Electric Brixton may have hot competition with the iconic O2 Academy just up the road, but this smaller venue offers a more intimate chance to see top DJs and live bands, and it boasts a fantastic sound system, bespoke lighting and an exquisite interior, too.
Dating back as far as 1913, Electric Brixton initially opened as The Palladium Picture House. This charming venue was given a magnificent theatrical interior, which has been carefully maintained right up to the present day. Ornate blues and golds with decorative panelling reign throughout, and even though it was then converted from cinema to infamous night club The Fridge, its classical interior has remained intact. A one million pound facelift later, Electric Brixton opened its doors in September 2011.
The venue accommodates live music acts and DJ nights, as well as allowing for private hire too, with a maximum capacity for 1,700. Divided into a main room with mezzanine level and smoking terrace, there is also a 'baby room' to one side, which boasts its very own sound system and bar for smaller private functions. The main room comprises a long bar stretching the length of the space and another bar to the side. These are lit with blue neon lights, which combine with a cluster of disco balls attached to the high ceiling to bring the place bang up to date. A huge stage with large speakers to either side faces the dance floor and the only seating to be found on this floor is in the VIP section. The mezzanine level harbors a large cloakroom along a corridor and there are theatre-style seats over two levels, which face the stage – another long bar here ensures minimal queuing. To one side, a black stage door leads out to a wooden-decked smoking terrace with small tables to perch on and ample decked seating.
Given the capacity here, its feels surprisingly intimate, and with a polite couple of smiles, it’s easy enough to bag yourself a spot at the front of the crowd to watch your favorite band. Staff here are attentive and on the ball, with a security check upon entry to make sure the night runs smoothly. The crowd are a mixed bunch - with bands and DJs passing through as part of their London circuit, it all hinges on their following.
Unveiling a superb sound system, the clarity at Electric Brixton is top-notch. The venue attracts DJ sets from the likes of Faithless, The Orb and Gold Panda and bands like The Stereophonics, Franz Ferdinand and London Grammar, making it a central figure in Brixton's thriving music scene. A sizeable, open engineer booth sits in the middle of the main room too, so you really see a hands-on approach to ensure the sound and lighting is second to none.
It is London after all, so you can forget your student prices here. A can of Red Stripe or Carlsberg will set you back £4.50, as will the Crabbies ginger beer or Kopparberg ciders on offer. A bottle of water is £3 and vodka and Redbull is £7.50.
The Last Word
If you hate the thought of taking on big arenas or dodgy Camden pubs to see your favorite bands, then this is a beautiful backdrop in which to catch them. With big-name DJs and groups stopping off at this venue as part of their tour routes, be sure to keep your eyes peeled on Electric Brixton listings.