Róisín Gadelrab’s music news: All change at Dingwalls; The Crobar; Jazz Cafe; The Old Queen’s Head
25 September, 2020 — By Róisín Gadelrab
Rebranded – Dingwalls is set to become The PowerHaus
Venue name changes – do we lose their history when we lose their names? Is Barfly’s legacy any less now that it is called The Camden Assembly? Did Koko erase the memories of Camden Palace? I am guilty of a nostalgic resistance to change to places I have come to love but accept new is not always bad. No doubt it would be a travesty if, for example, The Dublin Castle was rebranded – quite possibly a step too far for Camden.
But now that Dingwalls is to become The PowerHaus, reluctantly it seems, according to new owner Vince Power, will the rechristened venue have any less of an impact? In more recent years the strength of its roster had waned and Dingwalls was very much in need of a little love. If anyone has the force to revive it, it is music mogul Vince Power, the man behind Mean Fiddler and countless festivals.
The new moniker came from one of Power’s former Islington venues from the early 90s, where the likes of The Stone Roses, Radiohead and Dinosaur Jr played. However, names and venues have changed and moved before and if Power can bring Dingwalls back to its heyday glory (if events are ever allowed to resume in full pre-pandemic form), I have no doubt the listings will be full of treasures and the venue will live up to its new name.
• A moment to mourn the loss of Soho rock institution The Crobar that lost its fight for survival under pandemic financial pressures, this week. Accompanied by a picture of a gravestone bearing a skull and the words “Crobar – Soho. Killed By Landlords June 2020 RIP”, a post by the venue blamed the government for not making insurance companies pay out and landlords give rent discounts, adding: “years and years of hard work by the pub, bar and venue owners across the country have been destroyed in the blink of an eye, and all because of the greed of a few ‘land barons’.” While this may be the end of an era, the venue promises to reopen with a bar and live music venue, perhaps in a year or so and with some crowdfunding.
• Live For Beirut, Bill Ryder Jones, Orlando Weeks (The Maccabees), Jack Peñate, Mali Koa, Olivia Dean and Ciara Haidar play Live For Beirut – a live and streamed event – at Jazz Café on Thursday (September 24). Brought together by Ciara Haidar, a musician of Lebanese descent, the concert aims to raise funds for the people of Beirut with 100 per cent of ticket prices going to the Lebanese Red Cross. Expect DJ sets too from Nabihah Iqbal, Rory Philips, Lou Hayter and Jad Taleb. Also at Jazz Café this month, ground-breaking Afro-rock fusionists Osibisa celebrate their 50th anniversary with a best of showcase of Latin grooves, African rhythms, funky jazz breaks and more. https://thejazzcafelondon.com/
• Clubbing these days takes a very different form but our venues haven’t given up. The Old Queen’s Head’s hip-hop and r’n’b nights continue on Fridays and Saturdays – just book a table in the socially distanced club room. https://theoldqueenshead.com/