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(Credit: The Adelphi)

Music

How Hull venue The Adelphi survived the pandemic

@josephtaysom

The Adelphi in Hull has been fertile ground for new bands over the last 36-years since it opened its doors for the first time. Everyone from Oasis, to The Stone Roses, to Green Day has performed at the venue, with the latter even sleeping on the hallowed stage due to a failure to book appropriate accommodation. There’s a special date pencilled in for IDLES to return to the 200-capacity venue on Humberside venue later this year, optimism and positivity built by a genius method to support the institution and the bands around them.

The pandemic, like many around the country, has prevented the venue from doing what it has done best since its incarnation back in October 1984 — being at the heart of the community and championing new bands. In these uncertain times, The Adelphi was forced to think outside the box to help new talent, so they have created their own micro-label entitled ‘Fast & Bulbous’. Every month there will be a new release by an emerging local band, one which the venue is helping use their platform to shine a light on, with the first release coming courtest from art-rockers Bunkerpop.

“The Adelphi, like most small independent venues across the country, is always at financial breaking point even at the best of times,” label co-founder and manager of The Adelphi, Paul Sarel, tells Far Out. “The pandemic forced us to think differently, hence the label and the big push on merchandise. We’re fortunate that we have 36 years of history and experience to draw upon alongside a really strong skill set and a positive outlook.

“We’re a determined bunch here, and resilience is par for the course when it comes to being from Hull,” Sarel passionately continues. “At times, we’ve had to dig deep, but it’s in the blood, highly addictive and bloody, brilliantly rewarding. There was no way we were just going to sit back and give up.”

Despite his optimism, the fact remains that the way in which the government has treated independent venues during this perilous period has been nothing short of despicable. However, Sarel has defiantly stopped it from defeating The Adelphi. “Guidance for the whole hospitality industry and music venues has been confusing, vague, and without a plan for much of the pandemic,” Sarel states.

“We’ve not known whether to stick or twist at times, and some places have simply not been able to cope and have gone under. We have had some brilliant guidance from Mark Davyd at Music Venues Trust. Him and his team have been brilliant at challenging the government and holding them to task. It feels like we’ve got a lot more challenges to come, though. Watch this space.”

In 2019, the venue celebrated its 35th anniversary with a set from Fatboy Slim, AKA Norman Cook, who traded playing to a million people on Brighton Beach to just 200 fans inside one of Britain’s finest sweat pits. Cook was there at the early days of the venue whilst living in the city and playing in The Housemartins, who signed their debut record contract on The Adelphi’s stage. It was fitting that he returned for a special one-off show.

Sarel recalled his fond memories of the concert, “After a few conversations amongst the powers that be, Norman was more than happy to perform and was wonderfully humble. It really was a wonderful performance too, with the entire capacity crowd of 200 sweaty bodies leading an acapella version of The Housemartins’ Caravan Of Love’ when the PA temporarily tripped out.

“Norman’s face was a picture of delight, and he totally bought into it. He totally gets the humble background and the importance of the venue. It was the perfect way to celebrate the 35th anniversary.”

Listen to Bunkerpop’s new single, ‘Time’s Up, Light’s Out’ below and visit Fast & Bulbous’ Bandcamp page here.

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