I play a lot of gigs in and around SE Kent. Pubs, clubs, music venues, festivals, live music often added to a mix of drinking and entertainment for residents and the keen tourist.
In amongst this plethora of anomoly it's nice to come across a venue that provides an appropriate context. By context, I mean a setting that's purpose is to present and support good music. The Lighthouse in Deal is that venue. Set-up by Cocos Lovers' Dave Hatten and his bro James (and their mum I think), the erstwhile muso walks into the Lighthouse and is immediately at home. Its not grand by any means its just 'appropriate' - a small corner stage with chunky PA, loads of mics and stands - one is in no doubt this is a venue set-up by musicians.
I'd been talking a lot to Dave about getting GLASSHOUSE in to play and we managed it last Friday 29th Aug. A slightly unusual night in that the Smugglers Festival was just starting a couple of miles down the road so many of the Smugglers Faithful were otherwise busy but still a respectable turn-out. Dave was there and he does a great job hosting and running the PA.
Simple things like effective lighting is sorted. So many venues just don't bother investing 2-3 hundred quid on some in-house lighting, the Ballroom in Canterbury comes to mind, which is an almost decent venue in a city that should and could do better. The Ballroom lighting consists of two archaic spots one of which I lent to them when they were Orange Street Music some six years ago!
We had a good night there. 'Jazz' often frightens the lazy listener away, but the small crowd that gathered to watch and listen on Friday were smarter than that and their appreciation was gratefully received by the band.
The truth is, the music community is desperate for more venues like this. There's nothing over-ambitious about the Lighthouse, it just has the right values at heart and is run by a group of committed (and nice with it) individuals. We certainly look forward to re-visiting and I would so love to see other venues manage a similar approach. Five stars Dave!!