Condemned Sunderland club to host final bash

Ben Wall (left) and Paul Smiles outside Independent Nightclub in Holmeside.
Ben Wall (left) and Paul Smiles outside Independent Nightclub in Holmeside.
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THERE’LL be one last night of disco tunes, drinking and dancing before a building which has played a pivotal role in Sunderland’s music scene is demolished.

Few would have thought that when Independent opened in Holmeside on August 16, 2006, it would go on to become a hub of musical activity in the city.

It has welcomed big music names through its doors, such as Klaxons, The Maccabees, Kasabian and Glasvegas, while also helping to launch the careers of homegrown acts such as Frankie & the Heartstrings and The Lake Poets.

The nightclub and gig venue’s final night in its current guise will take place on Saturday.

But it’s not the end for Independent – owners Paul Smiles, Ben Wall and their team are migrating across the road to their new premises in the old Van Mildert shop in the spring.

Ben said: “It’s going to feel strange on Saturday. It’s mixed emotions really because we’re sad to see the old place go, but we’re looking forward to moving to the new venue.

“We’re fitting it out at the minute and it’s going to be a bigger space and we’ll be able to attract bigger bands and DJs so it’s a good thing for us.

“We’re really excited about the next chapter.”

One of the first acts to ever play Independent were recent Mercury Prize nominees, and Sunderland musicians, Field Music ahead of their self-titled debut album.

Over the years, the 600-capacity venue has been a melting pot of the city’s musical talent, hosting gigs by This Ain’t Vegas, The Golden Virgins and, of course, The Futureheads.

It soon became a focal point of Sunderland’s indie scene.

Club nights have also helped to attract crowds to this ailing end of the town with sets from Jamie Jones, Erol Alkan and Yoda among others.

The building’s demolition was ordered in May last year as Independent stands in the way of the Homes and Communities Agency’s plan to rejuvenate Holmeside by levelling the old Kwik Save supermarket and car park.

The diggers and bulldozers are closing in with the intention of reducing the seminal venue to rubble later this month.

In recognition of the demolition, Saturday night, which will feature DJ sets, is entitled Wrecking Ball.

Twitter: @sunechokaty