Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing…
- Posted on Dec 4th 2009 10:00AM by Stephen Dowling
Come to see: Bands on the last rung before they fly into fully-fledged arena territory. The venerable Academy is the biggest non-arena venue in London, so it's often the last chance to see a band in a reasonably intimate environment before you're reduced to squinting at the bass player from your perch in Row Z. In the past the Academy has seen everyone from Radiohead to the Smiths, Foo Fighters to Franz Ferdinand, Marilyn Manson to Manic Street Preachers, Pavement to Madonna.
The atmosphere: Grand. Originally a cinema, the Academy has a full proscenium arch and grand facades – they really don't make them like this anymore. The sloping floor means there's good sightlines everywhere in the stalls.
You saw them here first: The Academy isn't the place you go to to see an up-and-coming band fresh from their first single. From here, the jump is to Wembley Arena, Earl's Court or the 02 Arena.
Claim to fame: Madonna played here in 2000 here to launch her album 'Music.' What made it so special was Madge wasn't actually on tour at the time -- the gig was a one-off. Since Madge had long since been playing stadiums, this was an all-too rare opportunity to see her in a venue with roof.
The Smiths bowed out with a show here in December 1986. Pavement also played their lost show here in 1999; until, that is, their reformation was announced this year. In 2010, the band have been booked to play four nights in May on their reunion tour.
A few dozen live albums have been recorded here, including those taken from the Pixies reunion gigs in 2004, and a live DVD of Franz Ferdinand in 2005.
You should also know: Several acts have played five nights in a row at the Academy. They include Rammstein, Massive Attack, the Clash, the Prodigy, Arcade Fire, Nine Inch Nails, Bob Dylan, Hard-Fi and the Sex Pistols. But the most performances in a row was in fact by a comedy group. The Mighty Boosh played seven nights in a row here in 2008.
In 1996, Leftfield caused structural damage while setting the record for the loudest concert at the venue. Their set was so loud plaster fell from the walls on to the crowd.
Booking now: Marilyn Manson, Soulwax. Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen, Wolfmother, Jamie T, Vampire Weekend, Hot Chip, Editors, Pavement.