Victoria Hotel: Great music venue.
I am including this in the nightlife section as that was my predominant use of it, although it is a functioning hotel and they also do food, so it is effectively, hotel, restaurant and nightspot.
If you have read some of my other VT pages, you will know that strange things happen to me. I don't know why and I don't look for it but strange things happen. Perhaps they happen to everyone and I happen to notice them more, I am not sure.
Anyway, if you have read my other Largs pages, you will know that I was there for the wedding of some dear friends nearby and had intended to stay for three days but ended up staying a week, largely due to this place. I had not ventured in, thinking hotels were a bit posh for the likes of me, and preferring the bars in Largs, but on the Saturday afternoon I was standing outside having a cigarette. Yes, I know this is appalling, but don't start me on that particular subject!
So, I was standing outside a pub in Largs and a guy engaged me in conversation. His opening gambit was, "So you're a musician then, pal?" Fair enough, I keep the fingernails on my right hand long and the left hand short to facilitate guitar playing. Perhaps he had just seen the tour T-shirt I was wearing, I don't know and I had made no mention in the bar of being musically inclined. He informed me he was going to a gig and there was a really good band playing in a place round the corner. Well, no better man, so I took directions to the place, the Victoria Hotel, followed him half an hour later and what a good decision that turned out to be.
The Vic, as it is locally known, is THE place for music in town. On the Saturay afternoon and evening, I was treated to the excellent Micky Kemp Band featuring on guitar Darrell Bath who has played with many, many bands including one of my great heroes, Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople and also played in the Dogs D'Amour, a huge band in the 80's. During the interval, I was introduced to the guys and it was great. Nice men, we traded a few tour stories and they went on for the second set, which was wonderful.
After the gig, we had a few drinks, traded a few more stories (in the way of gigging musicians everywhere) and had a generally good time even if it lasted until damn nearly daybreak. They told me they were playing on the Sunday, so that was decision made. A bit Hunter S. Thompson but without the firearms really.
Sunday, and planxty is back in the bar early afternoon. I really did want to see this band again, I loved what they were doing. After a leisurely liquid breakfast, the boys took to the stage again and were as brilliant as they were the night before. In the evening there was a sort of wierd karaoke going on. It was like a normal karaoke but there was a female vocalist and a good guitarist doing numbers between the occasional local that wanted a shot at the big time. amusing, but not really my thing.
Let's take stock here for a second. I am supposed to be getting a train back to London the next morning, a journey (via Glasgow) of maybe seven hours. Well, it didn't happen, so no surprise there. No matter. What happened was that Dougie Graham, who had been playing bass with Micky but was a very good guitarist as well did a few numbers and your humble narrator, being what he is, decided to jam with him. Well, what a night. We had an absolute blast. In fairness, this being a travel site, I should say that the punters seemed to enjoy it as well so it is not just a planxty love-in, real musicians play here as well!
Apart from idiots like me, this place does book some seriously good bands (The Animals spring to mind) and I thoroughly recommend it.
Update August 2013.
Readersd of my pages will know that I like to keep them as up to date as I can. Whilst trawling some of them today and checking for broken hyperlinks, I came upon the information that the Victoria has been closed for about two years which means shortly after I played there. I do hope the two things are not connected! Anyway, as of 24th August, 2013, the local internet "newspaper" reports that it has been sold. The website appended gives details.
Further update October 2014.
Whilst discussing this particular fine establishment with another VT member this evening, I decided to look into the current situation as I do like to keep my tips current when I possibly can. I read with absolute regret that the Vic is to be torn down (after three years lying idle) and some nondescript piece of modern garbage masquerading as a hotel put in it's place. I only had a few days in there but I suspect that there are many musos from the UK and beyond that will lament it's passing. Are we to be left no heritage or do they just want us all to shuffle off and die? I shall always cherish the memories of some totally impromptu gigs in there and I am sure many others of my ilk feel the same.
Dress Code: Casual.
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
Smith's: Pub crawl
Tho there are many pubs in Largs (about the only thing to do at night), Smith's is quite lively. Friendly staff, good food and lots to see. We are not drinkers, but did enjoy the times we popped in there!
Dress Code: I did not notice any dress requirements, mostly a casual sort of dress will do.
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