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Travel Report: The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

The Cavern Pub Liverpool.

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

May 2019. It was early evening when Steppers and I mooched onto Mathew street, the beating heart of Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Quarter. We had of course come to see The Cavern Club, the legendary music venue where The Beatles cut their teeth in the early 1960s.

However, while The Cavern Club is undoubtedly Mathew Street’s main draw, the first thing you’ll see as you enter from North John Street is its sister venue, The Cavern Pub. Just look out for the statue of John Lennon casually leaning against the wall.

Young John Lennon in Hamburg by Jurgen Vollmer.

John Lennon in Hamburg by Jurgen Vollmer (1960).

The statue was modelled from an old photo taken by the German photographer Jurgen Vollmer during The Beatles’ Hamburg days. The three blurred figures in the foreground are Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe. The shot eventually served as the front cover for Lennon’s troubled 1975 solo album Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

Cavern Pub Wall of Fame in Liverpool

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

Before ducking inside, we took a moment to appreciate The Wall of Fame, unveiled by Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden in 1997. Covering the exterior of The Cavern Pub, it stands as a tribute to the artists who’ve appeared at The Cavern Club across the road. Which is a little confusing, and one of many reasons so many people get the two venues muddled up.

Live music at The Cavern Pub in Liverpool

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

The Cavern Pub is a live music venue focusing on local talent. Whether it be singer-songwriters, tribute acts or bands showcasing original material, this is where the city’s young hopefuls want to play.

My travel buddy Steppers and I paid a visit during the pub’s Monday Night Acoustic Set. The evening was already well underway when we entered and with free entrance there wasn’t a spare seat available. I didn’t catch the name of this first singer, but he was in the middle of performing a moving original composition called Brother Gone, about the passing of an old friend.

Signed rock memorabilia Cavern Pub Liverpool

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

As it turned out, we’d just caught the end of the first set. Hence I took advantage of the break to check out the various glass exhibits of rock memorabilia.

Much like The Cavern Club, there’s some very cool items here, including original guitars, handwritten lyrics and signed albums. The above shot features a signed guitar by Earl Slick. “All you need is love!” exclaims the man who has played with John Lennon, David Bowie and The Cure’s Robert Smith.

What To See & Do, Liverpool.

Mark Hamill Beatles fan.

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

The Cavern Pub’s glass cases are certainly full of surprises. I had no idea, for example, that Star Wars legend Mark Hamill is a big Beatles fan. Nor indeed that he’d come to Liverpool to hang out at the city’s famous music clubs. “To all my mates at The Cavern, you are the best!” Whatever went down, it sounds like Luke Skywalker had a great time.

Badfinger memorabilia Liverpool.

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

The most curious exhibit I saw that night was this tribute to the forgotten Welsh band Badfinger. Big things were expected of this group after they signed to The Beatles’ Apple label in 1968.

Badfinger Welsh rock band.

Badfinger: A sad story.

But sometimes the gods just refuse to smile on you. Labelled by some music journalists as “the unluckiest band in rock history”, their tragic story is a tale of internal conflict, managerial betrayal, legal issues and multiple suicides. Nevertheless, their songwriting reputation has endured after Mariah Carey enjoyed huge success with their song Without You.

Stuart Todd Shadow Captain singer songwriter Liverpool

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

One of the main acts at The Cavern Pub that night was an established local artist by the name of Stuart Todd, aka Shadow Captain. This guy has a solid reputation across Liverpool both as a solo artist and for his work with the bands Campbell & Todd and The Freebies.

He played a bunch of songs that night, all of which channelled a familiar classic rock vibe. Thus it was no surprise to read that his many influences include The Beatles, Neil Young, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones.

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

Ben Newport singer songwriter Liverpool

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

The venue also has a proud tradition of giving aspiring singer-songwriters their first opportunity to get up onstage. That night I got to see a debutant by the name of Ben Newport.

Introduced by MC Ian Prowse (frontman of the Liverpudlian band Amsterdam), a clearly nervous Newport sounded almost apologetic as he adjusted the mic. “I don’t think my song’s going to be as meaningful as that” he said, referring to the artist who’d played before him.

In the end Ben did just fine with his stripped back ballad about “overthinking a relationship”. It’s difficult to judge someone on just one song, but Ben seemed competent enough as both a singer and a guitarist. He has a classic Liverpudlian sound pitched somewhere between The Coral, The Stands and Jake Bugg.

To find out more about The Cavern Pub and what’s on, head to their official page. 

The Cavern Pub in Liverpool.

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

For more on the greatest rock band in history, check out my articles from The Beatles in Liverpool. Alternatively, have a read about my visit to Abbey Road in London. Maybe check out my review of The White Album.

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Like this? Check out more of my pieces from around Liverpool.

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  • Mary Phillips

    Sounds like a very interesting night.If I had the time for a visit I’d put it on my bucket list. Maybe some day.

    July 19, 2019 - 12:59 pm Reply
  • Lookoom

    It’s fun to stir up some Beatles nostalgia. While not a huge fan, I have all the CDs and they are on my playlists. A little personal anecdote, one day when I was filling up in Paris, I was listening to the Beatles and the pump attendant confided to me that he had worked as Ringo’s butler when he lived in London. It was like a piece of fantasy that landed in the real world.

    May 26, 2021 - 11:48 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Assuming he wasn’t telling a tall tale, that’s incredible. The man should write a book! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      May 26, 2021 - 11:54 am Reply
      • Lookoom

        Maybe he did 🙂

        May 26, 2021 - 12:40 pm
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Interesting to read about the pub as I’d only heard about the Cavern Club beforehand. Sounds like you had a great evening with the live music and what a bonus that it was free. Let’s hope bands are able to start playing again there soon. Marion

    May 26, 2021 - 1:43 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Marion, I’d never heard of the pub either prior to my visit. It was a bonus to see, especially, as you say, with the free entry.

      May 26, 2021 - 1:56 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    What a great opportunity. I remeber Badfinger, particularly Baby Blue and Come and Get it. Some things and some groups just are not meant to be, I guess. Closest I ever got to a great concert venue was taking in some acts at the Filmore in San Francisco in 2007. I doubt it has changed much since the glory days of the 60s. Thanks for sharing. Stay well. Alllan

    May 26, 2021 - 1:56 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your thoughts Allan, I haven’t met many people who’ve heard of Badfinger, so kudos for that. The band’s story makes for some pretty depressing reading. As you say, some groups just aren’t meant to be.

      May 26, 2021 - 2:26 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    Looks amazing – another one for the Liverpool list! 🙂

    May 26, 2021 - 2:56 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Hannah!

      May 26, 2021 - 2:57 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    Anywhere that The Beatles and Star Wars come together is definitely a place I want to visit! Loved getting to hear some great music from your visit there. Just a few days ago a song by Badfinger came up on my playlist so it was interesting to learn a little more about them.

    May 26, 2021 - 4:12 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      It’s good to hear that Badfinger are still getting played! Thanks for touring both Cavern venues with me!

      May 26, 2021 - 7:25 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    What a great place for especially aspiring singers to perform publicly. And you are really walking in the Beatles’ footsteps with your posts about Liverpool – for a big fan like you, it must have been quite a trip!

    May 26, 2021 - 5:06 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey, thanks a lot. You’re right, it was a really special and memorable trip. And the most impressive Beatles sights are still to come. Thanks for reading!

      May 26, 2021 - 5:11 pm Reply
  • InsideMySlingBag

    This is a beautiful post Leighton! Truly amazing all about Beatles and also your photographs, do need to watch the videos a lil later 🙂 hope Sladja is doing well!

    May 26, 2021 - 5:09 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for getting in touch! Hope you enjoy the music when you get a chance.

      May 26, 2021 - 5:12 pm Reply
      • InsideMySlingBag

        I will do that Leighton! Where are you off to next ?

        May 26, 2021 - 5:42 pm
      • Leighton

        We’ll be staying here in Belgrade until at least September. Considering a mini birthday trip in July for a week or so. Maybe Romania, not sure yet.

        May 26, 2021 - 6:05 pm
      • InsideMySlingBag

        That’s nice I can see you’re having a good time in Belgrade!

        May 26, 2021 - 6:07 pm
  • Toonsarah

    Thanks for the detailed info – added to my list for our probable visit to Liverpool later in the year 🙂

    May 26, 2021 - 7:45 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Sarah! Looking forward to reading about your own visits.

      May 26, 2021 - 7:47 pm Reply
  • Salonie Malhotra

    I want to visit this happening place as well 😀

    May 27, 2021 - 10:40 am Reply
    • Leighton

      I hope you can one day, thanks for reading!

      May 27, 2021 - 10:45 am Reply

    Definitely remember Badfinger….in fact “Come And Get It” was the in-the-showers-after-the-match song for our school football team! If you wannit, here it is, come and get it, but you better hurry coz it may not last….”. Ha, memories. I really do think I have to get my ass in gear for a trip to Liverpool.

    May 27, 2021 - 4:17 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ah that’s cool, just given ‘Come and Get it’ another spin. It’s amazing how songs can stay with us through life and evoke certain memories. Thanks for Cavern Pubbing with me.

      May 27, 2021 - 7:19 pm Reply
  • thetravelvine

    I haven’t been to LIverpool in years! Considering I’m originally from Manchester, the next time I’m home to visit the fam, I’ll have to pay a visit! My Mum first took me to Liverpool when I was 13 to go to the Cavern and the Beatles museum as I loved them and still do. Great read!

    May 28, 2021 - 3:53 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! I’d be interested to know how it went if you go back.

      May 28, 2021 - 8:36 am Reply
  • Memo

    Looks like a lot of fun and my kind of place. Live music, new talent, and cold beer. Love all of the memorabilia that these places have. Is there an industry supplying all of this?

    May 29, 2021 - 5:45 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      That’s a very good question and one I’m gonna have to say “I don’t know” too. Might be worth firing an email off to The Cavern to see if they can shed any light on it. Some of it is donated by the artists themselves, like Mickey Dolenz’s drum. But the Badfinger stuff…

      May 29, 2021 - 5:52 pm Reply
  • Chalk and Cheese Travels

    Love all The Beatles stuff Leighton, makes me really want to go to Liverpool as well.

    June 16, 2021 - 7:51 am Reply

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