In an era where bands and artists can charge up to £100 per ticket, I cannot stress how important it is to support independent venues across the UK, local and afar. In Southampton we are lucky enough to have a variety to choose from, a couple featuring on this list, which really gives you no excuse to not get down and give them a visit. Independent venues are undoubtedly the best and most effective way to discover some incredible up-and-coming arists, and with tickets often as cheap as £5 each and the opportunity to witness amazing (local and international) talent, what is there not to love?
The Joiners, Southampton
At the very core of Southampton’s music scene is The Joiners. The venue has stood in its place since the late 60’s seeing the likes of; Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Green Day, Coldplay and Radiohead play on its coveted stage. The venue is routinely recognised by industry professionals and artists as being one of the best independent/small venues in the UK. The diversity of the venue is a commonplace acceptance by locals, who know that in the same week a small local band could sell out their gig followed by a show the next evening by a band like Enter Shikari. Despite financial scares in recent years, the brand is still thriving with numerous gigs every single week. The venue is a staple in the wider South Coast music scene in the UK and the venue is even responsible for putting on some of the biggest alternative gigs in Southampton.
The 1865, Southampton
The music scene in Southampton is one which continues to amaze me and showcases the great independent venues that we have here in the UK. And The 1865 has quickly become my favourite place to spend an evening, and it’s a venue where I’ve been to some of my favourite concerts of all time. Gigs like Yungblud’s acoustic album launch stand among the best I’ve ever seen, and the venue itself plays a huge part in that. It’s the perfect size for any gig, where you’ll have a great time whether you’re chilling at the back or right in the middle of the pit. The 1865 also hosts a massive variety of artists – from classics like New Model Army to electric newcomers like Fontaines D.C, it’s been home to some of my best memories here, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.
The Dome, London
Situated a very short walk from Tufnell Park tube station, The Dome is as convenient as it is excellent. Hosting a similar array of acts to Southampton’s The Joiners, The Dome is the perfect size in its intimate but not cramped nature. Even at sold-out shows, there are places to gain some respite from the busy crowd if needed. Alongside this, the sound is also impeccable, and the view is perfect from wherever you stand. Unlike other smaller venues, The Dome has no awkward pillars in the room which may restrict views, and this is probably due to the fact that it’s considerably larger than other independent venues on this list. This hall has hosted a range of talents, and with London being an obvious hot-spot for many artists to visit, there is no doubt this is one of the most perfect places to discover up-and-coming talent.
The Windmill, London
The Windmill is centred in the backstreets of Brixton bringing a new quality to live music, its candlelit and friendly atmosphere mean you are sure to make a few new mates, whether if that’s from the garden area or the bar. The venue owners explain the “most important is the quality of music – it’s no good telling us that you’ll ram the place with your mates. If your music sucks, we aren’t interested”, proving it’s all about the music and no commercial profit, meaning no matter what night you go to the venue you shall expect incredible music from a wide variety of artists. Its emphasis on new artists means you’re most likely to see artists perform before they go big – bands such as Goat Girl have performed here and have gone off to bigger venues. Not only that but The Windmill provides reasonably priced drinks which is unlike most music events across the UK.
The Anvil, Bournemouth
With an intimate stage, impeccable sound quality, and friendly staff, Bournemouth’s The Anvil is undoubtedly one of the best independent venues out there. Unlike others, The Anvil does not feel incredibly cramped, even when sold out, which is perfect for those of us out there that are not fans of crowds. Its nature, as a basement, means that it does have a little bit of a dark and dingy feel, however this definitely does not impact on the incredible talent to be witnessed live. If anything, it simply increases the authenticity of the live performance, and also contributes to its somewhat edgy vibe. If you’re interested in visiting any small, independent venues that have a similar feel to Southampton’s The Joiners, The Anvil is definitely one that should be on the top of your list. Hosting a variety of acts many nights of the week, there is always something to enjoy.