Independent Venue Week is a 7-day celebration of small music venues around the UK and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them, week in, week out.
These venues give artists their first experience of playing live in front of an audience and for fans, somewhere to get up close to artists that one day, may well be playing stadiums and festival main stages.
Independent Venue Week wants to recognise all those venues who take a punt on the next big thing and gives opportunities to so many. In Warrington there are so many venues that come to mind, Friars Court, WA1, White Rooms. None are more iconic or as loved as the Parr Hall. For every Stone Roses or Beady Eye performance there is the local showcase or an opportunity for the next big thing to put their stamp on the venues history.
What is it like to play on the big stage? We asked Lomax (Exile Parade), Calan Nickle (Hanovēr) and Mike Bee (The Winachi Tribe), what the venue means to them and what the venue means to them as musicians.
Lomax – Exile Parade
I remember it was a natural desire I had, to play the Parr Hall. Back in the day Warrington was having its own Rock n Roll renaissance, the White Hart and WA1 were second homes.The Parr hall was like the Apollo to me, a big stage, history.
The Rolling Stones had played in the sixties, that alone did it for me. It was definitely one of those things I ticked off the bucket list, when your in a band if you play an iconic stage, whatever status it has you sort of get your own little tile on an infinite mosaic, you become part of all the others who have walked or played that particular stage or had their sounds resonate through the brick work.
Too good a times to be able to put into words, for me anyway. Hats off to the new wave of great great bands taking it even further, especially Winachi Tribe and Slydigs, what they’ve achieved and experienced is phenomenal. I’ve seen Psyblings and it’s a hell of a sound, The Ambersons write brilliant music and overall Warringtonian’s are the toughest of animals who just won’t quit so best of luck to everyone involved, soak up the good times and savour every minute.
Mike Bee – The 66/ Phoenix Experiment & The Winachi Tribe
I first played the Parr Hall in 2005. The local scene was absolutely buzzing. It was the Pre-Internet, Grassroots, No Big TV generation! We had loads of venues putting on live music and a ridiculous amount of local bands in town. Some of us back then were lucky enough to have large fanbases, which meant the venue was a historic summit that could be reached! These upcoming gigs and celebration of Warrington music show that live music in this town remains as important as ever. I can’t wait to play the stage again. No matter the era, all roads lead to the Parr Hall! Time to shake that floor once more.
Calan Nickle – Hanover
It’s coming up to 6 years since my old band, 7 Day Weekend, supported Feeder at the Parr Hall. I’d always dreamed of playing that venue to a sell-out crowd and I never thought I’d get a chance to, until I got a phone call during school one day to offer us the chance to support Feeder!
The weeks leading up to the show were stressful and we probably practised more in that time than we ever had, we were so prepared and it was worth it in the end. The day arrived and we sound-checked and met the band. We’d played the Parr Hall before for local music nights like Plugged but something just felt different, I think it was just knowing that there was going to be a packed out crowd later on.
I’ve never been so nervous walking on-stage in my life, the lights went down and we walked on and got ready to play, and the first song kicked in, the lights shone and I saw the crowd and only then did I start relaxing, it felt so good as soon as we got into it!
Our set went well and the reception was good, we managed to catch Feeder’s performance and they were incredible, they were also nice enough to dedicate their hit ‘Buck Rogers’ to us, capping a memorable night for the band! It was a dream come true to play to so many people in my hometown, hopefully one day I’ll have a chance to do it again!
22 smallest capacity venue – Grayston Unity, Halifax
46 number of locations where there is only one venue
65 venues taking part for the first time
147 years – oldest venue – Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall
160 venues taking part
3100 biggest capacity venue – The Troxy, London
Tickets are on sale now for both the Independent Venue Week Showcase and the #5YearsOfWAM show over at pyramidparrhall.com