Andy from Manchester based touring machines Dead Neck gives us his top ten mainland Europe venues.
1. Surfer Joe's, Livorno (Italy)
It's a good little upstairs tiki bar venue in winter but in summer you get to play on the big stage, directly on the beach, facing the sea. The sound and crew make this place the real deal. I've never seen it not busy and been pissed and stoned every time I've visited. Check out Inconsapevole Records who are building an independent record shop/distro in the building and regularly book touring artists. This provides a proper stamping ground for an array of brilliant local bands.
2. Cross Club, Prague (Czech Republic)
The quirkiest, maddest club I have ever come across. Always full, proper party atmosphere, dinner from the brilliant veggie/vegan friendly menu, as much Czech beer as you can drink and you can skin up and smoke freely anywhere in the place. Go or play there if you get the chance.
3. Club Gromka, Metelkova, Ljubliana (Slovenia)
A small club in a big squatted complex of other clubs, workshops and bars - a good party in a place where there’s normally lots of people. Check out Giljotina Records, who like to get you fucked up and treat you in the real Slovenian way.
4. Stara kola, Novi Marof (Croatia)
A detached building that's been (properly) acoustically treated inside and sounds good. It's hard not to play pissed here so there's no point trying. Friendly party loving locals who want to get wrecked with you until daft o'clock the next morning. My cup of tea!
5. Terminal 1, Codogno (Italy)
Has a micro-brewery! It's called Brew-Fist and they brew Italian ale which you get to drink all night (as much as you can). It's one of those pubs that just commands good turnouts and has a true weekend party atmosphere with a strong sense that everyone in the place is as much of a lowlife as yourself.
6. Ex Caserma Rossani, Bari (Italy)
An old, squatted army barracks with regular live gigs, a DIY library and a crazy, scatty atmosphere. Puglia and the South are not like the rest of Italy; weed and beer are cheaper, the food is different (I think about panzerotti a lot) and because it's a bit harder to tour there you can really feel the effort that goes into the gigs from all involved. Crazy-honest people that eyeball you when you're talking to them so that you know that they mean what they say!
7. Ballonfabrik, Augsburg (Germany)
'Ballonfabrik - Fabrik Unique' is really a clothes manufacturing place but in it is a good size music venue and a pretty big indoor skate park. They start you off drinking as soon as you arrive and usually give you a tour of the skatepark where they lend you a skateboard each and watch you roll around half cut. Good room, nice PA, proper party every time.
It's also home to Burning Ramp festival, where bands play all night then they set a halfpipe on fire outside and skate it while it's burning, complete with about 30 local firefighters. Only Germany!
8. Planet Underground, Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic)
PARTY. Heavy drinking and smoking is encouraged and the brilliant owners make you feel like you live there. Always well promoted and full of people that love the fast songs.
9. MLTB Homebase, Nuremberg (Germany)
Unfortunately MLTB Homebase is now a relic of recent history. Money Left To Burn's practice room turned bar (they actually built a bar into their practice room) had pretty much all the active current/recent UK melodic punk hardcore scene play it at some point. Limitless Bavarian beer (seriously, they go out and get more if you drink it all) and presents of homegrown from some of the most lovely, genuine people I've ever met. Merch sales to people ratio was always unbelievably high too. (Check out KNRD Fest run by people in the same circle of friends... but crazier!)
10. Pizdun Place, Kostanjec (Slovenia)
It's a barn at the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere in Slovenia. Everyone turns up, gets shitfaced, goes crazy for the bands then drives home pissed. It's brilliant.
Club Baza, Ajdovscina (Slovenia)
Lorbass, Gelnhausen (Germany)
Rock Cafe (Leuven)
Raymonds Bar, Clermont-Ferrand (France)
Fantasma (RIP), Lisbon (Portugal)
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