sat 11/07/2020

Romeo and Michele Stodart Present… The Thank-You Green Note Fundraiser, YouTube review - saving Camden's go-to music venue | reviews, news & interviews

Romeo and Michele Stodart Present… The Thank-You Green Note Fundraiser, YouTube review - saving Camden's go-to music venue

Romeo and Michele Stodart Present… The Thank-You Green Note Fundraiser, YouTube review - saving Camden's go-to music venue

Musicians celebrate and support an award-winning club

It’s 15 years since two schoolfriends with a passion for acoustic music opened Green Note in London’s Camden Town, their goal to create “somewhere friendly, comfortable, intimate, and with the best music on offer every night of the week”. It quickly established itself as the go-to club for talented musicians at the outset of their careers – Amy Winehouse and Ed Sheeran played early gigs, and Diana Jones made her UK debut on the Green Note stage. Leonard Cohen once came by for a private gig – his picture hangs on the wall along with other shape-shifting musical icons. No surprise that Green Note was voted London’s Favourite Music Venue 2015 in a poll by Time Out and, in 2016, Camden’s Top Cultural Venue.

The vibe is Greenwich Village 1960s and it’s a proper listening room. Romeo and Michele Stodart, one half of The Magic Numbers, have hosted monthly nights at the club for several years now, their surprise guests delighting audiences. Sunday’s live-streamed Thank-You fundraiser was their idea and they bantered their way through what turned out to be a four-hour session, in support of the #SaveGreenNote Crowdfunder, in association with the Music Venue Trust and their #SaveOurVenues campaign that’s thankfully gained widespread support during lockdown. They kicked off with “Wheels on Fire”.

For those who like their music acoustic, folk and roots, singer-songwriters with or without an American accent, it was a great way to spend an evening, even if not every performance was tip-top tech-wise – though in a sense that was part of its folksy charm. More than a score of musicians participated, many of them happily recalling their Green Note “home away from home” experiences, right down to the wooden floors and red velvet curtain against which they perform. Amanda Anne Platt of The Honeycutters told of her anxiety on what was one of her first London gigs – but then she saw the audience singing along “and in that moment felt so connected”.

“It’s a really special place for me,” said Emily Barker, expressing a typical sentiment. “It was my first headline date fifteen years ago and I’ve developed some very strong and beautiful friendships from it.” With Lukas Drinkwater, she played her wonderful tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “guitar-slinging woman” and godmother of rock ‘n’ roll. There were some terrific performances, among them David Ford, singing from his “garage” (lovely conversion!) on “Isn’t It Strange”. It was he said, “just nice” to be making music. Charlie Dore was beamed in from her conservatory with “A Hundred Miles of Nothing” from her brand-new album Like Animals. Dore’s had a long and varied career and while Romeo admitted he wasn’t aware of her music, this was a song Michele had co-written with her – probably the result of both women appearing in a Green Note International Women’s Day Special last year.

Birds of Chicago was a discovery, a trio out of Chicago whose energetic, close-harmony performance of “Remember Wild Horses” made me want to explore further. Fantastic voices, and the clarinet was a nice addition. Likewise, The Goat Roper Rodeo Band, another trio (acoustic guitars and upright bass) who played spellbinding country blues on “Since You Been Gone”. You’d never guess they were British. Two musicians dipped into the great 1960s song bag: Zak Hobbs, yet another member of the Thompson clam, with Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You”, and Naomi Larsson and Joe Harvey-White with “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”, the Sandy Denny classic.

The fundraiser took place during the BBC’s endless celebration of Glastonbury in lockdown. What it demonstrated was the vitality and musicianship that’s abroad in the land, much of it knocking into a cocked hat acts for which thousands of people are willing to pay big money to endure a weekend of discomfort. Give me Cambridge any day!

But in order to survive and flourish and make it into the big tent, musicians need indie venues such as Green Note and the people behind them, whose love for the music is crucial. As Birds of Chicago said, such people are “cultural ambassadors, warriors for the arts”. Lockdown has “thrown us a curveball” and if we want all still to be in play when it’s finally and properly lifted we must lend our support now. Green Note is "a community", a place to play and a place to hang out. It's now more improtant than ever.

Sunday's fundraiser tipped over £12,000 – there's still plenty of time to give.
 






musicians need indie venues such as Green Note and the people behind them, whose love for the music is crucial

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