Flushed with recent success – we just scooped up a trophy in the Venue category of the 25th Loo Of The Year Awards (no, they’re not called the ‘khazis’) – we embark on our annual review.
2012 was an epic year for us, staging the best in music ranging from classic rock and Irish folk through jazz and prog to hip hop and pop. If ever anyone wondered about the versatility of our space before, there is no doubting it now.
We have so many highpoints of the year about to end. Let’s start again with BluesFest 2012. This was our second year hosting a spectrum of stars for the festival. We were lucky enough to have John Hiatt, Charles Bradley, Gov’t Mule, and Mick Taylor.
Three of the four nights were sold out and at least one reviewer of former Rolling Stone fretman Taylor’s show noted our décor and atmosphere is ‘recreating the vibe that of the London music scene’ of the Sixties.
New Orleans blues/jazz Dr John made a welcome return for two great nights, and Randy Crawford nailed it with the Joe Sample Trio.
Another summer festival proved equally popular. The London Irish Village was held over several nights while the Olympics were across town. And what a fine line-up of musicians we had to complement the best of food and drink from the Emerald Isle, in particular Nanci Griffith, The Undertones, Eddi Reader, The Saw Doctors and the rejuvenated Thin Lizzy.
It’s becoming a theme that established stars perform shows ‘for the fans’ at Under the Bridge. Warm-up gigs that were instant sell-outs involved Baltimore punk/power pop outfit All Time Low – a former Sex Pistol in attendance for that one – bestselling Devon soul singer Joss Stone (whose gig was streamed live online to a massive audience and can be seen in its entirety by clicking here), and Rufus Wainwright.
Rufus played two unforgettable nights under our lights as he scaled the heights in twenty-12. Take a butcher’s at this – producer Mark Ronson and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant are somewhere in that crowd.
This year we added hip hop to the temporary tattoo on our venue’s forearm, when hip hop ledge Nas paid a memorable visit with a warm-up show.
‘Confirming his sincerity was the fact that he chose to perform at such an intimate venue. Under the Bridge provided the perfect space for The Don to reconnect with his fan-base and take us back in a way to the real Hip-Hop. I will always maintain that the smaller the gig the bigger the vibes and last night was certainly no exception.’ (@Loud_Speaker, mumbleinthejungle.com)
Hallowe’en was celebrated with chemist of rhyme Professor Green later the same month (a private party for ZTE Mobile), and a few days after that Tinchy Stryder announced he was playing in SW6. ‘Incredible venue!!,’ he tweeted, and when he played Under the Bridge, he smashed it.
Among the television shows we accommodated were: ‘Love Machine’ (Sky Living), ‘Drugs Live’ (Channel 4) and Justin Bieber’s clandestine gig – recorded for Channel 4’s ‘London Live’ – which had the social networks in flames. Here he is in action in front of a lucky invited audience:
The BBC4 documentary series ‘London Calling’ featured the unique 150-photo gallery of UK musicians (curated by Rick Glanvill) around our walls with NME journalist Paul Morley talking fascinatingly about some of his favourites:
We were lucky to host some wonderful private parties too. Coca Cola launched their Olympics tie-in single ‘Move To The Beat’ by Katy B and Mark Ronson here.
The delightful Jo Whiley (‘lovely comfy seats’) and BBC Radio 2 selected us as the venue for their ‘In Concert’ with Scots singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald:
‘Absolutely brilliant. Really, really enjoyed it. It’s such a nice little venue here; it sounds amazing as well. So I had a thoroughly good time up there… I always try and smile at people. Some smile back, some don’t, but the majority were smiling back tonight.’ Amy MacDonald
Stooshe and Josh Osho were brought to us by Alcatel Mobile, Jessie J by Mastercard and, in two separate Heart Radio gigs, Olly Murs and Alicia Keys revelled in being so close to their legions of fans.
Quite a year. Thank you so much to everyone who played, booked, produced, and most importantly attended shows here in 2012.
And, with that, we stagger confidently, office Christmas party stylee, into a highly promising 2013…