In praise of the ICA

Quite apart from the cosy gig venue tucked away at the back, where I’ve seen everyone from Luke Haines to Fuck Buttons perform, London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (the ICA to its friends) is in so many other ways a league apart.


I’ve been coming here to see gigs for years, but there’s so much else to the place.

For instance, in which other gig venue can you get married? They have a reception area, probably upstairs amongst a selection of art galleries. Where else on the gig circuit offers free and reliable WiFi internet access? This lovely detail is the reason I’m writing this post – because I can. Where else can you get food as well as drink before a gig? Where else is located on The Mall? In fact, where else can you also see films and browse paintings and sculptures, and even see the latter being made?

The line-ups are pretty impressive too. It’s Yeasayer tonight; MGMT played here last week. These gigs were all sold out well in advance.

I know there’s a subsidy set-up here that’s not available elsewhere. But when a venue demonstrably makes so much good use of its subsidy, it’s a positive argument for more of its kind. Hurrah for the ICA.

Check out their website for details of what’s going on at

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