Very sad to learn this week that The Birdcage pub and venue in the heart of the Norwich Lanes has announced that it will not be renewing its lease and will be closing.
The news came from a post on the Birdcage Instagram account on Thursday.
THANKYOU and GOODNIGHT. It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to say goodbye to this magical building. We have had the most EPIC time over the last 15 years but our lease is up now and we’d rather leave the party at this point with all those good memories than be booted out at last orders 🤣. We lived for messy nights out, live performances, chaos and creativity. To all of the performers, artists and creatives we’ve seen here over the years KEEP GOING! You are INCREDIBLE and we will always be cheering you on from the sidelines. We know those sunny days will come again so here’s to the next chapter and we’ll be doing EVERYTHING we can to support our friends and fellow businesses throughout this time. SO much love Norwich. Keep strong and THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU xxxx
This is a massive loss to the city in many ways and will send shockwaves as to just how hard the restrictions on independent businesses in the hospitality and live music industry are hitting and must surely be the major factor behind this decision.
Big thanks to all at the Birdcage and those such as Alex Carson and Robbie Powell, among many others, who have hosted gigs there over the years. I wish all involved with The Birdcage the best in their next endeavors and thank them for all the gigs and friendships forged there.
Since the lockdown restrictions began in March there has been a gaping hole in the fine city which live music used to fill. Walking the streets during the day and especially in the evening the sound of music could be heard on the street or spilling out from any number of our special venues and music-loving pubs and bars. It has returned to a degree, in a socially-distanced, restricted kind of way but things are just not the same yet and we all feel the loss and uncertainty, making it difficult at times to feel anything other than concern and pessimism that music will ever return in its previous form in Norwich. We have also lost the OPEN venue which has resulted in community station Future Radio losing its central base, office space and studios. With the future so uncertain we desperately need a bit of positivity and hope which Lisa Redford has come up with in magnificent style with the charity single ‘This Fine City‘ which is officially released Friday 16 October 2020. Immediately upon my first listening to this rousing celebration of Norwich and hope for the future I felt renewed optimism as well as being quite moved by the heartfelt love of the city so sincerely expressed in song. Joyous and triumphant in its hope.
Lisa said “I was delighted to be asked to compose the single as a tribute to my home city, for the radio station I love. The song is a tribute to Norwich and how weʼre getting through such a challenging time. Future Radio, which is facing some tough times itself, is such an important part of the life of the city, I hope people will enjoy this anthemic celebratory song and help the station to move to a new home.”
Referencing so many of the things and places we love about our city, from the Canaries to the Playhouse Bar, Blue Joanna and market it is probably the following lines that resonate with me most of all. Who hasn’t been in the city in recent months and felt melancholic at the memories the streets and Lanes hold and the fear that only memories remain? Lisa says ‘we’ll soon be making more‘ and ‘the Future will be bright‘.
“I know we’ve been low, living the unknown I believe within these city walls We’ll rise above – it all
All of these changes that we’ve been through They won’t hold us back Now hope is on our side Every street is full of memories We’ll soon be making more The future will be bright“
Infectious in the best of ways, uplifting and full of hope. In this song Lisa has found a musical vaccine to keep pessimism at bay. It is a wonderful ode to this Fine City too.
Lisa is a well-known and well-liked name in the local music scene, performing regularly and presenting on Future. She has penned this celebratory and uplifting ode to the city and is joined by a host of other familiar local names and Future Radio volunteers including Yve Mary B, Chad Mason, Callum Morgan, Ecky Limon, Teresa Gibbon, Scott Mathieson, Russell McNamara, Owen Sennitt, Andrew Todd, and Emily White. Produced by Andrew Todd with artwork by Gwenda Killick the single is available from Bandcamp for just £1 and with all funds raised going towards finding a new home for Future Radio.
The track will be premiered on Future Radio at 8:10am and Lisa will be chatting about the release with Sam Day.
Future Radio is part of the charity Future Projects, also including Future Education, a specialist independent school for children with special educational needs and Future Support, a collection of support services which help those most in need. More information about Future Projects available here – http:// futureprojects.org.uk/
A few months ago, the producer of our Vegan radio show, came to us with a crazy idea about creating a charity single to raise funds for Future Radio’s move to new studios & offices. We lost our home when our landlord went into liquidation during the Covid-19 lockdown.
OK we thought – we’ve never done that before, but it sounds exciting, so let’s carry on with it until something stops us! Nothing did & thanks to Lisa and other volunteers and local musicians, we launched a beautiful, uplifting and anthemic song about Norwich, our home city, which we’re really proud to present.
It’s amazing what the power of volunteering can do. Future Radio has almost 70 volunteers, of all ages and backgrounds. We’re a community radio station and now the only local radio station in Norwich other than the BBC.
We’re also part of the amazing charity, Future Projects, (futureprojects.org.uk) which also includes Future Education, a specialist independent school for children with special educational needs and Future Support, a collection of support services which helps those most in need.
Norfolk-based Yorkshireman and singer-songwriter Johnny Steinberg has created a very fine, independently released album. Immediately upon first listening one is struck by the impressive, professional level of performance and production but especially the level of songwriting which draws in and holds the listener from the off and throughout the album.
In an acoustic, Americana-influenced style the songs describe the world observed through experienced and compassionate eyes. These are of people, places, events and moods. Johnny has an expressive, kindly-sounding voice which can only belong to someone who sees and feels things deeply. I know he’s a big fan of Neil Young and one can sometimes detect this in the songs but the imagery of some of the songwriting is as evocative of such other poetic musical gods as Cave and Cohen.
Johnny has taken us along with him to share a stretch of his own Lost Highway which is as much observed England in a Kinks-Squeeze way as it is Americana, as one might expect with it being recorded in both countries. It’s a feat of some magnificent songwriting which deserves to be heard. One always feels words from the heart and these songs have feeling, integrity, honesty and compassion in abundance. Recorded at the Blackbird Studios, Nashville and also at Saltwell Studio and Motherlode Studio in the UK Shadowland was produced by Boo Hewerdine, Chris Pepper and Johnny Steinberg. Musicians appearing on the album include: Kira Small, Boo Hewerdine, Mark Jolley, Chris Pepper, Kate Heaton, Carol Lea, Gustaf Ljunggren, Philip Lewis-Jones, John Temple, Pat Dam Smyth, and Ernesto Olivera.
Johnny can sometimes be found playing gigs locally, either solo or accompanied by his band The Blue Fish. I first encountered Johnny at West Norfolk Radio some years back, I enjoyed his set and our chat afterwards. He told me about his song Man on Wire, inspired by the documentary film of Philippe Petit who made a highwire walk between the Twin Towers of New York in 1974. The track appears here on Shadowland.
Cajun, Soul, Rock n Roll, Blues, Roots & Country….
3-5 June 2021 * Euston Hall, Suffolk
Virtual second edition 4-6 September 2020
Red Rooster Festival is delighted to announce another virtual version of the festival after the socially distanced production was unable to go ahead in September. Following the success of the previous virtual festival in May, Red Rooster will host it again on 4-6 September but on a much bigger scale. The virtual festival will feature a bunch of Red Rooster stars playing live recorded sessions and a 24-hour takeover of Totally Wired Radio with a stellar cast of DJs.
Red Rooster legend Nick Lowe will be joined by Cedric Burnside, Luther Dickinson from North Mississippi Allstars, Ian Siegal, Bob Log, Marcus Bonfanto, Little Barrie and lots more. The format will be the same as the May virtual event: each artist will play a 2-3 song session with an exclusive live video which will be dropped on the Red Rooster socials on Friday 4- Saturday 5 September.
The DJ bill booked for September was the strongest to date and organisers are super excited to replicate it for the 24-hour Red Rooster takeover of TWR. David Holmes will headline, playing a tribute to his friend and very sadly missed Andrew Weatherall. Jonathan More from Cold Cut/NinjaTune returns with new additions Eddie Pillar from Acid Jazz and club legenda Rocky and Ross Allen. The takeover kicks off at midday Saturday 5 September and goes on until midday Sunday 6th. Listen to TWR here – https://totallywiredradio.com
Red Rooster Virtual Festival Friday 4 September to Sunday 6 September 2020
Red Rooster Festival takes place Thursday 3 June – Saturday 5 June 2021
Live Music Virtual
Nick Lowe / Cedric Burnside / Cedric Burnside / Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) / Ian Siegal / Bob Log III / Marcus Bonfanti / Little Barrie / The Hanging Stars / CC Adcock / The Urban Voodoo Machine / Sarah Gillespie / Big Steve / Big Joe Louis / Future Shape of Sound / Dom Pipkin/ Robin Evans Esq.
David Holmes / Jonathan More / Eddie Pillar / Dr Bob Jones / Ross Allen / Rocky / Dean Chalkley + Iraina Mancini / Hank JD Sleek / Wendy May / Joe Cushley / Big Steve / Special Red Rooster Show with guests.
Dearest Roosters, It is with a very heavy heart that we must unfortunately announce that Red Rooster will not be proceeding on 4th-6th September. From the 11th July, the UK government gave the green light for outdoor events to proceed. Although many organisers thought that the 24 hours’ notice of being able to proceed was not enough warning, our team at Red Rooster stood up and declared we would be going ahead. Red Rooster already had a license and we knew that with a little blood, sweat, and tears, we could pull everything together and get the show on the road. A few days after announcing Red Rooster’s go ahead, the Government transferred powers to local authorities, giving them the powers relating to events. Rather than admit defeat, we prepared in record time over 300 pages of documentation and COVID-19 specific risk assessments, as well as clear guidelines for you guys on how we will look to keep you safe, of which we have already shared with you. We pulled together a whole new production and rebooked all of the lineup which we were due to release later today. We submitted all of our documentation and health and safety measures, and although we are extremely appreciative that West Suffolk Council and the emergency services all wanted to support Red Rooster proceeding in September, Public Health England have failed to engage with us and they have failed to reach out to discuss our plans. Public Health is a vital part of the process of getting the green light, and we would not proceed without us being 100% certain of all our measures and that we had their approval. We are immensely disappointed in them failing to engage with us.
We wanted to be a shining beacon for others on how we can get our industry back on the road, and we fought all we could to try and make this happen. We are immensely sad that although we understand we were seeking answers within a tight period of time, we couldn’t have everyone see just how important our endeavour to proceed with Red Rooster was.
The postponement of September 2020 has significantly increased our costs on what was already a very financially challenging year. If you can roll over your ticket to next year it will be a huge support to the festival and greatly appreciated. All tickets will be automatically reissued for 3rd-5th June 2021.
We look forward to welcoming you to Euston Hall in June next year for an epic party!
Following the government’s statement last Thursday allowing outdoor events, we are delighted to confirm that Red Rooster Festival will go ahead Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th September 2020.
Red Rooster will be one of only a handful festivals to take place in 2020. Set amongst 10,000 acres of stunning parklands & pleasure grounds at Euston Hall estate in Suffolk the 7th edition of the 5,000-capacity festival will proceed with appropriate social distancing. The UK’s premier roots festival will now have three outdoor stages celebrating the best in Cajun, Soul, RocknRoll, Blues and Country.
Festival Director & Production Manager James Brennan says:
“We are working closely with our Health & Safety and Production teams to produce something that is truly magical without losing the spirit and atmosphere of our beautiful little festival. Over 60% of our audience stay in family group campervans which hugely helps us contain camping areas safely, plus by moving to outdoor stages only, we feel we can offer a safe environment in which to enjoy the festival. Over the next few weeks we will be putting together stringent new plans and providing detailed information to ensure the safety of our audience, artists and crew, which is of course of paramount importance.”
Red Rooster would like to thank the government for lifting the restrictions and is delighted to welcome them to experience this fantastic festival though as it so reasonably-priced there won’t be a guest list so join us for the party to end all parties !
My final gig before self-isolating ahead of the inevitable ‘lockdown’ was Bootleg Blondie at Norwich Arts Centre. They were very good and the atmosphere was great, they obviously have the Blondie drummer Clem Burke’s seal of approval too.
Exciting Red Rooster Virtual Fest over the next few days. Although Red Rooster 2020 was due to start today, for obvious reasons it has been postponed and is now scheduled for 4-6 September 2020. However, there are plans for the original dates with some livestreams for a virtual festival with favourites old and new, full details below from Rooster HQ :
Hey Roosters! Hope you’re all safe and well. Yes, it’s that time of year when we should be kicking back in the East Anglian sunshine and preparing for three days of blissful fun, amazing music, and relaxation in the majestic pleasure grounds of Euston Hall. But, for obvious reasons, we’re not. So instead we’ve got together with some of our favourite Rooster artists, vendors, and friends to bring you a flavour of the festival over the weekend! Don’t worry, there won’t be endless livestreams… instead we’ve cherry-picked some of our favourite Rooster artist to record exclusive performances which will be dropped on the Red Rooster Facebook page from Friday morning until Saturday evening!! Confirmed so far are Asleep at the Wheel, DADDY LONG LEGS, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Jerron Paxton, Ida Mae, Son of Dave, and Lucy Grubb – plus lots of exciting non-music activity, including dance tutorials, fashion workshops, and MORE! And don’t forget to join The Rooster Coop, our official Facebook group and the best place to get stuck into the finest festival community in the world. Some folk are planning their own backyard Rooster hangouts this weekend, so this is the perfect place to join the party vibes! This is also the perfect opportunity to announce our new partnership with Black Cow Vodka and their notorious Black Cow Saloon! The Black Cow Saloon was one of the coolest hangs at the sadly departed Port Eliot Festival. Black Cow will be partnering with us at the Howlin’ Woods stage at the next Red Rooster, and to give you a taste of what to expect they’ll be whipping up a cocktail masterclass on how to make a special Red Rooster drink this weekend at our virtual festival! For more info about Black Cow Vodka, head here. In addition, Totally Wired Radio will be hosting a 24 Hour Red Rooster Takeover from 12pm Saturday to 12pm Sunday, kicking off with a special tribute to the dearly missed Andrew Weatherall by his friend Ashley Beedle, then a broadcast of the great man’s headlining set in the Howlin’ Woods. This will be followed by sets by Ashley himself, with Jo Wallace as Ramrock Hifi, Jon More, Wendy May, Dean Chalkley/Adrian from Southend Tag Team, Ross Allen, Iraina Mancini, Joe Cushley, Andrew Perry, Hank JD Sleek, and Del Day. Tune in right here on the day. We’re also delighted to be teaming up with Live for Love to raise money for The Trussell Trust to support a nationwide network of food banks and provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty. Donate now if you can. Have a great weekend Roosters, stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you very soon! Love & Respect Rooster HQ
My penultimate gig before the lockdown was in Shoreditch, a London away day gig to see Dry Cleaning, who I loved when they supported Bodega at NAC last year. They were supported at The Village Underground by Pozi, and a spin-off band of Bodega, the impressive The Wants.
Dry Cleaning go from strength to strength and felt on the cusp of something and clearly have a strong, adoring following. This venue is a lovely arched underground space which is not over-filled despite this being a capacity sellout crowd of 500, I enjoyed the gig, the space and the vibe.
The Coronavirus hysteria was just building up ahead of this gig and I was curious (and a tad apprehensive) to see what London would be like. I didn’t see any masks and the tube trains were certainly as busy as usual, as was Camden where I spend a few hours beforehand. The main difference noticeable at the venue was more of a queue in and out of the toilets as everyone observed the 20 second hand wash advice! A couple of weeks later and gigs were being cancelled left right and centre and soon followed the inevitable lockdown and no gigs and no pubs open which continues still. It all seems such an age ago now and I don’t expect to see another gig for a very long time. My only link now to this gig was somehow damaging my ankle whilst walking around during the day, a pain which still serves as a reminder of my last main gig.
The Dereham Blues Festival, which was due to be held this July has been cancelled for 2020. See their statement below:
The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has already caused widespread disruption to numerous public events, with many having to be cancelled in recent weeks and for the foreseeable future. The government’s latest estimate as to when the virus is likely to peak in the UK is early this summer, meaning it is likely the situation will get worse before it gets better and that cases will continue to occur through into July. The government has advised people not to congregate in large groups and to avoid unnecessary public gatherings as this has the potential to quicken the spread of the virus. It is also well documented that the incidences of infection are increasing on a daily basis. Bearing this information in mind, the Dereham Blues Festival Committee has unfortunately had to make the difficult decision to cancel this year’s festival which was due to run from the 8th – 12th July. The committee is incredibly disappointed to have to make this call but also unanimously agree that the only thing more important than staging a successful festival is looking after the people who are responsible for making the event what it is – and that is the festivalgoers. In the meantime, and true to the spirit of the festival, the committee would like to encourage everyone to foster a sense of community spirit amongst family, friends and neighbours. Look after those who need it, offer assistance if you are able, and together Dereham can get through this difficult time together. Dereham Blues Festival will be back bigger and better than ever in 2021, so don’t be blue, keep the faith and we will see you next year. N.B. Any tickets already purchased for the opening concert on 8 th July will be eligible for a refund. Please visit https://www.ticketsourece.com for more details. Information on the Covid-19 coronavirus can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response