Liverpool's Eric's nightclub to reopen on original site

Ethan Allen in Eric's
Image caption Musical Director Ethan Allen and the beam Elvis Costello hit his head on

It was a cellar club on Liverpool's Mathew Street that launched the careers of a generation of Liverpool bands.

Yards away from The Cavern that spawned The Beatles and Merseybeat, Eric's was the club where Ian McCulloch, Holly Johnson, Ian Broudie and Pete Wylie cut their musical teeth.

Unlike The Cavern, which was demolished in the 1970s and since rebuilt, the site of Eric's has remained virtually untouched since the club's closure in 1980.

Now the venue is set to reopen again under the Eric's name by the end of 2011.

Opened in 1976 Eric's became the punk heartbeat of Liverpool.

Dirty, damp cellar

As well as Merseyside groups, touring acts including The Sex Pistols, Joy Division and U2 played the club.

After Eric's closed in 1980 it had a short resurrection as Brady's nightclub before shutting again a year later.

The new Eric's club is set to be revived on the same site, a cellar used for storage, beneath the Rubber Soul bar.

Stripped of the original fittings the area is currently a dusty and damp building site.

Ethan Allen, musical director of the new Eric's, said: "It's a complete rebuild of the building because it's been disused for so many years.

"There's the original area where the stage was, with the original beams up above where Elvis Costello banged his head and wouldn't go back on stage in the middle of his set.

"It's an underground club, and the coolest clubs in the world are all underground. There's low headroom and that's part of the vibe."

For almost thirty years the site has lain untouched; original graffiti from bands who played Eric's can still be seen in what was the dressing room area.

The new venue will match the original layout as much as possible with an enlarged dressing room area enlarged and a bigger bar.

Image caption Graffiti on the wall of the old dressing room at what was Eric's nightclub

The Eric's club legend has grown over the years; in 2008 Eric's The Musical by Mark Davies Markham was performed at the Liverpool Everyman.

In the same year an exhibition of pictures of bands at the club by photographer Francesco Melina was held at Liverpool's Conservation Centre.

The Sex Pistol's Glen Matlock said he hoped the club can regain some of the magic of the original: "It was a good place if they can capture the same or similar vibe.

"It was at the heart of all the action with a good pub next door The Grapes, and Probe records used to be down the road.

"It didn't half reek, I think they had a problem with the sewers, especially when it had rained.

"A good venue in the right place is hard to beat, I wish them well. Perhaps I'll even get to play there."

Ethan Allen said the new Eric's will combine old with new: "At the moment it looks like a disused cellar but it still feels like a club, and you just can't buy that, it's just an incredible atmosphere to have.

"We certainly want some of the people who played here to come back, but more so than that, it's not just a trip down memory lane it's a live music venue that changed the music industry for the better in four short years.

"We want it to take the next set of musicians and launch them."

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