Venue Review – The 1865, Southampton

The 1865 is Southampton’s major music venue, located in Southampton’s city centre and with a capacity of more than 750 for standing only gigs, over 500 for club nights, 225 seated for comedy or 300 seated theatre style.

Inside space with stage and dancefloor viewable from two bars and large mezzanine, featuring the a sound system from d&b audio, with flexible seating to allow various layouts to suit Live Bands, DJ sets, Comedy, Jazz and Cabaret as well as larger corporate or private functions.

Guy Benfield and his team from The Talking Heads music venue in Southampton took on the lease on The 1865 to create ‘The 1865 (a Talking Heads venue).’

The Talking Heads was a well established and respected 260 capacity venue which expanded to The Polygon, but this didn’t work out in the end and The Talking Heads closed its doors on the 30thSeptember this year.

The 1865 remains as one of the main music venues in the city and there have been some epic performances over the years. On the Scene Mag rated the top 10 gigs at the venue as:

  1. Everything Everything (2013)
  2. Eat Static (2014)
  3. The Magic Numbers Christmas Gig (2017)
  4. Eddie and the Hot Rods (2014)
  5. The Damned (2008)
  6. The BlueTones
  7. Band of Skulls (2011)
  8. The Slits (2009)
  9. Mumford and Sons (2009)
  10. New York Dolls (2009)


Back to now though and the venue is everything you’d expect from a Uni City music venue – dingy, worn and in need of a cleaner! But, the staff are all really chilled out and it’s got a relaxed vibe.

The drinks are ridiculously overpriced – coming in at around £12 for a beer and spirit/mixer.

The women’s loos are pretty ropey. You’re lucky if you find one that has the holy trinity of lock, a door and a toilet seat!

That said, you do really feel like you can just let your hair down and not worry about anything once in there. This was the 3rdtime we had been to the 1865 and the crowd have always been awesome. There’s never been a hint of problems or issues.

If the venue isn’t to go the way of The Talking Heads, it needs to make sure it attracts people. Drinks pricing may not turn people off (people aren’t really there to drink in the main), but the facilities will. Clean it up guys!

Arch and Loren

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