Lathom Hall
By Bill Harry  

Brian Kelly’s advert for the Silver Beats only appearanceA venue situated in Lathom Avenue, Seaforth, Liverpool L21 which was originally built in 1884 as a cinema. It became one of several venues, including Litherland Town Hall and Aintree Institute, promoted by Brian Kelly.

It was standard practice in Liverpool to offer groups ‘auditions’, which would actually take place at a live show. In other words, the promoter would regularly have groups playing for free with the enticement that he might book them.

Under the name the Silver Beats, the group who were later to become the Beatles auditioned for Kelly at Lathom Hall during the interval on Saturday 14 May 1960 on a bill which included established Liverpool bands Kingsize Taylor & the Dominoes, Cliff Roberts & the Rockers and the Deltones. As a result of their brief performance, Kelly booked them for the following week, on Saturday 21 May. He advertised the event, which was the first time the group had officially appeared in an advertisement. Despite the fact that they’d only auditioned, the advertisement billed: “Silver Beats, Dominoes, Deltones.”

In spite of the top billing they didn’t turn up for the gig. Instead they left on a tour of Scotland backing Johnny Gentle without informing Kelly who, as a result, didn’t book them again for several months until Bob Wooler talked him into it.

Drummer Cliff Roberts recalled the Silver Beats’ appearance that first night on 14 May and said they were a scruffy bunch whose drummer hadn’t even brought his kit and asked if he could borrow Cliff’s. Roberts had a brand new Olympic kit that he hadn’t even used on stage himself, so he naturally refused. However, he agreed to play with the Silver Beats and they performed six numbers together: “four rock ‘n’ roll standards that all of the groups played, and two originals that they had to teach me.” He says that the group then disappeared and he didn’t see them until eight months later when they appeared on the bill at the Alexandra Hall, Crosby on Thursday 19 January 1961, where, says Roberts, “They wore black leather, had brand new instruments and played brilliantly.”

A touch of ‘Pulp Fiction’ with a ‘Seven Year Itch’ Marilyn All their subsequent appearances at Lathom Hall took place during the first two months of 1961, by which time Kelly was paying them an average of eight pounds and ten pence a performance. Their appearances at the venue took place on 20, 21, 28 and 30 January and 4, 6, 10, 11 and 25 February. Their last performance on Saturday 25 February took place on George Harrison’s eighteenth birthday (or so George believed at the time. It was many years later that he discovered he was actually born on 24 February).

Incidentally, a group who supported them on a number of Lathom Hall gigs was Faron & the Tempest Tornadoes.

It was at Lathom Hall on 14 May 1960 that an incident occurred with troublemakers. In 1966, Neil Aspinall was to recall that the group was often a target for gangs who would shout insults at them because they were either looking for a fight or were annoyed that their girls fancied the foursome. For the sake of peace, the group ignored the taunts.

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