January 2023 marked fourteen years since the infamous LONDON ASTORIA closed its doors on Charing Cross Road. The night before its closure, it was given a proper send off with a Demolition Ball, showcasing some of the venues most well-loved artists. 45 Original are proud to honour this monumental venue with the release of a run of two strictly limited edition artworks celebrating the unique venue’s heritage.
Designed in collaboration with leading artist and designer Steve Mitchell of 57 Design, these two bespoke illustrations – one in RED and one in GOLD – brings together in one place over four hundred and fifty of the London Astoria’s most recognisable acts, while paying homage to the architectural beauty of this Art Deco building.
Available as a limited edition run of fifty signed, stamped and numbered 50x70cm giclée colour prints in either red or gold.
These reimagined designs endeavour to immortalise the iconic artists to have performed at the London Astoria and to celebrate a prestigious building that stood for over eighty years, from 1927 to 2009.
LONDON ASTORIA, CHARING CROSS ROAD
The LONDON ASTORIA once sat on the fringes of Soho. A venue with sticky floors, crowded bars and dressing rooms that perhaps were not fit for the legendary artists that played there, but was once London’s musical centre of gravity.
1989 saw a little-known Seattle band called NIRVANA support MUDHONEY – a gig that would enter grunge folklore. In 1994, OASIS graced the stage on the eve of their debut album, marking the beginning of the bands trailblazing career. The same year saw Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edward’s play his last UK gig before his disappearance. Just seven years later, U2 played its smallest gig in ten years on the London Astoria’s hallowed grounds. In 2003, Britpop legends BLUR played a record six-night residency. And just three years before this beloved venues closure, St Albans’ teens ENTER SHIKARI sold out the London Astoria without even having a record deal.
Legendary bands and artists and those on their journeys to stardom walked these hallowed halls. It may not have been the likes of the stellar stadiums they were used to playing or would go on to play, but this venue held and continues to hold a special place in many of these music stars and their fans hearts.
The London Astoria was the first of series of iconic buildings architect Edward A. Stone designed. From the London Astoria in 1927, to the now Brixton Academy in 1929 to Streatham’s Astoria Theatre in the summer of 1930.
The London Astoria on Charing Cross Road was built on the site of a former Crosse & Blackwell warehouse, opening in 1927 as a cinema. When first constructed the building was four storeys tall with a decorative edging embellishing the exterior walls. Inside was a sight to behold, with large columns, a viewing balcony and large organ pipes. The venue’s interior went through three separate conversions before opening as a nightclub and music venue in 1985 with a capacity of 2,000 people. The venue went on to host over 2,000 club nights and gigs in the twenty-four years it was open. 1988 saw THE MISSION play seven straight nights between 21st March and 27th March. It witnessed the creations of one of the most famous club nights THE TRIP at the height of the acid house scene in 1988. It was home to infamous nightclub G-A-Y. And in 2000, MEAN FIDDLER acquired the lease of the beloved venue in hopes of “securing the future of live music at one of London’s most famous rock ‘n’ roll venues”. But sadly in 2009 its doors were forced to close to accommodate the Crossrail development but oh boy did they go out in style.
On January 14th, the night before its closure, a DEMOLITION BALL was held, co-organised by GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY. aka Sam Duckworth, in aid of BILLY BRAGG’S JAIL GUITAR DOORS charity and LOVE MUSIC HATE RACISM. This line-up saw the likes of THE AUTOMATIC, FRANK TURNER and of course Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. Just ten months later the building was demolished. Adding to the list another LOST VENUE of great memories.