Not content with creating and running one of the best-supported clubs in non-league football, AFC Wimbledon fans have now entered the often inextricably linked parallel universe of live music. Give & Go, a monthly band night held in the Main Bar at The Fans' Stadium -Kingsmeadow in Kingston - is well on its way to being one of the leading venues in the area to showcase up and coming indie rock talent.
Give & Go One was headlined by Everstrong, which features Dons fan Simon Vaughan on lead vocals, while Give & Go Too, which took place amidst the snow storm in February, saw two well-established acts take to the stage. The Ghears, fresh from supporting Snow Patrol on their 2004 UK tour, were supported by sometime Snow Patrol collaborator Iain Archer, who just weeks before had played to 4000 people in Belfast's Ulster Hall, hardly the kind of acts you'd expect to find in a non-league football club's bar. Give & Go's promoter and band-booker, lifelong Dons supporter Kevin Borras, used a subtle blend of his music industry contacts, 21st century technology and powers of persuasion to bring two bands with record deals to Kingston.
"I saw The Ghears support Snow Patrol at Brixton Academy in November, found their website, emailed them and asked if they fancied playing at Give & Go. Within minutes the singer and guitarist, Paul, replied and said yes and would I like his brother Iain Archer to support them. I didn't imagine that running a music venue would be that easy." Hotly-tipped, but as yet unsigned, London bands Fifty Views and Brigade headlined Give & Go Again in April and Give & Go Forth in May, supported by Cambridge's finest purveyors of classic British garage rock, De Booter, and energetic
nu-metallers The Dopamine Theory, respectively. "It's really important for Kingston to have a venue like Give & Go," says Fifty Views frontman James Stevens. "We were really impressed by the whole set up." The Ghears' Paul Archer explained how the band were more than happy to play at the new venue so soon after the euphoria of playing to sell out crowds across the country (the band also supported much-hyped US rockers The Mooney Suzuki on their UK tour in April). "A gig's a gig - whether we are playing to thousands of people at the Brixton Academy or less than a hundred at Give & Go, we give our all. They asked and we came, and everyone was happy at the end of it."
Despite being run by AFC Wimbledon fans and held inside their home ground, the close season doesn't apply to Give & Go. There mayhave been no football in June, but on Friday 3rd another pair of cracking live acts brought their starkly differing styles to the Kingston Road. The Stabilisers, one of London's best punk-pop outfits showed off their fabulous repertoire of short, sharp blasts of Buzzcocks-esque slices of British life and they were supported by The Warming, who were, reminscent of the likes of Reef and The Black Crowes, although the fact that they announced they were splitting up took the shine off the evening a bit!
On 19 August, AFC Wimbledon's first chart stars Everstrong performed, fresh from reaching the top 75 with their single Take Me Home (Womble Til I Die), and they have in tow the gorgeous, hook-laden post-rock of Prego and, if negotiations are complete in time, Three Quarters.
On 16 September, Brunswick and Larp will be singing Live, and the 7 October date is something a little bit special. Boo Hewerdine, former lead singer with 80s pop rockers The Bible, has confirmed that his gig at Give & Go is to be part of his multi-date UK tour. Hewerdine, about to release his fifth solo studio album, is a Cambridge United supporter, so will be well-versed in the trials and tribulations of non-league football by the time he brings his heartfelt slices of acoustic melancholia to AFC Wimbledon.
Support your local music venue! The doors open at 7.30 for all gigs, with the first bands on at 8.30. Prices are £6, £4.50 for students, except for Boo Hewerdine on 7 October when you'll have to find an extra pound to see one of Britian's leading singer/songwriters. It all takes place at AFC Wimbledon, The Fans' Stadium - Kingsmeadow, 422a Kingston Road, Kingston. Take a look at the website, www.giveandgo.co.uk for all the latest news about the venue, forthcoming gigs and bands.
Words by Kevin Borras
£1 OFF ENTRY! Mention Go! Magazine and get £1 off entry to the 19 August Give & Go event.