Sunday, January 12, 2014

More New Cross Venue Memories

Over at the great Irish blog Cedar House Revolution, I came across some more recollections of the Venue in New Cross (see previous posts on this subject, especially comments here).

Damian O’Broin recalls that he  'spent the summer of 1990 – and the one before it – working on building sites in London' and that he went to see the band 'Kitchens of Distinction, on a Summer’s night at a little place called The Venue... The Venue was in New Cross, which was pretty much the complete opposite end of London to us. I remember almost nothing about the gig itself. I do remember trooping around the roads of New Cross looking for The Venue. And I remember dancing to Sympathy for the Devil and Fool’s Gold at the club after the gig. It’s strange the details you remember. I think it was a good gig. I have no idea how we all got home'.

In the comments Eamonn from Cork writes:

'The Venue was a great spot which I went to many weekends between 1989-1992 because I was living just over the road in first Brixton and then Peckham and then New Cross itself on Jerningham Road.
It wasn’t a little place though, it was a huge barn of a spot which had originally been an Irish club called The Harp Club. In 1988 when it was still the Harp it had hosted some very full-on acid house nights. My abiding memory of the place is the strawberry smoke which would gust forth in huge quantities, the thorough search you got on the way in and the fact that they only served drink in plastic glasses. And that the club night afterwards was often better than the gigs. Though I saw rising indie hopefuls The Would Bes play very well there.

The Venue ended up being owned by the gang who owned The Swan in Stockwell, South London’s version of The National in Kilburn, and from 1990 onwards had more of an Irish orientation though it still leaned towards the rock side of things. I saw Paul Cleary and The Fleadh Cowboys there and also Dave Fanning DJing and being rather puzzled when people kept asking him to play The Wolfe Tones. There were also several excellent pubs nearby, notably The Amersham Arms which ran acoustic gigs and where I saw Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick be brilliant, The Wishing Well [think he means the Dewdrop Inn], on the same street Clifton Rise as The Venue which was a Crusty hang-out, the Goldsmiths Tavern which had a fine indie night Totally Wired and was full of students from the art college of the same name and The Marquis of Granby, which was the home pub for the Sligo village where I come from and not trendy at all. But welcoming'.

Also at Lush site Light from a Dead Star, Guy Marshall recalls seeing the band there on October 12 1991:

'This was the first proper Lush gig I went to, Steve was still in the band. Set list was: Stray; Bitter; Breeze; Laura; God's Gift; Scarlet; Ocean; Nothing Natural; For Love; Covert; De-Luxe; Second Sight; Downer; Baby Talk; Monochrome; Sweetness & Light. I have a tape of this gig, brings back memories of how nervous(!) I was being on the edge of the mosh pit and that Lush was the band for me! Perfect set list. First time meeting Miki, Steve, Chris and Emma. Miki changed my friend's ticket to SLUSH.

Other memories: Stood next to Boris Williams - drummer with The Cure - during support band Shelleyann Orphan's set. He was "going out" with Caroline Crawley of the band. I was totally dumb struck for a while (luckily my friend plucked up the courage to say Hi!) then we had a quick chat and he signed a Lush flyer & my Boys Don't Cry T-Shirt which I happened to be wearing at the time. Also saw guitarist from Curve Debbie Smith. Probably other "Indie" stars I didn't recognise. Someone in the crowd had Tom and Jerry hand puppets(??) which Miki is heard asking about'

Lush ticket from The Venue - signed by all the band.

There's actually film of a whole Lush set at the Venue earlier in March 1991 on youtube

1 comment:

Nick Heath said...

Great post! I was at The Venue many times, saw a benefit gig with Billy Bragg and Carter USM, The Cardiacs, Mega City Four (I think) and Snuff a couple of times plus many others.. the bar up top gave it so much atmosphere (saw Lush at Windsor Old Trout..) I went to a comedy night at The Venue once too in 91 or 92, hosted by Arthur Smith (my name's goodnight, Arthur Smith). There were a group called 4 girls wot sing, some bloke being a piped army band, and some crazy sweaty guy doing a mime to Bohemian Rhapsody that the 15 of us that were there nearly die laughing at. Turns out it was Lee Evans. My mate bet Arthur a fiver about something, and won. He only paid up when hassled. Happy days....!