From the Cunard Yank to the Cosmic Scouser and beyond, Liverpool and its people have a long and intimate association with music. It’s a trait that runs deep, not just in the blood of the city’s inhabitants, but also woven tightly into our cultural make-up. This was recognised when UNESCO bestowed City Of Music status on Liverpool in 2015, citing the city’s “extraordinary musical heritage – known worldwide as the birthplace of The Beatles – where all forms of music are celebrated and cross-genre activity is the norm.”
Liverpool is renowned for its musical influence and the UNESCO City Of Music title is an appropriate accolade for a city which lives and breathes music. You know about its past – everyone does – but what was primarily taken into account the awarding of this status was the here and now, in particular the importance of “music’s place at the heart of Liverpool’s contemporary culture, education and the economy – from the vibrant live music scene to tourism, music management courses and digital businesses.” Few cities can boast an infrastructure as supportive and comprehensive around its musicians as we can: even London, an international hub of the music industry, has a detachment from its home-grown artists.
How many other cities have mutated as often, and as well, between successive musical movements as Liverpool? From Merseybeat at The Cavern, punk and post-punk at Eric's, EDM and rave culture at Cream, the Bandwagon and Zanzibar years, right the way through to the contemporary Kazimier collective, there have been so many faces to the region’s musical activities. And it just keeps on changing. Simon Raymonde, the boss of cult indie label Bella Union, was so impressed by Liverpool’s full-blown cultural renaissance that he said, “the most consistently exciting bands right now ARE from Liverpool. That is an irrefutable fact.”
Here’s the evidence to back it up: Forest Swords, Stealing Sheep, Mugstar, Bill Ryder-Jones, Låpsley, Hooton Tennis Club, XamVolo, The Vryll Society, Outfit, Beach Skulls, Clinic, Strange Collective, Loved Ones, Anathema, Tom Low, Pink Kink, Trudy And The Romance, Pure Joy. LUMEN, Ex-Easter Island Head, The Coral. Case closed.
Beat City, The City That Rocked, Wondrous Place, the great psychedelic capital of Europe: call it what you want, but you can’t deny that Liverpool is a city built on sounds.