FESTIVE GREETINGS FROM THE PHB

What Ho Punch House Bandinistas!

gig flyers 2019We thought we’d drop you a line to let you know what’s been going on in the Punch House Bar over the last few months as well as letting you know what we’ve got coming up.

It’s Been a While…

We’ve had a busy old 2019 what with one thing and another. Since we last communicated we made our debut appearance as a part of “Head Out Not Home” Norwich City Council’s programme of summer street entertainment.  This was in July on a gorgeous evening at the Riverside performance site, just in front of the Odeon Cinema. We had a corking time and many Bandinistas came along which made us feel entirely at home.

PHB Beer Festival 2019 from stage shot

At The Beer Festival

We’ve played any number of other gigs since then, including return dates at two of our favourite venues, The Reindeer and the Louis Marchesi in Norwich as well as The Locks Inn at Geldeston and of course the Norwich Beer Festival for the fourth time. We love playing the Beer Festival,  and this year went as swimmingly well as all our previous appearances; there is nothing quite like leading a massive hall full of people in a rousing chorus of Hev Yew Gotta Loight Boi for warming the cockles of your heart.

PHB Reindeer flyer dec2019As I write we’ve just put our last gig of the year at the Louis Marchesi behind us, and what a fantastic night THAT was, we don’t think we’ve ever seen the Louis so full! Now we’re getting ready for another Sunday afternoon show at the marvelous Reindeer pub on the 8th of December, another venue where we are always made welcome and where a good time is had by all. The food at the Reindeer is very tasty so it might be worth getting there early, having a slap-up Sunday roast and then staying on to see us; we generally kick off around 4pm. Just and idea.

New Years Eve with the Punch House Boys

PHB NYE 2019 flyer2…or Old Years Night as it’s often referred to round these parts. We’re looking forward to finishing off 2019 and kick-starting 2020 with a special New Year’s Eve gig at The Lord Rosebery (94 Rosebery Rd, Norwich NR3 3AB) where, in a special extenMoreded show, we’ll be playing all your favourite songs and giving the place a proper Punch House party with some surprise seasonal numbers and a mystery guest artiste. The Rosebery, sister pub to the excellent Golden Star, is a lovely, friendly pub which would be worth a visit even if we weren’t playing there but the perfect storm of this great venue, the PHB and the chance to see off 2019 with a party is almost unbearably unmissable. For more info the Lord Rosebery has a Facebook page here or you can ring them on 01603 414284. We’ll put more details on our social media wossnames nearer the time if necessary.

More Theatrical Punch House Shennanigans

January next year will see us teaming up with not only the Crude Apache Theatre Company again but also The Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich for a revival of “At the Turning of the Tide”.

You’ll remember that a couple of years ago the PHB provided the songs and musicalattott final flyer accompaniment for an outdoor version of this play about the Norfolk Wherries in the nineteenth century. Indeed we continue to play two of the songs from this show to this day, those being “The Wherryman’s Wife” and “At the Turning of the Tide”. This time we’ll be fulfilling the same function in an extended, version of the piece rewritten especially for this five show run at The Maddermarket. It’s a beautiful venue and a perfect setting for the play which will feature three new songs as well as those that were so well received a couple of years ago. The dates are Wednesday the 22nd to Saturday 25th of January 2020, including a matinee performance on the Saturday and tickets are £10/£5. You get your tickets from the Maddermarket box office (maddermarket.co.uk, tel 01603 620917).

So there you have it; hopefully we’ll see you at one of our gigs but if we don’t here’s wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

YOU CAN STOP WORRYING: WE’RE BACK!

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The Punch House Band at Jurnets Bar, photo by Al Pulford Photography

Long Time No See

Ahoy there all you Punch House Bandinistas! I know, you haven’t heard from us for a while but it’s been for good and cogent reasons many of which we will share with you now. In the almost deranged ramble that follows you’ll find out about some of the stuff we’ve been doing, the gigs and plans we have for the rest of this year and what it is was that kept us relatively quiet for the last couple of months.

Wass Bin Gooen Orn Then?

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“Jet Set” George McKay wrestles his Bull Fiddle

Since last we communicated the Punch House Band has scattered it’s dark, folky liveshow pixie dust over quite a few events including a party night for Thurne Regatta, a gig in Chapelfield Gardens for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Jurnets, The Fisher Theatre in Bungay, A LARP event near Dereham and a disused factory in Norwich. Particularly memorable was our appearance at the excellent Reindeer Public House where we wound up our winter tour in front of a packed house. We also found ourselves in role of House Band for another Crude Apache production, namely their 25th Anniversary Event at the Shoe Factory in May which was a blast.

We’ve also been working on some new songs, mostly originals leavened with one or two covers of folk standards, and these are gradually finding their way into the set. two that have already become firm favourites are “Whiskey Johnny” (sometimes known as “Whiskey Is The Life Of Man”) which is a fine and lively sea shanty, and “Cold East Anglian Skies”, a dark folk-horror song by Leighton.

What Is There To Look Forward To?

Head Out Not Home

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Publicity flyer for our “Head Out Not Home” gig featuring a picture of the band reacting to a fan who has just told them they might not be able to make it 🙂

The months ahead are already looking busy. We are delighted to be a part of Norwich City Council’s Head Out Not Home this year. This takes the form of and outdoor gig on Norwich’s Riverside area which will take place in the late afternoon and early evening of

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Cajon Man Jason Thompson in the act of physical crate abuse

Thursday 11th July. The long range weather forecast is very promising and this will be fine way to spend a summer evening with sets at five o’clock, ten past six and twenty past seven. In fact, if you wanted to make a bit of a Punch House Band themed weekend of it you might want to come and see Leighton and Tim in Stuff Of Dreams Theatre Company’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at The Plantation Gardens in Norwich on Friday 12th or at Nicholas Everitt Park in Lowestoft on Saturday 20th. You could round your weekend off by seeing them in the same company’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Gothic House in Pulham Market on the Sunday afternoon.

Gigs

We also have gigs coming up at The Locks Inn, Geldeston on August 3rd and The Golden Star in Norwich on August 31st plus loads of other shows between now and the end of the year details of which you can find on our gigs page. We will also be playing in the New Year at The Golden Star if you’re the kind of person who is already planning your festive season; watch this space for more details.

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Publicity flyer for our August gig at the Golden Star. See above regarding the picture of the band

Recording

PHB Big sky booklet frontOur CD, Songs From The Big Sky, is selling well at gigs and we’re planning to record a full album later in the year, our biggest problemraw material being the huge option anxiety which kicks in when we start considering which of our many excellent songs we should record. If you have any favourites drop us a line either here or on our twitter or Facebook pages and let us know. Until then, if youb want to hear some of Tim’s demo recordings for the Punch House Band and other projects check out his album Raw Material on his bandcamp page.

The Punch House Band and Crude ApacheCA 25 4

Our association with Norwich’s Crude Apache Theatre Company goes back to before the band was formed. The original idea for the band grew out of a CA show, we were heavily involved in their 25th anniversary show back in May and we provided the musical accompaniment for last year’s “At the Turning of the Tide”. The exiting news is that this last play is being revised and extended for an indoor theatrical production at Norwich’s Maddermarket Theatre early next year. Again, watch this space for more details.

Pictures of The Punch House Band at Crude AThe Good Old End Of Days Music Hall by Sean Owen http://www.reflectivearts.co.uk

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So Why Have We Been a Bit Quiet Recently?

So why has it all been a bit quiet over the last few months? One of the main reasons is that theatrical things have monopolised both Leighton and Tim’s lives, specifically work with The Stuff Of Dreams Theatre Company. April and May were largely taken up for Tim with touring the show he co-wrote with Cordelia Spence, the company’s artistic director, called “An Honest Gentleman. We’ve mentioned it in previous blogs so we won’t go on about it here except to say that if, by some dreadful oversight you missed it there are plans to tour it in Autumn 2020. Following on almost directly from this Tim and Leighton started work on SoD’s summer tour of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Importance of Being Earnest” which has been going very well indeed.

So there you have it; good stuff done and good stuff on the way. We look forward to seeing you at one of our gigs. See ya!

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The Punch House Band at Jurnets Bar, photo by Al Pulford Photography

2019: A BIG YEAR FOR THE PUNCH HOUSE BAND

It looks like this may be a vintage year for the Punch House Band

Things have been going on here since our last blog post, many good and exciting things, and the year ahead is looking positively fecund with top Punch House stuff; gigs, videos, new publicity pictures and the release of our six track CD. This is looking like a very big year for us, indeed a vintage year you might say.

GIGS! GIGS! GIGS!

Our work rate as a live band has gone ballistic in recent months, we’ve played more gigs since November 2018 than we managed in our entire career up to that point and this is no exaggeration. As well as returning to the Golden Star in Norwich (a damn fine hostelry by any way of measuring these things) we have also brought our show to The

Louis Marchesi, The Roseberry, The Rumsey Wells and the Butcher Bhoy (all in Norwich) and the Burston Crown. We have loads more coming up throughout the year with furhter appearances being added all the time so it’s worth checking out our gigs page on a regular basis to ensure you don’t miss out.

SONGS FROM THE BIG SKY

PHB Big sky booklet frontWe are very pleased to say that our first CD, the “Songs From The Big Sky” E.P. will be on sale at all our gigs starting this Friday 22nd February at the Rumsey Wells in Norwich. It’s a six track affair recorded and engineered by Chris Bond of Seaplane Studios and features songs which have become mainstays of our live set. The tracks are “A Box in a Hole in the Ground”, “The Big Sky in the East”, “The Ghost of Allan Smethurst”, “Back to the Dirt”, “The Bricks of Burston” and “Bedlam Boys” and we plan to have it available through mail order and also as a download before too long. We think it captures our energetic live performance rather well. You can preview some of the songs on our reverbnation page here.

THE PUNCH HOUSE BAND ON TV

…well, Youtube anyway. A couple of weeks ago we got in front of a video camera wielded by the entirely marvellous Al Pulford and committed our live performances of “Masquerade”, “The Ballad of Norwich Gaol” and “I Walk By Night” to videotape (or it’s digital equivalent). Did you know we have a Youtube channel? If you didn’t, you do now which means you have no excuse for not subscribing. It already featured a few “from the audience” videos but these three are first that we’ve done “on purpose” as it were.

We deliberately chose songs we hadn’t recorded which have become highlights of ourNch Gaol video screen shot live show. “Norwich Gaol”, written by Peter Bellamy, is one of the first songs we worked on when we first got the band together. It’s from Bellamy’s legendary (in folk circles) album “The Transports” which the Norwich theatre company Crude Apache has staged as a theatrical performance on a couple of occasions and Richard, Leighton and Tim were heavily involved in both productions.

“Masquerade” is another song with Crude Apache connections. Tim and Russell Turner, (you probably know him; most people do), wrote the song for the company’s 1998 production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The song then remained largely unplayed for twenty years(!) until Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company, a company with whom Tim does a great deal of work, staged an outdoor tour of “The Dream” last summer and used this song. Leighton, who was playing Oberon in this new production, got to make it his own and so in due course it went into our set where it has proved a very popular show-closer. The company, including Tim and Leighton, will be touring the show again this year and if you want to know more go here.

“I Walk by Night” is another song composed by Tim and it takes it’s title from a book of the same name which is the reminiscences of Frederick Rolfe, the “King of the Norfolk Poachers”. You can read more about this song here.

20190126_7508641_punchhouseband_shootYou can see the videos here and you may want to consider subscribing because there will be more to come. We also took some promotional photos as well which you can see all over our “online presence” and publicity material. Al is a fantastic photographer who (amongst many other things) is the go-to snapper for bands around here and his website is well worth a visit which you can do here. We can’t recommend him highly enough.

OTHER NEWS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

In other news, following our collaboration with Crude Apache on last summer’s “At the Turning of the Tide” we are going to be the “House Band” for the company’s twenty-fifth anniversary event in June this year and we’re really looking forward to that. At the moment it’s shrouded in secrecy but as soon as we’re allowed to do so we’ll let tell you more.

Quite a few of our songs were composed by Tim for Stuff of Dreams’ productions; “Back to the Dirt” and “A Bit of the White Stuff” from The Poisoners’ Pact (a play about the Burnham Poisoners), and “The Bricks of Burston” from the play of the same name about the famous Strike School. Now he’s about to tour “An Honest Gentleman” the latest show he’s co-written with the director, Cordelia Spence. It’s about an actual highwayman called Thomas Easter who lived in Aylsham and features eight new songs by Tim, some of which are pretty likely to end up in our set before too long. If you want to know more go here.

Finally, here are some live pics of us at the Roseberry last month. Once again we are indebted to Al Pulford for these most excellent shots.

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Son of Gossip From the Punch House Bar

 

It’s been an interesting summer here at the Punch House, very interesting indeed! There is much to tell you so pay attention; perhaps you might want to go and get cup of tea or coffee and maybe a biscuit before you settle down to read this, we don’t mind waiting… All done? Good! Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

Allan and the PHB

A gig that sadly never happened

NORFOLK ARTS AWARDS 2018 AND HOW THE PUNCH HOUSE BAND (INDIRECTLY) HAVE BEEN NOMINATED IN THREE CATEGORIES!

In an extraordinary and wholly gratifying turn of events, the greasy finger-marks of The Punch House Band are all over three nominations in the People’s Choice section of the Norfolk Arts awards. It’s not exactly complicated but it needs a little explanation, being tied up with our activities over the last year, so we’ll explain it category by category.

SMALL ARTS ORGANISATION

Some of you may know that PHB guitar punisher and backing shouter Tim Lane has worked for the Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company for the last few years. 

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Leighton Williams as Oberon

Mostly as a sound designer, composer, writer and musician but also from time to time as an actor. Many songs originally written for the company’s productions have found their way into our set, “A Bit of the White Stuff”, “Bricks of Burston” and “Back to the Dirt” to name three. This summer saw both Tim and Leighton appearing in SoD’s outdoor touring production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as Bottom and Oberon respectively. The show, featuring songs co-written by Tim Lane and Russell J Turner, was very successful and well-received, (you can read a review here), and may well be going out again next summer. One of the songs has already made it into the PHB set.

This was followed in August by the world premier of the musical play “An Honest Gentleman” co-written by Tim and featuring more of his songs. It tells the story of Thomas Easter, an actual Norfolk highwayman from the early eighteenth century. Stuff of Dreams did a one-night-only showcase performance at the excellent North Lodge Park in Cromer and, once Cordelia (company director and co-writer) and Tim have tinkered with the script a bit, this will also be touring next year.

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Hayley Evernett as Puck and Tim Lane as Bottom

Stuff of Dreams have been nominated in the Small Arts Organisation category and, quite apart from our connections with them, we reckon they’re one of the best small professional companies in the region (well we would wouldn’t we?) and strongly advise you to follow this link and cast your vote for them before September 17th, and remember, a vote for SoD is (kind of) a vote for the PHB.

LARGE ARTS ORGANISATION

Crude Apache! We’ve mentioned before that the world has the Crude Apache Theatre Company to thank for the existence of the The Punch House Band, and we conti

at the turning of the tide

At the Turning of the Tide

nue to be deeply involved with this most excellent organisation. This summer saw the company touring “At the Turning of the Tide”, an outdoor show which told the story of the decline of the wherries in Norfolk over the latter half of the nineteenth century. The tale was brought to life through the experiences of one of the many families who who worked the broads in these magnificent vessels and was written by Punch House Pal Panda Monium, Jo Edye (more news about this fine gentleman below) and our own Tim Lane. Once again it featured a number of songs and the music for the show was provided by the good old PHB. We even did a short warm-up set at the beginning of each performance. Needless to say it went down very well at the many venues we visited and you can read a review here. The plan is to develop the script into a full length play to be performed next year.

So anyway, Crude Apache have been nominated in the Large Arts Organisation category, and deservedly so. We don’t think you can go far wrong if you follow this link a vote for them in this year’s awards, not least because the Punch House Band are practically the company’s house band.

INDIVIDUAL

Finally, the Punch House Band’s very own six-string mauler Tim Lane has been

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Tim Lane at The Norwich beer Festival 2017

nominated in the individual category. He’s been tolerably busy with theatre and music stuff over the last twelve months or so: As well as everything outlined above it was only this time last year you that he was touring the cold war spy thriller play “Anglian Mist” with Stuff of Dreams. A play which he co-wrote, provided with sound design and “secretly” appeared in. The there was his turn as Mrs Slighcarp in the Wolves of Willoughby Chase at the Maddermarket, the ceilidhs with Happy Feet and the ongoing adventures of The Punch House Band.

He has no idea who nominated him but says he’s very grateful to them and we urge you to follow this link and add your vote. You want to go and check out his website as well.

OTHER NEWS

The 2018 NORWICH BEER FESTIVAL 

The Punch House Band will be making their third consecutive appearance at this entirely excellent event. The Festival runs from Monday 22nd October to Saturday 27th and we will be providing the musical entertainment on Wednesday 24th in the 6 p.m. slot. We’re planning to bring a lot of new material, including songs from “At the Turning of the Tide” so come and join us.

NEW BLOOD

joedye-smallWe have engaged the services of a manager! Crude Apache Founder member, Owner of Norwich Screen Art and all-round top geezer Jo Edye has been persuaded to take on the job of getting the Punch House Band “out there” playing gigs. He’s very good at that sort of thing and we’re looking forward to a busy few months.

Look out for news of up-coming gigs, awards results and anything else we think you might like by checking our Facebook page and all the other social media.

Yet More Gossip From The Punch House Bar

First off we should start by wishing you a happy new year. We’re quite excited by the prospect of all that 2018 has to offer in terms of Punch House Business and general shenanigans and we hope that you’re similarly animated about all the new year holds for you. Before we start going on about our plans for the next twelve months we should bring you up to date with stuff that has already happened.

THE FREEMASONS’ ARMS

The Punch House Band finished 2017 with a return gig at the Freemasons’ Arms in Norwich. As before we had a top night in this entirely excellent pub which has gained PHB “home venue” status. This is a proper public house, one which serves good beer, has a proper “local” feel to it and has no truck with any trendy nonsense of any sort.  Thanks for having us Liz and Chris and we look forward seeing you again in 2018.

RECORDED EVIDENCE!

We mentioned previously that we’ve been recording and now we are delighted to tell you that just before Christmas Mr Bond of Seaplane Studios saw to it that a plainly wrapped parcel containing an unmarked spool of tape was delivered to a prearranged dead-drop. Having taken possession of the package we brought it back to the Punch House, gleefully unwrapped it in a manner not unlike small children with a long-anticipated Christmas present, and now we are the proud owners of our first official recordings! There are six tracks in all, Bedlam Boys, A Box in a Hole in the Ground, The Ghost of Allan Smethurst, The Bricks of Burston, Big Sky in the East and Back to the Dirt, and our debut EP will be available in the very near future. In the mean time here’s a taster.

OTHER NEWS

We’re in the process of booking gigs for 2018, although we won’t be doing much before March because sadly Richard “Banjo” Brook has broken his wrist! As well as being horribly painful (even for a tough norther like him) it make the whole business of playing the banjo a bit inconvenient.

The Punch House Band is now fully twitter-capable; tweet/follow us @PunchHouseBand

We also have a reverbnation page which you can find here: THe Punch House Band Reverbnation page