- Brixton Academy
The Brixton Academy, officially called O2 Academy, Brixton, is one of London's leading music venues, nightclubs and theatres. Situated in Brixton, South London, England, the building has hosted a range of leading rock acts since becoming a music venue in 1983. The maximum capacity is 4,921 (3,760 standing downstairs; 1,083 seated and 78 standing in the circle), alternatively the all-seated capacity is 2,391.
The venue started life as a cinema and theatre in 1929 on the site of a private garden in Stockwell Road. It was built at a cost of £250,000 as an "Astoria" theatre. The opening show was the Al Jolson film The Singing Fool, followed by a variety act, including Heddle Nash and Derek Oldham which was broadcast by the BBC. The building still retains many of its original features, including the proscenium arch and Art Deco interior.
The Astoria eventually closed its doors as a cinema on 29 July 1972. It was then converted into the Sundown Centre rock venue in September 1972, but was not a success and the Sundown closed down some four months later. In May 1974 planning permission was sought to demolish the Grade II listed building and replace it with a motor showroom and petrol station. However the redevelopment scheme was scrapped. The building was kept heated after it closed, and was used as an equipment store by the Rank Organisation.
In 1981, The Astoria, remodelled by Sean Treacy, who later ran the entire site services, was re-opened as a rock venue called "The Fair Deal" with a concert by UB40 and an interior restoration, but the venue closed in 1982 due to debt. The venue was bought by Simon Parkes in 1983 and in the same year re-opened as Brixton Academy.
The Academy's success steadily grew throughout the 1980s with numerous reggae productions and it was hired out to major rock and pop acts such as Eric Clapton, Dire Straits & The Police for rehearsal. The venue was also used for video shoots for Wham and Culture Club.
In 1995, Break For The Border bought the Brixton Academy. Under its new ownership (McKenzie Group), reinvestment started immediately with a complete £500,000 refurbishment of the Art Deco building frontage to its original grandeur, additional facilities both front of house and backstage and a capacity increase to just under 5,000.
The venue is currently run by the Academy Music Group after a re-branding in August 2004, and hosts a range of live acts and club nights.
As one of the biggest non-arena venues in London, many very successful acts have performed at Brixton Academy. The venue has also been voted venue of the year twelve times since 1994 in the annual NME Awards. In addition the venue has won the Music Week Award for Venue of the Year several times including 2009.
Madonna played a special (not during a concert tour) performance at the venue in 2000, to promote the release of her album, Music. The concert was broadcast live online and was watched by a record-breaking audience of 9 million.
Rammstein, Iron Maiden, The Clash, Deborah Harry, The Prodigy, Arcade Fire, Nine Inch Nails, Bob Dylan, HARD-Fi & Sex Pistols have all played five consecutive nights at the venue. The Mighty Boosh broke this record in 2008, with their second live show Boosh Live, playing seven consecutive nights.
Leftfield set the venue's decibel record in 1996. They were summarily banned from using the same sound system at the venue after the high bass levels started disintegrating the ceiling, resulting in showers of dust and plaster. They returned in 2000 using a different sound system.
Albums recorded at Brixton
- Space Ritual Alive, a 1972 live album by Hawkwind, recorded in 1972 at Brixton Sundown and Liverpool.
- Live at the Academy, Brixton, an album by Gregory Isaacs, recorded in May 1984.
- Academy, a 1989 VHS video by New Order was recorded live at the Brixton Academy on April 4, 1987 as part of the International AIDS Day fund-raising season
- Live at the Brixton Academy, a 1991 live album by Faith No More, recorded in 1990.
- Weird's Bar & Grill, a 1993 live album from the band Pop Will Eat Itself , recorded in 1992.
- Live at the Brixton Academy, a 1994 live album by The Brian May Band.
- Hole recorded their 1995 MTV Unplugged sessions there.
- Live at Brixton Academy, a 1999 live album by Atari Teenage Riot.
- Live at the Brixton Academy, a live album released by Sizzla on 29 August 2000
- David Gray recorded his concert on 16 December 2000 as the album Live At Brixton Academy December 2000.
- Motörhead recorded their 25th Anniversary concert on October 20, 2000 at Brixton Academy entitled 25 & Alive Boneshaker, released as DVD music video in 2001 and as an audio album later in 2003 under the Live at Brixton Academy title, the latter featuring the façade of Carling Academy Brixton on the cover.
- Under a Pale Grey Sky, 2002 live album by Sepultura but recorded in 1996. Last show featuring Max Cavalera.
- Machine Head recorded their live CD Hellalive at the Brixton Academy on December 8, 2001. This CD was released on March 11, 2003.
- Scarred: Live at Brixton Academy, a 2003 live album by Gary Numan, recorded in 2001.
- Live at Brixton Academy, a 2003 live DVD by the Inspiral Carpets.
- Live in London, a 2003 live album by Judas Priest, recorded in 2001.
- A live album was released immediately after all four Pixies 2004 concerts.
- Franz Ferdinand recorded part of their self-titled live DVD at Brixton Academy in 2004.
- Rumble In Brixton, a 2004 live album and DVD by Stray Cats.
- Live at Brixton Academy, a 2004 live album and DVD by Dido.
- Good Charlotte Live at Brixton Academy, a 2004 DVD by Good Charlotte
- Live at Brixton Academy, a Limited Edition DVD recorded in 2004 for Groove Armada's album Lovebox, released for their Best Of album.
- Part of Rammstein's DVD Völkerball was recorded at the venue between February 3–5, 2005.
- Moby recorded his concert on 19 May 2005 and a double CD of the recording was available to buy at the venue after the show.
- The Poison: Live At Brixton, a 2006 live DVD by Bullet For My Valentine
- Damian Marley recorded the album Damian Marley, Live at the Brixton Academy in 2006
- Live at Brixton Academy London, UK 11/13/07, a Limited Edition CD recorded by Concert Live for Alexisonfire, and distributed after the show
- Live In The UK 2008 at Brixton Academy 1 February 2008, a Limited Edition CD recorded by Concert Live for Paramore, and distributed immediately after the show
- Edgy In Brixton, a 2007 live DVD by The Fratellis
- Live In The UK at Brixton Academy 3 May 2008, a Limited Edition CD recorded by Concert Live for The Wombats, and distributed after the show
- Live from Brixton Academy, a live recording from the band Kasabian, available only from some digital download services and encumbered with DRM. It was recorded at Brixton Academy on December 15, 2004. This was the band’s final show of their momentous breakthrough year, and band member Sergio Pizzorno’s birthday.
- There Will Always Be an England, a live DVD and documentary recorded in 2007 for Sex Pistols.
- Jimmy Eat World recorded their concert on 18 February 2008 and a double CD of the recording was available to buy at the venue after the show and also online. The show was a sell-out despite not having a major hit in the UK.
- Pendulum recorded a live DVD in Brixton on 4 December 2008.
- Dave Matthews Band released a DVD of a June 26, 2009 concert entitled Across the Pond as a part of a box-set Europe 2009 on December 22, 2009.
- Jamie T recorded his concert on 5 February 2010, which was sold at the venue the next day.
Videos recorded at Brixton
- The ITV Pantomime for 1999 was Cinderella, which was filmed at the Brixton Academy. This was not released on DVD or VHS.
- Tenacious D has an entire performance (their second performance) at the Brixton Academy on the second disc of their DVD, Tenacious D - The Complete Masterworks.
- Iron Maiden recorded two videos here: "Women in Uniform" & "Run to the Hills"
- Faith No More had their performance filmed at The Brixton Academy in 1990. The performance was released on VHS and subsequently to DVD and is titled You Fat Bastards: Live at the Brixton Academy.
- In Bed With Carter was filmed at Brixton Academy. It features a live gig of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine (Carter USM).
- The movie 9 Songs features numerous performances (e.g. Franz Ferdinand) all shot at Brixton Academy.
- Suede's VHS/DVD Love and Poison, originally released in 1993, was filmed at Brixton Academy.
- In 1990, AC/DC filmed the music video for their song "Thunderstruck" at the Academy.
- Boy George and Culture Club filmed the video for their 1986 top-ten hit Move Away at the Brixton Academy. The video has extensive footage of the venue, including the entrance hall, the stair-case and the circle. The band is also seen as silent film-stars racing cars across the venues former film-screen.
- Video shoots for Wham! were held at the venue. Billy Ocean's video for "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" on the soundtrack for The Jewel of the Nile was shot in Brixton Academy.
- Elegies, the 2005 DVD from Machine Head featured material record at the Brixton Academy while on tour the previous year.
- The Sex Pistols are due to bring out a DVD of their five gigs in 2007. It is mostly based on the 10 November 2007 gig.
- The Mighty Boosh Live DVD was recorded at the Brixton Academy in 2006.
- The video for "Who's Got A Match?" by Biffy Clyro was recorded at Brixton Academy in October 2007.
- Moloko recorded a live DVD: 11,000 Clicks at The Brixton Academy on November 22, 2003. It was the last show of a long tour for Moloko and was likely their final performance as a band.
- N.E.R.D. recorded their second single "Spaz" from third album Seeing Sounds at The Brixton Academy on June 14, 2008.
- Bullet for my Valentine recorded their gig for the DVD The Poison: Live at Brixton at Brixton on January 28, 2006.
- On June 26, 2009, Dave Matthews Band filmed the music video for their second single, "Why I Am".
- Placebo filmed the video for their 1999 single "Every You Every Me" during a gig at the Academy.
- A concert in 1992 by Ride at Brixton Academy was recorded for the VHS Going Blank Again - Live at Brixton Academy (also known as Brixton).
- You Me At Six, filmed the music video for their song "Underdog" at Brixton Academy.
- Gabriella Cilmi filmed the video for her 2010 single Hearts Don't Lie at the venue.
- Queens of the Stone Age's Over the Years and Through the Woods DVD was partly recorded at Brixton Academy. It also features a live CD.
- Deadmau5 recorded 5 videos off 2010 album "4x4=12"
- DJ Shadow, In Tune and On Time.
- Placebo – We Come In Pieces.
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