Entries in brixton (6)

Tuesday
Apr262011

Two Cow Garage, Brixton Windmill

Previous to this weekend I'd not known too much of Two Cow Garage which given their relationship to Cory Branan, Jon Snodgrass, Austin Lucas, Drag The River (a group of artists I'm a fan of) I'm ashamed to admit. Although through the 'artist radio' feature on LastFM I'd unknowingly heard a few of their tracks previously which gave a nice sense of familiarity when I saw them play at the Windmill, Brixton on Sunday evening.

Despite not knowing too many of the songs Two Cow Garage were instantly listenable, sounding somewhere between (post D-Generation/Fine Art Of Self Destruction) Jesse Malin and early Gaslight Anthem – a good mix of edgy, punk influenced, sing-along-to, alt-country anthems.

On what was a Bank Holiday Sunday evening there was a passionate crowd out in force to see the band from Ohio who played a lengthy set covering tracks across their five albums. As a first time listener there were a number of stand out tracks including 'Sally, I've Been Shot, 'Lydia', 'What Dying Is For', and my favourite track of the evening, the power cut induced acoustic, 'Jackson, Don't You Worry'.

If you get a chance to see them play live then I'd highly recommend it, whatever your taste they play the kind of music that you can't help but drink and have a good time to.

Two Cow Garage: Jackson, Don't Worry:


Two Cow Garage: Lydia:


Monday
Apr042011

Breads Etc, Brixton Village

This weekend was the first in a while that I've had the time to wander around Brixton Village.  I'm always amazed at the speed in which new shops open up.  One that has been around since November-ish, but I'd not had the time to try, is Breads Etc.  They have a successful sister restaurant in Clapham High Street and their presence in Brixton Village offers a reduced but highly appetising brunch menu.  Slightly further afield they're also opening a third shop in Brooklyn, New York sometime in the summer.

Bread is freshly baked onsite each day and for such a small premises they have a surprisingly wide range – Sunday's included walnut, olive, and couple of other sourdough loaves.

Breads Etc isn't for the extremley lazy, each table has a Dualit toaster allowing you to toast your bread just to your own liking as well as a selection of spreads to choose from.

My choice for Sunday was 4 slices of toast plus a couple of soft-boiled eggs.  The eggs were perfectly made and at £4 you can't really go wrong. 

Brunch 

Sunday
Sep262010

Oxjam takeover of Brixton

Anyone who's been near me over the past few months will no doubt have heard me talk about Brixton Oxjam, an event taking place on October 23rd, 2010 that I'm helping to organise.  Over the past four months much of my time outside of work has been taken up with a host of activities in preparation of the event.  We are now just four short weeks away and still with plenty to do I thought I'd write a short post about why I got involved.

Of course the best way to experience the event will be to come along and join in the fun.  And it just so happens you can get yourself a ticket from here.
Wherever I've lived I've always enjoyed getting involved in some form of community aspect.  Living in Three Bridges I helped out as a coach and team manager for Crawley Athletic Club.  When I moved to Bromley I arranged a monthly meet for local people interested in technology.  Moving to Brixton I wasn't sure what I'd end up getting involved with.  It just sort of happened...

How it began

I've always loved music though not being able to play an instruments (and I've tried) I settle for going to see live bands.  One Sunday evening in May I was at my local which just happens to be the rather legendary Windmill.  I got chatting to a guy called Andy Hankdog who turned out to have had a spell playing with the Sex Pistols and later The Professionals.  Andy suggested that I should come along to an acoustic folk evening he was holding the following day and if I brought my guitar then I could play.  I tried to explain that I didn't play, but somehow ended up agreeing to go along.  As it happened my lack of guitar or any musical ability wasn't noticed, there were a bunch of great musicians who played through the night and I was able to sit quietly at the back listening in.  At the end of the evening Andy, myself and a few others talked about how Brixton has such a great music scene. From the local up and coming artists through to established acts who've made the big time, as well as the numerous venues that host regular events.  When it was suggested that it'd be fun to organise something to promote Brixton's music scene I thought the idea would get laughed out.  It didn't and that evening we walked out all agreeing to do something about it.

The next day

Having never organised anything like this before I didn't really know where to begin.  My first step was to think about what we wanted to get from the event.  This led to three simple goals:
  1. promote local bands
  2. promote local venues
  3. promote Brixton culture (the market, the restaurants, the arts etc)
Assuming that we'd need some kind of permission from the local authority I rang round desk after desk after desk at Lambeth council before speaking to someone who's long job title contained the words 'entertainment' and 'license'.  She was extremely helpful and fully supportive of what we were trying to do.  Enthused by everyones supportive nature my next step was to speak with local venues and see which ones might be happy to get involved.  With pretty much blanket positive responses my concerns over whether there was an appetite for this began to fade.
Continuing to speak to pretty much anyone who'd listen I was asked by Space Makers, the team who run Brixton Village Market, whether I'd heard about Oxjam.  I hadn't and from what I was told it sounded like perhaps I should.

Oxjam

Oxjam's slogan is "local music, global impact" and their goal is to raise money and awareness of Oxfam by running a month long, nationwide music festival.  They were calling for teams across the country to take on the responsibility of organising an event in their area.  The Oxjam website showed that this year there was already a Brixton team so I got in touch to see whether it made any sense of joining up.  It did and together with Jacob Todd, Paul Dickie, Leila Halid, Felix Jakens and Camille Christian we became Brixton Oxjam.
Being a part of Oxjam it was interesting to see the motivations behind the team, not just within Brixton but across the other regional teams.  Some were fully motivated by raising money for Oxfam, others were taking part in order to gain experience of organising a music festival, others were doing it because of their love for music.  Whilst Oxfam do a tremendous job and are an extremely worthy charity to raise money for my primary motivation remained helping raise the profile of the Brixton music scene – and fortunately this was something strongly shared across the team and we've (hopefully) been able to do this.

Where we are now

So we now have a little under one month until the Oxjam Takeover event.  As a team we've come a long way since May.  We've secured five fantastic venues: The Windmill, Upstairs At The Ritzy, Plan B, The Rest Is Noise and The Dogstar.  They've been a real delight to work with and fully supportive of Oxjam.
 
We've listened to countless bands and demo tapes – many have been amazing and others have been, well, less so.  I always thought I had quite a varied musical taste, but this experience has opened up many new genres of music to me!  Trying to pull together a line up that matches the diversity of Brixton has been an interesting task.  In the end I feel we've managed to get a great line up, which just needs some final confirmations before being announced - watch this space!
As well as preparation for the take-over we've also held a number of fund raising events.  These have included a jumble sale (ingeniously called Rumble In The Jumble), Swap Shops, and my personal favourite a film screening (seeing Oxjam listed at the famous Ritzy cinema was a strangely proud moment).
 
In the final run up to October 23rd we have a host of other events to help spread the word, these include a fashion show, taking over Brixton Village Market, an acoustic open mic night, and a fund raiser gig in New Cross.
Oxjam film screening
P8070425

The future

On October 24th when Oxjam has been and gone I'll be getting some sleep.  And then maybe thinking about next years event.
Oxjam Flyers

 

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