With an emotional but celebratory last night at the Kaz, Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby takes in the sights and sounds to end an era.
This writer isn’t big on New Year’s Eve. It’s all a bit forced. Don’t really get the determination everyone has to essentially celebrate a measurement.
But tonight is something else. This really isn’t about New Year’s Eve, it’s about the final hours of an old friend, arguably the best venue in the city, joining the ranks of The Cavern, Eric’s and Cream; The Kazimier. It couldn’t be missed.
But the mood is far from sombre. It’s wholly celebratory.
Wolstenholme Square is cornered off, preparing for the night’s centrepiece. The queue to get in stretches around the block, with most of the punters dressed like George Clinton had painted an artist’s impression of Elton John’s funeral.
As we reach the door, we are told we are entering Planet Kronos, and that we should be prepared for all of our dreams to come true.
Indeed, The Kaz – along with the Kazimier Garden, the alley way that separates the two and the neighbouring Liverpool Academy of Arts – are transformed into an intergalactic theme park. They even have the ever-exciting Toilet World which, truth be told, was probably lacking a little in the toilet:punter ratio.
Entering via the Academy, we are immediately faced with live music and DJs. The aesthetic of the sci-fi adventure plays out on stage, with everything from faux-karaoke renditions of synth-laden 80s hits from suitably decked out drag queens, to the Loose Moose String Band letting the banjo take centre stage on Erasure’s Stop!
Heading out to the Garden, we are treated to some ol’ skool funk and soul to take us there, but it is The Kazimier itself that provides the most interesting element to the night. Seven interpretive dance “Rituals” continue the story of Captain Kronos. It is during the final of these, titled Herodias, that the dancers reveal themselves to actually be from Planet Kronos’ arch nemesis Monotopia. At around 11.15, an alarm sounds and we are instructed to leave the building and make our way to Wolstenholme Square.
Admittedly, outside there seems to be some delay in getting the night’s centrepiece together, but when it did arrive, it was clear that The Kaz had pulled out all the stops for their final showpiece. The Monotopian villains declared Captain Kronos – the hero of Planet Kronos – defeated.
Then, out in the distance, Captain Kronos arrived on top of a huge marionette about as tall as The Kazimier itself. She jousts with her arch nemeses as midnight strikes, eventually claiming victory.
She then hops on board his spaceship, which proceeds to fly off in the distance. This is a special moment. It feels like it represents the Kaz itself flying away. Captain Kronos’ saga has ended, and The Kazimier’s has too.
We think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had our “moments” at The Kaz. It was one of the few venues left in the city with a strong identity of its own. How many times have you been there and thought that there is nowhere else in the city that could house this event?
It was obvious that they were going to pull out all the stops for the final big push, and they did just that. Perhaps it was the ultimate Kazimier party; leftfield, artistic, weird, fun, alternative and funky. Over 180 performers witnessed by over 1,000 people.
Is there really anything else we could have asked from them? Probably not.
The party continued across all the rooms for a few hours. The stage in the Kazimier was dismantled in the weeks leading up to the event, and looking over at where it used to lie helped the reality of its closing sink in as the night wore on.
Occasionally, we’d see someone just looking around the venue, as if taking it in one last time. We were thankful we were able to do that tonight.
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Martin Saleh and John Johnson.