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From the Powerstation to the O2 Academy: Obituary return to Liverpool after 33 years

To commemorate the return of death metal legends Obituary to Liverpool for their forthcoming gig at O2 Academy, we look back at the first time the band came to the city in 1990 and discover how this appearance sheds light on the emergence of a venue that would go on to be a rock and metal institution.


Obituary (photo credit: Tim Hubbard)

When US death metal goliaths Obituary take to the stage at O2 Academy Liverpool this Thursday (7th September 2023) it will be the first time they have performed live in the city since way back in 1990. Touring in support of their eleventh studio album, Dying of Everything, which was released in January of this year, the Floridians look set to deliver an unmissable show.

Joining them as special guests at the Academy, and making the event even more eye-wateringly heavy, are none other than Liverpool’s finest purveyors of insane slamming brutal deathgrind, Crepitation. Buoyed by their recent addition to this year’s Damnation Festival and by the recent release of their outrageous new album, Monstrous Eruption of Impetuous Preposterosity, expect the Scouse quintet to leave the sell-out crowd with stupid grins on their faces as well as sore neck muscles.

Rounding out the line-up are fast-rising Leeds cross-over thrashers, Pest Control, who are following up a triumphant performance on the Sophie Lancaster stage at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air festival.

To mark the occasion of Obituary’s return to the city, we looked back to their last appearance in 1990 when they were touring in support of their watershed album, Cause of Death. Liverpool hosted the first date of the Live (Not Dead) in the UK tour on 26th September 1990 at Sloanes.

Obituary 'Live (Not Dead) In The UK flyer

The Wood Street club, which would soon be renamed the Krazyhouse, became one of the UK’s premier rock clubs throughout the 90s and 2000s. However, although it was originally listed as taking place at Sloanes, the ticket stub (see below) for the Obituary gig, reveals how the club was already undergoing something of a shift in identity as it features the moniker, ‘Powerstation’.

Obituary ticket stub

In fact, thoughout 1990 and 1991 it put on several gigs from hard rock and metal acts under the Powerstation banner. For instance, according to listings from RAW magazine, Deicide, Cancer and Messiah played at the Powerstation on Wednesday 5th December 1990. While a couple of weeks later, they hosted outlandish Led Zeppelin reggae rock tribute act, Dread Zeppelin, on Monday 17th December.

The Powerstation venue name continued into 1991 with Cronos and Warfare performing on 29th January. Indeed, it was not until summer 1991 that the first reference to ‘Liverpool Crazy House’ can be found in the RAW listings for a gig by Mindfunk on 2nd August.

The ‘Crazyhouse’ then became hosts to UK funk rockers, Two Tribes, on Friday 23rd August. By January 1992, in the listing for a gig by Rattlesnake Kiss, the venue’s evolution was complete and the ‘Crazyhouse’ had become the ‘Krazyhouse’.

Going back to the original Obituary performance at Powerstation in 1990, it is worth noting that the band made a personal appearance during the afternoon at the much-missed Penny Lane Records on Bold Street.

The actual gig itself was also a memorable one for those who attended. Reflecting via social media, Darren Golding told us that: ‘I was at the 1990 gig and remember the no stage diving rule getting enforced. It was a tiny stage to be fair.’

Although there was no stage diving that night, it did not mean that a suitable amount of mayhem did not ensue when Obituary took to the stage. As Tony Burke recalled: ‘A great night. The toilets were like an A&E department, with people getting cuts and bruises in the mosh pit.’

With the recent announcement that the 7th September show is a sell-out and that it has been upgraded to O2 Academy 1, it is certain that we are in for a night of good-natured mayhem (although hopefully this time without too many cuts and bruises).

See you in the pit.

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