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26 reviews of Carling Academy Birmingham in English
Not the best venue I've ever been to. Very hot, bad beer and the service wasn't much better either. On the whole a below average experience, it was a good job Wolfmother were there to lighten the mood.
Worst venue ever!
I went here once to see Ocean Colour Scene (who were great) and will NEVER go back! I though the academy in Bristol was bad but this one makes the one in Bristol look 5 star! Filthy dirty all over, sticky floors (would it really hurt these places to invest in a mop and bucket and use it occasionally?) and the toilets were the worst I have ever encountered (and I go to Glastonbury festival regularly). Most of the lights in the (ladies) toilet were broken so it was really dark and dingy and most of the doors on the cubicles were missing or broken toilet roll was non existent and the smell was horrendous. Oh and you wouldn’t have known there is a smoking ban (I reported them for that).
I’ve been to the academy for both club nights and gig nights. Upstairs they have Academy 2 which is a smaller room for smaller bands obviously! Saw Blood Red Shoes there which was extremely hot and sweaty! Well worth it though.
The bigger bands play downstairs, there is a balcony on top overlooking the stage so if you don’t fancy getting in on the action so much and getting a view i’d definately take the stairs up there. You have to be quick though as the railing space tends to go quickly. There is a bar up there as well although you’ll have to go downstairs if you need to use the toilets or the cloakroom facilities. Downstairs the standing room is pretty huge but when you’re going to a sell out gig you know that it’s going to be busy!
I’ve seen various bands such as Editors and Massive Attack there and you can get a pretty good view from everywhere, but their air conditioning system is rubbish as it’s always superhot in there. The only downside is that there is only one cloakroom and the queue after a gig can be pretty large.
The car park opposite the academy is also a total rip off, expect to pay over a tenner if you’re seeing an evening gig. I would try and use public transport or go to a slightly further away carpark.
I could only describe the club nights at the academy as dirty but awesome. You stick to the floor, sometimes get snakebite land on your head (people dropping it off the balcony, yep happened to me), nearly tumble down the stairs to the toilet, find out they’ve run out of the vodka/whiskey/rum you wanted at one of the bars but you leave smiling as it’s just such a good atmosphere and plays some great music. (although there sometimes are a few idiots who start moshing and hurt themselves) The place is huge so there is loads of room to dance and also speak to your friends in the corner.
Fridays are indie and Saturdays are rock/metal. Last entry is about 1 am I think. If you are at an evening gig you will be able to stay and do the club night free, result!
The only thing that I think Birmimgham academy has going for it is the fact that it is one of the few large music venues in Birmimgham and therefore attracts many bands that you could not see anywhere else in the region. This aside, the negatives far outweigh the positives.
Firstly, the sound is really poor. This seems to be a common problem with Carling Academies, based on what I have heard from friends in other parts of the country, but the Birmimgham one is really sub-par. I have seen quite a few gigs here and many good performances have been marred by the sound quality.
Secondly, the venue is not in the best of conditions. The floors are extremely sticky (okay you get that at venues everywhere) but the interior is seriously in need of a good lick of paint, to say the least. Thirdly, drink prices are heavily inflated and especially at busy gigs, you may end up waiting at the bar for half the gig before getting served. My advice would be do not come here to see gigs unless you really want to see the band and they are not touring anywhere else nearby.
Although the venue isn’t in prime condition it definately makes for a good night out! close confined sweaty people aren’t everyones cup of tea but if you like a good night with a variety of great music and reasonably priced drinks then this is the venue for you!
the Carling Academy shows a range of new and old musical talent…althought i’m ashamed to say it i even went to see 'Rooster’ here in my early teens!! (sad i know) but i had a great night despite what some might call their muscial incapabilities!!
a really good, really fun night to be had by all!
Ive been here twice, the first time was to see MGMT- I dont know how I didnt faint! It was so hot it there it was unreal. The sound was only good if you stood quite near the front and right in the centre (the speakers are all hanging from the balcony so if you stand behind them it doesnt sound brilliant)
The drinks were expensive (over 3 quid just for a carling, about 5quid for a vodka and coke). But the atmosphere was amazing with people crowd surfing before the band had even come on stage…and come on, how could I have not enjoyed myself at an MGMT gig?!?
The second time I went was to see Fat Freddys Drop. Amazing. I couldnt believe they hadnt sold out!!
It was no where near as busy which meant I could stand where the sound was good and still have enough space to dance. Phhwoaar I cant even discribe how good this gig was! So glad I went though.
I got over the expensive drink issue by drinking snake bite… all good!
After visiting the Carling Academy in Birmingham on sunday to see Extreme I must say I was quite impressed by the venue. Quite put off by the large queue that had formed before I got there I expected to have a rubbish view of the stage yet was really pleased that you got a good view from most places. The bar area was actually a good place to watch the show from, however I managed very easily to get a spot on the barrier.
As another reviewer has said your feet do stick to the floor which is never good!
Someone else said about the stewards not giving out water, this wasn’t the case on sunday they made sure the crowd had water available to them.
Parking for the venue is quite expensive, I’d gone to the NCP behind the academy and it was £8.90 by the time I’d gone to leave, quite ridiculous when you’ve already spent £37.50 on a ticket!
mixed feelings for ths venue - a lot depends on the gig and the crowd
generally good place to go to gigs, usually good view from wherever you are and feel up close to it all, but sometimes can get idiots chatting throughout whole time.
also sometimes takes forever to get served at the bar..
on whole though gets good variety there, and cheap place to see up and coming groups
Good place for cheap gigs… please please please do not head here for a night out unless you are under 21 and enjoy sticking to the floor, having your drink spilt by the inebriated customers and generally dancing to generally dated music that might have been popular 6 years ago with a random new song thrown in there in an attempt to get with the times. Really awful… but gigs it’s passable for that.
Very good if slightly primitive gig venue in Birmingham City Centre. I’ve seen some great bands here over the years and have generally found oit to be a good venue even though the sound quality is a bit inconsistent.
The academy in Birmingham is totally in need of a revamp. Its split up into different rooms depending on the act, however it was overbooked, no chance of seeing the act, and the bar was out of good drinks.
Would definatly not go to any other Carling academies again as I can say most of them all need a refurbishment and it totally ruins the experience of the act.
A brilliant venue to see gigs at. Unfortunately this is the closest place where bands play so have to make the journey from coventry to here. Could be worse.
Great venue with an upsatirs for small gigs and a downstairs for large events.
I have seen countless bands here and must admit its very very good.
The downers to this venue is that it gets soooo hot so quick.
And the stewards dont seem to care if you need water as they just wont give it out.
Apart from them its a good venue. Noise can be distorted here as they some fascination with cranking up the volume - why do they like making the music sound like that?
Keep it lower, our ears wont bleed and we can actually hear the vocals and the instruments!
The Birmingham Academy is certainly in great need of a bit of TLC, but that doesn’t stop it from being a prime music venue in Birmingham. For a while now, there’s been talk that this venue would be knocked down and moved to another part of the city, but to do so would be a total shame.
With two rooms (a large one for big acts, and a small one for lesser known acts), not to mention the Academy Bar next door for more intimate gigs, it’s house concerts from some really top acts over the years and many a good night has been enjoyed there by all.
On Friday and Saturday nights, there are club nights for either Indie or Rock music which is guaranteed a good night.
Since the smoking ban came into force, the cleaner air inside the venue has made it a much more pleasant environment.
I think this is the best venue in the Midlands. You can come and see great acts here and actually see them. Give me this over the big arenas any day. I saw Scissor Sisters here just before they got big and it was the best night out I have had!
Being situated in between snow hill and moor street stations comes in handy for this great little venue. Although it doesn’t have much space it has a great atmosphere. Ticket prices are standard and some good bands have and will play here. There is plenty of car parking spaces around too.
Having been an Aston University student for 4 years and a fan of rock/indie music – I’ve visited this place an awful lot. As a music venue it lends itself well to the high profile rock performers that frequent it with it’s dark nooks and crannies, sticky floors and plastic cups! It can get extremely warm in there and the acoustics aren’t always the best but for a sweaty, frantic rock performance I’d defy you to find anywhere better. The club nights on a Friday and Saturday can also be quite messy but great fun if a night of not having to worry too much about how you look or if the guy you’ve just accidentally just knocked into is going to bottle you is what you’re after!
Great venue for gigs, can get a bit too hot in here when its at full capacity. Bar staff are very friendly and helpful. Great sound system and lighting. Have thoroughly enjoyed being here for every gig i’ve been to. Down side of this place is that when you walk, you stick to the floor and the prices of the drinks are a bit too high esp for carling considering its the cheapest beer in your local - £3 a pint
Great gig venue which is important as many, many bands now play here. This has got to be the most important venue in Birmingham for gigs. The club nights are really poor though, if you like a beer, dance to good music, a place to socialise, this aint you place (on the clubs nights that is)
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