RADSOUND // SAVE THE BOILEROOM
Originally published on Radsound
The fate of independent music venues is becoming an ever concerning state of affairs. With the immediate closure of Brighton’s Blind Tiger Club, Manchester’s Night and Day Cafe under a watchful eye of fines and The Fleece in Bristol still fighting for it’s life, it seems that when faced with a few – or maybe even just one – sensitive resident and the hands of the council, venues don’t appear to stand a chance. Therefore, the news that Guildford’s Boileroom has been added to the ranks facing a similar fate, it would seem intensely immoral not stand up for it’s right to survive.
Guildford may not be exactly known for being the hub of music in the country, Surrey itself has little to no reputation when it comes to music. So when faced with the task of wanting to see your favourite band live, anyone in the area is faced with two options – either driving down to Brighton, or catching relentless trains to London and tearing down the streets in a desperate attempt to catch the last one home. As young adolescents discover a passion for live music and parents are understandably unwilling to comply with either option , the chances of reaching a gig are somewhat low – so 5 years ago when I discovered The Boileroom, a mere 3 years into it’s lifespan and already putting on some of my favourite acts for no more than £10 and a mere £3 train away, the place was descended from the high heavens.
Having caught acts like Spector, Last Dinosaurs, Futures and Wolf Gang in their vague infancies at The Boileroom – not to mention the discovery of Gabriel Bruce – the amount of musical intelligence passing through its doors eventually led me to find any excuse to venture down there and discover more local acts sharing the same stage. I have since invested a fair amount of time embracing the impressive, undercover scene Guildford offers, all via its lone standing venue that continues to put on constant nights devoted to it.
In the past year or so, the place has too grown further afield, balancing the local nights with more well known artists such as Pete Doherty, Jaws, Tribes, Drenge, Slaves, Childhood and Temples, alongside countless others. There is something special about watching a friend from college take to the stage one night and then seeing your complete guitar hero in the form of Bernard Butler playing alongside the incredible Ben Watt the next. There’s no possible complaint to make about the quality and diversity of music The Boileroom put on, each as impressive as the next – and all that’d be terrible to lose.
With the musical side accounted for, it has to be pointed out that, alongside winning awards for their noise control, endless charity and community events and the fact that in all the times I’ve been there there has never been an ounce of a problem regarding anyone in the audience. An intensely positive atmosphere at all times is somewhat rare when compared to gig experiences we all have elsewhere. This is owing to the fact that The Boileroom is run exceptionally well, by a group of people that I’ve always experienced as nothing short of lovely, with a genuine passion for what they do.
Having been the wide eyed 15 year old, stuck in an inseparable relationship with music consumption knowing no bounds, when that new band you’ve just discovered announce a gig on your doorstep and it’s 18+, the devastation of being denied entry is a soul crushing experience. However at The Boileroom, after a succession of email pleas across the years, they’ve always ensured that all fans get in- regardless of age – without bending any laws. Whilst that may seem somewhat trivial, having only turned 18 last month, I’ve experienced few other venues that are as accommodating.
Though this piece may seem somewhat biased, I haven’t been asked to write it by The Boileroom or any of its associates. The knowledge that there are two people who have who have taken offence to the backbone of live music on the 50 mile stretch from London to Brighton is a complete shame. With all due respect, it’s two people not worth losing another integral music venue to.
If you’ve read this far, please sign the petition here.
Reach out to The Boileroom