With the City perceived as now having a higher musical profile than for some years, the rush to grab a piece of the pie seems to have started in earnest. Carling’s announcement this week that they are to open a Liverpool Academy in September 2003 is final confirmation of rumours rife in the City for some 18 months.
The new Academy is on the site of the old Lomax/L2 venue in Holtham Street. The Lomax, a superb two-level venue, was forced to shut down in 2001, allegedly due to structural concerns. Little wonder, then, that Carling have indicated that a £1 million refit is to take place at the venue.
With the Lomax's move to the Cream/Nation complex having been an out-and-out failure - amid talk of bankruptcy - the Holtham Street building (which is adjacent to Lime Street Station) is ideally placed in every way to challenge Liverpool Students Union for high profile concerts - although the SU's Academy 1 has a confirmed capacity of 2050, which according to the University's entertainments department is 'significantly more than that of Holtham Street'.
Interestingly, the SU rebranded their venues as Liverpool Academy 1, 2 and 3 respectively during 2002, and it remains to be seen whether this will pose potential problems in the future.
With the rumour mill working overtime, virtually every potential gig-space in the City that may be currently lying empty has been touted as another venue to add to the current crop of performance spaces that have produced the current plethora of Scouse artists, including recent Lamacq live sessionists The Coral.