29 July 2014

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Challenge Annica: Let us entertain you


When Chelsea FC’s music venue Under the Bridge challenged us to perform on their stage, we said no chance. Then we said maybe. Then it was show time. Here’s how we got on.

I’ve put a few bands together in my time, but never like this. Some of the team hadn’t picked up an instrument in donkey’s; others hadn’t been on a stage before. The fear set in fast.

I showed the team a video of Thin Lizzy’s performance at Under the Bridge. ‘That could be us,’ they said, and eyes widened. Without asking, I booked a rehearsal and gave everyone the lowdown. With first practice done, the whole team was on board – and we sounded great.

Over the years, we’ve written rather a lot about venues and we always like to come up with new ways of showing you their best bits. Under the Bridge’s best bit – would you believe it – is the music. This was our chance to test out its USP first hand.

Since opening in 2011, the venue has hosted the likes of Alicia Keys, Robbie Williams and Stereophonics, so there was plenty to live up to. But, as any good musician will tell you, get the songs right and the rest will follow.

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Everyone loves a banging rock sing-a-long, so we swiftly settled on The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long and Muse’s version of Feeling Good. After three short practices and a hunt for the right equipment, the day of the gig arrived.

We got to the venue at the ungodly (to musicians) hour of 9am, loaded in and got prepped for the show. High on caffeine and energised by the wow factor of the Chelsea venue – Abramovich has gone all out on the hardware – we were ready to go.

With the amps cranked, lights shining down and cameras fixed on the stage, we let the guitars wail. Heather – singer/reporter – had the hardest job fronting things, but hit the high notes in Feeling Good with the verve of a rock star.

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Seeing the whole thing back on video afterwards was pretty special. We’ve already said we’ll come back, but next time we want the stadium.

Get your rocks off

Chelsea FC’s £8m music venue is available to hire exclusively for dinners and can accommodate up to 550 reception guests.

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Among the black-and-white photos of British music icons, the industrial space has a number of comfortable booths, the option of a 200-capacity roped-off VIP area, and a high-spec green room to satisfy the most demanding of entertainers.

For a rundown of Chelsea FC’s abundance of event spaces, click here.

This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events, spring 2014.

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