Posted on Monday 25th November 2019 at 15:45
The Bodega celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.
Thousands of artists have passed through one of Nottingham’s favourite venues and bars over the past two decades – many of those have gone on to become household names, including The Strokes, Mumford and Sons and Florence & The Machine.
Celebrating with some of the best contemporary artists on the touring circuit right now, The Bodega will play host to local favourites Kagoule, Nactus Kunan, Sancho Panza and Black Mustard as well as Yorkshire/Merseyside hybrid The Orielles, Todmorden trio Working Men’s Club and Liverpool’s Stealing Sheep.
Taking place across three nights (28th and 30th November & 1st December), it is an opportunity for gig-goers to enjoy The Bodega in all of its glory and see the venue do what it does best: provide a platform for bands to hone their craft before going on to bigger stages.
We caught up with Sam Keirl – Promotions Manager at The Bodega – to tell us about which shows he remembers most fondly, urban myths at the venue and what the next two decades will bring.
Q: What do you think makes The Bodega different to other venues?
A: I think we cover lots of areas and different genres with The Bodega charm so there’s something for everyone. Our upstairs room hosts gigs from all genres (from pop to folk and hip-hop to rock), weekly club nights, each with their own different vibe, and our downstairs bar and garden host different DJs and events every night, with a wide selection of delicious drinks on offer. Everyone that comes through our door seems to have a real passion for music and drink which always makes for a lovely atmosphere.
Q: How important is it for venues like The Bodega to exist – especially in a city like Nottingham where a strong gig-scene exists?
A: Small music venues are so crucial in every city. Bands must earn their big tours and sell-out Rock City shows. Without small venues, there’s nowhere to hone their craft and test what works and what doesn’t, so we’re very lucky that Nottingham has such an amazing range of venues of all sizes.
Q: Over the past two decades, everyone from The Strokes to Mumford and Sons, and from The White Stripes to Florence & The Machine have played The Bodega – which shows do you remember most fondly? Not just because of their music ...
A: There’s been so many, where to even start?! Lewis Capaldi played in our downstairs bar for Dot To Dot a couple of years ago and that voice completely stopped everyone in their tracks. Lightning Bolt brought a first to Bodega too, playing the whole gig on the floor (manic to say the least). Sam Fender, Easy Life, The Big Moon and Tom Grennan all had exciting atmospheres around them. Special mentions also must go to IDLES, who we bought 20 Greggs sausage rolls for, and Bodega playing The Bodega can’t go without a mention too right?
Q: You’re celebrating alongside great bands such as The Orielles, Kagoule and many more across three nights – how does it feel to have these artists on board?
A: It’s such a massive honour to have them all on board. We’re really celebrating the best of our venue with some bands that we’ve loved for a long time. Bands like Kagoule have joined us many times before so it feels like a lap of honour for them whilst The Orielles and Stealing Sheep now play big venues so it’s nice to welcome them back to an intimate setting. Heavenly Records played a big part in our venue in the early days so to have some of their bands return is a nice full circle.
Q: Do you think gig-goers are now keener than ever to find ‘the next big thing’ in venues like The Bodega?
A: Absolutely! With the beauty of streaming, it’s so much easier to discover smaller bands. Even if they have one or two songs out, the buzz can start straight away. People seem to be digging more than ever to find brilliant bands that might stay underground hidden gems forever. Although watching a band go from 200 people to 2,000 people within 24 months is massively satisfying.
Q: Can you tell us something that we might not know about The Bodega?
A: There’s an urban legend that behind a wall in the venue, there’s a spiral staircase which goes down a couple of stories into the caves of Nottingham, along with a freshwater lagoon. Can’t say I’ve ever seen it but it’s nice to imagine ey?
Q: Finally, what’s next for The Bodega?
We’re seeing out 2019 in style with tonnes of gigs, club nights and bar events before the year is out. We’ve just launched our Winter drinks menu so there’s plenty of festive cocktails and specials on offer in December, all leading up to our annual NYE club night.
Further forward, we’re filling up 2020 with more gigs and drinks, with some exciting news hopefully to follow very soon. Watch this space!
Tickets are selling fast for The Bodega’s 20th Anniversary shows. Secure yours here.