The Kaz is almost dead, where’s next?

Small music venues are being stamped out in Liverpool


We live in a society where creative culture is being actively stamped out. So much so that the new height of emotive expression is an advert for a department store.

To be a consumer is now some weird, fucked up hamster wheel in which we’re tricked into buying the same product over and over, somehow believing that Pizza Express and Express Pizza are radically different. Everything’s gradually becoming the same, with city centres now a long line of the same restaurants, the same cafes and the same clothes shops.

This has caused deep and troubling issues in the UK music scene in recent years. Music venues across Britain are becoming completely synonymous with big brands like O2.  In a city such as Liverpool, which has numerous exciting small venues, the stamping the heavy conglomerate boot upon a treasured venue such as the The Kazimier, which this Friday (27th November) hosts its last ever Abandon Silience, is cause to be concerned.

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Inside the Gardens on a Friday night

Located in the heart of darkness between Seel Street and Wolstenholme Square, The Kaz has been one of the cultural hot spots of Liverpool since its opening in 2008.

Like the famous Cavern Club, it has been the sort of original, low budget/creatively conducive venue that could only spring up on the right side of the Mersey.  The Kaz is an imaginative alternative to the bland sameness of venues such as the O2 and the clubs of concert square.

Yet due to its prime city centre location, the Kaz was always threatened by the redevelopment reapers. Small music venues have been washed out by the tidal wave off cafes and ‘real American steakhouses’ across the UK, to the extent that in London alone, 35 per cent of small to medium sized music venues have closed since 2007. Property development, high rents and the lack of support are often causes for the closure of these venues.

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Poignant graffiti outside the Kazimier

Small local venues represent the grassroots of the UK’s music scene, it’s essential that they are allowed to flourish. All worthy musicians start at the bottom (including Drake), and venues such as the Kaz provide the foundations which UK musicians hone their craft and help build the rich musical tradition we enjoy.

These foundations are only laid if people venture out and show substantial support for small venues.

Hubs of creativity such as the Kaz are essential to the development of Liverpool’s music scene and hopefully this is the first and last closure of an environment like this for a long time.

The sense of 60’s nostalgia within the city, with the faces McCartney and Lennon plastered everywhere, is tremendous.  Whilst it can be proud of it’s past, Liverpool can’t afford to let go of it’s bright, vibrant current cultural scene.  Letting go of the Kazimier for a few more restaurants and flats is a big loss, just as the demolition of the original Cavern Club in the 70s was.

 

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The end times are near…

These kinds of venues, such as the Kazimier, are intrinsic to music culture and a sense of community as a whole. You only have to look back at history to understand this; The Sex Pistols at the 100 Club, the Beatles in the Cavern Club, Oasis at Barrowlands.

There’s no better environment in which to enjoy live music.  Fortunately Liverpool still has many places to enjoy such as the Arts Club, also on Seel Street (Skepta recently “shut it down”), The Shipping Forecast and Maguire’s Pizza Bar, with the rise in club nights helping to keep the majority of them afloat.

As shown by the way they attend events, such as Chibuku, students are essential ingredient if the crowds at small venues. Go down, support local, upcoming bands as well as venues and celebrate the vibrancy and diversity music at its grass roots.