The Jacaranda Club celebrated its 60th Birthday in style over the weekend, standing tall on the cobbled streets of Slater Street behind its famous bold blue lettering. ‘The Jac’ was opened by Alan Williams in 1958 as a coffee bar and today covers three floors catering for all as the music venue, social hub and more importantly a home for many who came to Liverpool from all over the world.
Organisers of the weekends events presented a collection of music, art and poetry, combining new artists of today with influences that have passed through the doors of the Jacaranda over the past 60 years. The addition of new venue: Jacaranda Records Phase One played a key role in the celebrations hosting a majority of the weekends impressive line-up. Bookings and events manager Veso says: “The Jacaranda has been given a new lease of life. Phase One is going to take it to the next level whilst nurturing new acts and helping them to grow.”
From Friday afternoon until the early hours of Monday morning both venues filled with exclusive features including art displays, limited edition anniversary flyers and vintage posters, a food stall and some of the best up and coming local music. A welcome party at The Jacaranda kicked of the weekends celebrations with canapés and drinks distributed amongst guests before the exhibition ‘This Is Our Home’ was unveiled. Posters lined the walls from the Basement all the way to the record shop upstairs showcasing old and new Jacaranda attendees. Also featured in the exhibition were loans from galleries and collectors as well as extracts from Beatles books and documentaries, all curated by Canadian songwriter-photographer Marlie Centawer. Manchester based writer and DJ Dave Haslam followed up the exhibition with a Q & A session and book signing for ‘Life After Dark’ which celebrates venues such as The Jacaranda that he feels helped nurture the UK’s iconic bands and movements. Gen and the Degenerates finished off the nights entertainment with an evening of live music at Phase One which included Piss Kitti, alternative rock trio Three From Above and more.
From Saturday afternoon onwards Phase One hosted the showcase Revolution 9. GAZELLE and Nick Ellis were amongst nine local artists who performed original sets incorporating a unique Beatles cover each. Meanwhile The Japanese Beatles (Glove Love) and (The Songbards) played to an ecstatic and eager crowd over at The Jacaranda basement which was quickly filling beyond capacity, the scenes resembling earlier Jacaranda nights when many had to be turned away from the packed events.
Marlie Centawer pictured with Dave Haslam in the Jacaranda Basement at the 60th Anniversary celebrations
On Sunday, in a journey back to ‘1960 Jacaranda’, local beat poets and storytellers gathered upstairs amongst the vinyl record booths for an intimate poetry reading followed by an evening of Rockabilly roots, hosted by Mike Badger. The Beatles and the early rock era has always played an important role in the Jacaranda’s history, for many the venue acted as a starting point of their musical journey. 75 year old architect David Backhouse first went to The Jacaranda when he was 16, he described the venues early atmosphere as, “hip and interesting.” During his career Backhouse designed the restructure of the Cavern and has fond memories from both the iconic venues but also believes new venture Phase One will be, “a great success”.
To round off the three day long celebrations, an epic closing party took place at Phase One on Sunday night. From 7pm until late new emerging artists such as Spilt, Life At The Arcade and TRACKY gave intense, excited performances to an equally enthusiastic crowd.
The Jacaranda Club and Jacaranda Records managing director Graham Stanley pictured with TRACKY at Jacaranda 60th Anniversary closing party, Phase One
So what’s next for The Jacaranda? After the weekends events culminating with the launch of the ‘Jacaranda Records’ label, Phase One general manager, Conor Doherty has been overseeing plans for ‘Phase Two’, a transformation happening right below the main bar in the basement. Instead of a quirky environment to enjoy late night drinks and DJs similar to the original Jacaranda, this space will be transformed into a recording studio with state of the art facilities and tuition rooms
And that’s how you celebrate the Jacaranda turning 60! Let’s hope the next 60 years are as special and historic, there’s certainly lots to look out for. You can find out more information about both venues and upcoming events at https://www.jacarandarecords.co.uk
Words: Naomi Campbell
Article Pictures: Andy Von Pip Photography, www.andyvonpipphotography.com
Headline Image: SPILT on stage at Jacaranda 60th Anniversary closing party at Phase OneCredit: https://www.facebook.com/dirtyroknrollerphotography/