It’s not often that you come across a pub venue that is driven by the host’s love of Soul music. When you do find such a venue, you just want to take it away and relocate it in street near to where you live. Sure, some pubs have the occasional Soul/Motown nights but the Banbury Cross pub on Butchers Lane, Banbury is something else. The landlady is Gail Gilkes who, along with her husband Dave, have been running the Banbury Cross since the beginning of the year.
Viewing the Banbury Cross from the front, you’d never guess what lurks behind historic facade. Venturing through the narrow courtyard at the side of the building, you’ll end up in Soul Utopia – Gilkos Soul Room. Since they’ve been at the pub, Dave and Gail have renovated the rear of the premises and have transformed it into a themed Soul Venue. Gilkos has an outside seating area, a stage for “live” music and an indoor room with a great dance floor that any Northern Soul fan would be proud to sprinkle talc on.
Bluesoul had the pleasure of appearing at Gilkos Soul room on bank holiday Sunday as part of a Soul All-Dayer, which included the band and also a number of DJs spinning a wide variety of Soul, Motown and Funk. The band performed to a really friendly crowd who were obviously into their Soul music.
Gilkos was a gig that the band won’t forget and it’s left the band members wishing there were more venues like this, in particular, in Wiltshire.