October 30th, 2009: RIP London Astoria

Where in London is this?

And why does it sadden me so?

October 30th, 2009

Well this is the former site of the London Astoria, which stood on this site until earlier this year. I had heard that it was demolished while I was in Toronto. But I still can’t quite believe that it’s not here anymore.

It was demolished to make way for a new rail link station.

Was it the grandest music venue of all time? No.

Was it the place where I saw the following bands? Yes.

Ash
Ben Folds Five
Bis
The Black Keys
The Bluetones
Blur
Boss Hog
Cake
80′s Matchbox B-Line Disaster
Florence And The Machine
Foo Fighters
Frank Black
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Justice
Late Of The Pier
MGMT
Presidents Of The United States Of America
Rocket From The Crypt
Supergrass
Tenacious D
They Might Be Giants
Teenage Fanclub

There’s probably a whole bunch more acts I’ve seen in that club.

The London Astoria is truly missed.

As is the LA2, the nearby Ghetto club and the much beloved Metro club, where I DJ’d many times at Mark Morris’ Rabbit Hole club. These were also demolished along with the main theatre.

Hell, I even miss ‘Piss Alley’, the street around the back by the stage door.

Apologies that it has taken so long to comment on it closure and demolition.

It better be one hell of a train station…

NB. Bizarrely it’s still on Street View…


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  • max

    yeah its HMV forum now. nnsaw a few bands in the astoria including the Shins . thanks Olympic Games!

  • max

    yeah its HMV forum now.

    saw a few bands in the astoria including the Shins . thanks Olympic Games!

  • http://wp.me/pGQ3u-9 chris banks

    Sad
    I have worked at this venue a fair few times for the following bands

    Teenage fanclub
    frank black
    rocket from the crypt
    wedding present

    Absolute horrible load in and nightmare parking the van but what a gig
    my 2nd favourite in london after the t&c later to become the forum.
    is the kentish town ballroom still going ?

  • http://wp.me/pGQ3u-9 chris banks

    Sad
    I have worked at this venue a fair few times for the following bands

    Teenage fanclub
    frank black
    rocket from the crypt
    wedding present

    Absolute horrible load in and nightmare parking the van but what a gig
    my 2nd favourite in london after the t&c later to become the forum.
    is the kentish town ballroom still going ?

  • http://joelvalliefilms.com/ joel vallie

    It’s always sad when places like that go down. I’m reminded of when they closed down CBGB in New York. I seen a great band called Black Valentine there and after that it became one of my favorite places to go to when visiting. So sad.

  • http://joelvalliefilms.com/ joel vallie

    It’s always sad when places like that go down. I’m reminded of when they closed down CBGB in New York. I seen a great band called Black Valentine there and after that it became one of my favorite places to go to when visiting. So sad.

  • jo

    oh, that’s truly a sad sight to see. it wasn’t the most amazing venue but good times were had. esp when i saw lcd soundsystem there a few valentines ago :) such good music!

    jealous you got to see bis though! of all the chances i had to see them throughout the last 13 years and i never did….were they good?

    jo x

  • jo

    oh, that’s truly a sad sight to see. it wasn’t the most amazing venue but good times were had. esp when i saw lcd soundsystem there a few valentines ago :) such good music!

    jealous you got to see bis though! of all the chances i had to see them throughout the last 13 years and i never did….were they good?

    jo x

  • http://kayrichardson.blogspot.com Kay

    During a Jarvis Cocker gig (not that long ago), I found a ‘star’ doing ‘rude things’ in piss alley. Sigh. The nightclub ‘Metro’ around the corner has gone too. I hope the station includes a music venue and nightclub. Platform One = indie. Platform Two = chillout.

  • http://kayrichardson.blogspot.com/ Kay

    During a Jarvis Cocker gig (not that long ago), I found a ‘star’ doing ‘rude things’ in piss alley. Sigh. The nightclub ‘Metro’ around the corner has gone too. I hope the station includes a music venue and nightclub. Platform One = indie. Platform Two = chillout.

  • Katy

    Aye. I attended many a great gig at the Astoria too. Nine Inch Nails, Eels, The White Stripes, The Dresden Dolls, Death In Vegas… it wasn’t the best venue (it did stink quite a lot) but I can’t quite believe its gone. RIP Astoria. 1927-2009.

  • Katy

    Aye. I attended many a great gig at the Astoria too. Nine Inch Nails, Eels, The White Stripes, The Dresden Dolls, Death In Vegas… it wasn’t the best venue (it did stink quite a lot) but I can’t quite believe its gone. RIP Astoria. 1927-2009.

  • Rowlan

    Saw my first ever gig there. Tomahawk, I think it was in 2003. Mike Patton pissed on the crowd. Definitely a night I won’t forget (happily he didn’t get me. The dirty bugger)

  • Rowlan

    Saw my first ever gig there. Tomahawk, I think it was in 2003. Mike Patton pissed on the crowd. Definitely a night I won’t forget (happily he didn’t get me. The dirty bugger)

  • http://lisybabe.blogspot.com Lisa

    I’m pleased it’s gone.

    No longer will I have to miss a band’s one London date because they’re playing in the Astoria which has absolutely no wheelchair access at all.

    I am pleased that bands no longer have that inaccessible option and are forced to look at other, more accessible, venues.

  • http://lisybabe.blogspot.com/ Lisa

    I’m pleased it’s gone.

    No longer will I have to miss a band’s one London date because they’re playing in the Astoria which has absolutely no wheelchair access at all.

    I am pleased that bands no longer have that inaccessible option and are forced to look at other, more accessible, venues.

  • pieface

    oh no – I’ve now realised where this is! (due to second photo)

    I’ve walked past there many many times (it is the bit behind the new TCR tube bit?) – by the tiny alleyway? oh…sad.

    • pieface

      yep now I’m 100% sure. there was a queue for something I walked past (last March-ish), I want to say MGMT, but can’t be sure.

      sad face.

  • pieface

    oh no – I’ve now realised where this is! (due to second photo)

    I’ve walked past there many many times (it is the bit behind the new TCR tube bit?) – by the tiny alleyway? oh…sad.

    • pieface

      yep now I’m 100% sure. there was a queue for something I walked past (last March-ish), I want to say MGMT, but can’t be sure.

      sad face.

  • Red

    That is deeply sad. I always hate to hear of a smaller venue closing. It’s just not the same to see an act in an arena.

  • Red

    That is deeply sad. I always hate to hear of a smaller venue closing. It’s just not the same to see an act in an arena.

  • Swoozie

    I KNOW this is so sad, Astoria, LA2 / Mean Fiddler, Metro and the Ghetto all gone in one fell swoop…so many great gigs and club nights. Manics to Anti-Pop Consortium, Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Nag Nag Nag, Blow Up to the Breeders… I thought I had got over this, thanks for bringing it all back! If anything happens to Brixton Academy I’m not sure I shall cope.

    For those who were asking, the buildings are being knocked down to redevelop Tottenham Court Road station as they’re building a new cross-London rail link.

    • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com Edgar Wright

      You are quite right.

      It never occurred to me that the Metro was also gone as part of the development.

      I used to DJ at Mark Morriss’ Rabbit Hole at the Metro. So sad it’s gone.

  • Swoozie

    I KNOW this is so sad, Astoria, LA2 / Mean Fiddler, Metro and the Ghetto all gone in one fell swoop…so many great gigs and club nights. Manics to Anti-Pop Consortium, Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Nag Nag Nag, Blow Up to the Breeders… I thought I had got over this, thanks for bringing it all back! If anything happens to Brixton Academy I’m not sure I shall cope.

    For those who were asking, the buildings are being knocked down to redevelop Tottenham Court Road station as they’re building a new cross-London rail link.

    • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com/ Edgar Wright

      You are quite right.

      It never occurred to me that the Metro was also gone as part of the development.

      I used to DJ at Mark Morriss’ Rabbit Hole at the Metro. So sad it’s gone.

  • Dylan 37

    TMBG is kick ass. One of the best bands with an acordian.

  • Dylan 37

    TMBG is kick ass. One of the best bands with an acordian.

  • Sharan Beans

    I saw my first gig there, and many many after. I loved that place. Is this Boris’s fault? Despite living in London I nearly never walk past it as it is upsetting and I just hate oxford street area.

  • Sharan Beans

    I saw my first gig there, and many many after. I loved that place. Is this Boris’s fault? Despite living in London I nearly never walk past it as it is upsetting and I just hate oxford street area.

  • TchmilFan

    It’s gone because of the Crossrail project.

    Aside… I used to be on the lighting “team” for the Sunday night Metal club “Buzby’s” (Never did find out why it was called that) downstairs in Astoria 2.

  • TchmilFan

    It’s gone because of the Crossrail project.

    Aside… I used to be on the lighting “team” for the Sunday night Metal club “Buzby’s” (Never did find out why it was called that) downstairs in Astoria 2.

  • Sarah

    It’s a shame. Gone because of something to do with a train station wasn’t it? In the words of Mark Morriss, “down with the trains!”

  • Sarah

    It’s a shame. Gone because of something to do with a train station wasn’t it? In the words of Mark Morriss, “down with the trains!”

  • Slick

    That is so heartbreaking. I think it’s particularly sad for you that it happened while you were in Toronto.

  • jingers

    Ash! BIS! Please say you saw Kenickie, too!? :)

  • jingers

    Ash! BIS! Please say you saw Kenickie, too!? :)

  • VetovsVictory

    R.I.P but why was it demolished???

  • VetovsVictory

    R.I.P but why was it demolished???

  • SarahAC

    Aw that’s a shame.
    TMBG are the greatest!

  • Anonymous

    Aw that’s a shame.
    TMBG are the greatest!

  • Slick

    That is so heartbreaking. I think it’s particularly sad for you that it happened while you were in Toronto.

  • http://JaredBoyer.com Jared B.

    JSBX are amazing live! So is Mr. Black.

  • http://JaredBoyer.com/ Jared B.

    JSBX are amazing live! So is Mr. Black.

  • hoover gold

    I’m glad that someone I admire and/or else, etc. All my friends bitch about them, but I can’t get enough of Dead Wrestlers and Social Dancing.

  • hoover gold

    I’m glad that someone I admire and/or else, etc. All my friends bitch about them, but I can’t get enough of Dead Wrestlers and Social Dancing.

  • Amber G

    Aw.. That’s sad… Why did they tear it down?

    You saw some great bands there

  • AmberGrindstaff

    Aw.. That’s sad… Why did they tear it down?

    You saw some great bands there

  • Katie

    I saw one of the last shows they put on last year, it was such a great experience!

  • Katie

    I saw one of the last shows they put on last year, it was such a great experience!

  • lili

    no fair, I want some cake and giants

  • lili

    no fair, I want some cake and giants

  • Robert Morgan

    Was that the Cake gig where the lighting was so awful that McCrea told the guy to just leave a single spot on stage and go home? I really felt for the poor inept techy being told off from on stage.

    Sure, loads of great bands played great gigs there – it was a small venue in Central London, so that was inevitable – but it was a crap venue. Always bad lighting, bad sound, bad atmosphere and horrible bouncers. If now more bands will play the Scala, Koko or the Coronet, say, that’s great. They’re so much better than the Astoria ever was.

    • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com Edgar Wright

      It wasn’t a great venue, no.

      But I saw so many great gigs there.

  • Robert Morgan

    Was that the Cake gig where the lighting was so awful that McCrea told the guy to just leave a single spot on stage and go home? I really felt for the poor inept techy being told off from on stage.

    Sure, loads of great bands played great gigs there – it was a small venue in Central London, so that was inevitable – but it was a crap venue. Always bad lighting, bad sound, bad atmosphere and horrible bouncers. If now more bands will play the Scala, Koko or the Coronet, say, that’s great. They’re so much better than the Astoria ever was.

    • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com/ Edgar Wright

      It wasn’t a great venue, no.

      But I saw so many great gigs there.

  • Eric Rhoades

    Oh man, I love They Might Be Giants, and many of those… I’m jealous you saw Ben Folds Five… I’ve seen Ben a few times solo but never the Five.

  • Eric Rhoades

    Oh man, I love They Might Be Giants, and many of those… I’m jealous you saw Ben Folds Five… I’ve seen Ben a few times solo but never the Five.

  • elbows_selbo

    Is this the mysterious ‘lost item’ you were referring to on Twitter?

    • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com Edgar Wright

      No.

      • Dylan 37

        What was it then?

  • elbows_selbo

    Is this the mysterious ‘lost item’ you were referring to on Twitter?

    • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com/ Edgar Wright

      No.

      • Dylan 37

        What was it then?