15 Years of Village Underground

Village Underground, Shoreditch. Pic; Londonmatt (Flickr)

Village Underground, Shoreditch. Pic; Londonmatt (Flickr)

For 10 years, the people of Shoreditch have seen the venue, artist space and gallery Village Underground grow and develop.

The venue has a reputation for bringing lesser-known musicians and artists to the stage.

When discussing Village Underground, Georgia Moot, one half of South London DJ Group ‘GIRL’ and Village Underground attendee, told Eastlondonlines; “It is known for pioneering quite new talent […] I think new music helps the venue. It makes it more exciting and more current.”

“You always need a venue available for new musical acts to show themselves, in London you definitely need these cool little venues to promote local music.”

“If you didn’t necessarily know who the artist was, just the venue itself would convince you to go.”

Now, at its 10-year anniversary, with Hackney council granting a lease of 15 more years, a whole calendar of artists booked and a buzz for one of the best independent music venues in the UK, here is a pick of the most memorable events to happen at this iconic space.


Fat White Family – January 26 2015

In early 2015 South London based Post-Punk Rock band, Fat White Family, brought their cult following to Village Underground.

Projecting an almost biblical wall of chanting during their hit song Auto Neutron, the Fat Whites gave the crowd a show that took them to a new level.

Topless and heroic, lead singer Lias Saoudi broke the mould of the event with an outrageously energetic performance.


Section Boyz (With BBK, Skepta and Drake) – February 24 2016

South London’s MOBO Award winning grime group smashed the Village Underground with an electric performance of their 2015 mixtape ‘Don’t Panic’.

To make the gig even better, the group were joined by Drake and Skepta, who came straight from the BRIT awards in Greenwich to perform with Section Boyz on stage.

It was £15 a ticket… deal.


Father John Misty – February 26 2015

Father John Misty, ladies & gentlemen

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Straight off the back of his album ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, Father John Misty played his indie folk sound to a packed Village Underground in an iconic gig.

Misty’s stage presence filled the venue, his confident ownership of the stage gave waves of sexy Americana out to the crowd of Shoreditch hipsters.

Lyrically and vocally, Misty’s performance was charming and capturing.


Foals – August 25 2015

Mad night. Can't wait to experience foals live again soon @ynnsphilippakis

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A self-confessed ‘Sweaty London Gig’, alt-rock band Foals (who are often seen as one of the best live bands in the UK) smashed the Village Underground, days before their album ‘What Went Down’ was released.

Playing smash hit songs such as ‘My Number’, ‘What Went Down’ and ‘Mountain at My Gates’ which have made the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury go crazy to such an intimate venue, it’s safe to say this gig was something special.

The small nature of the show even prompted Foals to ask the crowd to not take photos… Crazy.


Pussy Riot – July 1 2015

Russian Feminist Punk group, Pussy Riot, brought their smash activism to the heart of Shoreditch in 2015.

Fresh from their release from prison, the members of Pussy Riot put on a powerful performance, along with an accompanying talk from formerly imprisoned member, Maria Alyokhina.

This performance not only brought great music, but great discussion.


Ben Eine – 2007 – Wall Art

Ben Eine's Vandalism Graffiti. Pic; Cory Doctorow (Flickr)

Ben Eine’s Vandalism Graffiti. Pic; Cory Doctorow (Flickr)

Street Artist Ben Eine brought the first piece of street art to the Holywell Lane Wall in 2007, when overnight ‘VANDALISM’ appeared in his signature typography.

Eine’s creation sparked Village Underground’s graffiti wall, which is repainted every three months by local and international artists.

This simple wall turned Village Underground from a place that was not only amazing on the inside but a work of art on the outside.


Ray BLK ft. Stormzy – February 27 2017


The BBC Sound of 2017 winner, Ray BLK (http://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2017/01/south-london-singer-wins-prestigious-bbc-award/), performed her third headline show ever at Village Underground earlier this year.

The gig was a South London marvel, representing Catford and Croydon, Ray BLK was joined by Stormzy to perform her hit ‘My Hood’.

With Ray BLK’s recent BBC win and Stormzy’s latest album release, ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’, this gig was something special.


Bombino – April 25 2013

The Tuareg guitarist and singer, Bombino, brought a new vibe to Village Underground in 2013, with his smooth guitar riffs and melodic tamasheq (the language of the Tuareg people) singing.

Performing just after the release of his fourth studio album, ‘Nomad’, which was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Bombino’s only UK show captured the entire crowd.


Joel Bergner – Street Art for Street Children – Wall Art – September 2015

Another addition to the iconic wall of graffiti was Joel Bergner’s mural, in conjunction with UK NGO, Street Child United.

Street Art for Street Children, was made with the aim to promote the rights of street children and homeless youths around the world.

With #IamSomebody painted into the mural, the image depicted Jessica who grew up in a Brazilian favela, shouting to be heard… It was very iconic for Shoreditch.

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