Ready for the moshpit?
So here’s one for you musical magpies. If festivals aren’t your thing, but you enjoy bouncing around the moshpit (or, um, sitting comfortably with your pinot grigio) listening to live music, regardez-vous my collection of cool live music venues in the area. If I’ve missed any good ones off, just heckle.
The Jericho Tavern, Oxford
This historical little gem of a pub in Jericho is also one of the city’s favourite live music haunts. In its time, The Jericho has showcased the great and the good of Oxford including Radiohead and Supergrass who first performed there in 1994. Now hosting salsa nights, blues nights, african music nights, The Jericho sources the best acts via local promoters, with live music every Thursday. It has an intimate, bohemian vibe- a great one if you’re keen on discovering the latest up and coming talent.
Coming up soon: Bush Gothic (August), Danny Goffey (October)
56 Walton Street, Jericho, Oxford, thejerichooxford.co.uk/
Also Known as, Banbury
A little hidden gem for you in Banbury. I’ve heard great things on the grapevine about this little lounge bar and music venue. The owner is a former furniture designer, which explains the quirky interior (think old wardrobes as doors and and rowing boat seating). The venue has great style and its stage has been graced by the likes of The Hoosiers, Jess Glynne and a mix of up-and-coming talent.
Coming up soon: Tkay Maidza (August), DJ Pied Piper (October), OPM (November)
54-56 Parsons Street, Banbury. wearealsoknownas.com
Former Muddy Award winner for Best Bar, Claytons in Marlow adds a little London bar culture to the town’s nightlife. It’s an eclectic mix of music, with international DJs, acoustic and folk acts, disco nights as well as chilled latin and soul nights on offer. Norman Jay and Craig Charles are Claytons alumni.
Coming up soon: Kirsty Fuller (Aug)
16 Oxford Road, Marlow, SL7 2NL. claytonsmarlow.com
The O2 academy, Oxford
The best known and biggest local venue for the seasoned gig-goers, Cowley Road’s O2 academy offers a massive mix of acts, from young hipsters who I have to ask my son for info on (don’t judge me, I’m middle aged) to the acts your mum still probably pines after. Keep your peepers peeled, their schedule is always packed.
Coming up soon: Michael Kiwanuka and UB40 (October)
190 Cowley Road, Oxford. academymusicgroup.com/o2academyoxford
The Three Tuns, Henley
If a more intimate, folksey vibe is more your scene, The Tuns (as the locals call it) on live music Sundays in Henley is worth checking out. It’s a teeny tiny venue, but it regularly offers up great local acts like John James Newman and Megan Henwood (above) and it’s a super popular night so the general advice is to get there early and nab a table. Great food too, btw.
Coming up soon: Megan Henwood, Steph Willis & Dave Ashworth (Aug)
5 Market Place, Henley on Thames, RG9 2AA. threetunshenley.co.uk
The Stables, Milton Keynes
One for the grown-ups or those too lazy to stand (mea culpa). Founded by jazz musicians Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, The Stables is an intimate venue with an impressive backlist of acts, including Beverley Knight, Jamie Cullum, Lemar and even Amy Winehouse.
Coming up: Noah Stewart, Beverley Craven (September)
The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU. stables.org
The Spin Jazz Club, Oxford
A quintessential and atmospheric jazz club – think alleyway entrance and candlelit tables – The Spin Club has put on over 500 gigs in its time and was voted ‘Best UK Live Jazz’ in the 2012 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. The last time I went there, Nigel Kennedy was playing a secret late night gig, giving it some Hendrix on his violin, so they really do pull in the big names. The club is currently closed this month but re-opens in September so watch this space.
Spin Jazz Club, 129 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4DF. http://spinjazz.net/index
The Cellar, Oxford
An edgier vibe from Oxford’s underground venue The Cellar. Renowned for its dubstep, drum & base, reggae and electronic scene, the cellar is an intimate venue but its open to all and has a late licence for those have the impulse to pay double time to their babysitter and skank into the early hours.
Coming up: Soul Sessions, Skylarkin’ Soundsystem, Summer Sessions (Aug)
Frewin Court, Oxford, OX1 3HZ. cellaroxford.co.uk
SUB 89, Reading
Alright alright, not in Bucks & Oxon, but just over border into Berks, here’s Reading’s Friar Street, Sub 89, the alternative music lovers hang out. Pleasing to both grungey students and veteran rockers, the eclectic calendar includes throwback tribute bands such as The Smyths and Guns 2 Roses (are you groaning yet?), to upcoming bands like Mystery Jets and The Tide. Tickets are sold as standing, but there are comfy leather sofas for those like me who prefer to relax and lubricate the joints with a G&T or two.