At Queen Mary, we are lucky enough to be situated in the heart of London’s East End. Surrounding our university is a wealth of varied and brilliant music venues, serving you the latest in live gigs and intimate club nights. However, they might not be easy to find if you don’t know where to look. So, to start you off, here are two of my favourite local music spots. Both of these I’ve been to and love, and what’s more they are just a short bus ride away from campus!
The first venue is called Moth Club. Nestled on Valette Street in the heart of Hackney, this venue is actually an unassuming old working men’s club, and is, I believe, still used as such. But it also hosts exciting new gigs, club nights and film screenings.
The stand-out feature of this venue has to be the interior décor, which very much preserves the rich and homely original feel of the working men’s club, but with the glorious addition of its gold sparkling arched ceiling.
If the ceiling isn’t reason enough for you to make a trip, the live music and club nights that are hosted there definitely are.
Moth Club has recurrent club nights based around different themes. One example is an 80s night called ‘Dancing In the Dark’, where you can expect to hear everything from New Order to Fleetwood Mac. Another is a well selected Motown special called ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine’. Moth Club also occasionally hosts ‘Madonnathon’, a club night dedicated to all things Madonna. I’ve been: it was fantastic. Go early to join in with the karaoke, then stick around to dance and sing along to all her brilliant hits.
In terms of live gigs, Moth Club serves a great mix of upcoming new bands to intimate gigs of bigger names. Even Lady Gaga has played a secret show here!
Upcoming gigs to note include and the established band White Denim (August 29th, £22) and up-and-coming group Trudy and the Romance (November 14th, £8.80).
The Shacklewell Arms
An older player in the East End music scene, The Shacklewell Arms, is gem in Dalston with a good pub at the ground floor; a small, cool basement space for gigs and club nights; and a large outdoor drinking and smoking area. Plus, it’s only a simple half hour bus ride from Mile End Station (take the 277 towards Highbury Corner)!
Two well-established indie club nights find a home at the Shacklewell Arms – ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ and, on occasion, ‘Sacred to Dance’. Both are a fun time, and for around a fiver for each event it’s definitely worth a trip if you’re into your good indie nights.
As for live music, many of the gigs hosted here are still free entry (or very cheap): I’ve seen the likes of Our Girl perform here for free last year. For example, Mellow Gang are playing a free gig on the 3rd of July, as are Melenas on the 29th. As money’s not an issue, there’s no reason not to go see great live bands near to home!
So, with cheap gigs and great club nights on our doorstep, there’s no need to travel to the other side of London on a Friday night – why not keep it local and support our small, independent, and vibrant venues!