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From Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine in 1992 to Weezer in 2002, the Brixton Academy has given me the many of the best gigs that I have seen.
For a venue that holds approx. 3000 people the Academy has an intimate feel to it that Wembley and London Arenas can only dream about.
You go into the building underneath a fantastic green dome that looks like something straight out of the 1930s. The bands name is usually displayed on a 1950s Happy Days style sign. Inside the auditorium you could be forgiven for thinking that you've walked into the set of a Shakespeare play. The ceiling is so high and black that it looks more like the night sky. The towers and balconies loo like something out of Romeo and Juliet.
I've always assumed that the building is an old cinema as the lower floor slopes down to the stage. This makes for good views from just about anywhere and the football stadium style crush barriers make it possible to get close to the stage without getting trapped in the mosh pit.
The upstairs balcony gives great views but I've never used it since the security staff made everyone sit through a whole Levellers gig.
So what sort of groups play here? It's normally indie or rock groups that have had some success but haven't made it to Arena level yet. Over the years I've been lucky enough to see Radiohead, James and the Smashing Pumpkins among others. I still rank the Carter USM gig as the best one. This is probably because it was my first but also because I was still young enough to jump up and down for the whole 2 hours.
Tips for a good night out:
Try to buy your tickets in advance from the venue - do it online and there is a scandalous booking fee and postage charge. You can also buy tickets from the Shepherds Bush Empire box office.
Pints are about £3 so try and get to the pub on the way.
Everyone queues for the toilets in the main bar but there are much bigger ones at the side of the stage - men to the left, women to the right.
Wheelchair users - there's a low level balcony to each side of the standing area - turn left or right as soon as you get in.
Getting there: The Academy is less than 5 minutes walk from Brixton tube station on the Victoria Line (10 minutes from Victoria).
Amenities: There are several pubs between the station and the venue. There's also a more recently opened Nando's as long as you are happy with bottled Portugese lager.
The footage for this DVD was shot over three nights at Brixton Academy last August as part ... more
of the phenomenal Life For Rent tour, which saw Dido playing to over half a million people in total. The shows represented something of a triumphant homecoming for Dido as Brixton was one of the venues she visited regularly when she was younger. In addition to the DVD, the package includes a fantastic bonus audio CD featuring 12 of the 17 tracks from the DVD. This disc includes all the massive hits such as "White Flag", "Thank You" and "Here With Me". The DVD footage was shot and mastered in high definition and is available in 5.1 surround sound, whilst the audio has been mixed by Bob Clearmountain who is widely regarded as one of the most experienced and highly regarded sound technicians.