Newport’s latest music venue is here!

Newport has a rich background in indie/rock music – but with Peter Andre playing this Saturday at Newport’s latest venue, does it mean that the city is changing it’s tune?

TJ's was once a legend in Newport's live music scene - now it has become a ruin

TJ’s was once a legend in Newport’s live music scene – now it has become a ruin

A new music venue has opened in Clarence Place in Newport, where once the legendary nightclub TJ’s played host to many rock bands, such as Nirvana. Now, TJ’s isn’t much more than a ruin. But on the other side of the road, you can see The Neon has opened for business.

The Neon has been renovated from the old Odeon cinema with the aim of turning it into a music hotspot. But is it breaking away from Newport’s indie roots by booking a mainstream act like Peter Andre? Nathan Jennings, 29, a film director who is currently making a feature film about the history of TJ’s, says, “I think it’s great that The Neon is now a working venue once more. It’s keeping the spirit of live music open to a new generation and appealing to a much wider audience.”

The Neon was once the Odeon cinema, whited opened its doors back in 1934

The Neon was once the Odeon cinema, which opened its doors back in 1934

It seems engaging a much broader audience is a good thing. Newport itself has benefitted from its new mainstream shopping complex, Friar’s Walk; so has The Neon followed in the direction that Newport seems to be going in?

Shelly Byers, 39, The Neon’s office manager, has said The Neon aims to cater to a variety of music genres. They put on acts like tribute bands for Abba and Queen, and rock bands like local Newport legends, Skindred. She didn’t feel calling The Neon strictly mainstream is fair; Shelly stated, “We want to bring in more rock music. TJ’s was just a legendary place to go to, and we want to bring that sort of thing back to Clarence Place.”

It looks like rock music certainly has a place to stay, in The Neon.