London’s Small Venues: The New Cross Inn

New Cross Inn

Continuing our series on the best small music venues around town, we visit The New Cross Inn in SE14. We like what we see.

With south London heroes Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine in the process of selling out venues for what they claim will be their final ever shows, it seems apt to take a look at the New Cross Inn in homage to the men who brought us The Only Living Boy In New Cross.

If you’re going to develop a venue to showcase local music and comedy, which is also capable of hosting gigs from hotly tipped acts from further afield, you might do well to plonk it just a stone’s throw from the biggest nightclub in the area. ‘Symbiotic’ might be the word. Sitting just across from The Venue, the New Cross Inn provides a platform for “all bands, singer-songwriters, acoustic acts, comedians, enthusiastic creatives and local barflies”.

The Inn has been putting on live music for years, though it used to have a reputation as more of a rough and ready pub that would host the odd pub-type band to limited interest. The proximity to the University of London’s Goldsmiths campus led to a lightbulb moment for the management, and the Inn now has a heavy focus on proper music to pull in the local student custom, pushing the boat out with both the quality of the bands they’re booking, as well as the venue’s facilities and ambience.

It’s well known for its punk and ska gigs — in the past year it’s hosted gigs by legends such as The Selecter, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, 999, Discharge and the Inner Terrestrials. The venue’s been looking to broaden its horizons, however, with quality up-and-coming alternative, electronica and indie artists, such as London…act (please don’t try and make us categorise this any further)…Super Apes, who play the Inn on 19 March and who make sounds like this:

Every Tuesday is Open Mic Night at the New Cross Inn, when it welcomes any kind of live act from big bands to spoken word hopefuls and everything in between. The open mic goes on until 2am and that fact alone should make it worth attending, to see what kind of lunacy the good people of SE14 come out with after midnight.

For the future, gigs are lined up by old stagers The Toasters, London punk veterans The Vibrators and celebrity drug baron Howard Marks, but it’ll be the bands working their way up that the New Cross Inn hopes to be remembered for. With the likes of Bloc Party, Athlete and Art Brut emerging from the brief ‘New Cross scene’ of the early/mid-noughties, this venue is well poised to give voice to this part of London’s next big thing, whoever it may be.

Image courtesy of the New Cross Inn.

See also: London’s Small Venues: The Silver Bullet, Finsbury Park

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