Famous Sheffield nightspot faces licensing review over noise

The Sheffield nightspot where the Clash famously played their first ever gig is under fire for being too loud.

By Robert Cumber
Thursday, 04 July, 2019, 10:22

The licence-holders of Bassbox, which was formerly known as the Boardwalk, Mucky Duck and Black Swan, are set to be hauled before councillors over complaints of ‘noise nuisance’.

The city centre club on Snig Hill, across the road from the new Kommune food hall, is the subject of a licensing review on the grounds of ‘prevention of public nuisance’.

Bassbox nightclub on Snig Hill, in Sheffield city centre

A notice publicising the review states: “Environmental Protection Service have provided evidence and documentation relating to noise abatement notices that have been served on the licence holder.”

It goes on to detail how there have been reports of ‘complaints relating to noise nuisance’ and a ‘breach to licensing conditions’.

The drum and bass club is the latest incarnation of the venue, which began life as a celebrated jazz club in the 1930s and has a rich musical heritage.

A notice publicising the licensing review for Bassbox nightclub in Sheffield city centre

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The site has hosted the likes of AC/DC, Genesis and Joe Cocker, who was a regular there.

A young Alex Turner worked behind the bar when it was known as the Boardwalk, and the Arctic Monkeys played some of their earliest gigs there, even using the name for their legendary demo album Under the Boardwalk which helped propel them to global fame.

But it is for the events of July 4, 1976, when a young Joe Strummer and his bandmates took to the stage of what was then the Black Swan to play the Clash’s first ever gig, that it will go down in the annals of music history.

Remarkably, they supported the Sex Pistols on a night when the Buzzcocks were also on the undercard. It would go down as a seminal event in the evolution of punk, becoming one of those gigs where if everyone who claims they were there really was you could have filled Wembley Stadium.

The Boardwalk closed in 2010 and after a brief revival as a gay club called Fuel and Twist the venue was boarded up for many months before eventually reopening in October last year as Bassbox, which claimed to be Sheffield’s only drum and bass nightclub.

Anyone can apply for a review of a venue’s licence, though Sheffield Council advises people to try to resolve any problems with the licence-holder before taking formal action.

The applicant in this case was Dominic Stokes, of the council’s Environmental Protection Service, and the notice states that people have until next Wednesday, July 10, to make any written representations.

The Star has attempted to contact Bassbox, which has yet to respond.