"The ultimate sin of any performer is contempt for the audience."
- Lester Bangs

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Borderline - London, UK

"Living in London all my life, I have been to many music venues both large, and small and for every dive there's generally an okay one. Now finding myself (without really looking) the same age as Morrissey and Michael Stipe, I find myself less and less willing to stand around some dark cavernous hall like the Garage in Holloway (why do they always paint the walls black in such places?) for hours on end waiting to see some band or other. These days I need the venue to be a bit more civilised before dragging myself into central London to see an artist perform. My favourite small venue has to be The Borderline, just off Charing Cross Road.

From the outside it looks like a Mexican restaurant (or maybe an English idea of one) inside you go down stairs and enter a large basement room (with normal coloured, not black walls) with a bar and toilets and seating areas for those who find a few hours standing up a bit too much. It’s a bit tatty at the edges, but then aren’t all music venues? The security is very low key and laid back. The stage is a foot high platform with ample standing room in front (if not particularly on stage, a full band can be slightly cramped). The all important sound system is clear and warm. There’s a very relaxed and intimate feel about the place and even when crowded it still feels somehow comfortable and civilised. I’ve seen some excellent artists there down the years like LA pop marvels Wondermints (in town as part of Brian Wilson’s band), Brendan Benson, Matthew Sweet, Cracker, Robyn Hitchcock to name some I remember off the top of my head, and I cannot recall a single occasion where the venue got in the way of enjoying the magic occurring on stage…and really, when it comes to London venues, that’s as much asLink we might hope for.

A definite four out of five."


The Boderline: 4

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