Small UK music venues
From a launderette in Durham, to a church, former school and even a bookshop, readers recommend their favourite haunts for intimate gig experiences
After queuing, we were welcomed in and pointed to the bar – cans of beer on a trestle table. The little church is beautiful. Great gig – My Darling Clementine, featuring guitarist Martin Belmont, a founder member of Graham Parker & the Rumour. Hank Wangford was in the crowd. All for £15, with the added bonus of sitting in on a bench in the churchyard that states: “John, Paul, George and Ringo sat here during their mad day out in 1969.”
This live venue just off Oxford Road is split over three floors, and gigs are in the firstfloor ballroom, with its domed ceiling and gothic wallpaper. It hosts a range of up and coming bands that span a wide section of musical tastes. Get down the front or watch from benches at the back. Either way, you will feel connected at this great venue. Trof provides the food, which is healthy and good value.
Ashburton Arts Centre, Devon The little town’s Methodist chapel was bought by its community and converted into an arts centre, now run by volunteers. You wouldn’t know it from the programme: everything from dance to orchestra to jazz and acoustic guitar. I love sitting at a small candlelit table metres from the performers. Or peering down from the gallery of this old chapel building. Beth Rowley was a recent highlight and another night the crowd loved dancing to the 17-piece Dockside Latin Orchestra.
Get down Starcrawler at Manchester’s Deaf Institute