Legendary Leeds venue The Cockpit has closed permanently after 20 years of putting on the best names in the business.
It perhaps comes as no surprise considering it has been shut for the summer, but the news that Leeds venue The Cockpit is now closed permanently after two decades, is still a shock to the system for the Leeds music scene.
In its heyday, The Cockpit was one of the city’s most influential venues, bringing artists to Leeds long before they could bother the charts or even the small print on festival line-ups.
What will Leeds be missing?
Two of the four Leeds Festival 2014 headliners played their first shows in the city at the famous venue underneath the train arches. But Queens of the Stone Age and Paramore are just part a stunning list of previous show stoppers.
The White Stripes, The Killers, The Libertines, The National, Muse, The Flaming Lips, Coldplay, Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Kasabian, Amy Winehouse and Jake Bugg – it’s a who’s who of rock and roll royalty.
Add to that the number of influential club nights the Cockpit hosted over the years, including Brighton Beach, The Session, The Garage and Slam Dunk, and Leeds is seemingly without of one of its vital musical institutions.
Well, rather than ruing the loss of a venue, it’s possible that the fact that The Cockpit has shut down will merely cause a wave of nostalgia across the city.
We all have our memories of The Cockpit. It smelt particularly bad, you had to peel your feet from the floor, the toilets were straight out of Trainspotting and to get any phone signal in the arches, you had to stand on your head.
But at the same time, it was the source of many poignant memories. Personally, it was the scene of my first gig in Leeds, when Bombay Bicycle Club toured their first album back in September 2009, while one of my favourite shows, The Maccabees in October 2011, showed The Cockpit at its best. I even had the ‘pleasure’ of interviewing Viva (ha) Brother in the toilets a few years back, which is something, I can’t, rather than won’t, forget in a hurry. But those days are gone now that The Cockpit has closed.
The Cockpit closing isn’t the end of the world
In recent years, The Cockpit became a shell of its former self. Failing to move with the times means that punters can soon lose interest and look to move on to different, or at least newer, haunts.
The same too can be said for the bands. With the likes of Brudenell Social Club and Belgrave Music Hall becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for local and touring artists, the competition for the clientèle The Cockpit attracted simply became overcrowded.
This isn’t to say that the city’s venues are hammering the final nail in The Cockpit’s coffin, by any stretch. As the statement on their website explains “it is no longer viable to deliver you the level of service you deserve with the building in its current condition.”
Whose fault is that? Well, in all honesty, it doesn’t matter now. It’s time to thank The Cockpit and cherish the memories we had causing mosh pits to our favourite bands, seeing the next big thing before anyone else and taking advantage of their deadly drink offers at their club nights.
And out of The Cockpit now being closed comes new possibilities. The folk from Slam Dunk are opening up their new venue on Merrion Street, in the former Subculture and Beat Bar venue, called The Key Club on Saturday 20th September 2014. Many of the gigs at the now closed Cockpit have been moved there, as well as Slam Dunk and The Garage nights.
Futuresound, the venue’s former stewards, have also promised to have a new venue open in Leeds for 2015 – while it’s sad to see The Cockpit close, it’s also a chance for those involved to kick off something equally as important.
Hopefully, the new venues can be as influential in the next two decades as The Cockpit has been in Leeds for the past two. If so, that’ll be some achievement…
Tell us your favourite memories of The Cockpit in the comments below…
Gigs at The Cockpit Moved to new Venues
Don’t panic if you have tickets for any of the shows coming up at The Cockpit – they have been moved to new venues such as The Key Club, The Wardrobe and Brudenell Social Club. Keep checking back here for any further updates…
• Saturday 20th September 2014 – Beartooth – Now at The Key Club
• Saturday 20th September 2014 – Me vs Hero – Now at Temple of Boom
• Tuesday 23rd September 2014 – Modern Baseball – Now at The Key Club
• Friday 26th September 2014 – Big Fish 8 – Now at The Wardrobe
• Friday 26th September 2014 – Spring King – Now at Brudenell Social Club
• Wednesday 1st October 2014 – Lewis Watson – Now at Brudenell Social Club
• Friday 3rd October 2014 – This Wild Life – Now at Leeds Beckett Students Union
• Friday 3rd October 2014 – Heights – Now at The Key Club
• Sunday 5th October 2014 – The Maine – Now at The Key Club
• Tuesday 7th October 2014 – Blitz Kids – Now at The Key Club
• Wednesday 8th October 2014 – Tidal Wrestling – Now at Riley Smith Hall at Leeds Uni Union
• Thursday 9th October 2014 – The Neighbourhood – Now at Leeds Uni Union
• Friday 10th October 2014 – The Tea Street Band – New venue TBC
• Friday 10th October 2014 – The Dirty Youth – Now at The Key Club
• Saturday 11th October 2014 – Tom Vek – Now at The Wardrobe
• Saturday 11th October 2014 – Fatherson – New venue TBC
• Sunday 11th October 2014 – Eliza and the Bear – Now at The Wardrobe
• Tuesday 14th October 2014 – Kids in Glass Houses – Now at Leeds Beckett Students Union
• Tuesday 14th October 2014 – The Treatment – Now at The Key Club
• Wednesday 15th October 2014 – Dry the River – Now at The Wardrobe
• Thursday 16th October – Attila – Now at Leeds Uni Union on Tuesday 3rd March 2014
• Friday 17th October 2014 – Southern – Now at Brudenell Social Club
• Sunday 19th October 2014 – Hawklords – Now at The Wardrobe
• Monday 20th October 2014 – We Are The Ocean – Now at The Key Club
• Tuesday 21st October 2014 – Bury Tomorrow – Now at Leeds University Union
• Wednesday 22nd October 2014 – Patent Pending – Now at The Key Club
• Thursday 23rd October 2014 – Toyah – New venue TBC
• Thursday 23rd October 2014 – The Struts – Now at Oporto
• Saturday 25th October 2014 – The So So Glos – Now at Temple of Boom
• Sunday 26th October 2014 – Klaxons – Now at The Wardrobe
• Monday 27th October 2014 – Framing Hanley – Now at The Key Club
• Monday 27th October 2014 – Dave Giles – New venue TBC
• Monday 27th October 2014 – Rixton – Now at The Wardrobe
• Tuesday 28th October 2014 – Hollywood Ending – Now at The Wardrobe
• Saturday 1st November 2014 – Kill It Kid – Now at The Key Club
• Sunday 2nd November 2014 – Never Say Die Tour – Now at Leeds Uni Union
• Monday 3rd November 2014 – The Blackout – Now at Leeds Uni Union
• Tuesday 4th November – Sikth – Now at Leeds Uni Union
• Wednesday 5th November 2014 – Lords of the Riff – Now at The Key Club
• Friday 7th November 2014 – Solemn Sun – Now at The Key Club
• Saturday 8th November – Circa Waves – Now at the Wardrobe
• Tuesday 11th November 2014 – Joyce Manor – Now at The Key Club
• Friday 11th November 2014 – Phantogram – New venue TBC
• Saturday 13th November 2014 – Rich Robinson – Now at Leeds Uni Union
• Sunday 16th November 2014 – Against Me – Now at Leeds Beckett Students Union
• Tuesday 18th November 2014 – Suicide Silence – Now at Leeds Uni Union
• Saturday 29th November 2014 – The Defiled – Now at The Key Club
• Sunday 30th November 2014 – Hugh Cornwell & Hazel O’Conner – Now at The Wardrobe
• Friday 5th December 2014 – Hacktivist – Now at The Key Club
• Sunday 7th December 2014 – Against The Current – Now at The Key Club
• Wednesday 10th December 2014 – People On Vacation – Now at The Key Club
• Monday 15th December 2014 – The Beards – Now at The Wardrobe
• Saturday 31st January 2015 – Neck Deep – Now at Leeds Beckett Students Union