aa5ShapeMagazine (1)NE1RW_full_logo

Downbeat Club - Carliol Square


The Sixties began to swing in Newcastle at a former school building on Carliol Square, home of the Downbeat. Its clientele considered themselves a completely different species to the regulars at the dancehalls in town, who no doubt regarded these art students, beatniks and Bohemians with the same disdain. They came for the jazz and bebop, provided by world class residents the EmcCee 5, as well as the late bar, and many famous musicians called in to wet their whistles and jam with the band.

The club was a very basic upstairs room, the walls festooned with posters and a tiny stage at one end. Saturday was the highlight of the week, when the sessions went on all night, earning it a reputation as a den of iniquity. This broadened its appeal to the city's young sensation seekers, and so the jazz quintet was replaced by the more rebellious sounds of The Animals. But it failed to keep up to speed with Newcastle' fast developing nightlife and closed in the mid-Sixties. The building was demolished and replaced by the slow lane of the Central Motorway East.