Thursday, 9 June 2011

All the small things: 9. Bush Hall

Continuing my "All the small things" that I like most about living in Shepherd's Bush, it is a shock and, quite frankly, a disappointment that I haven't yet written about Bush Hall, which after my flat is possibly my favourite place in Shepherd's Bush. It is certainly my most favourite live music venue in London.

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Built over a 100 years ago in 1904 as a traditional ballroom and swing dance hall, against the odds it has maintained its original character and charm (mainly thanks to a loving restoration in 2000 by the current owners). Just over 10 years ago it returned to its original purpose (near enough) by being a very popular and intimate performing space for music artists of all genres and indeed all levels of stardom. During the time in between it served a number of functions including snooker club, bingo hall and a soup kitchen (anyone remember these?).


Over the last four years of living in Shepherd's Bush I've been to Bush Hall three times, which is not enough. I have seen an act I love (Wouter Hamel), an act I wasn't sure of (Taio Cruz - long before Ke$ha took any dirty pictures of him) and an act I'd never heard before (Colbie Caillat). I say this so that you know my opinion is not based on an unnatural emotional connection to the artist I saw play.



The restored regal Edwardian detail on the walls and ceiling, the glorious chandeliers and the terrace bar area all creates a very special place to see new bands or musicians you love. It's intimate in a way you will never experience in Shepherd's Bush Empire, there is only a small elevation to the stage, but also large enough to create a good gig atmosphere. I would have loved to have seen Bush Hall be used as a venue for Bushstock, more so now that the festival was such a success and the musicians so talented. That's not to say that Bush Hall has lacked talent or names. The halls and foyer are a show and tell gallery of artists that have performed there, mostly before they were big artists; REM, Adele, Bat for Lashes, Kings of Leon, Florence and the Machine.

I'm going to stop bigging up Bush Hall now because if you just go there for a gig, private event or other reason, I'm pretty sure you'll get it. It's a special place for us to have in the Bush.

If you already think so you can support the Bush Hall in NME's competition to find the best small venue in UK. It's a tough line up, even just in the London category but Bush Hall is as deserving a winner as any of them. Support Bush Hall with just one click here: http://www.nme.com/smallvenues.

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