O2 Academy Oxford Reviews
O2 Oct 08, 2009
I'm struggling not to review the band I saw - who were incredible - and the venue - which wasn't. Bear with me.
Oxford is mostly known for its university, and many tourists are perfectly content to see the beautiful colleges, where Harry Potter was filmed, a pub and then home. And that is a great day out in Oxford. But there is a side that few people notice. Out by the Cowley and Iffley road areas, there is a cool, multicultural cluster of bars and takeaways where you can eat great noodles, and then go to a gig. And the biggest gig venue in that part of the town is the O2.
The O2 Academuy is the former Carling Academy Oxford. As such, consderably more effort appears to have gone into the bars than the stage. The venue is a long, narrow area with three bars and the stage itself is only just big enough for a full band. The acoustics were a smidge growly at the front, but otherwise fine. The main problem is that the sound engineers are sandwiched between two of the bars, making getting to the front a bit of a squash, and then the front was pretty empty where people were trapped behind the sound booth.
There is a large screen showing the band at the back bar. It is on the side wall. Given that this is a small venue, if you really feel that you need a large screen at the bar, looking the opposite way from the music, you don't have enough faith in the band. Who were amazing.
The staff were lovely. There were very sensible queue management and the bouncers were nice.
If a band was playing, I would rather see them in some of the better venues in Bristol than here. But if they weren't playing Bristol or sold out, then there is nothing actively wrong with the O2 and I would go back.
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