Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Memories of Planet X club, Liverpool
Question: Hi Digg. In the 90's my friends and I used to go to a club in Liverpool called Planet X. From memory the club was about the size of a terraced house with the bands playing on the floor in what was essentially someones front room. We saw lots of earache bands there back in the day, Carcass, Entombed (on their first UK tour), Bolt Thrower, Pitchshifter, Cathedral (what I believe was their first gig - in front of about 15 people! Supporting S.O.B) and many other bands. This was a classic venue and I can find nothing on the interweb about it at all! I wondered if you ever visisted there and if you had any memories of the place as a lot of your acts played there. There was also a video about the Liverpool scene with Carcass playing there shown on Granada TV, again nothing on the net!
On a related note one of the local bands to come out of that scene was Anathema. They played there many times and back then when they where coming up there was a real hype around them and they looked set to be massive. After I dropped out of the DM scene I was shocked to find out that they turned into some massive Pink Floyd sound alike rock band! I wondered if you ever thought of signing them before they signed to Peaceville, if you rated them back then and what you think of their subsequent transformation.
Anyway great blog, great label.
Ste From: Suttuon808303@gmail.com
Answer: Cheers Ste, thanks for reminding me what great gigs took place at Planet X in Liverpool, it hosted nearly all the early UK hardcore and grindcore bands' early shows. I don't know you, but I guess we were at many of the same gigs together because I loved travelling up to Liverpool, I'd stay at friends houses like early Liverpool punk/HC scenesters Middie, Pek, Granny and also Carcass' Bill Steers parents place out in Heswall.I remember a local HC act Jailcell Recipes would open many of the shows.
The buzz around the HC/grindcore bands was special in Liverpool which made the gigs more exciting, even if it was only 15 people, they were diehards! I dunno why, Scousers are just more down to earth, and seem more intense about their music, and life in general it seems.I loved visiting the city for that reason.
The reason you can't find it on the web is because you are forgetting it was actually first and foremost a Goth club.Maybe you did'nt know that? The main clientele was the massive gothic/alernative scene of the mid-late 80s.Hundreds of em would pack the club to the rafters every weekend, grooving to the likes of Sisters Of Mercy or The Cult.The club runners had a 25th anniversary reunion night a year ago.Spot anyone you know? The club even has a Myspace and is planning more reunion nights.
Back in the late 80s, no clubs would book grindcore, it was unlistenable noise to most ears, and it had no fan-base to speak of, outside of the couple of dozen dudes who played in the bands.Planet X was the place everyone played simply because the club owners were open-minded and kind enough to allow hiring out of the the club to outsiders,so people like local HC stalwart Pete C would promote and arrange many of the early grindcore gigs there himself.
I think I even stayed for the club night once, being in no hurry to go home after the gig. I remember the club transformed itself at dusk, the stacks of TV sets at the top of the stairs would come to life and start playing horror movies, and in no time at all the club would he heaving as hundreds of goths would descend.
Pictured right is HC scenester and down for lifer, Pek at the 25 yr reunion club.
Try searching Planet X Goth and you get tons of results.
Regarding Anathema, for some reason they were never on my radar.Seemingly out of nowhere they were snapped up by Peaceville early on, and along with Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride became the big 3 bands on that label, forging this brand new sound of doom-laden Gothic rock, to much acclaim, and deservedly so.
For me personally, they just weren't grindcore enough for my tastes, and I have never much followed what they were up as far as releases go. I think I've only barely met the Kavanaghs once or twice, we were in the same early 90s "death/doom/grind" scene, but moved in different circles.
Actually Earache's label manager Dan Tobin was working at Peaceville in the early 90s and he's told me about Anathema's early years, he travelled with them on their first tours abroad.That band endured a level of hardship in the early days which lesser bands surely could not stomach.A lot of bands I work with are stony broke when they are starting out but the level of poverty within that band was shocking, they had literally nothing 'cept some instruments and their own self-belief.Anathema deserves respect for breaking out of Liverpool onto the world stage through sheer hard work, and talent.
Nowadays as you say they have mutated into a biggish selling progressive rock outfit, they have a dual fanbase because they can play to huge metal festival audiences as well as to folky-art gatherings when they go acoustic.