Experiencing live music is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The lights, crowd singalongs, beer-soaked floors and dancing with our favourite tunes blasted in our ears. These shows hold dear memories which we will never forget. It is not just the music which makes a show, but the choice of venue. Yorkshire has many superb music spots, from the Piece Hall in Halifax to the Leadmill in Sheffield across to the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Sadly, from time to time, the lights go down for the final time turning venues into just a joyful distant memory. Here we will look at some of Yorkshire’s most iconic lost music venues.
The Cockpit, Leeds
Located under three railway arches in Swinegate near the city centre train station, after a previous life as the Cock of the North pub, The Cockpit opened in 1994 as an alternative club night. It was set up by Colin Oliver and Richard Todd.
The Cockpit has played host to a number of iconic nights, in particular, Brighton Beach which ran from 1994 to 2002. The night played 60s Mod and Soul alongside 90s Britpop. It was at Brighton Beach that members of Leeds legends Kaiser Chiefs first met. In its later years, the venue played host to club nights such as Slam Dunk Tuesday, Southern Fried Wednesdays, Heavy Soul Fridays and Garage on Saturdays.
As well as club nights, the venue hosted some of the finest musical acts from the 90s and 00s. Notable acts which graced the Cockpit stage were Amy Winehouse, Queens of the Stone Age, Bloc Party, The Libertines, Fall Out Boy, The Killers, My Chemical Romance and Coldplay. In September 2014 the venue permanently closed its doors with the owners citing the poor condition of the building and the falling numbers of revellers willing to attend weekday club nights. Despite its closure, The Cockpit will always be remembered as a historical cornerstone of the vibrant Leeds music scene.
Opened in the 1960s under the name Black Swan, the Boardwalk has become synonymous with the legendary Sheffield music scene.
It was the venue which played host to punk icons The Clash’s first-ever gig supporting The Sex Pistols. The band played four songs, including ‘Protex Blue’, which appeared on their debut album ‘The Clash’. The venue’s early years also saw rock heavyweights AC/DC, Status Quo and Genesis perform. Broadwalk played a major part in kick-starting the career of local darlings Arctic Monkeys.
The band performed at the venue and even have a demo CD named ‘Beneath the Boardwalk’ which contains later hits such as Mardy Bum and Fake Tales of San Francisco. Singer Alex Turner even worked behind the bar in his teenage years. Other local musicians seen at the Broadwalk include Bring me the Horizon, Milburn and Little Man Tate.
Sadly, in November 2010, the landlord decided to close the venue. Despite several interested buyers, the Broadwalk never reopened, leaving behind five decades of memories and an unquestionable contribution to the Sheffield and UK music scene.
In 2007 Bradford lost one of its best-known and most popular music venues when the owners of Rio’s decided to move down the M62 to Leeds.
For over twenty years the venue had played host to a number of alternative music’s finest bands and gave a club night to the local goth, punk and metal community. Rio’s hosted memorable shows such as Killing Joke way back in 1980, death metal giants Cannibal Corpse, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, local doom metallers My Dying Bride and punk heroes UK Subs.
The decision to move the club was based on the difficulty of attracting bands to Bradford and the massive magnetic pull of Leeds’ vibrant music scene. Whilst the club continued its new life in its new city, Bradford’s music scene is filled with a great sense of loss.
The Lamp, Hull
Whilst Hull’s music scene isn’t perhaps as established as Leeds’ and Sheffield’s, it has been home to some fine live music venues over the years.
The Lamp (also known as The Blue Lamp) was formed from the venue formerly known as The Jailhouse in 1992 on Norfolk Street. The venue’s name was a tribute to the building’s previous life as a police station. The venue was a launchpad for local talent as well as a stage for established bands such as The Maccabees and Ocean Colour Scene. Arctic Monkeys even hosted an after-party at the venue.
Unfortunately, as is the case with many of the UK’s music venues, The Lamp hit financial troubles despite holding a strong reputation among the city’s music fans. In 2014 the lights went out in The Lamp for the final time.
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Opened in 1992 by Tim Hornsby in the Stonebow area of the city centre, Fibbers was the hub of York’s music scene.
Hosting club nights such as Stonelove and Up The Racket, it was a place to drink, dance and party for York’s indie and student communities. The venue also attracted some of the biggest names in music with Stereophonics, Ian Brown, Coldplay, The Cribs, Biffy Clyro, You Me At Six, Sugarhill Gang, Kasabian and local heroes Shed Seven all gracing the Fibbers stage. After it was taken over by Tokyo Industries, the decision was made in 2014 to close the venue and move it across the city to Toff Green where it continued to offer live music and club nights.
Even after the demolition of the original Stonebow venue, its legacy in the history of the York music scene will live on.
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Feature Image Credit: Wikimedia