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Yesterday I travelled to London to see one of my favourite bands, Fightstar, in the o2 Shepherds Bush Empire.
I didn't see an awful lot of Shepherds Bush during my visit, although I can say that it is in a very convenient place. It is a very short walk away from Shepherds Bush rail station, along with the Buses. There are quite a few cheap-ish hotels in the area too, including the Grantly Hotel I stayed in which is pretty much 100 metres away from the Empire.
The Shepherds Bush Empire is quite spacious inside, with standing stalls, and two seated levels. I was in the standing area, which is convenient for the bars and toilets (I don't know if there were any more toilets upstairs). From the bar at the back of the room, you have a great view of the stage. This is very convenient as there is no need to rush to the bar in between acts, as you get a great view from there!
There were two bars inside, the one I mentioned up the steps at the back of the room on standing level, and another which is actually in the standing area along the right hand side. During the gig I purchased a few pints of Carlsberg, which cost £3.70 each. I thought this was a tad expensive, but probably should be expected as it's a music venue, and also in London.
The sound quality sounded good to me. I would imagine that if you were stood right at the front of the venue, by the stage, it would be really loud and distort things - as with all gigs. I'd think the sound quality would vary day-by-day, depending on the band and setup e.t.c, but I did think that the Empire had good acoustics.
I would definitely recommend visiting the o2 Shepherds Bush Empire to see a band or artist, as it is a good sized venue (obviously not area sized), where you are sure to get a good view of the stage from just about anywhere.
In case you were wondering, the band I saw, Fightstar, were amazing. Their set was about 1.5 hours, and they had three support acts. What a great night!
Shepherds Bush Empire is a live music venue in West London that plays host to many internationally renowned acts. It has live music of a high quality most nights of the week. Ticket prices can range depending on who you see but usually are between £12 - £20 depending on position. The venue has seating in the upper circles and standing room on the floor by the stage.
I think that the Shepherds Bush Empire is amongst the best music venues in London. The layout allows for very intimate gigs if you are standing on the floor. Arrive early and you can be standing at the feet of a hero. The seating in the circle allows for a more civilised experience and the view from there is also excellent. If you're a mosher or a weeper, this place will cater for you.
The venue attracts many big name acts of international acclaim and from varying genres. A week could host both Willie Nelson and La Roux and many in-between. This is great given the intimate nature of the place. It is not overly big so you really feel the performances. The sound set-up is excellent too. I have been a number of times now and sat in the upper circle and been on the floor and never had a problem.
My only grumble would be that the bar isn't that great. Last time I went they served cans of beer but little else. It wasn't too pricey but would have been nice to have had a better selection.
I travelled down from Scotland for the HIM gig on 25/09/05 in this venue and as a wheelchair user I wasn't really expecting much as most of the venues I had been to up until then the wheelchair spaces were at the back with poor view due to us being classed as "fire hazards".
When i got there however I was amazed. The staff couldn't be more helpful and when they led us to where the wheelchairs went my jaw just about hut the floor. I was the closest I had ever been to the stage (we estimated it at about 40 feet away).
The disabled toilet was just metres behind where the wheelchair area is which is great. Even better however was that if you had to use the toilet the staff kept an eye on your space and anyone who went into it were asked to move upon your return.
The bar and merchandise areas were nearby too so if i wanted anything I wasn't left alone for that long as it was quick and easy for my carer to get to.
The sound system could be better but I was that taken away by being so close to the stage that the slight disappointment with sound went straight out of my mind.
Like I say I travelled from Scotland and I would definitely do it again as it is a great venue.
I have only ever been to Shepherds Bush Empire once when I saw the band 'Porcupine Tree' in May 2001. The venue I noticed had a warm looking reception hall as you first come into the building. Here you can buy tickets if you do not already have them. As you walk up the stairs into the main concert hall, there is a pathway to the seated area above. I was standing on this occasion as I usually do at concerts and there is a large area in which people can stand and watch the band. There is lots of space and there is air conditioning inside the building so I was comfortable throughout the gig. To the left and right of the standing area there are bars which sell alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. The drinks are however a bit expansive but that is allways the case in gig venues. The main hall is set out like a theatre with two layers of seats and a balcony above. Overlooking the standing area there are also balconys where I noticed the VIPs were standing. The reverberation in the room is almost nothing which makes all frequencies sound amazing. The PA system is very well positioned with two huge stacks of speakers either side. The lighting is not the best I've ever seen but it is still very effective.