Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a terrible sense of direction. I get lost everywhere, whether it is in a little shop or in a big city like London. In 2012 I was going to see New York punk band Polar Bear Club at somewhere called The Borderline in London. I got off of the tube at Tottenham Court Road and headed towards The Borderline. One problem, I got horrendously lost and ended up wandering around Soho for the best part of an hour before eventually finding it. I have since been back a number of times, often getting quite lost before finding it again. At one point I had a theory that it was like the island in Lost and it kept moving so people couldn’t find it. Now I can find it first time, every time and it has become one of my favourite venues. Here is why.
The first thing that will hit you as you walk down the stairs leading into The Borderline is its size. On first impressions The Borderline looks tiny but it actually holds almost 300 people. It has a decent sized floor space with no barriers between the stage and the crowd. For those not wanting to get too involved in the dancing the area around the floor is raised so you can still get a great view of the stage. What’s more, if you do want to get close to the stage without getting sweaty there is a small seated area, where you can sit with your drink and still see the whites of a bands eyes.
When it comes to sound I don’t ever remember a gig I’ve been to at The Borderline when I thought it was poor. All of the nine gigs I’ve seen (Polar Bear Club, The Menzingers, Make Do and Mend, Random Hand, Jim Lockey & the Solemn Son, Allister, The Beards, Jesse James, The Toasters) have sounded fantastic. My one complaint is that sometimes the times between sets can be a little long and can become quite boring.
Like most of the smaller venues I’ve been to for gigs the atmosphere is always friendly. The security and bar staff are always chatty and approachable. Unlike The Underworld or Our Black Heart security does have a more of a visual presence at The Borderline but they have never stood in the way of people having fun and I’ve never seen them try and throw their weight around which is always good.
If you want to visit a small, intimate venue in the centre of London then The Borderline is the place to go. They put on some great up and coming bands as well as some more established ones. The venue is a great place to see live music and you’ll feel very welcome and at home. If you can find it I strongly advise going.
Now listening to Riverbank by Get Dead