Pioneer Club relaunches gigs after three year absence from St Albans music scene

A LIVE music venue popular with local youngsters has relaunched after more than three years out of the circuit.

Under-18s were stripped of their only regular opportunity to listen to live bands in the city when the Pioneer Club in Heathlands Drive was forced to stop putting on gigs in 2007, largely due to licensing problems which have now been resolved.

One of the management committee members, Andy Batten, who is dad of Enter Shikari bassist Chris Batten, has now taken on the licence of the venue having seen what the club did to launch his son’s music career.

The band, who have gone on to achieve massive stardom, started out playing at the Pioneer Club and the venue still remains very close to their hearts.

The new-look Pioneer has been kitted out with a state-of-the art audio visual system worth �70,000, which was funded by Herts County Council, and the relaunch event on July 31 went down a storm with the 200-plus crowd, which was a mixture of both under-18s and adults.

Headliner Canterbury as well as emerging local talent Polly Poison and her Electric Antidote, and Kalazar were on the bill at the event, which was largely organised by Enter Shikari drummer Rob Rolfe.

Andy said: “It was a really good night. It’s great to have somewhere for young people to actually go and for bands to have somewhere to play. We used to have a great local music scene, with bands like Enter Shikari and the Gallows, but then the Pioneer was lost because there was nobody to take on the licence and nobody was really putting on any shows. But that platform is now back.”

Most Read

The proceeds from the opening event and future events will be channelled back into the Pioneer, which is also a popular youth club, for various improvements such as more fire exits so that capacity can be increased.

Andy Kilvington, one of the managers of the registered Pioneer Club charity, said: “The event gave the musicians a chance to try out the fantastic new state-of-the art sound system that has been installed, and with a new bar also now in operation there can be no doubt The Pioneer is destined to become one of the most successful venues in the area.

“The team of organisers put together by Rob from St Albans’ most famous band, Enter Shikari, deserve full credit for doing a fantastic job, and praise must also be given to every single fan for their exceptional behaviour – it was a truly wonderful evening without any hint of trouble and the icing on the cake was the receipt of �1,000 profit for the Pioneer Club registered charity.”

Miles Howell, Kalazar lead singer and guitarist, said: “The entire night was a triumph for the St Albans music scene and a fantastic opportunity for all the bands involved. We’re delighted to have been part of such a talented bill of musicians and present at the unveiling of the revitalised Pioneer. Looking and sounding better than ever – long may it continue to host events like these and provide bands, youth and the community at large with such an invaluable outlet.”

Polly Poison guitarist Sami Resua said: “Playing The Pioneer was a great experience for us. It’s a fantastic place for up and coming bands to showcase their music and help build their fanbase. We’re glad the Pioneer is back in action and we hope to be playing there again soon. Exactly what St Albans needed.”

More events are lined up for September.