Topic: Unusual venues.
I'm guessing that we're all gig veterans on here; following bands through pubs and bars to restaurants, roadhouses, small theatres, large theatres, fancy auditoriums (auditoria?), sports halls and arenas - and that's just inside. But what about the unusual, off-beat venues? I've recently been to a couple and thought it might be an idea for a thread; so here goes...
The Old Cinema Laundrette:-
Despite one of the strangest misnomers; or is it, since it's exactly what it claims to be. This is a fairly recent addition to the N.East’s venue list and has already a sound reputation for providing a bit of something for everyone….
The tiny Crescent Cinema of Gilesgate Moor, Durham was opened in 1928 with a capacity of 320 seats. In 1941 it changed its name to the Rex under new management. It closed in January 1958 and the last film to grace the screen was the action packed movie Eagle Squadron. The retro-chic of the Launderette will showcase the cinematic history of the Rex alongside a hand picked selection of vintage washing-related advertising.
So now, it seems to cater for mainly acoustic acts, set up is in the front shop, in front of a bank of heavy duty Dryers (think of one of Rush's old backlines...). Seating seems to cater for about 50; advice would be not to sit by the shop windows as you do get a bit traffic noise. Despite the odd set-up, sound is more than adequate (and they don't do service washes while bands are on. Oh, there's a comprehensive bar on offer, very reasonable coffee, and a large variety of gins...
bluesnight.org or 85 Frenchgate, Richmond N.Yorks.
Thing I love about old towns up here, like Alnwick, Morpeth, Barnard Castle, Richmond is that not only do they retain a largely McDonalds/Starbucks/Subway free beating heart, but that they have interesting little winding streets in which often, little gems of stores are scattered. That’s certainly the case of the venue in Richmond (the Yorkshire one) I was invited to on Sunday evening. Best summed up by their own publicity:-
BLUES NIGHT is a musicosocial project and a special beery shed. It’s a temple to the old-fashioned ideas that music brings people together, and that beer should be an inexpensive way of not drinking water.
We have thousands of vinyl albums and singles, shellac 78s (including blues, jazz, rock’n'roll, calypso, klezmer and international as well as vintage popular music), tapes, CDs, books and other music-related items.
Find us in a brilliant shed, on a lovely courtyard, off an elegant street, in a glorious town.
That’s the store part, which can be found about half way up the street (on the left), in a yard, behind some imposing looking gates. No wonder it’s probably one of the town’s best kept secrets, until now. From the looks,they also host three live, acoustic sessions each week in what has to be the most intimate setting I’ve yet experienced; almost like being in someone’s lounge. Hang on! It was actually the flat above the record store, so you can hardly get more intimate without going into the ***CENSORED***. Altogether, room for about 20-30 people, it has a very sociable “ambiance” (word of the evening - thanks George..) And with the sound in the very capable hands of John Stainthorp, for this evening, an all round quality experience.
Check the bluesnight.org webite for upcoming events; Fri 5-8; Sat 2-8 & Sun 5-8. Great way to start an evening out.