No excuses!!

Posted: July 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

Yes, there are no excuses Im afraid.  It’s been so long since I wrote anything on here I figured I should pull my finger out and touch base with you all.  Its been a crazy, manic last year or so and somewhat hard for us all too.  Personally we’ve suffered several family losses in a very short time, pulling yourself together while trying to run a business can be difficult. I think that’s probably why I stayed away from blogging to be totally honest. When I write, it feels as if I am chatting and that gives a certain amount of me to you all. I think that while we were all feeling so much grief I didn’t really want to spill that over to my blog, it wouldn’t have been a pretty sight and quite frankly not what you all want to be reading.  We love what we do here at The Brickmakers, Both Mum, Em and I work hard to keep this lovely venue treading water in a very difficult sea however, things are good, the bands are exceptional as always and our lovely customers (that’s you lot)  keep coming in and supporting our thriving music scene which is the most important thing. It seems we are busier than ever these days and there’s no time to sit back and rest on our laurels…  this isn’t a trade in which we can afford to get complacent.  Its hard to keep up with other venues, many of which are backed by corporate or government funding, arts council funding etc. These venues can afford to install state of the art equipment, the sort of stuff we can only dream of.  However, we have ploughed every penny we have made back in to The Brickies and B2 over the last three years to finally move into the digital age, both rooms are now running Allen & Heath digital mixing consoles, just this month we have installed a new processor and re-coned all the front Speakers and Subs so we are now firing on all cylinders with a few mods.  the system is looking happy and sounding sweet and almost just in time for this years BRICKFEST!

Mum, Em and I make the perfect team when it comes to aspirations for the future of The Brickies.  We may have been here 12 years but there is always something happening on our dream train.  I am the one that seems to dream up crazy dreams, Mum is the one that usually says the hard stuff, like the reasons why we can’t, Em is the mediator in the middle that finds a way that we can.  This is how B2 got built,   BRICKFEST was born and we refurbished the main bar area.  We have lots of dreams and ideas for the future,  our main problem is deciding which on to do next, you’ll have to watch this space for that one lol.

Anyway, Im not going to ramble on too much, i’m just waving hello here and apologising for my lack of presence.  I’ll endeavor to maintain a much better blogging relationship with you all now.

Have an awesome week, hopefully we’ll see you down here this weekend – we’ve got some great stuff happening.

Much love

Charley x

bad timing…….

Posted: August 25, 2013 in Just another Day...

Well if ever there WASN’T a good time to fall down the stairs and break my wrist it is now right???? just days before our biggest event of the year and what the Hell I’ll go and do it anyway.  So, on Tuesday I took a flight down my stairs, broke my wrist and gashed my head open. EPIC FAIL!!!! So now trying to do everything one handed is proving a challenge as I discovered this morning, even putting up a mic stand became a labored effort and resulted in many swear words, then there were the cables which, less face it – get tangled up enough with two hands. By the time my staff arrived for their shift I was very red faced and in need of much coffee. So, the band are ready to go and I thought I needed another challenge – the one handed blog. It’s doable, here I am typing quite happily.  Things are just about in place for Tomorrow, all we need now is for the sun to shine and for all you guys to come.  We have a huge line up this year,  it’s going to be fab.  I wont be playing though, obviously. We have an awesome dep who is standing in for me in PP so I will be singing and showing off my moves hah hah….that will be worth the entrance fee alone!!!!  Anyway, this was only a little blog to shake and wake you all about tomorrow. Its starts at 12 noon so I look forward to seeing you all then. For more in depth BRICKFEST info read the previous blog and click the link to the brochure. Im gonna go have more caffeine.

Happy Sunday folks.

Cxxx

A massive hello to you all from me, and everyone here at The Brickies, mainly me though (Charley) as I’m the one writing this… funny that!  I know a lot of you enjoy my blog and I can only apologise for the lack of attendance on here for the last few months.  I’ll be totally honest with you, I’ve been totally crap!  There it is, plain and simple.  I am human after all, had a couple of months where I wasn’t on form at all for reasons i wont bore you with, but I’m here now and here is the blog! Woooop Woooop.

So whats been happening; OMG! so much!!

Firstly we have won the regional award for ‘BEST ENTERTAINMENT PUB IN EAST ANGLIA 2013′ which is a huge achievement for us with the amount of fantastic venues around the region. We are so chuffed.  Its a credit to all the awesome bands that grace our stages everynight, and of course to you guys who keep coming to support them and us.  We now have to dust our frocks off and head to London next month to see if we are in with a chance to scope the National Award, its a tough one as the competition is very hot this year, watch this space guys!

Secondly….  The Choir!  I’m sure you all remember me chatting on here about my idea to form A Brickies choir back at the start of the year? If you haven’t heard about it  – where have you been?  It began as a very small thought that grew into an idea, then a vision and now its a 40 member strong reality..  We had our very first rehearsal in March and now, almost 6 months on we have a 20 minute set and have already been out gigging festivals, fetes and charity functions. To start with we called ourselves Brickies Rock Voices but after much discussion, the choir themselves chose a new name. ‘Charley’s Rock Angels’.  We are having a blast!  the choir isn’t like any other choir I have known.  The members are friendly and supportive of each other, almost like an extended family, it isn’t made up of egos,  yes there are a few members who play in bands but the majority of choir members are just people who love to sing. We take popular rock/pop songs and sprinkle them with a little Brickies magic. We’ve got a few appearances coming up if you fancy a look, most importantly you can catch us at BRICKFEST in the Acoustic Tent at 3.30pm. If you can hold a tune and are interested in joining, we rehearse every Tuesday night at 7.30pm in B2, come and have a listen if you like…. you can also find us on facebook here…

Lastly…. BRICKFEST 2013!!!    It’s totally crazy how one second you think there is ages to go and plenty of time to organise and then all of a sudden there is two weeks to go and we’re all panicking that things are gonna be ready, praying that everything will go to plan, bands will turn up, people will come, will it rain? have we got enough beer?  staff? OH and fancy dress costumes!!! Arghhhhhhh!!!!!    BY THE WAY!!!!  This year BRICKFEST is themed 70’s GLAM so make sure you join in with us and get all sparkly and groovy in a glam way. Dig out those platforms and psychedelic shirts! We’ve got some awesome prizes in the Tombola, ranging from a Kindle Fire through to A Mini Fridge, its huge! There is also our usual attractions including Face Painting for the kids with Emma Hart, Bouncy castle, Giant Inflatable Slide, BBQ, Outside Bar, Mister-Barista Coffee, Ice Cream Van,  The Jager Girls and of course 37 awesome bands that have given up their bank holiday to come and help us raise some money for Sprowston Junior School!   The full line up for BRICKFEST 2013 can be found here BRICKFEST 2013 PROGRAMME, download away and start planning your very own BRICKFEST DAY!  It’s going to be huge! It’s on Monday 26th August 2013 and starts at 12pm.  It’s only £2 to get in all day and kids under 12 get in FREE!!!!

This weekend is going to be fun, we are presenting the awesome BON GIOVI tomorrow night (FRIDAY 16th) if you like a lotta bit of 80’s rock then you better get down here as these guys are so near the real think you’ll find yourself doing a triple-take. It’s only a fiver to get in and it’s going to be packed!   Saturday night we have a date with FOURPLAY for a night of hendrix inspired rhythm and blues, a great local band picking up a last minute cancellation for us. A real treat in store!

Thanks for reading folks, I wont leave it so long next time…

See you all at BRICKFEST if not before… have a fab weekend

Charley x

Well it is the eve of the big party! we hit our decade tomorrow – 10 fantastic years. We have been privileged to share each one of them with you all. We’ve made some amazing friends along the way, some wonderful customers and of course an array of talented bands and musicians that have graced our stages for the last 3,652 days. Yes, that really is the number of days Mum, Em and I have been here at ‘The Brickies! Putting our time in. It’s been an amazing journey and we’ve come so far since we pulled that first pint back in April 2003. We had so much to learn, most of which we learnt the hard way, but that’s the way it goes and it made us a stronger unit. Together with our amazing staff team, we are riding the crest of The Brickies wave! our staff ROCK! And they are constantly being praised by customers and bands. WE couldn’t function without our awesome team, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for all their hard work and loyalty. We love you all. I’m true Brickmakers style, we have booked a night of great music for you to enjoy. Its a FREE ENTRY night so make sure you are in nice and early or you will be forced to queue. Everyone has been pestering us trying to find the secret name of the band…. Well never fear guys, the wait is almost over…. Just a few more hours. Hang in there. We promise you a lot of giggles and much dancing…. So guys and gals… We’ ll see you down the front! Ready to boogie all night long….? Hell YES!!!! We just want to say a massive thank you to all of you who have kept the faith and have believed in us. You keep us going on a regular basis… We love you all..Happy birthday to you all! enjoy your night, you all deserve it xxxxx oh and PS: the band are……. Dun dun dah!!! NOPE! I can’t tell you…..sorry. You’re just gonna have to come along xxx

Oh. Yes, this month is very very very exciting… Did you get that??? I mean OMG exciting!!!! I am like….sooooooo excited!!! Ok, shut up Charley I hear you shout, you get what I mean thought right? Hope you are all well and geared up for tonight…. Yes! It’s the one that we have all been waiting for, while I have anyway, and I know at least 50 of you will be at the door early… Yes folks its our annual date with MAETLOAF! They,re back and firing on all cylinders. I can’t wait, I have the night off (birthday treat) so will be down the front partying with you all. These guys are so good, the best we,ve ever seen. In fact, having seen the real thing before , I would rather see these guys if given the choice – they are everything you expect Meatloaf to be, even Craig is more Meaty than the man himself! Seriously folks, do yourselves a favour and come and see them, you won’t be disappointed – I promise! So all excited for that…

Another cause of my excitement this week is the first meeting of the Brickies Rock voices! If you’ve had your Internet eyes closed then you will have missed the fact that we now have a Brickies choir! How? Why? What? Where? I hear you cry… We’ll it started as an idea that drifted through the window on a breeze….. Lol not quite but, it was a crazy notion, I put some feelers out on facebook and BANG! Next thing I know, we have a name, a Facebook group, a website, songs recorded and OMG we have a choir!!! So 20+ people have signed up, downloaded parts and we meet for the first time this Tuesday. I’m 75% excited – the rest is made up of nerves and terror! Let’s face it, I’m just little old me, play guitar in a band and sing a bit, do a few bits and bobs at The Brickies but do I know how to run and conduct a choir????? Lol lol lol loooooollllllll NO! It’s going to be one hell of a fast learning curve for us all I think, but we are sure going to have a giggle. If any of you are reading this thinking ‘mmmmmm I’d like to give that a shot’ then please don’t delay, get over to our website, have a listen to the parts of the first song (Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way) pick the part yo want to sing and come along on Tuesday night at 7.30pm… We’re all new to it, so we are all in the same boat here… Important thing is to have fun and enjoy it! Can’t wait! Oh yes, the website is here!!!! I shall report back next week with an update of how it went :)

Well, it’s kinda late and I should get my sleep ready for the big party tomorrow… Hope to see you all there!

Cxx

Happy New Year to you all. It seems the whole world and their friend are still recovering from the aftermath of Christmas and New Years Eve. We had a blast though, some fantastic gigs and it was nice to share the festive period with such lovely people. We wish you all the best for the coming year. On a pub note, its jam packed of awesome bands and music so make sure you fill your diaries. Our website is now up to date until the end of march so get planning! Just as the craziness from Christmas dies down I went and did it. Yes folks, another crazy idea (my last one ended up in us building B2) it was over the Christmas period whilst supping wine, chatting with friends and my other half that we come up with the notion of putting on a Christmas concert next year…. Then it all gets a bit blurry. I thought I would throw it out into the realms of cyberspace and catch some ideas. So there I was asking the world about what everyone thought about forming a Brickmakers Rock Choir? OMG! Why did I do that? Within an hour we had over 50 potential choir members. The phone started ringing, texts were flowing. I had started one hell of a snowball. I called Emma last night in a panic – I mean, I have been in bands, gigging since I was just 14, I’m no stranger to the stage or performing….but to teach 50+ people to sing together and also to listen to each other – how the hell does one do that? Sometimes it’s hard to pin my five band members down for a rehearsal let alone something of that magnitude. I began to silently panic. Emma was like ‘ you’re gonna have to do it now you’ve said it – people want this….’ Well clearly I have a lot to learn and I needed to learn it quick. I emailed a few musician friends for advice, one in particular who has calmed me with her tips and advice on how to run a choir (thanks so much Lauren – I owe you a pint or three). Her first tip was to pick songs at first that I know inside out. I need to know all the parts myself before I can teach them to others. Then there is the very small matter of recording the parts and making them available to members. After looking into choral music and arrangements I have discovered you can buy packs with the parts already arranged and recorded – only problem is they start at about £25 a song. We want to keep the choir a free activity for all so purchasing is not an option. So this afternoon, I sat and created a Facebook group for ‘The Brickmakers Rock Voices’. I’m not certain the name will stay but it will do for now. By tea time tonight we had 52 people signed up to the group and its still increasing! Talk about viral explosion! The next thing I did was to create an online poll. I’ve given all potential choir member five songs to choose from. They need to vote on just one song. After a couple of days I will access the results and the winning song will be the one we learn first. Then all I need to do is take a day off and record the parts… That will be fun I reckon… A whole new leading curve for me – I normally open my mouth and sing a harmony line, I don’t normally have to think about it. So – as soon as the parts are done, I’ll upload them onto the Facebook group and members can choose and download their part and learn it. The magic will hopefully happen when we meet up and make some noise. I reckon we shall have the first meeting within a month. We’ll see what happens from there. I’m sure I’ll cock it up many times along the journey but were all in it together. I’m not adverse to making a pratt of myself, in fact there are times i’ve truly excelled at it… Why the choir? Well I joined a choir temporarily last year for a Christmas concert and I loved every minute. Singing makes you feel good – whether you’re brilliant at it or naff at it. It releases endorphins in the brain which makes us all just as happy just as a bar of chocolate or a good roll in the hay does. Who wouldn’t want a bit of that???? When I looked into the choirs around the city, they all charge upwards of £6 a week. Well I think 24 quid a month is a lot of your hard earned money. I know that these choirs have to hire halls and stuff but we have an advantage in the fact that we have a venue already and because its ours – it’s free! so our choir will be free to attend. However we do expect members to commit their time and dedication in learning their parts at home. Most of the choirs in the city are singing all the same songs, we think we could spice it up a bit with a little more rock! Make it a bit less Glee and a bit more Queen. I love songs like ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘Lean On Me’, ‘ Higher and Higher’ and ‘ Something Inside So Strong’ – they are all great classic tracks but every choir in the nation is singing them – let’s break the mould!!!! So I picked Fleetwood Mac, Status Quo, Survivor, Anastasia and Janis Joplin. I reckon there’s enough spice there to turn up the heat!!! When the choice is made I will record the parts and it shall begin! I feel a huge mixture of excited, nervous and absolutely petrified! What did I do??? Oh well, whatever happens I’m sure we’ll have fun- lets face it, if it goes tits-up we can all head to the bar!

So that’s about it for my news at the minute. here are a whole mixed bag of awesome bands on in the next month or so. One in particular for the diaries is Saturday 2nd March when the amazing ‘MAETLOAF & The Never Neverland Express’ return to our stage for their annual visit. If you like Meatloaf then you are gonna love these guys. I’ ve seen Meatloaf in concert and for me, these guys blew him away. This guy does Meatloaf better than Meatloaf does! it’s the most exciting night of my year….I suggest you all come down and party with us, you won’t be disappointed.

Right folks – it’s getting on a bit and I have music dots to dream of. If it’s anything like last night I think my nights of uninterrupted sleep are heading into very stormy seas. No Pain No Gain right? Don’t forget – if any of you want to take part in the choir – everyone is welcome – being able to sing a little is a help though. Go over to The Brickmakers Rock Voices facebook group and get involved now!!

This weekend – Friday we will be dancing to The Collective whilst Saturday see’s the city’s favourite contemporary rock band ‘Floating Greyhounds’ on our stage for the first time in 2013!

We look forward to seeing you….

Charley x

Tis the season to be……..

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Just another Day...

Yes peeps… It really is that time again and I have no idea where the time has gone this year. One day has rolled into the next for nearly 12 months solid and here we are – it’s Christmas! The last few month have been crazy here at ‘The Brickies’. We have seen some awesome bands grace our stage this year and as always we are astounded by the amount of talent we have in our beautiful city. The Norwich music scene is thriving and more venues are embracing the idea of putting on bands. This is brilliant news for everyone involved in local music. The more venues we have, the bigger and healthier the music scene is – its the way it used to be and the way it should be. In theory it isn’t always as easy as that though, even though the government have brought in new legislation to enable more venues to present live music without a licence, they haven’t made it very clear as venues still need to have a PRS licence in place. Our PRS licence costs us several thousand pounds each year. This basically, again in theory, pays royalties to those artistes whose songs get covered by local bands in The Brickies. In practice I would imagine a lot of the monies collected in licence fees goes towards admin and wages BUT I’m not out to slate the PRS, they do a great job – even I myself have once benefitted from royalties they collected on my behalf… In fact I think I may have been paid the grand total of a couple of quid at one time lol. I’m not sure what my point is or if I even have one, I m doing what I do best and rambling on about everything and nothing. Live music is awesome and it’s what we live and breathe every day. But it isn’t as easy as everyone thinks. there are hidden costs, licenses and the most important one – keeping your community happy. We work hard to do our best to fit into our community. Our neighbours are important to us and we like to make sure we don’t disturb their daily lives whilst living ours. Thats is why you will see Mum, Em and I regularly patrolling the car park at night and annoyingly asking you to all talk quietly out the back. It’s not because we want to be a pain, we just want to ensure that our neighbouring community isn’t disturbed by us in the early hours. Anyway, back to Christmas, I hope you aren’t all too skint, if you’re anything like me you spent out in the first week of December lol but then I do have six nieces and nephews to buy for… Don’t get me wrong, love them all like mad but a tangerine really doesn’t cut the mustard these days! So we’ve got loads going on leading up to Christmas, parties left right and centre and also we say a very sad farewell to an awesome band who are, to everyone’s dismay parting ways after their gig on Friday 21st Dec. I am of course talking about ska/reggae faves ‘MONKEY SPANNER’. We are going to be very sad to see them disband but we promised them a good send off so make sure you get down here that night and help us to say a big thank you and goodbye… We then have a pre – Christmas party on Sat 22nd with Emma Hall and then of course or big Bash on Christmas Eve with the brilliant FIREWIRE! Complete with fake snow, shiny disco ball and lasers these guys will party Santa like never before. On Christmas Day we are opening from 12pm til 3pm. Mum and I will be here sharing a mince pie or two, some Christmas cheer, carols on the juke box and maybe even some crackers!!! actually, we both love working on Christmas Day, it’s a happy time and its always good to catch up with friends, so don’t forget to come down and share the festive feeling with us while the turkey is cooking… Boxing Day is always funny too – We have Pot luck Karaoke, basically you pull a song out of a hat and you don’t know what you are going to sing until you get up there… We all take part, staff too!!! It’s a real giggle and all in the name of Christmas. In the midst of the Christmas mayhem, the Glamtastics cheer us up on Friday 28th with a night of the best in Glam Rock.

If you haven’t got your tickets for New Year’s Eve yet I suggest you get a shifty on. As usual, they’re are selling fast and we are over the 200 mark already. This is our tenth NYE party and we are celebrating with two fantastic bands – POUT AT THE DEVIL & PURE PASSION. It’s going to be awesome and I can’t wait.

As always Mum, Em and I would like to express our love and sincere thanks to all our customers and bands that have supported us over not only the last year but the last 9 years. Every year the Pub trade gets a little tougher and we feel blessed to have such wonderful customers and talented bands that are always there beside us, supporting what we do. Without you all we wouldn’t be here and life would be pretty miserable so thank you all from the bottom of our rockin’ hearts.

We wish you all a very safe, and Merry Christmas and a totally awesome 2013! ( that is if we don’t all die on 21st Dec, in which case I am gonna be soooo annoyed as I could have saved the money that I spent on presents and had one hell of a party!!! Oh well – so-long and thanks for all the fish!)

With love

Charley, Pam and Em
Xxx