Tag Archives: the prince albert

Herons! Gipsy Tour 2013

This January, our Ben is giving up the comforts of home and hitting the road for a solo tour of the country. He’ll be driving all over the UK in his car, which is called Yoko – a dented old Nissan Almera painted like a gypsy caravan (courtesy of the talented art students of Stroud College).

As part of the Herons! Gipsy Tour, Ben will be playing a plethora of venues and pubs across the UK, as well as front room gigs: small concerts in people’s homes.* The aim is to make friends, share Herons!’ music with a new audience, and earn enough to get Ben to the next place. It’s a tour that relies on the kindness of strangers. The tour kicks off on Boxing Day at our favourite watering hole, the Prince Albert in Stroud.

In the meantime, Ben is spending time in Dublin with old friends, and doing a bit of gigging. You can catch him playing guitar with the amazing Aoife Mc on Saturday at No. 63 Merrion Square (home of the Royal Society of Antiquaries), and also doing a small acoustic set at the Monday Echo at the International Bar on … you guessed it — Monday!

The Herons! Gipsy Tour is getting bigger and busier every day, so do check out our gigs listings or like us on Facebook to keep up to date. Bye for now!

*You can help! Would you be up for hosting a gig at your place – whether it’s a house, a flat, a barn or a garage? If you could get about 20 people (give or take) together who like music, then you’ve got a gig! Email heronstheband@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Tour

Celebrating Bloomsday

We’re really excited to be marking Bloomsday on Saturday with a special Beatroot Rendez-Vouz event at the Prince Albert in Stroud. For those of you who are justifiably wondering, “What the hell is Bloomsday?” — well, I’ll tell you.

Bloomsday is a celebration of James Joyce’s landmark novel Ulysses. The action of the novel takes place on one day: 16 June 1904, and closely follows the movements and thoughts of its primary and peripheral characters (many of them real Dubliners) on an ordinary day in Dublin. One of these primary characters is Leopold Bloom — hence the name”Bloomsday”.  The 16th of June was, in fact, the day Joyce met his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle.

The novel caused a great uproar when it was first published, largely due to its stark depiction of the stuff of everyday life; including eating, drinking, pissing, shitting, daydreaming about sex, wanking, getting drunk and singing, getting drunk and crying, getting drunk and trying it on with the object of your desire, getting drunk and fighting in the street — namely, the things that real people do in real life.

Such offensive material was considered by the bulwarks of virtue to be obscene and damaging to society, and was therefore banned in the US and UK, until elderly men in black robes decided to acknowledge that Ulysses is a titan of modernist literature, and not just dimestore smut.

Every 16th of June since 1954, poets, authors, artists and punters who just love the book have marked Bloomsday in Dublin (and abroad) by following in the characters’ footsteps, drinking in the same pubs, eating the same sandwiches — possibly even using the same loos. Many follow the route the characters travelled in the book, between Sandymount (a seaside suburb of Dublin) and a meandering trail around the inner city.

For example, many people flock to Davey Byrne’s pub on South Anne Street at 11:30am to have a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy — the very fare in the very same pub enjoyed by Leopold Bloom in the novel. Enthusiasts dressed in period attire will then read aloud from that chapter, often acting out the narrative.

Basically, it’s a bit of fun. I was lucky enough to be living in Dublin on the 100th anniversary of the day Ulysses takes place. It was like a much more sober — and more genuinely Irish — St Patrick’s Day. I’ve celebrated it ever since. This year, I’m chuffed that I’ll have some of my mates from Dublin here in Stroud to celebrate it with me.

Join the Facebook event here.

4 Comments

Filed under Gigs, Herons!

Help us record our next album!

Join the facebook event here.

Hello there, how are you?

Herons! is an independent band. We’re not signed, we have no manager or publisher or any type of investment, but we don’t see that as a bad thing. There’s a lot of work involved in managing our own band, but it also means that we have complete freedom and control. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Album, Gigs, Herons!

Stroud, The Prince Albert & Sam Shepard

Why, hello there.  Haven’t spoken to you in a while.  Just thought I’d say hi and let you know some of the more interesting things we’ve been up to lately.

After trading the crushing monotony of London for a life resembling real life in Gloucestershire, Anna and I have finally settled in.  The Stroud area, where we’ve made our home, is an old industrial hub of the Cotswolds, making it less posh than other Cotswold towns, and also quite a bit more gritty and interesting.  Its 40,000 (or so) inhabitants are as varied as any city I’ve been to; so as well as Wurzels and Fred Wests, you also find coffee experts, brilliant anarchist letter-press artists and poets, dozens of young bands, old beardy legends, my favourite brewery in the Cotswolds — and the greatest farmers’ market that just about takes over the entire pedestrian-friendly town every Saturday.

When we first arrived, I was skint and in need of a beer.  Hence, I arrived at The Prince Albert pub, on Rodborough Hill.  From experience, I’ve learned that playing music is the best way to make friends, and if you’re skint it’s also a good way to get people to buy you beers.  When I rocked up to the Albert’s open mic night, I killed a few birds with one stone.  Between songs, I admitted to the audience my need of work; when I got off stage, three people offered.

The Prince Albert has become a kind of Mecca for other London expats seeking clean air and cheaper rent in the area.  Herons! have been lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing musicians who’ve found themselves situated cosily in the Five Valleys.  Last weekend, we performed at our beloved Albert with cellist and producer/arranger extraordinaire Jo SilverstonEmily Barker also graced us with her dulcet tones, when she, Anna and I brought the set to a finish with a cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” — not without trepidation!  As an encore, special guests Vena Portae (Emily Barker & Dom Coyote), joined us on stage to sing “The Old Triangle”, which sounded great with Dom’s wonderful bass harmony.

In other news, I was lucky enough to work with actor Jack Tarlton and director Simon Usher on a short theatre piece entitled Making The Sound Of Loneliness, which explored the work of American poet, playwright and actor Sam Shepard, set to music that I composed for the piece.  The performance used extracts from a large cross-section of Shepard’s prose, and was performed by Jack Tarlton and David Beames.  The performance took place at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston on the 22nd of September as part of the Side Orders festival, courtesy of Actors Touring Company.

Making The Sound Of Loneliness counts as my first musical foray into theatre, and I hope it won’t be the last.  The experience was doubly rewarding for me, as I’d never really heard of Sam Shepard (besides as Patti Smith’s ex-boyfriend); I spent the whole workshopping week being blown away by this great American writer whose whole body of work I can look forward to reading.  Luckily, there is a possibility of Making The Sound Of Loneliness getting a full run in the New Year, so watch this space for more info.

Until next time, keep your chins up this autumn.  Port and Stilton help.

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Folk in a Box

Herons! are very excited to be involved with Folk in a Box at the upcoming Stroud Fringe, sponsored by The Prince Albert.

What on earth is Folk in a Box? Some of you may ask. Well, it’s probably best described as ‘Britain’s smallest music venue’ (if not the world’s). It’s one performer, one audience member, one song, all in a box about the size of a luxury shed. Possibly the most intimate performance you could ever experience!

Herons! will be joining forces with Folk in a Box veteran Emily Barker, plus the excellent Johnny Barlow, (no relation of Gary, sadly) Tom Jacob out of hermes, and a couple of ‘celebrity guests’, plus more acts to be announced. We’ll all be buzzing about the box in Stroud on Saturday the 3rd of September at the Shambles Market, between 10:00 and 15:00; and Sunday the 4th of September at the Cornhill market place, between 13:00 and 17:00. We’ll be serving tea and coffee and wearing silly hats and ‘the craic will be mighty’ as they say.

See you there!

In other news, we now have a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/heronstheband

Please ‘like’ us. Oh please oh please oh please! We ‘like’ you!

3 Comments

Filed under Gigs, Uncategorized