Obituaries for the live music scene in Edinburgh have always been a staple of Scottish arts columns (guilty as charged), but what perhaps isn’t remarked upon so readily is the enduring popularity of Glasgow’s live venues – if not their wild success, then certainly the fact that venues of all sizes seem to persevere without complaints of onerous licensing restrictions or buildings being sold from under them putting paid to the party.
“I’d imagine it’s probably a terrible climate to open a new venue,” laughs Paul Cardow, who’s doing just that with the launch of Broadcast on Sauchiehall Street this month, a larger replacement for his recently closed Captain’s (formerly the Captain’s Rest) on Great Western Road. “It’s probably not the best time for any new business, but we’ll see. We have a certain place in the market that I think makes us unique.”
He’s also the owner of promoter PCL, and Cardow’s booking tastes tend towards the credibly underground.
The decision to move resulted from a number of factors, including the location of the Captain’s, a recent change in licensing regulations that reduced the capacity of the atmospheric basement room to a mere 84, and the need for expensive renovation work. Formerly known as The Local, Broadcast is right in the heart of a burgeoning gig-going strip around the Charing Cross end of Sauchiehall Street, and Cardow says the bar and food area upstairs is as important as creating a great-sounding 150-capacity live space downstairs.
“I think if people can come along because it’s a social place,” he says, “it opens them up to the possibility of seeing a gig they might not have otherwise, of experimenting with their taste in music. Besides, when I started going to gigs in the 1980s there weren’t that many places you could go and see new or smaller bands, so you would see them in places that already existed which had been turned into live venues. I’ve always enjoyed that feel to a gig, I like sweaty rock’n’roll in basements.”
From the perspective of an Edinburgh resident, it feels good to write about a live music venue with a sense of optimism that’s removed from the well-documented struggles venue owners in the capital have faced.
“It’s not as easy in Edinburgh,” agrees Cardow, who also owns Sneaky Pete’s on the city’s Cowgate, “because of property prices and licensing issues, certainly noise regulations, and there are different types of venue involved. Lots of good properties have a block of flats on top of them, for example. But Glasgow’s great, though. People have always known how to enjoy themselves here.”
• Broadcast opens at 427 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, tonight . See www.broadcastglasgow.com
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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