The 100 Club, tucked away in a doorway nestled between the high street shops on Oxford Street, London, is a venue in which many have had the best nights of their lives. This is something that applies to both tightly packed crowds and bands who have graced its stage. Getting tickets to a gig is an honour as it’s capacity is small, and if you’re lucky enough to be invited to play the honour is even greater. In celebration of the venue, Ditto has published a book displaying its history, character and anecdotes of its 75-year history.
Launching in 1942 as the Feldman Swing Club, it’s original audience was jazz enthusiasts during the 50s to see performances by BB King and Muddy Waters. During the 70s, its music genre crowd experienced a shift as it grew into the iconic venue of the punk scene. A date marked in calendars by punks across London was the 100 Club Punk Special, where infamous gigs were played by the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, Buzzcocks and The Damned. The event, as Ditto explain, “cemented punk as an idea and subculture.”
However as years have passed, the venue has offered much more than just a place to visit for an hour or two. Bands regularly shout about its greatness and independence which formed “tribes of fans devoted to new ways of thinking”. This is a tone of voice, one of hope and inclusivity, which Ditto speaks in 100 Club Stories as the book not only features “stories from everyone ranging from club punters to internationally famous musicians, but also archive images that have never been seen before.”
To visualise this fascinating archival imagery Ditto’s design angle is multi-layered using offset litho printing to relate to the zines you can imagine being handed by bands and gig-goers during the 70s. Tickets, show announcements and stories sit on top of one another, each adding a snippet of history. Despite harking back to the 70s in its design decisions, the photographs chosen display the genres of music that have each shaped the 100 Club’s audience and outlook, from the musicians playing to the outfits chosen displaying the subculture of the time.
Released in collaboration with Fred Perry, 100 Club Stories is available to buy here.
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