Venues Of Note
Venues in London are a hard thing to write about because everyone just buys beer from the corner shop and drinks it in the street, but the Shacklewell Arms is a good one! It was originally a sort of Caribbean local’s pub, but it was bought off the owner (who I think went back home to his family in St. Lucia) and turned into a really cool little hang-out. Used before, after and during gigs, you pretty much always bump into someone you know there even if you’re just popping in. It has evolved from not really having a stage or proper PA to a full-fledged live room now, and their in-house sound engineer, Jordan, is awesome at his job and a super-nice guy who really loves music! It’s a great place for those cramped, sweaty shows. One of the best ones being the Horrors’ secret show there last year, which was a LOT of fun. There’s a big variety in the size of bands that play here. It’s pretty much open for whatever.
The Lexington is between Angel and Kings Cross and is a pub/whiskey bar with a live venue upstairs. The front-of-house PA is really good, which means you can actually hear what the bands are doing. It’s a really nice size and layout with a raised bar at the back, so you can still see the band while you’re getting another drink. The DJ booth is bizarrely high up and in the corner of the stage so you can get marooned in it if you don’t leave long enough before the band starts! They also do the Rough Trade Pub Quiz in the pub bit, which predominately features teams made up of industry and bands. It’s nearly impossible to win, but we did come second once.
Technically a burlesque/cabaret venue, it hosts the long-running White Heat club night, which is still a bit like a badge of honour to play, almost like you’re not really a band until you’ve played it. It’s kind of on two levels with the dance floor in front of the stage being down a small set of stairs from the bar and sofas. Its decoration is pretty wild with gold art-deco walls covered in mirrors and red leather seats. It’s a really good place to watch a band and to play a gig, and they have drink deals on White Heat nights.
Another pub with a venue upstairs, this one is owned by Vice Magazine and is the ultimate in tiny sweatboxes. They somehow keep shifting the bar around to make it bigger and bigger. The sound used to be pretty terrible both on and off stage, but they have seriously sorted it out, and now it’s great! We always look forward to playing there, and it gets packed really easily. It’s also where me and Steph met, so there’s a bit of trivia. Literally everyone ever has played this venue, and it’s a great chance to catch bands in such an intimate space.
Next page: Post-Show Hangs