IF all your mates are off to London this weekend and you’re stuck in Liverpool, you’re probably starting to feel sorry for yourself round about now. Worst yet you might even be a Blue. So let me try and cheer you up by letting you know there is loads of brilliant music in Liverpool this weekend that will help you forget all about that Wembley nonsense, at least until kick off on Sunday.

Gig Of The Week – Punk & Ska Benefit Gig @ Basement 20 – Sat 25th FebMy Gig of the Week is The Punk & Ska Benefit Gig at the newly opened Basement 20 on Hardman Street. I have no idea what this is a benefit gig for, there are rumours it’s something to do with Occupy Liverpool, but for this line-up it could be funding Al-Qaeda and I’d still turn up. The show has been put together by Antipop records, with many of the performers on that label. Don’t be put off by the name if you’re not really a punk, the music is much wider than the title suggests. Although old school punk sounding The Wasters and ska/punk Old Radio (both from Merseyside, and both exhilarating) kick things off from 6pm.

Next up are We The Undersigned (WtU) who I frigging love. They call themselves Reggae Funk Superheroes, which is a TV show, starring them, that I want to see made. Despite being a big fan I literally don’t know where to start describing them. There are 15 of them for a kick off, including a rap troupe, a brass section and whatever other instrument they seem to have found on the way to the stage. They call their music “Stankh”, I call it bedlam and they are worth the money alone. They’re worth double the money alone. I wouldn’t want to go on after them put it that way. That dubious honour falls to Dub Punk quartet The Vermin Suicides. However these lads have been on the scene, in various forms, for ages and are well up to the task.

Liverpool stalwarts Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies will offer a welcome change of pace, playing witty and catchy rock and roll with a punk edge. The band are great fun live, and if by any small chance you aren’t into the music, it’s just fun watching a girl dressed as a dinner lady play drums. Next up are Head games who I know little about except they are from Stoke and they appear to be fond of a party. But they must have something about them to have such a good slot amongst so much talent, and the song I’ve managed to listen to ‘Get A Steady Job’ sounded straight out of 1977.

At the top of the bill are the very exciting North West based bands Black Star Dub Collective and the fantastically named John Player Specials. Manchester Reggae band Black Star Dub Collective continue the evenings theme of having far too many members to fit onto this stage, and are suburban and slick as hell, whilst John Player Specials play ska so tuneful and raucous I’m seriously tempted to take my trumpet along and ask if I can join in. All the above is just £3, priced deliberately to get it rammed. So get down there.

If that’s not enough for you, great local band Cold Shoulder play the Zanzibar on Friday night, or new radio station Liver Radio are putting on 7 bands including Choc Electrique for £2 at the Lomax. Sunday night Ocean Colour Scene frontman Steve Cradock plays Eric’s on Mathew St, which seems as good a way as any to celebrate a cup final win. Better yet there is an aftershow party at The Lomax from 10pm that night featuring Steve Cradock doing a 90 minute DJ set and a live show from The Last Gambados which is just £2 entry. The Lomax is fast becoming the venue of choice for the musically minded Liverpool Casual, so don’t be surprised to see that fill up with lads off the train full of ale and ready to party.

So yeah, London. It’s rubbish anyway