Don’t bother rocking down to Electric Avenue, it’s all about The Electric Ballroom. King of the musical underground, Electric Ballroom is equally revered and loved by both the old and the young alike. You heard us right. Revered. Amongst youths. For most places, it’s hard enough to get more than a cursory head nod, but Electric Ballroom has a classic cool that even puberty can’t deny. A few minutes from Camden Town tube station, Electric Ballroom is an indoor performance venue-come-bar that has been graced by so many musical icons and global superstars that you’d think it was a Band Aid record.
The Electric Ballroom is ooooold. Like, dating back to the 1930’s old when it was initially ‘The Buffalo Club’. But having said that, instead of becoming passé and a bit tired, it’s now become somewhat sacred on the London music scene. In 2003, London Underground proposed a new development which would’ve meant buying out Ballroom, and people lost their minds. Even Bob Geldof and Graham Coxon weighed in on the lengthy battle to preserve the venue, meaning that Electric Ballroom lived to fight another day. It was actually the first ballroom in London to have electric rather than gas lighting - hence the name which now is proudly emblazoned across the front in neon signage.
Music: Rock, Synth Pop, Electro, Live, Acoustic
Dress Code: None
Train Station: Camden Town
Address: Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QP
Over the years the Electric Ballroom has played host to a huge roster of first class musical names such as The Clash, Prince, Joy Division, The Smiths, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blur, and Garbage. Also, as Electric Ballroom is primarily a muzo hangout, the music quality is fantastic so round of applause for the sound guys. In addition to live performance, Electric Ballroom even host club nights every Saturday night, allowing special DJs to take the reigns so all sorts of genres are represented here. There’s a customary selection of beers and spirits on offer, your standard gig assortment, which starts at around the £3 mark. Red Stripe is by far the venues brew of choice though, so if you want to look like you know what you’re doing, Red Stripe is an integral part of your costume. Like a handbag or fetching scarf. Although having said that, shots probably prove to be the most sensible purchase as they don’t end up on the floor when you’re in a sea of flailing arms or when the hand to eye coordination begins to wain. You know you’re in for a messy one when shots are the sensible option.
This place comes alive at weekends, attracting hordes of musical followers to whom Camden is a Mecca and the Electric Ballroom is one of its holiest shrines. It’s open on Saturdays from 10:00pm to 3:00am with a pretty strict door policy, as there’s no admittance after this time. Admission is £8 for students, those with a flyer, or arriving before 11:30pm, while it’s £10 at all other times. It’s definitely worth the tenner though, as a night at Electric Ballroom feels far more of an event than anything else. It’s always packed with folk from all musical subcultures and what with the intimate venue, you never quite know who you’re gonna be pushed up against. Love of your life, sweaty old man - who knows?
There's just no denying the creaky, historic charm of the Electric Ballroom - stockpile of superstar fans and reputation aside. Electric Ballroom is one of the last remaining venues to channel authentic, unabridged rock’n’roll. Like, throwing your TV off the hotel balcony/owning an exotic zoo animal kind of rock’n’roll. It’s sweaty and grubby and absolutely awesome. A bit like that really liberating, festival-esque filth that only the true muzos choose to embrace in favor of the music. To put it simply, we’re sure glad that The Electric Ballroom has stood the test of time. Here’s to another 70 years of decadence!