On a recent weekend break in Durham I was looking at some unique and great things to enjoy in the evenings. I was pointed in the direction of The Launderette Sessions at the Old Cinema Launderette. Now then, that is totally unique indeed, of course I went for it and a wonderful evening it was too.
Yes, it is a launderette by day, a very good one by all accounts, but in the evenings it becomes a venue for music gigs of all kinds of tastes. It is not often you get a quirky place where you get a launderette, dry cleaning, a bar, a cafe and intimate live music gigs.
What’s more? It has a bar. This intimate music venue was definitely looking a perfect choice for something different to do, would have been rude not to have tasted one of the variety of ales on offer whilst we waited for the show to start. The bar is a cafe at other times so you have the retro feel of getting your laundry done whilst making it a relaxing or social occasion whilst you wait. The capacity is around 50 people maximum so you can imagine the ambience and feel when all is in full flow.
How did it come about? Well, The Old Cinema Launderette is situated on Marshall Terrace, Gilesgate Moor, Durham. The building was originally opened in 1928 as part of a 320 seat cinema, Crescent Cinema. In the 1941 it became Rex Cinema which closed in January 1958.
The above explains a lot! The name, Old Cinema Launderette was taken to bring back a part of history, but when you look around the launderette itself you can see the retro items all over. From posters to old washing powders and washing related items from years gone by.
The performers backdrop is totally quirky and retro. In front of the tumble dryers to be precise, a different backdrop to what you may be used to, but it is great when you see all the entertainment in action.
Drink in hand, it was time for the performers this evening to start. First up was Andy Mort with a great solo sound with guitar and voice. He definitely got the place buzzing immediately, and the small setting gave a real huge vibe that is hard to explain. You will just have to go experience it to know what I mean.
After Andy’s set there was time for a pause to get another drink before the next artist, Andrew Wasylyk. Piano, guitar and song. It felt like this kind of venue belonged to him. His melodies had everyone captivated from beginning to end, a very intimate evening of song and music.
I took a look at the site of the Launderette Sessions and can see that there are events and gigs happening all the time. Some names you may really well have heard of too! The listings also show that every gig will be different to the last and every single taste is catered for believe me. From local musicians to national and international groups. Take a look.
Thank you Durham, I have experienced another wonderful and unique evening. I shall be back here when travelling again in the area to experience a new sound. Quirky? yes great. Unique? yes great. Tip-Top, The Old Cinema Launderette, Durham.