Venue Talk: Gengahr on The Astoria

I chatted to John from Gengahr about his fave live music venue. He chose the late Astoria in London. Watch Gengahr’s video for ‘Before Sunrise’ below, then check out the interview.

Can I choose one that no longer exists? The Astoria. Saw so many great bands there, it was the perfect size and if you found the right spot it sounded great either downstairs or upstairs.

“You could sit down upstairs if you were knackered. Also it was twinned with the Mean Fiddler and after many years we worked out how to get downstairs to the separate venue without anyone seeing so you could get two gigs for the price of one. This was only useful once when there was a great support band downstairs and a great headline act upstairs.

Unfortunately I didn’t make any music anyone would want to hear before it got torn down. The gap by Tottenham Court Road station still makes me sad.

I got to see loads of stuff there. A lot of US rock stuff as well as U.K. Indie. I think the last gig I went to was Rancid. I saw Death Cab For Cutie and my mate fell asleep upstairs on the chairs, entirely apt for that band. Saw Biffy Clyro at there last London show before they signed to a major and changed a fair bit.

“I saw a UK band called Seafood that was great, the album ‘when do we start fighting’ is worth looking up. I saw Regina Spektor there before she got really big, I think it was the only time she had a full band and she did some truly awful dancing, probably why she sat behind the piano the rest of her career. The video for Radioheads ‘my iron lung’ is shot there (I’m pretty sure), I wish I was around for that gig.”

Venue Facts

  • The Astoria originally opened as a cinema!
  • It was sadly closed in 2009.
  • Richey Edwards had his last live performance with the Manic Street Preachers in the Astoria.
  • Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Feeder and The Cranberries all had live albums recorded at the Astoria.
  • Nirvana, The Strokes, Prince, Blur, Bowie, Madonna and Oasis all played the Astoria.

Gengahr’s second album, Where Wildness Grows, is out now (and its bloody good.) Buy it here or stream it here.

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Venue Talk: The Orielles on Hebden Bridge Trades Club.

I spoke to Halifax indie trio The Orielles, fresh off the back of releasing their debut album ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ about their favourite live music venue, Hebden Bridge Trades Club. Check out the video for ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist) below:


What is your favourite venue and why?
“Our favourite venue is the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge.”
“The venue holds a lot of sentimental value for us and is essentially owned and run by the community, which is so inspiring and lovely. The staff there are also the best, as is the sound!”

Have you ever played there?
“We have played there a few times and they have always been the best shows of the tour. Great to see so many people both old and young enjoying live music.”

Who else have you seen play there?
“We’ve seen so many bands play there!! Most notably Khruangbin, around two years ago, when they played an unreal show to only about 30 people.”
“Also every single Heavenly Recordings weekender has been so, so amazing and memorable, but maybe we’re slightly biased here, haha.”

Facts about The Trades Club:

  • The Trades Club was built in 1924 and still has the original sprung dance floor.
  • It’s a members co-operative socialist members club. Owned by it’s members and run by a committee.
  • It has been shortlisted for NME Small Venue of the year 3 times.
  • Shortlisted for this year’s Music Week Small Venue Award.
  • They have hosted 3 Heavenly Records weekends at the club, the latest headlined by The Orielles, Gwenno & King Gizzard.
Everything Everything.jpeg
Everything Everything at Hebden Bridge Trades Club.
Notable artists to play the Trades in the last few years include Mark Lanegan, Patti Smith, Everything Everything, Fat White Family & The Fall. They have upcoming shows from Girl Ray, IDLES and a Certain Ratio to name a few.
You can stream The Orielles’ debut album below, or buy it from here.
You can find more info and tickets for upcoming events at The Trades club here.
Thanks to Mal from the Trades Clubs for the Facts.

Nick J.D. Hodgson Interview

Nick J.D. Hodgson just released his debut solo single, Suitable. I asked him some quick questions about the single, songwriting and more.

How does it feel to have your first solo single out?
I forgot how good it is to release music. It’s a very exciting moment when it actually goes live and people start to react to it. You always spend so long in the studio listening to the same bars that you almost become immune to it so when it comes out it suddenly feels fresh. As for being solo, yeh I like it. Lots of work to do cos I’m the label and publisher too but I’ve had 5 years off sooooo.

You’ve written and produced for a lot of other artists; are there any new upcoming acts that you would like to work with?
I think Jorja Smith is really good. She has an amazing effortless voice. Would be cool to write with her.

How does it differ writing stuff that will eventually have your own name on it compared to writing for others or as part of a band?
It’s easier in a way because I only have to get inside my head. Also you don’t have to try and please anyone else. Although It does mean you’ve got nowhere to hide which can be scary. In the band I had a drum kit in front of me, it’s a good place to keep your head down if people aren’t digging it!

What is your favourite album of the year so far?
There’s two. The Cribs, 24-7 Rock Star Shit and Jay Z 4:44

Listen to ‘Suitable’ below:

Say Hello To: Shibashi

Shibashi are a relatively new band, with only one single out so far, but the experience of it’s members (2/3 of Two Door Cinema Club) make them a force to be reckoned with.

Where did your band name come from?

We’ve always loved Japanese culture and the way the language sounds. We came across a metro stop in Tokyo that had ‘shibashi’ in the name and just loved how it sounded and how it looked written down. It was only after that we discovered it’s a type of tai chi.

If you had to describe your own sound what would you say?

It’s emotional. It’s dance music with a focus on live elements. We like to pick things up and play them and not just have our heads stuck in computer programming.

Who is in the band, and who does what?

Sam, Paddy and Kev. 3 mates, 2 brothers, 1 family. We all do a spot of everything but Sam sings and Paddy produces.

What is your favourite live venue and why?

Shibashi hasn’t made its live debut yet so will have to defer that question for a while…

What is your favourite album released so far this year?

Kiefer – Kickinit Alone

Check out the debut single from Shibashi, titled Salvation, below.

Say Hello To: Marigolds

Marigolds are a 4 piece indie rock band from Norwich consisting of Joe Maguire (Guitar/Vocals), Davey Perkins (Guitar/Vocals), Tom Goulding (Bass) and Owen Fuller (Drums/Vocals) – watch the video for their latest single ‘Chamomile’ below:

I did a quick Q&A with Owen from the band:

What’s the story behind your band name?

There’s a local legend in Norwich about this guy who would stand about directing traffic with a pair of marigold gloves on. Sadly it’s not as interesting as that, just came out from a brain storm and fitted the vibe we were going from. It’s inspiration was from a Promise Ring song.

What is your favourite venue and why?

There’s a place in the city which is an old church, renovated to be a music venue. It’s such a great place to play, the high ceilings and big rooms are such a nice change of pace to the usual cramped walls. Also has some great lighting.

What is the best gig you have had so far?

We supported Spring King (the night after they were on Jools Holland, so we were pretty star struck) and Get Inuit once. It was an insane show and was really humbling to see these guys put on such a great show on the same stage as us, was a sold out venue as well so we’re pretty chuffed with that one.

If you had to describe your own sound what would you say?

It’s like someone shoved indie, surf, emo, and pop punk into a washing machine and let it mix on 40 degrees for 5 hours.

Listen to the band’s ‘Asleep In The Sun’ EP below and follow them on Twitter here.