Last night Ricky and I went to see Spank Rock at the Nest in Dalston. It was my first visit to the venue formerly known as Barden’s Boudoir since it was revamped (having played there with the Shadow Orchestra a couple of years ago), and I have to say I was pretty unimpressed with the new setup as a live music venue.
It’s not that the sound was bad – in fact, for a concrete bunker, it sounded really good and there are clearly some kick-ass subs lurking somewhere down there. It’s that I couldn’t see a bloody thing.
The venue is a narrow rectangular box, with a large bar down one long side, and a small stage at the far end – previously, the venue was set up with a much longer stage along the width (where the bar is now). Obviously this has been done to make more money from a larger bar, but it has come at the expense of anyone except the first 30 people being able to see the band at all – or even less, if you’re a shortie like me.
Even when I managed to wriggle nearer the front, it’s so narrow and crowded that I still couldn’t see anything of the band, even just a couple of rows from the stage – though some of that is thanks to the tall guys in front of me who refused to move.
This massive concrete pillar plonked right in front of the stage doesn’t help either:
At the very least, you’d think that the owners might put a video screen up on the pillar, showing what’s going on onstage, like they used to have at the Luminaire – a similar sized venue with a challenging L-shaped design.
As it was, we left early and I was very disappointed. I can see that The Nest would be great for a night of DJs, and it’s got a fun atmosphere. But when I go to see a live band, I’d like to be able to see more than the back of a load of people’s heads.