NME‘s annual search for the best small venue in Britain, in association with JD Roots, launches today. Scroll down to discover how you can vote for your favourite now.
With everyone from Foals and Skrillex to The Vaccines and Paul Weller playing in tiny venues in the past 12 months, there’s no denying that the lure of the intimate crowd is as strong as ever for big name artists wanting to road-test new material or treat fans to a once in a lifetime performance. Foals kick-started their ‘Holy Fire’ album campaign by playing at off-the-beaten-track venues while Skrillex followed a huge London festival performance by DJing at East london pub The Shacklewell Arms.
Miles Kane and Maximo Park will both perform homecoming shows as part of the campaign with Maximo Park performing live in Newcastle’s tiny venue The Cluny and Miles Kane playing Liverpool sweatbox The Zanzibar.
Last year, the title of Britain’s Best Small Venue went to Tunbridge Wells Forum, whose promoter Chris Pritchard tells NME, “Live music would become really bland without small venues – music will become beige. It’s also important at a regional level. Bands shouldn’t just play London, Manchester and Glasgow then head off to America. They need touring experience to learn about stage presence. They learn their art at small venues.”
Speaking about why small venues matter so much to him, bass player Chilli Jesson says: “Small venues are important because there are no walls and no barriers between you and the audience. Big shows are just not as good. They have some pros, like lights and the sound, but it’s difficult working out that intimacy. I love gigs where you can feel the audience’s breath.” Scroll down to watch Kasabian talk about their love for intimate gigs.
NME’s annual search for the best small venue in Britain began in 2011. Fans can vote for any gig room or performance space with a capacity of 500 or under. Regional winners will be announced before an overall winner is revealed in June.
To vote for your favourite small venue head to nme.com/smallvenues now. While you’re there you can also watch full interviews with the likes of Kasabian, Peace, Palma Violets, Johnny Marr, Suede, Tribes and Django Django as they talk about the venues that made them.