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Music fans in London are in mourning after the announcement that one of London’s most popular live music venues, the Astoria Theatre, is set to finally close its doors for good.
Rumours about the closure of the legendary central London venue have long circulated, with 35,000 people reportedly signing a petition in attempt to prevent its demolition. However, London’s mayor, Ken Livingstone revealed in a report in March 2008 that the Astoria will close due to a new building and transport development in the area.
With regards to preventing the closure, Livingstone said that due to the construction of Crossrail, a new underground railway line, meant saving the Astoria would be impossible. However, he did state that the Astoria will be replaced with a new venue designed as part of the nearby Tottenham Court Road development, and that the developers had developed the area with a larger live music venue already in mind. Livingstone also revealed he was now plotting a live music strategy in order to protect landmark venues in the city after other venues such as Hammersmith Palais (immortalised in The Clash song “(White Man In) Hammersmith Palais” and The Spitz were also forced to close their doors in recent months.
The Astoria was opened in 1927 as a cinema. However, it was converted for theatrical use in 1976 and is now exclusively a music venue with a capacity of 2,000. The Astoria is connected to Astoria 2 in such a way that the two venues can function as a single venue where needed.
By far its busiest nights are the G-A-Y night club promotions, but the venue has played host to many up-and-coming bands, such as Radiohead’s performance for MTV in 1994 (later released on VHS/DVD as ‘Live at the Astoria’) and Nirvana in 1989, as well as world famous bands wishing to play low-profile shows, including U2 in 2001, The Rolling Stones in 2003, Pearl Jam in 2006 and Oasis’s first performance of their 2005 tour.
Mean Fiddler acquired the lease for the London Astoria in May 2000, securing the future of live music at the famous venue. It has since been the primary choice for well-established bands’ intimate club gigs in London, with big names to have played the Astoria including Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Rage Against The Machine, Amy Winehouse and Blur, who played a five-night residency in 2003.
The Astoria also plays host to gigs by unsigned bands, but only two have ever managed to sell out the venue – The Darkness and Enbter Shikari. The Astoria also hosted the final gig by Manic Street Preachers, before guitarsist and songwriter Richey Edwards disappeared in 1995.
However, with the London Astoria scheduled to soon close its doors for good, its no doubt that the hotels in London that are situated near the venue will be bracing themselves for an invasion of music fans eager to sample the unique atmosphere of the venue before it is lost forever.Write by spiderman hoodie