Wednesday, 25 April 2012

V is for (Lost) Venues

While Noo Yawk's CBGB's may be the most famous gig venue to have gone to the wall in recent years, here at home a fair number of our own sweat boxes have also heard their last chords reverbrate around their walls. Here's three music meccas, the holy grail of local music scenes, where memories were formed, sweat was poured and graffiti was drawn, that have been lost in the last three years, leaving a big hole in their wake for avid music fans...

London Astoria - January 2009

Despite online petitions and a lot of support from the music community, London Astoria was forced out in January 2009 to make way for - wait for it - a new, improved rail link under the city. The venue was purchased compulsorily and demolished to make so called improvements to the underground. It seems a loss for music is a win for the capital's commuters.

The Charlotte, Leicester - March 2010

The closure of The Charlotte - originally The Princess Charlotte - was particularly devastating for me as it was one of the venues that helped me earn my stripes as a veteran gig goer.

I've lost count of the number of gigs I attended here or the bands I saw or discovered within its grim and slightly shabby, although extremely loveable, walls. The most memorable moments include Joe Strummer - who shouted and me and my mate from an upstairs window while queuing - an extremely sweaty Alkaline Trio show, the electric going off every ten minutes during A Wilhelm Scream's set and interviewing Send More Paramedics' singer, who answered everything question as if he were a real zombie.

Anyway, to get back to the story... The Charlotte's operating company went into administration, following dwindling numbers of gig goers, and is being turned into student flats, although it's battered facade has so far escaped unscathed.

Jilly's Rockworld, Manchester - April 2010

This was another personal loss, as I'd had some good nights at Rockworld and seen mates' bands play here. Again, a drop in audience numbers, coupled with the smoking ban, put the final nail in Jilly's coffin.

These are just three stories taken from a growing trend that's happening around the country and like our local record shops, the message is clear: use 'em or lose 'em.

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