Islington’s O2 Academy celebrates 10 years

Lady Gaga made a suprise appearance Pic: PA

Lady Gaga made a suprise appearance Pic: PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

One of Islington’s best loved and most vibrant concert venues – which once saw an impromptu concert by Lady Gaga in her underwear – is 10 years old next week.

Tim Burgess of the Charlatans at the Academy

Tim Burgess of the Charlatans at the Academy - Credit: Archant

The O2 Academy Islington, in the N1 Centre, celebrates a decade in the business next Thursday (August 29) with a performance from US punk rockers Alkaline Trio – the same band who played the opening night in 2003.

Since then, the Parkfield Street venue has seen the likes of the Kings Of Leon, KISS, Def Leppard, Eminem, Muse and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs strut their stuff.

Sheffield’s finest, the Arctic Monkeys, played there in front of just a couple of hundred people back in 2005, before they hit the big time.

Matt Skiba, singer in the Alkaline Trio, said: “To have been at the beginning of an era with O2 Academy Islington was amazing.

“I remember that show being extra special and playing again for their 10th anniversary is something we’re extremely proud to be a part of.”

The Academy started life as the latest incarnation of the famous Marquee Club – a former West End haunt that launched the careers of many a rock star.

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Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics made a short-lived effort to revive the club – it went belly up in 2003 – and the rest is academy history, with many highlights – including an unscheduled performance by Sir Tom Jones – and a total of 1.5million gig goers through the door.

Alex Gilbert, general manger, said: “It’s been great working here, lots of different acts, lots of different music and people.

“I’ll never forget the time Lady Gaga turned up. I think she was playing the O2 Arena the following night and came to watch her support act, who were performing here.

“She ended up singing and playing drums in her underwear and crowd surfing. It was an interesting night.

“It’ll be great to have Alkaline trio back – they opened us 10 years ago and very kindly agreed to come back. It should be a good night

“Islington has a great music scene at the moment, lots of venues, and it’s good to be at the heart of that.”