Pub where Nirvana played is told to stop gigs over noise

IT MAY smell like mean spirit, as a city pub that was graced by one of rock's most infamous bands has been forced to pull the plug on its popular live gigs.

Kurt Cobain might turn in his grave if he knew that The Southern bar, where he treated a handful of drinkers to an impromptu acoustic session, had to cancel its live music nights after a single neighbour complained.

The bar achieved fame after the Nirvana frontman and bandmate Dave Grohl wowed fans with five tracks following a show at Calton Studios in 1991.

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But city council officers shut down a gig at the South Clerk Street Bar two weeks ago after a complaint by a local resident.

Despite spending 10,000 on soundproofing and moving the entire stage in the space of a few weeks, the Scottish and Newcastle-owned bar faces an uncertain future after council officials ruled it would stay silent until the dispute was resolved.

Southern manager Mark Miller said: "We reopened after the refurbishment in October and everything was fine until March. The council called us to tell us there had been a complaint from one resident and we had to shut down the gig.

"We received a few more calls and visits from the council so we did everything we could to try and reduce the amount of noise. We moved the stage to the back of the bar, and raised it off the floor and away from the walls to stop the vibrations.

"Then we put soundproofing literally underneath the complainer's room, running from the door of the pub to the bar, and we also hired our own sound technician for the gigs. We last had a gig two weeks ago, when the council officers turned up in the middle of the gig and said we had to turn everything off."

Since then the bar has lost thousands of pounds in revenue from their Tuesday and Sunday night gigs but the council has said the ban must remain in place until the situation is resolved.

Mr Miller, who has contacted Dave Grohl's new band in an effort to enlist his support, said: "The council has set up two meetings with the complainer and ourselves to see if we can come to an agreement, but the complainer hasn't shown up.

"It's very frustrating and it's a complete catch-22 situation.

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"We've already spent 5,000 on soundproofing and 5,000 on moving the stage, rewiring, and hiring the engineer, but we still can't hold the gigs. We used to take more than 1,000 on a Tuesday but now we take 60, and close altogether on a Sunday because we can't hold the gigs.

"We've been in touch with the people that manage Foo Fighters and had an acknowledgement, so we're waiting to see if they support us. I'm sure they'd agree it's not very rock'n'roll."

A city council spokesman said: "Licensed premises that operate entertainment are subject to conditions around sound levels. If concerns are raised then officials can test levels and discuss a solution with venue operators. If problems persist then the issue can be reported to the licensing board."