Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Apr 19th 2010 10:00AM by Jody Thompson
Come to See: Situated in a town renowned as the home of 'Disgusted, of Tunbridge Wells'-style boring middle Englanders, the Forum is a veritable oasis of music in an otherwise barren part of Britain. Its quirky home in a former art deco public toilet smack-bang in the middle of the town's Common is reflected in its eclectic live music offerings, as well as a host of regular club nights that are never, ahem, bog-standard.
The Atmosphere: As you may or may not expect from an independent music venue and arts centre, the Forum is extremely friendly and relaxed. The traces of art deco stylings make it a handsome and welcoming space anyway -- and a nice large bar means you never have to queue long for that all-important pint. As the auditorium is barely deeper than the stage, it's a brilliant place to get up close and personal with whomever's onstage.
You Saw Them Here First: Heaps of acts had their first, er, flush of success at the Forum, before quite literally quitting the toilet circuit and going onto bigger things, including Coldplay, Keane, Biffy Clyro, Muse, the Libertines and Oasis. Everything Everything are ones to watch this year, and feature local lad Jeremy Pritchard as frontman. Special mention must also go to London-based avant-art poppers David Devant and His Spirit Wife, who've made numerous appearances at the Forum and still treat the venue very much as their, cough, spiritual home.
Claim to Fame: Prior to becoming a music venue in 1992, the former public toilet had also been used as a brass-rubbing centre.
You Should Also Know: The Forum also does regular comedy nights, poetry slams and underground dance nights. Events are also ridiculously cheap -- entrance ranges from £4 ($6) to £9 ($13.50), with the majority of tickets around £6 ($9). On top of that, the Forum has proved its commitment to encouraging local talent by picking 50 up-and-coming acts from the Southeast who they think will most appeal to the music industry and fans alike to form collective The Stable. Every Monday, the venue hosts a gig featuring three Stable acts and the public vote for their favourites. Two tracks from each act are also included on a compilation CD, which will eventually be sent out to major music business figures to choose their favourite bands. Winners of the Fans' Choice and The Man's Choice will be revealed this August after two grand finals, with the winners getting a two-day recording session and a limited-edition CD release. Only bands from the Stable get to support national touring bands at the Forum, too. A neat idea, Spinner thinks.
Booking Now: Sonic Boom Six, Ocean Colour Scene, Wheatus, Wilko Johnson Band, UK Subs, Warpaint, the Black Spiders and the Swellers -- plus those all-important Stable nights.