Static Fallout: ‘another reason to leave Liverpool?’

If things continue in this vein (and where are the signs they won’t?), Jon Davies predicts graduates will vote with their feet, himself included… 

I’m most likely going to echo every sentiment in last night’s piece, but for me, the decision for Static to stop putting on music events feels like another nudge to find pastures new.

I’m not from Liverpool, and I have no family here – the only tie I have is that my father spent some of his teens here and fondly remembers the city. This is key for me because I came to Liverpool in 2007 to study music. And why not? The University of Liverpool’s course is one of a kind, one of the few places in the UK allowing you to write about Pop in an academic manner.

I was going in ready for the proposed revamp of the city’s landscape, there was a buzz due to the forthcoming Capital of Culture as well as half the high street closed off for the opening of Liverpool ONE. My first year here exposed me to a number of great venues, from seeing the latest and greatest buzz bands in Korova, and a Frakture gig in Wolstenholme Projects, to my first Liverpool Sound City. In 2009 I started putting on my own gigs, my first show was Mi Ami in Static, and I cannot stress how loud that show was. In fact I’ve been to a number of absolutely brilliant shows there; Liars, and Charles Hayward comes to mind. Static was the only venue with true pedigree that allowed leftfield music such a platform.

My 4 and-a-bit years in Liverpool have given me more incredibly memorable opportunities. From putting on my first gig all the way to Liverpool Music Week; hosting my guitar orchestra with Dustin Wong, and everything in between, I wonder if I’d ever get chances anything close to these if I decided to study in another city. Depressing to think that both aforementioned events happened in venues now defunct for music. The opportunities presented to me are getting slimmer by the year, which is a worry for a city that prides itself on its music heritage.

“The opportunities presented to me are getting slimmer by the year, which is a worry for a city that prides itself on its music heritage”

I feel Liverpool will lead itself down a path that is, despite the City Council probably frothing at the mouth with the prospect, irrevocably damaging for creativity; instead relying on rehashes for cultural capital. No longer will we see music your parents won’t like, but a wash of dull indie-folk only loud enough to disturb sleeping baby animals, the Cavern and Eric’s the only venues left standing. Even worse, but equally conceivable, a jukebox in the middle of Lord Street where you have to pop in a pound to play a Beatles tune. A little far-fetched, but you get the idea.

And who will be there to enjoy this? Nobody. One of the main attractions to living in Liverpool is its breadth of nightlife, from the gigs to the clubs, student bars, and pubs. All types of people have been accommodated, up to now, as fewer venues as daring as Static put on eclectic shows.

Static provided a genuinely individual space, where you were given a large floor, full technical support, and were safe in the knowledge that owner Paul Sullivan only put on events he thought were musically worth it. Where else in Liverpool would you see Abandon Normal Devices’ Spectres of the Spectacle (pictured)? Another defining event for me in that it was my first large scale co-curated event.

Although I don’t miss the Masque, or so much the CUC, with Static ceasing live music one has to wonder when the dominoes will stop falling. Despite being in a band and preparing myself for hosting another set of shows in the near future, I have no obligation to stick around. Like much of the Liverpool music scene we rely on students to come in and shake things up, but far too many of them leave the city once they’ve graduated.

Without a mixture of influences to push and pull things in different directions, how will Liverpool’s music scene progress and grow? There is the distinct possibility of it looking backwards, relying on the old crutch of The Beatles; and while their influence must be acknowledged, there is no longer a need for the City’s music to be in thrall to them. Should things continue unchecked, the possibility looms large.

Jon Davies

Image courtesy Thom Isom

Posted on 07/03/2012 by thedoublenegative