The History of Brighton & Hove Concert Venues – Part 3

Posted On 13 Apr 2020 at 5:59 pm

Welcome to Part Three. 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.

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

New Barn Club, 75a West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RA (will become Club One-O-One).
The New Barn opened in the late summer of 1965 and before the year was out, had attracted David Bowie, Eric Clapton, The Who and The Small Faces to perform live at the hidden venue. Prior to the opening the building had been unused for many years and was a music hall in another life. The entrance was down a long narrow corridor that was hidden from West Street and was opposite the Odeon. It’s stage was a similar height to today’s Brighton Centre and Brighton Dome, thus the acts preached to their loyal followers from their lofty heights. As with many Brighton concert venues, the name was changed in early 1966 and it became Club One-O-One.
Highlights:
The Small Faces 25.9.1965
Davey Jones & The Lower Third 13.11.1965 (David Bowie)
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers 4.12.1965 (Eric Clapton on lead guitar)
The Who 12.12.1965

North Laine Brewhouse, 27 Gloucester Place, Brighton, BN1 4AA (formerly The Gloucester).
This is the site of The Gloucester pub back in the day. Then The Barfly aka “Barfly at The Gloucester”, opened in 2006, but on 2nd June 2008 The Barfly closed down without notice. The North Laine Brewhouse now occupies the site. The North Laine brews its own beer as it contains a state-of-the-art microbrewery which brews a variety of cask ales for customers. They were used in 2018 as one of The Great Escape venues. (see also The Gloucester and Barfly).

North Laine Brewhouse (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Ocean Rooms, 1-2 Morley Street, Brighton, BN2 9RA.
This was primarily a club, but it did hold several concert performances from at least 2002 onwards until 2009. Some of these from 2006 to 2009 were performances as part of The Great Escape. The venue commissioned various artists to produce some work for the club. This luckily for them included Guerilla artist Banksy, who produced a six metre long spray painting that formed the backdrop for the bar of the Morley Street club from 2002 onwards. The image, called ‘Laugh now’, depicts a row of chimps wearing placards emblazoned, ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.’ It was one of six Banksy pictures which once decorated the various rooms on both floors of the club. The Ocean Rooms sold the painting at Bonham’s for a record auction price at the time of nearly half a million dollars. Further reading HERE. Their luck wasn’t to last as the club shut its doors after 25 year old Ricky Brown was killed outside the building in the early hours of 1st January 2010. The venue was later relaunched as The Yard when Brighton and Hove City Council set more stringent licensing conditions. Psychosocial then opened 18th November 2011. (see also Psychosocial).

Old Market Arts Centre, 11a Upper Market Street, Hove, BN3 1AS.
OMAC aka Old Market Art Centre building originally opened in 1828 as a covered marketplace for sales of meat, fish and vegetables. Down the years the building has catered for changing needs, operating as a riding academy and stables, warehouse and, since the 1980’s, as an arts venue. The impressive Grade II building was renovated in 1998 and again in 2010. In May 2011 it reopened as The Old Market (TOM). (see also The Old Market).
Highlights:
Broadcast 17.3.2000
Laura Cantrell 30.4.2003
Kula Shaker 18.8.2006
Gang of Four 16.5.2009 (TGE)
Gorillaz 25.3.2010

Old Steine Gardens, 55 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL.
The ‘Pride Pleasure Gardens’, was held in Old Steine Gardens over the three-day Pride festival in early August 2019. There was cabaret, DJs, and live performances including one from ex-Spice Girl Melanie C.
Highlight:
Sink The Pink featuring Melanie C 3.8.2019

Old Vic, 27 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD.
This pub harks back to the days of olde and it’s name has had many transformations. Back in the 1970’s the pub was known as the Seven Stars and became notorious for its topless go-go dancers. It was a music venue in the 1980’s, but in 1990 the owners sold the venue to Helsinki Ltd and closed it as a music venue, but running it as a 1930’s style Art Deco bar. Someone indicated Bad Manners played the last night there before it became The Helsinki. It is now once again the Seven Stars. (see also Seven Stars).
Highlights:
Twisted Nerve 1.10.1984
Levellers 16.5.1990

One Church, Gloucester Place, Brighton, BN1 4AA.
One Church was launched in April 2011 and has been used as a concert venue for The Great Escape since 2017. It was here that I witnessed an inspiring performance from Scottish duo Free Love, who had at that very performance had changed their name from Happy Meals.
Highlight:
Free Love (fka Happy Meals) 18.5.2018

One Church (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Paganini Ballroom (The Old Ship), 11 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1NR.
With parts dating back as far as 1559, The Old Ship is Brighton’s most historic hotel. Within the hotel complex and sitting to the rear of the hotel with an entrance directly onto Ship Street, is the Paganini Ballroom which is 253 years old. It is named after renowned Italian violinist Niccolò Paganini, who’s playing was apparently so mesmerising and extraordinary that it was rumoured he’d sold his soul to the devil. It’s a hidden gem and most wouldn’t know where it was other than noticing the sign on the wall that reads “To the Old Ship Assembly Rooms for balls, banquets, concerts”. The ballroom is one of the locations for The Great Escape new music festival and has been so since 2013.
Highlights:
The 1975 18.5.2013 (TGE)
Idles 20.5.2016 (TGE)

Old Ship Hotel (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Paradox, 78 West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RA (formerly the Pink Coconut and Sherry’s).
This site has been a dance hall or night club in one form or another since 1919, when Sherry’s Dance Hall opened, which incidentally gets a mention in Graham Greene’s novel ‘Brighton Rock’, which was published in 1938. The new Sherry’s reigned supreme in the clubbin’ world during the 1970’s, and there was much dancing around white handbags!
Then The Pink Coconut opened up in 1983 and was followed by Paradox. They hosted gigs from at least 1995 to 1999, with highlights being Marc Almond, Blur and Faithless. Paradox shut its doors in January 2002 and in May 2002 Creation opened. We’ve had Tru and Project and the final club on the site was Hedkandi. The building is now unoccupied. (see also Pink Coconut and Sherry’s).
Highlights:
Marc Almond 1.5.1995
Blur 19.9.1995
Faithless 26.10.1998

Patterns, (downstairs) 10 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TL (formerly Audio).
Patterns opened 13th May 2015 having previously been known as Audio, which shut up shop on 28th February 2015. Patterns immediately hit the ground running as they were one of The Great Escape venues. Patterns have the benefit of being able to locate bands opposite to the bar on the left hand side of the room and so squash the punters down the middle, and also having other bands perform downstairs in the basement, which has the stage and is ready to go. Therefore they can host either two gigs at a time or have a band on downstairs whilst the band upstairs is getting ready, thus a constant flow of live music. (see also The Royal Escape, Audio, Escape Club and The Buccaneer).
Highlights downstairs:
Hinds 26.2.2016
Austra 21.3.2017
Georgia 1.11.2019
Highlight upstairs:
TVAM 19.5.2017

Patterns (downstairs) (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Patterns, (upstairs) 10 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TL (formerly Audio). (see Patterns (downstairs)).

Patterns upstairs (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Pav Tav, 7-8 Castle Square, Brighton, BN1 1FX (see Royal Pavilion Tavern).

Pavilion Theatre, 29 New Road, Brighton, BN1 1UG (now known as Brighton Dome Studio Theatre).
I have contrasting memories of the Pavilion Theatre. On the plus side, it’s where myself, my old mate Terry Hunt and just a handful of fans gathered for a seated Q&A session with the legendary Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley in 1986. I seem to recall I asked the first question and got all of my many Buzzcocks/Shelley/Zip singles and albums signed. In contrast to this, a year earlier, I had witnessed a full blown riot at The Exploited and U.K Subs gig. The bands were trying to stop the offenders throwing the chairs about and attacking people. I remember the police attending and running up the stairs to finally bring back some order. The evening was abandoned. Directly next door was the Dome box office. I purchased a front row ticket for Kraftwerk’s 1978 concert from here. It was to be my first ever concert, but the tour was cancelled. I took my ticket back to the box office and remember asking the lady what had happened. She informed me “lack of ticket sales” and so I exchanged my ticket and got my money back. WHY! I should have kept it as a souvenir. Kraftwerk went on to crash the Tate Modern website after a few seconds of their tickets going on sale in 2013 and are now legends! (see also Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, and Corn Exchange).
Highlights:
Cliff Richard & The Shadows 8.11.1959
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 28.5.1984
Hanoi Rocks 4.6.1984
The Jesus and Mary Chain 2.2.1985
Exploited + U.K. Subs 15.2.1985 (riot gig)
The Housemartins 1.3.1986
Pete Shelley 8.5.1986 (of Buzzcocks fame)
Primal Scream 22.6.1987
The Wedding Present 18.12.1987
Radiohead 16.2.1993

Pedestrian Arms, 13-14 Foundry Street, Brighton, BN1 4AT.
Now known as The Foundry, this pub dating from the middle of the 19th century in North Laine was previously called the Pedestrian Arms up until 2007. Back in the heady days of punk it was one of the hangouts for local bands.

Photomatic, 22 Gardner Street, Brighton, BN1 1UP.
This shop opened in 2015 and is actually a photobooth emporium. For the 2017 Great Escape, they had Spanish band The Parrots (who are mates with girl band Hinds) performing amongst at least one other act. Music is hardwired into Photomatic history, owner Eddie DJs, plays a bit of guitar for whoever asks and is learning piano. Shop manager Dem worked in music journalism and publicity in a previous life. These days he records the odd soundscape for compilation albums and co-presents a radio show. The ‘Photomatic Shop’ playlist can be found on Spotify, as can ‘Photomatic Shop Ambient’, which is tailored towards concentration or relaxation.

Pink Coconut, 78 West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RA (formerly Sherry’s).
This site has been a dance hall or night club in one form or another since 1919, when the original Sherry’s Dance Hall opened, which incidentally gets a mention in Graham Greene’s novel ‘Brighton Rock’, which was published in 1938. The new different Sherry’s club reigned supreme in the clubbin’ world during the 1970’s, and there was much dancing around white handbags! Then the Pink Coconut nightclub opened up in 1983. They used to host the occasional gig. I can recall going to one of their ‘Bolts’ nights, which was the novel idea of hosting a dedicated gay night in a straight club. The idea had originated a couple of years earlier in North London by a guy called Nicky Price, who went on to form the Bolts Record label which released the first version of ‘Male Stripper’ by Man 2 Man Meets Man Parrish. I snapped up a 12” copy at the time. I had also snapped up an early Canadian import copy of ‘Native Love (Remix)’ on the Black Sun label by Divine (real name Harris Glenn Milstead). Divine appeared at the Pink Coconut and I was there to see his PA set. He always did PA gigs. He would scoot around the country and have a taxi or driver to pick him up at an allotted time and off he would scoot onto another gig. He just needed a microphone and a backing tape of all the (future) hits. I’m not a fan of PA gigs, but Divine was the exception as he always made us laugh with his wit/filth in between tracks. The Pink Coconut eventually became Paradox until it shut its doors in January 2002. (see also Paradox and Sherry’s).

Po Na Na, 75-79 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1NF.
It appears that this place was only used for live music in 2009 when at least a dozen bands performed as part of The Great Escape. The venue went on to be Madame Geisha nightclub over three floors and then Dirty Blonde in 2014.

Pop Inn, Sillwood Place, Brighton, BN1 2ND (see Starlight Rooms).

Pressure Point, 33 Richmond Place, Brighton, BN2 9NA (formerly The Richmond and became The Richmond Bar).
Pressure Point came into being around the end of 1998, having previously been The Richmond. The first floor ballroom continued to see action from many bands right up until 2009, when it was closed and converted into a backpackers hostel. I went up one day to sneak a peak for old times sake and was shocked by the new fortified style. The much smaller Richmond Bar downstairs eventually started having local bands perform. (see also The Richmond and The Richmond Bar).
Highlights:
Muse 18.1.1999
Biffy Clyro 20.2.2001
Kasabian 4.3.2004
John Foxx and Louis Gordon 31.7.2006
Babybird 5.10.2006
VNV Nation 13.12.2007

Preston Park, Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 6SD.
Preston Park was bought from the then owner of the Preston Manor estate, William Bennett-Stanford in 1883 by Brighton Corporation. The park was formally declared open on 8th November 1884. The park remains green throughout the summer because of a non-drinkable underground water source, known as the Wellesbourne, which runs below Preston Park, London Road and The Level. The source dates back many centuries and is often referred to as Brighton’s lost river. In 2000, after torrential rain, it rose and caused considerable damage. There have continually been large live music events here since at least 2001. The largest being Pride, which has brought top world stars to our park, including Kylie, Britney, Carly and Grace.
Highlights:
Feeder 8.6.2001
Sugababes + Alison Moyet 3.8.2013
Carly Rae Jepsen + Sister Sledge + Dua Lipa 6.8.2016 (Pride)
Pet Shop Boys 5.8.2017 (Pride)
Britney Spears 4.8.2018 (Pride)
Kylie Minogue + Emeli Sandé 3.8.2019 (Pride)
Grace Jones + Jessie J 4.8.2019

Presuming Ed Coffeehouse, 114-115 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4LJ.
Few could possibly miss the striking exterior decor of Presuming Ed Coffeehouse on London Road. The interior oozes character too and the coffee is fab. I attended an Alternate Great Escape afternoon here last year (2019) and it was a welcome rest from whizzing around town.

Presuming Ed Coffeehouse (side view) (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Proud Cabaret Brighton, 83 St. George’s Road, Brighton, BN1 1EF.
The Proud Cabaret Brighton has been known as Bombar Bar, Brighton Ballroom and The Hanbury Arms (which first opened in 1865). It was converted from a private house by its first landlord, Mr Maidlow. The pub incorporates a Grade II listed mausoleum built in 1892 by Sir Albert Sassoon who was originally called Abdullah. He was a descendant of Sheikh Sason ben Saleh, who was head of the Jewish community in Baghdad in the late eighteenth century. The Sassoons’ remains were moved to London in 1933 when Albert Sassoon’s grandson sold the property. The former mausoleum was for a time a furniture depository. During World War II it was used as an air raid shelter during fierce bombings. In 1949 it was purchased by a brewery for use as a pub – The Bombay Bar. In 2001 the mausoleum housed the Brighton Arms pub. In 2003 it was bought and the name changed to “The Hanbury Club”. In 2006 the mausoleum underwent a £60,000 refurbishment. The new decor was intended to evoke the supper clubs of the 1920’s and 1930’s, and the venue featured live performances of contemporary music. In 2011 the mausoleum reopened as Proud Cabaret Brighton. There is evidence of concerts taking place here between 2006 and 2013.
Highlights:
Steve Mason 24.6.2010
Emeli Sandé 6.11.2011

Psychosocial, 1-2 Morley Street, Brighton, BN2 9RA.
Psychosocial (sometimes referred to as Psychosocial Basement) opened on 18th November 2011 and was previously known as The Yard and Ocean Rooms, which closed around 1st January 2010. The venue was used for the 2012 Great Escape and hosted sets from up and coming LA girl trio Haim as well a one from Canadian dark electro outfit TR/ST, which is also written as ‘Trust’. I’m gutted about this as I missed TR/ST who are unique, but I did see them in London last year (2019) instead. The building is currently unoccupied. (see also Ocean Rooms).
Highlights:
TR/ST 10.5.2012
Haim 11.5.2012

Queens Hotel, 1-3 King’s Road, Brighton, BN1 1NS.
The 3* Queens Hotel overlooks the promenade and Brighton Palace Pier. It has 94 bedrooms, extensive conference and banqueting facilities, health and fitness club, and an enviable seafront location. It has since 2011 been a venue for The Great Escape and coincidentally Christine & The Queens played the Queens Hotel in 2013. I have witnessed some terrific performances here. Back in 2016 I reported thus: “K-X-P from Finland (1.30pm-2pm, Queens Hotel) absolutely blew listeners away. This trio, clad in monks’ habits, had hypnotic sounds similar to those in Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’ and certain PIL tracks. Just two drummers and a guy with an electronic box of tricks. If the legendary KLF were still around, this is exactly what they would be doing.
The Fin. (2.30-3pm, Queens Hotel) are a westernised four-man Japanese dream pop band of the highest order. If only Justin Bieber fans knew about them, they would be huge”.
Highlights:
Christine and the Queens 18.5.2013 (TGE)
K-X-P 20.5.2016 (TGE)
The Fin. 21.5.2016
BlackWaters 19.5.2017

Queens Hotel (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Resident, 27-28 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL (instore).
Resident Music has most certainly taken up the leading independent store mantle from Rounder Records. The store opened in 2004 with just husband and wife duo Derry Watkins and Natasha Youngs on the case! They had met when working for the Virgin/Our Price chain and wanted some frontline action themselves. They have built up their independent record shop that sells new vinyl and CD’s, and now are a team of 17 people. They expanded next door late in 2015 and thus doubled the size of their shop, half for vinyl and half for CD’s. Natasha runs the ‘Dinked’ vinyl special editions which are proving very popular. They often have in-store performances to coincide with releases. They sell worldwide through their website. It seems Nick Cave is a fan as he has told them “you are the best fu**ing record shop in Britain!!!!”. They have been staging regular instore performances from at least 2008.
Highlight:
The Wedding Present 2.9.2016 + 13.4.2019

Resident (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Rialto Theatre, 11 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3FE.
This European Gothic style building was designed and built in 1867 and housed the Swan Downer School for poor girls and by 1939 it had become a chapel under the name Refuge Church. In 1969 it became Sloopy’s Nitespot and Discotheque, the building has been used as a nightclub. By 1990 it was operating as Fozzie’s Club; it later became The Sanctuary, The Shrine, Club New York and The Church. In October 2014 it was acquired by theatre company founder Roger Kay and thus the Rialto Theatre opened its doors on 4th December 2014 with a performance of ‘The Treason Show’. Music concerts have been taking place at the venue since at least 2017.
Highlight:
Lost Horizons 18.11.2017

Rialto Theatre (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Royal Pavilion Tavern (‘Pav Tav’), 7-8 Castle Square, Brighton, BN1 1FX.
The building was established as the Royal Pavilion Hotel in the early 19th century, possibly as early as 1816, although the outside of the building was redesigned by A.H. Wilds in 1820 and extends back to Steine Lane. From 1823 and 1832, it doubled up as an early version of a magistrates’ court. Castle Square developed during the 18th century being at first the commercial heart of the town as well as the starting and finishing point for London-Brighton coaching services. The ‘Pav Tav’ is believed to have been located on the first floor above the pub. Gigs took place there from at least 2008 to 2017. In the 2009-2010 period the ‘Pav Tav’ venue was described as having “a certain scuzzy legitimacy” and was likened to being on the same footing as the Engine Room, the old Freebut “and other grubby venues that focus more on providing a powerful atmosphere than a clean room”. The Pav Tav was one of the chosen venues for the 2011 and 2015 Great Escape festival.
Highlight:
Royal Blood 23.10.2012

Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY.
The Sallis Benney Theatre and University of Brighton Gallery complex hosts a wide range of events within its unique series of spaces designed for top-quality visual and performing arts. I personally feel as though there should have been many more concerts taking place here. Internally it has the same vibe and layout as the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, which is a busy venue. Admittedly the Sallis Benney doesn’t look as good as the De La Warr from the outside, but it certainly has the space inside. Back in 1983 I saw Australian industrial band SPK perform here and it was legendary! They had keyboards, oil drums, arc-welders and wait for it…..a flamethrower! Yep! Imagine health and safety today. It wouldn’t happen. Mind you it probably wasn’t meant to happen back then. I can remember the flamethrower being let off in the direction of the crowd. There was a semicircle gap immediately after that. Talk about getting a buzz. They returned the following year to Brighton at another venue. The flamethrower had gone, although I was showered in sparks. By the time they appeared at the I.C.A. in London in October 1984, they were having to play behind metal shielding, which meant the fans couldn’t really see. SPK were obviously miffed and only played two tracks before storming off. A riot ensued. Livened up John Peel’s Live from the I.C.A Rock Week.
Highlights:
Wire + Statik + The Molesters 11.3.1978
The Photos 22.3.1980
SPK 2.12.1983 (flamethrower gig)
Spiritualized 6.5.1991
Babybird 23.9.1998
Patti Smith 3.7.1999
The Big Pink 14.5.2009 (TGE)
John Grant 20.5.2017 (TGE)

Sallis Benney Theatre (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Seven Stars, 27 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD.
This pub harks back to the days of olde and it’s name has had many transformations. Back in the 1970’s the pub was known as the Seven Stars and became notorious for its topless go-go dancers. However, were you at this pub on Monday 6th June 1977? There was a gig going down and it was free entry. The blokes on stage were Del Palmer, Brian Bath, Charlie Morgan and Paddy Bush. The band had formed in April 1977 and performed a varying set consisting mostly of rock-and-roll standards, ‘Honky Tonk Women’, ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’, ‘Come Together’, ‘Sweet Soul Music’, ‘Satisfaction’, etc. During the summer of 1977, the band played a grand total of 20 gigs mostly at various venues in and around London. Nothing unusual about that I hear you cry. Well, what I omitted was that Paddy’s sister was also in the group and the band’s name was K T Bush Band. Yes that’s correct THE Kate Bush played here a whole year before she burst onto the scene with the international No.1 hit ‘Wuthering Heights’. (see also Old Vic)
Highlight:
K T Bush Band (Kate Bush) 6.6.1977

Sherry’s, 78 West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RA (became Pink Coconut).
The original Sherry’s Dance Hall opened in August 1919, with its own café, bar and accommodation for 2,000 dancers. An American Jazz band, ‘The Ohio Quintet’, were engaged to supply the music. Sherry’s was designed ‘to appeal to the upper strata of society’ as the admission price of four to five shillings clearly demonstrated. This exclusive approach does not seem to have been a success, as by the early 1930’s the standard admission price was one shilling. Although a popular social venue Sherry’s developed a shady reputation, being seen as a haunt of Brighton’s criminal elements and even gets a mention in Graham Greene’s novel ‘Brighton Rock’, which was published in 1938. It continued in business until 1949, when the building was converted into a roller-skating rink and then became the Ritz amusement arcade in the 1960’s. In 1969 the site was redeveloped as a night-club and an amusement arcade, which was called the Crystal Rooms. The new Sherry’s had arrived with a 125 foot (about 40 metres) bar, adjustable dancing floor, two band stages and could accommodate up to 600 people. Sherry’s reigned supreme in the clubbin’ world during the 1970’s, and there was much dancing around white handbags as DJ Kenny Lyn spun the trax. I can recall attending this establishment twice in around autumn 1981 in order to witness PA gig performances by Landscape for their ‘European Man’ single and also Heaven 17 for their ‘Play To Win’ single. These PA performances were the band live in person singing along live (or were they?) to around three tunes with a backing tape of their hits. Yes it was fab meeting the bands and them giving away free signed 7” singles, but it seemed sad really, almost a con, as in it wasn’t a REAL gig. Not that I think the Heaven 17 trio would have remembered much as they were seriously plastered! In 1983 Sherry’s was taken over and was renamed the Pink Coconut night-club. (see also Pink Coconut and Paradox).
Highlights:
Landscape 1981
Heaven 17 1981
The Sisters Of Mercy + The Psychedelic Furs 4.10.1982
Fad Gadget 7.2.1983

Shipwright’s Yard, 73a Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL.
This one’s a corker! Imagine inviting a band such as Sleeper or an artist such as Tim Burgess (of Charlatans fame) around to your gaff and then opening up your garage and saying to them “Go on play some tracks in there will you”. You’d be mad wouldn’t you! Except that’s what the area within the Shipwright’s Yard was given over for acts to perform in. It was an invite only event as part of The Great Escape last year, but I suspect some punters got wind of it and just turned up. It was jolly good and has been occuring at TGE since 2011.
Highlights:
Sleeper + Tim Burgess 10.5.2019

Shipwright’s Yard (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Shooshh…, 214 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB.
This night club right on Brighton seafront opened on 28th March 2013 and has been one of the venues for The Great Escape from 2015 to 2019. It was formerly known as The Honey Club. (see also The Honey Club).

Shooshh… (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Shortt’s Bar Brighton, 46 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1RG.
Shortt’s Bar is a live music comedy bar situated in St James’s Street. It used to go by the name of the Royal Oak amongst others. It has hosted the occasional Great Escape band since 2018.

Shortt’s Bar Brighton (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Sofar Sounds’ (various locations).
Sofar Sounds is not a venue as such, but an organisation that was founded in 2009, that organises, for want of better words ‘secret concerts’. This idea has certainly exploded as it is now running in 400+ cities worldwide. We have one for our city whereby their Brighton team pick 3 stand-out acts for each show and stage them in beautiful, quirky or unusual spaces that best suit the lineups. A classic example being one that they held on Friday 23rd August 2019 at Brighton Toy & Model Museum, which is under Brighton Railway Station. The Sofar Sounds ethos is to offer artists and music fans a respectful, distraction free and immersive environment to really enjoy live music. However, you can’t just turn up at the venue as the locations and acts are generally a secret and you have to apply to attend an intimate show and it seems that these events nearly always sell out. Clearly there’s a demand for musical and location mystery.

SpiegelPub’, Old Steine, Pleasure Gardens, Brighton, BN1 1GY.
The SpiegelPub was a popup marquee erected on the grass at Old Steine Pleasure Gardens for the Brighton Fringe Festival and The Great Escape Festival from 2014 to 2016. The performance area was known as the Hub Stage.
Highlight:
Aurora 15.5.2015 (TGE)

Spiegeltent’, Old Steine, Pleasure Gardens, Brighton BN1 1GY.
Spiegeltent is in essence the same as SpiegelPub above, although the Spiegeltent has been erected from at least 2014 to 2018. A spiegeltent (Dutch for “mirror tent”, from spiegel+tent) is a large travelling tent, constructed from wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, intended as an entertainment venue. Originally built in Belgium during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, only a handful of these spiegeltents remain in existence today, and these survivors continue to travel around Europe and beyond, often as a feature attraction at various international arts festivals.
Highlight:
Kiko Bun 19.5.2016 (TGE)

Squats’ (various locations).
Back in the early days of punk (and indeed no doubt in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s) it was sometimes the case that bands would simply play a gig in a squat or commune. An abandoned house, office or building would ‘be acquired’ and the inhabitants would invite bands into play. Quite often they were in a band or a whole band. A local example would have been that back on 8th December 1977, punk band The Molesters played a gig at a squat in Aymer Road off of New Church Road in Hove.

St Ann’s Well Gardens, Somerhill Road, Hove, BN3 1PU.
St Ann’s Well Gardens is one of Brighton and Hove’s most treasured City parks. The Spring Festival was established 14 years ago to celebrate the park’s centenary. The Festival has grown into one of the finest free festivals in the Country and is now a firm date in every Brightonians diary. The festival annually welcomes over 10,000 people to the park for this wonderful family event! During the whole event there is a decent lineup of bands to keep the families entertained.
Highlights:
Phats & Small + Sleeper 18.5.2019 (St Ann’s Well Gardens Spring Festival)

St Bartholomew’s Church, Ann Street, Brighton, BN1 4GP.
St Bartholomew’s church is a giant of a building. It is 170 feet long by 59 feet wide and 135 feet high to the ridge of the roof and can seat 1500 worshippers. It was officially opened on 18th September 1874, while building work was still taking place. The church is a Grade I-listed building, meaning that it is a building “of outstanding or national architectural or historic interest” Its size gives it unique acoustics and the ability to accommodate large numbers of people, making it an ideal venue for classical and other music concerts. It is just like one giant box. Talking of boxes, I was lucky to witness American psychedelic space rock outfit Moon Duo perform here. They were performing inside a trapezoid shaped fine mesh structure, within the church and had lights and lasers shining out from it. This was one of those I was there moments. I am aware of ‘rock/pop’ concerts taking place here from 2011. Indeed it is a special building. I was once informed that its dimensions were based on Noah’s Ark.
Highlights:
Patti Smith 31.10.2019
Moon Duo 4.11.2019

St. Bartholomew’s Church (pic Nick Linazasoro)

St George’s Church, St George’s Road, Kemptown, Brighton, BN2 1ED.
The Grade II listed St George’s Church is one of Brighton’s largest venues for alternative and folk music concerts with seating for up to 550 people. The church opened on 1st January 1826 and is of a Neoclassical style with simple clean lines and strong symmetry. They have been hosting gigs for around 19 years and have the benefit of great acoustics, whether you are seated (or standing) downstairs or up in the balconies.
Highlights:
Sigur Rós 21.4.2001
Belinda Carlisle 3.10.2015

St Luke’s Church, Queens Park Road, Brighton, BN2 9ZB.
The Grade II listed St Luke’s Church was designed in the 1880’s by Sir Arthur Blomfield in the Early English style, and was given the listing because of its architectural importance.The church is a place for people at the Heart of the Queen’s Park Community and was built predominantly of flint with mouldings and window dressings of stone. Internally it is very surprisingly spacious and it can hold up to 900 worshippers. I am aware that folk/rock/pop concerts have occasionally been taking place here since 2017.

St Luke’s Church (pic Nick Linazasoro)

St Mark’s Chapel, Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5JN (also known as The Spire).
The Grade II listed St Mark’s Church is a former Anglican church that was originally intended as the private chapel of the adjacent St Mary’s Hall school. It was consecrated on 21st September 1849 and is built in stone and concrete in the Early English-style. By the 1980’s the attendances were falling and so the Diocese of Chichester declared the church redundant as from 1st May 1986. They hold the rare concert here and it is marketed at The Spire.
Highlight:
Spear of Destiny 27.9.2019

St Mary’s Church, 61 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1PR.
The St Mary’s Church we see today was built in 1876-8 and replaced a church of the same name which suddenly collapsed while being renovated – doh!. The Gothic-style building, whose style resembles Early English revival and French Gothic revival, is now a Grade II* listed building. It was built of Flemish-bonded red brick with some external sandstone and terracotta dressings and Bath stonework inside. The church hosts concerts, as well as operas, theatrical performances and debates. They have been having gigs here since at least 2012 and it is used some years as part of The Great Escape.

St Mary’s Church (pic Nick Linazasoro)

St Nicholas Church, Church Street, Brighton, BN1 3LJ.
Due to its architectural significance The Church of Saint Nicholas of Myra, usually known as St. Nicholas Church is a Grade II* listed building. It is both the original parish church of Brighton and the oldest surviving building in Brighton dating from the mid-14th century, although was rebuilt in 1853 and reopened on 8th April 1854. It is located on high ground at the junction of Church Street and Dyke Road, just up from the Jubilee Clock Tower. I’m not certain how many modern music concerts have taken place here, but on 23rd April 2018, my colleague reviewed the AK Patterson gig there.

Stanford Arms, 2 Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 4QF.
The Stanford Arms was located right on Preston Circus opposite Brighton Fire Station. At some time during the 1960’s and 1970’s they ran the popular ‘Stanford Folk Club’ upstairs. Many played there on Sunday evenings including Tim Broadbent, Miles Wootton, Johnny Winch, Rod Machling, Spud Taylor, and Brian Golbey. After many years the pub became known as Circus Circus and is now called The Joker. (see also The Joker).

Stanmer Park, Stony Mere Way, Brighton, BN1 9PY.
Stanmer Park is a 464 acre Local Nature Reserve located to the north-east of the city. Stanmer House was built in 1722 around an even earlier one. The church, adjacent to the village pond, was built in 1838 on the site of a 14th-century building. There is also an interesting Donkey Wheel located nearby. I can recall concerts taking place near the entrance by the A27 from 1992 onwards. It was the home of the Essential Festival for a number of years and has seen the likes of Blur, The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, James Brown and Razorlight perform in concert here. Also I can recall many moons ago driving along the top road from Hollingbury towards Ditchling Beacon and seeing many teenagers walking in the road. I initially had no idea where they had come from and then I heard loud rave music emanating out of the top end of Stanmer Park woods. It was an illegal rave.
Highlights:
Kirsty MacColl 30.8.1992
Blur + Pop Will Eat Itself 3.6.1993
Skunk Anansie + The Lightning Seeds + Dodgy + Reef 27.5.1995 (Indie All Day 1995 festival)
The Prodigy + Goldie + Underworld + Coldcut + Dreadzone 25.5.1996 (Essential Festival 1996)
Kula Shaker + Ocean Colour Scene + Catatonia + Super Furry Animals 26.5.1996 (Essential Festival 1996)
Fatboy Slim + 808 State + The Chemical Brothers 24.5.1997 (Essential Festival 1997)
Stereophonics + Limp Bizkit + Korn 25.5.1997 (Essential Festival 1997)
James Brown + Gabrielle 16.7.2000 (Essential Festival 2000)
Razorlight 17.9.2011

Starlight Rooms, Sillwood Place, Brighton, BN1 2ND.
These days no-one would really be aware that the large block of flats with an underground car park located at the junction of Montpelier Road and Sillwood Street known as Osprey House, actually sits on the site of what once was Hotel Montpelier until 1960. Not only that, but from 1962 a dark, damp and musty jazz club opened and thus the Starlight Rooms were born. The rooms were small and ran the length of the upstairs building. They opened up a further room at the end and this was called the Pop Inn. Three years later and a certain Davie Jones & The Lower Third performed at the Starlight Rooms, with Davie having only joined the outfit on vocals, tenor and alto sax two months earlier. David being David Bowie. In 1969 it was demolished.
Highlight:
Davie Jones & The Lower Third 11.6.1965

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, 9-12 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL.
The closure of ‘Sticky Mike’s’ made national music paper headlines, so much was the love for the place. The venue had been running since 2011 and eventually had to shut its doors on 31st December 2018. It had previously been known as The Water Margin, Kubuki (aka Sumo) and Jam (aka Jam In Brighton), and there are records of concerts having taken place from 2006. The concerts used to take place in the basement and I have some fond memories here, such as Brix Smith stroking my nose in a seductive fashion (as you do!) and also meeting Russian band Pinkshinyultrablast. Sadly missed! (see also Jam aka Jam In Brighton)
Highlights:
UK Subs 13.5.2016
Idles 3.12.2016
Brix & The Extricated 2.11.17 (featuring ex-members of The Fall)
Pinkshinyultrablast 11.5.2018

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Sussex Art Club, 7 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD.
The Sussex Art Club was founded in 1994 in a Grade-II listed building in Ship Street, and was for people who were then working in the arts or have a genuine interest in them. It’s members-only admission policy and sheltered but vibrant surroundings made it popular with visiting celebrities. With two bars and a large domed ballroom, the club proved the perfect venue to host a wide variety of performances including club nights, live bands and stage shows. The final concert took place on 15th September 2007 and the club closed on 1st October 2007. The club had also offered a place to stay, with seven individually-designed bedrooms named after Brighton celebrities, including the Wilde, Olivier and Greene rooms. It became Hotel Du Vin & Bistro.

Sussex Sports Centre, Queens Square, Brighton, BN1 3FD.
At the tail-end of the 1970’s many local Brighton bands (often with Attrix Records connections) used to play above the ice rink in Queens Square. These included Woody & The Splinters, The Exclusives, The Chefs, The Vandells, The Vogue and The Golinski Brothers.

The Admiral, 2-6 Elm Grove, Brighton, BN2 3DD.
The Admiral Ale House has been hosting the occasional local gigs since at least 2015, with the current style being flagged up as psychobilly as both The Long Tall Texans and The Hillmans played there live last year. It was previously called The Cornerstone.

The Arch, 187-193 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB (formerly Bermuda Triangle).
The Arch is located within the Victorian arches under the Brighton seafront and has been in situ since 7th March 2015. They installed a state-of-the-art sound system as the previous one was apparently 33 years old and so dated back to when the venue was famously The Zap Club. It has also been known as Bermuda Triangle, Coliseum and was also the second room for Digital. This is mainly a nightclub but has hosted concerts too, with a majority of them being during The Great Escape from 2016 to 2019. (see also The Zap Club, Digital, Coliseum and Bermuda Triangle).
Highlights:
JoyCut + AK/DK 19.5.2018 (TGE)

The Arch (pic Nick Linazasoro)

The Basement (aka Art College Basement), Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY.
Apparently The Basement began life in the 1950’s when it was known as the Tin Hat. The venue finally closed on 9th December 1997 when the place was demolished to make way for the redevelopment of Brighton University art faculty. However, in the meantime, this dark, dingy, wet-floored, low-ceilinged series of interconnecting spaces that were located on the lower ground floor of the rambling Glenside Annexe immediately adjacent to the main College of Art building in Grand Parade, was to become an almost mythical place. It is here that U2, New Order, Killing Joke and Echo & The Bunnymen (to name just four), performed among their earliest concert performances. When U2’s Bono arrived at the venue in 1980, he asked about the lighting and was informed that the two spotlights that had been purchased from B&Q, with the white one being for him and the red one was for the band. Post-punk band Killing Joke came with a hazardous fire-eater (probably Jaz), who singed the low ceiling. New Order played one of their very first concerts here in around October/November 1980. If this date was prior to 25th October 1980, (and I have an inkling that it was) then it would have just been the trio of Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner, as Morris’s girlfriend Gillian Gilbert was only recruited from that date. Echo & The Bunnymen also played here in the winter of 1979/1980. I witnessed UK Decay play live here in 1982. I wish I had been at the earlier gigs!
Highlights:
U2 1980
New Order 1980
Echo & The Bunnymen 1979/80
UK Decay 13.7.1982
Levellers 8.3.1988
Clare Grogan 13.12.1989 (of Altered Images fame)

The Bathing Machine, Brighton.
There’s an indication that on 6th August 1977, two punk bands, Blood Group and The Meat played here. I’ve no idea where this venue was located, but it sounds as though it should be right on the beach.

The Bee’s Mouth, 10 Western Road, Hove, BN3 1AE.
The Bee’s Mouth is a truly unique, fully independent late bar and live music venue. They specialise in Belgian bottled beer, solid spirit/mixers, craft beer on draught, and a unique selection of cocktails. They have hosted the occasional live show since at least 2010.

The Blind Tiger Club, 52-54 Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 9QA.
The Blind Tiger Club was situated opposite the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts. It was an independent venue/bar/cafe hosting a varied mix of live touring acts and cabaret that opened in 2010 and closed in May 2014 following the issuing of a Noise Abatement Notice. The site was previously known in the 1990’s as Hectors House and prior to that for a very long time was called The Norfolk Arms. Gigs were known to have taken place from 2011 up until its closure.
Highlight:
Acid Mothers Temple 20.10.2012

The Black Lion, 14 Black Lion Street, Brighton, BN1 1ND.
The Black Lion is a pub with personality and a history dating back more than 500 years! According to their Facebook page they started on 22nd July 1555. Located slap-bang in the centre of The Lanes on the site of one of the oldest breweries in the world, The Black Lion transforms daily from bustling foodie pub to one of Brighton’s busiest late night haunts. They offer live music from up-and-coming local acts including funk and cover bands as well as DJ sets. They were used as an Alternative Great Escape venue in 2015 and 2017 as well.
Highlight:
Nick Heyward 19.5.2017

The Brunswick, 1 Holland Road, Hove, BN3 1JF.
Since 2006, The Brunswick has been bringing the people of Brighton and Hove live music more or less seven nights a week! From their weekly Jazz Jam, to their open mic nights, as well as touring acts performing in either of their 120 capacity venue or their cosy 60 capacity Cellar Bar.

The Brunswick (pic Nick Linazasoro)

The Buccaneer, 10 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TL.
This I believe was previously called The Pier and incorporated Ted Potter’s Music Bar downstairs . After The Buccaneer it then became The Royal Escape, then the Escape Club, then Audio and is now Patterns. Back in its Buccaneer days, this venue was one of the top punk hangouts in town during the second half of the 1970’s. (see also The Pier (Ted Potter’s Music Bar), Escape Club, The Royal Escape, Audio and Patterns).
Highlights:
UK Subs 18.11.1977
The Cure 16.6.1978 + 12.8.1978
The DP’s 27.9.1978 (aka The Depressions)

The Cadillac Club, The Florida, Brighton Aquarium, Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TB (see Florida Rooms).

The Cage, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2FL.
It is said that around 1979 The Cage skate-park, which was housed in one of the seafront arches opposite the West Pier, was utilised as a DIY gig venue by local bands. The Cage was quite unusual because it was all made out of fibreglass and it had a huge bowl and when skaters rode it and went from side to side it made a whooshing thundering noise.

The Castle Street Gymnasium (Alive Gym), 25-27 Castle Street, Brighton, BN1 2HD.
This gym, located in Castle Street, was utilised for the 2017 and 2018 Great Escape new music festival.
Highlight:
Dream Wife 18.5.2017

The Clarendon Centre, 47-49 New England Street, Brighton, BN1 4GQ.
I didn’t expect to find out that this “Conference facility” had also played host to the Brighton Craft Beer Festival on 20th to 22nd June last year (2019) and that the Dub Pistols were performing live there!

The Cobbler’s Thumb, New England Road, Brighton, BN1 4GG.
I have found records that a few bands played live here in 2011.

The Druids Arms, 79 Ditchling Road, Brighton, BN1 4SD.
‘The Druids’ appears to have been hosting gigs from as early as 1972, with Judas Priest having played an early set there. It was used from 2009 to 2013 as the venue for the strangely titled ‘Nice Weather For Airstrikes Festival’. Which ran each May Bank Holiday and was free entry and concerned with post rock/math/shoegaze sounds.
Highlight:
Judas Priest 21.12.1972

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

Visit and ‘LIKE’ our ‘What’s On – from Brighton and Hove News’ Facebook page HERE.

  1. Nigel Furness Reply

    Hi Nick.
    I have a few more snippets of information which I hope you’ll find usefull.
    Firstly, in Part 2, you list the acts who appeared at the Essoldo on North Street, stretching between Windsor Street to the West and Portland Street to the East, but there’s one which you’ve missed.
    This is the incomperable Helen Shapiro whom My late brother, Chris Furness, myself and some friends, had the great pleasure of seeing perform there in either 1962 or 1963 and, despite her apologies for having caught a rotten cold, which was perfectly apparent when she spoke, her singing voice was indistinguishable from her recordings—superb!
    After the show we all waited out the front for her to come out but after a while, I wandered round the corner into Portland Street and right along to the back of the building where a couple of very large, fire-exit style doors suddenly flew open, outwards, nearly knocking me flying. Imagine my shock when I found myself confronted by Helen, surrounded by a number of hefty bodyguards. “Are you alright?” she asked but, being only around 13 at the time and harboring a massive crush on this girl who herself can have been no older tha 16, if that, at the time, for once in my life I found myself rendered completely speechless and in an instant she and her entourage were whisked away in a large, gleaming black car!
    On now, a couple of years to 1964 and onwards. In Part 3, you mention the Starlight Rooms and the Pop Inn, located in the labyrinth of damp, musty and creepy rooms and cellars beneath the largely derelict Montpelier Hotel in Montpelier Road, with it’s windows festooned in barbed wire—a very sinister look!
    I frequented the former throughout my mid-teens (I was unable to enter the Pop Inn as it was a licensed bar and I was under-age, but I have vivid memories of the many local pop groups who were put on by my late brother Chris who, along with his business partners Barry Cowey and Barry Garbutt ran an entertainment agency which managed many of these groups, arranged bookings and scouted for local talent. Their business was called South Coast Promotions and was based in an office in Waterloo House at the seafront end of Waterloo Street in the Brunswick district of Hove (now converted into flats) and it was called South Coast Promotions.
    My memories now of the various local groups which thy put on in the Starlight are fading somewhat and I would have to look up Chris’s old files, which are in my possession, but I do have vivid memories of Brighton’s top group at the time, Count Down and the Zeros wo morphed through Peter and the Headlines into The Summerset, playing there as well as Ivy and the Ivy Leaves.
    Chris did manage to secure a recording contract for the first mentioned group and I still have one of the Demo-copies of their first single, “Don’t Cry Little Girl,” which sadly bombed on release but their lead guitarist, Mart Jenner, went on to play in Cliff Richard’s backing group for many years whilst another of their guitarists, Brian Cornwell (brother of the famous actress Judy, who still lives locally), is now in a tribute goup to the Beach Boys.
    The most famous acts that my brother and hispals put on there that I recall seeing were the rather creepy Dave Berry (“The Crying Game”) and the jittery and downright frightening Chris Farlowe ((“Baby, Baby, Baby You’re Out of Time”).
    There’s much more that I could tell you but I think that’s enough for now—I’m too tired so, if you’d like more info, i’m only too happy for the Editor to provide you with my email addree.
    Meanwhile, thanks so much for such an interesting and well researched read.

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