If it weren’t for the fact I am sat on the floor in the new Birmingham Academy listening to the first headlining band, Editors, playing I might not believe it to actually be open.
They’ve been talking about this move forever, so it’s good to see it finally happen. I spent a fair amount of time in the old academy and it was a woefully depressing music venue. The air conditioning stopped working, the loos always flooded and you could barely see anything on the Academy2 stage. Bar academy was a smelly tunnel and completely useless for an audience of more than 15. I spent a lot of time at the academy because it was where the bands I wanted to see were playing. As a music venue it was horrible.
But enough about the old. This is a new Academy. The new paint smell is still lingering and the carpet has that freshly laid bounce. It’s shiny and brand new. It has at least 44 ladies loos. More importantly, there are three very seperate venues. Something the old one never really managed. I’ve only seen two so far, as Academy2 isn’t open to the public yet, but The main and third academy look like good spaces.
Main Academy holds around 3000, I think, with a balcony area which is currently holding the VIPs so I’ve not been up. I’m not overly keen on balconies, so we’ll leave it at that. The floor, however, feels better. There are three quite large bars on two adjacent walls, a nice big merchandise area and a few good spaces to sit – although still not enough, in my opinion, hence sitting on the floor. More importantly there’s a good view from the room. But there’s still quite a lot of those blind spits the old Academy suffered from, they just don’t seem as bad.
Academy3 is very plush. It holds about 250 and looks like the kind of place you’d put on nice singer-songwriter gigs who weren’t going to make a mess. It’s also where the good carpet is. Waiting to see how long that survives.
The Academy team have done well, this place looks great. I’m looking forward to seeing the middle-sized room and hopefully the increase in bands and artists playing in brum. Hopefully when the fresh paint smell us replaced with spilt beer the shine or the Academy won’t go with it.
*This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*