The campaign to Save the 100 Club continues apace with support from a host of rock musicians including Mick Jagger, who came out in support of the campaign earlier this month saying:
There’s a real need for these places - they have a connection with the past. And what is important is that you have places where bands can cut their teeth and places of a certain intimacy and size, that new bands can experiment in. There aren’t that many great places in London, or indeed any city, that you can say that about.
Jagger isn’t the only legend offering his support, Ray Davies of The Kinks has said:
Simon Cowell should underwrite the money needed to save the 100 Club, that would be a real payback. The amount of money he takes out of pop music he could put some back in. I’‘m very concerned about the 100 Club, The Kinks played there and it’s such an iconic venue we shouldn’t allow things like that to close down. Everything is being overrun by the chain stores and the conglomerates and it such a pity that the 100 Club has to suffer like that.
Other musicians including Mick Jones and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie have also spoken out against the possible closure, while Brian Travers from UB40 said:
It feels like live music is being pushed out of our cities to make way for car parks and duplex apartments. You are not on your own, all over the UK small live venues are being closed down. Just last November in Birmingham, the city’s premier live music venue The Rainbow was threatened with closure as well as noise abatement orders because a private property company had built downtown duplex apartments for the upwardly mobile who now don’t like the sound of downtown and wanted to turn it into a haven of peace and tranquility, live music being the first noise they wanted to mute.
This is a much bigger issue than just a noisy musicians being told to turn down the volume, this an all out attack on the UK’s finest export, music. If we are not careful our culture will be irreversibly damaged. As you have quite rightly said pretty soon there will be no where left for young bands to learn their craft.
Steve Diggle from The Buzzcocks said:
The 100 Club is as important as St Paul’s Cathedral!
While Frank Black from The Pixies has pledged £100,000 to the campaign and Liam Gallagher wrote a letter in support saying the 100 Club is “very rock n roll” and that its a shame as he “fancied playing there with the mighty Beady Eye.”
Save the 100 Club organizer, Jim Piddington tells Dangerous Minds that £150k has already been raised, but more is needed if they are to reach the target of £500k. A fund-raising gig is to be held at the venue on Thursday, 25 November, headlined by Specials guitarist Roddy Radiation and the Skabilly Rebels, and a line-up that also includes Chas Hodges, and a selection of “very special guests” who “are also expected to join the bill”.
If interested in attending the gig or in Saving the 100 Club please check details here.
Last month in London, it was announced that the legendary 100 Club was to close after sixty-eight years of promoting live music in the same location at 100 Oxford Street. The venue was originally a restaurant called Mack’s, and live music first played there, when British jazz drummer, Victor Feldman’s father hired the venue for a regular Sunday night showcase, to promote the talents of his sons and their bands. Gradually word spread of a new jazz haunt, and it soon became the hot spot for British servicemen and visiting American G.I.‘s. Amongst the early performers to play at the venue were Glen Miller, Ray McKinley, Mel Powell and Peanuts Hucko.
By 1948 the venue was called the London Jazz Club and it was the centre for Jitterbug, Swing and then Be-Bop as well as promoting new forms of music. The Feldmans then gave up ownership and the Wilcox brothers took over the now thriving club. In the 1950s, the lease changed hands again and it was taken over by Lyn Dutton, agent for popular jazz trumpeter, Humphrey Lyttleton, who renamed the venue to the Humphrey Lyttelton Club, giving Lyttelton residency. The club scored a major coup when Louis Armstrong played there in 1956, and it later became the venue for Trad Jazz throughout the 1950s.
With the arrival of The Beatles in 1963, British music changed, and the club was given over to the next generation, and renamed the 100 Club. The policy was still the same - a venue to promote new music. Soon the 100 Club was spearheading the R’N'B scene with Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and B. B. King all taking to the stage, along with new acts such as Rod Stewart, Alexis Korner, Julie Driscoll, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and The Animals. The rise of Beat music brought in The Who, the Kinks, The Pretty Things and The Spencer Davis Group.
The success of the Sixties was but a memory by the 1970s began, as the club struggled through a variety of work-to-rule measures and energy black-outs enforced by the government of the day. This all changed when the 100 Club launched the first festival of Punk:
On Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st September 1976 the 100 Club was host to the first ever Punk Rock Festival. Seen for the first time, certainly in London, on the 100 Club stage were the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, Siouxsie & The Banshees the Buzzcocks the Vibrators and Subway Sect. No one outside of a select few had heard of any of the them and all of them were unsigned. The Melody Maker’s opening line of its review stated ‘The 600 strong line that stretched across two blocks was indisputable evidence that a new decade in rock is about to begin.’ It was to be one of the most famous events in the club’s history. The Punk festival of ‘76 also had an enormous effect on music in general. It changed the club’s fortunes and its image indefinitely. As no other venue wanted to put on Punk at all, it stayed at the club on and off for the next eight or nine years incorporating its second wave with bands like U.K.Subs, G.B.H., ADX, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, The Exploited and Discharge. The 100 Club is still the spiritual home of the Punk movement.
At the same time the 100 Club was also promoting Reggae, with Steel Pulse and The Might Diamonds, and Northern Soul, with Terry Callier, Doris Troy, The Flirtations and Tommy Hunt.
In 1980s, African Jazz / Township Music became the focus for the club:
Julian Bahula, the distinguished African drummer, decided to run a regular Friday night featuring authentic African bands. Many of the musicians he employed were political refugees isolated from their South African homeland because of the apartied laws and were members of the outlawed A.N.C. The weekly Friday nights became a whole movement for change and with the pulsating music on offer a whole new genre in the 100 Club‘s history was born. Great African musicians like Fela Kuti, Marion Makeba and Hugh Masekela appeared on the Friday night bill as did Youssou N’Dour, Thomas Mapfumo, Dudu Pukwana and Spirits Rejoice. It ran for almost ten very successful years until the release of Nelson Mandela, then the change in the political climate in South Africa meant the cause was over.
1992 was to see the start of the biggest era in popular music at the club since 1976. The club was once again going through a lean spell when a chance phone call from concert promoter, Chris York, inquired whether the club would be interested in showcasing one of his new bands. The band were called Suede and in September 1992 they kicked off the club’s successful period in Indie music.
Over the next four years Oasis, Kula Shaker, Echobelly, Catatonia, Travis, Embrace, Cornershop, The Aloof, Heavy Stereo and Baby Bird would be just a few of the names to play the club and right up to the present day, the club has seen gigs from Semisonic, Toploader, Muse, Shack, Doves, JJ72, Jo Strummer, Squarepusher, Ocean Colour Scene and The Webb Brothers.
Now, the venue that has been at the heart of new music in the U.K. since 1942 is about to close, and a campaign has been set up to Save the 100 Club. As the club has been in difficulty for a wee while (for various reasons), £500,000 has to be raised by November. If you are interested in saving the 100 Club or have a spare half-million to spend or just ten quid, then get in touch and be part of history.
If the money is raised, the club will stay open as a non-profit organisation, with its new owners being the donors. A Board of Trustees would be democratically elected by the donors to run the venue, and “your donation would entitle you to an equal say in these decisions, whether you are able to pay £10.00 or £10,000.” the ultimate aim is:
..restore the venue as a place where new bands can develop and existing bands can continue to thrive.
Look at it this way, if the 100 Club shuts down, your venue could be next.
Without a place for musicians to play live, the future of music will be in the hands of the karaoke-singing, bastard children of Simon Cowell’s X-Factor and American Pop Idol. Hyperbole aside - seriously. The choice is ours which way it goes.
Bonus Clips of The Sex Pistols and The Clash after the jump…