Archive for the ‘Just another Day…’ Category

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

Oh my…. I need a definite slap on the wrist – can’t believe how long it was since my last blog. So sorry to all those of you that enjoy my random musings over a cuppa and the odd custard cream.  I get so carried away with the daily routine, I blinked in April and woke up in August! how does that happen?  Well I guess the good thing about it is that I have plenty to say lol, a lot has happened in the last four months or so…  I’ll give you a couple of mins to go and put the kettle on – go on off ya go……..I like milk and no sugar thanks 🙂

Well since I last wrote we’ve had two massive, and successful I hasten to add charity events. Firstly the Easter Bash, which helped to raise £1788.16 for Breast Cancer Research, us girlies also got our running shoes on and did the ‘Race For Life’ too which bumped it way up to well over £2000. Then we had our Jubilee Bash in June where we raised £1744.14  for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.  July saw everyone in the pub taking part in our version of ‘BRICKMAKERS PUB OLYMPICS’ which turned out to be the most hilarious and fun event of the year to date.  It was a Sunday afternoon and we had only the best pub athletes completing.  Events with a happy crazy twist included pole vaulting, shot putting and arm wrestling to name a handful. Check out the PUB OLYMPICS videos on youtube  for a real giggle.  It really was brilliant and people are still talking about it even now.  Contenders are already signing up for the Brickmakers Winter Olympics – although we may have to do one hell of a risk assessment for that one!!

So, today I have spent all day trying to finish off designing the newsletter for September, I should have had it finished by Monday – yes last Monday! i missed my deadline and through one thing and another got so behind that I was going forward.  Anyway happy me at 7pm this evening when I handed Em the finished copy to proof read before I send it off to the printers.  As I was mid mix on the desk she walked up to me with some bad news.  I had only created a whole newsletter using the listings for September last year…. As you can imagine I had a massive internal swearing session, I was already late enough going to print and now I was going to be even later. Needless to say I am much calmer now as I have actually just finished the rewrite – it’s heading on for 4am now but at least when I finally get to bed, I will actually be able to put it out of my mind….well until the next issue is due anyway lol.

I had a fun night tonight, mixing one of my favorite bands – ‘The Cleaving Heevages‘ if you haven’t seen them yet then you really should. Three guys and three gals that do things to songs that should require a licence lol. They never fail to put a smile on my face, I urge you to go and check them out,  the woman plays a teapot for goodness sakes!!!  really she does…. and the other one…. well I can’t bring myself to type it…. you will have to get down here and see for yourself when they are next here…..I did record the gig so I will be uploading some Heevage clips shortly – watch this space on that one!!!

YIPPPPPPIEEEEEE –  two more days until the big one!!!! Yes you know what I’m talking about BRICKFEST 2012 is nearly here…. we’ve got some awesome support this year, our wonderful County Council are behind us with their Hugger Campaign and will be here on the day offering training advice to Motorcyclists. We also have brilliant backing from Aspalls, Jack Daniels and our Acoustic Tent is being totally Jagermeistered this year.  We are almost ready, the Tent is up, the outside bar is ready to rock and the bands are all rearing to go. Every year we get that little panicky feeling, will anyone come???? it sits there in our tummy’s until about 3pm in the afternoon when finally we realise that yes of course people will come.  It’s never something we want to take for granted. We are always very grateful for your support and attendance on these days.  This cause is such a good one too.  The youth of Sprowston are going to benefit from a weekly drop in centre based in the annex of St Cuthberts Church, Wroxham Road.  We want to the help of the Youth Engagement Program equip the group with recreational supplies and hopefully if we can raise enough we can help fund the wages of a trained Youth Worker to be on site to help young people with advice and support, we all know that that teenage years can be quite confusing at times and with your help, this vital local resource may benefit our local young people during their own journeys.  BRICKFEST 2012 kicks off on Monday 27th August at 12 noon and we have 36 bands on the line up for you – check out the schedule here – we also have a Giant Inflatable Slide, Bouncy Castle and Face Painting for the kids.  Our Squares board is very exciting this time, we have an IPAD 3 (32Gig) up for grabs. It’s just £2 for a square and once they are all sold we will be drawing it. So watch out for Brickies staff wandering around selling the squares – you never know, you might spend £2 and win an IPAD worth nearly £500!  So, loads to do, see, play with and dance to!  Oh and if you are feeling in the mood for it we are all dressing up in true Brickies tradition. Our theme for this one is HIPPIES / FLOWER POWER. So go and get creative with your platforms and we’ll see you there!!!

Before I go, need to just tell you about tonight…. Prog rock band ‘RISE’ take the stage tonight with their 10th anniversary gig and to celebrate 10 years on the local music scene  they will be releasing their eponymous (self-titled) CD which consists of five, studio-recorded tracks:

Turn it on Again (Genesis), Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple), Don’t Lie to Me (David Coverdale), Closer to the Heart (Rush) and Feeling Good (Muse).   All tracks will be performed live on the night and the CD’s will be available to purchase!!  They are an awesome band and I bet the CD is going to be awesome too. Hope to see you here!!

Oh my it’s late, I’m well and truly done and dusted. Have a great weekend people – see you on Monday if not before!

Rock’ on and sweet dreams :o)

Cxxx

Well…here we are about to start to celebrate our 9th birthday and what an amazing nine years it’s been. I have to admit sometimes it feels a bit like 90 years though with the long hours that running a pub entails. I know for a fact though that neither Mum, Em or I would change a single thing though.  We sat and calulated the amount of bands we have had on our stages since we moved in and it is well in excess of 10,000 band appearances. That is a huge amount of bands and actually makes me feel slightly better about our mixing desk packing up in recent months – bless it, it certainly did a lot of work and at the end of the day didn’t owe us anything. More impressive is the fact that Norwich has so many amazing bands to offer – our music scene is vast and it’s a huge asset to the city and one which we continue to urge you to take advantage of.. it’s all out there for the taking folks!

So – tonight, 9 years after moving in we celebrate ‘The Brickies’, it’s staff and customers, and most importantly all the fantastic bands that the Norwich Music Scene has delivered to our ears.  Thank you ALL for you loving, support and friendship – it means the world to us. I remember the first day we walked into the place as the new owners, full of excitement but equally scared shitless as I had never stepped foot behind a bar let alone pulled a pint…  There isnt anything like being thrown in at the deep end though and before we knew it were were running around like nutters.  And still, we run around like nutters. We’ve learnt so much over the last nine years though, we can now install, service and maintain our own PA system, we can make cables, wire up speakers, install lighting rigs, install CCTV systems – Hell – we can even rod the drains (YUK!) – learning all this stuff for yourself  means you can fix things in a hurry and it means you don’t have to rely on others to do things for you.  Our air conditioning leaked last night however and we haven’t learnt to fix that yet – so there’s always something new to learn and we are the first to hold up our hands and say we don’t always get it right but as long as we keep trying that’s the main thing…  The good news too is that no I can almost actually pour a half decent pint lol.

It, may well be raining outside, its grey and miserable but all the more reaso to get your butts off of that sofa and down to the pub – we have an awesome night of music planned for you, and still no-one knows who’s playing, at least not for another hour or two. Come on – get up, get ya best dancing shoes on and we’ll see you on the dance floor.

Cheers peeps and here’s to the next nine years!

Rock On

 

Cxx

Well hello you lot… I hope you are all well and happy despite the crappy weather we are enduring right now.  I’ve been doing that thing I always seem to do and getting behind on my work, I never manage to get organised and it doesn’t matter how many to-do lists I have, or the whiteboards I have on my office wall stating what I’m doing and when down to the last-minute of each day.  Things come up, mixing desks go wrong, staff call in sick, people call and before you know it you’re a day behind.  Anyway, it doesn’t matter – it’s not like it’s a surprise to me really – I’ve been late all my life, why change now lol.  Well, with all that I have been meaning to blog for ages and finally here I am. We’ve had a mad couple of months and its crazy to think that it seems a blink of an eye ago I was rambling on about Christmas – scary huh?  It’s been a fun couple of weeks with some great bands. I had an awesome birthday weekend with ‘MAETLOAF’, it was so good and I even managed to remember it 🙂 (just), thank you to all of you that sent me cards and came down to share it with me, it was a brilliant night.   Also this weekend just passed we were lucky enough to present  ‘The Burning Crows’ EP launch party. This band will always hold a special place for me. I can honestly say that I remember these boys when they first walked into the pub, they must have been about 14 years old and were in a band and could they have a gig please? It has been an amazing experience for me to watch them grow into truly competent musicians as well as decent young men – I’m not going to harp on about that as I wouldn’t want to embarrass them (it’s ok boys i wont put any of the pics up from that first gig lol) but it definitely got me thinking about our younger clientel.

Way back when I was at school I can remember getting my options form and laying on the living room floor with my mum chatting about what to take. She asked me the million dollar question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ there was only one answer – ‘A ROCK STAR’. Being the amazing woman who my mum is, she didn’t laugh, she just said that was fine and she would help me all she could, but I had to pick some subjects anyway as a backup so I chose every science I could with the hopes of someday becoming a Vet if my musical dreams didn’t work out.  I have to say, I may never have played Wembley but I have had a brilliant musical career and I wouldn’t change a single thing. It’s something I couldn’t have done without my mum’s love, support and encouragement. How lucky was I? Playing in bands from an early age was tough – in those days venues didn’t like children (because essentially that was exactly what I was) in them. I played my first gig at 14years old, and from that day on I was playing a minimum of three times a week.  I had to lie about my age to be allowed to play and it was always a little touch and go for the band whether we would get away with it or not.  As an adult, mum and I always said if we could help young people in music then we would, that opportunity would present itself in the end…  About eleven years ago, way before we moved in here, I worked as a residential social worker for a local company providing residential care for young people in crisis.  Without going into too much detail, these kids had been to hell and back and we were the last stop.  It was rewarding work albeit sometimes hard, thinking you can make a difference is definitely what keeps you going in such jobs.  When The Brickies was on the market, possibly going to be either chain bought or knocked down for the land it was a sharp blow to the local music scene.  Most of you know the story of how and why we ended up here so I won’t go into it again but mainly to open up the stage to everyone – irrelevant of age.  At the time venues we dropping like flies and it seemed the right thing to do. How was our local music scene ever going to flourish and give birth to new bands without nurturing our new talent?  Over the years, we have seen so many young people through our doors, starting on our stages from the age of as young as 11.  We like to think we have created a space for young people to come and express their creativity and musical ability, to learn and develop their musical and sometimes personal individuality – It is a place where parents now feel safe to drop off their kids and pick them up in a couple of hours.  I can understand why some parents would feel uneasy about it, I would feel the same over my own. Of course – yes we are a pub and that you can never take away but ‘The Brickies’ is so much more than that. We have music pumping around the foundations here and a commitment to everyone that comes in and enjoys themselves here that we will endeavour to make it a safe, happy environment. 

I don’t know how many of you guys knew Dalmaine Dewgarde – known in the area as Dal? Well he and I would chat on a regular basis and we always spoke about our young people here in Sprowston, and those that visit us on a regular basis whether to play or watch. He often said that he felt the young people of the local area were generally very good people, he respected them and they respected him. He was in his 80’s yet so in touch with our local youth, he was a total inspiration and together we made plans for helping young people get along in the local music scene.  Sadly he passed away a few weeks ago now, but we strive to continue what we set out to do.  I had a moment last week where I was visited by the carer of one of our regular younger visitors.  I actually thought I was in trouble for a moment, but as we sat down and started talking I realised that she was actually thanking me. I felt completely humble and embarrassed, I mean what exactly did I do?  It seems the young man she was responsible for had been living on the edge for sometime after a somewhat traumatic childhood. Obviously I can’t and wouldn’t want to go into details but it seems we gave him something positive to focus on. Now, just that one good story is worth 9 years of hard work, even without mentioning all the other amazing stuff… So why am I running on about this – I don’t know really, just airing my thoughts after chatting to some of our youngsters at the weekend and actually having a good giggle with them… I think a lot of Norwich’s young people get tarred with a really bad brush… sure there are some that really are trouble makers but if we all take the time to show them some respect, talk to them, laugh, joke and encourage them then why shouldn’t they give it back to us? I’m not just blowing the Brickies trumpet here – Dal made me realise that, more than he will ever know. If we just stop and take the time, they have so much to offer.  As far as the music scene goes, well there are some awesome venues doing things for young people out there – ‘Open’, ‘Access To Music’ and more. For now – we promise to keep promoting our local music scene, getting new bands in all the time, as well as your old favs. What can you do? well, encourage everyone you know to go and see live music – not just here but at every venue you can in Norwich, and there are some really good ones out there and it’s important that we keep them to keep our music scene strong and alive. Without your support they wont be able to pay the bills. We all know times are hard but pulling together is what makes it stronger. Go and see a band you’ve never heard of… I dare you!

That was very random and all over the place lol, I guess that’s what blogs are all about though right? opening your head lol.

Just very quickly tell you about this weekend as it is very exciting.  Friday night we have a date with The Stylotones, an awesome big ska/2tone band. If you like windin’ and grindin’ then don’t miss these guys – they are definitely one of the best in the region.  Saturday night is a personal favourite of mine ‘PURE FLOYD SHOW’ – yes, it does what it says on the tin. The best Floyd tribute in East Anglia…its a fiver to get in but we guarantee you wont be disappointed, they are truly amazing, even have the female backing singers too!

Right guys, enough blah blah blah for now…. Got to go and set up for Open Mic Night…why don’t you come down and have a go….

Have a great week

Cxx

Yes folks, I know it’s been so long since I blogged and I sincerely apologise to all those of you that like reading my random waffle but I have to get this one out there in the open before I go any further.  One of my lovely regulars brought us in a bag of biscuits and cakes today 🙂 – as I locked up and headed upstairs with my list of Sunday night jobs, I spied something familiar at the bottom of the bag – well it was a replica of something once familiar, I mean it vaguely looked like a ‘Wagon Wheel’ multipacket – it said ‘Wagon Wheel’ on it and naturally I figured they had moved with the times and updated said packaging as the years have passed. I mean seriously, the last time I was lucky enough to have a ‘Wagon Wheel’ is when my mum stuck one in my lunch box at school.  My God they were good, and is it just me or can you guys remember them being massive too?  I can remember one wagon wheel taking up a significant portion of my lunchbox.  Boy! if you got one of those in your box all the cool kids hovered round trying to swap it for their ‘Munch Bunch’ yoghurt… heh heh like I was ever gonna swap my michellen tyre of mallowness for that slop! Anyway long moan short – I was quite excited by my wagon wheel, despite how small it seemed. I put it down to the fact that I had become somewhat larger whilst the ‘Delicious mallow biscuit covered with a chocolate flavoured coating’ had remained the same size. I am however, not convinced.  I made myself a huge mug of tea and sat down in my office to upload and mix the weekend’s photos and videos.  I carefully unwrapped my ‘Wagon Wheel’ to discover it was actually not even a bicycle tyre. It was thin, not overly mallowy and the cardboard biscuit thingy was covered in a coating that promised to be chocolatey but to be honest my dogs chocolate bones are more appetising.  I cannot describe the disappointment I felt – It’s almost like finding out that curly wurlies aren’t actually curly and you really can’t eat two Aeros instead of one because of all the air in them make them less fattening!  Ok, I know I’m blowing it a little out of proportion here but for goodness sakes – I actually dumped the ‘imposter’ and dunked a bourbon biscuit in my tea! Bourbons never pretend to be anything else.  For once, even Tilly (my dog) didn’t seem too interested in begging for said ‘Wagon Wheel’ – I guess that says it all!

Anyway – enough said. It’s been five weeks since Christmas and doesn’t it seem so far away now?  Time gets stuck here and before you know it it’s the next day, next week, next month and oh my word we’ve been here nine years in April. How did that happen!? I only blinked and sat down for a cuppa. Well,in the last month or so I have been fiddling about with video cameras. We managed to install four video cameras at various positions in the band room. If you’ve been in you would have seen it. All videos run into a vision mixer and then it is displayed on the big screen and two other screens throughout the venue.  It means wherever you stand you will be able to watch the band.  The double whammy for bands is that we have the facility to record whatever we mix and can them provide them with a DVD of their gig at the end.  If you head over to our youtube channel you can watch some snippets that we have recorded over the last couple of weeks.  I’m still learning as I go with the system, it’s taken a little while to master getting the right audio levels out of the desk, it’s almost like you have to mix the live sound and the output levels to the hard disk recorder all the same time, as well as fading the video channels. I could do with a few more pairs of hands lol.  We’re getting there now though.  The idea for this came from me approaching a video production company just before Christmas about recording my own band. I was quoted almost £1000 plus vat. We thought that was crazy, how are bands ever going to be able to promote themselves when everything being so expensive? Anyway, we bought the equipment and figured that if we charged bands a minimal fee of £50, it covers our equipment costs and they could walk away with a half decent DVD for a tenner each.  Already bands have been jumping at the chance to have a recording of their gigs.  It’s also a great way for us to promote what’s coming up – it gives you all a chance to see and hear what a band is like before deciding what to do with your weekend…   Our open mic nights are slightly different. All performers play for free so we give them a DVD of their set for free too. It is a great resource for all musicians to use to promote themselves and try out new material, work on their performance.  I recorded my New Years Eve gig, it was one of the first we did and I personally have found it very useful to watch, we are all our own worst critics lol.  Next gig – maybe not so much brandy heh heh.

Speaking of gigs… this week we’ve got some brilliant stuff happening.  Melodic trio ‘Zoom Club’ are here on Thursday, and then one of my favs ‘POUT AT THE DEVIL’ bring us some 80’s glam on Friday night.  Saturday night is very exciting for me as I get to play, this will be ‘PURE PASSION’s first gig with their new singer so it’s all very exciting. We are expecting to be extremely busy so make sure you are in early if you’re coming!

Right folks, I still have to update the website so I had better get a shift on as I’m getting a little sleepy now… well it is 4.26am – I reckon that’s pretty normal.

Goodnight people and don’t forget to watch out for Wagon Wheel imposters….they may be lurking somewhere near you!

Cxx

It’s 9.25am the day before Christmas Eve and I’m about to open my brain so brace yourselves folks – anything could happen here….  ((((shake))))) 

I’ve been trying to find 5 minutes to write a Christmas blog for the last couple of weeks but that kinda didn’t happen, things here have been a tad hectic to say the least – I’m not complaining though, I’d rather be hectic than bored.  I don’t know about you guys but I keep waiting to be hit by that Christmassy feeling, It hasn’t happened yet, even after what must be at least 50 plays of ‘Fairytale of New York’ on the Jukebox this week,  two Carol services, one of which I sang in the choir and still all the tinsel in the world and fake snow hasn’t assisted in my Chritmassy mood.  It has definitely crept up on me this year, even though I have actually finished my Christmas shopping for once and I’m not going to find myself rushing around the city on Christmas Eve looking for a forgotten present for a distant relation. I can certainly breathe a bit about that…  Maybe Christmas Eve will be the kick-start of my festive feelings – we have the awesome GLAMTASTICS on, they make you feel good any time of year so I reckon I’m in with a good chance here. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I haven’t been trying,  Christmas has always been my favourite time of year right from when I was a kid – I have my amazing family to thank for that one, they always made sure it was a magical time. Just a brief note about Christmas Eve – if you are planning on coming out to spend the evening with us 1: That’s brilliant    2: Book your taxi home now, don’t leave it til the last-minute as experience taught us – you won’t get one!      3: wear a santa hat or something Christmassy ( baubles dangling from ears / tinsel around your person, that sort of thing) anything to help lift the Christmas spirit for the evening (and I’m not talking about the top shelf here!)   4: Make sure you get in Early as it’s going to be mad and last thing you want to do tomorrow is have to queue to get in..  ( see I even went Christmassy colours there for effect!)

Christmas Day here is always good fun, it’s a day where we open just for a couple of hours (12pm – 3pm) and it always surprises us how many of you are out and about, by all means pop in and have a mince pie with us there will be plenty to go around as well as free tunes of a festive nature on the ole jukey.  Me and Mum will be on the bar and hopefully the festive feeling will be right there along with us…  (pausing to make coffee, hang on….AFK)   – right! back now …  Yes Christmas day – we’ll provide the Sausage Rolls, Mince Pies, chocolates, cheesey tunes come along and join us in our Christmasivities!

Boxing Day is the most hilarious night of the year down here at The Brickmakers! why? I hear you cry….. well it’s quite simple really.  POT LUCK KARAOKE – that’s why!!  Yes folks it’s karaoke but with one hell of a difference. We open our doors at 7pm and we kick off at 8pm…everybody gets involved, even me, Mum and all our staff.   You don’t have to be able to sing, but you do need to be game for a laugh!   Write your name down and pull a mystery song out of the hat! you wont know what your song is until you are on stage with that microphone in your hand.  Songs are picked at random and are sealed by the independent adjudicator and is the only one who knows where the money is…. er…hold on wrong game! ( DOH! )  now what was I saying…. (hang on, need coffee….) …. ahhhhhhh better now, ok yes so Pot Luck Karaoke – does what it says on the tin, your song is totally pot luck. Don’t worry though, there are only songs that you will be sure to know, for instance Mum went first last year and got Bohemian Rhapsody which started the night off nicely (well, sort of – in places lol) I think I may have got YMCA at some point.  The main thing is, that it’s a whole lot of fun and a surefire way to either escape the Christmas madness or embrace it wholeheartedly!  We’re all taking part so come down and join in the fun and frolicking, or just come and watch either way there is going to be many laughs!

A random off on a tangent paragraph…. Some of you who have been in over the last couple of weeks may have noticed our new video system, its been four years in the planning and have taken us a while to save up to buy the equipment, luckily I have managed to pick quite a lot of it up second-hand – thank goodness for the internet!  So we now have a four-way video mixing system with which we can broadcast the band throughout the whole venue on our screens, the idea is to be able to enjoy the gig, wherever you may be standing in the pub.  It’s doesn’t end there however, we can now provide bands an instant recording of their gig performance on DVD at the end of the night to take away. It’s a brilliant resource available to bands as getting good quality promo videos done costs a fortune.  The plan was always to help bands promote themselves in the cheapest way possible, we can now provide a stage on which to perform, audio recording, video and photographic production all under one roof.  It’s pretty much all a band needs for self marketing and promotion.   The recordings themselves are surprisingly good quality for analogue cameras (If there is enough demand for it, we will look into going digital at a later date, obviously that is soooo much more expensive to install) I’m still getting to know the equipment and learning as I go, so production techniques will hopefully improve – It obviously poses the question – didn’t I already have enough knobs to fiddle with?? my answer to that is, there can never be too many! however another set of hands would come in handy (lol) what do you reckon Santa?  come on –  pull that one out of yer sack!! heheheh heheheh!!

Right, we have, Open Mic Night (Wed) and  bands on as normal between Christmas and New Year and then obviously on New Years Eve we have our NYE Bash celebrations.  It’s not even Christmas yet and tickets are running into their last 50. We totally expect to be sold out by the time New Year’s Eve arrives so if you were planning to share it with us and haven’t yet got your tickets then please, we urge you to get them asap, so many people left it to the last-minute last year only to be told we were sold out and they had to find somewhere else to party the New Year in!  This year is particularly special as Pure Passion will be saying a sad goodbye to Linzi (their long term singer) who is leaving after her final gig on NYE.  PP always guarantee a good show but this one is destined to be that little bit more rockin! – don’t panic PP fans, after an extensive search to middle earth and beyond they have auditioned 15 prospective Linzis and the band have found a new singer. Her name is Tara and you will all be meeting her in the New Year. Excellent local rockers ‘Black River Falls’ are also on the bill tonight, with an amazing Janis Joplin style vocalist, they are sure to impress! There is no better way than to wave goodbye to 2011 than here with us. So I repeat just once more – get your tickets NOW! or be very dissapointed!

A short note – (lol I AM only 5′ 2″)   Mum, Em and I would like to just say a massive thank you to all our amazing staff who quite frankly work their butts off throughout the year, we appreciate all you do guys, you’re amazing!  Also thanks to our loyal customers, music lovers, suppliers and of course those that are the fuel in the Brickies engine – THE BANDS! It’s all about you guys! and without you Brickies life would be pretty pointless. We wish you all,  an amazing Christmas full of love and laughter and a very promising and Happy New Year, wherever you may celebrate it!

Right, that’s probably enough random ramblings from me, my next blog will be written in 2012 – how strange is that?!?!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night…. er…. well  have a good day anyway!

Cxxxx