Bedford has a thriving live music scene, from jam nights to house concerts, tribute bands to showcasing edgy emerging talent. The Clanger’s Priya Gill caught up with Gareth Barber, owner of Esquires, to find out what’s on during Independent Venue Week.
Why is Esquires playing host to Independent Venue Week 2017 gigs?
Independent venue week is a time to really focus on an important part of our cultural heritage: music venues that offer live music that have supported and bred some of the biggest artists in the world from grassroots level to stadium tours. We’re hosting a varied range of shows during the week to showcase the artists and the venue. Now in its 4th year, Independent Venue Week seeks to celebrate and raise awareness of music venues across the country. Small Independent Venues are the lifeblood of the UK music scene and are where the festival headliners of tomorrow learn their craft. This is especially true of Esquires when you consider bands such as Muse, Coldplay and Biffy Clyro have all played here. Independent Venue week is all about supporting your local music venue. The last few years have been tough for venues and we can’t exist without the patronage of our local community.
What can IVW do for a small independent venue?
We take part as most other venues now take part in the week. The aim is to try and remind people that might not go to a show every week that their local venue is there and putting on really good stuff, so go check out a show and support them during IVW!
Why should Bedford come out and see Amber Arcades, Hunck and Estrons?
Well, Amber Arcades released one of the best albums of 2016, making it into the top ten of the year from record store taste-makers Rough Trade and Piccadilly Records, they’re signed to the achingly hip Heavenly Records which is a stamp of class in itself. Estrons are one of the most exciting new bands in the UK, often compared to previous Esquires guests Wolf Alice and Honeyblood, they’re a band on the cusp of exploding (not literally I hope) – We almost booked them for the main stage at River Festival last year but they’re a bit sweary…
Do you have any favourite song selections for the groups playing IVW, that you’d like to share?
Estrons – Make a Man, a joyous song about fornication. Amber Arcades – check out Fading Lines, it’s dreamy pop goodness.
We’d highly recommend Hunck’s All Dressed Up too, catch them supporting Amber Arcades on Monday January 23rd.
So, you’ve recently taken over Esquires. Tell us about what you’ve got in store for music fans this year?
This year is looking even bigger than the last, some huge shows are bubbling under the surface that we’re not able to talk about yet, but in general just trying to bring some of the best new bands and artists through town along with some more established heritage bands. The line up is so diverse, we have Chali 2Na from Jurassic 5, to new bands like INHEAVEN, Black Honey and Idles to Soul legends like Geno Washington.
What about plans for the venue itself this year?
Last year it was about getting the venue PA and lighting systems on par with bigger venues in the UK, which has been done – All the money that has come into the venue has been reinvested and it’s looking, sounding and breathing better than ever. In the summer of 2016 I ripped the downstairs bar area out and brought it up to date, with plans in 2017 to redesign the club area.
Aside from music, what wider plans do you have for the venue?
Hopefully this year we’ll look at launching a comedy night, along with a few other surprises and all dayers – I don’t want to give too much away at the moment but keep an eye on us on the usual social media pages, Twitter, Facebook or at www.bedfordesquires.co.uk.
Book Tickets for Indpendent Venue Week Gigs here.