One of the biggest problems facing the grassroots music scene nationally is the ever decreasing numbers of small live music venues. Financial issues and now the creeping gentrification of inner city areas continue to threaten the future of small venues.
Liverpool has seen a number of its small live music venues close in recent years; Lomax, Kazamier and most recently, The Magnet.
The Music Venue Trust, a charity dedicated protecting the UK live music network by securing the long term future of grass roots music venues have teamed up with Jack Daniel’s and a number of bands to organise fund raiser gigs with 100% of ticket sales going to the charity.
Liverpool’s own Circa Waves, plus Peace and Band of Skulls are the first three bands scheduled to play a series of intimate gigs in their hometowns to promote grass roots venues.
Circa Waves kicked off this unique string of gigs with a triumphant homecoming gig at the EBGBs venue in the basement of Heebie Jeebies in Seel St and what a unique night it was!
After enjoying the stellar support set from the J Johns, the audience settled to take up their rather squashed positions for the main event. It was so hot and jam packed that the low ceiling of the basement appeared to be sweating. The atmosphere was supercharged and heady; bang on schedule, the band took control of the stage and launched the set with ‘Wake up’, taken from their second album, ‘Different Creatures’. The audience certainly did not need waking up at any point during the set and continuously cheered, danced, punched the air , sang along and jumped throughout the set.
Songs on the set list were taken predominately from their debut album, ‘Young Chasers’, with the album title song on the running order along with old favourites such as ‘Fossils’ (excuse the pun) and ‘Lost it’ and ‘So long’. The band certainly hadn’t lost it, in spite of if being so long since they had played live. Along the way, the tempo was cranked up a few more notches with anthems from the ‘Different Creatures’ album, such as ‘Fire that burns’, the album title track and ‘Stuck’.
It has to be said that the light show and sound quality from the desk at EBGBs was so good, you felt that you were inside a huge venue and not a few hundred capacity basement. It was clear from the band’s reaction to the audience that they were enjoying every minute of this throw back to their own beginnings in local small venues. Front man Kieran Shuddall thanked the Music Venues Trust for organising the event and urged the audience to continue to frequent the city’s small venues.
All too soon it was time for the final song in a non encore set. It could only be one song to get us into springtime; ’T-shirt weather’. The audience, who had shown their appreciation throughout, gave the band a rapturous send off for a gig served that had served as a wonderful warm up for their forthcoming festival season and reminder that great bands are born in small venues.
Words and Pictures by J Rachel.