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With the GIT Awards 2017 shortlist recently revealed, including some of The Guide Liverpool favourites, Threshold 17 this weekend, and the recent opening of the incredible British Music Experience at our Cunard Building we were going tell you why Liverpool is fast becoming the music capital of the UK. However, it didn’t take long for us to take a look in to our past, and in to our future, to see that our musical contingent isn’t stopping at our borders, we are officially UNESCO ‘City of Music’ after all.
Young artists such as MiC Lowry and Taya have been all over the world showcasing their scouse Soul, supporting Justin Beiber and signing major record deals in L.A, respectively, whilst Indie-Popsters Clean Cut Kid, folks sensation Louis Berry and Rock 4 piece Circa Waves are on hand to keep up appearances within a genre that is associated with the city more so, on a national scale. Artists such as Frances and Dan Croll, who aren’t from Liverpool but have come through our scene, have released albums this year, with the aforementioned, Frances, being featured on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.
Recent years have seen Liverpool bands and singers breaking through the ranks to showcase their talent on a global platform, doing our city proud in the big bad world that is the music industry.
Liverpool has always been great at championing new artists, even nurturing those who choose to move here, as a start for their journey into the industry. We are now seeing some of those acts hit the next level as the fire lit beneath them grows. Indie 5 piece, Paris Youth Foundation, are playing the ‘Topman on tour with NME’ show in Manchester, whilst Wide Eyed Boy have just come back from supporting Feeder at their Edinburgh show. Local R&B duo DELIAH supported the vocal tour de force that is Maverick Sabre late last year, whilst another duo, of the dance variety, HALEM, are being played on the likes of Hollyoaks and BT Sport. Also at just 17 years old local girl Eleanor Nelly has been signed to DECCA Records and has already been recording at the world famous Abbey Road studios. The city’s talent is simmering, and although these folks haven’t yet broke through to the national stage, it is ready, and waiting for them.
This one is obvious isn’t it? Since The Beatles in the 60s, Liverpool has consistently churned out top quality music, proving that we are about quality AND quantity. From The Beatles and Cilla Black to Dead Or Alive and Atomic Kitten, the city’s musical back catalogue has got something for every music fan. Keeping up this pedigree is something that Merseyside has done effortlessly over the decades, as creativity and the local scene have both been on a constant rise. In 2001 the Guinness Book of Records declared Liverpool “City of Pop” due to the many number one records to have emerged from the city.
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts is now over 20 years old, having brought the likes of The Wombats and Frances through the ranks. Although the institute has faced mixed opinions when the topic of whether it benefits the local scene or not has arisen, it is undeniable that without the Paul McCartney associated college, our local scene would not be as diverse and vibrant. The school brings talent from all over the world, not just the UK, adding to the musical culture of the city. That is why it is so important to helping Liverpool become the music capital of the world.
The diversity in our local scene is only matched by the diversity in our venues. From local bars to the Echo Arena, we have something to cater for every kind of music. Whilst the Echo and Olympia are dealing with world tours, the Academy and Invisible Wind Factory deal with national tours, The Baltic Triangle deals with the DJ sets, Studio 2 and Fredricks deal with all that Jazz, The Philharmonic Hall deals with music of a more classical background…need I go on? Whether you’re in to chart music or something more underground, you can guarantee that you will be able to get to a live show of some of your favourite, or yet undiscovered, artists at venue near you.
The best way to describe just how well we do festivals here in Liverpool is to tell you the nominations for last years UK Festival Awards. So, take a deep breath, here we go…
Creamfields won the award for Best Major Festival, up against the likes of Glastonbury. LIMF and African Oyé were both nominated in the Best Medium Sized Festival and Best Family Festival categories, with LIMF also being nominated for The Grass Roots Festival category.
The Best Small Festival category included Liverpool Music Week, Sound City and Threshold Festival, with Sound City also winning Best Festival for Emerging Talent.
The Liverpool-based festival of reggae that is Positive Vibration was nominated in five categories; Best Small Festival, Best Family Festival, Best Metropolitan Festival, the Grass Roots Festival Award and was the winner of the Best New Festival Category.
Now you can breathe.
We’re sure that you’ve heard of the legendary Parr Street Studios, located on, well, Parr Street, obviously. However, Liverpool is littered with recording and rehearsal facilities, from the humble surroundings of Vulcan on the dock road, to the industry behemoth that is Elevator, a rehearsal come studio space that welcomes the likes of The Wombats and The Zutons through its doors. Just off Lark Lane you will find the tropical hideaway of The Motor Museum; a place that has recorded the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Foals. Crash Studios in the business district, Tankfield on the Wirral and the brand new Pirate Studios on Regent Road all add to the wealth of recording facilities in the city.
The Music Industry isn’t just a multitude of bands, artists and producers, it is what it says on the tin: an industry. And, as you might expect, Liverpool is on the cutting edge of the modern game with innovative businesses such as Sentric Music Publishing and Ditto Distribution. Set up by Chris Meehan over 10 years ago, Sentric brought a fresh way of thinking to music publishing and has since acquired the works of over 12000 artists. They push new music to TV companies, film makers and many other platforms on which you will hear music, giving those signed up to the company a chance to get out their whilst still collecting their royalties.
Ditto, or DI++O, deal with distribution, an area within the industry that is tough for emerging artists to get to grips with, but not anymore. Ditto have helped many artists reach their fan base, and a new fan base, through innovation and hard work. Its founder, Matt and Lee Pearsons have now had offices set up all over the world, including Australia and the US, however, their headquarters have always remained in Liverpool, at the previously mentioned, Elevator Studios.
It’s easy to get carried away with what our musicians are doing around the world; however, we have live music, guaranteed, on every night of the week for our regular gig goers to enjoy. Obviously there are opportunities to see great local bands, and bigger bands when they come to town, however here’s a quick run down of where you can catch great local, live music, 7…I mean 8, days a week.
On Monday you can catch one of the many Beatles tribute acts, in the classic Cavern Club that has live music every day of the week. On Tuesday take your pick of either hitting up the open mic nights at the likes of Hannah’s Bar and Leaf, or, for something a little more civilised, head down to Fredricks to tap your toe to some Parr Street Jazz. Wednesday night should be spent singing along to some Soul/Funk classics with The Flynn and Tonics at the newly refurbished EBGBS, whilst Thursday can be spent at either Smugglers Cove or The Clubhouse, enjoying some relaxing acoustic tunes before the weekend begins.
Friday night must be spent at Eric’s on Mathew Street, with live music from 11pm to the early hours. It gets so busy that it can be hard to leave, however, why would you want to? On Saturday head down to the Red Door to continue your acoustic binge, or the Jacaranda for regular, weekly live music nights. To finish off, sooth your musical hangover at The Lodge on Lark Lane, or at McKenzies Whiskey bar where you can often find a Saxophone and a roaring fire to end the week. Then, start again.
As you can quite easily see from this list, the city is awash with culture and diversity in our music scene, however we just wanted to pick up on a few that we haven’t yet mentioned. As we said, we’re the best at Indie-Rock/Pop, we have global Soul stars, our Philharmonic Orchestra is second to none, and we’re down for a bit of Reggae at Positive Vibration. But some that you might have missed through the dense cloud of diversity are the African Oye gang, putting on a fantastic festival in Sefton Park as well as various events throughout the year. The Soul Inspired Events team do an incredible job of propelling those Soul stars with their stages at local festivals and their very own SoulFest. Folk is huge in the city as we have the likes of Mellowtone bringing great artist through the ranks, and Creamfields shows us that we’ve never lost our love of EDM. I could go on forever about the likes of 24 Kitchen Street, the industry networking festivals that are Sound City and Liverpool Music Week, and the marvellous Mersey Rail Sound Station Podcast that turns our local talent in to those who are about the blow, but then you’d be reading forever, and we have lives and jobs to get on with!
Whether the artists are home-grown, or come to the city to integrate themselves in our great music culture, Liverpool does a fantastic job of taking that talent, nurturing it and showcasing it on a global scale. Is it any wonder when tourists come from all over the world to visit The Beatles Museum? Or when icons such as Cilla Black are mourned on an international scale? Not at all; when we take such pride in our creatives, they instill it in to their listeners.
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