Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Not ONE but TWO gigs at Nottingham's Chameleon Arts Cafe

It's a while since I've been to Nottingham's Chameleon Arts Cafe - back in December, I think, for one of the gigs promoted by my teen - then, last week, I went twice!

Lewis Bootle

The first time was to see a guy from London who goes by the name of Gecko, on tour with Lewis Bootle - and if you'd been at Glastonbury over last weekend you could have found them playing there.

The second gig was a slimmed down version of the first gig promoted by my teen - John Allen and Patrick Craig. Folk/punk singer-songwriter John may not be well known here, but in his native Germany he's opened for Frank Turner and played for thousands! 

Patrick Craig

Both were shows that I'd have thought would bring folk in - but they didn't. Both turned out to be intimate, friendly gigs, and all the musicians put on as good a show as if the room had been packed. I enjoyed both evenings perhaps better than if the room had been packed to capacity - but it doesn't pay the musicians' travel costs, nor cover the venue's overheads.

John Allen

Now, The Chameleon is a shy, secretive sort of place - down an alleyway off Angel Row, and then up a flight of stairs to the bar, and another to the performance area. Once you're settled in the bar, with its cafe-style tables and flickering tea-lights, there's a fabulous view over Market Square. Upstairs, the gig venue is more basic but has a great sound system and the biggest speaker-stacks I've ever seen (far taller than I am!)  But the snag about a venue that's so very secret is that people rarely seem to find their way there by accident. I just hope people DO find it, because I'd hate to see it close down, but also, if they're playing to empty space, musicians won't be coming back to Nottingham.

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