Stephen has picked 5 of his favourite independent music venues in the UK, listed in order of capacity, or reverse order of intimacy depending on how you want to look at it. In each the vibe is strong. An honourable mention needs to go out to the much missed Plastic People in London.
Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate (cap 50)
This tiny theatre is nigh on perfect – a great bar upstairs and the main hall can be either seated or standing with a lovely warm, tight sound and a wonderful space for real audience/act interaction. We host a monthly-ish night here which has been great fun and on top of this a lot of film, theatre and comedy is programmed by Jess & Eoin who curate and run it.
Servant Jazz Quarters, London (cap 80)
We had a year of doing shows at this place which is hidden away down one of London’s most intriguing streets. The system is loved and cared for and most of the interesting bands to have come out of London for the last few years will have either played or partied here at some point.
Paper Dress Vintage, London (cap 100)
Paper Dress Vintage recently moved to a new home in Hackney Central right opposite the train station. The music room is upstairs from a clothing shop with a cocktail bar on the ground floor and bands playing on a stage surrounded by draped vintage cocktail dresses. Strong on atmosphere, we have started putting on a few shows here this year.
Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate (cap 125)
Notorious winner of an NME prize last year, this carefully put together venue in Ramsgate is well known for having the sound quality of a venue of a much larger size, and attracting an impressive array of quality up and coming and more established bands to the Kent Coast.
Soup Kitchen, Manchester (cap 200)
A nice roomy venue underneath a big friendly beer hall in Manchester, this has been a good spot for our bands to play as they grow their audience in a city synonymous with UK music.
Stephen is co-founder of Moshi Moshi Records and a judge for the WeGotTickets INDIE50, a new list celebrating the unsung heroes of the UK’s independent music scene. Nominations are open till 31st May, and you can find out more/submit a nomination HERE.“