Joy Division

31st December 1977: The Swingin' Apple, 18-22 Wood Street, Liverpool

This was the final Warsaw gig

Richie remembers the venue: " The Wilsons is now the Revolution above that used to be a gay bar called the Bar Royal and above that Freewheelers (briefly the Nightriders when first opened). The block was owned by Sadie - famous club onwer and character in Liverpool from the 60s onwards and the lot was sold after his death. Bar Royal / Freewheelers is now tha Camel club after being briefly absorbed into the Krazyhouse (metal club) next door before being sold on.

I'm sure it was the Wilsons that was the Swingin' Apple but was too young to know it and some people reckoned it was the whole block or even just the top floor (Freewheelers) sorry can't be more help there. I did know some people who claimed that they were at the Warsaw gig. This side of town was very much a harder core antithesis to the Erics arty punk crowd over at Mathew street and Warsaw (as opposed to Joy Division) were namedchecked a bit by the older skinheads that were still around for years later".

Then and now (2009) - which club was on which floor

More info from:

Swinging Apple - club that ran 77/78 and was thought to be for those not cool enough for Eric’s. it was the top floor of a place in Seel St, of the 3 levels, the bottom two were gay bars/clubs (Samantha’s Club and the Bar Royal), it did eventually turn into the biker club “Nightriders”. In summer of 1977 when bands played, between sets they would go to cool off on the back stairs, some of the staff and regulars from the 2 bars below soon found those, young sweaty boys, they would furnish them with drinks, obviously hoping to score! Club got a mention in Julian Cope’s ‘Head On’ book. Margi Clarke’s brother, Frank Clarke (Letter to Brezhnev etc) was orig manager. The DJ was Peter Thomas (Beyond The Implode backing vocalist). Eddie Smith says; ‘I remember bringing along a bag of punk / new wave records on the opening night because while Peter had some good punk stuff, he didn’t have enough to spread over the whole night.

Unfortunately, because the new fangled pogo dancing caused the floor to bounce, a weight had to be put on the record deck playing arm to stop the needle from jumping. This, in turn, scarred some top-level vinyl with horrible scratches.The Liverpool punk in-crowd were all there. I remember Pete Burns laying on the floor the whole night, probably getting off on the pogo vibrations’. On New Years Eve, a Manchester band called Warsaw played their last gig under that name at the venue before changing it to Joy Division. The Apple’s days were numbered when it became a bit of a battleground for punk versus teddy boy warfare and tended to be a place were the average fun-seeker avoided. An image-change as the Fat Club (complete with murals of hamburgers, chips, ice cream etc on the walls) didn’t really take off and the place was closed.

John (Elvis) remembers the Apple:
I remember 'the apple' very well .I used to go there quite often and remember people like Banjo, box head, gonzo, Nigel, tony clark, tony burns, mad mary, pete burns, pez, jay, and many others. I was a teddyboy and never had any trouble in the apple. contrary to popular belief there was no big conflict between teds and punks in 77,78, 79 etc, But there was a little grief between the rockabillies/teds and the neo mods that sprang up after the movie Quadrophenia was released in 79 ( I think ) . On the whole teds, punks, mods and any other cult/ minority groups got on great and we generally went to each others bars and clubs. I even went out with a modette named Karen for 5 or 6 months. No, the main source of grief for all of us were the 'squares' those numbskull beauts who are the 'mister aimless' middle of the road donkeys who will dress in whatever fashion, listen to what ever music, is foisted on them and whose reaction to anyone who looks different is " Hahaha look at him, he's not wearing flares and platforms like us, Look, he hasnt got long hair in a centre part like us, he's got a quiff...........Get him! "

As regards the apple it was on the top floor and the bar below was called 'ceasers' it used to be full of bouncers drinking there after hours, below that on the ground floor was the bar royal, which always had the door shut. inside, the apple was painted black, it had a small room with a bar and seating with tables around the walls. The opposite wall to the one where you entered had an arched opening each end with a wall about 10 ft long connecting them. Going through these arches took you on to a small dance floor and there was a small stage about 18" high across the back wall. It was a tiny club totally out of proportion in relation to its effect on those who went there, and those who later wished they had gone there.

I loved the apple it was totally genuine, no poseurs, unlike Erics, which I also liked and went to, to see the bands, both punk eg xray specs and later rockabilly eg the polecats.

The apple later became the dada bar but it was on its last legs by 79.

It was the only bar in wood street that I remember in the late 70's. There was only the Swan at the very top and Maxwells Plum at the very bottom on the junction with hannover street. The empire pub was an old mans pub and shut at 10.30pm. It was a dark gloomy street but loads of fun for us.

Other people remember there was no stage. Bands had to perform on the floor and musicians often had to step to one side mid performance to let someone get to the toilet.