BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
The always credible Music Week Awards took place in London on Wednesday night, where Leeds' Brudenell Social Club was crowned winner of the inaugural Grassroots Venue: Spirit Of The Scene award.
The now 103-year-old club was up against stiff competition - including both The Lexington in London and The Sugarmill in Stoke - but the 400 capacity venue proved a popular winner in the end.
For those of you who don't know, 'The Brudenell' is a social club in Leeds that has retained its community atmosphere of its origins as a working men's club, but that also houses semi-regular gigs in its back room.
The club was originally formed in 1913 by local businessmen, who built a wooden clubhouse on the site that same year. After falling into disrepair, however, this wooden structure was replaced by the brick building that is still currently standing now, with initial shows being focused around the local DIY music scene.
In the early 2000's, however, the club began to play host to 'secret gigs' by big name artists such as the Kaiser Chief, Franz Ferdinand and The Cribs, who played three-consecutive nights there under the banner 'Cribsmas'. These shows saw the band performing material from each of the three albums they had released up to that point - The Cribs, The New Fellas and Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever - and Kate Nash also provided support.
We, ourselves, was there a little more recently in 2011. We were lucky enough to see the brilliant Noah & The Whale perform there, and even then it was apparent just how important 'The Brudenell' was to not just Leeds, Hyde Park, and Yorkshire, but also to the country, and the grassroots scene broadly.
Young bands cut their teeth in these grassroots venues. Playing in front of no one but a pissed, local fart and his best friend alcohol addiction helps musicians hone their craft long before dreams of record labels, publishing deals or stadiums ever enter the picture. The cultural significance of clubs such as 'The Brudenell' is indisputable, and the fact that these small, intimate and independent venues are beginning to get the recognition they deserve can only be a positive thing. Long may that continue.