With so many places to go for an evening’s entertainment these days, it can be hard to choose between the pub quizzes and the jazz nights, cabaret shows and the cinema, the theatre and a host of local dedicated music venues. For me though, one of my favourite places to go for gigs (comedy or music) has to be Brighton Komedia and here’s why…
1. Good crowd/atmosphere
I don’t think that I’ve ever been to a gig with a bad atmosphere at Komedia. The majority of the events have a really full crowd, often selling out shows before the night, but even the quieter gigs have a great intimate feel that leaves you as an audience member feeling engaged.
2. International artists
For both music and comedy, Brighton Komedia draws in a great crowd of talent from across the world. Over the last year I have seen performers from America, Canada, Iceland and all over the UK. I genuinely think that without Komedia, Brighton would get a lot less attention and visits from international touring artists.
3. Wide range of local promoters
Some venues seem to have most of their events put on by the same promoters. This can be problematic as venues can fall into a niche which unless you fit into, you can feel quite isolated from the usual crowd. Because the programme at Komedia is so diverse, this is not a problem and there are often gigs by a number of local and independent promoters including Melting Vinyl and Lout. I’ve been to gigs populated by everybody from teens up to grandparents and everything inbetween, and a good time is usually had by all irrespective of their age.
4. Ticket prices
A lot of venues, such as Brighton Dome and The Brighton Centre for example, have such high hire costs that ticket prices often soar high above the £25 mark. Whilst this is not the promoter’s fault – they are just trying to cover their costs – it does mean that the audience is slightly limited by this financial barrier. The majority of the gigs at Komedia tend to fall in the UNDER £10 bracket, which is a great price point for students and working professionals alike. There are also regular offers for students for discounted entry to Krater shows, from as little as £5, so “I can’t afford it” is not really much of a leg to stand on any more.
5. Local supports
A lot of the shows at Komedia feature local supports. Whether this is because international touring bands are keeping the costs down, they want to see what the local music scene is like, or this is a condition of their contract with the promoter, this is all irrelevant. The fact is, you go to a gig to usually see the headline act only, but at Komedia you get to see some great local acts for free too and you never know who might be your next favourite band, solo artist or comedian.
6. Accurate timings
A lot of gigs have stage times written on sheets of A4 around the venue. For the most part, this is to allow the audience to schedule pit stops and trips to the bar around who they would like to see perform. However, a slight flaw with this plan is that they are almost never accurate. The first support starts half an hour after they were meant to and everything goes off schedule.
At Komedia, the sound team do a stellar job at making sure that things run on time. If they were in charge of our train networks, I am sure that we would be getting to our destinations on time as well! It’s good to know what time things will actually happen.
7. TV’s and side seating
The main venue downstairs, used for the larger gigs and Krater Comedy Club on weekends, has great side seating and TV screens throughout the venue, so if you’re unfortunate enough to have that 6 ft 6 guy stood in front of you, you should still be able to position to get a view of the stage on the screens if there’s nowhere else to move to. It would be great if there were a little more seating in the main venue for music gigs, but that’s your incentive to get down early and catch the supports!
8. Multiple Venues
If I haven’t mentioned it before, then this is a big thing – there’s not just one venue in Komedia. In addition to the recently added Duke’s Cinema upstairs as you enter Komedia, there are two venues downstairs! The studio bar is the smaller of the two and is usually frequented with SOLD OUT acoustic shows, up and coming comedians and local bands. The main basement bar, the home of Krater is a pretty big space usually populated by world-class comedians, international artists and events such as speed dating or late night electronic music nights.
9. Friendly staff
Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I don’t think that I’ve ever had bad service at Komedia (and I’m there a fair bit). I recognise a few staff by name who are always very friendly to talk to, but the majority of the time, I am served by somebody I have not seen before and despite the busy crowds, the staff seem to cope well under pressure and always provide quick and efficient service. If you’ve ever been rudely treated at a bar – I imagine that quite a lot of people have – then you really appreciate good service when you see it, so kudos to whoever trains the bar staff!
10. Bar snacks
Finally, and this will sound petty, but £1 for a pot of mini eggs mixed with peanuts is enough to get me to come back for more.
Check out the full listings of events on http://www.komedia.co.uk/brighton/all-events/