News Stories

Parvez

From Pakistani heritage, Parvez grew up listening to reggae and soundsysytems before founding an indie rock back called Unison.Unison were short lived and Parvez returned with his new reggae band Aduwa. In 1994 he built his own home studio and recording under the name Dub Factory. They released the critically acclaimed 12″ The World Nowadays / Poetry in Motion and then the album Voyage into Dub – The First Journey. This was followed by Various Dub Dance Tracks (1996) and Africa / Terror Dome (2009).

Parvez aka Dub Factory would go onto collaborate and tour with numerous artists and Steel Pulse would record their albums Rage and Fury (1997) and African Holocaust (2004) at the Dub Factory.

The Hurling Boys

The Hurling Boys are Birmingham’s are a four-piece multi-instrumental acoustic Irish folk band, playing all over the UK for weddings, parties, functions, and Irish nights. Mixing Ceilidh dancing with rousing choruses and gentle ballads they also enthral you with haunting airs and wild Ceilidh music. They demonstrate clearly close camaraderie, always ready to have ‘good craic’ and are delighted to fit the needs of individuals and groups of people at various types of events.

The band consists of Tommy Deignan, Keith Farr, Pat Brennan, and Dean McCabe.
Pat Brennan is the front man and multi instrumentalist who has a great repertoire of popular songs that are often chosen on the basis of the background stories and how they fit the particular needs of the party. Pat plays a wide variety of instruments on stage including Banjo, Mandolin, Whistle, Bodhran, Accordion, Harmonica, Flute and Bagpipes.

Dean McCabe mainly plays Guitar, but he can also play drums for the Ceili dancing and is also an excellent bodhran player. As a champion Irish dancer he reached a level that merited a tour with Michael Flatley!

Tommy Deignan is vital for the Ceili dancing; sometimes his fingers are fit to drop off! He just smiles and gets a chance to recover during a song that usually follows. A few very good button box players in Birmingham owe their prowess to Tommy who taught them.

Keith Farr is a genuine Brummie, hence the Warwickshire shirt. Keith provides the band with some more contemporary songs and sings some of them while playing Guitar and also operating bass pedals with his foot and tries hard not to get too confused! He can add a hillbilly touch also with his 5 string banjo.

http://thehurlingboys.co.uk

Seventh Wave

Seventh Wave is a Festival of Electronic Music, weekly radio show and electronic music promoter founded by Chris Wave.

Website is

The Bubble Club

One of the first rave club nights held at the Que Club promoted by Chris Wave.

The Crown

The Crown is arguably the most important venue in Birmingham’s music history. It was here, in the upstairs room, that Henry’s Blues House was started by Jim Simpson and would play host to the early gigs of Earth, before they renamed themselves Black Sabbath.

But the The Crown was also a focal point for Brummie punks as it spread out of London. The Crown, or more specifically, the room above the bar which played host to all the amazing gigs and nights, is under threat with the brewery wanting to convert the space in to apartments. This would be a terrible fete to befall a genuine Birmingham cultural heritage space. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of the possibilities of what we could do with this room, a dedicated site for Birmingham Popular Music attracting tourists to the spiritual home of the legendary Sabbath, where you can still read the graffiti of the punks, Drongos For Europe, scrawled on walls, Sheldon Punks on the stairs.

Tom Pickering lived at The Crown while his dad, Tom Picking Snr ran managed it. Tom has written in with a wonderful recollection of his time their:

Hi

My dad (also called Tom Pickering) was Landlord of the crown from the late 1950’s through to about 1970. It was a tied house at the time (M&B) but revenue from the two dance halls went to the landlord if he arranged events there.

I was born in a local hospital in 1964 and my sister actually born there in 65.

There are actually two performance spaces upstairs – a main dancehall with a side “snug” bar and a smaller room (called the Boatman’s Bar – and decorated with utterly incongruous sea related paraphernalia) with higher ceilings (and much better acoustics) both were used interchangeably in the 1960’s – though the second room seems to be the host for most of the Henry’s Blues House meetings.

The list you have online starts in 1970 – but music was a huge thing much earlier than that. I remember it was called “underground” music and started around 1967 – 68.

My gran used to do the catering for the pub and fondly remembered the bands who used to play there. I remember at the height of the newspapers monstering of Ozzy Osbourne her telling me how he was a good kid and always super polite to her on the catering station – although always hungry and trying to scrounge a sandwich.

The Crown was one of only a few venues in the city centre with a license for music and dancing so it attracted the early folk scene too. My mom has stories about the Chieftains having a residency there in 1964 / 65, and there were regular appearances from local bands like “Denny Laine and the Diplomats” and the Moody Blues.

There was a pie stall on old bombed out building near the front door which was hugely popular with local biker community. They labelled themselves “Ton Up Kid” and their big aim was to do 100 mph on their old Norton and BSA motorbikes. these kids formed the nucleus of the early heavy metal fan base.

One of the things that people forget is that there were an utterly notorious set of “cottages” outside the crown (underground public toilets now filled in on the corner of Hill st and Station St) which made it a haven for the early LGBT / Trans community. Who used to mix utterly happily with the Bikers, Rockers and Folkies. It was a very special, if somewhat unpredictable place.

The period 1970 – 75 was when most the Henry’s gigs happened – we had been moved out of the Crown by the brewers. Between 74 and 77 the old place fell into a terrible rut. There was always an undercurrent of violence about the pub, with such a disparate community there frictions and jealousies would be bound to spill over, but my father used to keep a very effective door squad in place and it never really became toxic.

When he left the violence became untenable, and the pub was let out as a tenancy in late 1976 / early 1977. My dad took up rental and returned to what had, by now, become an absolute shambles of a place. He bought back his old door squad and the violence all moved back away.

This is when Billy Dupre asked my dad for his old bar job back. Billy was a lovely gentle sort of a guy – a real 1960’s hippy and kids all loved him (me included) He asked if he could run the (now closed as a fire hazard) back lounge bar as a venue for his “punk” friends – and change the music on the jukebox to allow him to do this.

So he set up and before long the Crown was swarming with Punks. We re-opened the old upstairs dance hall and used it as a venue for a “punk disco” with Billy and his friends playing records. The ATV show Revolver filmed a bunch of the filler “crowd” footage up there.

The Punks made enormous peacock there for 2 years or so until the 1979 Thatcher Govt brought the full weight of the transition to a service economy down to bear – Birmingham was one of the worst places affected and the scene moved first to a mix of Punks / Skinheads (drawn by a shared love of Reggae) and then to a preponderance of skinheads with a few punks.

The two punk bands who got their break there were GBH (famous – still touring) and Drongo’s For Europe (not famous – still touring). GBH had a long term residency there – contact them they have some great stories of the place.

The skinheads drew in the far right and (by this stage of the recession) despirate for money my dad started renting out the lounge and upstairs as a venue for some pretty unsavoury groups. Column 88, Combat 18, British Movement, Ukranian Ex-Servicemens Association (these were some bad bad men) all regularly used the place.

The local bands going through there at the time included UB40 and The Beat – who name check the Crown on the final line of their single Tears of a Clown where Ranking Roger declares that he’s “going down town, going down the crown”. For a while Pig-Bag used the downstairs as an informal “club house” – Art School kids and Skinheads – it was a weird mix.

Curiously there was never any real friction between the mixed race SKA / Skin / Two Tone kids and the Far Right. A more cynical man than I might speculate that that they used to unite in hating the Asians. It was this background that gave rise to the unique multi-racial mix of the Zulu football supporters.

There was an attempt in 1980 – 81 to bring back Heavy Metal to the place – we hired the DJ from the Beerkeller (Bogarts) and this was quite popular for a while – but no real live music. The posters you see up on the walls in the photos are all from that period.

The graphiti (Bill Has Joy… etc) all dates from 1979 and is very much the hall mark of the punks.

By 1982 music had all but stopped at the place. It became home to the Zulu’s and all the Punks moved on. We moved out in the autumn of that year.

Hope this gives some flavour.

Tom

But the The Crown was also a focal point for Brummie punks as it spread out of London. The Crown, or more specifically, the room above the bar which played host to all the amazing gigs and nights, is under threat with the brewery wanting to convert the space in to apartments. This would be a terrible fete to befall a genuine Birmingham cultural heritage space. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of the possibilities of what we could do with this room, a dedicated site for Birmingham Popular Music attracting tourists to the spiritual home of the legendary Sabbath, where you can still read the graffiti of the punks, Drongos For Europe, scrawled on walls, Sheldon Punks on the stairs.

We want to save this space, or at least enter into discussions with the developers to re-think their plans and release the asset, which is of cultural importance to the city, which they are custodians of.

Would love to crowd this page with photos, ticket stubs, memories, gigs listings, anything to do with your time at The Crown and your thoughts about what we can do to save this amazing place!

To kick things off, here is flyer for the regular punk ‘discos’ that took place at The Crown, I’d love to hear from anyone who went there or has photos, who the dj was, and who the phone number belonged to!

If you can’t read the type because of the ingrained dust and bleed of the ink it says:

PUNKS OF ALL SEXES

ARE WELCOME EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT

AT THE CROWN HOTEL HILL ST BIRMINGHAM

THE DJ YOU KNOW WOULD RATHER REMAIN INCOGNITO PUBLICITY WISE

ITS FREE      ITS FREE

643 1506

KEEP IT ROCKING

And this is what the upstairs looks like today, Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Champion Boy Dupree,Thin Lizzy, not to mention the punks of Brum and countless others have all been present in these rooms, even the posters remain.

 

 

The Steering Wheel

Jazz Dance competition held at the club on Sunday 19th December 1993. There was no subsequent final held.

Affiliated with Straight No Chaser magazine in some way – to investigate.

Three judges including Steve Williams ukvibe.org

DJs on the day included Bruce Q (Liquid Fusion)

Dancers

Oscar Anderson – The Floor Technicians (winner) from Bristol
Lozz Lee from Birmingham
Donald “Bulldog” Anderson from Birmingham
Shaun Cope (Flash) from Birmingham
Perry Lewis – Jazzcotech Luton – http://www.jazzcotech.com
Robbie Johnson
Dave Valentine
Andy Bex ?
Linford Taylor
Richard Reeve from Stockport

Bruce Q

Currently presenting weekly programme on Sonic Stream Radio

Known for:
Liquid Fusion Music
Kitten Klub
Sweet FM Birmingham
Feeling Good
UK Vibe
Sonic Stream Radio

Tutankhamun’s, Liberty’s Basement Hagley Road
Coast To Coast Central TV Studio’s, Broad Street
Ronnie Scott’s Broad Street 1992-2000

Sundays: Liquid Fusion with Bruce Q

Sundays: Liquid Fusion with Bruce Q

Living Room Broad Street circa 2002-2005
Zinc Bar Regency Wharf, Gas Street Basin circa 2005-2008
Nuvo Bar Brindley Place circa 2011
52 Degrees North Arcadian
Poppy Red Arcadian 16th Sep circa 2007 – 2008
Concrete (Boiler Room), Jewellery Quarter circa 2008
Jazzifunk
Bruk Up – on going

Fresh FM

Circa 1988 – 1990

More information needed.

Presenter list:
Frenchie
Mix Wizard (Paul Dixon)
Chilly E (Eustace)
DJ Horse (Horace)
Sammy Goulbourne
Randy B

Sweet FM 106.8

On air between 2001 and 2002 and run by Justin Steele and Timothy St. Prix

Sweet-FM

More information needed.

Presenter list:
Tony Ray
Jay Le Roc
Sammy Goulbourne
G Child (moved to 1Xtra)
Major D
DJ One Step Ahead (from Nottingham)
Patrick Smoove
Cosmic
Sammy Goulbourne (went on to New Style Radio)
Bruce Q (Liquid Fusion)
S&M Scene
E double D
DJ K
Ritchie T

Premier 101.2FM

Run by Richy J. Trying to get hold of him to discuss. More information needed.

Presenter list:
Richy J
Steve Williams
Lady JEM

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