Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

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Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by humblebee » Fri May 16, 2008 10:21

Having noted that the stupid bastards who run Birmingham have allowed one of the city's precious few remaining small gig venues to be closed down, I'd like to put on record my affection for the Jug of Ale.

Despite its many years with a fucking great ugly Ocean Colour Scene poster on the wall of the upstairs gig bit, the Jug was up there with the truly great small venues of Britain... and it was a bastion of occasional indiepop gigs in one of the least indiepop cities there is. It wasn't somewhere you could put DIY gigs on - it was pretty much tied to a single promoter for all the time I knew it - but Arthur was brilliantly open to putting on popshows by all kinds of people. The Jug hosted many touring Sarah bands before I lived in Birmingham and still enjoyed visits from Heavenly during the 90s... then when I realised at the end of that decade that the new indiepop underground existed, it was as much a lifeline as ever.

There were plenty of great gigs there by local bands who weren't up on The Pop, and the Bearos Records specials stand out, but the indiepopshows were the best. Maybe the best I saw there featured Airport Girl, The Action Time (is it just me who misses them terribly?) and I think Marine Research... in midweek, with about 15 people there of course, but it was energetic and vital and delivered us few up from our grinding surrounds for a sweet rare breath of pop joy before we returned listlessly to our jobs and the Oasis copyists resumed on the stage. The first time I saw Saloon was there too, grown men falling to their knees and weeping to worship Amanda's revelatory voice, the lightest purest thing we'd ever heard in a hectic dark city of grime and clamour.

I've great memories of playing there as well... a fab old line-up with Saloon and Tender Trap, and a tremendous packed-out gig with Mr Hibbett and Jeffrey Lewis. And my first solo popshow was at the Jug in December 2002, before I went into hiding for a year.

*sniff*

I expect it'll be turned into flats or something.

Anorak, tell us about your favourite venues, whether they are still with us or not.

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by a layer of chips » Fri May 16, 2008 10:26

The Narrowboat in Nottingham. Now the site of a bank and the Nottingham Evening Post offices. It was a great pub with an upstairs room where I saw Huggby Bear, Velo Deluxe, Prolapse, Drugstore, S*M*A*S*H (!) and loads of others.

There hasn't been a venue like it in Nottingham since. Sob.

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Paquito » Mon Jun 23, 2008 20:13

I mentioned the late Cas Rock in Edinburgh elsewhere and that got me thinking and all nostalgic about venues that have bitten the dust and the memories I have of them so here we go...

Cas Rock, Edinburgh

Tiny, dingy place, in a less than glamourous area surrounded by strip clubs (that part of West Port in town is colloquially known as the "Public Triangle") but it always put on 3 or 4 band shows for only a few quid and was a haven for local bands. The Fall played there once, my pal's band (Sawyer) supported them, I think Will Oldham played there too. My first gig there was Blaggers ITA supported by China Drum and before a Spare Snare/Delgados gig (and yes, t'Delgados were supporting!) I pointed Stewart Henderson towards the nearest chippy! I remember there being a pool table in the back and people would congregate there while the bands were on - it wasn't uncommon to hear the balls clacking away (as it were...) in between songs! As I said, it turned into a tapas place called El Barrio and that shut down pretty quickly and just lay empty for ages. The building eventually got demolished and it's just a building site now, I've passed it a few times on the bus and it's quite sad to see it as a hole in the ground.

The Attic, Edinburgh

Basically the upstairs room of a pub that was converted into a gig venue but you could get a few folk in. Remembered by me for a Low gig where a crowd by the bar at the side of the stage wouldn't shut up despite everyone (including Zak Sally) telling them to, of course it was the support band and their pals, again not an uncommon occurrence. I interviewed Penthouse in the downstairs pub and spooked them by telling them that someone had been attacked with a machete in the street a week or so previous. The Cowgate is indeed a fun place...

In keeping with such places it was dark, dank and dingy until it got a makeover and became all shiny and the edge totally came off the place. Mr Gloom Button might be interested to read that I saw the Jubilee Allstars here, and they were very grand indeed. The downstairs pub became a rock/metal place called Opium and gigs just stopped there. Again, a shame.

Edinburgh Venue

Ah, the venerable old Venue. I first went there when I was a bairn, I'm pretty sure that Fudge Tunnel was my first gig there but we ended up missing them cos they went on so late and we had to run for the train. And run we bloody well did, lucky Waverley Station was barrier-free in those days! I don't know how many bands I saw there, fucking loads really. It was a shithole (the toilets were a disgrace!), but it was our shithole and the atmosphere was often tremendous especially when it was full. Ian Svenonious nearly broke my shoulder when he used me as leverage to get closer to the crowd at a Make-Up gig, I remember interviewing Coco from Man Or Astroman? on the steps outside and people walking by and stopping when he was giving it their alien schtick - we had a knowing look at each other and that was pretty great.

My last gig there was the reformed Dinosaur Jr and they gave the place a rousing send off. It had been sold for flats/offices/general development and closed soon after but it's still sitting there empty 2 and a bit years on. Somebody wrote "RIP. The Best" on the front door, it kinda was and it kinda wasn't but it's sorely missed in Edinburgh's gig scene.

13th Note (Glassford Street), Glasgow

Aye, the 13th Note basement. The size of the proverbial baw hair and no room to swing a hamster let alone a cat. Over a short period of time I saw Sleater-Kinney, US Maple and June Of 44 there for the combined total of £8, at that S-K gig Carrie Brownstein played one song standing on a crate so that she could see above the mass of humanity in front of her. Her head nearly bumped off the ceiling cos it was so low, it could be oppressively hot when it was packed and it certainly was that night. I also fell in love in that basement - my mate's band mentioned above played there and the guitarist's sister turned up and I ended up talking to her quite a bit throughout that night, progressively getting more and more into her. She gave me a lift up to the bus station and that was the last I saw of her as she moved to Amsterdam soon after. Le sigh...

Yes... Did I tell you I saw Sleater-Kinney there for £2? I'm pretty sure I did... It's a place called Bacchus now right? I'm pretty sure I've seen gigs advertised there from time to time.

What is it Scarfo said, "nostalgia must die"? Nah, not yet.
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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Mr Bear » Mon Jun 23, 2008 21:59

The Union Bar in Maidstone - while it was a bit of a dingy old place but I saw some fantastic gigs there in my formative years, including the aforementioned Scarfo. It was one of those sticky-floored, sweat on the walls kind of places where you leave half deaf, but (without wanting to be too precious about it) it, more than anywhere, really drummed into me how great an experience a good gig can be.

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by darvé » Mon Jun 23, 2008 23:15

I loved the Union Bar. Is it still there do you know?

It was really shit being a teenager in Gravesend, London was just too far away and too big and too daunting and it was somewhere that i'd just never even consider going for a night out. I can't quite remember how i discovered there was actually an alternative in Kent. I guess i was at college and met a few more like minded folks, we used to go to the friday night indie club in Gillingham, SubSonics, it ran for years in one room of those nigthclub places where they have fake battlements around the top of the building and 2 queues, one for people with shoes, one for people with taste.

I could never get back to Gravesend so we used to pile back to my mates house at Sittingbourne, after a while my now local started an indie night which ran for about 18 months, once every 3-4 weeks. I met my first ever proper girlfriend there, she was at college, i'd started working in London, but she'd actually been to London to see gigs and stuff, it was all quite eye opening, and she introduced me to both the Tonbridge Wells forum and the Union Bar.

The Forums an old abandoned toilet on top of small hill in the middle of Tonbridge Wells town centre, converted into a dingy venue, but it was ace, this was the time in the mid 90's that everyone seemed to write a fanzine and bands would come down and do a proper tour of provincial towns. I don't know if it was Kate's influence, but i recall seeing all the bands she was writing about - Posh, The Pin-ups, bis, i think there was a secret Kenickie tour warm up but i couldn't make that, Urusei Yatsura, The Delgados, Speedy... I think the venues still there, i thought about trying to go see Ikara Colt there a few years for old times sake, but it's in Tonbridge Wells, it's miles away (from London)

The Union bar was better though, i loved that place, we first went there to see Urusei Yatsura, got chatting to their roadie, Jaffa, over a heated disagreement Kate and I had over the wedding Present and ended up sitting with the band most of the night, they invited us backstage after which was a touch, they had Red Stripe too. Kenickie played a Christmas show there, the Delgados came down on their next tour.. I recall going there loads after i broke up with Kate. We'd all outgrown SubSonics so we headed there instead, i remember a really, full, sweaty Sneaker Pimps gig, Garageland, Bennet on the same day Labour won the General Election which i almost missed as my dad was going to give me lift but he'd had a few celebratory beers and i had to get a late train.. AIRHEAD playing a hometown show which i dragged a bunch of people from gravesend too 'cos i used to right love Airhead.. seeing Ultrasound there about 15 times as their keyboard player was a local....

Fucking Travis, my mate dragged me off to see Travis when they release U16 girls.. i'd forgotten about that, this threads stirring up some thankfully repressed memories.
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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Stainless Steven » Wed Jul 02, 2008 02:19

The Duchess Of York in Leeds, now some designer clothes shop...Kevin Clines or something.
You name it they played there..before they shut it obviously.

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by djbones » Thu Jul 03, 2008 23:02

The Duchess was a toilet, where only a few people in the pub could actually see the bands. But what great memories, PJ Harvey, Cranberries, MBV, Popguns, Shamen (pre-dance), er, Sultans of Ping, a mental Paris Angels gig, Waltones, Heavenly, Orchids, Train Set, too many to mention.

Leeds has also lost the Astoria, where I saw amongst others The Wedding Present in about '88, when Gedgey got twatted on stage.

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by tonieee » Fri Jul 04, 2008 08:50

For many years Leeds was the Duchess of York for me. I used to go quite regularly for gigs but never went any where else in Leeds until Shumsky and crew moved there.

I think I once got married in the Duchess of York...

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Paquito » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:53

I have become a massive nostalgist with regards to gig venues and this site, despite its clunky layout, is something I liked looking through immensely -

http://www.edinburghgigarchive.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I loved the fact that Husker Du played the "Potterrow Mandela Centre" at Edinburgh Uni in 1985. Right on!

Hopefully the new incarnation of the Caley Cinema will give the city a bit of a boost gig wise and a Barrowlands type venue capacity wise which it's been sorely lacking.
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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by roobee » Tue Jul 15, 2008 15:48

That site is ace! The photos from the early 80s Meadows Festival are great. I wonder if something similar exists for Glasgow?

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Paquito » Tue Jul 15, 2008 15:58

I've seen one for the Glasgow Apollo, I think it's linked to in its Wikipedia article.
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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by soft revolution » Tue Jul 15, 2008 16:27

Paquito wrote:I have become a massive nostalgist with regards to gig venues and this site, despite its clunky layout, is something I liked looking through immensely -

http://www.edinburghgigarchive.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That's a fantastic site.

What was the pub on South Clerk St where Nirvana played once? One of my friends would always point it out to me as we walked past. It's opposite Blockbusters I think.

Does the Moo Bar still do gigs?
And by me, I mean, Flexo.

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Paquito » Tue Jul 15, 2008 17:04

The Southern? It was the night they played the Calton Studios (now Studio 24) wasn't it?
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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by EdinburghGigArchive » Mon Jul 28, 2008 22:05

Glad you like the site........

Still a long way to go with it, but starting to get padded out a bit now. Didn't think it was that "clunky" Paquito, I am trying my best :-)

Anyway, thank you for posting the link

SS
x

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Paquito » Mon Jul 28, 2008 22:17

Heh, that'll learn me.

It's a good site sir, I had a fascinating trawl through it. I see from recent reports that The Venue is becoming an art space/gallery type thing. It'll be strange to go there and know that I've seen folk hang from the rafters and dive off that rail they had front right of the stage. I have so many memories from the place, none of them involving it being bright and airy and breezy as it appears to be now!
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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by EdinburghGigArchive » Mon Jul 28, 2008 22:37

Yes, http://www.inglebygallery.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, the website front page has a picture of, I think, the space upstairs from the main hall below. At least the buildings not been knocked down which I thought may happen at some point.

Thank you again for posting the link to the site.......

ss
x

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by humblebee » Thu Nov 13, 2014 16:30

The Buffalo Bar is shortly to be closed down and turned into something really shit.

So many good times there in the indiepop resurgence years. The Bowlie all-dayers. Loads of great Fortuna Pop! events. Slow Down Tallahassee supporting Tilly & the Wall. First time I played with a band in London was there. Met up with, drank and danced with a lot of you lovely Anorakers at the Buffalo Bar as well. It's too sad.

And I always liked it when you went to the loo and the walls used to shake when a train was going through the Tube station.

Too sad.

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by darvé » Thu Nov 13, 2014 17:11

A Slug and Lettuce Pete.. As the one they have 10 mins away isnt enough.

Clare got told last night, so we've had a little longer to go through those feelings, but as i've just said to a friend of mine at work:

'I've been through an emotional rollercoaster over a stupid dingy room underneath a pub'

As that's all it is, right? She (the friend) seems to think it's no big deal, but i lay awake last night thinking about the times i've had there, the great times, the times that have continued as recently as last Friday. I'm still trying to remember the best times, other people are writing things far more eloquently than i ever can, other people who are far more affected by it than i am, but it still hurts.

They'd recently put beer up to £4 a bottle, i didnt like that, but it's The Buffalo Bar.. it's like a second home.. and now it's going to be a SLUG AND FUCKING LETTUCE.

14 years of history for a chain pub
and that snare drum, that drum roll
means we've got a winner

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by Carys » Thu Nov 13, 2014 18:19

Is there any way we can petition the landlords or anything like that?

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Re: Venues we have loved (and perhaps lost)

Post by mkgleeds » Thu Nov 13, 2014 20:19

They're building a pub under a pub !

Shame - very few centrally located venues left - everything seems to be moving East

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