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Leadmill is one of the most popular alternative clubs in Sheffield, having been on the scene since 1980. It features a wide variety of music, catering to all tastes from mainstream to punk to indie to ska.
There are two main rooms within the club. Room one is the bigger of the two, and often plays the more popular club tunes, along with some general chart music. Room two plays a more 'indie' selection; stay in there for long enough and you're guaranteed to hear The Smiths, The Cure, Arctic Monkeys, Madness, Bloc Party, The Strokes and more. As a general rule, room one is more crowded, though both rooms are equally fun.
The weekly club nights during academic term are Shag on Mondays, Gaga on Fridays and Sonic Boom on Saturdays. Shag and Gaga are probably the busiest of the three, as they accommodate a mainstream audience, while on Sonic Boom nights, Room 1 changes to indie, and Room 2 is mostly 60's. Gaga nights are often a lot of fun; in the last year, they've had candy floss, popcorn, a bucking bronco, and more.
Leadmill is also occasionally the home of Itchy Feet, an alternative travelling club night, which accommodates for a variety of tastes - Swing, Jazz, Funk, Rock and Roll... It's all there. I've been to two of these nights, and I could not recommend them more. It draws an interesting crowd, and is definitely a fun night out if you fancy something other than the normal club music.
Alongside being a club venue, Leadmill is also a live music venue. The acoustics are great, and I've yet to have a problem with the quality of a view or overcrowding. As a rule, Leadmill doesn't draw quite the same caliber of bands as it did in the 80's - they mostly go to the O2 or Motorpoint now - but the larger indie bands, such as Noah and the Whale or the Guillemots, still play at Leadmill.
It is located a little bit off the beaten track, between the town centre and the train station. This may sound ideally located, but for most it involves a cab ride to get there. It's about a 15 minute walk from the city centre, and a 25 minute walk from the university campus. The nearest tram stop is at Sheffield Train Station, but the last trams are before midnight.
Price wise, Leadmill can be hit and miss. Entry is often free before midnight if you send off for a text, and certain shots are sometimes £1 before midnight, but after that drinks can get pretty pricey. Would recommend not aiming to drink too much here if you want to keep the price down!!
The club closing hour changes daily - 2am Monday-Thursday, 4am Friday and 3am Saturdays. This is more than sufficient for most, however, and the guards are pretty good with getting people out slowly.
Overall, I'd say that Leadmill provides a great clubbing experience. The audience is pretty widespread, and the music played caters for everyone. Class night out!
I haven't been to Sheffield that many times, so I can't really comment on the drinks culture there. But a few years ago, my girlfriend went to university in Sheffield for a year and her hall's were literally opposite this venue, so it was fair to say that any weekend we had together was spent in here.
I remember phone calls from her in the week, drunkenly asking me to help her get home which was highly improbable as she lived opposite as previously said and I was in Cardiff at the time!!!!!! Her and her flat mates used to go there for the benefit of cheap drinks; 80's night didn't mean just the music was 80's but the drinks were 80p a go too. She used to brag about rounds between two of them costing £3.20 for two pints and two vodka and cokes, so no wonder they were drunk!!!
The few times that I have been there, I have enjoyed the experience. Obviously going only at the weekend, the drinks were a little more expensive, but as they aren't very expensive in the first place, the prices are about £1.50 for a bottle of lager.
There are two rooms at the venue. The larger room holds a couple of hundred people, and they hold regular gigs for popular touring bands as well as club nights after the gigs finish. There is also a modern bar at the far end which acts as a little chill out area to the main room. The smaller room holds about 100 people and has a small bar in it. This tends to be the room where the gig goers start their nights drinking, and at the weekends, it is normally host to modern indie tunes.
On the whole, The Leadmill is a cheap place to go to if you're into your bands and the indie scene. I would recommend it to anyone
Having grown up in Sheffield before heading to University in Manchester, I now realise that Sheffield is, sadly, lacking in the number of decent places to go out at night. Whilst there are some great bars down both Division and West Streets, the club scene was dealt a great blow with the demise of Gatecrasher, several years ago.
So where could you go on a Sheffield night out?
Well, there's Embrace, sporting a massive dance-floor and great chart-tunes and the occasional older song; but this is overshadowed by its often extortionate drinks prices, high entry fee, (still, somehow) overcrowded dance-floor and unwelcoming atmosphere, particularly from the bouncers outside, who will dispose of your presence if if they don't fancy the particular colour top you're wearing that night.
Then there's Plug, which, I have to say is actually one of my old favourites. I used to go a lot in my late teens, and thursday nights always played the best 90s tunes, alongside cheap drinks and, if you fancied it, a rockin' Indie room next door to the main dance-floor. The only problem now is that on thursdays the 90s tunes are really limited, and many nights tend to be really overcrowded, particularly between rooms, meaning you have to wait in large crowds to try and push through. If you lose someone it can take ages to find them again!
Carling Academy is a great space with good music and cheap drinks, but can sometimes actually feel a bit empty because of its size. And Corporation is always a fantastic night out, though not to everyone's tase. You have to really love the underground, rough feel of this club to have a good night, but the drinks are dirt dirt cheap and the atmosphere is great.
And then there's Leadmill, located just by the train station, not far from a take-away and various bus-stops (there are always taxis outside the club too).
I can honestly say I have never once had a bad night at Leadmill. From the moment you walk through the doors there's a great atmosphere. The space is big enough, but not so large that the place feels lacking or empty. There's a main dancefloor which plays a great mix of chart and cheese, and a smaller but still spacious Indie room that plays everything from Muse to Blink 182. Drinks are ridiculously cheap (bottles of Strongbow or Carlsberg for 60p and Vodka shots for a quid) and the whole place just has a great feel to it.
Dancing chicks, Indie boys, students and working folk alike mix together and the rooms are directly adjacent, so much so that it's almost as if there's one large dancefloor that plays different music at each side.
I don't want to give the impression that the other clubs are bad, by any means; I visit them quite often, it's just that I don't think that any one of them offers an all round great experience in the same way Leadmill does. The real pro about this club is that is truly does have something for everyone. It's Sheffield's oldest club, and has such warm character to it. For students in particular, mondays are great but weekends are always good for anyone. If you're in Sheffield for a one off night - this is the place to go!
I first visited Leadmill after i joined the city for the university there, the thing i love about Leadmill is the music, cheap drinks and the friendly people you get in there. The nightclub is split into two rooms, the main room will play the top chart hits and a bit of cheesy music and the other room which is slightly smaller will play all the indie anthems of past and present, the great thing about this is you can request your songs on a piece of a paper and hand it to the DJ who will then play it. The drinks vary depending on the day you'll visit the nightclub, Mondays and Wednesdays are 60p on drinks such as Strongbow and Carlsberg bottles. Then £1 for shots and Vk drinks, which is very good value for anyone visiting the club. The price of entry is about £4 for students with student ID and £5 for anyone wishing to come in. I love the different styles of clothing you'll get in there, its kind of a vintage kind of style you'll find. The bouncers can be a bit pushy at times but there fair if you havent had to much to drink on your entry into the club. Overall i have had some amazing nights out at Leadmill and would recommend it to anyone looking for a night out in Sheffield.
With Sheffield being one of the largest cities in the country you can probably imagine that when it comes to nightlife there is a huge range of different places to go. Most of the clubs that were around when I was an 18 year old (I am now 39) have disappeared and there is a whole number of new, large trendy venues that I have neither visited nor have any desire to do so.
The Leadmill nightclub is one of the few places that was around all those years ago and is still going strong today. In 2005 the Leadmill celebrated its 25th anniversary and now it is officially the city's longest running nightclub.
Back in 1980 Sheffield was a pretty run down place as many of the steelworks that had made the city famous closed down and the phrase amongst the youth of the day was "No hope, no future." The opening of the Leadmill in a derelict flour mill in a run down part of the city was a direct response to the lack of cultural opportunities in the city at that time. It was an era when youth unemployment was soaring out of control.
The choice of venue was quite clever as the large derelict mill provided plenty of space and opportunity to create a unique venue from scratch. Part of this building had previously housed the legendary "Esquire Club" where during the sixties The Who, Jimi Hendrix and the Small Faces had all played.
The principal aim of the Leadmill in those early days was to provide a venue for live acts to perform in a relaxed atmosphere. There was a late bar serving alcohol until 2am and each night of the week quickly became themed, ranging from sixties and seventies disco to jazz. Friday and Saturday nights were largely reserved for the new bands of the day and many people including myself would join the long queues and watch whichever band was playing on that particular night.
Musically speaking Sheffield in the early 1980's was a very exciting place. The lack of employment opportunities channelled the musical talents of many of the local youths to form bands and this was to give rise to the likes of The Human League, ABC, Heaven 17, Pulp, and The Thompson Twins, all of whom hailed from Sheffield and made some of their earliest performances on the Leadmill stage.
The Leadmill quickly established itself as the premier live venue in the city and such acts as Cabaret Voltaire, Killing Joke, The Fall, Nico from the Velvet Underground, Everything But The Girl, Marc Almond, JoBoxers, UK Subs, Prefab Sprout, Big Audio Dynamite, New Order and The Pogues all performed in its early days.
In September 1982 a new Band called Culture Club played there, the admission price on that particular night was just 50p and the following week they were at number one in the charts with "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?". A few weeks later the Leadmill turned down Madonna who wanted an appearance fee of £75 in favour of Ipso Factor who were happy to perform for just £25.
It was also around this time that the "Beat Club" was launched, a 60's and 70's disco held every Thursday night. This still takes place now but sadly does not have a regular current slot at the moment, although it did take place a couple of months ago and yes I was there. The Beat Club is one of the longest consecutively running club nights in the country.
In 1984 The Housemartins travelled from Hull to perform at the Leadmill just prior to their first chart topping success but they were accidentally refused entry by the door staff, whilst a few weeks later that same year an up and coming band called Simply Red premiered their new song "Money's too tight to mention".
The late 1980's and the early 1990's were the years that I frequented this place almost every weekend and although the list of bands that I saw is far too long to list here the ones that I recall seeing included Texas, The Happy Mondays, Primal Scream and The Inspiral Carpets. I saw all of these acts before they became famous.
There are two large rooms each with a bar and playing different music depending on the night. The largest room where the stage on which live bands play is located also has a cafe, a fast food outlet and a cloakroom.
The inside of the Leadmill today is pretty much the same as I remember it all those years ago, although these days there is only one set of toilets where there used to be two.
There is now a Lounge Bar which offers a chill out area located where the other set of toilets used to be. There are disabled toilets available and the venue is located on one level so wheelchair access is possible. The venue does however get very crowded so may prove to be a little uncomfortable for people with severe disabilities.
The Leadmill is located less than a five minutes walk from the main bus interchange and railway station. There is also a large taxi rank at the railway station but taxi's can usually be hailed outside.
This is still a fantastic place and today it is still a privately owned independent venue which despite its commercial success has refused to compromise many of its original principles. It is both a nightclub venue with regular club nights and a gig venue for current bands of the day. The capacity is just over 1000 so it attracts the medium sized bands of the moment who cannot sell out the larger venues in the city like the City Hall or Arena.
I would definitely recommend this place to others.