape, however, much has changed for us over at Getintothis during the last 12 months.

While, we barely acknowledged our 12th birthday back in April, there was a seismic shift around that time with myself taking voluntary redundancy at the Liverpool ECHO after 16 years service and deciding to finally ‘make a go of it‘ at Getintothis HQ.

It was scary as hell – especially for a lad who’s mum and dad spent near 40 years as teachers in Liverpool living one constant profession and instilled a mindset of tradition, continuity and security.

All too suddenly I was on my own in an artistic environment with no safety net and possibly one of the toughest arenas to make a living out of: the music industry.

No one buys newspapers anymore‘ was something repeatedly uttered while working in the newsroom.

Well, now I was attempting to make a go of it in an industry which long suggested ‘no one buys records anymore‘ and the last stable publication in the UK, the New Musical Express, folded 18 months ago.

Long time readers will no doubt be aware that this website was a passion project of mine which has evolved from being an online music diary into something with a vast array of contributors (presently around 50 regulars and more than 150 in total in 2019) which aims to be at the very heart of Merseyside’s music and cultural cut and thrust.

However, few if any, really know what goes into mechanics of producing a daily resource full of news, reviews, features, photography and discussion.

This was brought sharply home to myself in mid December – when one reader was aghast that contributors (including, presumably, myself) were working on a voluntary basis given our longevity and productivity.

They should be getting paid” – was the underlying feedback.

Yes, they should, I replied. I should too.

So, here’s the thing: now I am. The goalposts moved back in April. I left my job – and this thing you’re reading aims to pay bills – and sustain future contributions.

However, the brutal truth is Getintothis‘ future is a precarious one.

With the country on its arse supposed ‘luxury’ sectors like the arts suffer the most. Why fund artistic endeavours when people’s bins aren’t being collected or worse still, there’s no hospital beds and you’re being left on the concrete outside A&E? Sharp focus, indeed.

Music in Liverpool – as noted in last year’s Getintothis’ end of year reflection – is very much at a crossroads.

We’ve lost many of our regular festivals – the best of which Liverpool Music Week and Psych Fest didn’t happen in 2019. While a variety of venues and smaller enterprises were axed during the last 12 months.

And survival at Getintothis is simply where we’re at too.

On a practical note, we have an editing team which consists of around six people who on a daily basis contact contributors for stories, venues and press people to arrange live coverage, edit a multitude of stories submitted, format content behind the scenes ready for publication, sort a never-ending pile of admin and emails, book bands and arrange equipment hire – and sometimes, just sometimes find the time to go outside and see some live music before writing about it.

This is a daily occurrence for these people. All of which have families and day jobs.

Which does make you think ‘why do they do it‘?

There’s a multitude of answers – but the shared thread is that they care.

Sure, they love music. Sure, they enjoy the free passes to see new bands or big stadium ones. Sure, they can build CV’s worth of photographic material. Sure, they get to go to festivals around the world. Sure, they may get to meet musicians they’re passionate about.

But, there’s much more to being invested in this project – there’s an underlying inherent love for the arts and reporting upon what we consider of value. Getintothis was born out of lack of coverage for what we consider of merit.

And in these grim times – times which are reflected most poignantly by Cold War Steve’s apocalptic pictures on Twitter – we feel it a necessity to strive to exist and overcome.

In 2019 online music journalism suffered perhaps it’s bleakest year. Regular, influential and seemingly thriving publications closed: the 405, Gold Flake Paint and the daddy of them all Drowned In Sound, among many others ceased.

What hope for the rest of us?

These are the most challenging times – but we’re determined to try to ride it out.

In my opinion, we do more than ride it out. In the last 12 months we’ve published more articles than ever. We have a daily schedule which sees us publish between five and 10 pieces a day and many on the night reviews.

Away from the publication we continue to host our monthly new music Deep Cuts gigs – and for the first time we began booking UK and overseas touring artists plus our very own Deeper Cuts Festival.

For 2020, we’re launching a new Getintothis once monthly Social which aims to include workshops, panels, poetry, spoken word and new music – we may even introduce a quiz. And it will be free.

However, and here’s where you – our readers come in. If we’re survive, we do need your support.

We’ve long included our donation tab (see below) but rarely, if ever – push it. This year, we really do need to.

If you can spare a couple of quid – or are able to set up small regular donation – it genuinely would make a huge difference to ensure Getintothis keeps on going.

Every bit of donated cash goes back into the running costs of Getintothis: server costs, a huge archive, a creaking and overloaded image gallery, payment of artists, booking of bands and multitude of other outgoings.

If you are reading this and own a business with which you feel we could work together – please do get in touch: peter@getintothis.co.uk

At this juncture, I’d like to sincerely thank all the advertisers, businesses and supporters who have ensured us get through YEAR ONE.

Without you we simply wouldn’t exist anymore.

I have no idea if this was the hardest year, or we’re going to be facing an uphill struggle forever. I genuinely hope not – because for all the toil and stress this feral entity brings myself and our team – it is also a great source of happiness.

In the meantime, we’re forging ahead into the new decade with a sense of purpose and positivity – we’re thankful that Liverpool continues to produce some of the most vital new music in the UK and that music as a wider source of inspiration provides us with friendship, togetherness and belonging.

Thanks for reading. Here’s to 2020.

PGx

Fontaines D.C.

Best 19 Gigs of 2019

Like 2018, and unlike many end of year reviews, we’re focusing entirely on Liverpool gigs – because there were so many great ones. Here’s the top 19 of 2019 – we really could have stacked this list up for 30 without any slacking. Let’s hope for more of the same in 2020.

1. Fontaines D.C., Warm Drag: O2 Academy, Liverpool (review).

2. Crack Cloud: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool (review).

3. Roosevelt Collier: Jacaranda Records Phase One, Liverpool (review).

Roosevelt Collier

Roosevelt Collier

4. W.H. Lung, Strawberry Guy: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool (review).

5. Liam Gallagher: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool (review).

6. 10,000 Russos, Ugly Mother’s, Nick Branton and David Kelly: Phase One, Liverpool (review).

7. Wand, Gang: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool (review).

10,000 Russos – Chris Flack

8. Gnoomes, Rongorongo, Samurai Kip, Charity Shop Pop: Phase One, Liverpool (review).

9. ZU, Jezebel: Kazimier Stockroom, Liverpool (review).

10. Nick Cave in conversation: The Olympia, Liverpool (review).

Just Mustard

11. Just Mustard, Pillow Queens, Talk Show: Arts Club, Liverpool (review)

12. The Coral, Marvin Powell: Jimmy’s, Liverpool (review).

13. Ali Horn, Bobby West, COW, New Mexico: Arts Club, Liverpool (review)

The Zutons

14. The Zutons, The Fernweh, The Peach Fuzz: Eventim Olympia, Liverpool (review).

15. Black Midi, Rattle: Phase One, Liverpool (review).

16. Daughters, Jerome’s Dream: Arts Club, Liverpool, Liverpool (review)

Yammerer at Deep Cuts is Two

17. Deep Cuts is TWO ft. Yammerer, Bill Nickson, Yank Scally and more: Phase One, Liverpool (review)

18. The Telescopes, Rongorongo, Green Tangerines: Phase One, Liverpool (review).

19. Red Rum Club: Jacaranda Records Phase One, Liverpool (review).

Stealing Sheep at Edge Hill University

Band of the Year

We needed Stealing Sheep this year, we really did.

In a world eating itself from the inside, Rebecca, Emily and Lucy provided a kaleidoscopic sensory explosion which couldn’t possibly fail to entertain and energise.

Big Wows, their third album, was one of the records of the year – certainly the best release from Liverpool. They provided some of the festival season’s best sets. Performed on the biggest stages at 6 Music Festival. Led choreographed set piece ‘event’ style gigs across the country – including one at West Lancashire’s Edge Hill University and capped the year with a four night sold out residency in the Kazimier Garden’s Stockroom.

“You have to be brave and push boundaries and experiment with your own vision, even though that can be harder and more scary and you could face more rejection,” Rebecca told Getintothis back in November.

And it’s this ambition which has seen them continue to flourish as one of not just Liverpool’s most innovative bands – but the UK and rest of Europe. Long may the Sheeps roam freely.

As Stealing Sheep take the title of Getintothis’ band of 2019, Getintothis’ Banjo speaks to them about their influences, rejecting the norm and playing in a beam of light.

Girls Don’t Play Guitars at the Royal Court

Hero of 2019

It is a very Liverpool faerytale come true.

When writer Paul Fitzgerald suggested his latest Lost Liverpool column for Getintothis should be on four Merseyside women who formed a band called the Liverbirds in the 1960s I’ll admit to being sold on the idea but not exactly brimming with excitement to read it.

More fool me. The story that landed on our website was truly remarkable. So good, he convinced another contributor Ian Salmon to draft a script for the stage.

Push forward two years, and Girls Don’t Play Guitars – the story of Valerie Gell, Pamela Birch, Mary McGlory and Sylvia Saunders was transformed into a sold-out run at the Liverpool Royal Court.

The Liver Birds

It was unequivocally not just our event of the year – but probably the finest thing I’ve seen at the theatre in memory. Beautifully told, sensational music and a genuinely remarkable heartwarming tale.

The set design was incredible, the rotating cast playing an ensemble of characters was inspired while the leading ladies; Molly Grace Cutler (Val), Alice McKenna (Mary), Lisa Wright (Pam), Sarah Workman (Sylvia) managed to recreate the band’s music in phenomenal style.

Elsewhere, a Mick Jagger cameo threatened to steal the show. There were cute references to Bootle, Litherland, St Philomena’s Church. The attention to detail was exquisite, there’s belly-laughing humour (refreshingly not reliant on professional Scouseness), the anecdotes of The Kinks, Saville, Lennon, Glitter, Hendrix and Epstein were captured expertly.

And what a finish – as surviving Liverbirds Sylvia and Mary joined the cast for a track.

On a personal note, the icing on the cake was meeting them both alongside my mum who was celebrating her 70th birthday

A special event – and for that reason the Liverbirds (original and ‘new’), Ian, Paul, Bob Eaton and all involved are our heroes of 2019 – those girls really can play guitars.

Getintothis heroes of 2019the Liverbirds and the Girls Don’t Play Guitars cast and team.

2018 – Wilfried Haag
2017 – Dave McTague
2016 – Bernie Connor
2015 – Robert Lewis
2014 – Christopher Tyler
2013 – Sam Wiehl
2012 – Tom Lynch
2011 – Joe Wills
2010 – Gary ‘Horse’ McGarvey
2009 – Mark McNulty
2008 – Andrew Ellis

Shame

Festivals of 2019

It’d seem a crass giving Deeper Cuts our top Merseyside festival of the year – after all it was our idea and we booked the bands.

Yet in the absence of Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and Liverpool Music Week, we felt it was imperative to offer something which offered something progressive, experimental and truly whacked out for new music fans.

Bringing together the best of Liverpool’s new maverick spirits with the likes of Teeth of the Sea, Housewives, Gum Takes Tooth, Helicon, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard and of course the improvisational juggernaut the Dream Machine All-Stars proved to live up to our expectations and more.

It was without doubt this writer’s favourite music event of the year – and we hope those who gathered enjoyed a similar experience. Hopefully we’ll do it all over again.

However, for the second year running, top spot goes to Sound City. An even more improved experience in the Baltic was served up.

By condensing the package, sharpening the booking, adding a quite remarkable overseas contingent of new bands, plus some seriously impressive late night shows (did you see Slowthaiwow!) it all made for something akin to those halcyon Wolstenholme Square years.

They’re not quite at that level yet, but when it came to new music, Sound City was ahead of everyone else in 2019.

1. Sound City 2019 at various venues in the Baltic Triangle (review, photo galleries, and what we learned).
2. Africa Oye, Sefton Park (review, photo gallery and what we learned).
3. 6 Music Festival in Liverpool, various venues (review, photo galleries and what we learned).

Primavera 2019

UK and Overseas Festival of 2019

I’m not quite sure it took me a full ten years to return to Birmingham and savour Supersonic Festival – but more fool me.

The Home of Metal celebrated all things Black Sabbath by teaming up with Supersonic organisers and curating a massive metal exhibition before blasting off with titanic heavyweights Neurosis in Birmingham town hall.

After that brutal blow it was a rollercoaster of quite simply astonishing live music and art for three days across Digbeth with WORLD ZERO registering the best set of any festival we witnessed in 2019.

We won’t be leaving it another ten years. Review, photo gallery and what we learned at Supersonic 2019.

Apostille performs in the mouth of the monster at Supersonic 2019

Primavera Sound 2019, Barcelona: No one can compete with Prima – and this year was perhaps the best we’ve experienced in our fifth consecutive trip.

Janelle Monae, Christine & the Queens, Miley Cyrus, SolangeLittle Simz, Robyn, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sigrid, Lizzo and a bountiful of others ensured the new normal was led by the best women in music – and the entire week was an unforgettable experience. Review, photo gallery – and what we learned from Barcelona.

Albums of 2019

1. Fontaines D.C.Dogrel
Partisan Records

Fontaines D.C. are a uniquely original Dublin quintet, hewn from the ashes of long dead, hopeless, lost bands. Fontaines D.C. deserve every accolade they get and more. And there is no shortage of that incoming.

Their first single, Liberty Belle, was released in 2017 and scratched the surface, Hurricane Laughter followed, showing their snarling angry side, the urgency of Too Real and Big followed, highlighting a relentless need to create, to speak truth to power and make a stand for something.

Anything.

Comparisons have been made to The FallPiLThe StrokesSonic Youth and more in that vein, but none of these do Fontaines D.C. any justice.

They’re resolutely proud of their upbringing, of their city, of their Irishness.

Their energy and lyricism come from a shared love of old Irish poets and writers, of an Ireland long gone, of an Ireland yet to realise its potential. Their inspiration comes from years of bold texts and brick-lined alleys, and it is an inspiration not lost on anyone.

Rolling Stone has them listed as one of the top bands at SXSW this year, describing their sound as blunt force trauma. It is hard to argue with that.

Fontaines D.C. speak to all of us. In a city where people can’t afford to live, or they try to live on shit wages spread over three jobs while Google and Facebook are given tax breaks, young people, people like Fontaines D.C., have a lot to shout about.

Their anger has become Dogrel.

Dogrel is about a Dublin that is being chewed up and spat out, via foreign money, gentrification and people like Jacob Rees-Mogg using the city as a place to hide his filthy lucre.

Dogrel is an oft used term that talks of rhyme, of rhythm, poetry, and music. It is lyrical, burlesque, cheeky. Dogrel is a working-class thing, anger, and joy.

Dogrel is Fontaines D.C.

It starts with Big, a relentless homage to Dublin in all its glory and guts, tales of challenging childhoods, making life your own, taking it back, making it big. It’s a statement of intent.

Sha Sha Sha is next, driven by a pulsating beat that suits its prowling fury. “you work for money and the rest you steal” gives you an idea of where their heart is.

It’s followed by Too Real and you’ve been living under a rock or tied to a radiator if you haven’t heard that before now.

Too Real is a remarkable tune, a call to action almost, a song wondering why we’re all sat around talking shit while Rome burns. This is pure brutal honesty, and it is fucking remarkable.

Television Screen seems to laugh at us while the water levels rise, literally. A gentler beast this, though still as urgent, it is a sad, stunning thing.

Hurricane Laughter, for us perhaps, is one of their finest songs. A post-apocalyptic, grungy thrashing animal about the end of the world, running, getting lost, finding truth.

It feels like you’re being beaten to a pulp by an evil genius’ henchman in a dark dank alley someplace while said evil genius stands over you, preaching in a hushed, monotonous tone. It’s menacing. Terrifying.

Roy’s Tune is a heart-breaker about putting up with shit, namely capitalist bullshit, barely putting up, barely hanging on. It’s beautiful, heart-rending.

The Lotts lifts things up a notch, it’s another thrash at poverty and life on the streets while Jags drive Tory tossers to tracking meetings so they can watch their money decimate city streets and souls.

Chequelesss Reckless is their most lyrically clever, a song about greed, waste and loss, about trying to figure out what is going on in the world, if you can pull yourself away from your phone. “She documents an essence in a bathroom stall” says everything you need to know.

Liberty Belle continues our central theme of anger, of money, and bullshit.

Boys In The Better Land snarls about those who’ve left the city in search of double barrel names, fancy cars and fame. It’s five minutes of righteous fury and figurative fashion faux pas. Phenomenal.

Dublin City Sky is a heartbreaker of a final song, a homage to Shane MacGowan and The Pogues, it’s more Irish, gently lyrical, it is almost traditional in its tone.

It’s a singsong of a punky poetic passionate love song.

Dublin City Sky will be as big as anything The Pogues ever produced, it could be the biggest thing we’ve heard out of Ireland in a very long time, it is that good.

By the time you get to the end of this record, it becomes clear that Fontaines D.C. might just have taken The Pogues mantle.

As a single piece of work Dogrel is one of the most complete albums we’ve listened to in some time, it is clearly meant to be enjoyed from start to finish, there is a narrative, a tale to tell.

It is an inherently intelligent piece of work, it avoids the usual fodder of four-piece beer swilling bands.

Dogrel has a swagger all its own, it has a point, a soul.

It is angry, in your face confrontational, it demands attention, it is delivered in a colloquially rich Dublin drawl that drags you in, dumping its energy in your head, this stays with you.

Dogrel is a love letter to a city these boys love, its a love letter that begs for patience, a love letter that begs for the forgiveness of love lost somewhere amidst the money and the Maseratis.

Dogrel drips with a uniquely Dublin humour, it is dark, devious, devilish, it’s dipped in Guinness and hung out to dry for all the world to see.

For all of their anger, there is a recognition in their work that the Dublin they know, and the Ireland they know is changing, and not all of it is bad.

This is a country that legalised same-sex marriage by way of a referendum, the first place the world to do so.

They also legalised a woman’s right to choose and alongside those two huge changes, they’ve kicked the church into touch too.

An act that was seemingly easier to do on the news that that same church was responsible for the burial of 800 babies in a septic tank at a church property over the past century.

Ireland is not the place it once was, it’s getting there, slowly, but there is still lots to be angry about, lots of change needed, lots of anger.

Fontaines D.C. seems to be the outpouring of that anger that has been bubbling under the surface for a very long time. No more. Their time is now. – Chris Flack

As Fontaines D.C. tear up stages across the world – here’s 10 Irish bands you need to hear

2. Sunn O)))Life Metal
3. Cinematic OrchestraTo Believe
4. SigridSucker Punch
5. Richard Dawson2020  –  (feature review by Getintothis’ Simon Kirk)
6. Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell (feature review by Getintothis’ Kris Roberts)
7. Nick Cave and The Bad SeedsGhosteen  (feature review by Getintothis’ Banjo)
8. Billie EilishWhen We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
9. Little SimzGrey Area
10. FöllakzoidI

For Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2019 and the year’s new music in review check the full list here.

Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2018
Getintothis’ Top 100 Albums of 2017
Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2016
Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2015
Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2014
Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2013
Getintothis’ Top 100 Albums of 2012
Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2011
Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2010
Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2009
Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2008
Getintothis Top 50 Albums of 2007

Top 100 Albums of the 2010’s

It took us too bloody long to compile ten year’s worth of albums not to share this post again.

So sit back, relax, make ten cups of strong coffee and absorb yourself in Getintothis’ 100 albums of the last decade. It’s one hell of a list.

The full Getintothis 100 albums 2010-2019.

Serge was delighted to be named worst album of the year by Getintothis

Worst Albums of 2019

1. The S.L.P.The S.L.P.
2. 
Robbie Williams: The Christmas Present
3.
Morrissey: California Son

Midsommar – Getintothis’ film of 2019 – a classic first date film

Films of 2019

1. Midsommar
2. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Tarantino‘s films ranked)
3. Maradona (review)
4. The Irishman
5. The Favourite
6. Monos (review)
7. Sorry We Missed You (review)
8. Sometimes Always Never (interview with director Carl Hunter)
9. Fyre (review)
10. As It Was: Liam Gallagher documentary. (album review)

TV programme of 2019:

Chernobyl. The less said about the woeful finale of an ever-decreasing in value Game of Thrones the better.

Special mentions to Fleabag and Killing Eve, the former signing off in style, the latter lacking the thrill of the first series but deserves a mention for Jodie Comer alone who’s variety of accents, costumes and menace which kept us entertained throughout.

Her’s Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading died along with tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson

For Those We Lost in 2019

The Prodigy’s Keith Flint has died aged 49

Roky Erickson

Johnny Borrell for Kurt Geiger

Top 18 Getintothis posts of 2019

1. Kevin McManus: I can empathise with the raw feelings towards 24 Kitchen Street’s future – exclusive chat with UNESCO Music boss.

2. In the aftermath of the 2019 general election results, Getintothis’ Cath Holland despairs over the left’s attitude to working-class voters.

3. Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell talks Kurt Geiger style and it’s fucking hilarious, Getintothis’ Peter Guy on his philosophical insights.

4. After what felt like an eternity, Getintothis’ Simon Kirk comes to grips with Weyes Blood’s defining work in the conscious-piercing Titanic Rising.

5. The Stone Roses adored in Liverpool – 30th anniversary of their seminal debut album, Getintothis’ Mike Hill on their iconic Liverpool Polytechnic gig.

Keith Haring: Ignorance=Fear, 1989

6. As Tate Liverpool gets set to host the first UK retrospective of Keith Haring’s work Getintothis’ Michael Maloney takes a look at an artist whose art once again chimes with our current political climate.

7. As Liverpool City Council announces the venue protecting Agent of Change Act, Getintothis Will Whitby talks to Liverpool venues and promoters about its impact. 

Mental Health Awareness Week on Getintothis

8. Babybird’s Stephen Jones insists band ‘will never play Liverpool ever again’, Getintothis’ Howard Doupé on a live outing was far from gorgeous.

9. For our Mental Health Awareness Week Insights, Boy Azooga’s Davey Newington shares with Getintothis’ Cath Holland how he copes with a hectic life as a successful musician on the up.

10. The Zanzibar’s Scott Burgess: “People are working against each other, we want to bring Liverpool’s music community together’.

Creamfields – Warren Millar

11. Unforgettable moments, magic and sheer excitement captured in an instant as Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett and Conor Baxter on why crowd photographs tell a unique story.

12. The Lost Liverpool series sees Getintothis’ Matty Loughlin-Day reflect on the largely forgotten legacy of songwriter Jimmy Campbell.

Young musicians from Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s In Harmony programme (Credit: RLPO Facebook page)

13. As music education continues to decline dramatically in our schools, Getintothis’ Chris Leathley argues that it must be protected and strengthened.

14. Lost Liverpool #23: Starting fanzines, interviewing Paul McCartney and 81 Renshaw Street Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald chats to the boss of 81 Renshaw Street.

15. Doves’ top ten tracks ahead of their much-anticipated return, Getintothis’ Peter Guy on a band with so much more in their arsenal than traditional rock and roll.

Sensor City, Russell Street – Chris Flack

16. As Liverpool’s Regeneration Framework is launched, Getintothis’ Chris Flack looks at the ideas around Upper Central, wonders about the people stuck in the middle and the No 86 bus.

17. There’s a vital and exciting new jazz scene mushrooming in Liverpool and Getintothis’ Jelly Roll Parker has the run down on the bands to watch out for.

Steve Lamacq. Photo credit Javier Garcia

18. As Steve Lamacq comes to Liverpool with 6 Music, Getintothis’ Banjo talks to the much loved DJ about festivals, Nirvana, Idles, gig etiquette and snogging couples.

19. As Big Gold Dreams: A Story of Scottish Independent Music is released, Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman considers its sublimely ridiculous legacy.

20. The Sopranos 20 years on: a television show that changed everything, Getintothis’ Janaya Pickett on how HBO’s magnus opus and its iconic main character.

The Utopia Strong – on our label of 2019 – Rocket Recordings

Label of 2019

There are a lot of strong contenders for record label of 2019.

The usual suspects Jagjaguwar, Ninja Tune, Southern Lord, Heavenly Recordings, Thrill Jockey, 4AD and Bella Union were joined by relatively smaller indies like Partisan, The Leaf Label, Sonic Cathedral, Fuzz Club – and Liverpool’s God Unknown in having a booming 2019.

However, it’s the reliable yet distinctly wild and progressive Rocket Recordings which takes our title once again this year for releases including Teeth of the Sea, Petbrick, Julie’s Haircut, The Utopia StrongGnoomesGum Takes Tooth and DJINN capping a remarkable year in noise.

We were eternally grateful for their support when booking bands for Deeper Cuts Festival too – with much of their roster and captain Chris Reeder joining us on the decks.

With the likes of OCH lining up a new album early in 2020, expect more exploration into the cosmos from these groove overlords.

Peter Doherty at his record signing at Phase One

Venues of 2019

Three new venues. How often can we say that on Merseyside? In what’s possibly the most grim era to open a music venue – and keep it open, Liverpool has seen a mini resurgence with small to mid-sized venues holding their own despite the current downturn in business and support.

Jimmy’s is the most dividing opinion venue to open in the city in years. With it’s no nonsense, traditional approach to guitar orientated rock and roll (and having be born out of two brothers from Manchester) it’s of little surprise some have been quick to knock it.

Ignore them. They’re the type of people who rarely support new music in the city to begin with – let alone the lifeblood of what this city’s backbone is: young people who want to better their life, play music and have a great time.

Jimmy’s provides that with little fuss, boss people running it (lots of musicians behind the bar) all the while providing a platform for new music (and the odd legend) to flourish on the basement stage. That it utilises the incredible former Cabin building overlooked by the Bombed Out Church only serves to add to Jimmy’s worth.

The evolution of The Cabin to Jimmy’s Liverpool – exclusive pictures of the transformation

Kazimier Stockroom is from an altogether different world – but the goal is exactly the same: boss new music in an intimate setting provided by people who love to entertain.

That they do so with whacked out visuals, a booking policy which pushes boundaries while bending minds and all in an 80 capacity room is all the more welcome in a city which hasn’t had the like for some time.

It is the perfect contrast to the team’s dockland home the Invisible Wind Factory which provides huge spectaculars for similar audiences.

Zu in Kazimier Stockroom

Of course, 24 Kitchen Street (still perhaps the most progressive booking policy in the city), the Philharmonic‘s Music Room, the Olympia, 81 Renshaw Street and Dumbulls remain mighty venues within the city – all with very different but equally sound qualities.

Yet, it’s the odd yet beguiling Phase One which takes our number one spot for venue of 2019 for so many reasons.

Perhaps the most diverse booking policy in the city, with it’s own in house booking team and a variety of independents, awesome staff, (the much missed) record shop, quality array of ales (do get a Guinness sorted in the new year, please), fine cakes, superlative choice of in-house playlists, special one off artist record signings – and being the go-to spot for the best emerging live music – it’s been a pleasure to call Phase One our home for the last 18 months of Deep Cuts.

With the additions of also the Arts Bar and Leaf on Smithdown, let’s hope for more of the same across the board in 2019.

1. Phase One
2. Jimmy’s
3. Kazimier Stockroom (feature).

The State nightclub – a look inside iconic Liverpool ballroom

Final thoughts

There’s not much more to say, as I am bloody knackered after all that. It is 2.27am on on January 2 and I am shattered.

A huge thank you to the entire Getintothis team, especially the trojans within the editing team – Banjo, Steven Doherty, Chris Flack, Peter Goodbody, Steve Hanlon, Cath Holland, Simon Kirk, Rick Leach, Lucy McLachlan, Warren Millar, Michael Maloney, Lewis Ridley and Will Whitby.

Special thanks to Aoife and Chris at the Olympia, Revo and Pat at the O2 and Arts Club, Graham at Phase One, Neil at the Capstone, Kevin McManus, Becky at Sound City, Dave McTague at Mellowtone, Carly at the Bluecoat and Jennifer at the TateGeni at ParrJazz, Josh at the Epstein and Cathy and Roy at Edge Hill.

Final, thanks to Mike Deane – somehow, we’ve done it again my friend. Somehow.

All the very best for the new year everyone. Lots of love.

PGx

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