Roundhouse club where Queen played gets ready to rock on 50th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 10:50 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:22 04 March 2019
Copyright Chris Bocking 2016. All rights reserved.
A blues club which played host to rock giants Queen, Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its opening.
The Village Blues Club opened at Dagenham Roundhouse on March 29, 1969 with the ex-Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams and his band Blodwyn Pig.
The club went on to attract a host of top bands and artists including Jethro Tull, Derek and the Dominos, Rory Gallagher, Deep Purple, T. Rex, Slade, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd and Elton John.
Club-goer Dave Baxter, who lived in Stratford at the time, recalled: “The first time I ventured into the place was on a late Saturday night in September 1973.
“My friend’s sister was already a regular and three of us decided to drive to Dagenham to pick her up after the gig.
“On arrival, we found the side doors opened so wandered in and caught the end of Medicine Head’s set.
“It resembled what I could only describe as a vision of Hell. Within three months it also became our regular Saturday night haunt. I subsequently met my wife there.”
But in November 1975 it was forced to close with a final performance by the British pop group, Sailor, whose hits included A Glass of Champagne and Girls, Girls, Girls.
Hopes of reviving the club were high at the time, but it wasn’t until club regular Ken Ansted set up a Facebook group in 2010 that interest in a reunion gathered steam.
In 2012 after 37 years of waiting and with thanks to Roundhouse landlady, Kim Sullivan – who was all for the idea – regulars brought the club back to life with the hard rock act, Stray, playing live at the long-awaited reunion.
Ken, who started going to the club in 1970, said: “It was a bit of a surprise how well it all took off. It was a great pleasure to meet old friends and make like-minded new ones who shared a passion not only for the venue but for live music.
“The club deserved to be up and running again.”
Soon afterwards it was left homeless while the Roundhouse saw off the threat of demolition finding a temporary home at Dagenham Trades Hall in Charlotte Road where the acts Son of MAN and John Coughlan’s Status Quo performed.
When the Roundhouse triumphed in its battle against demolition the club moved back in with Dr Feelgood playing the reopening night.
On March 30 Atomic Rooster, who last played the venue in 1972, will appear alongside the prog rock band, Landmarq, celebrating the club’s 50th drawing regulars from across the country.
Tickets cost £16 in advance from the Roundhouse or online.
They will cost £18 on the door.
To share your memories or photos of The Village Blues Club email Ken at Progfan123@hotmail.com