The Beatles, the booths, the jukebox and the bands – icon is an overused word but The Jacaranda deserves the title more than most.
This mainstay of the Liverpool music scene turns 60 this month and what a journey it’s had. History will remember it as the place where the Fab Four decorated the basement in return for rehearsal space and some early gigs, but it’s the many reinventions that have kept this Slater Street spot alive and relevant.
photo by Marlie Centawer
Get a scouse family in a room and the chances are each generation will have a different reason for why the Jac is so special: the best jukebox in town, basement dancing till your feet fall off, and the stories those vaulted booths could tell…
At the heart of the Jac has always been music. Ignoring the easy option of creating a shrine to Paul et al the many incarnations of the Jac have instead focused on creating a space where new acts can write their own piece of history.
We briefly lost the Jacaranda in 2011 but it came back stronger than ever. Acoustic open mics, EP launches and whole weekends of live music for just over a fiver, plus a first floor with custom vinyl booths and one of the world’s only working voice-o-graph recorders have re-cemented its place on the music scene. And the basement remains a Saturday night sure-fire, heavy on the cocktails and pretension free.
Fittingly as the original Jac turns 60 the team are developing a brand new 400 capacity gig venue, vinyl record store, bar and club on Seel Street. Jacaranda Records – Phase One is already making waves with album launches, record breaking gigs and icon nights. Phase Two of the project is coming soon but it’s already shaping up to be a venue that echoes the spirit of its older brother.
The Jac is the kind of place that deserves more than a cake and a set of golf clubs for its 60th. It deserves a whole weekend of music. Roll on August Bank Holiday when the Jac and Phase One will party like it’s 1958 with bands, DJs, plenty of vinyl and nods to its past – with good amps and frozen daiquiris thrown in for good measure.
As part of the celebrations the team at the Jac are looking to speak to any beat poets, skiffle bands or other performers who might have hit the stage in the early days – get in touch with [email protected] if you have any leads. And if you’ve got any photos of legendary Jac times send them to @[email protected] – just remember your mum might see them.