So we know about the basic venues bands and artists perform at, from the local pub to the major city or major town venues and from the flagship venues like the Norwich Waterfront and Camden Underworld to the stadiums like Wembley and the Millennium Stadium.
But once in a while that pattern has to be broken, and boy have some bands performed at some bizarre locations, from the absolutely sublime to the ludicrously crazy. Here we showcase 15 of the world's most unthinkable of places that have at least seen one gig or concert performed at, to make this more interesting we will start in the UK and end up in... the UK.
Let's be honest as long as you have got a music license and council clearance, you can have a live performance wherever, from your bedroom to the pub and from the fields of Derbyshire to London Heathrow's taxiways (come on be realistic, can you imagine the background noise from the planes? Although we think that would be a sensational place to shoot a music video), anyway away we go.
NAME: Tan Hill Inn
LOCATION: North Yorkshire Dales, UK
Tan Hill Inn is the highest inn in the United Kingdom, situated at 1,732 feet (528 m) above sea level the building itself dates back to the 17th century. Even though the last coal mine shut in 1925, the inn was kept open due to the frequent custom by local farmers and passers-by. In 1995, the Tan Hill Inn became the first public house in the UK to be granted a license to hold weddings and civil ceremonies, however it no longer holds the license.
People who watch British television may recognize it from 2008's Everest adverts featuring Craig Doyle of whom is shown installing windows and solar panels.
Bands that have played here include The Arctic Monkeys, Mark Ronson and British Sea Power.
So if altitude is your thing and you like playing pubs, then this is a place that you will have to stop at sometime during your band's career. Just don't be put off by passing sheep.
LOCATION: Bristol, UK
Of course most metal fans know of the 1000 tons of metal festival that is put on a cruise ship and sails from Florida to The Bahamas and back, but how about an actual static cargo ship acting as a venue? We are refraining ourselves from putting out a wave after wave of shipping puns, however we must admit the venue has managed to hook in a wide array of artists over the years, artists such as
Frank Turner, The Pigeon Detectives, The Horrors, Electric Six, Franz Ferdinand, Pete Doherty, Noah & The Whale, Gay For Johnny Depp, Feeder, Nashville Pussy, Mumford & Sons and many more!
The Thekla is moored in the Mud Dock area of Bristol's Floating Harbor. She was built in Germany (probably Hamburg) in 1959 and was one of the last riveted ships manufactured, laden she weighed 650 tons, she measures 180ft long from stern to stern and is 30ft wide. She saw service as a transporter for timer to and from Baltic Sea ports (Finland, Estonia and Sweden most likely, we're surmising here), sadly she ran aground at Gravesend in Kent and was left rusting away in the half-abandoned docks of Sunderland.
However a brighter future initiated as the ship was converted and refurbished, using funds from a loan scheme, to which later sailed to Bristol and took six days and nights in order to complete the 732 nautical mile (842 miles on land) journey.
Later years saw it become a cornerstone in the production of a drum & bass scene in Bristol, as well as featuring renowned art by the famous graffiti artist Banksy. In 2009 the Thekla celebrated its 25th anniversary with a day and night long event featuring bands selected to represent the best of what was happening on the Bristol music scene.
All those Viking Metal bands should feel right at home.
NAME: Arena of Nimes
LOCATION: Languedoc-Roussillon, France
The Amphitheatre of Nîmes is oval-shaped, it measures 133 metres long and 101 metres wide, the arena is 68 by 38 meters. At 21 meters high, its exterior façade comprises two floors of sixty superimposed arches and an attic, separated by a cornice. At the top, pre-drilled stones were positioned to overhang so that long poles could be hung over the arena. A huge canvas canopy was then attached to these poles, thereby providing protection for the spectators against the sun and bad weather. Originally, all the arcades on the ground floor, separated by Tuscan pilasters, were open to act as entrances or exits.
The amphitheater was designed so that everyone had an unrestricted view of the whole arena. Several galleries were located beneath the arena, and were accessed by trap doors and a hoist-lift system. As a result, the decorative effects, animals and gladiators could access the arena during the games.
Just imagine Il Divo or Amici Forever here, imagine also that sound of a double bass drum reverberating around the walls.
LOCATION: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Paradiso is housed inside a former Church dating from the 19th century and was used until 1965 as the meeting hall for a liberal Dutch religious group known as the "Vrije Gemeente" (Free Congregation).
Located on de Weteringschans it borders the Leidseplein, one of the nightlife and tourism centers of Amsterdam. The main concert hall has high ceilings and two balcony rings overlooking the stage area, with three large illuminated church windows above the stage.
It's entertainment origins started in 1967 whereby hippies squatted there, in 1968 it became a publicly subsidized youth entertainment center. Long associated with clouds of tobacco and hashish smoke, Paradiso banned smoking in the public areas in 2008 in accordance with a nationwide ban on smoking in public venues, and the venue has a 'smoking room' near the entrance, but still inside Paradiso itself. Such artists who have graced this venue include the likes of:
The Rolling Stones, Joy Division, Nightwish, Nirvana, The Cure, Amy Winehouse, Epica, Deftones, Florence & the Machine, Within Temptation, Adele, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, Arctic Monkeys, Europe, Radiohead, Stereophonics, Guns N' Roses, David Bowie, 30 Seconds To Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Faith No More, Pink Floyd, Robbie Williams, Weird Al Yankovic, Lady Gaga and furthermore, Glen Matlock played his last gig with The Sex Pistols at the Paradiso.
That feeling of playing in a church would suit a lot of bands, just do not tell Varg Vikernes.
LOCATION: Berlin, Germany
Seriously? How many times will you be able to play in a renovated power plant? That is what Germany's Tresor venue is, a renovated power plant. Tresor is an underground techno nightclub that was founded in March 1991 in the vaults of the former old Wertheim department store in Mitte, the central part of the former East Berlin, next to the famous Potsdamer Platz, however the history of the club goes back to 1988 when the electronic music label Interfisch opened the Ufo Club in Berlin.
The concept for the Tresor floor in the basement was specifically hard techno, industrial and acid music. The record label Tresor Records was founded soon after the club first opened, in October 1991. Featured artists on the label include Jeff Mills, Blake Baxter, Juan Atkins, Robert Hood, Stewart Walker, Joey Beltram, DJ Surgeon, Pacou, Cristian Vogel, House of Fix and many others.
Tresor closed on the 16th April, 2005, after several years prolonged short-term rent. The city sold the land to an investor group to build offices on the Leipziger Straße location. It was open for each night of April 2005, with the final event starting the Saturday night with queues stretching all the way down the road, and still going Monday morning. Tresor reopened on 24 May 2007 in a renovated power plant on Köpenicker Straße in Mitte.
Nuclear Blast and Toxic Holocaust should feel right at home...
NAME: Psychiatrická Lécebna Bohnice
LOCATION: Prague, Czech Republic
CAPACITY: est. 100
WEBSITE: http://www.plbohnice.cz/ (in Czech)
This psychiatric hospital in the heart of Prague, is notoriously famous and highly recognized as the home of an annual theater festival known as Mezi Ploty ("between the fences"), the building itself is a grand old place, sure to inspire awe in visitors.
It is the biggest in the Czech Republic and was established in 1903.
Furthermore the Eurofestival of which is a collective of other festivals across Europe (surprisingly): Pinkpop in the Netherlands, Roskilde in Denmark, Sziget in Hungary, INMusic in Croatia, and Exit in Serbia. However as stated earlier, the Czech festival Mezi Ploty was held at Psychiatrická léčebna in 2011.
Festival director Robert Cozel told the local newspaper the Prague Post why he chose this location: “Tell me what you think the difference is between a patient and a festival attendee. If you share my view that everyone who attends is a spectator, a listener, an art lover, then you’d feel at home among the Mezi ploty people.”
We think this place is haunted, imagine Ghost playing here.
NAME: A38 Budapest
LOCATION: Budapest, Hungary
Harbored on the River Danube and also used as part of the Budapest public transport service, the A38 ship is home to some of the officially world-class bars (Lonely Planet’s ”World’s Best Bar” 2012).
It first was used as a Ukrainian stone-carrier ship, however as it's inauguration on 30th April 2003 saw it become a cultural venue and also celebrates it's decade of being a venue this year. Furthermore it has been received as one of Europe's coolest clubs by artists who have played there. Funnily enough the first birthday the venue had was also the same day that Hungary joined the EU (30th April 2004) and has hosted around 200 events from an array of international artists.
A38 means Artemovszk 38 and comes from the name of a ship prototype, she was buil in 1968 and was renovated over a course of one and a half years. The ownership is 100% private and is owned by
Zászlóshajó Ltd (established 2001) and the total amount spent on renovations is around € 3 million or £2,536,191 GBP. Naturally the finances was from both the ownership and through financial bank loans, however the technical equipment acquisitions were supported by the Hungarian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Information.
A38 agreed to provide public services for the local district. An agreement for these activities were signed and Zászlóshajó Ltd. established a Közhasznú Társaság (Public Service Company) in May 2003 with HUF 3 million stock capital (Hungarian Forint). The Ltd. is the sole owner of the Public Service Company. (Kht. in Hungarian), which is a not-for-profit organisation, and fully responsible for its operation and obligations.
A38 has welcomed several excellent international artists with the highest professional and artistic caliber such as the Vienna Art Orchestra (A), Erik Truffaz (Ch), Boris Kovac (Serbia), Maceo Parker (USA), DJ Vadim (UK), Nicola Conte (I) and Amon Tobin (UK).
What a better way to experience Hungarian nightlife than to visit this sensational venue on one of Europe's most elegant rivers.
LOCATION: Mumbai (Bombay), India
Situated in the city of Mumbai, blueFROG began as a revolutionary, integrated music project and has expanded to be regarded as India's top premiere live music venues. It also incorporates four state-of-the-art recording studios as well as housing it's own production studio, independent label and artist management service. How innovative is that?
The blueFROG club plays live music six nights a week, every week in the calendar year and featuring a whole plethora of international artists, encompassing a varied range of music including Jazz, Funk, Blues, Electronic Music, Soul, Club, Afro / Latin, Folk and Rock, plus loads more.
It would be interesting to know what metal bands (if any) have played here.
NAME: A Day On The Green
LOCATION: Various wineries in Australia & New Zealand
CAPACITY: 5,000 to 15,000
Think of a festival like Sonisphere, touring around and playing different locations with a whole host of different artists and bands, except this type of festival has different artists and bands performing at different locations in different times of the summer period... welcome to A Day On The Green.
Celebrating their 13th anniversary in 2013/14 Australian and New Zealander summer period, A Day One The Green is renowned for producing fine wines, sumptuous foods and sensational live performances right in the grounds of vineyards, yes you got it, VINEYARDS.
The first ever show was put on in 2001 on Australia Day, the personnel behind the concept Michael and Anthea Newton of Roundhouse Entertainment chose Victoria as the first location, it now spans across the whole of Australia and New Zealand and has became Australia's most successful and respected outdoor concert events.
Festival goers are allowed to bring their own food and uniquely build it up to contest for the ‘picnic of the day’ prize, whilst this goes on the resident DJ Baitz delivers music in between the bands and artists performances, just like a normal gig. Furthermore like our British festival contemporaries, punters are allowed to meet the artists at the signing desk as well as peruse the wide range of merchandise.
The rolling festival runs from October to March in the Summer (in the Northern Hemisphere this is our Winter) with over 30 concerts per season; New Zealand enjoying the past 5 years of this. Each concert features from three to five artists performing from late afternoon into the evening.
This is solely Roundhouse Entertainment's only product and thus enabling them to focus on delivering top notch quality concerts that will live in punters memories. Furthermore personal achievements and accolades have been achieved including the launching of four albums, three TV specials and being highlighted as a must in the summer concert calendar.
So this is how AC/DC developed the idea for their own wine brand...
NAME: Estádio Do Maracanã (Maracanã Stadium)
LOCATION: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
CAPACITY: Anything from 80,000 to 700,000+
The Maracanã Stadium is a football stadium situated in the heart of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and is going to be used as part of the FIFA World Cup 2014 tournament.
However many metal and rock fans will remember and know it as the location for the Rock in Rio Festival, but the festival caters for a range of genres. Fans can recap who played at the Rock In Rio 2 Festival here, the same one Brazilian Metal legends Sepultura played at and was featured in the documentary 'Global Metal'.
The stadium, 'Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho' as it is known in Portuguese, was opened on 16th June, 1950 and is owned by the State of Rio De Janeiro. It's past and future tenants include the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the forthcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Paralympics, domestically it is used by Brazilian football club Fluminense and also CR Flamengo.
You could acknowledge Wembley, but come on look at the surroundings, Rio looks more lush no?
NAME: Pappy & Harriet's
LOCATION: Pioneertown, California, USA
CAPACITY: Around 40 to 80
Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace first opened in 1982 and is renowned for its barbeque, live music, dancing and friendly service. However it was used before becoming a venue, in 1946 a bunch of Hollywood investors constructed Pioneertown in order to craft a living movie set, featuring the classic Wild West feel with stables, saloons and jails being present.
Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Russell Hayden and the Sons of the Pioneers (for whom the town was named) were some of the original investors who enabled Pioneertown to exist. More than 50 films and several television shows were filmed in Pioneertown during the 1940's and 1950's.
1982 saw Harriet and her husband Claude "Pappy" Allen opening "Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace". Whilst bikers still hanged around, Pappy & Harriet's presence created more of a family atmosphere. With family style Tex-Mex cuisine and live music featuring Pappy, Harriet and their granddaughter Kristina, Pappy & Harriet quickly became a local favorite with all walks of life getting along under one roof!
Musicians such as Robert Plant, Vampire Weekend, Leon Russell, Sean Lennon, Eric Burdon, Joe Ely, Bonnie Raitt, Les Claypool, Lucinda Williams, Arctic Monkeys, Jimmy Page, Band of Horses, Billy Corgan and the Spirits in the Sky, Wanda Jackson and others have graced the Pappy & Harriet stage.
It was named as one of the Top Ten Hidden Gems in the USA in Billboard Magazine's 2012 Best Clubs issue.
It was known as "The Cantina" and was also used in many Western-themed 1950's TV shows including The Cisco Kid, The Range Rider, The Gene Autry Show, Annie Oakley, and Judge Roy Bean. Furthermore it was used as a shooting location in the 1953 movie "Jeopardy", starring Barbara Stanwyck, it was also featured in other films including "The Howling 7: New Moon Rising", "Strutter" and has been featured in the documentary "Nowhere Now: The Ballad of Joshua Tree" as well as Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Desert Special program featuring Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age).
Know any Western Metal bands? No, Ill Nino does not count.
NAME: Ashbury Lanes
LOCATION: Ashbury Park, New Jersey, USA
CAPACITY: Around 100 (maybe more)
Asbury Lanes is a bowling alley and live music venue / bar that is located in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It is noted as one of the many historic music landmarks located within Asbury Park.
The bowling lanes double as center stage when bands are playing and as a dance floor.
Some acts to have played Ashbury Lanes include:
Big D and the Kids Table, The Butthole Surfers, The Bouncing Souls, D.O.A, Dick Dale, Epoxies, The Ergs!, The Gay Blades, The Germs, Jello Biafra, Jucifer, Los Straitjackets, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Menzingers, Mick Jones of the Clash, Murphy's Law, Negative Approach, Neil Hamburger, Reverend Horton Heat, Street Dogs, The Supersuckers, Swingin' Utters, The Toasters, Wanda Jackson (with Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa in attendance) and Yesterdays Rising.
We wonder if each band that plays, manages to 'strike' that perfect note.
NAME: Slane Castle
LOCATION: County Meath, Ireland
CAPACITY: 85,000 to 100,000
Slane Rock Concert is held most years since it's inception in 1981 in the grounds of Slane Castle. Concerts typically occur on a Saturday in August, from 12:00 to 22:00. However, the 2011 concert occurred on 28 May and the first concert of 2013 took place on 15 June. The sloping grounds of Slane Castle form a natural amphitheater, one of the venue boundaries is the River Boyne.
Aiken Promotions invited artists such as David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Queen, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen to perform during the 1980's. 2001 and 2013 are the only years in which two concerts were held in the same year. In 2001, both concerts were headlined by U2. In 2013, the first concert was headlined by Bon Jovi and the second by Eminem, who had controversially cancelled his 2005 Slane appearance after entering drug rehabilitation.
The Irish Independent claimed in 2004 that "Slane today is the kind of internationally-recognised venue that can claim even Madonna's attention", performers who have headlined Slane concerts include The Rolling Stones, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, David Bowie, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N' Roses, Madonna, R.E.M., Foo Fighters, Celtic Woman and Oasis.
Kings Of Leon headlined the 30th anniversary event at Slane Castle on 28th May 2011, support acts included Thin Lizzy. Artists have also done recordings whilst there: Celtic Woman's "Celtic Woman: A New Journey" DVD in August 2006, U2's "U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle" in 2001 (released 2003). They also recorded their 1984 album, "The Unforgettable Fire" there whilst taking up residence for a time. The Red Hot Chili Peppers filmed the DVD Live at Slane Castle in 2003. Parts of Madonna's documentary-film I'm Going to Tell You a Secret were filmed at Slane Castle in 2004.
Could we send a new trend occurring?
NAME: Songs From The Shed
LOCATION: Somerset, UK
CAPACITY: 10 to 15? (more if extension becomes planned)
What about a garden shed?
This shed is actually a former army billet based in Clevedon, Somerset just off junction 20 of the M5. Jon Earl and a small group of friends with a love of Cheese and Cider decided that during one of their regular meetings in The Royal Oak they should try to get some musicians to play at the first meeting.
Since that day the shed has seen many acts play and has featured in several national newspapers, it has been featured on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 5, as well as many local stations. They have been discussed on blogs all over the world and have featured in a BBC documentary.
They are taking bookings up to a year ahead and have an eclectic, genre free, mix of acts planning to come play the shed. Some of these will be familiar names, some you will never of heard of but all will bring something special to the shed.
Some of the acts to record and play here the DIY way include: The Water Tower Bucket Boys; who did live session on Mark Lamarr's Radio 2 show, the Gasworks Choir, Dragonsfly, Lou Brown (who is a firm favorite of Radio 2's Johnnie Walker), Roscoe, Fiddle Me Ree and Lenny Savage
However last year, tragedy struck as songs from the Shed venue in Clevedon 'faces closure' (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-19625578)
We pay homage to a unique venue and recording studio.
NAME: Colchester Arts Centre
LOCATION: Essex, UK
CAPACITY: Around 150 (maybe more)
Yes another church, but welcome to the county of which GMA is situated in, Essex. This has an interesting story to tell too.
The site of the arts centre was originally St Mary At The Walls Church, situated on Church Street and to the east of Balkerne Hill. Built against the Roman Walls and overlooking the western suburbs of the town, hence the nearby pub being called 'The Hole In The Wall', part of the wall still remains.
First documented in 1206, the church bare witness to the execution of 23 Protestant martyrs via being burnt alive during the reign of Mary I (aka Bloody Mary).
The church tower was later used as a gun emplacement by the Royalist Army during the English Civil War, moving onto later times there was further major rebuilding in 1872, however in 1978, the old church became redundant and as a result the bell went to St Leonard's in Lexden and the organ to Brentwood Cathedral.
Joy was brought to Colchester in 1980 when it reopened as the Colchester Arts Centre.
Over 33 (nearly 34) years, the Arts Centre has witnessed a whole range of local to international acts performing there including: Cradle Of Filth, Palfi The Clow, Coldplay, Eddie Izzard, Graham Norton, Harry Hill, Catherine Tate, Jo Brand, The Libertines, Ash, The Killers, The Strokes, Phill Jupitus, Mick Jones, Bill Bailey, Jack Dee, Count Arthur Strong - all before anyone had ever heard of them of course - plus the likes of jazz legend Ronnie Scott and even the late lamented and much loved Brian Johnston the cricket commentator. Also Madina Lake, Fearless Vampire Killers, Malefice, Despite My Deepest Fear, I Killed The Prom Queen & August Burns Red amongst others.
Don't you dare Varg, don't you damn well dare!
So there you have it, we looked at 15 bizarre venues from 12 countries on 5 separate continents, encompassing a wide range of buildings, from churches to castles and from Psychiatric wards to a garden shed, we want to know what your favorite one is and if you have come across any other bizarre venues.
Post your comments below.
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