The Jacaranda at 60: a birthday party for a Liverpool institution



The Jacaranda turns 60 this year and threw a party to celebrate; Getintothis’ Marty Saleh reports from a weekend of Haçienda DJ’s, Beat poets, Rockabilly, and a little bit of Beatles thrown in for good measure.

The Jacaranda celebrates it’s 60 year anniversary this year.

To commemorate the landmark, they threw a three day party over a bank holiday weekend. They even gave us the Monday to recover. Very thoughtful of them.

Friday started with a Question and Answer session by Haçienda DJ, Dave Haslam, hosted by Marlie Centawer.
Dave was talking about his book, Life After Dark although he spent a fair amount of time dodging some of the most surreal heckling, regarding Chester nightlife, or lack of it, as Dave retorted.

The musical line up was certainly not wallowing in nostalgia. With short but powerful sets from Gen and the Degenerates and Safari Inc. Three From Above, though, seemed to warm proceedings up and closing day one, were False Advertising.

Day two rocked up with a piece called Revolution 9 at Phase One, The Jacaranda’s new venue on Seel Street.

Nine bands playing original material with one Beatles cover in each set. Punctuated with The Medicine Men DJ’s keeping us engaged during changeovers. There was something for everyone on the line up.

Nicola Hardman opening the day with a powerful, quite theatrical set. This was offset by Sara Wolff with a slower more introvert set of songs. Evoking the spirit of Nico. Sara can be seen supporting Katie Mac at Buyers Club on August 31.

Anwar Ali and Dave Owen ended their set with a fantastic Twist and Shout. Following, was Nick Ellis. Approaching his third album release in around as many years. The man can do no wrong.

Nick had chosen a Quarrymen song, In Spite Of All The Danger as his Beatles reference. It was an inspired choice. He played rhythm, lead, bass ,vocals and even the harmonies. It had to be witnessed.

The afternoon took a football related hit, but once the final whistle faded away, normal service resumed.

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A Mellowtone Records stalwart, Edgar Jones, performed with passion, closing the afternoon session and leading the audience into a more energetic evening, starting with Getintothis’ fave R & B singer, Gazelle.

Psycho Comedy must be awarded a gold star simply for sheer stage presence. Although this was definitely backed up by talent by the shed load.

Back over at Jacaranda Bar on Slater Street, there were a couple of Japanese Beatles cover bands playing to a packed cellar, so packed that people were being turned away.

As popular as they were, it did feel as though the night should have been transported over to the Beatles convention. Slightly misplaced perhaps, as the weekend has mostly been Beatles free.

Day two closed with Dig Vinyl’s Elliot Hutchinson on the decks, with some fantastic 1960’s garage and soul.

Totally in keeping with the history of the Jacaranda, Sunday, day three started with a Spoken Word and Beat poetry session. Although there were a few no-shows with the line up. Jimbob James filled the gaps with much enthusiasm.

Mike Badger brought his tunes to the basement, kicking off with some sweet John Lee Hooker, which led the crowd into the live acts.

Krank Williams can only be described as Seasick Steve on speed. Frantic, fast and furious. The crowd went absolutely wild and he left them wanting more, which is always a good thing.

The final instalment was over at Phase One for the closing party.

Starting with SPILT. Their set was electric. Pure energy. A great thing to witness.

Anyone flagging after three days was instantly recharged.Following on with Caveparty and then Polar States. Both keeping up the momentum.

Life At The Arcade delivered a powerful set, with a lot of the audience singing along with them. After a few technical hitches with the monitors, Tracky closed the show. With all the charm you could want. If you don’t know him. you will. Soon.

And with that, it was over. Sixty years, celebrated over three days. Condensed into six hundred words. It was as much future looking, if not more, than pure nostalgia.

It wasn’t simply a token gesture for the Beatles tourist trade.

Will the Jac be here in another sixty years? Who knows, in this ever changing world. One thing is for sure, with Graham Stanley at the helm, we can be sure that the Jacaranda will be around for a long time to come.

The name is here to stay. Watch this space.

Images by Getointothis’ Marty Saleh