Saturday, 16 July 2016

Nunc at The Twisted Barrel

    Some of you will probably think this is really silly, but since the day it opened (when I was first there!), this is a venue I have been desperate to play.So last night I achieved a personal ambition there with Nunc. For so many reasons,I was chuffed to bits. Shall I list them?
John ,Flossy , Geoff and a butterfly.
1. Family History
     Fargo Village  and The Twisted Barrel Brewery Tap are situated slap bang in the area where I grew up. I went to Primary School at the bottom of the street. ( It's a Nightclub now!) I was a choirboy at All Saints Church,which was diagonally opposite the Fargo Car park. (Demolished now-my Mum and dad got married there, too).  This is my turf, so( as when I have played at The Humber Hotel)-I felt I was back home last night.
    For eleven years I lived a few streets away, in Northfield Road. My Grandad drank and played darts in the nearby Hare and Hounds and the Golden Cup. I bought by first vinyl (" It Doesn't Matter Any More" by Buddy Holly), in a music shop a few units down the road. I had schoolmates who lived next to the Scala Cinema, in the Cobblers by the church and in the Bakery opposite. I took my first girlfriends to The Paris Cinema (now,as the rejuvenated  Empire also a music venue).
     Unlike some Coventrians, I applaud the rise and rise of Coventry University and the trade its students have brought to this area. When I left it, it was very run down. Last night the area was still vibrant at 11pm. The shops and cafes were all still open, and there was Live Music on in several establishments. It was, as you young folks would say "kickin' "

2. Other venues
      With Black Parrot Seaside, Mac Awe on Tour and Nunc I have played many venues in this area. Drapers and The Tump, recently. Earlier doors, The Pitts Head (opposite) The Gosford Park Hotel, The Dive Bar (now The Ivy House,The Lanch itself, and The Golden Cross. Twisted Barrel was definitely on my bucket list. 
Look at those gorgeous mash tubs
3. The Brewery
     I am a CAMRA member and a beer fanatic. I have had the honour of having had  two Breweries  naming a beer after  bands I've been in. ( Church End's  "Black Parrot Seaside Bitter" and Sperrins "Mac Awe." This year, Church End had a beer on at a local CAMRA Festival dedicated to one of my songs-"Folkin' Liberty."
     I'm not being disloyal when I say that Twisted Barrel have raised the brewing bar to another level in the Midlands area. Their Brewery Tap at Fargo is an honest attempt to bring to the city a new Craft Beer experience which is on a par with any Brewdog Bar (and I've visited many),and mirrors Brewery Taps like those at Euston,Waterloo and Manchester Piccadilly. On a smaller scale, perhaps,and with a bit of work required on having a few more toilet facilities at peak hours maybe. Although the Gents at The Euston Tap is actually smaller than the one at TB.  The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and they work extremely hard.

4. The Beer
     All this would be lovely just as it stands-but the beers:Sine Qua Non for example or In Amber Clad-are exceptional,and the utter icing on the cake. Don't take my word for it. Get some. Drink some. Enjoy. 

5. The Organiser
         I haven't known Glyn Finch long, but I like him. He has a good voice, he plays some mean guitar and he covers some very bold material for a young man. I've persuaded him out to Nuneaton Folk Club next month, and I hope our audiences take to him. Last night he did "She Moved Through The Fair " and " Need Your Love So Bad" great credit. Not compulsively faithful to the original versions he  covers,he puts his own arrangements in.

      Last night, (as at Draper's), the Nunc Format was myself, John Kearney and Flossie McDougal. The set list was : 

 We love playing together in this format, and we get better each time we gig. I think we're going back some time so we must have done o.k. 

7. The other guests
It's a pub/bar. The Barrel gets busy and it gets noisy. All the other performers more than held their own. Some of this was due to their voice projection, and some was due to Glyn's blissfully simple P.A. Besides Glyn, I was particularly impressed with Izzy.
Although very young, she showed little trace of nerves in her set,which included some originals and a couple of very nice cover arrangements. Ian Bourne was also entertaining. His song about Zombies was pure Black Parrot Seaside material, and his banter was top notch.        
Ian Bourne. He wants to eat your brain.