Top 10 live music venues I’ve been to so far. Part 2: Numbers 6-3
Hello again you lovely people. I really hope you enjoyed the first instalment of this mini-feature. (Read it here if you haven’t done so yet.) Time to crack on with the next bit, but a quick reminder that all starred photos are subject to me using some words in a legal capacity. (Look, I can’t afford a solicitor and the possibility of representing myself and paying my own costs will just kill me, alright?!?!?! So please indulge me.)
6. Mad Ferret, Preston
My visits to Preston to see a certain band have been well documented, but what additionally helps to makes things worthwhile is a visit to the “Ferret”, another venue for up-and-coming bands to cut their teeth in. I just like the venue’s homely feel, and the numerous posters and paintings which adorn the walls.
Gig highlight: Next Stop Atlanta, September 13 2011
All things considered, my favourite NSA gig to this point has to be the fundraiser they put on ahead of their trip down south to record the tracks that made up their mini-album ‘The Things You Do Best’. It was just a magical evening, with them playing the longest set I’ve seen them do to this point.
5. The Cockpit, Leeds
I have much love for this venue. Located conveniently underneath the approach to Leeds train station, you’re just a few minutes away from the live music, and close enough to run for the last train home!!!!!! The venue has three rooms, but my favourite is the main one with a capacity of around 500, a sellout gig definitely has a great atmosphere to be a part of.
Gig highlight: Little Boots + Heartbreak, November 28 2008
There are other gigs I’ve attended here that could stake a claim to being recognised, but I’m choosing this one simply because I wasn’t supposed to be there. I already had another ticket for another gig on that night in Sheffield, but 24 hours earlier I received an e-mail from the promoter stating that it was going to be postponed. One phone call and a few clicks of the mouse later, and I was on my way to Leeds.
And it was an enjoyable night, highlighting everything that is cool about synth-based music. It was fun to watch Little Boots in particular do her thing at a time just before things “blew up” for her.
4. Academy 3, Manchester
Now I could have chosen Manchester Academy as a whole, but each of the four venues under the banner has its own unique feel and generates its own atmosphere. Academy 3 is located within the Student Union, the building you see above, on the third floor. A bit of a climb with the steps, but it’s worth it.
Even though the stage is quite high up in there, it still has an intimate feel mainly owing to the fact that barriers are almost never employed, and the security staff tend to be a little more relaxed.
Gig highlight: Blood Red Shoes, October 16 2008
(A quick word about the top two photos in this section. Obviously they weren’t shot by me, but by a photographer (whose name I sadly cannot remember) who had to do his work in the midst of a crowd that were annoyed by his presence. Those shots were given to me via e-mail as a gift from him the next day after I let him stand in front of me to take some snaps. As I’ve said before, if you’re nice to people, good things can often happen as a result!!!!!!)
I was never going to choose anything but BRS 7 for this particular highlight. Even now, I can remember the craziness of that night as if it was yesterday. This was in fact the second night in a row that I had watched them, Rolo Tomassi and French band 1984 do their thing, and even though the Leeds crowd I was a part of were enthusiastic enough, the Manchester crowd really went for it, particularly when Steve and Laura played I Wish I Was Someone Better. This was an important period for me personally as well, as it was the next day that I started to seriously consider the possibility of moving to Manchester, something that I eventually did three months later.
3. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
(The last picture is there to highlight the fact that when it comes to curfews on live music in Scotland, the authorities are nowhere near as uptight and as unreasonable as their counterparts in England!!!!!!!)
Of all of the places I could have chosen to go to for my first gigs north of the border, I’m glad I chose King Tut’s, one of the best small venues I have been blessed to see the inside of.
A very important venue on the gig circuit for bands on the way up in Scotland, and many English bands have chosen this venue for their first Scottish show. I went there during the year the venue celebrated its 21st anniversary, and the exhibition they had going on detailing all of the highlights was something to behold. All of the good things that you’ve heard about this place are true, and if you’re a lover of live music, it’s definitely worth going there for a visit at least once in your life.
Gig Highlight: Summer Nights Festival, July 27-28 2011
I went up to Glasgow on a mini-break last summer, with every intention of going to King Tut’s for the two nights of the month-long festival that I was there for. Therefore, I don’t feel as if I can separate the two nights, particularly as I discovered so many bands to get excited about. The bands I’ve highlighted here are (top to bottom) Finding Albert, Blue Sky Archives, Bear Bones, Johnny and the Giros and Kassidy, all of whom are worth checking out.
And this marks the end of part 2 and the halfway point. Keep reading, and you’ll understand why I had to split this whole feature into four parts. All feedback is welcome!!!!!!!!