Celebrating Birmingham's Popular Music History
Does anyone remember the band Vortex who used to play The Barrel Organ round about 1979?
We’re you in ppa
Stuart, you were going out with Judith Williams, your lead singer was addicted to some cough syrup or similar, you had a song “Just a machine in a factory” – did you have Nick Millward on drums? ? ?
Greetings I had bronchitis that gig 1Love
Greetings “You’re just a machine ” I wrote after working in a factory! 1 love
Greetings it’s Cal aka Eddy Vortex just joined the 21st century technology 1 Love to all x
Hi l was the singer 1 Love
I was the original drummer of Vortex with very fond memories of playing with the Woodley Brothers and Cal in fact in lockdown with a little time on my hands I digitised a cassette tape of e=a recording made in my parents house, nostalgic stuff, Spot The Junky was a classic!
The Barrel has been the home to so many people over the years . So many nights of crimping took place for Barrel nights and the cheap vodka that used to end up puked up later in your hair. Loved the Rosetta gigs and the Jayne County gig – never really stopped missing this place . Made tons of wonderful friends here and danced to so many fab bands the sisters , the cult , the neph , Abba …….. anything went and like all good venues so did the Barrel. Birmingham is slowly being cleansed of its dark culture that once held strong down digbeth . Love to any one who reads this who remembers me ” loz” red crimped hair skinny legs and a cheeky tongue. xx happy days
Does anyone remember the shamrock and the mayfair in birmingham
Re. Stuart’s question. I recall being intrigued by the name “Vortex”. I heard them listed on BRMB’s gig guide, read out by Robin Valk. Sorry to say I never went though.I think they were from Solihull but maybe that’s wrong. What style of music were they? Did they release anything?
I played bass for Vortex! I suppose we’d be described as New Wave now, but at the time we just did what we did!
Played here with my band HELTER SKELTER BACK IN 1981/82, sawa few goods bands there, great venue, well it was..
I remember in the ‘gents’ on the bit of door that remained someone had scratched ‘I hate goths, punks, mods, skins, metal heads, hippies, casuals and trendies’…always made me wonder what subculture the vandal was into…I reckon it was Miles Hunt..what a shit hole…whats a great venue
Two bands I worked with had residences here, Bess and then Moonknight
I first went to the barrel at age 16 1986 such great nights and never forgot he place.
Thought it was beautiful I really did. A couple of weeks ago I went down memory lane and walked in there 25 yrs later and I thought yikes I feel old but I’d give anything to go back in time when it was the barrel organ 🙁
I used to ride my lambretta up from Evesham for Sunday mod nights …………..in 81
Hello to Birmingham, it is true, there were many great nights at the ” Organ”. I remember for instance one in the late 70s . I was – as a German – the “President of the European Ricky Cool & the Icebergs-Fanclub” . I even had this Name printed in my passport – ans when I got to the Cool-Concert at the “Organ” i showed it ar the entrance ( only to show that even Germans are not completely against Habich a Little Fun). Anyway, I talked with people – some of them. knowing Ricky Cool personally, and later in the middle of the Performance the Music stopped, spotlight on me, and Ricky Cool made an annoucement: “Tonight I have the Pleasure to welcome the President of our European Fanclub..!”
Sent in by Adam:
Only gig I ever went to at Barrel Organ not living anywhere near. Was staying at a mate’s at Warwick Uni where we were supposed to play a gig that never happened. I went off on my own to see the Lime Spiders at the Barrel Organ – I’d got a single and I think they were touring the Cave Comes Alive LP with the still majestic Out Of Control single… so it must have been 1987.
They were blisteringly good, tight as anything. Much under rated generally. Fag end of a venue I thought, but friendly. One of the weirdest crowds of misfits I ever happened across in one small space – punks, flunks, drunks, druggies and a very strange man in shorts and red patent leather shoes picked out by the lead singer for ‘doing the funky chicken’. Staggered to the train back to studentland after. A Weird and wonderful night.
Anyone know more about The Lime Spiders?
Weren’t this lot an Aussie band?!
I used to love the Barrel Organ – I went there from around 89/90 until it closed…
The mix of folk in there was great, being a metal head, ahem, I always loved the fact that on the DJ nights you would have all the rockers, indie lot, crusties, goths etc dancing together – I never saw any trouble…..And the cheap scrumpy was a godsend – having not much money around then…. A fantastic, yet dark and atmospheric place….
Live bands : Nocturnus, Mournblade, Ceb Fix, Impaler……
I remember evryone was gutted when the closure came, and there was a live band/protest/rally outside – but it had little / no impact….
Oh well…….Then we spent more time at the Pen + Wig + Sinatras (Which itself was great for the HC shows…)…If only we could go back in time.
U2 played the Barrel you know. My mate Liz attended this gig I was somewhere else.
I asked her ‘What were they like?’
She said ‘Ok,but the lead singers was a prentious git!’
‘What was his name?’
‘Something like Bonio’
Always wondered what became of them!
Guyana Batz , several times, Colbert Hamilton & the Hellraisers, Terry & Gerry, and many more.
I recall bands used to have residencies at the Barrel Organ in the 70s, bands like the mean St dealers, in particular Misspent Youth seemed to be on a lot and we’re great a bit like the New York Dolls
bess had a girl singer called Val one of the best singers i have ever heard in my life. anyone know what happened to her
I first saw Brum’s answer to CBGBs in about 1989.I’d be interested to know if anyone saw the Manics there in ’91.Any pics would be fantastic to see or LIVE footage Wow.Or Stories even.
I saw them in 91, I think it was a Wednesday night, went down for a pint with my mate and they happened to be there. I had never heard of them and the place was almost empty about 20 or 30 people there at most. We actually went and sat in the other room so we could have a chat.
Cant remember what night it was but I thought it was was quite full.
The fella on the t-shirt stall asked us to look after it while he went for a s***. When he came back he told us where the band would be after the show.
We met them..very quiet blokes. I don’t think the lead singer was there though. Ritchie had just cut his arm up. He stills signed my mates record though.
I nicked a poster out of the pub window and they signed that as well. Good times.
Our father was lead singer of the bright eyes. Just asked Alexia for some music via the echo and my dad came up. Amazing to hear him sing and talk. And lovely to share your memories on here as it’s kept all these beautiful talented people alive and there music still being heard. Thanks Guys. Peace and & blessings. x
I used to help a guy out who put gigs on at the Barrel Organ in the mid 70’s. His name was Billy Brownstone if I remember correctly. We used to do one night when anybody could get up and jam and one night when there was a main band. One of these I I remember most was Supercharge from Liverpool. They were a great band and I think one of John Peel’s favoured bands at the time.
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