Liverpool venue forced to close

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Liverpool small venue Mello Mello has closed with immediate effect – making it the latest in a string of live music clubs to be lost in recent months.

It had been fighting to survive via community donations as operators attempted to buy the property from its current owners, while struggling with a large increase in rates.

That effort failed after the building was handed over to an unidentified buyer, who’d offered more money.

Liverpool culture website GetIntoThis report: “While providing some of the finest music and entertainment offerings the city has to offer, it’s Mello’s ethos and its staff’s fierce independence which ensures there was quality and an integrity behind the business, which ultimately made it a venue worth fighting for.”

Operators hope to start again in another location, saying: “We have been unable to meet the huge increase in business rates imposed on us two years ago, and have battled the financial difficulties that several burglaries and the ever-evolving fabric of the city centre have incurred. We are deeply saddened to be closing our doors, but also truly proud of what has been achieved within these walls.”

Meanwhile, former Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth has joined the battle to save the Snooty Fox in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, by confirming a fundraising show in the venue.

Owner Malcolm Shipman this month launched a plea for £15,000 to secure its future against debts and equipment challenges.

Now he reports: “Even if you’re too young to know who the Scorpions are, just listen to how Uli makes his guitar sing. He’s coming to the Snooty Fox on October 21 – he asked to do the gig. Everything made back after expenses will go into making sure we’re here for a long time yet.”

Many small venues across the UK are locked in survival bids. Earlier this month the Cockpit in Leeds shut down, while the Fleece in Bristol narrowly avoided closure in August, soon after Bristol’s Tiger was put out of business following a single complaint.

Last year Manchester’s Night And Day found itself under threat while the 200 Club in Newport ceased trading. The Birmingham venue where Black Sabbath forged their careers was sold to developers during the summer. Guildford’s Boileroom was saved last week after a crunch council meeting following a noise complaint from one neighbour.