Gig-goers and musicians ready for the return of Independent Venue Week

The Black Prince and The Lab are both taking part in this year's event.

By David Jackson
Friday, 28th January 2022, 2:03 pm
Updated Friday, 28th January 2022, 2:04 pm
FFSYTHO?! and other acts playing headline gigs as part of Independent Venue Week.
FFSYTHO?! and other acts playing headline gigs as part of Independent Venue Week.

Music venues across the country will be taking part in Independent Venue Week which returns at the start of February, with gigs taking place at both The Black Prince and The Lab in Northampton.

Independent Venue Week (IVW) is a seven-day celebration of live music venues.

Now in its ninth year, it returns from Monday, January 31, to Sunday, February 6.

The Black Prince in Abington Square will be hosting gigs by Andy Bell, bloody/bath, The Virginmarys, Press To Meco and FFSYTHO?!

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    The Lab in Charles Street will be hosting gigs by The HarQstics, Underdark, Kings Gambit and Pocket Dread.

    Promotions manager at The Black Prince, Phil Moore said: “The atmosphere during IVW is always great, especially after a more subdued January period.

    “Seeing the staff in their IVW t-shirts, greeting acts from all over the UK - the excitement is palpable.

    “I’m very happy with our line-up, indie legends, grime kids of tomorrow and the best alternative bands around.

    “There's a real willingness by acts and their agents to go the extra mile for IVW, so it's not too hard to get folk involved.

    “It is tricky to get a range of sounds to please everybody and we never will please everybody - but we do sure try.”

    Ride guitarist Andy Bell brings his Space Station show to the Black Prince on Wednesday, February 2.

    Bell is a former member of Oasis, Beady Eye and Hurricane #1 and also remixes under the name GLOK.

    His Space Station project was born in 2020 when he started a residency at a coffee shop in North London.

    Support is by Maps, who will be playing a DJ set. Music is from 7.30pm, tickets cost £6 before fees.

    bloody/bath will headline on Thursday, February 3. The project of Northampton singer songwriter Kailan Price, bloody/bath released their debut EP Unholy Sonnets last year following a run of acclaimed singles.

    Support is by Megalashhh. Doors open at 7.30pm, tickets cost £5.50 in advance.

    Rock duo The Virginmarys headline on Friday, February 4. The duo released their third LP Northern Sun Sessions in 2018, the follow up to their 2016 record Divides and their debut King Of Conflict.

    They have previously sold out shows across the UK and Europe, received support by Classic Rock magazine and supported Slash and Myles Kennedy.

    Support is by Empyre and Apollo. Doors open at 7.30pm, tickets cost £15 before fees.

    Press To Meco, headline on Saturday, February 5. The band - which features Corby native and ACODA and Ginger Snaps guitarist Jake Crawford - released their latest album Transmute in August.

    The record was met with critical acclaim and praise for its intricate riffs, progressive sensibilities, math-influenced structures, pop choruses and three-part harmonies.

    Support is by Pillowhead and Retreat! Retreat! Doors open at 7.30pm, tickets cost £8.50 in advance before fees.

    Bringing Independent Venue Week to a close at The Black Prince will be FFSYTHO?! who headlines on Sunday, February 6.

    The Northampton rapper and grime MC made her live debut at the Reading and Leeds Festival in August after a string of singles including Bop Through Ya Manor and You Next with support by the likes of BBC Radio 1 and 1 Xtra.

    Her latest single Keep On, which features Jabru and Alice Russell, was released in September.

    FFSYTHO?! also recently featured on the latest In the Absence Thereof playlist by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.

    Support is by Anti!i. Doors open at 7pm, tickets cost £5 before fees.

    At The Lab, Independent Venue Week kicks off with Hushed acoustic night on Thursday, February 3, with sets by Pocket Dread, James Willett and Benjamin G Fairnington. Tickets cost £2.

    They’ll be followed by The HarQstics, T-Bone Afrika All Stars, Ayo & Simmone and DJ OP1 on Friday, February 4. Tickets cost £6.

    Underdark, Inhuman Nature, King of Pigs, Trading Hands, VyvyanxB and Grunk play on Saturday, February 5. Tickets cost £6.

    Kings Gambit and Billy Nomad both play on Sunday, February 6. Tickets cost £5.

    While many of the support acts opening the venue’s IVW shows are from the county, Mr Moore was also quick to champion those headlining with county ties.

    He said: “Northants is such a massive part of the national music scene so it makes sense to display those links.

    “Shout out to Jake Crawford, he's a fine musician who has found a great home with Press To MECO. “And, though I've been saying it for 18 months now, FFSYTHO?! really is a major talent. She will absolutely tear 2022 apart.”

    Despite taking part in IVW in previous years, it will be the first at The Black Prince since the venue received a major overhaul which saw the stage returned to its ‘correct’ end of the room and significant investment in its PA and lighting rigs.

    Mr Moore added: “I expect a few will be returning for the first time in years and will barely recognise the venue room.

    “I still struggle to comprehend how lovely it is in there now. It’s probably the best small gig room for about 15-20 miles around and a real asset to Northampton that we love showing off.

    “You simply have to come to at least one show. Every act is first class on every bill, of that I have no doubt.

    “If I were a politician, this is my general election. So please vote for The Black Prince by buying a ticket and coming down.

    “And always remember that it's your scene. So use it, don't abuse it.”

    Tickets for gigs at The Black Prince are available via www.skiddle.com and on the door at The Lab.