All That Glisters Is Not Gold…

It’s ten o’clock on Monday night.  The university campus lies silent beneath the starless sky, nothing but flickering shadows, sleepy ducks snoozing on the grass and inky silhouettes of trees. There is the occasional intoxicated student who has somehow managed to get lost on the way home from the Dirty Duck stumbling around in the darkness and muttering incoherently about exams. Apart from that it is a wasteland, an arctic tundra, with little to no signs of life at all.

Everywhere, that is, apart from Whitefields. Weaving in and out of the flats in a queue so colossus that it could probably be pinpointed by a satellite in space, are hundreds and hundreds of very excitable students. And, towering above them, the real reason behind the desertion around campus and the most visitors that Whitefields has ever accommodated, lies something that we have all been awaiting for what seems like forever. Yes that’s right, the much anticipated opening of the Copper Rooms.

Despite slightly resembling a multi-storey car-park inside, decoratively the Copper Rooms encompass the gritty, urban nature of much of the music that will be played inside. The two main rooms, upstairs and downstairs, are each endowed with their own bar and along with it a couple of hundred thirsty students, their pockets jingling. The air is humid and the floor already sticky with spilt beer, but surely that’s what a students’ union is all about. Downstairs there is also the scantily clad, scantily titled ‘Rouge’ room, decorated unsurprisingly in red and attempting to adorn the place with a slightly more up-market tone. This seems mildly misplaced, however, as the couple of plush armchairs in the corner would probably look more at home beside a glowing fireplace than in a dimly-lit club.

Beneath the resounding grumbles about queue lengths there does seem to be a sense of relief, and of contentment. It may not be Oceana or Gatecrasher – we could never have expected that – but it’s pretty good for what it is.

On Tuesday night Bandsoc reveal to us a darker, rawer side of the Copper Rooms by treating us to a gig compiled of four bands that triumphed in the recent Battle of the Bands. The evening also gives us a sense of how the venue will cope when other live bands take to the stage. Despite allegedly having a few technical difficulties to begin with, when the bands finally grace the stage with their presence the sound quality is sky high and the lighting is just as impressive. The venue is large enough for hundreds to watch without feeling as though they are standing on top of one another, and the stage is very similar, meaning that big bands like Feeder and The Streets can play without feeling claustrophobic, or as though they are playing at an eleven-year-old’s birthday party in a village hall.

Overall, the Copper Rooms do seem to slip more comfortably into the category of live music venue than club, but that’s not to say that when dressed up as the latter, they won’t still be overflowing with drunken students desperate to get off with one another week after week. Unfortunately for Whitefields, it’s very likely that it is going to be seeing a lot more evening visitors over the next coming weeks, but really, who’s to blame them. 


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