“ 52-54 Dale End / Priory Square / Birmingham / West Midlands / B4 7LS. „
I first visited this venue around 6 years ago as it was the only place that my friends and I were able to get last minute tickets to for New Years Eve! I visited again last week for the first time since. I went to a Scouting for Girls performance and did not quite know what to expect as it has been a while since I have attended a gig in a club or anywhere outside of an arena or hall. I took my nine year old as we are both fans of the band, I was slightly apprehensive about taking her but called the venue before getting the tickets and they assured me that a lot of youngsters go and are more than welcome as long as they are accompanied with an adult (all under 14's must be with someone over 18).
When we got there there was a large queue to get into the venue but it moved really quickly and the doormen were friendly and warned the nine year old not to cause any trouble that evening!!! Something she enjoyed relating to friends at school the following morning! The age range went from kids her age to people around my parents age. We headed straight to the first level that you enter on as I had remembered they have a balcony area that I thought would be less busy that down on the ground level. We managed to get a good spot, right across from one of the bars. After a while she wanted to go downstairs and see what it was like from down there and I could see areas that were quite clear and we would be able to stand without getting pushed into and still get a decent view. We both enjoyed the evening and I would return on my own or with her again in the future. The drinks were served in a plastic pint glass regardless of the drink you had. One good thing I did notice was the bar staff were giving away free water to the people at the front of the stage who obviously would not be able to get out and back in again easily. I felt it was a safe venue for us both to visit.
I have been to quite a lot of venues now to see concerts but the last one I came across was the Birmingham Carling Academy. I have been to many Carling Academys before and usually dont mind them but dont find them to be that great. I had never been to Birmingham before either so I was hoping that the venue would be easy enough to find. I had directions so following it I easily found my way to Dale End and there it was the Carling Academy.
To park here there is a big NCP car park called Londonderry House. The prices are not that cheap though but there is nowhere to leave cars on the street. 6 hours goes up to £7.40 so that gives an idea of the costs. The car park is safe enough and is 5 minutes walk from the venue. As you come out of the car park and walk around the corner you come right to the Carling Academy and you can see the bright lights up ahead.
When walking into the venue you go downstairs and then you seem to arrive into this room which is actually much smaller than I had expected. Its smaller than most of the Carling Academys Ive been too but in a way I quite liked its size. The bar is to the back of the venue so if you want drinks you have to leave the floor to get there but it isnt too badly priced. The stage is biggish but its still quite a close-up kind of concert unlike some venues where they are too big and you can hardly interact with the bands playing.
Above the stage there is a set of stairs where most of the bands seem to stand up and watch down on. I thought once the band kicked in with the music the sound was really good. The thing I liked here was that the security distributed out the water whereas in some venues it is terrible and there is no water passes out at all. Also the venue wasnt too hot there was air conditioning on so you could feel some cold air every so often which is nice in a venue crammed with that many people.
I felt the lighting in the venue was really nicely done. It wasnt the kind of lighting that does no justice to the bands but it was well organised. Inside there is also a higher level for those who dont want to stand on the floor level.
The Birmingham Carling Academy was redesigned and opened in November 2000. Birmingham had been without a decent sized venue until this one was built. It has a capacity of 2,700 which I am actually surprised at because you wouldnt think it when youre in there. The good thing is that when you look at the listings for this venue there is a huge variety of music and also they are all really well known.
The Academy developed a second room but a much smaller one. This one was named the Carling Academy 2 and it has a capacity of 400/600 so that the less unknown bands can still play here but it isnt as big.
If you go onto the website and look under travel info you will easily find instructions on how to get here. As I mentioned before I have never been to Birmingham in my life so coming as a stranger to the city I still had no problems finding it. It is easy to see as it has the red writing and the white lit up bar with red letters on it usually of who is playing that night. Its an old fashioned style but thats one of the things I really like about it.
After going to this venue I have to say I would definitely come back as I found it just a good size, I like the sound and everything and I felt safe in here. One of the good things about this venue also is when you leave the concerts you are starving but you wont be for long. There is a McDonalds just a bit up the road from it which seems to be open for quite a long time. If you dont like McDonalds though you can also go to one of the takeaways nearby and get chips or curries whatever you want really.
After the concerts outside there are a lot of people selling posters etc as at every gig. You can buy official merchandise inside but still you can get stuff outside although I never tend to due to the fact I still dont think its official and the people selling it are not too safe looking.
Well if you are going to a concert here it should be a great night. For full listings of everything thats coming up you go to http://www.birmingham-academy.co.uk and all the information you need is on that website. Its easy enough to find your way around the website and it doesnt miss any important information out.