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
14th 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 21st 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 14th 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 19th January 1961, where, says Roberts, “They wore black leather,
had brand new instruments and played brilliantly”.
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 20th, 21st, 28th and 30th January and 4th, 6th, 10th, 11th and
25th February. Their last performance on Saturday 25th 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 24th
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 14th
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. “But it wasn’t easy,” said Neil. “At Lathom Hall…two
troublemakers followed Stu Sutcliffe into the dressing-room muttering things
like ‘Get your hair cut, girl!’ John and Pete saw this and went after them.
A fight broke out and John broke his little finger…It set crooked and never