Great Venues For Indie Bands In US & Europe – Past & Present

The success of a great night out watching a band depends on the music but a few other factors can impact on the fun as well. The company you are in can make a difference, whether you like a drink or not can change the evening, how far you have to travel to and from the venue can make a difference and of course, the venue itself has the potential to alter how you think about the night.

A terrible band will be terrible no matter where they play but if you place the right band in the right venue, it can seem like magic. The following are a list of venues which will always hold a special place in the hearts of many indie fans.

King Tuts Wah Wah Hut – Glasgow, Scotland

This venue is guaranteed its place in indie history as this was the venue where Alan McGee first came across Oasis and offered to sign them up immediately. That alone creates a great story but it doesn’t begin to tell you half of the musical influence the venue has had on people. Any band that has made it through Glasgow will have played there or drank there and its reputation as a venue that looks after touring bands precedes it. Many artists, including the Manic Street Preachers have praised King Tuts for the fact that they offer hot meals to bands.

With this small venue having played host to The Strokes, The White Stripes, Interpol and The Killers amongst many, many more in recent years, there is no doubt that King Tuts is a stepping post to indie stardom.

Lesser Free Trade Hall – Manchester, England

Sometimes it’s not about the quantity of bands that have played there; it’s about the quality of the night. Downstairs in the main Free Trade Hall, Bob Dylan made history by snarling back “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar” on his infamous tour when he started playing the electric guitar but the Lesser Free Trade Hall holds its place in indie folklore.

It was here that the Sex Pistols played their famous Manchester shows and although they were punk legends, in the crowd were numerous people who would go onto be indie legends in their own right. Attending at least one of the two shows were:

o Joy Division

o The Buzzcocks

o Morrisey

o Tony Wilson, Factory Records boss and Hacienda nightclub founder

o Mark E Smith from The Fall

o Paul Morley, music journalist and TV personality

The influence and impact of these two gigs ensures the Lesser Free Trade Hall will hold a special place for many lovers of indie music as without it, who knows how music in Manchester would have progressed.

CBGBs – New York, United States of America

To youngsters today, CBGB may represent some strange letters found on T-shirts or perhaps they recall a lot of publicity being given to an old music venue shutting down but make no mistake, if it wasn’t for this venue in New York, today’s musical climate would not be the same as it is today. Many of the emerging punk and New Wave acts honed their talent here and Blondie, The Ramones and Television are all amongst the acts who would credit CBGBs for playing a significant role in their development.

Other acts that have played notable gigs at CBGBs include:

o Beastie Boys

o Brian Jonestown Massacre

o The Dandy Warhols

o The Fall

o My Bloody Valentine

o Nirvana

o Sonic Youth

o The Strokes

o The White Stripes

The club closed its doors for the last time in October 2006 but there is no doubt its legacy will live on for many decades to come.

In addition to these venues, some of the following venues have featured classic indie gigs or could tell many stories of gigs throughout its history:

o Camden Palace, London, England

o Le Bataclan, Paris, France

o The Fillmore, San Francisco, United States of America