Indie's Trade secret

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The Independent Culture
Acklam Road in west London was the original address of the first, and rightly legendary Rough Trade shop, which opened in 1976. Countless fans of left-field music owe their record collection to Rough Trade, who, like John Peel, have opened people's eyes to a huge world of eclectic, obscure sound. Let's face it, back in 1976 your chances of finding that limited edition New York Dolls seven inch on lurid pink vinyl in Woolworth's were pretty damn slim. And now that the alternative crowd have well and truly broken into the mainstream charts, this week of gigs, dubbed "Acklam Hall Revisited", should be seen as both a victory and anniversary celebration.

True to Rough Trade's hybrid nature, bands are drawn from right across the terrain of indiedom. The Cocteau Twins (25 Mar, right, below and far left) were one of pop's biggest sellers when they were 4AD's spooky songsmiths a decade ago; nice to see they remember their roots, even though Mr Major Label now pays the wages. On the moody charisma ticket are Tindersticks (27 Mar), while Creation Records pull artists like Super Furry Animals in for an acoustic jamboree (29 Mar). And dance fans are well catered for: the MoWax night is headlined by James Lavelle (28 Mar) while jungle quakes the floorboards courtesy of Spring Heel Jack, who play with The Raincoats on the final night (31 Mar). Rumour has it that Joe Strummer may turn up as well. The spirit of 1976 is still alive and thriving, then.


Acklam Hall Revisited, 25-31 Mar, London Subterania, 12 Acklam Rd, London W10 (0181-960 4590) pounds 8 in advance, pounds 40 all six nights