London's Marquee Club - Wednesday 16th February 05
By Steve Rudd
Never does a night go by down in the capital when there isn't at least one quality
gig on, and now there is no excuse for music lovers not to catch a gig or two if
they are right in the heart of London's West End since the legendary
Marquee Club has now been relocated to Leicester Square, where it has
been up and running for a good few months now.
There might not yet be live music on there every single night of the week,
but that is ultimately the intention.
And, ok, there might be bigger and better music venues scattered elsewhere
across the city, but few venues have as much history attached to their name as
The Marquee does.
Back in the Sixties, when the venue was found down Wardour Street, many of
the big breakthrough rock 'n' roll bands graced the stage at the Marquee...
bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Who, along with artists such as
Hendrix and Bowie.
This relocation to Leicester Square doesn't mark the first time that the venue
has moved its premises, and there was a Marquee venture set up and running in
Islington for a short while a couple of years ago - which was heartily supported
by Dave Stewart.
I personally couldn't imagine a better location than Leicester Square, but the
guy who runs the venue - Alan North - admits that just because it is literally
right in the heart of the West End doesn't necessarily mean that the
venue is naturally busy as a direct result.
He says it is still damn hard work to pull punters into the gigs that are
put on there, and despite the fact that there have been some very well known
bands and artists to have performed there so far in its new location such as
Art Brut, GLC and Har Mar Superstar, it seems that The Marquee
ethos really is to support brand new bands that the majority of the
music-loving public might never have even heard of before.
Face it, when all the bands back in the Sixties and Seventies first played at
The Marquee, more often than not they weren't - at the time - the household
names that they proceeded to become.
As if Alan North hasn't got his work cut out as it is, he also helps to run and
manage the hugely popular pub venue The Water Rats (which is to be found in
North London... just around the corner from King's Cross train station), along
with another venue that puts on live music.
Talking to him, you can see that he's hugely enthusiastic about working in
and around such important music venues, and he admits that the layout of
the current Marquee venue was actually conceived on napkins when he was in a
meeting with other people who were interested in the venue.
The way that the venue is laid out utilises the floor space to the max, and the
building's conversion from a nightclub has been stunningly realised: it really
is a sight to behold, and greatly enhanced by its prominent balcony feature that
enables people to watch the bands both from ground level and from up above them -
whichever most takes their fancy.
I headed into the venue on spec and was overjoyed that I had done when
The Feeling proved themselves to be an awesome indie-styled rock band with
hugely catchy pop elements.
Facts faced, The Feeling's tunes are far, far more exciting and
unforgettable than Franz Ferdinand's and they deserve to go far.
The female-fronted Airport are equally as magnificent, and are just as
good to look at as they are to listen to. From both Airport and
The Feeling I can't wait to hear more.
As for The Marquee itself - there, I really can't wait to return...
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