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Wednesday 16 February 2011

Going Underground.

I recently wrote a blog post about the demise of another local live music venue 'The Crypt'.
Sadly, it has now been confirmed that it's closure is permament.

Whilst thinking about this closure and about The Crypt in general, it struck me that in many ways The Crypt was the Hastings answer to The Cavern Club in Liverpool. Probably one of the most famous music venues ever?
Ok, so Hastings has never produced a band as world famous and as influential as The Beatles, but at least The Crypt gave the town the opportunity to do so.

And then, as so often happens, everywhere i turned i was seeing and reading items related to this topic.
First in line was the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first of 292 appearances at The Cavern. I then read this blog post by the Daily Telegraphs music critic, Neil McCormick.
This was swiftly followed by the good news that The 100 Club, in Londons Oxford Street, had been saved from closure.

So, what do all these items have in common? Well, they are all about small venues and underground venues too. I'm sure there are many other similar venues dotted around too.

All bands have to start somewhere and that is more often than not, in a small venue, as Neil McCormick pointed out. But, there also seems to be something just a little different about those small venues being situated below ground.

I have been lucky enough to see bands at both The Crypt and the 100 Club. By another coincidence, the only band i've ever seen at the 100 Club was from Hastings, The Dharmas and very good they were too.

As you may already have guessed, i never got to The Cavern before it closed, but in the mid to late 1970's i did spend some time in Liverpool and visited a club called "Erics" many times.
Erics was situated opposite where The Cavern used to be (the site was at that time a car park!) and was, by all accounts, of a very similar design to The Cavern. A design that would be familiar to anyone who has ever been to The Crypt. It had that cave like feeling, complete with arches and hidden corners.

In my opinion underground venues are just made for rock n roll. They are what rock n roll is all about. They are dark, hot, sweaty, smelly and have an atmosphere all of their own. There is just nothing quite like them.
Underground venues are almost a metaphor for rock n roll itself.

So, apart from losing some unique underground venues, due to closure. We are also losing a unique rock n roll experience. An experience that could probably never be replicated anywhere else.

Rock n roll is already becoming a little too squeaky clean and sanitised for many peoples tastes and the loss of underground venues like The Crypt is, maybe, another example of that.
After all, losing venues such as this may mean that we just might miss out on the next Beatles and what a great musical tragedy that would.
We are also losing irreplacable parts of our musical heritage.

Here's hoping that the saving of the 100 Club is a move in the right direction and a recognition that we can ill afford to lose venues such as that.

I look forward to going underground, once again, at some time in the future.

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