Since 2001 the thoroughly independent Club Fandango company has been at the forefront of unsigned music in London, promoting up-and-coming new bands across virtually every notable small venue in London ranging from 80 to 800 capacity.
Set up by Andy Macleod (Pointy Records) and Simon Williams (fierce panda records), Club Fandango began with a now infamous Tuesday night residency at the Dublin Castle in Camden which ran through the naughties (and indie boom time) from the spring of 2001 to the autumn of 2009 and became a byword for an edifying night out for bands, industry and gig goers alike thanks to early and pivotal gigs by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Death Cab For Cutie, Bloc Party, The Futureheads, Hot Chip, Razorlight, The Killers, Keane, Kaiser Chiefs and other bands beginning with 'K', like KaitO. All of a sudden Tuesdays were the new Fridays and Thursday simply didn't know what to think.
Along the way there was unbridled gigging passion and, inevitably, unhinged expansion. There were the quite-frankly-seminal runs of nights such as the BBC 6 Music gigs at the Water Rats and the BMI sessions at the Borderline. There have been the trips up north to In The City, down south to The Great Escape, and along the road for The Camden Crawl. There has been the fanzine (Zine Fandango), the record company (Label Fandango) and the urban - if you will - festivals (A Fistful Of Fandango) and Pandamonium - the annual 5 night stand in the first week of January. Snow permitting.
And Then? After a decade of dossing on other people's (dance)floors, Club Fandango found a home it could call its own. That home was The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town. They moved in on June 1st 2010 and thought about re-naming it Pub Fandango. In September they threw a splendidly successful month-long housewarming party which doubled up as a 30th Birthday celebration for the venue itself. The esteemed likes of mybandsbetterthanyourband, We Got Tickets, Steve Lamacq's Going Deaf For A Living, Amazing Radio, Stuntfox & fierce panda all signed up for the ride to create a welcoming home for great new bands to come and peddle their melodies.
And just as the Bull & Gate was rediscovering its former glory news broke that it was to be sold and turned into a Gastro Pub. Fandango tried to resist and asked Coldplay to come back and play on the roof in protest but not only were there healthy and safety implications, the band were too busy, and in May 2013 Fandango threw a week of sold out shows called Play Your Respects to say goodbye to the place culminating in a Ed Harcourt singalong around the old piano. It felt an apt way to say goodbye.
Since leaving the Bull & Gate, Fandango has emerged bigger, brighter and bouncier with some new partnerships in place - namely with INgrooves (Digital distribution and Publishing), AIM (AIM Awards Warm Up Shows) and London Met University plus the regular live showcases with fierce panda and disorder. The aim is still to discover the next generation of fantastic new bands and take them from playing to un homme et son chien on a wet, windy night at Buffalo Bar to a sell out show at Brixton Academy and hopefully manage, release or publish a few of them on the way.
Now in her 18th year, (yes you thought she was a he), Fandango is excited to announce it is launching not one, not three, but two exciting new ventures. Firstly RADIO FANDANGO, not just because RADIO FANDANGO is the greatest name for a radio station ever, but because Radio Fandango is going to try and entertain, educate and inspire audiences across the country through the best in unsigned music, artist-curated shows, industry podcasts and live sessions.
And secondly, the SCHOOL OF FANDANGO - a brand spanking new free resource to provide guidance, mentoring and real practical advice to help new bands and solo artists meet challenges of an ever-evolving wild west of a music industry.
Indeed, over the years all walks of music industry life have tapped their toes on the Club Fandango boards: A&R men, publishers, managers, journalists, press officers, DJs, lawyers, agents and even rival promoters are often to be found checking out the entertainment. Other punters include rock enthusiasts, generally clever people and, most important of all, new band's burgeoning fan bases. The basic truth is that you can go down to a Fandango show and see three to four carefully hand-picked new bands and if that doesn't represent a good nights entertainment, we bally well don't know what does.
Some bands that have done the fandango over the years...
Death Cab For Cutie, Arctic Monkeys, British Sea Power, Keane, Friendly Fires, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Maximo Park, Alphabeat, Guillemots, Coldplay, We Are Scientists, Field Music, Camera Obscura, Ultrasound, The Clientele , Je Suis Animal, Tim Ten Yen, Goldheart Assembly, Laura Marlin, Crystal Castles, Hot Chip, Dog Die In Hot Cars, Hard Fi, The Polyphonic Spree, Astronaut, Art Brut, Campag Velocet, The Hot Puppies, Cherry Ghost, Fanfarlo, The Go! Team, Tom Vek, The Noisettes, The Dears, Archetecture In Helsinki, Seafood , Flotation Toy Warning, Medium 21, The Young Knives, The Rifles, Fujiya And Mijagi,The Kooks, The Subways, The Pipettes, Hard Fi, Guillemots, Okkervil River, Arab Strap, Delays, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Redtrack, The Maccabees, Rumblestrips, Good Shoes, Glasvegas, Selfish C*Nt, Frightened Rabbit, Pete And The Pirates, The Wombats, Air Traffic, Mr Hudson, Cold War Kids, The Moths, Assembly Now, The Twang, Bombay Bicycle Club, Slow Club, Fight Like Apes, Eugene Mcguiness, Maps, So So Modern, Absentee, Mistys Big Adventure, Ida Maria, Stornoway, The Ravenettes, Bookhouse Boys, Operator Please, The Wave Pcitures,The Heartbreaks, Seerauber Jenny, Pulled Apart By Horses, Slagsmulsklclubben, Lawrence Arabia, Peggy Sue, Spinto Band, Vaults, Does It Offend You Yeah, The Cribbs, Airborne Toxic Event, Hatcham Social, The Crookes, Applicants, Complete Short Stories, Sissy And The Blisters, Airship, Allo Darlin', Anna Calvi, The Answering Machine, Babshadow, Black Gold, Bones, Brigade, Brontide, The Chapman Family, Comanechi, Dels, Dog Is Dead, The Crookes, Fight Like Apes, Films Of Colour, Flats, Funeral Suits, Goldheart Assembly, Hawk Eyes, The Heartbreaks, The History Of Apple Pie, Hope & Social, Imperial Leisure, John & Jehn, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Kurran & The Wolfnotes, Kyla La Grange, Let's Wrestle, Marques Toliver, Mazes, Misty Miller, The Neat, Pete & The Pirates, Red Kite, The Return Of Boothby Graffoe, The Saturday Night Fulchfest, Sissy & The Blisters, Spy Catcher, Steven Merchant, Strangers, Talons, The Travelling Band, Treefight For Sunlight, Tribes, Turbowolf, Two Wounded Birds, Ultrasound, Union Sound Set, We Are Scientists, Wilder, Wild Palms and Young Legionnaire.
Also before they were famous... can you guess? Daggers, Snowfight In The City Centre, Freerunner... And lest we forget - Satan's Cock.