The Cart & Horses is the second in our new series, The MetalTalk Venues. Each month, we speak with a venue owner or promoter to highlight their work for the Heavy Metal community. Situated in East London, the historic Cart & Horses is an iconic establishment famous for being the birthplace of the legendary Heavy Metal band Iron Maiden.
Like all venues, Covid-19 and the credit crisis have made the landscape difficult. Add to this the London train strikes, and times have been challenging. But fresh from an extensive refurbishment, the Cart & Horses has hope for the future.
It all began in the late 1970s when Iron Maiden performed their early gigs in the pub’s small live music room. The band’s connection to Cart & Horses is commemorated with memorabilia, plaques, and photographs that adorn the pub’s walls.
The connection with Iron Maiden remains, and Kastro Pergjoni has a great relationship with the early Iron Maiden alumni. “To be fair, that’s what saved the place,” Kastro said of the Covid-19 difficulties. “The relationship that we built with the Iron Maiden family and Maiden fans. And after we reopened, we are in a great relationship with Iron Maiden themselves as well.”
The setup at the Cart now is special. Upstairs, you can eat, drink and socialise in a comfortable setting. Downstairs, you can go and rock out to a band.
Steve Harris visited the Cart & Horses to watch a Tony Moore show in May this year. Earlier in January, there was an Iron Maiden alumni reunion. Chop Pitman had asked Kastro to see him. “Chop called me and said to me, are you working on Wednesday because I’m coming with a friend,” Kastro told us.
On that Wednesday, Tony Moore popped into the Cart, closely followed by Terry Rance, Terry Wapram, Doug Sampson and Steve Harris. “I didn’t know anything,” Kastro said. “It was a surprise.”
Steve Harris told Kastro he loved the new Cart. “It does hold a lot of memories for him,” Kastro said. “He said it feels like the back in the day, even though he was pointing where the door was and where the toilets used to be. There was not a stage when Iron Maiden used to play here. There was just a drum riser. But he said it feels nice and makes him feel warm. Steve loved it. He liked the changes. He said he couldn’t see why he couldn’t play here with British Lion.”
British Lion would go on to announce three dates at The Cart & Horses in January 2024.
Terry Wapram spoke with Steve Harris. “I haven’t seen Steve for about 18 years for various reasons. He said you didn’t tell me you were coming. I said, well, you didn’t tell me you were going to be here,” Terry smiled. “Steve wanted a night just chatting and helping Kastro. He was brilliant. He had a chat with everyone. I didn’t realise how good friends he was with Tony Moore. I see Tony Moore a lot. After 18 years, it’s just mad. But I mean he was the same completely down-to-earth bloke he has always been.”
That night, there were three random Maiden fans who had come to The Cart for a drink. “When Steve arrived, they didn’t spot him at first,” Terry said. “They walked around him a few times as they were taking pictures on the wall. We were killing ourselves laughing, and suddenly, one of them went, hang on.”
“Two were tourists that had come to London,” Mike Chudleigh said. “When they finally realised a huge chunk of Maiden history was there, the girl had a meltdown. Me and a friend had to calm them all down to meet him.”
The meltdown happened when one of the tourists asked Steve Harris to move so he could take a picture of Steve Harris on the wall in the giant 1976 Iron Maiden photo.
Today, Cart & Horses continues to host live music events featuring a variety of bands and artists, maintaining its status as a pilgrimage site for Iron Maiden fans and a hub for music enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a Metalhead paying homage to a legendary band’s roots or simply looking for a unique music experience in London, Cart & Horses offers a special and historic atmosphere.
You never know who you might meet there.
You can find out more about The Cart & Horses on their website.
Keep up to date with our coverage at The Cart & Horses MetalTalk page.