As we head into another week of lockdown, our latest in the series of features where we speak to some of the bands affected by the pandemic sees London sludge-meets-extreme-metal band Beggar take us into the heart of the Camden metal scene in London. The band release their new album Compelled To Repeat on April 10.
Our Top Local Venue:
The Dev, 33 Kentish Town Rd, Camden Town, London NW1 8NL
– The Dev brings in world class underground bands from all over and it seems to be permanently free entry. Great attitudes from punters and staff. An absolutely mini stage area that makes for exceptionally fun shows. This place is really important because, along with the Black Heart, it’s keeping the grotty Camden metal pub flag flying. We would be genuinely so upset to see anything happen to it. Plus, when you stand outside and look up at it the place just looks like some Satanic, Dickensian, haunted grog emporium.
Top Five Independent Venues:
The Old England, 43 Bath Buildings, Montpelier, Bristol BS6 5PT
– After the Stag and Hounds changed management, we didn’t know where to play in Bristol – but the Old E with its inexplicable cricket-themed branding and psychedelic decor provides a perfect space for weird riffs. This place is tied for us with The Mother’s Ruin, which is a really fun and long-standing joint doing gigs and beer with great staff and great vibes.
Clwb Ifor Bach, 11 Womanby St, Cardiff CF10 1BR
– Clwb Ifor Bach is the figurehead of Cardiff’s Womanby Street. This street is crammed with great spaces. We have played at a couple – and Cardiff is where Abe grew up – but we would love to come back and play Clwb.
The Windmill, 22 Blenheim Gardens, Brixton, London SW2 5BZ
– The Windmill might be the best all-rounder small independent venue in London. A great place to be. Always impressed at how the local pintsmen still prop up the bar even as there’s some insane noise/jazz experimentalism or something going on metres from them.
The Forum, The Common, London Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN4 8YU
– This is Jake’s original neck of the woods and he saw many good bands there as a kid such as Million Dead and Gallows. The Forum was converted into a venue from an ancient public toilet and has since been keeping the wayfaring local children out of trouble.
The Bird’s Nest, 32 Deptford Church St, Deptford, London, SE8 4RZ
– The Bird’s Nest is a double-barrelled grot shack full of loud noises and great people. Highly recommended for those in search of weird times.
Our Favourite Gig Memory:
Abe and I [Charlie] were out in Bristol in 2013 or 2014 watching Fat White Family just after they had put out Champagne Holocaust (an album I’m still spinning to this day). The show was at Start the Bus, a sadly defunct venue in the centre of Bristol with a tiny, tiny gig space. It was heaving and Fat Whites were doing their wonky thing.
Suddenly one particular stage invader clambers up on stage and takes her shirt off and tries to grab one of the band members. No one would have really batted an eye until people started noticing a commotion – someone was pushing their way through the packed crowd right to the front of the stage. As she got to the front everyone realised it was the stage invader’s mum. She was livid. “What on earth are you doing?” she asked her daughter – “Put your clothes back on!” – all clearly audible over the music.
She grabbed her by the hand and, very cross indeed, marched her towards the fire exit, leaving the rest of us amused by her mum’s obvious discomfort but, more than that, genuinely uneasy that we had all been made privy to a family issue that would probably linger for years to come and would probably have been better not to have taken place in quite such a crowded space.