News Stories

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

Tower Ballroom

The Tower Ballroom, near the ‘reser’ was a great venue, and like the Locarno, had a revolving stage.
Many star and local acts appeared here over the few decades it was open.
It was also well known for it’s ‘Grab-a-Granny’ nights, and I spent many night on those ocassions, even though most fellas, there were only in their 20’s and 30’s!

Sadly The Tower, closed down and was derilict for a while, untill recently and now, local people who are delighted  the Tower Ballroom is once again as a live entertainment venue. Entrepreneur Liam O’Connor has taken the derelict ballroom,  complete with its revolving stage,
and spent almost half-a-million pounds restoring it to its former glory.

Its grand reopening with a champagne reception featured 1960s stars Mike Pender’s Searchers,
the Merseybeats and the Cufflinks.

As a lifelong supporter of Chelmsley Wood Boxing Club,  Limerick-born Mr O’Connor, who also runs the Kerryman pub in Digbeth, said he was planning amateur and professional boxing matches and various activites, involving the whole community

Its prime aim is to attract an over-25s audience.  Other entertainers to appear here include the
American Four Tops, Abba UK, Joe Longthorne, the American Drifters, the Extreme Supremes and the Union Gap.

 

Compiled by Keith Law

Recording of New Order at the Tower 09/04/1985 sent in by Neil Hollins:

 

Aero Club

The Aero Club was a nightclub at Elmdon Airport, now Birmingham International Airport in the 60s and 70s 

Memories of Brum Gigs 1980-84. Were you there

Amazing list of gigs attended by Bryan Taylor. Any more to add?

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers    
The Fabulous Poodles Birmingham Odeon 02/03/80
     
The Skids    
The Books Birmingham Odeon 26/09/80
     
Cheap Trick    
Angel City Birmingham Odeon 04/11/80
     
Uriah Heep    
Samson    
Spider Woverhampton Civic 21/11/80
     
Queen    
Straight Eight Birmingham NEC 06/12/80
     
Slade    
Taurus    
The Drill Birmingham Odeon 20/12/80
     
Elvis Costello & The Attractions    
Dave & The Mistakes Birmingham Odeon 04/03/81
     
Iron Maiden    
Trust Birmingham Odeon 12/03/81
     
Mike Harding Birmingham Odeon 24/04/81
     
The Cure    
Carnage Visors (film) Birmingham Odeon 03/05/81
     
Japan    
Modern English Birmingham Odeon 14/05/81
     
Whitesnake    
Billy Squier Stafford Bingley Hall 17/05/81
     
Toyah    
DJ Kay & The Millionaires Birmingham Odeon 20/05/81
     
The Beat    
The Belle Stars    
Nervous Kind Woverhampton Civic 24/05/81
     
Slade    
The Eric Bell Band    
Diamond Head    
Titch Turner’s Escalator Woverhampton Monmore Green  
Case Ladbroke Stadium 31/05/81
     
Light Of The World    
The Inversions Birmingham Odeon 06/06/81
     
The Teardrop Explodes    
The Delmontes Birmingham Odeon 22/06/81
     
Kraftwerk Birmingham Odeon 23/06/81
     
Robert Palmer    
Weapon Of Peace Birmingham Odeon 24/06/81
     
Duran Duran    
Animal Magnet Birmingham Odeon 11/07/81
     
UB40    
Musical Youth Birmingham Odeon 18/08/81
     
Foreigner    
Diamond Head Birmingham Odeon 25/08/81
     
Siouxsie & The Banshees    
John Cooper Clarke Birmingham Odeon 26/08/81
     
Simple Minds    
Icehouse Birmingham Odeon 24/09/81
     
Sad Cafe    
The Fabulous Wonderfuls Birmingham Odeon 01/10/81
     
Ultravox    
Eddie & Sunshine Birmingham Odeon 04/10/81
     
U2    
The Comsat Angels Birmingham Locarno 19/10/81
     
Depeche Mode    
Blancmange Birmingham Locarno 04/11/81
     
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark    
Random Hold Birmingham Odeon 08/11/81
     
The Stranglers    
Mr. Sprat’s 21st Century Popular Motets    
Taxi Girl Birmingham Odeon 15/11/81
     
UB40    
The Beat    
The Raincoats Birmingham Bingley Hall 24/11/81
     
The Human League    
The McNairs Birmingham Odeon 30/11/81
     
Joan Armatrading    
Cliff Hunter Birmingham Odeon 09/11/81
     
Japan    
Blancmange Birmingham Odeon 17/11/81
     
Toyah    
Fad Gadget Birmingham Odeon 20/12/81
     
Duran Duran    
Talk Talk Birmingham Odeon 21/12/81
     
Duran Duran    
Talk Talk Birmingham Odeon 23/12/81
     
Adam & The Ants Birmingham Odeon 18/01/82
     
New Order    
The Stockholm Monsters Moseley Imperial Cinema 23/01/82
     
The Teardrop Explodes    
The Ravishing Beauties Birmingham Odeon 06/02/82
     
UB40    
Nightdoctor Birmingham Odeon 16/02/82
     
Haircut One Hundred    
Weapon Of Peace Birmingham Locarno 16/03/82
     
Pigbag    
Traitor Birmingham Locarno 17/03/82
     
Graham Parker    
John Watts Birmingham Odeon 06/04/82
     
Bauhaus    
Doctor Filth    
Tony Allen Birmingham Locarno 23/04/82
     
The Cure    
Zerra 1 Birmingham Odeon 28/04/82
     
Fashion    
White & Torch Birmingham Odeon 27/05/82
     
Haircut One Hundred    
The Bluebells Birmingham Odeon 08/06/82
     
The Clash    
The Xpertz Birmingham Bingley Hall 18/07/82
     
Dead Wretched    
The Obsessed    
Devoid Redditch Valley Stadium 28/08/82
     
Active Restraint    
The Sect The Prole Club  
The Strange Boutique Dudley, The Crown 15/09/82
     
Stoned Rayzens The Prole Club  
Strangled At Birth Dudley, The Crown 22/09/82
     
Roxy Music    
Mari Wilson Birmingham NEC 26/09/82
     
Dexys Midnight Runners Birmingham Hippodrome 03/10/82
     
From Eden Stourbridge The Mere 08/10/82
     
Eyeless In Gaza The Prole Club  
A Hundred Days Dudley, The Crown 13/10/82
     
From Eden    
Reeves & Phipps Stourbridge, The Broadway 20/10/82
     
Kid Creole & The Coconuts    
The Impossible Dreamers Birmingham Odeon 21/10/82
     
Bauhaus    
Brilliant! Birmingham Odeon 23/10/82
     
Fashion    
Kajagoogoo Birmingham Odeon 31/10/82
     
Japan    
Sandii & The Sunsets Birmingham Odeon 04/11/82
     
Adam Ant    
The Sinatras Birmingham Odeon 06/11/82
     
A Flock Of Seagulls    
The Alarm Birmingham Odeon 08/11/82
     
Siouxsie & The Banshees    
Zerra 1 Birmingham Odeon 13/11/82
     
Yazoo    
Boys Own Birmingham Odeon 15/11/82
     
ABC    
Carmel Birmingham Odeon 18/11/82
     
From Eden    
Reeves Dudley JB’s 19/11/82
     
The Adicts    
The Sect Dudley JB’s 20/11/82
     
Ultravox    
The Messengers Birmingham Odeon 29/11/82
     
U2    
The Set Birmingham Odeon 04/12/82
     
The Jam    
Apocalypse Birmingham Bingley Hall 08/12/82
     
Simple Minds    
China Crisis Birmingham Odeon 10/12/82
     
Blancmange    
Fiat Lux Birmingham Odeon 15/12/82
     
Dire Straits Birmingham NEC 17/12/82
     
Virus    
Midnight Ramblers    
The Alchemists    
Spontaneous Human Combustion    
Endangered Species The Prole Club  
Ancient Rebels Dudley, The Crown 22/12/82
     
The Statues    
Spontaneous Human Combustion Dudley JB’s 07/01/83
     
The Pink Umbrellas    
The Start Dudley JB’s 08/01/83
     
Echo & The Bunnymen    
Now Is The Time To Forget The    
Whimpering Child Becomes A Warrior Birmingham Odeon 22/01/83
     
The Applicators Dudley JB’s 01/02/83
     
The Stranglers    
Nick Marsh Birmingham Odeon 02/02/83
     
Steve Gibbons Band Dudley JB’s 05/02/83
     
The Pink Umbrellas    
The Start Dudley JB’s 05/03/83
     
U2    
The Nightcaps Birmingham Odeon 10/03/83
     
From Eden    
The Membranes Stafford College 18/03/83
     
From Eden    
Kokuma Birmingham Duma Express,  
Formula The Opposite Lock 24/03/83
     
Mari Wilson Birmingham Odeon 25/03/83
     
U2    
Big Country Birmingham Odeon 27/03/83
     
BB Dudley JB’s 02/04/83
     
From Eden Dudley JB’s 08/04/83
     
Crown Of Thorns Dudley JB’s 09/04/83
     
Virago    
Fish And Friends Stourbridge The Mitre 14/04/83
     
From Eden    
Laissez Faire Moseley Fighting Cocks 15/04/83
     
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark    
The Cocteau Twins Birmingham Odeon 26/04/83
     
The Adicts    
Subterfuge Dudley JB’s 29/04/83
     
From Eden Stourbridge The Mere 06/05/83
     
New Order    
James Birmingham Tower Ballroom 09/05/83
     
New Model Army Dudley JB’s 13/05/83
     
The Dancing Did Dudley JB’s 14/05/83
     
The Alarm    
The Rockets Kidderminster Town Hall 19/05/83
     
From Eden    
Reeves    
Formula Birmingham Polytechnic 20/05/83
     
Hanoi Rocks    
The London Cowboys Birmingham The Mermaid 27/05/83
     
Another Dream Dudley JB’s 10/06/83
     
From Eden Stafford College 17/06/83
     
From Eden Nottingham The Asylum 22/06/83
     
Big Country    
The Dancing Did    
The Lotus Eaters    
The Swinging Laurels The Aftermath Festival  
King Birmingham University 24/06/83
     
The Chameleons Dudley JB’s 25/06/83
     
X-Mal Deutschland    
Gene Loves Jezebel Dudley JB’s 01/07/83
     
Bauhaus    
St. Anthony’s Fire Birmingham Odeon 03/07/83
     
The Pink Umbrellas Dudley JB’s 09/07/83
     
Colour Me Pop London The Rock Garden 10/07/83
     
Echo & The Bunnymen    
Fatal Charm Birmingham Odeon 16/07/83
     
The Cure    
SPK The Elephant Fayre  
Laughing Academy St. Germans, Cornwall 30/07/83
     
Lords Of The New Church Birmingham Tin Can Club 12/08/83
     
U2    
Simple Minds    
Eurythmics    
Big Country    
Steel Pulse Dublin, Phoenix Park  
Perfect Crime Phoenix Festival 14/08/83
     
The Adicts Dudley JB’s 19/08/83
     
The Stranglers    
Big Country    
Man    
Hanoi Rocks Reading Festival 26/08/83
     
Jayne County Dudley JB’s 02/09/83
     
Death Cult    
Rubella Ballet Birmingham Tin Can Club 09/09/83
     
The Gymslips Dudley JB’s 10/09/83
     
Big Country    
One The Juggler Birmingham Odeon 14/09/83
     
Bay City Rollers    
The Armoury Show    
The Comsat Angels Futurama Festival  
John Cooper Clarke Leeds Queens Hall 17/09/83
     
Killing Joke    
Death Cult    
Jayne County    
Play Dead    
Ligotage    
The Box    
The Poison Girls    
The Mekons    
Flesh For Lulu    
The Three Johns    
New Model Army    
Holy Toy    
Action Pact    
Ground Zero    
Pleasure And The Beast    
Bone Orchard    
Lavolta Lakota Futurama Festival  
Pink Peg Slax Leeds Queens Hall 18/09/83
     
The Defects Dudley JB’s 23/09/83
     
The Stockholm Monsters Dudley JB’s 24/09/83
     
Siouxsie & The Banshees    
Fad Gadget London Royal Albert Hall 30/09/83
     
Newtown Neurotics Dudley JB’s 07/10/83
     
The Chameleons Dudley JB’s 14/10/83
     
John Foxx Birmingham Tin Can Club 15/10/83
     
Hanoi Rocks    
Ausgang Birmingham Tower Ballroom 20/10/83
     
X-Mal Deutschland    
The Wolfgang Press Birmingham Tin Can Club 22/10/83
     
Echo & The Bunnymen Royal Shakespeare Theatre  
Ben Elton Stratford Upon Avon 23/10/83
     
Lords Of The New Church    
Crown Of Thorns Birmingham Tower Ballroom 25/10/83
     
The Enemy    
Iconoclasts Dudley JB’s 28/10/83
     
The Tall Boys Dudley JB’s 04/11/83
     
The Icicle Works Birmingham Polytechnic 11/11/83
     
Public Image Ltd    
First Priority Birmingham Odeon 13/11/83
     
The Chameleons    
Gene Loves Jezebel    
1919 Nottingham Rock City 16/11/83
     
Eurythmics    
Virgin Dance Birmingham Odeon 18/11/83
     
SPK Birmingham Tin Can Club 19/11/83
     
Killing Joke Birmingham Tower Ballroom 12/12/83
     
Aztec Camera Birmingham Aston University 13/12/83
     
Simple Minds    
The Decorators London The Lyceum 18/12/83
     
Elvis Costello & The Attractions    
Prefab Sprout Birmingham Odeon 19/12/83
     
Crown Of Thorns Dudley JB’s 23/12/83
     
Ramrods    
The Sect Dudley JB’s 13/01/84
     
Red Shoes Birmingham The Railway 16/01/84
     
Pop Da Freak Dudley JB’s 02/02/84
     
Spear Of Destiny    
Kingdoms Birmingham Aston University 17/02/84
     
One The Juggler Dudley JB’s 18/02/84
     
The Stockholm Monsters Dudley JB’s 24/02/84
     
Dead Or Alive Nottingham Sherwood Rooms 25/02/84
     
Prehistoric Pets Stourbridge The Mitre 02/03/84
     
Danse Society    
Dormannu Birmingham The Powerhouse 04/03/84
     
From Eden    
Visit Birmingham Duma Express,  
Jeremy Paige The Opposite Lock 08/03/84
     
Simple Minds Birmingham Odeon 13/03/84
     
The Armoury Show    
And Also The Trees Birmingham Tin Can Club 16/03/84
     
The Smiths    
Red Guitars Birmingham Tower Ballroom 20/03/84
     
Pale Fountains    
Year Zero Birmingham Tin Can Club 23/03/84
     
Julian Cope    
The Woodentops Birmingham Odeon 24/03/84
     
Flesh For Lulu    
Pop Da Freak Birmingham Tin Can Club 30/03/84
     
The Chameleons    
The Wild Flowers Birmingham Tin Can Club 31/03/84
     
The Chameleons    
Blue In Heaven Manchester The Hacienda 06/04/84
     
Joe Jackson    
Big Heat Birmingham Odeon 08/04/84
     
Gang Of Four Manchester Carousel Club 13/04/84
     
The Waterboys    
The Scarecrows Birmingham Tin Can Club 14/04/84
     
Gang Of Four    
The Europeans London Hammersmith Palais 15/04/84
     
The Cocteau Twins Birmingham The Powerhouse 17/04/84
     
REM Birmingham Tin Can Club 24/04/84
     
The Cure    
And Also The Trees Birmingham Odeon 29/04/84
     
Hanoi Rocks    
The Milkshakes    
The Stingrays    
Guana Batz    
The Tall Boys    
The Prisoners Nottingham The Palais 30/04/84
     
Spear Of Destiny Birmingham The Powerhouse 01/05/84
     
New Model Army Dudley JB’s 04/05/84
     
Zerra 1 Dudley JB’s 05/05/84
     
From Eden    
The Kiss Club Dudley JB’s 11/05/84
     
Psychedelic Furs Aylesbury Friars 12/05/84
     
Prefab Sprout    
Hurrah Birmingham Odeon 16/05/84
     
The Adicts    
The Sect Dudley JB’s 18/05/84
     
Psychedelic Furs Liverpool University 19/05/84
     
Psychedelic Furs Birmingham Odeon 20/05/84
     
Psychedelic Furs Stoke On Trent  
Passion Puppets Hanley, Victoria Hall 22/05/84
     
Psychedelic Furs    
Passion Puppets Nottingham University 23/05/84
     
The Cramps    
Specimen Birmingham Odeon 26/05/84
     
New Order    
The Stockholm Monsters Birmingham The Powerhouse 03/06/84
     
Hanoi Rocks Birmingham The Powerhouse 05/06/84
     
Dead Can Dance Dudley JB’s 08/06/84
     
Friends Again Dudley JB’s 09/06/84
     
Siouxsie & The Banshees Birmingham Odeon 11/06/84
     
Siouxsie & The Banshees Birmingham Odeon 12/06/84
     
The Passion Killers Lye, Peppers 13/06/84
     
The Statues Stourbridge, The Broadway 14/06/84
     
From Eden Leicester Polytechnic 17/06/84
     
From Eden Birmingham University 21/06/84
     
X-Mal Deutschland Birmingham The Powerhouse 24/06/84
     
Hanoi Rocks Stafford Top Of The World 25/06/84
     
The Inca Babies Dudley JB’s 29/06/84
     
Artery Birmingham Peacocks 30/06/84
     
The Inca Babies    
From Eden Birmingham Tin Can Club 30/06/84
     
Psychedelic Furs London Hammersmith Odeon 02/07/84
     
The Kiss Club    
From Eden Birmingham Barrel Organ 11/07/84
     
The Go Betweens    
The Scientists    
From Eden London Dingwalls 19/07/84
     
Helen & The Horns Dudley JB’s 20/07/84
     
The Waterboys London Marquee 22/07/84
     
10 Go To 20 Stourbridge Jesters 25/07/84
     
Cry Of The Innocent Stourbridge Jesters 09/08/84
     
Prehistoric Pets    
The Kiss Club Birmingham Snobs 17/08/84
     
The Armoury Show    
The 10 O’Clock Gang Birmingham Tin Can Club 18/08/84
     
Cabaret Voltaire Birmingham The Powerhouse 21/08/84
     
The Skeletal Family    
Balaam & The Angel Birmingham Tin Can Club 25/08/84
     
The Rag Dolls Birmingham Peacocks 29/08/84
     
The Kiss Club Birmingham Peacocks 02/09/84
     
The Wild Flowers Birmingham Peacocks 14/09/84
     
The Kiss Club Kingswinford The Summerhill 17/09/84
     
Major 5    
Chase Dudley JB’s 18/09/84
     
The Sid Presley Experience Dudley JB’s 28/09/84
     
Lloyd Cole & The Commotions    
The Blow Monkeys Coventry Polytechnic 03/10/84
     
Echo & The Bunnymen Birmingham Odeon 05/10/84
     
Echo & The Bunnymen Birmingham Odeon 06/10/84
     
Sisters Of Mercy London The Lyceum 31/10/84
     
The Icicle Works Wolverhampton Civic Hall 01/11/84
     
Terry & Gerry Birmingham Virgin Records 02/11/84
     
The Rag Dolls    
Pigbros Birmingham Peacocks 03/11/84
     
Lords Of The New Church Birmingham Tin Can Club 03/11/84
     
The Surf Drums    
Mighty Mighty Birmingham Barrel Organ 05/11/84
     
From Eden Dudley JB’s 07/11/84
     
10 Go To 20 Birmingham Peacocks 08/11/84
     
From Eden Birmingham Peacocks 09/11/84
     
U2    
The Waterboys Birmingham NEC 12/11/84
     
Flesh For Lulu Birmingham TIn Can Club 16/11/84
     
The March Violets Birmingham TIn Can Club 17/11/84
     
The Cult    
Balaam & The Angel Birmingham The Powerhouse 20/11/84
     
The Surf Drums    
The Great Outdoors Birmingham Peacocks 03/12/84
     
The Rag Dolls Birmingham Peacocks 06/12/84
     
The Babysitters Birmingham Peacocks 07/12/84
     
Mighty Mighty    
Russell Burton’s 15 Minutes    
The Velvet Underwear Birmingham Peacocks 08/12/84
     
Lloyd Cole & The Commotions    
The Blow Monkeys Birmingham The Powerhouse 09/12/84

Wilsons Arms Disco

Disco held at the Wilsons Arms in Knowle in the mid to -late 1960s

Bogarts

Saturday Lunchtimes, Wednesday Evenings at Bogarts:

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Here’s a picture sent in by Chris Bates,  inside Bogarts New Years Eve 1979, and in the centre right is the box were the projector was for showing the occasional cartoon. Happy days sticking to the floor.

Thanks to Ian Hasell for sending this in to us. Ian was Walrus Gumboot’s Sound Engineer. Recorded at Bogarts.

Tower of Song

The thriving music venue that is now the Tower of Song began as a derelict building on the outskirts of Birmingham, England.  Bucking the trend of theme pubs, sports bars, and karaoke joints where music is an afterthought, Tom Martin set out to create a unique venue where music was the sole focus.
The name, derived from a song by Leonard Cohen, reflects the mission of the venue, which is to preserve the integrity of live music, respect the performing artist, and offer the audience an opportunity to experience live music in an intimate, quality setting.
Many volunteers helped in the construction of the Tower of Song, inspired by the vision to come together as a community and create something unique.  Local artist Mike Browning painted a series of murals on the walls, featuring seminal musicians, singers and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Janice Joplin, The Beatles, Bob Marley, and the latest – Tom Martin and his band.  Mike Browning also created a major work of art outside the building – a distinctive ‘cutout’of legendary Mississippi bluesman Robert Johnson.
The Tower of Song features music to suit all tastes, and each night of the week has a different theme.  Emerging artists are encouraged to sign up for one of the open mic evenings
http://www.towerofsong.co.uk

Strathallan Hotel

225 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B16 9RY

Fond memories during the mid-80s of jazz in Birmingham.

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Is There Anyone Out There?

Is There Anyone Out There? Documenting Birmingham’s Alternative Music Scene 1986-1996 is a new exhibition co-curated by the Centre for Media & Cultural Research at Birmingham City University and the Birmingham Music Archive.

It’s running from 4th-28th May, Monday to Saturday 9am – 7pm and its free entrance.

Here is the exhibition blurb, it’s going to be great so whether you went to the Click Club, interested in Birmingham music and heritage or fans of Primal Scream, Sea Urchins, Killing Joke, Suicide, Mighty Mighty, James, Sugarcubes (Bjork on Broad St!!!) and many many others, come and see unseen photos, original posters, tickets, contracts (what did Primal Scream ask for in their rider in 1986?) as well as incredible live footage of the bands and what Broad St looked like in 1986.

‘Is There Anyone Out There?’
Documenting Birmingham’s Alternative Music Scene 1986-1990
4-28th May 2016
Parkside Building, Birmingham City University, Curzon Street, Birmingham, B4 7BD

Established in 1986 by Dave Travis and Steve Coxon, The Click Club was the name of a concert venue and disco associated with Birmingham’s alternative music culture. Located in ‘Burberries’ – a conventional nightclub site in the pre-regeneration city centre, the club showcased a wide variety of acts reflecting the varied culture of the independent and alternative sector.

While capacity was limited to a few hundred attendees on any one night, The Click Club was important locally, nationally and internationally, for the role it played as part of a touring circuit, and for distributors and retailers of independent music. As a central feature in a music scene operating on a DIY-basis, independent of major labels, at the intersection of subcultures it also had enormous cultural value for its participants.

Travis continues to be a key cultural entrepreneur. Known initially as a professional photographer, commissioned by music publications such as NME, Sounds and the local Brumbeat amongst others, he has combined his photographic work with the promotion of live music in the city.

This exhibition draws upon Travis’ personal archive of film, posters, magazines and ephemera that detail a vibrant and dynamic space and time in late 80s Birmingham.
Central to the exhibition is a set of previously unseen images taken by Travis at The Click Club, a small proportion of those produced during a professional life as a music promoter and photographer.

The exhibition draws upon first hand accounts of those who were there and includes loaned artefacts in order to contextualize The Click Club in a historical moment that remains important to its community and to the music and cultural heritage of Birmingham.

The exhibition poses a series of questions: what is the value of this material? What does it tell us beyond confirming the memories of the individuals it concerned? Does such material have wider importance and contributions to make to our understanding of the past?

While the exhibition will appeal to those who attended The Click Club as well as those curious about popular music more generally, it is aimed at a broader audience interested in history, urban life, everyday creativity and the cultural economy.

Conceived and curated by scholars from the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research Paul Long, Jez Collins (founder of Birmingham Music Archive), and Sarah Raine, the exhibition develops themes from BCMCR research clusters in Popular Music Studies and History, Heritage and Archives.

Previous work includes: UK Film Council funded production of: the film ‘Made in Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra’ (www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrVa3v9U8mU); establishment of a project to develop the archival preservation of the production culture of Pebble Mill (www.pebblemill.org); research into the archive of BBC documentarist Philip Donnellan; collaborations with Vivid Projects on the history of The Birmingham Film and Television Workshop and Catapult Club Archive (see: www.vividprojects.org.uk).

If you would like to attend the exhibition Launch Event on the evening of 3rd May please RSVP to: [email protected]
You are welcome to join us over the duration of the exhibition and we would be pleased to welcome you and discuss the project.

We spoke to Steve and Dave about the club, why and how they set it up and about Birmingham at that period. Here’s taster for the Podcast which will be available soon.

For more information and exhibition materials contact us directly.
Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research: www.bcmcr.org
Birmingham Music Archive: www.birminghammusicarchive.com

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