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Catching the Queer Act

Catching the Queer Act

Queer artist Scott Matthew -- listen to that Shortbus soundtrack! -- has sung his way around the world: check out his short list of great, gay-friendly venues.

Britney's tour may soon be going transatlantic, but for those of us who prefer shows with a shade less sparkle and a touch more soul, it can be a difficult task to find an intimate, gay-friendly performance venue while vacationing abroad. That doesn't mean you've no option but to forgo live music if you go to Europe this summer; provocative and progressive venues showcasing inspiring local talent are spread throughout this culturally crammed continent, and a little exploration can mean the soundtrack to your European escapade is grass-roots rather than generic.

New York-based Australian musician Scott Matthew has toured the world numerous times since he found critical acclaim for his contribution to the Shortbus soundtrack and is currently crisscrossing Europe yet again to promote his new album There is an ocean that divides? At his recent London concert he gave me his own shortlist of the five best venues he's performed in on his numerous trips across the continent.

HBC
www.bhc-kollektiv.org
Karl-Liebknecht-Stra?e 9, 10178 Mitte, Berlin
Berlin, Germany
It's always a trip to perform in Berlin. We played at this great artists' collective space called HBC, which used to be the Hungarian Cultural Center. It's a really beautiful but weird-looking East Berlin building. The people who work there are great and the venue seems a little bit less official, more organic.

WUK
www.wuk.at
W?hringer Stra?e 59, 1090 Vienna 9
Vienna, Austria
We've played here twice and for some reason they just adore us; we just played to 500 people there and it's just the most raucous crowd between sets and the most deathly quiet crowd during performances. Generally I'm not too into going out so while I was in Vienna I ended up just staying in, but I had a three-day love affair while I was there so that helped!

The Luminaire
www.theluminaire.co.uk
311 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 7JR
London, England
It's always super nice to play in London. In terms of communication, people just get what we're about here and it's so pleasurable, the crowd at our gig in The Luminaire were great. Also, there's so much to do anyway that it's always fun to be there.

Handelsbeurs
www.handelsbeurs.be
Kammerstraat 19, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Gent, Belgium
This is a classically-based but modern concert hall that's relatively new but really, really beautiful, we had a lovely time performing there.

Hana-Bi
Marina di Ravenna, Ravenna, Italy
Ravenna, Italy
My favorite favorite venue is a surf bar in Ravenna in Italy that's right on the beach. It's called Hana-Bi and the bar's stage is outdoors so you're performing under the stars and the ocean is right beside you. Loads of people just hang out there but it's surrounded by dunes and during performances they form a kind of natural amphitheater.

When we were there the dunes were filled with people and it was just the perfect evening. We got horribly drunk on Italian wine and went swimming at night after the show, it was just really perfect. And I needed a bodyguard after the show because the Italians got so passionate!

Glasslands
www.glasslands.com
289 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, New York
New York, USA
I know it's not in Europe but New York is my home now, I've lived there for 12 years and have to recommend somewhere there. We recently did a record release in a venue called Glasslands. It's a really great venue that's an institution although it's changed location a couple of times. A lot of really cool bands that normally play bigger venues, like MGMT, play there. That is a really awesome space.

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