It's hard enough as it is to find 'proper' music venues these days, without three being trashed in one fail swoop. But there must be a good reason for it surely? Oh there is... Soon Tottenham Court Road tube station will have a much bigger and nicer entrance. Great.
I've been a big fan of the Metro Club since it was brought out of moth balls by Blow Up in 2001. Since then it's become one of the most important, independent 'grass roots' venues on the circuit (honest to goodness original new acts for a few measly quid), giving some of today's biggest indie names a foot on the ladder in the process.... The Kaiser Chiefs, Maximo Park, I Like Trains, New Young Pony Club, The Zutons, Babyshambles, The Killers, Black Mountain, The Pigeon Detectives, Bloc Party, The Kings of Leon, Mika, The Bravery, The Darkness, The Duke Spirit, The Editors, The Feeling, The Scissor Sisters, Futureheads and many more all played early gigs there.
It would have been easy to turn the Metro into a lazy 'tribute act' venue, filling it night after night with Abba, Bowie and Blondie-alikes. But the people behind the Metro are real music fans, and have been promoting new acts just about every night of the week for the last 7 years. Time Out magazine even voted it their 'Venue of the Year' in 2003.
The Astoria is also a great size venue, it's 2000 capacity just right for those bands who are breaking through. Built on the site of a pickle factory, the Astoria cinema was opened in 1927. In 1976 it was converted for theatrical use and has remained one of London's best 'middle-sized' venues to this day.
The sweaty, atmospheric, dark and dingy venue is an endangered species, and if we are not careful, our ONLY options will soon be plastic, soul-less corporate hell holes like the O2 and Wembley, constantly regurgitating Elton John, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. And what venues will be left for new talent to cut their teeth? Like they always say, you don't miss it till it's gone.
Good luck to everyone involved at these 3 venues, especially those at the Metro, you will be sorely missed. I look forward to seeing you create an even better venue in the future.
Read the Metro Clubs statement on their closure here
There has been a lot of press reaction to the forced closure of these venues. Particularly interesting is the article published on Music Week. Check out the 'comments' section where someone has implies that Transport for London are using the Crossrail Act without actually having the funding in place for Crossrail. Read the full Music Week article here
Links to other press reaction here