An act of cultural self-harming?
“The frequency with which smaller venues are closing is scary,” said Krissi Murison, editor of the music magazine NME. “There’s the Charlotte in Leicester, TJ’s in Newport, I could go on and on. It feels like not a week goes past without more closing.”
On October 1st 2014 The Adelphi Club in Hull will celebrate 30 years as a small underground live music venue. A steadfast member of the toilet tour since 1984, the venue, alongside it’s brother and sister venues dotted around the UK, has provided a platform for the careers of bands such as Radiohead, Stone Roses, Pulp, Primal Scream, Oasis, The Housemartins, Green Day, Pavement, The Manics, Inspirals, My Bloody Valentine to name a just a few. On a local level the club has particular cultural significance in the lives of many thousands who have been inspired to play or engage with the community venue. Not every band ascends the ladder to fame and fortune but there is a great deal of fun, friendship and frolicking shared in the years of trying, friendships are formed which last a lifetime. Small venues such as the Adelphi have proved significant cultural breeding grounds and haunts for artists, designers, poets, actors and comedians. The very make-up of a venue environment with small audiences inhabited by the next generation of young intelligent politically aware creatives invites a challenge to the current trends, styles and dominant attitudes. The environment affords them the opportunity to try new things, a testing ground and to hone their trade. It can be argued that, alongside art schools, these places are a catalyst for the creation and development of original ideas.
“Playing places like this is the groundwork bands need, the stepping stone. And even when they’ve made it big, live music needs every rung in the ladder it can get.” Ally Hill.
The wonderfully eccentric and charismatic owner, Paul Jackson, has fought nail and tooth to keep the venues head above water in recent years. Sadly many similar venues have since closed. Many of the pressures on small venues are artificially generated. Toilet tour venues receive no external funding from the Arts Council, local government or other bodies, yet make a hugely significant cultural contribution.
The Adelphi Club celebrated the 20th Anniversary with a 180 page book, complete with 2 CDs, documenting the history of the club since 1984. For the 25th, the venue seconded a wing of the Ferens Art Gallery (The City’s major art gallery) presenting an exhibition of live music, spoken word, art & design.
What can be done to help small music venues nationwide?
For the 30th Anniversary our aim is to focus attention on the cultural significance of all small music venues in the UK.
“ You can’t beat having the audience right there in front of you.” The Horrors bassist, Rhys Webb.