Gig Review: Calla, Liverpool Academy 3, 4th March 2006

Saturday night’s little sojourn to Liverpool was an experience, though not one I’d particularly want to repeat too often. First we went to the wrong venue; there are two Academies in Liverpool: one on Hotham Street, where we’d been a couple of times before, and the other at the University Union, opposite the Anglican Cathedral. They are completely separate entities; how retarded is that? We went to Hotham Street, the gig was at the Uni. No worries, it was only a short drive to the Uni and we made our way inside and eventually managed to find the Academy 3 through the labyrinth of disco halls and corridors. The gig was advertised as a 10:30pm start as part of a “club night” and we arrived in time to see the last song of the first band, The Early Years, who made little impression with their hazy, effects-laden guitar drone. The venue was a small room with a bar and it seemed that people who had turned up for the big smarty-pants disco in the nearby hall could wander in and out at will, which meant that half the crowd was made up of girls in short skirts and high heels and white-shirted men, none of whom had the slightest interest in live music and all of whom stood gabbing to each other at the bar while the rest of us tried to listen to the bands over their racket. Which was a shame for BC Camplight, who I missed when they supported The Boy Least Likely To last week at the Night & Day and who were rather good last night: a sort of barstool indie band with some excellent pop tunes and quirky arrangements built around the marvellous piano work and distinctive vocals of head honcho Brian Christinzio. They fought bravely against the tide of chatter but could muster no more than a smattering of applause from the few of us who listened.

We’d been wanting to see New York slowcore trio Calla for some time now but this was neither the time nor the place. Though Aurelio Valle’s stellar guitar work drowned out the cacophony coming from the bar area for most of the performance, it was during the quieter, atmospheric passages, so important to the band’s sound, that the performance suffered. Most of the material played was, I assume, from their new Collisions album (I’ve not heard it yet) and sounded louder and livelier than most of their stuff that I have heard, which, given the circumstances, was a good thing. They did play the excellent “Strangler” from Televise and departed abruptly shortly afterwards having been on stage for little over half an hour. Desperate calls for an encore by the watching few, about 20 of us, were sadly ignored, which didn’t surprise me as the band had looked thoroughly pissed off all night.

So, a disappointing night played out in the shittiest of shitty venues populated by wankers who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a gig by a band of the calibre of Calla, many of whom were probably not even aware that they were even at a gig. Had the band been booked into a decent venue (the other Liverpool Academy for instance) at a decent time (ie. not 1am on Sunday morning) then things would surely have been different. Hopefully the rest of the tour went well for the band and they’ll come back and play Manchester again on a night that doesn’t clash with any other gigs we might be going to.

7 Responses to “Gig Review: Calla, Liverpool Academy 3, 4th March 2006”

  • JustHipper Says:

    That was possibly the worst venue ever in the world. I don’t blame Calla for being annoyed. They probably lost money dragging themselves there in order not to receive the respect they deserved. It was appalling. MC Campervan as well, he (they?) seemed rather charming, but who could really tell amidst the din of inebriated, vomiting, half-naked students?

  • wayne Says:

    yeah, it was brutal playing a place like that under those circumstances. we (calla) hope to return some day to play a decent show at a decent place on a decent night…sorry for the short set (live room had a curfew for some reason)-thanks for listening. best, wayne (calla)

  • The Indie Credential » Blog Archive » Gig Review: Polytechnic, Salford Islington Mill, July 29, 2006 Says:

    […] We’d been very curious about Islington Mill, a new gig venue in Salford, near the Cathedral, a stone’s throw from an estate and supposedly full of artists’ studios, rehersal rooms and recording studios, etc. We thought it must be a flashy new up-and-coming venue. We were not quite prepared for the unfurnished basement dump with wires and pipes everywhere, a dirt and concrete floor, a bar constructed of a couple of tables laden with cases of beer and cheap vodka and mixers and no electricity save the stage lighting, and that includes inside the toilets. Now, I’ve been to some grotty gig venues, and some strange ones. This one may come out top in both those categories. It was weirder than watching from the shore as Big Country performed on a barge on a man-made pond outside a shopping mall in Boston, MA. It was weirder than watching my friend’s decidedly non-Straight Edge band perform at a Straight Edge gig in the basement of a church in Chicago, IL. It was weirder than watching Morrissey perform in what appeared to be a school gym in Chester, or, to be fair, actually watching him perform in a school gym in Waltham, MA. It was grottier than Lupo’s in Providence, RI. Grottier than The Point in Atlanta, GA, grottier than The Roadhouse here in Manchester. It was even grottier than Rock City in Nottingham, which still holds the title of the second worst gig venue in the world (the first being the Liverpool Academy, as described in our Calla review). It was, shall we say, a massive dump. But, it had fairly good acoustics and was atmospheric and not altogether bad as a place to launch a single, as Polytechnic soon proved. […]

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