Up-and-coming musicians share how to crack your regional music scene

By Thomas Halliday

25 May 2024

A large part of Liverpool’s culture stems from its music scene, from The Beatles to The La’s to Gerry and the Pacemakers, the two go hand in hand. As a result the city has a profound appetite for live music, whether the audience is seeking to see the next big thing or just enjoy what the scene has to offer. Walking around by Central station or even down Matthew Street, you’ll often find live music ringing out in various forms. The Liverpool music scene, albeit heavily filled with guitar music isn’t restricted to the same sound, bands and performers often display a mix of covers and originals throughout the night giving everyone something to enjoy.

Starting out and places to perform

The main pathway which new/up and coming bands take in Liverpool to grow is through the bar circuits which revolves around open mic nights as well as paid gigs throughout the bars in town. Sam Gavin, the lead singer of The Kites, speaks about the beginning circuit when he said: “The key is in the beginning, in town there is so many bars so you have to do open mic nights first because nobody is gonna pay you if they don’t know you.” Gavin went on to say “as soon as people hear your name or become familiar with you and they have seen you play that’s when they start paying you and you start doing proper setlists where it’s not just five to ten minute slots its 45 minute slots.”

The Kites. Credit: The Kites

Promoters and Managers

A key way in which many bands grow within the scene is through promoters, who help you book gigs and advertise. However, many promoters exploit bands and finding the right person to represent you is key. This is a major issue in Liverpool as there is so many venues and bars which hold live music entertainment, especially on a weekend, which creates a big pot of money which these so-called ‘promoters’ in the city want to dive into. Gavin delved into this issue when asked about the problems of promoters: “People will take advantage of the fact that your just a band starting out and that you will do any gig anything to get exposure and they will barely pay you anything because all they want is a spot to fill out the silence.”

However, when asked about the benefits of a manager/promoter Gavin said: “Getting a promoter is like gold dust I think”. “There only job is to utilise social media and make you out to be the next thing since sliced bread… the necessity for a promoter is massive because you have to convince other people that you are good enough and a promoter is the best way to do that.”

READ MORE: Learn to navigate your local scene

Gavin demonstrated this from his own experiences. He said: “With us (The Kites) we’ve met this guy, were doing gigs for him in places that it would take another band a long time to do… places like the 02 and Kazimire stockrooms.” To be performing in these venues is something that not every up and coming band gets the chance to do, demonstrating what a professional promoter can do for you, if you place your trust in the right hands.

A band which have taken a different route to the Kites is The Causeways whose lead singer Will Cartmell has a fresh outlook on promoting: “You’ve got to try and not be naive so we started to put on a load of gigs ourselves rather than use promoters because we we were missing a trick”

“Obviously when your a young band and you have never done gigs before you will naturally go to them to start with but then you start to suss out that there not really doing anything, like their just making a poster and then pocketing all the cash” Cartmell offered a piece of advice for younger bands starting to perform in Liverpool when he said “don’t get taken the mick out of by any promotion companies, watch your back because we have had it done to us.”


Cartmell shared his advice for young musicians starting out in Liverpool: “Live music is kind of falling down a little bit Id say because most people listen to music on their phones now so its hard for any band to make a name for themselves but the advice i’d give is to keep going and keep pushing and hopefully somebody bigger will find you and help you.”

This piece of advice shows first hand how difficult it is to make it in the city because there is a large nucleus of live performers all fighting to perform in the same venues, and therefore standing out is so important.

Will went on to speak about tips for on stage performances when he said: “Keep practising, its all about stage presence, you don’t want to seem cocky but you want to seem confident, people  will cringe a bit if your shy in between songs.”

Plans for the future

Will Cartmell’s band The Causeways have performed at many of Liverpool’s popular live music bars such as Heebie Jeebies, Kazimire stockrooms, as well as Jacaranda and as mentioned have promoted and organised their own gigs around the city. The band hope to kick on and perform at more gigs in the future. Although the last year has been pretty slow for the band in terms of releasing original music, due to a key band member spending the year abroad, Will Cartmell hopes the band will be back smashing the Liverpool scene again soon when he said: “We’ve only been doing support gigs for past few months, which is fine, we love doing our own headline shows and we love writing music so the next step is to get to ball rolling again and get the band back to where it was a year ago.”

Sam Gavin’s band, The Kites, have been working hard behind the scenes in the studio on original music. Originally showcasing their talents in the city through cover songs, the band really want to make an impact with their music. Gavin spoke about the band’s future plans when he said: “We were in the studio at the minute working on our first single which was releasing at the end of the month, releasing that on Spotify, and we have a gig at Kazimire stockrooms on the 6th of July.”

Within the curation of this article, one thing which was abundantly clear was Liverpool’s passion for music, even when Sam Gavin and Will Cartmell spoke about the dangers of promoters it all came from a place of care for future musicians and a real sense of protection for the music scene in the city. 

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