For several decades, The Pioneer Club has been one of the UK grassroots music scene’s best-hidden gems. Nestled in a leafy nook of the city of St. Albans, it has been something of a spiritual home to chart-topping locals Enter Shikari, and a regular fixture on the touring circuit for countless artists and performers, among them the likes of Gallows and Bring Me The Horizon. However, for the most part, it has been very much a local concern. That is all about to change.
Last month it was announced that Headliner would be teaming up with Enter Shikari to launch Headliner Spaces, a joint-venture designed to not only revitalise The Pioneer Club, but redevelop it into one of the UK’s premier touring spots. What’s more, a brand new, world class Dolby Atmos studio and rehearsal facility is also being constructed on the same site, while its location – a mere 20 minute train ride from central London – takes its reach far beyond the immediate locale. In essence, it is set to become a musical and cultural hub with genuine nationwide appeal.
It should be noted that its focus on the local community is still paramount, with all manner of initiatives to be rolled out over the coming weeks and months that will see The Pioneer Club become a hotbed of opportunity for those on its doorstep. These will range from educational opportunities for the some of the city’s most disenfranchised people, as well as charitable causes and the chance for locals to not only take advantage of The Pioneer Club’s performance and recording spaces, but also gain invaluable experience behind the scenes as technicians and engineers.
The first part of the redevelopment arrived in July with the opening of The Suet Yard. Fully reimagined from its initial iteration as a communal canteen area, it is now a social, DJ and performance space that sits alongside the main venue area, complete with a bar powered by Signature Brew and a JBL-powered PA system that can accommodate everything from DJ sets and stripped back and acoustic sessions for up to 200 people.