Friday, 1 August 2014

Top 5 Gigs at the University of London Union

A very quick top five this week as I've not had a lot of spare time. I found out through Twitter that the University of London Union, known colloquially as ULU, effectively closed down as of Wednesday night. After some fifty years of student control, the University of London Union building is to be unceremoniously prised from student hands.

There is no guarantee that the notorious central London venue (that has played host to everyone from Arcade Fire to Coldplay and from Tinchy Stryder to the Foo Fighters) will remain an active music venue. This is a great shame as I've been to some cracking gigs there. Actually, as it turned out I've been to precisely five gigs there but they were all good enough to leave a lasting impression and make me sad that it might be a venue I'll never visit again.

1. The Dirtbombs (2008) - Second time I'd seen The Dirtbombs but the best and a utterly brilliant gig. I was a little bit drunk by the time they came on stage and had a fantastic night. Lots of pogoing down the front and a night I made a lot of new friends too.

2. And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (2000) - Another sweaty night of uncontrolled abandon as the Trail of Dead tore the roof of the venue. this gig was in support of the phenomenal Madonna album and was the first time I saw them live. Bizarrely they were supported by Snow Patrol who went on to have a little bit of chart success.

3. Detroit Cobras (2004) - I was very very drunk this night. Considerably more so than the Dirtbombs gig, to the extent I lost my glasses in the melee down the front and only found their shattered remains at the end of the show. Totally worth it though, an amazing live band.

4. New Fast Automatic Daffodils (1990) - Early nineties baggie influence here. I discovered the New FADS thanks to an incredible session for John Peel. They never quite achieved those heights again but this was a fabulous gig and the first time I'd been to ULU. Back then you still had to pay a £1 fee to gain temporary Student Union membership so you could get in.

5. Hope of the States (1993) - HotS were one of the first British attempts at post rock. Clearly influenced by Godspeed You Black Emperor they ploughed a more commercial furrow that could have taken post rock to a whole new level. They were supported by Razorlight who will forever be famous for hoisting Johnny Borrell and the Hoxton Mullet on an unsuspecting audience.


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