In honour of record store day I thought I would do this piece on the musical ‘underground’ of Newcastle. Some of these places will be well known to people but others will perhaps be less notable. Of course there are plenty of other places that could have made this list but these are my personal favorites. Newcastle is a great place for both live music and record collecting and this list is the top of the picks:
Of course this had to be on the list. Upon entering, the bar is to your left with the stage down a few stairs to your right, creating a sort of pit which adds to the excitement and keeps the carnage contained. As far as layouts go, it couldn’t really be much better. It’s easy to find your perfect spot depending on if you like it to be jammed in at the front or have a little more space at the back. It is literally just perfect. Adding to its perfection is the fact that it often plays smaller bands for just a few quid a time. I personally managed to see Peace supported by Yak buying a ticket on the day for £10!
This is one of the hidden gems of Newcastle and I am slightly wary about giving it out due to the amount of records I have actually found here. In Jesmond’s Oxfam Books and Music (not to be confused with regular Oxfam across the road) there is a tiny room off to the back with DVD’s and records. For some reason however, people seem to love donating excellent records to this particular Oxfam and ALWAYS for a knock down price! I’ve picked up Purple Rain for £3, Bat Out of Hell for £2 and Led Zeppelin 2 for £5! A fantastic place to find a bargain.
Another live music venue, this one is slightly more prestigious than the Cluny but just as excellent in its own way. The Sage is the giant glass bubbled building on the Tyne that you’ll see when crossing the river into Newcastle. There are 3 main rooms (hence it’s strange shape), but despite being inside such a massive building, the venues inside are all intimate. Hall two has three levels which towers over the standing audience and the sound system in place is incredible due to the phenomenal acoustics. The Sage was built specifically for music so the rooms can change size to fit the audience, creating the perfect environment to fit your band.
This is another excellent record store, tucked away literally underground by Central Station. It’s shop front is on ground level and after ducking under a surprisingly low doorway you can get in to find stacks upon stacks of precious vinyl. The last time I attended was a special sale; “Pay £10, take as much as you can carry”. The queue was round the block an hour before it opened! That alone will tell you the quality that was available.
If you want a more conventional record store then the HMV in Eldon Square is an excellent choice. All the vinyl stock is up the escalator on the right and while you might not find a bargain here they do regularly change their stuff to what is current. Whereas the other two stores on this list may give you something much older and obscure, HMV provides the popular choice of the day. On a side note, turning left up the escalator will take you to a wall of music information about Newcastle that is constantly updated! That alone is worth looking at.
Want to enjoy places like this? Then come to Newcastle!!