Archive for October, 2008

October 17, 2008

The Astoria fades out

Friday 17 October.

Today is the day when the famous Astoria Theatre in London was finally told of its permanant demise.  Much has been speculated before around the long term prospects of the famous rock venue, but today Crossrail finally anounced its intentions as the government issued a compulsory purchase order on the site, with the purchase to be complete in January.  This will pave the way for Crossrail to demolish the buiding and construct a new railway station with an expansion of the existing Tottenham Court Road tube station. 

There will be many fans and performers angry and upset at the news of the 81 year old theatre being destroyed.  Owned by Festival Republic (former mean fiddler) since 2000 the venue has played host to some of the capitals most memorable performances, including Nirvana, Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers Richie Edwards final appearance before he disappeared.  It could be left to Percy Sledge to sing the final note!

Although it will be sadly missed because of its rabbit-warren like character and central London proximity it was never one of the most customer-friendly venues.  Security were always aggresive and rude, the sightlines were terrible, especially when stuck behind some 6.5ft bean pole and the worse aspect was the sound quality.  Never designed for live music the acoustics were awful.  It seems it’s hard to strike a balance between state of the art, stark venues like matter and characterful Art Deco, but decaying theatres like the Hammersmith Palais – another one to bite the dust last year.  Though as a capital we are still blessed with an eccentric variety of venues.  Let’s hope it stays that way, we can’t afford to lose anymore of our fine heritage no matter how squalid it has become!