Venue vaults to top of big draws

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MANY of the older generation nostalgically look back to the days when the The Rolling Stones played in Rugby, but, these days, there’s a new generation of rock stars descending on the town.

Vault, behind St Andrew’s church in the town centre, may be humble in size but it’s managing to book some of the biggest names in the business.

Take Guns n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan (who’s new band, Walking Papers, play on November 6) for example, or Fearless Vampire Killers – who will be familiar to anyone who watches music channels Scuzz or Kerrang!.

Perhaps the biggest act to be booked so far by Vault is Skindred, who play in December.

Unless you’re familiar with the rock or metal scene, you probably wouldn’t have heard of them, but they’re a band used to playing to crowds tens of thousands of people deep – and yet a few hundred fans in Rugby will have the surreal experience of seeing them close up.

Last week, Hollywood actor and musician Thomas Ian Nicholas plays an acoustic set, that’s Tom Nicholas – who played Kevin in the American Pie film franchise – playing an intimate acoustic set in Rugby.

Other stars that have taken to the stage include the Priscillas, Skarlett Riot, and Hacktivism.

Any rock fan will tell you that Rugby is punching well above its weight in hosting them.

Callum Orzechowski, one of Vaults two owners, along with Mike Leonard, said: “When we took over the premises, we started with a blank canvas.

“It was actually really daunting.

“I remember when we first got the keys to the building, Mike and I were sitting in a huge, dark room, we looked at one another and didn’t really know where to start and what to do first.

“In the end, we hired a skip and started tearing the place apart!

“We worked our day jobs and then every night for a month to get the venue ready.

“It didn’t feel like work, because it was a huge amount of fun.”

During the day, both Mike and Callum work full-time in IT – making Vault their side project.

Callum added: “For Vault we had a vision to deliver excellent live music performances.

“we didn’t just want to put on bands, we wanted to put on shows.

“When we secured the booking Skindred, I called Mike and asked how many shows its taken up to get Skindred; we worked it out to be around 60.

“It has taken bucket loads of hard work and an excellent team back at Vault HQ, but i think the one thing that has helped the most is the way we do business.

“ultimately, we care very much about both the bands’ experience at our venue and our customers’ experience.”

There’s always been a thriving music scene in Rugby, with each generation producing countless rock, indie and metal bands.

What has been lacking in Rugby in the past few years though, is a venue to do Rugby’s young musicians justice.

Not only that, they can share the stage with established professionals.

Callum said: “Apart from the occasional headache, we’ve got the opportunity to put Rugby back on the live music scene, meet some amazing people and help to introduce new bands to the scene.

“It’s great to see that the number of other local pubs hosting live music events has rocketed over the past two years.

“Every time we experience a special moment, there is another one on the horizon.

“We put so much in to Vault and we get a lot out, but I think the best moment is the wow factor from people when we announce another large band or artist that were bringing to the town.

“We had a woman recently who couldn’t comprehend why Duff McKagan, would come to Rugby to play the Vault – she genuinely believed it was a wind-up!”