Saturday, August 18, 2012

Venuewatch: The Birkbeck Taven

Leyton's Birkbeck Tavern is sitting under the threat of closure, which would result in another small live venue vanishing to make room for flats.

How much of a loss would it be? Here's the Morning Star's James Eagle enthusing over the Whats Cookin' nights, some of which take place at the pub:

"Over the last few years, in London and doubtless beyond, a few venues have been reviving the spirit of the old folk clubs - and rehabilitating the reputation of pub gigs after years of tribute acts and ageing blues bands - with nights that are intimate, welcoming, run for love not profit and, above all, uproarious fun.

What's Cookin' is one such, a labour of love run from a variety of frills-free pubs around the no-nonsense east London suburb of Leytonstone. The music it's dedicated to - country, blues, bluegrass and old-time rock'n'roll - isn't going to grace NME, but it will win the hearts of any doubter who drops in.

The "come in for free, pay what you like" ethos hasn't stopped acts like Billy Childish, Damien Jurado, Emily Barker, Pete Molinari, the Singing Adams or the Southern Tenant Folk Union from turning up to deliver shows that are still talked about."
(If we could just have a sidebar here, the fact that a venue can be pulling in acts like Billy Childish and Pete Molinari and yet be invisible to the NME might explain some of the problems that other venerable institution is having.)

There's a petition online to save the Birkbeck To be honest it should probably have skipped the bit about John Lennon, but is still deserving of your support.


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