One year since its fate was sealed by plans for the Crossrail developments, London’s infamous Astoria is set to host its swansong tomorrow night, with a so-called Demolition Ball that will see a medley of contemporary musicians including My Vitriol, VV Brown and The Automatic pay tribute to the age old institution.
Built on the site of a former pickle factory and first opened as a cinema in 1927, the Astoria has played host to an eclectic wealth of bands and solo artists since the 1970s. The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Radiohead, Metallica and Oasis are just a few names on the lengthy list of iconic performers to have graced the stage; and it is a list that could easily be read as a comprehensive guide to the evolution of rock music.
With its legacy steeped in so much musical – not to mention social – history, the backlash against the Astoria’s planned closure was inevitable but ultimately ineffective. Tonight’s gig, curated by Sam Duckworth, (the man behind Get Cape Wear Cape Fly) was not supposed to herald the end itself, but the cancellation of Manumission’s party tomorrow meant the honour – or the onus – has been bestowed upon The Demolition Ball instead. May it play out in style.