|Subject||Torn Asunder - last band ever to play @ the Marquee...|
|So, yet again the (once) world famous club is shutting down only a few months after re-opening in a new location. |
This is the third 'Marquee' in a row that has only been open a few months before closing - each one making a smaller splash than the last, and in successively smaller and less suitable venues - what (if anything) next? - the 'Marquee' opening in a small pub?
Initial impressions on arriving at this latest (and last?) venue in Upper St Martins's Lane in the west end are actually quite favourable - there is a very large and comfortable bar area. Video screens show live performances of some of the famous bands playing at previous Marquee's: Stones, Small Faces, Who, Hendrix, etc - it's a shame the sound is turned off.
Unfortunately, the selection of beers is piss-poor unless you only drink lager. £4 a pint? You're having a laugh! The decor pays tribute to the original Marquee in Oxford Street with the red and white striped 'tent' theme, and there are many 'rock heritage' photos on the walls of the many famous artists of the 60's and 70's who played at the Marquee. Or at least there were lots of photos on the walls on my last visit - the walls are now bare. Couldn't they at least have waited until after the last night before starting to strip the venue?
After some good first impressions you go down the open spiral staircase (with the small PA mixer directly underneath to catch any spilt beer) to the much smaller room where the bands play. The house PA is more suited to a small pub venue than somwhere trading on the name of a world famous rock club. The stage is very low - it has to be, otherwise the taller performers will hit their heads on the ducting over the stage - something they are in danger of doing anyway if they carelessly jump into the air. This is my third visit to this venue, and each time the bar downstairs has been shut - is this any way to run a rock venue? Actually, the Underworld is nearly as bad in this respect...
This latest incarnation of the Marquee is going out not with a bang but a wimper - the first band is pretty dreadful and will remain nameless (not to protect the guilty, but because my alcohol addled memory has mercifully blanked out much of the horror). The sound they make is just a horrible noise and there is nothing much that is discernable as an actual song - just a lot of screaming. I hope the 'singer' got some good therapy out of his 'performance', because I certainly felt in need of therapy after suffering his band's set! I doubt even the late John Peel could have loved this lot, although I'm sure their mothers do. They showed a childish lack of respect for the venue by trashing the house drum kit at the end of their set - also showing a lack of respect for the following band who also had to use the same kit. If I was a promoter I certainly wouldn't consider booking them just because of that - never mind their woefull perfomance. Maybe they deserve to be 'named and shamed', but my terrible memory shows them more mercy than they deserve...
The second band are noticably better, although anything would seem better after the previous act. This lot get a bit of a groove going and have a decent bass player who puts a lot into the show. Unfortunately, I can't remember their name either.
So, onto a little bit of rock history being made - the final band (ever?) to play at the world famous Marquee club.
Fortunately, they are much better than the previous two bands tonight. Torn Asunder play well and have some good songs - particularly their catchy and bouncy recent charity single 'Love To Look At You'.
Apart from the 'rock star' bass player this lot look very much a 'pub band'. However, I'd far rather see Torn Asunder in my local pub than the bands they normally book.
Although they play their own material, they do throw in a good cover of Ozzy's 'Crazy Train' which is a bonus.
And so once more the Marquee fades away into history. I don't think this particular venue will be missed. Not just because it falls far short of it's legendary name and like the previous two shortlived 'Marquee's' in Leicester Square and Islington fails to justify it's famous name, but also because hardly anyone knew it was even open before they could miss it. No one even remotely famous played here in the few months it was open, and there was never realistically the slightest chance that Marquee legends like Metallica, Kiss, Aerosmith, Motorhead, G'N'R, ever would - they'd just take one look at the stage, PA, ect and walk out laughing. Anyone who ever went to the famous venues in Wardour Street or Charing Cross Road would know what rock fans (and bands) expect from the Marquee club, and this place is sorely lacking...
A member of a band I came here to see a few months ago expressed the view that the place wouldn't survive more than a few months (and at £4 a pint I'm not sure it deserves to) but apparently the venue is being shut because they are knocking the building down. Stringfellow's next door is being demolished too - Lemmy won't be pleased! I don't think Lemmy will miss this 'Marquee' though - I doubt he even know's it exists - and nor do most the Marquee's former patrons... I'm sure Peter 'loadsamoney' Stringfellow will make sure his club will rise again, but as for the Marquee - it's name has now has been so de-valued by successive venues that I'm not sure anyone even cares anymore...