The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues – Part 1

Posted On 13 Apr 2020 at 5:57 pm

Following on from our recent report onThe History of Brighton & Hove Record Shops – The Directory, we thought that it would be a terrific idea to also catalogue ‘The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues’, offering you a varied, interesting and informative account of them and where live music has been performed within the city. Along with a selection of highlight shows added for further interest. So delve further and you will, for example, find out which single venue has hosted concerts by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who!

This has been a mammoth task and we would once again like to ask for your assistance in filling in the missing gaps. Have we inadvertently omitted any venues? Do you have any further relevant information on any of the following listings? If YES, then please comment at the end of the article and we will look into it. Thank you very much – the Brighton & Hove News Music Team.

We primarily decided to start our quest from after the Second World War. This was to highlight the ‘borders of living memory’ and to reflect the beginning of a new age, with the development of the next stage of jazz and blues, and conveniently it marks 75 years. Having said that, we would like to flag up a few exceptions. Everyone locally knows where the Brighton Centre is located and the fact that it is the largest venue of its kind in southern England, however, very few will be aware of what happened on the exact same site on 29th of October 1888…..

The answer is the opening of Alhambra Opera House. Middle aged punks, don’t get too excited as it’s not ‘The Alhambra’, that one comes much later!

This Alhambra came with an auditorium capable of accommodating some 2,000 people and was located at 85 King’s Road, Brighton. From the very beginning the Theatre had a Music Hall night, but sadly it’s life as a variety Theatre and Circus venue wasn’t to last and it closed its doors in 1912. Presumably the patrons eventually made their way onto the West Pier, as from 1914-16 the covered bandstand (that had been erected in 1875 to provide shelter for the previously exposed musicians who had performed at the pier head) was demolished, with the pier being widened to accommodate a brand new eight sided oval concert hall seating 1400. In fact, over on the Palace Pier, orchestras had been performing live since Wednesday 3rd April 1901, when Pavilion Orchestra gave the first performance before an invited audience and tea was served afterwards to 1,500 guests. Then in 1911 the Palace Pier Theatre was entirely remodelled with an increased seating capacity of 1300. No wonder The Alhambra closed its doors in the following year and was then converted into a Cinema and renamed the Palladium Cinema with a capacity of 1,200.

Across the road from the Palace Pier was Brighton Aquarium, which formally opened to the public on 10th August 1872. In June 1876 its terrace was extended by 180 feet and a music conservatory, a roller-skating rink, terrace garden, smoking room and cafe were all added on the roof. By 1880 organ recitals were being given twice daily in the hall, while concerts under the direction of William Kuhe were performed in the conservatory. From 1907 until 1918 a municipal orchestra played in the conservatory which was renamed the Winter Garden. In 1927 the Aquarium closed for modernisation and was reopened by the Duke of York on 12th June 1929. The Winter Garden had been transformed into the Prince’s Hall, a modern concert hall seating some 1250 people. The Prince’s Hall, which had been used nightly as a ballroom, later became the Florida Rooms.

In 1936 the Palladium Cinema was purchased by the Odeon Circuit and renamed the Odeon Cinema. Its frontage was modernised in the popular Art Deco style. But the cinema was renamed back to the Palladium Cinema in 1937. It wasn’t to last and it was closed in 1956 and demolished in 1963. The Brighton Centre swung open its doors on 19th September 1977 and has never looked back since!

The fact that modern music has in essence moved away from large orchestra’s, leads to the conclusion that the venues do not require cavernous large stages in which to put on an act. Many successful music performers these days are in fact solo artists. They can perform in a tiny area compared to an orchestra. This has opened up the possibilities of where in Brighton and Hove music performances can take place. Especially so if they are performing an ‘unplugged’ set, as they can simply stand in the corner of a bar and entertain folk or even go busking in the street if required. Therefore, Brighton is now populated with many more ‘venues’ than there has ever been before.

These are supplemented with further ‘music openings’ as the net is cast further and expanded to include sites that might not usually cater for performances. This is at its peak each May, when The Great Escape comes to town, as this is Europe’s largest new music festival, with in excess of 500 acts all playing in the city within just a three day period. Sadly the 2020 TGE has been cancelled for obvious reasons

Some might argue that we have reached a saturation point, but this doesn’t seem to bear fruit, when analyzing the genuine sadness surrounding the closure of Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar a short while back. It was national news! Another small independent venue closes!

Photo taken in Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar (pic Nick Linazasoro)

We must look after and frequent these venues, as it’s our heritage! Clearly, the way the current coronavirus situation is developing, sees us all stuck indoors and unable to get out to concerts. This down the line, will have a knock-on effect and it’s more than likely that many of the businesses in the following directory, will not be able to ride through these bad times and thus might not be in a position to reopen once the situation hopefully will be resolved. So right now is a perfect time to look after and cherish what venues we have left.

The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues – The first 75 years (listed in alphabetical order): PART ONE

10 Below, 10 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD.
Gigs were known to have taken place here in 2013. But the venue closed for good on 22nd March 2015, with this announcement: “So as some may and some may not be aware we received the news on Tuesday that every venue hates to hear and that is that our 3 venues Smugglers, The Loft and 10 Below have been sold and will be shutting their doors for the last time this weekend. What the future holds for them, who knows, but in the meantime we want to thank everyone, promoters, customers and staff alike who have enjoyed memorable times with us in the last 39 years. The team at Smugglers, the Loft & 10 Below x”.

Abinger, 142 King’s Road, Brighton, BN1 2LP.
The neo-Georgian style Abinger Hotel was built on the site of Abinger House which was demolished in 1948. Abinger Hotel opened in May 1956 and in the 1970’s it was a pub/steak restaurant with bars on the raised ground floor with brick divided nooks and crannies to have a drink and chat in. It had a discotheque below ground level and the steakhouse restaurant upstairs, which was reached by a carpeted sweeping stairway. A punk band going by the name of The Meat played live here on 7th July 1977. So it is likely that more local bands played here.

Al Duomo, 7 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE.
Apparently the occasional gig has taken place here from 2015-2019. There are no records of John Reid and Norman Cook performing ‘Trippin’ on Sunshine’ here aka Pizzaman.

Alhambra, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2GS.
This pub was the mecca for young emerging rock’n’roll bands in the 1950’s and one of the main hangouts for Brighton punks during the tail end of the 1970’s. It’s said that between 1977 and 1980, there was a band on every night. A drum kit was usually set up in the bay window which overlooked the seafront. The final concert was on Saturday 10th December 1983 and saw local trio Venus In Furs going through their paces. Funnily enough, I used to work in a company based in Woods Way, Goring called Control & Readout and one of ‘The Furs’ was also working there around this time. The Alhambra shut up shop on Monday 12th December 1983. Under the Alhambra in the basement was a small club called The Inn Place which played soul orientated music. In the 80’s The Inn Place had regular New Romantic evenings called ‘Raidz’ run by some local guys. The Jurys Inn Waterfront now occupies the site. (see also Harrison’s Bar and Bill’s Dive).
Highlights:
The Chefs + Dick Damage & The Imitators 10.4.1979 + 21.4.1980
The Piranhas 6.5.1979
The Chefs 22.5.1980 + 26.6.1980
Dick Damage And The Dilemma 7.8.1980
The Chefs + Dick Damage & The Dilemma 21.8.1980

All Saints Church, The Drive, Hove, BN3 3QE.
With the changes in society, churches have to think of new ways of sustaining themselves and this 19th-century Gothic revival Anglican church is no exception. It has served as the parish church for the whole of Hove since 1892, and stands in a prominent location at a major crossroads in central Hove. Occasional music concerts have been noted to take place from 2012-2018.
Highlight:
Poliça 10.2.2014

Amex Stadium, (American Express Community Stadium), Village Way, Brighton, BN1 9BL.
The Amex Stadium, (aka Falmer Stadium) with its 30,750 capacity, officially opened on 30th July 2011, and is the impressive home of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. It has hosted another footie fan, Rod Stewart back in 2014. Concerts took place in the 2013-2014 ‘season’.
Highlight:
Rod Stewart 13.6.2014

Astoria Theatre, 10-14 Gloucester Place, Brighton, BN1 4BE.
The Grade II Art Deco style 1823 seater Astoria super cinema with stage facilities opened on Thursday 21st December 1933. The Theatre’s stage was rarely used other than a spurt of concerts in 1957 and in the following year it was closed off completely when renovations to the building included erecting a 70mm screen in front of the proscenium. The last film, ‘A Star is Born’, ran from 31st March to 7th May 1977, after which it became a 1,000-capacity bingo hall. Demolition of the building commenced in May 2018.
Highlight:
Lonnie Donegan & His Skiffle Group 3-8.6.1957

Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Gardner Centre Road, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RA (formerly Gardner Arts Centre).
The University of Sussex announced the completion of building works on the newly renovated Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (aka ACCA) on 4th August 2015. The multi-million pound refurbishment of the Grade II* listed building created a world class, contemporary arts space. The public performance programme was launched in spring 2016. The iconic building, designed by Sir Basil Spence and formerly known as the Gardner Arts Centre, had been closed since 2007. (See also Gardner Arts Centre, Mandela Hall and University of Sussex).
Highlight:
The Horrors 28.10.2017

Audio, 10 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TL (formerly the Escape Club and will become Patterns).
Audio certainly had big boots to fill when it opened in 2004, as it was previously known as the Escape Club. After a run of ten years of constant concerts and club nights featuring superstar DJ’s including Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, Pete Tong, The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk, Audio finally closed its doors on 28th February 2015. The building then had a refit and was relaunched less than three months later as Patterns on 13th May 2015. (see also The Pier (Ted Potter’s Music Bar), The Royal Escape, Patterns, The Buccaneer, Audio and Escape Club).
Highlights:
Joan As Police Woman 14.12.2006
The Vaccines 15.11.2010
Haim 12.5.12 (at The Great Escape, furthermore listed as TGE)
Catfish and the Bottlemen 16.5.2013 (TGE)
East India Youth 6.12.2014 (Drill Festival)

Back Beat Bar & Bassment, 5-6 Western Road, Hove, BN3 1AE.
The relatively new Back Beat Bar & Bassment is two venues in one place. Upstairs is a cocktail bar featuring live music, and downstairs with its low ceiling is the Back Beat Bassment for intimate club and band nights. This site was formerly known as Rick’s Bistro.

Bar Centro, 6 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD.
This was located 100 yards from Brighton beach and as far as I can tell sat on the site of Hotel Du Vin & Bistro Brighton. In 1997 it hosted a few bands including Mogwai.
Highlight:
Mogwai 26.5.1997

Bar Rogue, 35 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1NT.
Located next door to the Royal Albion Hotel and right opposite Brighton Palace Pier. This was one of the Alternative Great Escape venues from 14th to 16th May 2015. Although I can remember the site previously housing the Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks up until 1981.Those of a certain age will recall the window display, with waxworks effigy and scythe-like pendulum swinging slowly back and forth, about to cut the prisoner in two. The waxworks looked poor as far as I can recall.

Barfly, 27 Gloucester Place, Brighton, BN1 4AA.
The Barfly opened up its brief love affair with Brighton in 2006, having taken over The Gloucester Nightclub. The sign outside read “Barfly at The Gloucester”, however on 2nd June 2008 The Barfly closed down without notice. The North Laine Brewhouse now sits on the site. (see also The Gloucester and North Laine Brewhouse).
Highlights:
The Fratellis 18.5.2006 (TGE)
The Young Gods 10.12.2007
Bombay Bicycle Club + Crystal Castles 17.5.2008 (TGE)

Bau Wow, 77 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1NF (became Door 77).
Blink and you would have missed this venue, as it wasn’t open for very long and also on the account that it was one of two doors side by side. You had better make sure that you were in the correct queue, otherwise you would have ended up in the Platinum Lace Bar & Gentlemen’s Club! Bau Wow hosted gigs in 2017 and participated in The Great Escape in 2018. (see also Door 77 and Zahara).
Highlight:
Tigers Jaw 7.4.2018

Bella Union Vinyl Shop, 13 Ship Street Gardens, Brighton, BN1 1AJ (instore).
The Bella Union Vinyl shop is a hidden gem in the historic quarter of Brighton’s Lanes. It opened on 8th June 2016 with an instore performance from Mercury Rev. The store is primarily an outlet for the Bella Union labels artists, who include John Grant, Father John Misty, Penelope Isles, Wrangler, Dog In The Snow, Piroshka, and naturally Mercury Rev. Bella Union was founded in 1997 by former Cocteau Twins members Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie after a career with 4AD. Raymonde is now solely on the case with the label.
Highlights:
Penelope Isles + Dog In The Snow 21.4.2018
John Grant 29.10.2018

Bella Union Vinyl Shop with owner Simon Raymonde (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Belvedere Beach Bar, Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB.
Back in 1955 the Belvedere Beach Bar, which was located a couple of doors away from the Fortune of War on Brighton beach, was first place willing to give Worthing based rock’n’roll quintet the Downbeats a chance. They played every night plus afternoons on Saturday and Sunday and were thought to be the first Rock group in Sussex. At times, this venue must have been a tad iffy, as it was reported thus “In the summer sometimes during the 1950’s, two war ships used to anchor about ¼ mile off the Palace Pier: an American Ship and a British ship (H.M.S. Brighton I think). That weekend or week the town was bustling. Prostitutes used to come down from London and, if you were brave enough, you would find them in The Belvedere or Fortune of War, waiting for the sailors”.

Belushi’s Below, 10-12 Grand Junction Road, Brighton, BN1 1PN.
This was situated below Belushi’s Bar & Club, which was one of those American sports bar places. They had the very occasional concert there during the 2005 to 2012 period. It is now Hostelpoint Brighton.

Bermuda Triangle, 187-193 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB.
This tunnel-like dance club was located right on the seafront and opened on 6th November 2013, having previously served as the second room for Digital. Although primarily a nightclub it staged a few concerts as well. One of its earliest gigs was a 40 minute wall crumbling set from Royal Blood. The venue participated in the 2014 Great Escape, but on 7th March 2015 the club morphed into The Arch. There’s certainly some fantastic Brighton heritage going on here as the site has also been home to Coliseum and most famously The Zap Club. (see also The Arch, Digital, Coliseum and The Zap Club).
Highlight:
Royal Blood 13.12.2013

Big Apple, 133 Queen’s Road, Brighton, BN1 3WB.
Amazingly the Big Apple only ran for a mere four months from November 1970 to March 1971, so nothing particularly interesting could have happened in such a short time right? Errr wrong! If you check out the chosen ten selected highlights below then you will be truly amazed. This venue was located above the Regent Cinema (Regent Theatre) off North Street, Brighton and was also known as Regent Theatre Concert Hall and had previously been the Regent Ballroom. The Big Apple had inherited the sprung floor and when the crowd bounced it affected the sound in the cinema downstairs. The volume was also limited before 10.30pm because of the cinema. You had to go up a steep staircase to get in. It was like a very large hall, at the back were food stalls and bars at either side of the stage were areas with large cushions to sit on. The rest of the floor was either standing or sitting though most people sat on the floor to watch a gig. When The Rolling Stones played there in March 1971, Mick Jagger threw a basket full of daffodils into the audience, which was the opposite of what had happened just a month earlier when Deep Purple’s Richie Blackmore smashed up his guitar at the end, but not the one he had been playing all evening – presumably a cheaper one. The venue’s final night saw Emerson, Lake & Palmer doing their thing. The Big Apple closed because of soundproofing issues. The venue then moved to the old ice rink in Queens Square and was called Fox; that venue too was very short lived. (see also Fox Club and The Regent).
Highlights:
Fleetwood Mac 13.11.1970
Pink Floyd 11.12.1970
T. Rex + Status Quo 19.12.1970
Status Quo + Soft Machine 7.1.1971
Free 22.2.1971
Deep Purple 27.2.1971
Yes 6.3.1971
The Rolling Stones 10.3.1971
The Kinks 13.3.1971
Emerson, Lake & Palmer 18.3.1971

Bill’s Dive, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2GS.
This was located beneath Harrison’s Bar (which was to become the Alhambra in the 1970’s) and is where the Jurys Inn Waterfront (formerly the Thistle Hotel) now stands, near the Old Ship Hotel. In the late 1950’s skiffle groups often performed at Bill’s Dive, and so you would get two lots of live music, downstairs at Bill’s Dive and upstairs at Harrison’s Bar. In the late 1970’s, Bill’s Dive was known as The Inn Place and they played soul orientated music. In the early 1980’s they had regular New Romantic evenings called ‘Raidz’ run by some local guys. (see also Harrison’s Bar and Alhambra).

Bleach, 75 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JF.
This was located on the first floor above the Hare & Hounds pub located a stone’s throw away from Brighton Fire Station. Bleach opened in May 2014 and had a number of concerts before it closed in 2017. It had emphasis on the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Alternative Escape, however they did host a gig by Viola Beach. This is rather special as in the early hours of 13th February 2016, all four band members together with manager Craig Tarry died in a road accident on a lift bridge along the E4 motorway at Södertälje, southwest of Stockholm, Sweden. The Hare & Hounds also occasionally hold local band music performances and DJ performances downstairs across from the bar as well. (see also Hare & Hounds and The Hydrant).
Highlights:
Viola Beach 11.12.2015
Inheaven 24.2.2016

Block., 101 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1TP.
Block Bar Brighton is a friendly yet cutting edge bar based in vibrant Kemptown. Although you’d never guess it from their front entrance, but there is a renowned sun-trapped garden with a Mediterranean feel to the rear of the building. They were listed on the 2019 venue list for The Great Escape.

Block. (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Bom-Bane’s, 24 George Street, Brighton, BN2 1RH.
Bom-Bane’s is a tiny cafe/restaurant run by musician Jane Bom-Bane that occasionally hosts live music performances, plus other events, with Belgian/European menus.
Highlight:
Helen McCookerybook 8.9.2018 (of Helen & The Horns + The Chefs fame)

Bombay Bar, 83 St George’s Road, Brighton, BN2 1EF (see Proud Cabaret Brighton).

Bond Room, (unknown).
I did find a notification that The Move had played a concert at the Bond Room in Brighton on 28th October 1969. I can’t locate any other details other than this. I’m not even sure if guitarist/vocalist Roy Wood (later of Wizzard) would recall this either?
Highlight:
The Move 28.10.1969

Brighthelm, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD.
Brighthelm is a Community Centre and part of the United Reformed Church and has been based on this site since 1987. It is a venue for meetings and conferences, which is available to hire to the public. They have an auditorium for gigs and performance events, with 300 seated and 350 standing space. This is a far cry from what previously existed on this site in the heady days of punk rock, as the previous building that occupied this site was the rundown ghetto called The Vault, as well as the Resource Centre. I have been to gigs here for The Great Escape and it had the vibe of a school hall. There are records of performances from 2013 to 2018. (see also The Vault (Resource Centre)).
Highlight:
Tom Robinson Band 6.10.2018

Brighton Ballroom, 83 St George’s Road, Brighton, BN2 1EF (see Proud Cabaret Brighton).

Brighton Beach’, Madeira Drive, Brighton.
Our wonderful sandy beach (oh go on then… stoney beach) has hosted a number of major concert events down the years, with arguably the biggest involving Fatboy Slim. I can remember coming out of the Royal Sussex County Hospital after our second son was born and hearing Norman in full swing. Coincidentally, his only spell on the number one slot in the singles charts as a standalone artist with ‘Praise You’ coincided with the birth of our first son – weird eh? The Great Escape has had many acts performing on the beach, the standout being Idles at the ‘temporary’ Beach Club.
Highlights:
Fatboy Slim 7.7.2001
Idles 17.5.18 (TGE)

Brighton Beach (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Brighton Belle, 9 Oriental Place, Brighton, BN1 2LJ.
Over two and a half years before The Zap Club opened in Kings Road Arches on 1st November 1984, they organised their very first event at the Grade II-listed Regency Brighton Belle nightclub. Ian Smith (from Brighton band Birds with Ears) was the compere and the evening included poet Roger Ely and local band The Eliminators. The club began on a monthly basis, but soon took place fortnightly, then weekly, with an anarchic mix of performance, poetry, comedy and music. The club starts attracting performance students from Brighton Polytechnic who use the club to experiment with new ideas. The Zap quickly outgrows the New Oriental and moves to the Royal Escape basement.

Brighton Centre, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2GR.
The 4,500 capacity Brighton Centre is the BIG one on this list. It was opened on 19th September 1977 by the then Prime Minister James Callaghan. This was the same night that Peter Gabriel played the Brighton Dome. It was designed in a Brutalist style by architects Russell Diplock & Associates, who made extensive use of textured concrete. In 2004, Brighton & Hove City Council estimated that the centre generates £50 million in revenue for Brighton. Bing Crosby’s final performance was at the Brighton Centre on 10th October 1977. He died of a heart attack four days later, while at a golf tournament in Spain. Over the past 42 and a half years, a large chunk of the top music artists have performed here, for example Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Alice Cooper, Blondie, Depeche Mode and Elton John. Just take a look at who performed at the Brighton Centre within the first three years.
Highlights:
Bing Crosby 10.10.1977
Status Quo 12.12.1977
Rod Stewart 11-13.12.1978
The Who 10.11.1979
Wings 2.12.1979 (as in Paul McCartney)
Queen 10+11.12.1979
The Jam 15.12.1979 + 11.12.1982 (their final gig)
The Police 17.12.1979 + 18.12.1981
AC/DC 19.12.1979
Bob Marley & The Wailers 8+9.7.1980

Brighton Centre (East Wing), Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2GR.
The Brighton Centre has also hosted other smaller concerts within its East Wing (also known as Brighton Centre Syndicate Wing). The most famous of these took place on 18th June 1994 when Oasis thrilled the punters. Their success was such that six months later, on 29th December 1994, they sold out the main venue hall to a capacity crowd of 4,500.
Highlights:
Senseless Things 12.3.1993
Elastica 15.2.1994
Oasis 29.12.1994
Mansun 18.3.1997
Billy Bragg 17.12.1999

Brighton College”, Brighton.
Whether this refers to Brighton College on Eastern Road or a shortened reference for ‘Brighton College of Education’ or ‘Brighton College of Technology’, but there’s a record of Davie Jones & The Manish Boys performing a concert here on 17.12.1964. Davie Jones being David Bowie of course.

Brighton College of Education, Falmer Campus, Village Way, Brighton, BN1 9PH.
The 32-acre Falmer campus was opened in 1965 for the Brighton College of Education. Its original home at Richmond Terrace was in a building on the northern side of the Municipal Technical College and by 1918, numbers 9–10 Hanover Crescent was also in use. The college, however, moved to Eastern Terrace to release space for the technical college and remained there until September 1965, when it moved to Falmer. It had been renamed the College of Education the previous year. In 1976 the Brighton College of Education (the Teacher Training College) at Falmer merged with the Polytechnic in Brighton, giving the Polytechnic a campus at Falmer, and thus ending hopes that the College might merge with the University of Sussex. The expanded Polytechnic is known today as the University of Brighton.
Highlights:
Humble Pie 16.6.1971
The Tremeloes 8.7.1971
Steeleye Span 26.11.1971

Brighton College of Technology, Moulsecoomb Campus, University of Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4GJ.
In the 1960’s new buildings were constructed in Moulsecoomb for what had become the Brighton College of Technology. In 1970 the School of Art and Brighton College of Technology merged to form Brighton Polytechnic. The polytechnics were granted university status in 1992 and the Polytechnic became the University of Brighton. (see also Brighton Polytechnic).
Highlight:
Yes 31.5.1969

Brighton Corporation Bus Club, 107 Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4AE.
Brighton Corporation Tramways operated an electric tramway service in Brighton between 1901 and 1939. The last tram arrived at Lewes Road depot in the early hours of 1st September 1939 – at about the same time Germany invaded Poland, and ignited the conflict that became World War II. The depot is now used as the Brighton Buses depot. Jay Derrick recounts “My main memory of this building was my introduction to the local music scene on the 13th July 1977 (‘78 actually!), a tremendous gig featuring the Piranhas, Nicky and the Dots, and Attrix. It was a steamy night, the Piranhas were punky, funny and sharp, Nicky and the Dots arty and energetic (my first awareness of Talking Heads was their rendition of ‘Psychokiller’ at this gig), and Attrix were led by Rick Blair, sadly now deceased, who went on the open the Attrix record shop at 3 Sydney St, and produce 3 albums of assorted Brighton bands. These were called Vaultage 78, 79 and 80, named for the Vault of the Brighton and Hove Community resource Centre where many of the bands kept their equipment and practised. There was a poster for this gig, a beautiful screen-printed sunset with a silhouette of the Brighton skyline, later featured as the cover of the Vaultage albums”.
Highlight:
The Piranhas + Nicky & The Dots + Attrix 13.7.1978

Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UD.
This is one of the big hitters in town and might be easier to list who hasn’t performed here instead. Therefore just 10 earlier highlights have been selected below. It has certainly come a long way since it was the Prince Regent’s stables for 44 horses in a circular stable arrangement with space for the groomsmen on the balcony level above. In 1867 the Dome, as it had become known since 1850, was converted into a 2500 seater Concert Hall. The interior was redesigned in Art Deco style in 1935, so now had 2100 seats up until 1999, when it underwent a £22 million renovation, and finally reopening as a 1700 seater venue on 18th March 2002. I remember watching the Dome on TV on 6th April 1974 for arguably the best ever Eurovision Song Contest, which launched the career of ABBA, with Olivia Newton‐John coming equal fourth for the UK. Two years prior to that David Clary recounts “I went and saw Pink Floyd at the Brighton Dome in January 1972. It turned out to be their first performance of the iconic Dark Side of the Moon”. It was 20th January and was interrupted at ‘Money’ due to technical problems, so the following night in Portsmouth had the full album. (see also Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, Pavilion Theatre, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and Corn Exchange).
Highlights:
Cliff Richard & The Shadows 16.1.1959
Ella Fitzgerald + The Oscar Peterson Trio 17.4.1965
The Jimi Hendrix Experience + Pink Floyd 2.12.1967
Tyrannosaurus Rex + David Bowie 8.3.1969
The Beach Boys 30.5.1969
Deep Purple + Hawkwind 22.5.1970
Elton John 4.12.1971
Led Zeppelin 20.12.1972
Kraftwerk 17.9.1975 + 27.6.1981
Gary Numan + Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 5.10.1979

Brighton Dome Concert Hall (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, 29 New Road, Brighton, BN1 1UG (formerly the Pavilion Theatre).
The Brighton Dome Studio Theatre (formerly the Pavilion Theatre) is part of the wider Brighton Dome complex of buildings. It was built in 1935, originally as a supper room, but later converted into a theatre. Its audience capacity is 232 seated or 350 standing. Some of you may recall the Dome box office which was adjacent. It was converted from an early 19th century terraced house. There were a spate of concerts taking place here around 2013-2015, but not on the same scale as the 1980’s when it was the Pavilion Theatre. It was utilised for The Great Escape in 2013 to 2015. (see also Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Pavilion Theatre, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and Corn Exchange).

Brighton Electric Studios, Tramway House, 43-45 Coombe Road, Brighton, BN2 4AD.
The main premises was built in 1897 as the Brighton Corporation Tramways head office, located on Coombe Terrace, Lewes Road. The music studio complex was founded in 2000. It has 17 practice studios and 2 recording studios.There are several mix studios and a mastering suite, 175 capacity live venue/production studio, storage facilities, shop, vegan cafe, venue and bar. To my knowledge, they have hosted concerts here from 2013 onwards.
Highlight:
Antipole 6.4.2018

Brighton Jazz Club, 330 Kingsway, Hove, BN3 4LW.
This venue used to hold jazz nights with live bands performing and is now The Gather Inn which overlooks Hove Lagoon.

Brighton Metropole, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2FU (see Hilton Brighton Metropole).

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Pavilion Parade, Brighton, BN1 1EE.
This building houses the collection which is part of the Royal Pavilion Estate and was originally built for the Prince of Wales, later George IV and completed in 1805. It was initially intended as a tennis court but had never been finished, and later served as cavalry barracks. A major refurbishment of the museum and art gallery occurred in 2002 and as a result, the traditional entrance to the museum and art gallery became the entrance of the Dome, the latter taking the museum’s former entrance. Brighton Dome has a music project called ‘Spectrum’, which is dedicated to nurturing and cultivating Brighton’s vibrant music scene. I have been to these events and they have had artists performing in different rooms within the Museum & Art Gallery, one after another, and so you explore the rooms and listen to the musicians at the same time. (see also Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, Pavilion Theatre and Corn Exchange).

Brighton Open Air Theatre, Dyke Road, Hove, BN3 6EH.
This outdoor venue which opened in May 2015, is also known as B•O•A•T, and runs from the beginning of May until the end of September each year. The theatre is the legacy of the Brighton showman and construction manager, Adrian Bunting, who died of pancreatic cancer, aged 47, in May 2013. Performances have in the past included theatre, comedy, dance, rock, jazz, opera, world music, cabaret, and children’s shows. Although I’m not so sure that many music performances will be taking place in the near future due to complaints about the noise. Oh and errr the hundreds of expletives used by Menace during their set at Punks Picnic II event on 7th September 2019.

Brighton Open Air Theatre (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Brighton Palladium, 14 West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RE.
The ‘S.S. Brighton’ (‘Swimming Stadium Brighton’, then ‘Sports Stadium Brighton’) opened in 1934 and was billed as the largest covered sea-water swimming pool in the world. It was soon converted to a famous ice rink, home to ice spectaculars and the Brighton Tigers ice-hockey team. In 1959 it became known at the Brighton Palladium. For the first time pop shows were introduced starring entertainers like Cliff Richard, Lonnie Donogan and Petula Clark to mention a few. The Stadium closed down on 17th October 1965 and was subsequently demolished, being replaced by the Oak Hotel, which is now a Travelodge and NuPosto Neapolitan pizzeria.
Highlight:
Shirley Bassey 22.11.1959

Brighton Polytechnic, Moulsecoomb Campus, University of Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4GJ.
In April 1970 the School of Art and Brighton College of Technology merged to form Brighton Polytechnic. The polytechnic was formally opened on 5th February 1971. Cockcroft Hall’s construction was completed in 1963. As far as I can tell, concerts took place in this building from 1970 right up until 1991. I have contrasting memories of concerts here. Throughout most of the Dead Kennedys concert a gang of skinheads were trying to catch and beat the hell out of punk poet Attila the Stockbroker. Luckily he was light on his feet and they kept running around to no avail. I seem to recall them having adversity to his poetry, as it wasn’t ‘ard enuff. Should have listened to the words then! On a positive note I can remember watching The Primitives and being absolutely besotted with singer Tracy Tracy. (see also Brighton College of Technology).
Highlights:
Wizzard 12.1.1973
The Damned + The Adverts 15.6.1977
Siouxsie and the Banshees 11.2.1978
Throbbing Gristle 28.2.1978 (released as official bootleg cassette in 1979)
Iron Maiden 18.5.1979
U2 30.9.1980
Dead Kennedys + Peter And The Test Tube Babies 23.11.1982
The Smiths 25.2.1984
R.E.M 1.12.1984
The Primitives 7.3.1987

Brighton Racecourse, Freshfield Road, Brighton, BN2 9XZ.
The first public racing at the current Brighton Racecourse site was in 1783. The venue is situated on Whitehawk Hill, on the edge of the South Downs about four hundred feet above sea level and a mile from the coast. It’s nearly always windy up here and yet they are bold enough to put on the occasional outside concert on the Eastern side of the premises opposite the grandstand. They have also had music events indoors before including the 2016 ‘Undercover Festival’ on 9th and 10th September, which was a celebration of everything punk. Bands have been playing here from around 2014.
Highlights:
The Tuts + Department S 9.9.2016 (‘Undercover Festival’)
Dreadzone + 1919 + Spizzenergi + Eddie and The Hot Rods (‘Undercover Festival’)
Orbital 29.6.2018
Rag’n’Bone Man 27.7.2019

Brighton Racecourse revellers (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Brighton Technical College, Brighton.
I located a listing that The Move had performed at Brighton Technical College twice in 1966. Initially I presumed that this would have been ‘The Tec’ (now The MET) at Pelham Street, but that wasn’t opened until January 1971, and there was no mention of York Place Schools (Fawcett). Maybe it was in the Italianate building designed by John Gibbins at Grand Parade, namely the Municipal Technical College. I suspect that it was more than likely the Brighton College of Technology up at the Moulsecoomb Campus as they were around then.
Highlight:
The Move 23+29.10.1966

Brighton Unitarian Church, New Road, Brighton, BN1 1UF.
The church building was completed in August 1820, and Dr Morell, a well-known classical scholar, was appointed as the first minister of the church. The opening service on 20th August 1820 and was attended by 350 people. The stuccoed Greek Revival building (who’s design reflects the Temple of Thesæus in Athens) occupies a prominent position near the corner of Church Road and New Road in the centre of Brighton, near the Royal Pavilion. Its architect was Amon Henry Wilds – who built much of Brighton’s fashionable Kemp Town. The building has been utilised from 2013 to 2019 as one of the venues for The Great Escape new music festival and also in 2009 as well. Although its exterior appears rather grand, its interior is less so.
Highlight:
Bayonne 21.5.2016 (TGE)

Brighton Unitarian Church (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Brighton Youth Centre, 64 Edward Street, Brighton, BN2 0JR.
Established in 1917 as the Brighton Boys Club. The Edward Street building was built in 1963 and in 1977 girls were also catered for, and thus the name was changed to Brighton Youth Centre. They have emphasis on children from 5 to 19, with a focus on the 13-19 age group. They are directly next door to the 1964-65 built figure of eight Spiritualist Church with its lack of windows on the street side. It appears that Bob Marley’s singers, the ‘I Threes’, did a performance here on the same day as one of their Brighton Centre gigs. Also Paul Weller is showing as having appeared here 25 years later.
Highlight:
I Threes 9.7.1980 (Bob Marley & The Wailers played the Brighton Centre 8+9.7.1980)
Paul Weller 22.11.05

British Airways i360, Lower Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2LN.
The British Airways i360 (formerly known as the Brighton i360) is a 162 metre (531 ft) observation tower that certainly cannot be missed. It was opened directly facing the West Pier (or what’s left of it) on 4th August 2016. The tall needle structure has an ascending and descending circular viewing platform which can carry 200 people on each flight. The travel pod rises from street level to a height of 138 metres (453 feet) before returning to beach level, whilst providing a 360-degree view through curved glass. Surely the highest ever (as in altitude not spliffs) music performance in Brighton took place here on Monday 30th July 2018, when Fatboy Slim hit the decks – enjoy it HERE.
Highlight:
Fatboy Slim 30.7.2018

British Airways i360 (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Busking’, Brighton & Hove.
Brighton and Hove is always likely to have a few buskers on the go. You just never know where and how good they will be. International success could be just around the corner, just like Brighton’s Pookiesnackenburger, who were formed from the remnants of various punk bands: Luke was in the Plague, John from the Piranhas, Nick and Paul from Nicky & the Dots and Sue Bradley from Reward System. They were initially a band of buskers, they later morphed into Stomp, who went on to achieve international success.

C:\ Side Quest, Unit 11, Lower Promenade, Madeira Drive, Brighton, BN2 1ET (has become Loading Brighton).
This cafe by the pier hosted music acts from the 2018 Bad Pond Festival. Customers seemed to have enjoyed playing board games and video games that were always on offer at the cafe.

Cafe Plenty, 3-4 Circus Parade, New England Road, Brighton, BN1 4GW.
I spent a couple of nights here in 2017 and 2018 watching local bands plying their wares. It had a relaxed vibe and the food was fab, but possibly located in the wrong position, would have been ideal in North Laine.

Cafe Plenty

Caroline of Brunswick, 39 Ditchling Road, Brighton, BN1 4SB.
A pub with a rock/alternative bar, with a live venue upstairs that hosts the occasional local band.

Casablanca Jazz Club, 3 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL.
This was one of the venues for The Great Escape in 2019. They have one room for live jazz, funk, disco, soul and Motown music and one for DJ’s. (see also Three Wise Cats)

Casablanca Jazz Club (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Castle Snooker & Sports Bar, 22-23 Castle Street, Brighton, BN1 2HD.
This was the surprising venue choice for one of the Alternative Great Escape promoters in 2018. It was like a hidden gem on the Hove border. The Castle Snooker & Sports Bar was established in 2014 and has 11 full-size snooker tables plus 11 Supreme 8-ball pool tables and 2 9-feet American pool tables spread over two floors.

Chalk, 13 Pool Valley, Brighton BN1 1NJ, (formerly The Haunt at 10 Pool Valley).
These are the new boys in town! Many will recall The Haunt at No.10 Pool Valley, well Chalk is the 12” extended remix version of that! Flexibility is the name of the game with this new venue that opened in September 2019, as they have a huge main room, which can change capacity via a rotating bar, as well as an additional bar located on the mezzanine level. Seems to have positioned themselves in the same niche as the Concorde 2. Already hosted a number of concerts with (hopefully) many more still in the pipeline. (see also The Haunt).
Highlights:
Snow Patrol 15.12.2019
Kiefer Sutherland 21.2.2020

Cinescene Cinema, 63-65 North Street, Brighton, BN1 1RH.
A cinema first opened on this site in 1911, known as the Bijou Electric Empire. Following 7 name changes, including a spell as Brighton Film Theatre from 1969 to 1978. The building was reopened as the Cinescene on 10th September 1979 and continued until June 1983. The Piranhas played here, but there was apparently some minor damage caused to the venue and the owner put a stop to the gigs shortly afterwards. In 1988 the building was refronted as a Burger King restaurant.
Highlight:
The Piranhas 27.6.1980

Cloak Room, 81-82 St. James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1PA.
The compact but trendy Cloak Room bar opened on 7th December 2018. Sometimes they have DJ sets here and they were listed on The Great Escape 2019 venues list.

Club One-O-One, 75a West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RA (formerly New Barn Club).
As is often the case in Brighton, this establishment didn’t last very long at all, in fact only as a matter of a few months in this format from early 1966. Mind you in that short space of time, they had managed to get David Bowie & The Buzz to play, although it was incorrectly billed as David Bowie & The Lower Third. David had formed The Buzz only the month before, having had a dispute with The Lower Third’s manager over pay. This was his second appearance on the site, having previously performed on 13th November 1965 as Davy Jones & The Lower Third. The venue was then called New Barn Club and had only been open a few months. Other famous names were to play in those few months (see New Barn Club listing).
Highlight:
David Bowie & The Buzz 12.3.1966

Club Revenge, 32-34 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL (formerly Club Savannah).
Often referred to as ‘Revenge’, this is Brighton’s premier LGBTQ+ nightclub and was one of the establishments to see artists during the 2009 and 2010 Great Escape new music festival. The breakout act from that being The xx, who played here 3 years before they scored their first No.1 album. Open to gay, gay-friendly, boys, girls and everyone between, these music lovers have been having fun here since July 1991, across its two floors of music with state-of-the-art sound and lighting system.
Highlight:
The xx 15.5.2009

Club Savannah, 32-34 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL (became Revenge).
This nightclub was often referred to as ‘The Savannah’ or ‘Savannah Club’ and was a most enjoyable place to boogie on down back in the mid 1980’s with a Bacardi and Coke in tow. If you didn’t like a track that the DJ was playing then you could simply leg it upstairs (or downstairs) to the other room where a different Dj was dropping the trax. They would occasionally have relevant live bands coming to perform. I was overjoyed to attend the Hard Corps set here in 1985. They were an electronic band like Kraftwerk that toured with Depeche Mode and The Cure and famously upset the Brighton Centre management as singer Regine had her nipples uncovered. The venue was to become Revenge in July 1991.
Highlights:
Hard Corps 11.6.1985
The Leather Nun 24.2.1986

Find all 4 parts in our Music Section – click on the links below and enjoy:
The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues – Part 1
The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues – Part 2
The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues – Part 3
The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues – Part 4

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  1. Ian Smith Reply

    Hi, great listing of venues…

    I would like to add something to the Alhambra listing, but can’t be certain of dates, etc.
    I played in a band from Burgess Hill, called Time Begins. We played The Alhambra regularly in the early 80s, for door money, so not much!
    We played one Friday night in 1982, and the manager of the bar asked us if we could do the Saturday too. We used our own sound system and mixing desk, which is what he wanted, as he had this new band coming down from London, and according to him they were going to bring a couple of coach loads of fans with them!
    We duly set up our gear on the Saturday, only for this”mob” to roll in, shove all our equipment out of the way and set up their own gear. Two drum sets and various other bits…
    It was at this point our bass player noticed the man mixing the sound was Mick Jones from The Clash. The band then proceeded to do about a 30 minute set, of pretty much all Elvis Presley numbers, played at 100mph and with tons of echo and reverb.
    They finished their set, stripped out their gear and left.
    It was only later in the year that it became apparent we had been “supported” by Sigue Sigue Sputnik…
    I have checked SSS gig websites and there is no history of this gig, I have even contacted Tony James, but have had no reply…
    I was there, so know it happened!

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Hi Ian, Hopefully someone out there can help. Although I doubt Sigue Sigue Sputnik were going in 1982, he said knowingly! 🙂

  2. Ian Smith Reply

    I did say I wasn’t 100% on dates and they didn’t call themselves SSS on the night, but London something or other.
    A quick check on Wikipedia shows they did form in ‘82.

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