'The Beat Goes On'

A spotlight on Eric's nightclub at the Museum of Liverpool Life
The exhibition runs until 21 November 2004

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The renowned Eric's music nightclub, which played a major part in Liverpool's musical heritage, is celebrated in a small but impressive exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool Life.

The memorabilia on display includes, among other items, posters, T-shirts, badges, tickets, associated with Eric's from that period.

Coinciding with the punk music explosion in the UK, it was set up by the legendary but late lamented Roger Eagle, who had previously promoted a number of memorable gigs at the Liverpool Stadium = aye, the many good times I enjoyed there! - together with co-owners Ken Testi and Pete Fulwell.

It ran for only three and a half years - it opened in October 1976 - but made an indelible mark on the Liverpool music scene, presenting concerts by an A to Z of the contemporary music scene of that time, in all its variied forms and styles - punk, blues, raggae, rock, cajun, avant garde, etc - the mixture of gigs staged in this tiny but charismatic venue in Mathew Street was at times an exotic and enticing mix of musical genres.

The Sex Pistols, The Clash, U2, the Police, Ian Dury, The Ramones, Siouxie and the Banshess, Joy Division (shortly before Ian Curtis tragically commited suicide), as well as Echo and the Bunnymen, in their first incarnation, were just a few of the bands who later received great acclaim on a worldwide basis.

Unfortunately, because of its association with the punk movement - god, they will bring the Government down! - the police refused the club a drinks licence and later followed up with a drugs-raid, which led to its closure in March 1980.

"Roger, Ken and I found a fantastic music community building itself around us," said Fulwell. "Though it burned bright and short, there was nothing more important for anyone involved at that time, members, musicians, DJs, and everyone that worked there. The spirit still lives with us."

Testi added: "In a few short years, Eric's went a long way towards re-establishing Liverpool's flagging international reputation as a world resource for popular culture. This is a good time to re-examine the Eric's model with a view to re-establishing a viable platform for popular culture within Liverpool, in time for 2008." The Picket, which was closed earlier this year, to make way for yuppie flats, could have served that purpose!