In partnership with Amex Gold Unsigned
American Express has relaunched its Amex Gold Unsigned project with a new venue-focused initiative. The initiative sees Unsigned shine a light on the most important small venues in the country and the work they do to help the next generation of British musicians.
On November 30, a special live event will also be held at the North London venue to launch the initiative. The Unsigned panel have chosen 6 of the hottest unsigned talent this year to perform at The Dome, alongside Mike Skinner who will be performing a DJ set.
Ahead of the show, NME have spoken to new and rising artists from across the UK about the small venues close to their hearts. Here, they highlight the importance of these spaces in fostering new and emerging talent in the country.
Slate on Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
“Clwb is the heartbeat of Cardiff’s music scene. It’s been something of a musical guardian to us and many other Welsh bands. It kindled inspiration when we were teenagers, watching our first gigs. Nowadays we are lucky enough to play there amongst a scene in Cardiff that’s blossoming. There’s a mood, a sound and an atmosphere that accumulates to a rich nostalgia every time we go there. It reminds us of the great people, and the great gigs we’ve encountered. It feels as though it will only grow more important to us, and Wales, as time goes on.”
Chiedu Oraka on The New Adelphi Club, Hull
“The Adelphi Club is situated in a Hull residential area, and if you were to walk past it you would think it was just someone’s house – but you would be so wrong. It’s the epicentre of Hull’s music scene with a rich history of amazing acts like Oasis, Radiohead, Pulp and Fatboy Slim who have all travelled to play this tiny, historic venue. I will always remember that Adelphi was one of the few venues that would open their doors to me at a time when rap music up north was an anomaly. It’s very close to my heart. I’ve had some of my most memorable gigs here: the one that springs to mind is when BBC 1Xtra did a live broadcast from the Adelphi when I supported Novelist. Let’s just say I tore the roof off.”
Chartreuse on The Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
“The Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath has got to be the best small venue in Birmingham, full of vibes, a great PA, people that care and a core group of punters that love music. We’ve played there so many times over the years and can honestly say we’ve never had a bad show, the whole atmosphere is something that’s hard to replicate and it’s a venue we feel really comfortable at. We’ve also watched many great bands there and the in-house promoters seem to have a knack for booking bands and artists just before they break, Nubiya Garcia, Khruangbin and Yussef Dayes to name a few. It’s a real cultural hub and incredible space for new bands!”
Fat Dog on The Windmill, London
“Places like The Windmill in Brixton allow artists to try out new [sounds], sometimes it goes down well and other times it doesn’t, but people are forgiving. These venues put bands on that people don’t know about and take risks on them – it’s about having faith and giving artists the chance to do their thing.”
Cloth on Stereo, Glasgow
“Our favourite small venue is Stereo on Renfield Lane in Glasgow. We love everything about Stereo. It’s an underground venue with a really industrial feel which takes on an amazing atmosphere when it’s packed full of people. We’ve had the pleasure of playing at Stereo a few times and have also been lucky to see artists such as Mitski and Shura do some incredible, intimate shows there. They also do delicious, all-vegan food (with an ever-changing menu) and the cosy upstairs bar is the perfect spot for a few late-night post-gig drinks with pals.”