Note since writing the venue moved to
The Jerico Tavern and more recently the then promoter, "Silver" Phil, has died.
At the time of writing the gigs are scheduled to continue and the new location
This is a review of the VENUE that is known as the Famous Monday Blues, Oxford
Date of visit- 15th November 2010
Band seen- Joanne Shaw Taylor
Admission cost- £12
Number in (Monday Evening) around 100
The Famous Monday Blues Club is in the back room of The Bullington Pub 162, Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1UE. The front bar/pub itself is fine but no real ales offered. On the night I attended the front bar was quiet. The area looks a bit rough and indeed I was asked for spare change when outside at one point, but I did not see any trouble. The pub has no car park that I could see but the web site for the club directs you to park in Tescos Pay and Display car park and this was easy (80p) and as the pub is opposite Tescos no problem.
In the dark the pub is hard to see, so if you have never been before just head for Tescos and park there and you will see it from the front of the store when you walk around it. There is another well lit pub a few hundred yards up the road - so make sure you get the right one!! Access is level throughout so suitable for those with limited mobility, but I would suggest not totally wheelchair friendly.
As I drove I cannot offer any information on public transport.
The venue has a very average web site where information may be found at http://www.famousmondayblues.co.uk - it is actually hard to find the address of the venue on the web site!!!
The music room is at the rear of the venue and is quite large, and well appointed....for a music room!!! You enter via a reception area where there is a man to take your money and a girl who will check in your coat if you wish.
Entering in to the main music room there is an area with a low ceiling at the rear where you will also find the bar on your right, loos to your left. Just forward of the bar on the right the sound desk was set up on the night I visited. The room was very dark, with little or no seating and the "incidental" music prior to the gig very loud, so we sat in the bar before the gig where we could chat. The music room on the night I visited had only one table out and a few chairs, which just seemed to be in the way, and there was nobody seated.....
Forward of the area with a low ceiling the roof level rises considerably and the venue has an almost cellar feel to it with utility pipes and air-conditioning trunking running across the ceiling. The ceiling is painted black, pipes and all, and the walls dark blue. Dark therefore seems to be the name of the game.....
The excellent stage looks like it is removable and is about two and a half feet high and quite large. Left and right are banks of speakers and I could not work out if all or just some were being used bit the sound quality was very good. Around the outskirts of the room by the stage were loads of speakers, quite why there were there I have no idea, but they were not in use other than for putting drinks on!
As I have said the sound quality was very good, although loud at the front it was quite quiet near the bar meaning you could order a drink!
The Famous Monday Blues Club is run by "Silver Phil" who has been doing gigs in the area for over 20 years on a Monday night and making a fine job of it, no tributes as such, just fine acts, and I know from bitter experience that it can be hard work finding an audience for some of these bands, so he deserves all the support we can give him, how he manages it on a Monday night is beyond me, but he does.
I would guess there would about 100 in the room at the start, but the start was, for no obvious reason, very late. The web site says "Band on Stage at 9pm" and the band I saw came on at 10.30 and played through until midnight, by 11.30 half the crowd had gone!! With a lot of people having to get up for work the next day, I guess, my only criticism of this excellent venue is why run so late??? Granted there was a support act but even that started very late. There was no reason for the delay that I could see as Joanne was sat near me in the bar from 9 pm and I overheard Phil giving her the running times.
Smokers are not really catered for, you just go outside at the front on the road and meet the local beggar asking for spare change.
To sum up, a good room with an average bar, but no seating (on the night I was there) and a late finish for a Monday night. It is a long way from my home in west London so I could not comment on or try the public transport, but do know the 24 Hour Oxford Tube (coach to London) stops nearby.
Review by Philip -