The Rainbow Theatre
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The Rainbow Theatre

This church was once a cinema and legendary live music venue.


The Rainbow Theatre is a Grade II* listed building that is now a pentecostal church. It was originally built as the Astoria Theatre, a cinema in 1930. Later it became a vibrant music venue for new live bands.

As a rock venue it saw loads of great bands and legends such as Jimi Hendrix, The Clash, and The Who.

It closed in 1975 and lost some ground to Camden's Roundhouse but its reopening and refurbishment in 1977 set it back on course as a prominent North London venue.

It became famous for being where a Clash gig turned into a riot where seats were torn up and hurled around the place.

It was reputedly here that guitar legend Jimi Hendrix first burnt his Fender Stratocaster on stage.

Yes, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Sweet and The Beach Boys all recorded live albums here.

The Stranglers regularly played here and the Ramones had their 1977 New Years Eve concert immortalised on vinyl with the double classic 'It's Alive'.

After numerous noise complaints it declined and it closed in 1982.

The dramatic climax to the 1980 British film Breaking Glass was shot here, it was directed by Brian Gibson, and starred Hazel O'Connor, Phil Daniels and Jonathan Pryce.

Location: Isledon Road, Finsbury Park