Jeez, it’s been a rough November in the city. First the grandfather of newspapers, the Daily Post, announces it’s to be cut down to a weekly, and today (November 28th) we hear that Seel Street venue The Masque has shut down.
A series of tweets posted on their official Twitter page reads: “It comes with great sadness that we have to announce The Masque has ceased trading as from today. All shows are now cancelled or moved. You are entitled to a refund from your ticket providers. Thanks for the support you have shown over the years and for being our friend, we’ll miss you!”
The Masque has been a real key player in the city’s live music resurgance over the past 10 years – things that stick in our mind include the Arctic Monkeys there on the cusp of their fame, The Slits weeks before Ari Up passed away, as well as the hundreds of stellar Chibuku and Circus clubnights it’s played host to. (Actually, we don’t remember those as much, but the Masque’s lager supply is probably to blame for that). A couple of years ago it was snapped up from the Barfly chain and continued as an independent: a smaller budget than a brand like Barfly, but with even more passion for providing fantastic music to Liverpool. In the past it’s also played an important part in both Liverpool Music Week and Sound City schedules.
It’s a venue with such potential, but in a city with some other mid-sized rivals we can understand why it’d struggle. O2 Academy and the Kazimier in particular seem to bag many of the larger touring bands passing through the city, leaving the Masque concentrating more on local artists and clubnight brands.
Not only will it be missed as a gig and club venue – it’s multi-roomed interior perfect for a varied dance music lineup like Chubuku – but it’s one of the only venues in the city where younger bands could actually play. It’s 14+ door policy meant younger musicians could cut their teeth with support slots and showcases every week, a really important element in any city’s musical growth. Its commitment to local musicians was evident right until the end: it’s rare you’d see a ‘name’ headline act play there without a number of local bands given a support slot.
We hope the venue continues in some form. It’s a fantastic and unique space, with a great location, but needs a nudge in the right direction. Maybe we’ll hear the world’s best DJs and bands reverberating around the theatre’s walls again in future, but if we don’t, it’ll be very much missed.
What were your favourite Masque events? Comment below. We’d love to hear about ’em.