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O2 Academy Islington (Bar, Club)

Picture of O2 Academy Islington in Angel & Islington, London

N1 Centre, 16 Parkfield Street, Angel & Islington, London, N1 0PS
Cuisine: [Other/Unclassified]
Tel: 020 7288 4400 | Email to O2 Academy Islington | Transport: Angel | Write review

O2 Academy Islington Review

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Sitting on beer crates, balancing a gin and tonic on my knee while trying to light a cigarette I do not feel very VIP. Being friends with the band grants us access backstage at Carling Academy Islington – not all it’s made out to be – but perhaps necessary to avoid the teenage emo scum scrambling about the club.

This was back in May for Punk Rock Karaoke - a doozie of an evening put on by XFM and hosted by the interminable White Russians.

The Islington Academy is situated in N1 Islington which is a shopping mall undergoing an identity crisis. Half inside, half out – this bizarre plaza features the typical onslaught of Wagamama, Accessorize and Starbucks monotony.

The karaoke night is held in the Academy’s smaller space whose 250-person capacity supposedly makes it ideal for “up and comers.”

My flatmate, a seasoned gig-goer and perennial critic says: “It has watered down beer and ultra violet strip lighting that’s meant to catch dope fiends but instead adds an air of techno festival.”

However we have a good laugh with the bold folks who take to the stage and belt it in front of the crowd. The drink choice is limited, as you would expect from a bar owned by Carling – but with good (ahem) music and friends, it’s highly enjoyable.

The larger venue is a big improvement. Expressly invited to O’neills’ Undiscovered Live ’06, - a nation-wide battle of the bands competition – Claire and I (Fluid Foundation’s hammeredest hacks) wander to the N1 centre hoping to catch the Shakes, a Glaswegian band who sound very promising.

Upon entrance we notice the free bar has been abandoned like a ghost town, except here the skeletal remains are hundreds of empty cups, beer-logged fliers advertising retro parties and giant orange foam #1 fingers. Drunken indie kids stumble around – make up smeared, hobbling in their vintage pumps and skinny jeans.

We miss The Shakes (who end up winning), but catch the last two bands, the Welsh reggae ensemble, Kali-Mist and the Liverpudlian Diesel Fitters – who both play energetic and powerful sets.

The larger space complements live music – acoustics are quality and the stage is visible from most corners in spite of a packed room. Smokey blue lights underscore the performers and fans cheer from a raised balcony that somehow adds to the intimate feel of this space.

In terms of one’s raw requirements for a live music venue – the Carling Academy does the job, gigs here are well received, however it definitely lacks that bit of character needed to drive home a great night out.
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Customer Reviews for O2 Academy Islington

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of O2 Academy Islington.

“A host of bands played last night upstairs in the o2' high light of the evening award goes to the scoutkillers five tracks of pure rock and roll at it finest. They managed to produce the feeling of a full hour set in twenty five minutes. Every thing was in place rushing heartbeat of the drums roaring guitars and Scott's vocals that managed to lure you in hug you while kicking your arse all over the place. Like I said it was all there brilliant set raw talent, tattoos blood sweat equipment falling all over place sleaze down right stinking rock and roll. Loved it well worth the three hour travel to get there. Thankyou scoutkillers and the o2 it takes a lot to get my fat arse out to watch bands from so far away, but last night the whole package was well worth the trip. I can't wait til the next o2 outing cheers guys.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
brunhilde stacey Brown, trowbridge (4 years 23 days ago)

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