After 20 years of dishing out cheap drinks, loud music and inevitable hangovers to the youth of Leeds, The Cockpit closed its doors for the final time in 2014.
While the venue will harbour many fond, sticky memories for its punters so will it be remembered by many an artist as an underworld of grass roots enterprise. Here are some of the biggest acts to have walked through the doors:
1. Amy Winehouse
In 2004 Amy Winehouse took to the Cockpit to deliver her deep soul vocals, following her debut album Frank. Precisely a month after hitting the stage at the venue she scopped up three Ivor Novello awards. Her career continued to escalate with unbridled success upon the release of her second album Back to Black (2007), in which began untethering her jazz influences and moved towards a 60’s girl group vibe; which became highly prevalent in her appearance. Yet
her life and career were cut short when, after battling with years of substance abuse, she tragically died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27.
2. Queens of The Stoneage
Alternate Rockstars Queens of the Stoneage graced the locale with their experimental vibes in 2000, playing a host of songs freshly ripped from their millenial album Rated R. The band had formed 4 years previous, after the breaking-up of frontman Josh Homme’s former project Kyuss. Since playing at the Cockpit the band have released four albums, their latest one being ...Like Clockwork. It’s easy to see how Queens of the Stoneage quickly garnered their fame given their trademark style painted a fresh face on the rock scene. As of 2015 the band have hinted at the production of a new album and are set to headline the “Rock in Rio” in September.
It was in 2003 that the Buzzcocks released their self titled album and was incidentally the year that they first strapped into the Cockpit to play a set. Despite the band’s endless break-ups and reuinions going through more members than socks the Buzzcocks are never the less a group cemented as one of the most influential British bands of all time. Engraving their style into the annals of punk rock, it’s undeniably their influence’s hereditary effect that’s helped them stand the test of time, with a discography that stretches over a quarter of a century; from their original album Another Music in a Different Kitchen all the way to their most recent release in 2014 The Way.
4.The Black Keys
Rock duo Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney first visited the Cockpit in 2003 and have performed gigs there ever since. The Black Keys owe their current status to cult venues such as this given the band’s history. Auerbach and Carney were a pair of college drops outs when they went into the music business. They were stuck recording self produced records in their basement and totally reliant on their underground following.
Though the prominent vocals and electrifying riffs certified that their careers bloomed as time went on. They began moving away from their homebrewed origins and upon striking a contract with a label developed a crisper production studio sound. With the 2010 release of their album Brothers the band gained exponential exposure and has been rampantly successful ever since.
5. The Libertines
Following their number 1 hit album Up the bracket Punk rockers the Libertines debuted the Cockpit stage for a 2003 gig (minus Pete Docherty who was battling with drug problems.) spurring on the band’s golden age and rise to fame. Alas the band’s relationship quickly deteriorated when in 2004 Barât with whom Docherty cocounded the band dropped the curtain on the group, refusing to continue without Pete and refusing to work with him while he was still using drugs.
No one could have guessed, however, that the light at the end of the tunnel would finally dawn for the band, when in 2015 Pete had completed his rehabilitation and revealed that the Libertines would be headlining multiple festivals as well as releasing a long awaited third album.