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The Windmill, Brixton

Prompted by the NME's Britain's Best Small Venue competition and that a couple of times I've made reference to the The Windmill when talking about bands on here I figured I'd write a short post about the place which Drowned In Sound calls "your favourite new venue".

Prior to moving to Brixton I'd been to the Windmill a couple of times and when a house came up in the same road I wouldn't say it was my main factor in moving but having the Windmill as my local was certainly a considerable factor.

The Windmill has a strong history, in it's past it was best known as bikers bar and then the chosen haunt of Brixton's Irish community. For the past 12 years its been hosting live music pretty much seven days a week and still remains a pillar of the local community – evident in the cliental mix of music fanatics and old time regulars sat along the bar.

It's been around a year since Windmill became my local and in that time I've seen a whole bunch of great bands. To list them all would be impossible but some personal highlights have been folk punk bluegrass-ist Austin Lucas; garage rock band The Ettes, current darling of Nashville Caitlin Rose, Austin legends ...trail of dead, Icelandic classical/pop Rökkurró, experimental glam rock Bobby Conn, and Canadian indie jazz sextet Brasstronaut. Oh, and how could I forget the legend that is Adam Bomb – stadium rock (complete with pyrotechnics) in your living room!

I caught up with Tim, the Windmill's events/band manager to have a quick chat about the venue:

How did the Windmill become a live music venue?
It kind of happened by accident, late night sessions at the bar revealed that the regulars carried a wealth of experience in musicianship and promoting, and since we all drank there we figured that we should get a good band down every now and and again. The bands came and they loved the venue and informality. Many of the bands kept coming back to play again and it kind of evolved from there.

What has been the most memorable gig you've put on at the Windmill?
Some that quickly come to mind are ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead which was just last month. The 5678s played just after Kill Bill 2 had come out and they were in it, Scritti Politti's comeback show after (gulp) 26 years, The Vaccines played last summer to just 30 people, and loads of others such as the much-missed Clor, Stereolab...

The Windmill prides itself on putting on good music, how do bands go about getting the chance to play?
Sound good and don't ask us for a gig four months in advance. There's always decent slots available. No matter how many of your mates you can get to 'ram the place' if your music sucks we're not interested! For more band information take a look here

RoofdogThere are some great gigs coming up, who's your pick to look out for in 2011?
We've got loads of great Canadian bands coming through in May. I'd say Said the Whale. They're blowing up in canada right now.

Roofdog is turning into a bit of a cult legend, how big is his fan base? Does he have a favourite band?
He's got over 500 fans now on Facebook. His favourite band is ...And You Will know Us By The Trail of Roof Dog (it's a covers band) but he also likes Caitlin Rose for chilltime.

You've recently started on putting on art exhibitions, any plans to continue this theme or branch out?
It was nice being arty. We also like having a pop-up shop too.

The NME is looking for the UKs best small venue, in my opinion the Windmill ticks all the right boxes – a good mix of promoting and nurturing local bands as well as bringing in acts from around the world, a venue run by people who know and love their music – and always up for for a discussion about the merits of some obscure sub-genre like alternative folk chamber pop!

If you'd like to cast your vote (and you really should) you can do so here, hurry though as voting closes on May 11th.

Reader Comments (1)

I went to the Windmill yesterday to see the band Jelly who my friend is the drummer.
What a brilliant gig and venue I really enjoyed.
I would recommend this venue for its down to earth feel and of course the beautiful dogs on the roof.

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJude

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