Hooton Tennis Club at Kazimier review

Henry Lewis reflects on one of Liverpool's brightest lights saying goodbye to one of its much loved venues.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 21st Oct 2016

Image: Hooton Tennis Club

Such is the legacy of Liverpool’s Kazimier that before it shut its doors to any more gigs, the ambience of the venue at its fullest was preserved for replication in the future.

To achieve this, the entire room was laser mapped by a few seconds of ear popping low to high frequencies. One day this exact replica of a full Kazimier will be used in such a way that you can listen to a band and imagine what it would be like to witness them at one of the nation’s favourite venues.

This mind boggling feat of technology was the reason behind a poignant minute of silence held by the crowd during the final gig the venue would hold.

The band with the privilege, or perhaps pressure, of seeing it off with a bang were local lads Hooton Tennis Club.

Originally from the Wirral, Hooton Tennis Club are one of 2015’s best newcomers. Their lo-fi indie slacker music has the kind of lyrical quirks that sets them apart from others and have resulted in a debut album full of lengthy song titles.


The subject of one song in particular, ‘Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair’ (listen above), was a figure in the crowd on a night where the band at the top of the bill felt well at home.

This needn’t have come as a surprise. Bassist Callum McFadden’s job as a hydrographic surveyor on the river Mersey coupled with the band’s rise to fame through BBC Introducing Merseyside means they are well and truly a part of Liverpool’s beating heart.

Their headline show, and final gig of their UK tour, only cemented this as the four-piece rattled through Highest Point In Cliff Town almost as if it were on shuffle.

They stayed true to the album only with opening track 'Up In The Air' which set the precedent for a night of scuzzy, languid guitar music.

Flanked by a pair of barely decorated Christmas trees and a smattering of tinsel, it almost looked as if Christmas had been and gone at the Kazimier, although anything more festive would have looked at out of place at the gloriously dingy sweatbox.

It’s been a torrid year for independent venues in the north west, with Manchester’s Roadhouse also closing down to make way for new developments.

All is not lost for “the Kaz” however, there are suggestions that those behind the legendary creative hub are planning a host of new projects in various places around Liverpool.

Not dissimilar to the venue’s final headliners, in new song ‘Meet Me At The Molly Bench’, Hooton Tennis Club previewed the continuation of their long titled garage pop.

Once the minute’s silence had given the audience a chance to toast a place of such cultural importance, there was time for the band to play their own tribute through the solemn ‘Jasper’.

The opening lyrics; “we lost a great, great man today” had added resonance on a bittersweet evening for the band. A formula of adolescent anecdotes and guitar hero antics is definitely the Hooton way and was demonstrated perfectly in ‘I’m Not Going Rose’s Again’.

While every student sympathised with the lyrics, “I’m writing an essay due, and it’s something that I don’t wanna do” only a few moments later lead guitarist James Madden was tearing into a deliciously intricate solo. 

There was much more of the same in the ridiculously hooky ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L. P.I.E.R.R.E’, a song dedicated to a former boss of singer Ryan Murphy.

Rather than bring "a tear to an eye", it prompted grins from an audience blessed to see such a promising band at such an early stage in their career.

After being discovered by Carl Hunter, the bassist from the Farm, and signed to Heavenly records after only three gigs, things are moving fast for the quartet.

If this wasn't enough, their place in Liverpool’s long list of musical greats was given added credibility when The Coral’s Bill Ryder-Jones stepped in to produce their debut album.

He was also on hand to give the Kazimier the send-off it deserved by singing backing vocals on his protéges' final track of the evening, ‘Always Coming Back 2 You’.

The five of them on such a renowned stage together felt like a celebration of what they have given to the city’s indie catalogue in recent years.

Ultimately the gig will go down as a night of mixed emotions. While Liverpool said hello to the latest group of hot young things to set alight its music scene, it was also a goodbye to one of its dearest venues.

Read Hooton Tennis Club interview: Slowly Conquering The World