Islington, London, 29th June 2022 The Garage – without a doubt one of London’s landmark live music venues – is marking its 30th anniversary year with a series of shows from artists who have graced its stage over three decades at the heart of live music.
With an unbelievable roll call of talent from Oasis, Pulp, Slowdive, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Fall and Blur to Idles, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys and Yungblud, speculation will be running wild to see who comes back to play the legendary venue.
First up will be the Scottish indie rock band Arab Strap playing a gig on 22 August 2022. Reformed in 2016, the band made up of the two original members Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton first played The Garage on 14 June 1997.
“Arab Strap prove tonight to be the most incendiary live band in the country, interspersing caustic vignettes of romantic disillusionment with bursts of energy the like of which no British band has achieved since Joy Division. All those scrabbling around for the new punk rock should look under their noses.” – Ben Thompson, The Independent, June 1997.
Looking forward to starting the year long anniversary party in August, Arab Strap said: “We’re very honoured to kick off The Garage’s birthday celebrations this August, it’s a venue we used to spent a lot of time in. We’d be in London a lot back in the day, and there always seemed to be something happening at the Garage while we were there – we must’ve seen loads of gigs there, including two of our favourite of all time, Plush and The For Carnation. We played there a few times too, including one particularly awful drunken night that may well have earned us a reputation for being a risky ticket. Rest assured we’re all sorted now, and can promise 100 percent professionalism and around 80 percent sobriety. Looking forward to it!”
Over the next 12 months, DHP Family will be delving into its rich vault of three decades of live music to invite back artists to play a special series of shows celebrating 30 years of The Garage.
Known for its underplays, Harry Styles chose The Garage for his debut solo gig in May 2017 on his artistic transformation from boy band frontman to bona fide rock n roll star and where, according to The Guardian reviewer ‘the crowd morphs into something more befitting of the Garage’s indie heritage.’
Music Venue Trust, the charity dedicated to supporting live music venues, said: “For 30 years The Garage has been synonymous with live music at the grassroots level. Over those three decades, The Garage has given emerging artists and bands a space to play live, develop their fan bases and hone their craft. In this time, on any given night, you could bear witness to a boundary breaking act, niche artists or future chart toppers alike.
“As a charity with a mission to help protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music Venues in the UK, Music Venue Trust knows running a venue for any length of time is a labour of love and to do so for 30 years is an immense achievement. These spaces are special places that have a unique ability to enrich and change lives. Happy 30th Anniversary to The Garage, long may it continue.”
DHP Family carried out an extensive refurbishment of The Garage when they brought it into the venue portfolio in 2017, to join Oslo, Hackney; Thekla, Bristol and its hometown Nottingham venues Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Stealth and Bodega.
The Garage bookers Conrad Rogan and Scott Kennedy will be putting in underplays and exciting events to celebrate this milestone, culminating in a run of shows in 2023.
Scott added: “Having recently presented shows from incredible new artists like Fontaines DC, Muna and Beabadoobee launching their careers here following in the footsteps of iconic acts like Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Jeff Buckley, we know this venue is a special place for so many and we’re very excited to continue this iconic legacy with this series of shows.”
Opening in 1993, The Garage quickly established itself as the capital’s finest indie and rock venue and performing there has become a rite of passage for many bands. One of London’s best loved grassroots music venues, the 600-capacity Garage was restored to its former glory with a state-of-the-art soundsystem and a fully refurbished bar area when DHP Family stepped in as the new owners five years ago.
As the Guardian reported in 2014: “There was a time when every band on its way up would play there before reaching the theatres. It’s small enough to feel atmospheric, but big enough to create a rowdy and rousing atmosphere.”
To join the party, go to #thegarage30
The Garage timeline
The Garage was originally built to be the Temperance Billiard Hall and quickly gained a reputation for serving great pies, as well as being a haunt for local villains in the 1960s. The Highbury Mob often used the Billiard Hall as a meeting place. It became the London Town & Country Club 2, a sister venue to the Town and Country Club (now The Forum in Kentish Town), and the first live music events began to be programmed in the building.
8 April 1993: Opening night. The Garage quickly established itself as the capital’s finest indie and rock venue playing host to many bands early on in their careers. Playing a show at The Garage became something of a rite of passage.15 May 1993: First major artist to play the venue is Pulp.
A few notable gigs in the 1990s during the venues first 7 years include:
Radiohead, Billy Bragg, Lemonheads, The Jesus Lizard, Elastica, Divine Comedy, Tindersticks, Slowdive, Green Day, The Pretenders, Offspring, Dinosaur Jr., Jeff Buckley, Ride, Sleeper, Stereolab, Skunk Anansie, Deftones, Guided By Voices, Spiritualized, Mogwai, Stereophonics, Eels, Cat Power, Queens of the Stone Age, Neutral Milk Hotel, Elliott Smith, Weezer, Bikini Kill, Dandy Warhols, Blink 182 and so many more…
During the early 2000s The Garage solidified itself as the foremost venue for underplays and special fan club shows from some of the biggest artists in the world.
This was particularly apparent in 2002 when Red Hot Chili Peppers came to The Garage whilst solidly in their pomp.
Throughout the 2000s the venue went through some ownership changes (& even briefly a name change as The Relentless Garage) but stayed hugely relevant and forward thinking through this time, being the venue of choice for many of the indie, alternative & electronic acts of the time such as The Cribs, Bombay Bicycle Club & Bring Me The Horizon.
June 2013: The Killers rush from Wembley Stadium gig to play The Garage. Is this the ultimate underplay? The Garage show, announced at 8pm via Twitter, saw the band play 40 minutes of rarities and hits to a packed crowd of 800, having raced across town from playing to 70,000 fans at Wembley.
Oct 2016: DHP Family takes ownership of the venue.
March 2017: The Garage re-opens following complete revamp of the whole venue with new layout, bar, sound & light system. The intimate 150 cap venue upstairs is named “The Grace” in homage to Jeff Buckley’s famous performance at the venue in 1994.
May 2017: Harry Styles chose The Garage as the venue for his first ever solo show.
In the years following DHP’s ownership of The Garage it’s been blessed with huge shows from artists such as Harry Styles, Beabadoobee, Alt-J, Fontaines DC & The 1975.
The venue goes from strength to strength in 2022 with sold out shows for Dylan, Bloc Party, Buzzcocks, Muna and plenty more in the first 6 months.