UK live music venues we've lost over the years
18 April 2021, 08:00
The list of live music venues in the UK that have closed in recent years is long... and depressing. Is your favourite lost venue on here? From the Astoria and the Boardwalk to the Hacienda and the Cockpit, here are some of the ones we miss the most.
The Astoria, London
The list of bands who played seminal live shows at this central London venue is an amazing one. Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana all found the atmosphere so special that they released live recordings from here. It was demolished in 2009 to make way for London's Crossrail system.
The Roadhouse, Manchester
The basement venue on Newton Street in Manchester opened in 1993 and saw the first ever show by Elbow, and gigs from Coldplay, Muse, Courteeners and many more. Sadly, it hosted its doors on 1 June 2015 to make way for a restaurant.
The Marquee Club, London
The Marquee Club name zipped from venue to venue across swinging London, upping sticks from Oxford Street to Wardour Street, and later Islington to Leicester Square. The name and what it meant to the history of British music was the important thing. Sadly since 2012, despite rumours of a rebirth every so often, The Marquee has been shut.
The Haçienda, Manchester
The club and venue that undeniably changed the face of British music was mostly kept afloat by money made from New Order record sales throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It's now a block of apartments which have kept the Haçienda name. Cheeky, but at least the legacy of Tony Wilson and co lives on in one way.
Hammersmith Palais, London
Immortalised by The Clash's White Man In Hammersmith Palais and given a fond farewell in its last months by bands like Kasabian and Idlewild, the West London venue ran for almost a century. It showcased a variety of music genres, boasting a special place in jazz lovers' hearts. The Fall did the final gig here in 2007.
The Boardwalk, Sheffield
Sat on the corner of Bank Street and Snig Hill in Sheffield, this club was originally a jazz drinking hole called the Black Swan when it opened in the 1930s. It played host to The Clash's first proper gig when they toured with the Sex Pistols in July 1976 and was known locally as the "Mucky Duck". In the 2000s, the Boardwalk name became legendary when former barman Alex Turner named the first Arctic Monkeys demos Beneath The Boardwalk. The venue went into administration in 2010, but was revived in 2018 as a new drum 'n' bass venue called Bassbox.
The Arches, Glasgow
Lying beneath Glasgow Central station, this venue opened in 1991 after the space was converted into a gallery for the European City Of Culture celebrations. It hosted shows by Biffy Clyro, Mogwai, The Kooks, CHVRCHES and more until problems with drugs caused licensing issue. Despite the protestations from stars like Irvine Welsh and Franz Ferdinand,the venue closed in June 2015.
The Cockpit, Leeds
Around 500 people would cram into The Cockpit under railway arches in Swinegate to see shows by acts like Tom Odell, The White Stripes and even The Killers (supporting the New York band Stellastarr). Kaiser Chiefs met there when they were Parva and the band were signed after a Cockpit show. Sadly, the venue closed in 2014 due to structural problems with the building.
The Picture House, Edinburgh
Formerly known as the Caley Palais, this Scottish venue hosted gigs by David Bowie, The Smiths and R.E.M., before it was re-invented as the Picture House in 2008, where the likes of The View, Jarvis Cocker and Travis played. It closed on New Year's Eve 2013 and became a Wetherspoons named the Caley Picture House.
Earls Court, London
Bombay Bicycle Club played the last show at this historic venue on 13 December 2014, joined onstage by Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd. It opened on 1 September 1937 and in the intervening 77 years, the iconic venue played host to Floyd's epic staging of The Wall in 1980, plus shows by David Bowie, Elton John, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The huge space was demolished to make way for housing, but at the time of writing, the site is still awaiting development.
The Rainbow Theatre, London
Originally a cinema, Finsbury Park's Rainbow was the first live arena to see Jimi Hendrix set fire to a guitar. It was a true rock landmark and saw shows from Eric Clapton, The Ramones and Thin Lizzy, then later The Jam, The Cure and Joy Division.
It also features in the 1980 film Breaking Glass, but closed a year later and is now used as a church.
The Borderline, London
Situated in Manette Street as part of the restaurant Break For The Border, this tiny basement club opened in 1985 and was perhaps most famous for R.E.M.'s "secret" gig there in 1991 as they prepared to launch the album Out Of Time. Despite an extensive refurb in 2016, the venue couldn't survive in the economic climate and closed its doors for good on 31 August 2019.