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    Loss Of Legendary Music Landmark Leaves Edinburgh Gig-going Vacuum

    When the Happy Mondays crowded the Edinburgh Venue's hallowed stage, the ever on-the-ball Shaun Ryder began with a bellowing "Good Evening... Glasgow!" before tripping over a monitor and falling flat on his grizzly face.


    Fifteen minutes later the gig descended into a scrum with Ryder and Bez brawling on the floor. Still, that's another story, and one of many of the Venue's torrid tales. Coldplay were signed a week after playing a support slot there in the late Nineties and when the Strokes first came to Scotland, dishevelled suits and beat-up guitars in tow, they played their first gig at the Venue.


    Come June 10 though, after a two-year stay of execution, the capital's longest-running live music venue will close its doors for good.Ever since Edinburgh-based BL Developments bought the three-storey Venue in February 2004, it has been a question of when, not if, the music would end. Back then, Raw Promotions, which has operated the Venue for five years, tried to raise funds to buy the building back but a small independent promotions company is small fry compared to big business.


    So now the fight is over with the Venue's hopes of relocating in the city centre also coming to nought.


    As for the building itself, rumour has it that it is to be transformed into an upmarket deli to service the surrounding penthouse apartments and offices that are being built around Calton Road. And the Venue's many long-running regular nights will, says company manager Lloyd McDermott, simply "disappear".


    "We're the last of the iconic independents and that's why it's really sad," says McDermott. "We've known about this for a long time but now that it's on our doorstep we're starting to come to terms with it. There's nothing we can do, the money is just not there."


    An Edinburgh City Council spokesperson says: "In 2004, planning permission was applied for to change the use of the Venue nightclub building to offices. This was granted. The Venue is a private commercial venture and has never applied for, nor received, grant funding from the council.


    "Edinburgh has an extremely lively and vibrant music scene and in recent years has attracted bigger bands to venues such as the Usher Hall and the Corn Exchange."


    That said, the Venue's passing after 26 years will, McDermott says, leave a "big hole" in Edinburgh's live music landscape. "I'm hoping that someone will come along and create another wee venue but if you're a small, independent, underground music venue you'll always struggle."


    "We've had Radiohead, Travis, Texas, Sonic Youth, Cocteau Twins, Black Eyed Peas, Mylo, Athlete, so many," says Jacqui Findlayson, bookings manager at the Venue. "We're so sad because, unlike Glasgow, Edinburgh hasn't got a raft of venues and you need mid-sized venues for local acts to be able to showcase and grow."


    That is the crucial point. There is a big difference between being one of a few hundred bodies crammed in close enough to touch Alex Kapranos' drainpipe trousers and standing on your tiptoes to see Franz Ferdinand play a gig in Princes Street Gardens or the SECC.


    It's not just the live music scene that will suffer though. Pure, Scotland's longest-running club night, which brought Detroit techno to Edinburgh some 16 years ago, will return to the Venue to hold its last night on June 9 and Joy, Scotland's longest-running gay-friendly club night, will also be spinning its tunes for the last time.


    For DF promoter Dave Corbet, it's going to make his job a whole lot harder. "It's going to be a problem finding other venues in Edinburgh. We've used the Venue many times over the years so it won't be good having one less in Edinburgh.


    "The city's going to be the poorer for it - there's going to be times when I'm not able to find a date for the gig I want to do, so it just won't play in Edinburgh. It will lose out on some gigs because of it."


    Source: http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com

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