Saturday, 27 November 2010

RIP The Luminaire: a tribute to shutting up...

A few topics presented themselves for discussion this week, but one has pretty much obliterated all others from consideration: the announcement that The Luminaire will be closing in January 2011. This may not mean much to those of you more than a stone’s-throw from London, but it should: I’ll explain why…

The Luminaire was that rare thing (rare in the UK, certainly): an independent, quality live music venue that cared about artists and audience. Living in Brighton, I wasn’t exactly on its doorstep, but I saw more than my fair share of shows there and was involved ‘behind the scenes’ in a good few too. Without exception, every time I went there the staff were attentive, helpful and concerned that the majority of people should have a good time enjoying the music.

Some may think otherwise, but I was overjoyed to find that they had a listening policy: signs stuck (and later, more permanently, painted) around the room advised people who preferred to talk over the performance that they may want to go elsewhere (see image above). I’ll never forget that. (They do have a sense of humour too, though)

It lasted five years and hosted some exceptional shows (see, happy band does equal better gig), punching well above their weight when the competition was Clear Channel/Mean Fiddler/Borderline (post sell-off) et al. Two consecutive nights at the Luminaire (as many bands did) was always a better prospect than one in a soulless sound-pit. Word got around: bands and agents talk to each other, and most agreed that this was probably the best live music venue in the UK.

While the imminent closure of the (more famous) fabled 100 Club has gained some press attention and a campaign to save it, I really hope the same might happen for “the Lumi”; hell, maybe Chuck Norris will come and save the day!  I can’t imagine a live music world without it… well, I can, but it’s one of branded venues selling crap beer, charging over the odds, and treating both bands and punters like cattle. Andy, John, Danny, Frid, Jen, Molly and many others I didn't meet: you did a great job. Thank you!

Lesson: support your local independent music venue. You’ll miss it when it’s too late!

Gilded Palace Radio Show playlist - 'til December 10th 2010:

1) Steve Wynn - On The Mend - Blue Rose
2) Luke Jackson - Come Tomorrow - Popsicle
3) Stephanie Finch - Don't Back Out Now - Belle Sound (dates in Nov/Dec)
4) Kelley Stoltz - Ventriloquist - Sub Pop (dates in Nov/Dec including Bunnymen support!)
5) Adrian Nation - If You Turn Away - Laburnum Bridge
6) The Snakes - We Can Fly - Red Eye Music
7) Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez - Keep Your Hat On Jenny - Train Wreck
8) David Olney - Covington Girl - Continental Song City
9) The Dinah Brand - Go Inside - Transduction
10) Franz Nicolay - The Last Words of Gene Autry - Décor (touring Jan. 2011)
11) Kimmie Rhodes - Angel Unawares - Sunbird
12) Tony Joe White - A Place To Watch The Sun Go Down - Munich
13) Chip Robinson - Beesting - Red River (laid up in hospital, medical bill to pay... make a donation here)
14) Quiet Loner - Hide And Fear - Little Red Rabbit
15) Stephen Simmons - Spinner Of Tales -
16) Malcolm Holcombe - You Don't Come See Me Any More - Echo Mountain (UK Tour: March 2011)
17) Ginny Hawker - If You Go I Will Follow (Porter Wagoner song) - Rounder
18) Miss Quincy - Record Store -
19) The John Henrys - Dawson City - 9lb Records
20) Two Cow Garage - Jackson Don't You Worry - Suburban Home
21) Cracker - Low - Virgin (David Lowery/Johhny Hickman UK Tour: Dec. 2010 - Prince Albert, 12th Dec. afternoon gig)
22) Eric Brace & Peter Cooper - Big Steve - Red Beet
23) The Arlenes - Stuck On Love - Loose
24) The Rockingbirds - Love Has Gone And Made A Mess Of Me - Heavenly (Rockingbirds/Arlenes double bill: London Borderline, Sat. 10th Dec. 2010)

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