One of the links on the right hand side is to The Corn Poppy, primarily an art/photography blog which is run by Phil Oates who has long been a supporter of this and indeed the original Vinyl Villain in the google days.

Phil has been in touch about a great piece of nostalgia he’s been working on, and he tells a self-deprecating tale which may well be familiar to many of us who have been at hot and sweaty gigs.


Thought I’d let you know about a new blog I’ve put together. Its a time limited event, 40 or so posts, each featuring a months worth of artists who performed at Liverpool’s Eric’s Club, between October 1976 and March 1980. Each post will include a flyer/member’s notice and contemporary videos of the bands. A couple of these (Clash, XTC) feature the audio of their Eric’s gigs and there’s footage of Elvis Costello on stage at Eric’s. There’ll be one post a day until we get to March 1980 in mid April. It’s called, with no imagination, Liverpool Eric’s and you can find it at

Eric’s was a wondrous place, the first gigs in October ’76 were Stranglers, Runaways and Sex Pistols; the night the Clash played in May ’77 was the night Julian Cope, Ian McCulloch and Pete Wylie set out to become rock stars/legends. I can remember my first gig there, headlined by Scots band The Rezillos. I was a bit young for Eric’s; it was a member’s club with a minimum age of 20. I was 16 first time I went. I recall one occasion when Jimmy the Bouncer asked me how old I was. 16 year old me says 20. Jimmy asks if I have any proof. “Well” I say, my voice cracking and going up an octave, “yer can phone an’ ask me mam”. That wasn’t this first night. Back to the Rezillos.

Most of the gigs I went to in those days were at the Empire, a 2,500 seater, where you stayed sat until the encore, then ran down the front for the last 15 minutes. Eric’s was very different. For the Rezillos it was one big mosh pit. They were incredible. Total energy. I was right at the front pogoing, bouncing up and down, loving it. It was so hot, there was no air, after a while I had to get out , get to the bar, get a drink. I fought my way out to the bar at the back of the room. I asked for a pint.

The barmaid said we’ve got no pint glasses left, do you want two halves. It made sense so I walked off with a half pint glass in each hand. I’d passed over all the money I had, I wasn’t sure how much drinks cost in a club. I didn’t take any change. I walked away from the bar and . . . passed out. Dropped the two glasses. Came round, no money, no drink, dehydrating, in a room like a sauna. Walked towards a stairway, not the entrance, crashed through the fire escape out into Mathew Street. Walked off into the Liverpool night in a daze. Couldn’t wait to go back the following week………

JC adds……

I’ve never passed out before, but only because I’ve pulled myself out of the mosh pit and either gone out for fresh air (sometimes not getting back in thanks to evil bastard bouncers) or got water and poured it all over myself.  I remember coming out of a particularly crazy Bunnymen gig in Glasgow in a tiny venue in the early 80s and the amount of steam coming off me was ridiculous.  That many of the smaller venues nowadays have some sort of ventilation system that wasn’t around 30-odd years ago is a godsend.

Phil’s musings about Eric’s are worth checking out and I’ll be adding a permanent link over the weekend.

In the meantime…..

mp3 : The Rezillos – Destination Venus
mp3 : The Rezillos – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
mp3 : The Rezillos – Top Of The Pops




  1. Very excited about the Eric’s posts. I’ve been hearing about the venue for years and was aways curious what it was like. I imagine UK folks are similarly curious about what CBGB’s, The Mudd Club etc. were like in NYC back in the day. Maybe not. Anyway, bring ’em on!

  2. Thrilled to hear about this new blog…

    My first ever gig was at Eric’s at the ripe old age of 15 – a matinee featuring The Undertones supported by The Squares (also on Sire)

    My second (and final) gig there was possibly even more memorable as it was The Skids supported by The Scars – truly life-changing days for me!



  3. Indeed it is, CC! And I will head right over to Corn Poppy after this message … I do wonder though if Yazoo’s ‘Upstair’s At Eric’s’ refers to said venue … any idea, Phil?

  4. Thanks for the share VV, and thanks for popping by folks. Undertones March 3 1979 Nev, 75 pence for members! The Skids gig was phenomenal. Upstairs at Eric’s was recorded at Blackwing Studios, owned by Eric Radcliffe. No relation.

  5. Any of us who had the great luck to live in cities with music scenes that created their own legends should be very thankful. I’ve always wished I could have been in my late teens and early 20’s during the Punk and Post Punk re-awakening of Liverpool and the Eric’s Scene – you alway what what you can’t have. But I have to be pretty happy that I got to immerse myself in that same era in NYC and experiences at CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, Hurrah’s, The Mudd Club and so many other bastions of the alternative.

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