Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Wanted: a proper London gig guide

It’s an odd thing in age where there’s an app or website for everything, but there doesn’t seem to be decent one-stop-shop London gig guide, or at least not one to suit markontour’s tastes. What follows is not a serious attempt to fill that gap, but more a prod to someone more creative and informed to come up with something better. And while the exercise proved expensive in both time and cash, the markontour gig calendar is now much more filled out in 2017.

Having subsequently seen-off a good half hour of trans-Atlantic boredom considering the optimum way to order my little list it has eneded up being simply alphabetical. With a bit of luck, clicking on the venue name will take you to their website. The street address should be enough to locate said venue on Googlemaps and plus compass directions provided for those like markontour who still travel with one. Where I have anything vaguely useful to say comments are added at the end. 

100 Club – 100 Oxford St, W1 – CENTRAL – iconic, regularly on the cusp of closing, and I’m very jealous that Matt Wilgress saw Paul McCartney play there

Camden Assembly – 49 Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 – CAMDEN TOWN – once The Barfly and indie last time I looked.

CLF Arts Cafe – Peckham – SOUTH – all sorts, theatre (we saw a great play about Paul Robeson), music and club nights over a few floors

Bohemia – 2 Bohemia Place, E8 – EAST – cafe under the arches near Hackney Central. I’m saying eclectic, but on the basis of two visits

The Borderline – Orange Yard, 16 Manette St, Soho, W10 – CENTRAL – blues/rock and used to have a good Saturday club night

Dingwalls – Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 – CAMDEN TOWN – indie

The Dolphin – 165 Mare St, E8 – EAST – junkie indie on Friday nights

Electric Ballroom – CAMDEN TOWN – indie and all sorts, and definitely still has a great Saturday club night

The Forum – 9 Highgate Rd., Kentish Town, NW5 CAMDEN TOWN-ish – I just think of it as where I go to see Half Man Half Biscuit and Billy Bragg, and pretty much every other band I love that can command a couple of thousand fans. There’s a great little pub for post-gig pints a few streets away, the location of which I can’t reveal.

The Garage – 20-22 Highbury Corner, N5 1RD – ISLINGTON – once our regular Saturday night club spot 

The George Tavern – 373 Commercial Rd, Stepney, E1 – EAST – new bands 

The Halfmoon – 93 Lower Richmond Rd, Putney SW15 – SOUTH (!) – famous above-the-pub venue that has hosted pretty much everyone before they were big, from The Rolling Stones and The Who to U2

Hoxton Hall – 130 Hoxton Street, N1 – EAST – new bands. To be honest the only thing I’ve seen here is The XX , before they made it, but that was amazing!

Islington Assembly Hall – Upper Street – NORTH CENTRAL – really well-run council venue with consistently superb bands (for the discerning 30+ audience, if I’m honest)

Koko – 14 Camden High St – CAMDEN TOWN – bands before a club night. British Sea Power were fantastic here, ten-foot polar bear and all.

The Lexington – 96 Pentonville Rd, N1 – NORTH CENTRAL – new bands, late night revels, and generous door-staff, to whom I will always be grateful for letting me buy a guest-list place for Euros Childs.

Leytonstone Ex-Servicemen’s Club – Harvey Road, Leytonstone, E11 – EAST – home to the monthly What’s Cookin’ alt-country night http://www.whatscookin.co.uk/wcwhatson.html

The Lock Tavern – 35 Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 – CAMDEN TOWN – indie upstairs. Who was that Bob Dylan wannabee we saw when I had forgotten to invite anyone out for birthday?

Luna Lounge, Leytonstone – EAST – don’t know it, but want to check it out. 

Moth Club, Old Trades Hall, Hackney Central E9 – EAST – arty, eclectic new bands. Enjoyed Nap Eyes here in 2016.

The Old Blue Last – 39 Great Eastern St, EC2 – EAST CENTRAL – new bands, usually at the punky, garage band end of things, but we did also see the Pipettes here many years ago. 

Old Queens Head – 44 Essex Rd, London N1 – NORTH CENTRAL – my notes say “often good on Sundays”, but I know for a fact I haven’t been there in a decade. But Jazzy B from Soul II Soul was playing the week I wrote this up..

Passing Clouds – 438 Kingsland Road, Dalston – EAST – late night reggae/African/anything. Currently on hiatus thanks to merciless property speculators, but it’s coming back! 

Rough Trade East – 91 Brick Lane, Old Truman Brewery, E1 -EAST CENTRAL – everything you can imagine, and all for the price of an LP.. Heaven is just a short walk from the markontour office.

The Roundhouse – Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 – CAMDEN TOWN – surely the best venue in London, I just need to get round to gaining membership so we can go to more gigs there. Kate Tempest was extraordinary in December. 

Scala – 275 Pentonville Rd, Kings Cross, N1 – CENTRAL – old cinema, indie venue with a club night to follow

Servant Jazz Quarters – 10a Bradbury St, N16 – EAST – I’ve never seen jazz here, despite the name, but there are some cracking bourbon cockatils and a great little basement stage, which has been graced by The Beatrix Players and Euros Childs among others. Maybe I should just do a list of places where I’ve seen Euros Childs?

The Shacklewell Arms – 71 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, E8 2EB – EAST – cool stuff where (hangs head in shame) the bands a little late for markontour

Shepherds Bush Empire – Shepherds Bush Green, W12 – WEST – if you’re prepared to head west, go her, for  

The Slaughtered Lamb – 34 Great Sutton St, Clarkenwell, EC1 – EAST CENTRAL – reliably interesting folk/acoustic 

The Social – 5 Little Portland Street, Soho, W1 – CENTRAL – Huw Stephens introduces new bands on the second Tuesday of each month. 

Troy Bar – 10 Hoxton Street, N1 6NG – EAST CENTRAL – late night drinking den with great reggae and blues house-bands and jams.

The Underworld – 174 Camden High St, Camden NW1

The Union Chapel – Compton Terrace, Islington, N1 – NORTH CENTRAL – stunning church, great acoustics, attracting consistently brilliant acts.

Urban Bar – 176 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ – EAST – themed band nights on Thursdays and Fridays

Village Underground – 54 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PQ – EAST – place to catch next big things

The Vortex – 11 Gillett St, Dalston, N16 – EAST – jazz and other good stuff (including Euros Childs..)

Water Rats – 328 Grays Inn Road, WC1 – CENTRAL – famous indie pub venue that’s been done up a bit now, but still has a great gig room at the back.

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