The Half Moon, Putney
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The Half Moon, 2014
It is one of London's longest running, and most respected live music venues. Since the early 1960s, some of the biggest names in popular music have performed there, including The Rolling Stones, The Who and U2. The venue has hosted live music every night since 1963.
It all began with the folk and blues sessions started by Gerry Lockran, Royd Rivers and Cliff Aungier in 1963. 'Folksville', as the sessions were called, featured new British and European artists alongside established American blues-men. These included Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Champion Jack Dupree and Arthur Crudup. British acts included Ralph McTell, John Martyn, Bert Jansch and Roy Harper.
As blues and folk thrived, bringing Fairport Convention and Van Morrison, so other genres began to appear. From the psychedelia of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band; to 1960s mod groups The Pretty Things and Nashville Teens; to early pub-rock acts such as Dr. Feelgood; the Half Moon was the centre of not only the emerging music scenes but continued to host the big names.
It was never just a "passing through" venue. Residencies at the Half Moon have included Elvis Costello (who would play a couple times a month in the mid-1970s for £50 and a plate of sandwiches) and Steve Marriott of Small Faces fame. John Martyn returned decades after his first Half Moon gigs to a week-long residency, and both Tim Rose and Roy Harper did the same. On 24 July 2007, Welsh-language folk guitarist Meic Stevens performed his first London gig in over 30 years at the Halfmoon. Other memorable gigs at the Half Moon include k.d. lang's first UK appearance, Kate Bush's first ever public performance and a surprise appearance by Nick Cave.
The Half Moon has always been synonymous with a certain local band The Rolling Stones, whose most recent visit was a private event held in May 2000. As well as performing as the band, individual members have appeared here in various side-projects, and have also used the venue for rehearsal space. In January 2010, the Half Moon almost closed due to failing sales, rising rates and the recession, but they received hundreds of signatures and a Facebook campaign of 6,500 people. Musicians such as The X Factor finalist Jamie Archer, Eddi Reader and Simon Fowler supported the petition as well. As part of its revival, the Half Moon started serving food.
Artists who have appeared
Artists who have performed or recorded at the venue since the mid-1960s include the Rolling Stones, The Who, U2, The Small Faces, Kasabian, Ralph McTell, GoodLuck, John Martyn, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Alexis Korner, The Yardbirds, Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band, Morrissey–Mullen – who had a residency there of several years' standing, Rocket 88, Fairport Convention, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Roy Harper, Van Morrison, Danny Thompson, Dr. Feelgood, Elvis Costello, Meic Stevens, Finley Quaye, I Am Kloot, Bo Diddley, John Otway, Tim Rose Amy McDonald, Catfish Keith, as well as k.d. lang's first UK appearance, and Kate Bush's first public performance.
It has also hosted comedy, including Billy Connolly, Harry Hill, Rufus Hound, Shappi Khorsandi, Norman Lovett, Bob Mills, Milton Jones, Al Murray, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Jack Whitehall, Alistair McGowan, Katherine Ryan, Cardinal Burns, Reginald D. Hunter, Stewart Francis, Bridget Christie, Josh Widdicombe, Sara Pascoe, Rob Beckett, Sean Hughes, Kevin Eldon, Henning Wehn, Hal Cruttenden, Holly Walsh, Danny Bhoy, Aisling Bea and James Acaster.
Discography – live recordings
- Live At Half Moon Putney – The De Luxe Blues Band (1981)
- An Evening with Meic Stevens: Recorded Live in London – Meic Stevens (2007) (Sunbeam Records, SBRCD5033)
- Live at the Half Moon – Catfish Keith (2009) (Fish Tail Records)
- "Music pub 'rescued from closure'". bbc.co.uk. January 12, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- Thomson, Graham (2013). Complicated Shadows: The Life And Music Of Elvis Costello. Canongate Books. p. 1975. ISBN 1782111638. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- Rucki, Alexandra (July 26, 2013). "Electronic band Goodluck come to Half Moon pub in Putney after six number 1 hits in South Africa". yourlocalguardian.co.uk. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- Chilton, Milton (March 28, 2014). "Danny Thompson: bass player for the greats". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- Brend, Mark (2001). American Troubadours: Groundbreaking Singer-songwriters of the '60s. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 124. ISBN 0879306416. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- "Putney | Gits and Shiggles". Gitsandshigglescomedy.co.uk. 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
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