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Thursday, 15 January 2009

So long, Astoria

No, this isn't a post about the album of the same name by emo band The Ataris, but about the closure of the Astoria venue in the centre of London.

To make way for the gazillion pound cross rail project, the whole block of buildings on the corner of Charing Cross Road and Oxford Street, that includes the Astoria and its baby brother venue, the LA2, is going to be knocked down.

It truly was a venue of mixed blessings. On the one hand, it was crap. It stank to hell, had rotten curfews on most nights (the famous nightclub G.A.Y. was one of several club nights that started promptly at 11pm, making gigs finish pretty early) and it was murder getting out of there at the end. But hey, that's live music for you.

What it did have was a good load of sight lines, a great VIP area (purely in terms of its position - there really was nothing luxury about it), and if you were on the first floor it was a great sight looking down on the moshing and what have you on the floor below.

I won't get all misty-eyed about it, because these things happen, for right or wrong, but it is a shame purely from a choice perspective that it's gone. I must have seen Papa Roach about a million times while I worked with them, and Jurassic 5, Eminem and D12 and Snow Patrol all stand out as being good shows there.

So long Astoria, so long.

PS If you fancy seeking out the album So Long Astoria by The Ataris, I'd emphatically recommend their thrashy version of Don Henley's 80s classic, Boys Of Summer.

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