Birmingham’s Academy is finally moving. They’ve been threatening this since I started secondary school back in 1996, but it’s finally going off to the old Dome II just off from Smallbrook Queensway to some place apparently called Horse Fair. Editors play the opening night on 10th September.
This is fantastic news. The current Academy really isn’t fit for purpose. The main room is fairly lacking in atmosphere and the two smaller rooms have incredibly bad views if you’re any further than five people back. Hopefully the new main room will have that same sense of purpose as the Wolverhampton Civic, where the stage is viewable from anywhere within the room and feels like a venue for live music – if a little too mainstream.
The location isn’t ideal though. Sure, it’s better for students living in Selly Oak (and using the 60’s buses) but worse for the general public as it seems further out from the core city centre and public transport – particularly those coming from out of town needing the train or bus stations. And last time I was around there the pedestrian access seemed lacking, which is concerning given the amount of traffic around that area and the level of drunk people from club nights.
But I am slightly disappointed that the new academy is essentially replacing like for like and there are no extra venues to match, say, the Manchester Academy. There is a perception that bands get too big for the B’ham Academy but too small for the NEC/NIA and so go to Wolverhampton. In fact the Civic is the same size as the largest Academy room, the Wulfrun holds 1134 and the Little Civic holds 140. Whereas the Academy 2, old and new, holds 600 (the current one can be reduced to 400) and the Academy 3 currently holds 200 with the newer one holding 250. So that can’t be the case, but it feels like it.
The Wolverhampton venues also have the added advantage of being separate venues so three bands can play at once. There rarely seems to be more than one gig hapening at the current academy on an evening and when there is it seems like a real hassle. Something which doesn’t occur in Manchester or Liverpool’s Academys. Hopefully this is something they’ll rectify for the new Academy so more established bands will play in Birmingham instead of Wolves!
*This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*