In this scathing View From feature, fabulously-be-named North-East Londoner Massimo Zepettelli bemoans the local new music vacuum, and suggests how things could (and should) change for the better…
London. One of the most thriving cities in the world for music and all kinds of culture. Many (rightly) presume there to be somewhere to enjoy live music in all geographical corners of the capital.
Sorry, not North East London: Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale, Blackhorse Road, Walthamstow, Leytonstone, Snaresbrook and South Woodford. Nothing is near any of these stations.
What a shame that no one has realised this gap in the market. I will focus on Walthamstow because this is where I live: we have no cinemas, no comedy clubs, no theatres, and no music venues.
The closest (and only) venue that I know of in the areas I mentioned above is The Standard on Blackhorse Road, embarrassingly home to the longest line-up of cover bands.
It’s like a needle in a haystack trying to find a band who writes their own songs in the listings. It’s actually a really nice venue, quite big and literally opposite the station, so it’s ideal for travellers… IF a good band were to be booked.
So where is the scene? I am going to blame awful promoters and a lack of faith. Bollocks that the market isn’t there – it’s London in Zone 3 for goodness sake. It’s only 30 minutes bus journey away from two of the trendiest parts of East London – Islington and Hackney.
No one wants to risk parting with their money in our area. But I promise you, if enough promoters and music lovers have faith and put on a couple of good acts (presuming you have the contacts for good/up-and-coming/semi-established) bands then The Standard and a new venue in Walthamstow will thrive.
The rent is nothing compared to Islington and Shoreditch either and the Olympics is coming up in neighbouring area, Stratford. There’s every reason to set-up shop now.
Let’s compare to the other end of the Victoria Line: Brixton. The Brixton Windmill is a great venue which has put on loads of great artists in the past who are now massive: Maximo Park, Noah & The Whale, The Cribs and get Cape Wear Cape Fly to name a few.
However, the venue is a 15 minute walk up much more ghetto streets than the 15 second walk in Blackhorse Road; I reckon it’s impossible to be mugged in such a short distance.
What Walthamstow and North East London needs is a nice, small venue with character like The Lumninaire which will attract semi-established acts, secret shows for bigger artists and allow showcases for those starting out.
Follow Atlum Schema/Andy Mort’s drive to revive the Coventry scene. If it can be done in Coventry, it surely can be done in London.
Massimo Zeppetelli writes a blog titled ‘My Fave Bit’, where he shares his love for that great bit of a song which you can’t help rewinding and listening to over and over again. It’s a genuinely excellent read.