38/52 – Brixton Academy

Well… It’s pretty near the deadline for my Fifty Two new places in London challenge, and… I’m not quite done. But I am just over 73 percent of the way through and I’m definitely going to carry on in the new year, so I hope you’ll forgive my lateness and enjoy exploring London with me for a bit longer! 1 A couple of weeks ago I headed to this amazing venue to see Frank Turner perform at the XFM Winter Wonderland along with a bunch of other bands. It’s perfectly located just five minutes from Brixton tube station – and the venue has played host to an amazing range of artists over the years – it’s definitely one to keep an eye on for upcoming shows right in the heart of London. Catfish and the Bottlemen Frank Turner, Crowd   (Above: Catfish and the Bottlemen, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls) I absolutely loved the interior – and can see why it’s won so many awards! (it has been awarded NME’s ‘best music venue’ twelve times) Its original incarnation as the Astoria theatre and cinema means that the venue retains a spacious (but not stadium-sized) art-deco interior, complete with balcony and a sloped floor that vertically-challenged fans (who spend most gigs standing on their tiptoes for a glimpse of the stage) will just die for. It actually feels like quite an intimate venue (it reminded me of the roundhouse at Camden), because a lot of the capacity is tucked away on the balcony where the seats are – meaning that everyone in the standing area feels close to the stage and the atmosphere of the tightly packed crowd is amazing. Royal Blood To Kill a King (Above: Royal Blood, To Kill a King) We were some of the first people in the venue thanks to my friend Ben’s o2 sim card which gets you into the ‘priority’ queue for all events at the venue. Ben actually sent off for a free sim from o2 and swapped it into his phone on the way to the venue. It was so worth doing for priority entrance but in the end they didn’t even check we had an o2 sim card, so it would also be worth winging it if you want to get a place at the front! IMG_9120 IMG_9126 We ended up paying a tenner for two pints (which came in a two-pint sized cup. This is probably something all venues are doing now but I’ve never seen it before and it is actually such a good idea – it’s almost impossible to get through a crowd with a pint of beer in each hand and this is actual genius.) The whole night was so, so good – such a cool venue, and a great atmosphere building up to the headliner. Frank Turner (and his band – The Sleeping Souls), played an incredible set and the atmosphere was perfect (complete with confetti explosions and a mosh pit made up entirely of large men whose elbows were directly in line with my face.) Billy the Kid Frank Turner (Above: Frank Turner on stage with Billy the Kid, Frank Turner) Afterwards, we headed to the production door (turn left immediately out of the main entrance and walk to the end of the building) and got to take a lightning-quick picture with Frank Turner before he had to dash off in his taxi. This was probably best because I get a bit overwhelmed meeting my heroes like that – I probably would have said something terrible like ‘you’re soft and you smell nice’ (which he totally was/did) and then burst into tears. His quick exit made our meeting much more cool and less weepy – win win 😉 IMG_9209 IMG_9211 I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on the Brixton Academy for 2015, and I think you could almost guarantee having a good night at this awesome venue! I hope you have a fantastic time celebrating the New Year! PV x Billy Bragg (Above: Billy Bragg) The blurry photos in this post were taken by me, the professional quality photos are taken from XFM’s coverage of the event, here.