Pennyblackmusic Presents: Johny Brown (Band of Holy Joy) - With Hector Gannet and Andy Thompson @The Water Rats, London, Saturday 25, May, 2024

Headlining are Johny Brown (Band of Holy Joy) With support from Hector Gannet And Andy Thompson
Hosted at the Water Rats London , Saturday 25th May, 2024. Doors open 7:30pm. First band on at 8:00pm; Admission £15 on the door or £12 in advance from We got Tickets
Located at ....... Click here to view in Goggle Maps We look forward to seeing you on the night. For more information Click here

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Cafe No. 9, Sheffield and Grass Roots Venues - Comment

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 8 / 3 / 2024

Cafe No. 9, Sheffield and Grass Roots Venues - Comment

I have written about my favourite neighbourhood venue, Cafe No 9 in Nether Edge before. Post Covid there have been a few changes. The daytime cafe has been taken over by Mario D’Agostino. As well as a talented baker and coffee maker, he’s also one half of Soup Review and I’ve written about them before too. This means that Jonny Dean can concentrate on promoting gigs and there is now an ever expanding network of local and touring musicians, from near and far who are discovering the magic of No.9. Audiences are responding too and most events are full to capacity. Some sell out almost immediately they are advertised. If you have visited, daytime or evening, you’ll appreciate the cosy and friendly atmosphere. It’s a small space, wider than it’s deep. Originally built as a chemist’s shop, the mosaic tiles at the entrance tell its history. There’s wood panelling on the walls, a wood burning stove, and a beautiful painting of woodland as a backdrop to the stage area. The custom made wooden tables add to the natural theme, and sharing a table can and does lead to lasting friendships. Oh, and there’s a fish tank between the kitchen and the main cafe. Fish thrive, plants thrive, friendships thrive and above all music thrives in this magical place. The price of a ticket includes corkage for Bring Your Own. The smell of coffee and fresh baking fills the air. The stage area is tiny. No backstage which makes for interesting encores. There’s a piano that is good enough for a local classical pianist to give the occasional concert on. The vibe is somewhere between an intimate and easy going folk club and a house concert. It’s how I imagine the Greenwich Village coffee house gigs must have been back in the day. Around 40 people can fit in to the space but there isn’t much wriggle room. Late comers might end up standing behind the coffee counter, watching through the fish tank window! Audiences are appreciative and respectful. There’s always the opportunity to chat to the artists during the evening and at the merch stand. Some fans are beginning to travel long distances to see their favourite musicians in such a relaxed space. Some weeks there’s something most nights. There’s a mix of musical genres and styles, all suited to the venue. There’s variety too. Storyteller Jason Buck has become a regular. This weekend we’ve been treated to a fabulous evening with Tom and Vince Townsend. It was a real family affair. Tom has recently moved from Scarborough to Sheffield. He and his dad Vince, who comes from Liverpool but lives in Scarborough got together to share musical memories and influences across the generations. Tom started playing music with his dad when he was about 14. Vince is now in his early 80s and is still playing solo and in a band. There were lots of great stories and anecdotes and a set list full of old favourites, from Leadbelly to Steve Goodman, Johnny Cash to Buddy Holly, Christy Moore to John Prine, plus a few originals along the way. It’s great to see how music connects, both for the audience and the performers. Jonny Griff joined them, having never played with them before. He’s the go to stand up double bass player for many musicians in the Cafe No. 9 orbit and he sounded like he’d been playing with them for years. Tonight Mario D’Agostino puts on a different hat and is appearing with Chris Delamere as duo Soup Review to launch their new album, ‘Sleeping Light’. I’ve reviewed their previous albums. It’s going to be a special evening. Over the next couple of months there are many fantastic events coming up, as new audiences discover the cafe and new performers put it on their touring schedule. I’m looking forward to seeing some artists I’ve followed and reviewed in the past, including Alasdair Roberts (his first visit), regulars The Brothers Gillespie, Iona Lane, Brooks Williams and Martin Carthy (who is returning for a second time). Take a look at the gigs coming up. Plan a trip to Sheffield to enjoy an evening of music in this very special venue. Massive Arena gigs, huge festivals and high ticket prices are part of the world of live music nowadays. Musicians who have made their careers by progressing from small venues while building a loyal fan base are questioning whether this is still a possible route to recognition and success in 2024. Thanks to committed promoters and their small venues there is still a way to reach out to new fans and organise a financially viable tour. Merchandise sales beat streaming services and give audiences more than a good memory to take away with them. Sheffield has lost its popular city centre O2 venue because of the reinforced concrete it was built from. The Memorial Hall at the City Hall is no longer part of the touring circuit. Abbeydale Picture House has internal structural issues which mean its main auditorium can’t be used. Here in Sheffield there are other venues continuing to support live music, including the famous Leadmill, Yellow Arch Studios, Sidney and Matilda, the canal side bar the Dorothy Pax and The Back Room at the Greystones pub. The university’s performance venues are also stepping up to provide opportunities. There are a couple of unusual venues that should be better known too. Paul Cross of Sonido Polifonico (a small and specialist record label) promotes gigs at Bishops House in Meersbrook Park. The half timbered house dates back to the mid-16th century and music takes place in the oak panelled parlour full of atmosphere and history. Equally atmospheric is the mid 19th century neo classical Samuel Worth Chapel, in the heart of Sheffield’s historic General Cemetery. It’s a surreal experience to walk through the deserted cemetery to discover the venue. Live music lives and needs our support.

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Cafe No. 9, Sheffield and Grass Roots Venues - Comment

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Small venues pack a big punch when it comes to supporting live music. They are important for audiences and essential for musicians. Nicky Crewe examines one of the best, Cafe No. 9 in Nether Edge in Sheffield.

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