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Getting Down in Liverpool
Cavern Club (Liverpool)
Member Name: proxam
Cavern Club (Liverpool)
Date: 15/07/07, updated on 04/11/13 (152 review reads)
Advantages: Famous music venue
Disadvantages: A little claustrophic
Imagine, a club dedicated to those brave and intrepid explorers of the dark and damp subterranean depths can meet and swap anecdotes of their adventures. And imagination is the closest I'll ever get to descending into the underworld.
One thing I will descend into though, is the murky world of tenuous links - Imagine, a song written by John Lennon...one quarter of the famous pop combo called The Beatles...who regularly played at a venue in Liverpool called...The Cavern Club. Spooky or what?
I am not and never was a big fan of The Beatles. Sure, I could appreciate their talent but they just didn't do it for me. Having said that, a visit to Liverpool wouldn't be complete without some Beatle-ish type of overtone.
So, finding ourselves in the 'Cavern Quarter' of Liverpool on a nippy Saturday afternoon last November, and in need of some liquid fortification, where better to slake the thirst than deep in the bowels of this most famous establishment.
The present day Cavern Club is not the original, but it's a pretty close replica. There are several myths that surround the cavern, but the truth is that it was rebuilt using the original bricks and on the original site.
Anyway, enough of myths and mystery, let's step inside...step being a very appropriate word. There are 30 steps down to the club itself so by the time you get there, you're ready for that lovely pint of foaming ale. It's therefore a bit of a disappointment to discover that the choice of beers on offer are limited, and unappetizing to boot. Oh well, bottles of Becks in hand we made our way to wards the stage area and, the club not being overly busy, managed to find a table. There are two stages and two bars but we just settled for the first one we chanced upon.
The cavern is not really a cavern at all (surprise, surprise) but a cellar although with all the cavernous vaulting it's well named. It's not as big as I imagined, although to be fair, I had never really given much thought to the dimensions before - as I'm frequently informed, size doesn't matter.
One thing that did strike me was the atmosphere of the place...mostly claustrophobic, but also slightly sweaty and 'ripe'. And this was when the place was decidedly quiet. I could only guess at the steamy, sweaty suffocation when the place is jumping. It's not very large either, apparently the present club occupies 75% of the floor space of the original. Still, in its heyday when the fab four played there over 300 times and attracted huge crowds, and health and safety standards were a little more lax than nowadays, it must have been something else.
I don't know what goes on there on a regular basis (as I don't go there on a regular basis) but a visit to the website details gig guides etc. However, I can say that there are bands on Saturday afternoons. These aren't big name bands (not to me at least) but the standard of music wasn't too bad although I don't think the acoustics are the Cavern Club's big selling point.
There's not really much more to be said about The Cavern - as far as I know, they don't serve food, and the drinks on offer are the usual multi-national offerings - they're not too overpriced though, and admission was free.
The clientele, on that day at least, seemed mainly made up of visitors and tourists rather than the local, music-loving population. Perhaps it's different at other times, who knows.
A couple of fizzy beers later it was time to go (at my age, I can only stand so much noise and sweat and sticky floors) we climbed those 30 bliddy steps to the fresh, clean air of Matthew St. to be confronted the Wall of Fame directly opposite. This forms the frontage of the imaginatively named Cavern Pub and has the names of the 1801 bands who played the Cavern from 1957-73 etched into individual bricks. We spent quite a while rattling off all the famous names that made their way there. This is also where you'll find a statue of John Lennon for that ubiquitous photo opportunity.
The Cavern Quarter is not very large, but it's quite interesting with a few shops specialising in Beatle memorabilia. However, considering that the area was pretty busy with tourists probably looking to be parted with their hard-earned, I felt that much more could be done to fleec...accommodate said tourists.
If you're in central Liverpool, a visit to this area is well worth it even if you're not really interested in the fab four or the Merseybeat era in general. It's located very close to the main shopping area and is well signposted so you haven't really got an excuse not to go, 'ave you chuck?
Summary: A must for Beatles fans