When the now legendary (and much missed!) Korova club first opened in Liverpool, it was a cool, stylish oasis of good music and good people in the middle of the carnage of Slater street. We had some great times there… and here’s some reminiscences for the 2nd installment of our Dirt Archives.
Dirtblonde were, also, one of the first people to be invited to host a regular club night there. We called it F*CK.
We ran it once a month, and the opening night was on John Peel’s Day. We always made the point of playing stuff that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else in Liverpool, besides the occasional hits.
We were the first DJs in Liverpool to play CSS and Long Blondes, and we always tried to do cool DJ sets you wouldn’t hear anywhere else…you were as likely (or more!) to hear us playing stuff such as Royal Trux, The Action Time and Television Personalities as you were to hear hits by The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Franz Ferdinand.
I remember playing The Strokes’ Juicebox the day after the song was posted online… so that must’ve been a first too in Liverpool! We’d play whatever was fun to listen to loud, so a good Franz Ferdinand B-side was as likely to be played as a Libertines album track or some obscure band you’ve never heard of!
Korova would give us a modest budget to help us run it and book some bands. Dirtblonde would play most of the times… but not always. We played some of our best/worst/messiest gigs there. An early description of a F*CK club night went like this:
“[Dirtblonde’s] last gig at Korova collapsed after just 4 songs,in a mess of broken glass and smashed guitars. Lula Blue had her feet licked by fans and Ivan DJ-ed with blood on his face. “
On another occasion, Dirtblonde plus two friends (Denis Schiel ex-Little Flames and Amy Corcoran ex-Kling Klang) did a gig as a band called The Fuck Ups. The idea was to do a very spontaneous and free gig! We just got together the night before the gig to write and practice new songs to play at the gig. So, the Fuck Ups was a band that only existed for 24 hours!!! I remember the first song on our set was an improvisational experiment called “Two Frets Apart”, where each note you play had to be followed by a note played two frets apart. We also did a cover of Velvet Underground’s ‘We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together’.
With F*CK, we also tried to book new and up-coming talent from Liverpool, and gave gigs to bands such as The Affection, Jewel Thief, The Immigrants, ASBOS, The Howls, Heads Of State, amongst others. We tried to get some bands from up north too, such as Bookstore, Yr Impossible, Oxfam Glamour Models and Billy Ruffian.
Finally, we also tried to book touring bands from farther afield, such as the ace Underground Railroad, We Rock Like Girls Don’t and Popular Workshop. One of the most memorable nights, though, was when we booked Dundee’s most popular sons, The View. Well… we’re not very proud of it in a way, because we think they’re awful, but it was a legendary night for a few reasons.
That gig was the first ever headlining gig for The View, at least in Liverpool. They played at our night just under 2 months before the release of their debut single, and there was a certain buzz about the band. Anyway, we were not really interested in them… we got them by accident! What happened, is that we invited James Endeacott to DJ, and since he was about to launch his new label 1965 Records, he asked if we could book a couple of his new acts. So we said ‘yeah’ and got The View and Jack Afro (who were even worse!) in the bargain.
The night was a major success and everyone enjoyed it, so that was good. James Endeacott (former A&R for Rough Trade Records who signed The Strokes and The Libertines) was a total legend. Mad, booze-fuelled and very friendly! (Check him out at 1:15min on this Libertine’s There Are No Innocent Bystanders trailer.) I remember chatting with him in the DJ booth, and him telling me the story of how he signed The Libertines and how Pete Doherty and Carl Barat were so impressed when they first saw The Strokes, that they had to change styles. He also played The Yardbird’s For Your Love during his DJ set, which to me meant he must be an OK guy!
To counter-balance the macho, trad rock leanings of The View and Jack Afro, of course Dirtblonde had to play, as well as our friends Automation (later re-named Sex Education). Apparently, one of the members of The View tried to make a pass at Zoe, Automation’s lady keyboardist, only to be hastily rejected!
My only memory of The View was of them being quite aloof and unfriendly. When Dirtblonde were playing, they were right by the front of the stage, and wanted us to hurry up so they could do their set. We didn’t of course, and feeling quite pissed, pissed off and fired up, we ended our set in our usual destructive manner. It’s funny, but it’s always like this: all of those trad rock macho bands always go on about how rock’n’roll they are, how much they love “birds and booze” and all that bullshit, but when it comes to music, they always sound lame, tame and not very rock’n’roll at all. They don’t understand rock’n’roll, really. So… when Dirtblonde finished the set, as the View looked on, they all seemed a bit scared of us, because we were those crazy rock’n’roll people smashing bottles and making a mess onstage, disrespecting our instruments, and The View’s drummer looked quite scared, thinking that Lula might damage his drum kit! Quite funny. So yeah. Dirtblonde scared The View… and it felt good. On the other hand, itwas a bit cynical to book an up-and-coming band we didn’t like, just to help creating a buzz for the night. As promoters it was a good move, but to be honest I wouldn’t do such a thing again! I’m more inclined to booking cool bands I like and lose money… hence the fact I try not to do this type of band night anymore!!!
Those early days of Korova were great fun, we met lots of good people who we’re still friends with… alas, these days are gone, the original Korova closed down, the 2nd one ended up in flames (with our gear inside!) and cool new venues have opened in Liverpool since.
Eventually, we decided not to do a regular night anymore, and started Liverpool Calling, putting gigs less regularly, as and when we could be bothered. Sometimes at Korova, sometimes in other venues. Always with the same spirit as F*CK, but that’s another story!