"Grand and functional with an inspired music booking policy"Review Rating: Reviewed by T.A.O
Islington Assembly Hall may be more accustomed to hosting community events and weddings but that hasn’t stopped it hawking itself out to music promoters looking to put shows in interesting places. And this is without doubt, an interesting place. Grand yet functional, the venue dares to let gig-goers run roughshod over its regal, thick red carpets. It’s almost too nice to host live bands. But perhaps that’s why it tends to welcome acts on the more demure end of the live scale - First Aid Kit, Handsome Family and M Ward for example.
We visit for the antipodean charm and lyrical talent of Courtney Barnett and take up a position on the balcony where fixed seating provides a type of comfort more associated with cinemas. Still, we like it. The view is good, the seats are soft and toilet and bar breaks are a pleasure. Not that Islington Assembly Hall tries too hard to pretend it isn’t just moonlighting at this. The bar is just a table and the choice is between wine, lager or ale poured from cans into plastic beakers. Plus, it is cash-only so remember to bring your money with you or you’ll go thirsty.
Along with the Union Chapel down the road, the Islington Assembly Hall provides Angel with its own little anti-venue double act. Quaint, calm and mature, it is a change from the usual vast music halls. Both above and below, the sound quality and volume is surprisingly good. It doesn’t have the epic sound and range of the likes of Brixton and Shepherd’s Bush but Islington Assembly Hall is about intimacy and they book the bands accordingly.
T.A.O reviewed Islington Assembly Halls on Thu 07 Aug 2014