Friday 24th September Deaf School
Eric's Club opened, taking over the Revolution Club at 9 Mathew St, Liverpool 2. The Revolution Club wasn't ready yet so the opening night was upstairs at Gatsby's. Liverpool's best band of the time, Deaf School, played.
Friday 1st October The Stranglers
+ The Brownies
Friday 8th October Runaways
+ 29th & Dearborn
The Runaways Glasgow gig a few days earlier had ended in a riot and a slew of headlines.
What better publicity can you get for a gig? The queue snaked round the block.
It looks all a bit Yewtree now I'm afraid.
Friday 15th October Sex Pistols
+ Albert Dock
On the What's On slot of Granada Reports,
6 o'clock on a Thursday evening in 1976.
Despite the galvanising effect that the Pistols' gigs in Manchester had earlier in 1976, Liverpool wasn't impressed by Johnny and the boys. I've seen it said there were 30, 50, 70 or a hundred people there. One that was there wrote: Roddie Gilliard i went to that erics gig, not too many people there, mostly curious long hairs. they were awful, broke a bass string trying to tune up. i'd read about the singer having an answer for any heckler, but all he managed was "if you don't like it you know where the exit is" - it was nothing to write home about
Albert Dock became The Yachts and later signed to Stiff
Friday 22nd October The Count Bishops
A pint of your finest Pubrock, please
Friday 29th October Racing Cars
Kick out the jams, motherfolkers
I just finished reading Bill Sykes book about Roger Eagle Sit Down - Listen to This. Its a good read and is a great example of how One Man Can Really Make A Difference. Eagle was one of the partners in Eric's Club along with Pete Fulwell and Ken Testi. He was the public face of Eric's, a Liverpool club which lasted less than four years but has become something of a legend.
How successful was it? With the benefit of hindsight you might say it galvanised a city. Much of the best of '80s music music was forged in that sweaty, smelly basement - from the Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (who all played their debut gigs there) and Wah! Heat to the KLF, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Lightning Seeds, Dead or Alive, Wild Swans, Pale Fountains, Shack, The Christians, Its Immaterial, The Alarm, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, Black and Space. For starters.
It was also a dive. Some nights there were barely a dozen people in. I remember a Cabaret Voltaire gig where there were maybe two dozen. During their first song I spent the time pondering the fact that although their sound was cutting edge and far out man (I knew this because NME told me so) you could sing any Buddy Holly song over the top and it would fit. At the end of this first song there was complete silence. Not a single person clapped or spoke. I spent the second song thinking about this and decided something should be done. At the end of the second song I whooped and cheered and clapped as though I'd just heard the future of rock 'n' roll. And everybody else followed suit. I went home and wrote a song called Pavlov's Dog, so missing the second band of the evening, Joy Division.
There's a lot of people who owe a debt to Roger Eagle. I'm one of them. There should be a statue of Roger somewhere. This is my tribute.
Over the next couple of months there will be posts detailing each month of Eric's gigs. Information comes from Eric's handbills and members notices plus information scavenged from around the internet and books like
- Liverpool Eric's - All the best clubs are downstairs by Paul Whelan and Jaki Florek
- Bombed Out by Peter Alan Lloyd
- Wondrous Place and Deaf School by Paul du Noyer
- Head On by Julian Cope
- Sit Down, Listen to This by Bill Sykes
The handbills have been gathered from all over. I've been collecting them online for a while and I didn't keep track. A few of them are in my loft but others have come from Bombed Out, Bombsite, Liverpool Band Posters facebook page. The rest are from searching Google images.
There's a few missing - January and February 1977 for starters - but it's pretty complete for the rest of the time. If anyone wants to fill in any details please do. The flyers weren't always accurate but the picture they give is sound. One thing they don't do is tell you who was on at the Thursday Bop or audition nights so if anyone can help let me know.
The first version of this was a straightforward list of gigs but this time round there's a bit more detail. Enjoy.
As time goes by I'd like to flesh out each entry so if you were there . . . post a comment