The Maccabees on planned closure of The Coronet: ‘You need places that have an unspoken heritage’

The venue is set to close in 2017, after over a century of shows

The Maccabees have talked of their love of their local venue The Coronet which has been scheduled for closure in January 2017.

The venue will be 138 years old at the scheduled closure date, and is close to the band’s heart, after they closed their tour there earlier this year.

“The time that we played there, almost six months ago now, is my favourite gig we’ve ever done,” singer Orlando Weeks said. “So I would be very sad if it wasn’t there anymore. I imagine that there will be a fight back. People will miss it – because then there’ll be no venues between central London and Brixton.”

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Explaining why he loves The Coronet show and the venue itself, Weeks added:

“Everything felt relevant. First and foremost the gig was good – we played well – everyone seemed to have a nice time. And it was in Elephant & Castle, a venue just next to our studio that we’d never played before. It was walking distance. Everyone was queuing around the block and underneath the subway path and underneath the album cover – and it was the first time we put up our backdrop, which was the album cover of the Faraday Memorial. Everything about it felt relevant. It was just neat. An OCD occasion where everything just fitted! I was thrilled with that.”

Weeks added that he remains optimistic that fans pressure might save the venue, pointing out the extended time scale as he talked of a “fight back.”

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Guitarist Felix White added:

“I guess it’s the next one to go – it’s pretty symptomatic of things. It felt like it was going to happen when we did the gig there. It was already on the cards, it was intensely understaffed, there was a queue that went down the road because I think they were letting one person in at a time. The writing was on the wall. We had to go on stage two hours late!”

“It’s a shame because the space was the closest thing left we had to the Astoria in London. Anyone that’s in music really misses the Astoria and I think music significantly misses a place like that. There’s no venues like that anymore.”

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On the threat to venues in general, Weeks also emphasised the importance of venues with a history:

“A city chews up and spits out, that’s how it survives. But at the same time, you need places that have an unspoken heritage. If it’s somewhere new it can’t help but feel synthesised or themed, and that’s a very different experience. So when places like the Astoria go, you can’t manufacture that atmosphere – because it’s not just about soundsystems and stage height. That is a shame and that is something that will be missed.”

Oasis, The Libertines, Blur and Charlie Chaplin have all played the Elephant and Castle venue.

Weeks dedicated the Maccabees set in May to the venue, which he noted at the time was under “constant threat of closure.”

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