Pictures by Nathan Barnes
It’s a sad week for live music.
On Saturday 4th May, The Bull and Gate – a legendary pub and music venue in the heart of North London – finally closed its doors after 40 years.
Some pretty spectacular bands, such as The Manic Street Preachers, The Sex Pistols, Coldplay and Blur, have graced The Bull and Gate’s modest stage over the years, but the pub’s new owners will be shutting down the stage and turning the space into a kitchen.
Key Production has a lot of history with The Bull and Gate – it’s just down the road from our office, and we’ve had countless parties and after work drinks there. So, when we heard our beloved pub was being sold, we wanted to say goodbye to it properly. After a little bit of thinking, we came up with the perfect send off: a huge farewell gig, in conjunction with the Camden New Journal, featuring the brilliant Kentish Town band Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, with all proceeds going to charity.
And on Friday 12th April, that’s just what we did! The event sold out incredibly quickly after we announced it, which was brilliant but unsurprising – the venue is beloved by everyone in London, as are Kitty, Daisy and Lewis.
Key’s very own Nick Herrmann kicked things off with his band Late Arrivals Club. Their Americana-tinged folk pop managed to pull in a considerable crowd from the bar, and by the time the band had finished their set, the audience was warmed up and ready for the main event.
And what an event! Kitty, Daisy and Lewis practically tore the place down with their explosive rock and roll, as if they didn’t want to see The Bull and Gate pass into the wrong hands. Between songs, Kitty took to the microphone to explain the band’s connection with the historic venue: “It’s just across the road from our home. It’s an honour to play here and we’d like to see it saved.”
The room was overflowing, the audience involuntarily spilling into the bar as Kitty, Daisy and Lewis played ferociously long into the night. Drinks spilled. Sweat poured. Cheers filled the air.
The farewell party was a huge success: everyone had a chance to say goodbye, we were treated to two great shows, and all the money raised was donated to pensioner lunch clubs across the borough.
But despite all this, the night was ultimately bitter-sweet. As we danced to the frenetic rhythms of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis well into the early hours, there was no escaping the sad fact that it would be for the last time.
The Bull & Gate was truly one of London’s greatest venues, and it will be sorely missed.
Watch Late Arrivals Club performing ‘Power Cut’.
Watch Kitty, Daisy and Lewis performing ‘Don’t Make a Fool Out of Me’.