The Bodega was an early stop for bands such as The Strokes, The White Stripes and Arctic Monkeys. (Courtesy DHP Family)

Nottingham, England, club marking birthday with series of shows

The Bodega, one of DHP Family’s venues in Nottingham, England, is celebrating  its well-earned reputation for breaking bands with a 20th birthday weekender.

Artists who have passed through the intimate 220-capacity room over the last 20 years, include The Strokes, The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, The xx, Scissor Sisters, Florence + The Machine, The 1975, Easy Life and Slowthai.

Bodega’s Sam Keirl said in a statement: “It’s crazy to think of bands playing to a couple of hundred people in Nottingham and then a couple of years later they can be headlining Glastonbury. It’s very exciting to see who will be next! With a gig on most nights, we see a lot of amazing bands, some go on to huge things and some stay underground hidden gems.”

Now, the Bodega is marking its 20th birthday with a series of shows and DJ sets, including performances by The Orielles (Nov. 28), Stealing Sheep (Nov. 30), and Nottingham’s owns Kagoule (Dec. 1).

Cai Burns of Kagoule said in a statement: “We feel very honoured to have been asked to headline The Bodega 20th anniversary show alongside some of our favourite Nottingham bands. It has been a kind of spiritual home for us over the years and has been an integral part of ours, and many others, growth as musicians. We are truly looking forward to celebrating its legacy on 1st December.”

Another local band that benefited from having The Bodega on its doorstep is Amber Run, which is about to tour the U.S. Venues include the 1,000-cap Warsaw in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the 1,150-capacity First Avenue in Minneapolis.

On its last visit to those cities in Dec. 2018, the Amber run sold out 400 tickets for a Brooklyn performance at Baby’s All Right, grossing $7,800, according to Pollstar box office reports. In Minneapolis, the band visited The Cedar Cultural Center, Dec. 14, 2018, selling out 625 tickets, grossing $8,750.

Talking about Amber Run, DHP Family’s director of live, Anton Lockwood, said: “I saw them many times in the early days – indeed, rumor has it that they are named for a bartender at the Bodega called Amber! You have to ask them about that one, though! They recently played Rock City, and the show was a triumph, with a real sense of mutual love between the band and Nottingham.”

Lockwood was referring to another one of DHP Family’s Nottingham venues, one that has been around almost twice as long as the Bodega: Rock City, which started it all for DHP in 1980.

Rock City has the same reputation for hosting bands before they blow up. Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam and Marilyn Manson come to mind.

The biggest challenge when it comes to producing future headliners in grassroots venues, DHP Family Managing Director George Akins said, is “just keeping the venues profitable, given all the charges they are facing just to open the doors. Plus, with certain artists we have issues with licensing and police, which we never experienced in the past.”

Akins also touched on the biggest opportunity: “There are so many bands looking to break, and they need grassroots venues with credibility to help break them.”

DHP also runs Rescue Rooms and the Stealth club in Nottingham. Outside its hometown, DHP operates the Thekla in Bristol and London venues Oslo (Hackney) and The Garage (Islington). DHP also runs Manchester Cathedral’s music program.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since it was originally posted.