Posts Tagged ‘Brixton Academy’

Originally written November 30th 2010 – Published in Roar! Newspaper

Welcome to a new academic year at King’s College London! Here at ROAR!, we hope you’re as excited as we are for the year ahead. London is arguably the world’s hub when it comes to live music entertainment, and exploring the many venues available it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re a stranger to the city, or a Londoner familiar with your surroundings, there are undiscovered gems waiting to be found – but to begin with, here’s a guide to some of the best unearthed venues. Whether you’re looking for an expensive seated ticket at the prestigious Wembley Stadium or a cheap night out at Camden’s Barfly, the capital can provide an establishment to suit everyone’s taste.

The vast interior of the O2 Arena Greenwich

Let’s start by covering some of the biggies. Housed inside the former Millennium Dome and with up to 23,000 capacity, the landmark O2 Arena in Greenwich is one of the largest and most prestigious indoor venues in Europe. Interestingly, U2’s sound manager worked with engineers to sound-proof the arena and reduce echoes, providing the astounding acoustics found within. The grand venue is guaranteed to provide memorable shows, no matter where you’re seated – just watch out for the highest tiered seating if you haven’t got a head for heights! Notable performances at the O2 Arena include Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder and Madness, with Michael Jackson choosing it for his sell out tour ‘This Is It’ .  Be sure to check out the Gorillaz in November or Arcade Fire and Lady Gaga in December.

The larger O2 building also encompasses IndigO2, a 2,410 capacity club with 4 bars, having staged shows from George Clinton of Parliament fame and the NME and Metal Hammer awards, and the smaller club Matter, owned by the founders of London’s prestigious urban dance club Fabric, hoping to re-open later this year.

The Academy: The beacon of Brixton

Next up, the Brixton Academy, 12 times winner of the NME Venue of the Year. A former theatre, the Art Deco interior still resonates, with a proscenium arch prevalent above the stage. The Academy stages the very best in dance, rock and hiphop, home to Doom’s (MF) eagerly awaited debut UK tour later this year, alongside September shows from the Eels and Mgmt. Pendulum, Jamie T and Franz Ferdinand have all made live recordings from within, highlighting the venues substantial audience capacity and audio capabilities. The Academy is easily one of London’s most reliable venues, just watch out for the pole cutting through the centre – it can leave a nasty bruise if you’re dancing away in the darkness!

In a similar vein as Brixton, the Shepherd’s Bush Empire also retains the original chic charm of a quaint theatre, marrying it with a modern exterior. Notably, Charlie Chaplin was one of the first performers here as the former BBC Television Theatre. With a capacity of 2,000, it’s one of the more intimate of London’s larger venues, providing a great opportunity to get up close and personal with your favourite artists. Surrounded by various pubs in close proximity, there’s plenty of opportunities to sink a few pints before you head in. If you fancy delving into the Empire, The Magic Numbers and Shakin’ Stevens are playing – not at the same show!

The unassuming exterior of the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen

Larger venues often provide more epic shows, but are usually accompanied by heftier price tags. Fortunately for all us Londoners, the capital also offers some of the world’s greatest smaller venues, both underground and established. The Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen is a perfect example of the former. Situated on Old Streets’ trendy Hoxton Square, a quaint music venue is embedded deep within the bar. Entering past some regal floor-to-ceiling wooden doors, expectations are massively subverted as you’re greeted by a modern grunge den inside. Bursting with atmosphere and particularly loud audio courtesy of massive side stage speakers, this is one of London’s hidden gems. The bar generally features smaller scene bands, but the likes of Vampire Weekend, Marina and the Diamonds and Paloma Faith have all played there.

The beautiful interior of the Roundhouse

For something a little more established, but with all the same underground charm visit the Camden Roundhouse,marking a notably chic departure from Camden’s classically dingy music venues. The venue is perhaps the most attractive in London, with central iron pillars, steel staircases and a clear glass frontage creating a modern juxtaposition with the elegant original brickwork and timbered roof. The beautiful circular arena offers an array of possibilities, from circus acts surrounding the perimeter to a central stage allowing 360 degree audience viewing. In the past, this grade II listed former railway engine shed has delivered monumental appearances from Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, providing a platform for the Doors only UK appearance. Check out the Turning Point Festival this month, providing sets by Professor Green and Rob Da Bank.

With such cultural diversity in London, we are blessed with perhaps the widest range of musical entertainment available across the globe. Irrespective of what genres define your taste, the city promises to provide the perfect setting for a great night, even if your student budget attempts to forbid you! In the words of Morrissey: ‘Here is London, home of the brash, outrageous and free.’ Time to decide where your adventure begins!

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Originally written November 20th 2010 – Published on Roar! Newspaper’s website

In a darkened Brixton Academy, full to the rafters with excited fans, all that can be heard are whispers of anticipation and the rising chants of “un peu d’air sur la terre”. Suddenly the math-rockers emerge, Philippakis taking centre stage amidst a minimalistic backdrop of thick smoke and a bright blue Foals flag. Instantly the band drops into their new single Blue Blood, exercising the expansive,  more delicate sound of their recent album Total Life forever.

Yannis Philippakis doing what he does best

Unexpectedly, Cassius soon follows, fearlessly removing two of the biggest singles from their arsenal within the first four songs of the set. Clearly this is a band confident in the breadth of their work, not just crowd pleasing club hits. Cassius is played with passion, stimulating the crowd into a violent flurry, while the funky riffs of Balloons and Miami soon settle them down gently. Philippakis barely utters a word throughout the show, instead letting the music and his captivating vocals do all the talking.

Spanish Sahara is the unequivocal anthem of the night, epitomising the inspiring transition the band has made with Total Life Forever. In a display of sheer emotion the band prove that technical proficiency is not their only strength. Accompanied by a vivid blue laser show, Yannis’s vocals inspire a moment of genuine calm on a night abounding in energy and vigour. Returning for an impressive three-song encore, the band answered previous chants by delivering a perfect rendition of the French Open, and a rare treat in the form of Hummer, the bands first single.

Foals illuminating Brixton

In ninety minutes, Foals provided a set that spanned both studio albums, intertwining aggressive glitchy shout-along singles with the tender emotion of their new material. Showcasing an exciting and progressive new sound, Foals proved that undoubtedly, they have a longevity that many bands can only dream of.