GigPig's Guide to Indie Venues: Liverpool
There are not many cities around the world, let alone within the UK, that have contributed as much to music as Liverpool has. And we’re not only talking about John, Paul, George and Ringo, either (although they did more than enough 10 times over).
Elvis Costello was not only christened in Birkenhead, but he studied in Liverpool, formed The Attractions there and became one of the most idolised songwriters of all time. That’s before we’ve even got into the likes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Echo and The Bunnymen.
The Coral, The Zutons and The La’s can all call Merseyside home and they all owe the independent venues around Liverpool a colossal debt of gratitude for giving them the stages to hone their craft and become household names.
And, obviously, Atomic Kitten deserve a place in all of our hearts and without Liverpool they wouldn’t exist. Truly the city that makes us all whole again.
So with all this in mind, we thought it a wise idea to shout out the indie venues around the city where you can catch the best gigs on a regular basis…
Starting off with Caledonia and its dog-friendly, vegan vibes, you cannot go wrong with top class live music paired with some truly incredible lampshade work. The atmosphere here is always heartwarmingly joyous, feeling more like a family than just a gathering of punters. Ideal for pre-drinks before a show, even better for a gig itself.
Two pound pints and top live music. We could probably stop right there and we wouldn't need to say any more, would we? But Shipping Forecast is a venue that, when you know about it, you really need to shout from the rooftops about it. Not only are you visiting one of Liverpool’s most beloved boozers, you're visiting one that has seen nights by Mark Ronson and Disclosure hosted there and has an atmosphere that you’ll want to experience time and again. Hard to beat.
History is written on the Cavern Clubs' walls, or at least their Wall of Fame. The most famous club in the world aided the popularity of four mop topped local lads over 50 years ago. Nowadays The Cavern presents the perfect opportunity to seek out emerging talents from Liverpool’s modern day live music scene. Keep your eyes peeled for their secret gigs too.
Jacaranda Records Phase One
Jacaranda is steeped in Beatles history, with the Fabs playing the venue on multiple occasions during their 60’s heyday, and ever since for over 60 years they have been hosting grass-roots artists in their rehearsal and live performance space. It’s a place where you can easily lose track of time, with the ground floor still remaining as a traditional bar, while the first floor has been transformed into a record shop for all the vinyl lovers in the city. Jacaranda’s rich history is strongly reflected in their huge range of tunes on offer. This iconic landmark is at the epicentre of Liverpool’s music scene.
You won't be getting a sense of the heebie-jeebies once you step foot in the 250-year-old basement of the famous nightclub E.B.G.B.S. The chilled-out biker-inspired bar hosts live music within their stunning premises. If you’re a fan of rock, alternative or dance music, then this grungy space is for you. E.B.'s crazy late nights are not for the faint-hearted, but they’re also ones that you cannot keep away from.
24 Kitchen Street
Situated within the fantastic indie hub that is the Baltic Triangle, 24 Kitchen Street is at the forefront for mega club nights. There’s always something big and beautiful going on behind their doors, whether that’s live music, events or club nights, they master every single one of them. It’s one where you’ll be bouncing around within the charming venue or you’ll be flinging your gun fingers around to the tunes blaring from their outrageous sound system.
Go big or go home should be Meraki’s motto. They fill their small and vibrant club with the biggest shows they possibly can. Laying up within an old taxi garage, there are heaps of electronic music acts performing within their four walls, however, they’re not afraid to throw in the rogue curveball every now and then. But hosting Goldie within a 175-capacity space is an achievement you just cannot ignore.
The Zanzibar Club
The Zanzibar is the perfect place to say you’ve seen the music industry giants before they made it. They’ve welcomed The 1975, The Kooks and Noel Gallagher into their 300-capacity space. The words on everyone's lips should be, how do they get it right so often? Divided into two main spaces, the affectionately known Zanzi also hosts some of the finest club nights in Merseyside too.
North Shore Troubadour
Situated in the heart of Liverpool’s North Docks rests the fantastic nautical-themed North Shore Troubadour, where the creative hub bursts into life with its gigs and dance nights. The quality of NST’s musical offerings is unrivalled and has gained a fine reputation for their top-notch sound system, which is courtesy of their sister company PA Hire. Being closely affiliated with AE Productions automatically gives them the upper hand in the nights that can offer too. Troubadour really is a powerhouse when bringing some of the finest club nights in Merseyside.