Thursday, 23 July 2015

Bens Top Tens - UK Venues

Here are Ben from The 4130's top ten UK DIY venues.

1. The Owl Sanctuary - Norwich. Hands down for me the best small DIY independent venue in the country right now. The 150 capacity works really well for a very special energy and atmosphere when full. The upstairs for travelling bands is amazing all kitted out with bunk beds and all the other things touring bands need. Dan and his staff work tirelessly to make sure everyone is happy.

2. The Lady Luck - Canterbury. A fave stop for my band. Played there quite a few times and its one of the only places in the country people come to see us ha! The venue its compact but it has a special atmosphere. Emma who runs the venue is a lovely lady and Dan from Spoilers and 7 Day Conspiracy, who sometimes puts us on is of course a lovely bloke to play for. The sound is always brilliant. The only let down is it’s a mission to load in sometimes but it’s a beautiful city and it makes a difference to find a venue with shops and places to eat really close.

3. The Union Bar - Hastings. Another independent venue that works really well and hard. I get the feeling of playing a squat when playing the tub and that’s not a bad thing at all they have a great scene down there. In-house promoter and soundman Harvey does a sweet job to make sure things run smooth only drawback is that its hotter than a McDonalds apple pie.

4. New Cross Inn - London. Only played here once but the venue is great, the picnic benches are a cool little touch. There is loads of room to hang merch on the side tables and the sound was really good.

5. The Steamboat Tavern - Ipswich. A long standing Ippo fave. Until recently it was ran by the queen of punk rock land lady’s Val Bint,  it's a tiny venue but has the most amazing atmosphere. I've seen Val in the past even feed touring bands that were booked for other Ipswich venues and got fucked over by two well known morons. In my opinion the steamboat has gone downhill now it's changed hands, I ran a show and was told to stop 40 punk rockers dancing to wonk unit or have the plug pulled.

6. Maguire’s Pizza Bar - Liverpool. Ohhh this place is amazing, they make the best pizza ever and the staff are all super nice. The venue is small and dark and that’s ok to be honest. I like playing places that equipment doesn’t need to be mic’d up, load in is fucking easy too, just what you need after a long drive.

7. Edge Of The Wedge - Portsmouth. This is one of the best venues I've ever played. I've loved every second of my time there, the shows that Ant puts on are rad. It's pretty much a venue on the side of a the actual venue, The Wedgewood Rooms. It's a bit of a tease as you can see the huge stage and venue and think "ohhh that’s where the good bands play one day" haha. Having said that The Edge venue has a special feel to it and the sound is great, I think Ant makes that place though, probably my fave promoter to be honest.

8. The Royal Oak - Ipswich. The only reason this isn’t at number 1 is because it's not active anymore, this was the best venue I'd ever played for the 2 best promoters to have ever been involved not just in Ipswich but the UK scene as a whole. Tammy and Mike made that place so fucking special, some amazing bands passed through The Oak in its time and it was weekly that good bands were coming in. The most consistently rad venue we ever had, the day that place died was a massive body blow and what I think was the final nail in the Ippo scene coffin.

9. The Pipeline - London. This venue is brilliant set downstairs of a popular London pub the pipeline has had some great bands pass through and its funk as puck the whole venue is geared towards this lifestyle.

10. The Winter Gardens - Rebellion Festival Blackpool. I wasn’t going to include huge venues but the winter gardens is amazing right by the sea in the middle of "Crackpool", it’s the only place I've ever been so nervous to play that I almost did a little sick before going on, as soon as you walk in you are just in awe of the place and history, the rebellion promoters and stage mangers still have a DIY work ethic and it’s the highlight of my year and many other peoples.

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