Have you ever said ‘I saw them before they were big, supporting The ****** in a small venue back of the town hall/sheds/community centre’? Those precious memories came courtesy of the small independent music venues and promoters who are the lifeblood of live music.

Tomorrow there is a gig at The Roundhouse in London organised by the Music Venue Trust, it’s a benefit gig to raise funds to help support and protect small venues around the UK threatened with closure. ‘Fightback’ has a quality bill that includes Everything Everything, Public Service Broadcasting and Ed Harcourt amongst others.

Venues all around the country are being closed due to rising costs, property developers and local council panicking over noise and behaviour complaints. Did you see Jimi Hendrix at The Marquee? The Pogues at The Mean Fiddler? New Order at The Hacienda? In the early 80’s I was living in Manchester and I saw The Fall and Bronski Beat at The Hacienda, The Smiths at The Free Trade Hall and those sweaty, chaotic gigs rank alongside seeing The Who at Bingley Hall and The Clash at Manchester Apollo.

Here in Shrewsbury we have had our share of iconic gigs. I remember seeing The Jam, The Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello at Park Lane. The Beat at Cascades. Les Tetes Brulees at The Jazz n’Roots club. What is your favourite gig? For me it would be an amazing line-up early Two Tone years at the Music Hall in Shrewsbury, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Selecter and The Specials, made even better by being smuggled in by Neville Staples after turning up ticketless, not that I condone that sort of behaviour you understand.

Some gigs pass into mythology, Shrewsbury, who was there 25.05.1989? The now legendary Stone Roses gig at The Fridge in Shrewsbury.


The chairhousepresents suggest you support ‘Fightback’ The Music Venue Trust and get yourself along to a sweaty, chaotic gig as soon as. Keep music live, keep it local, keep it real.