A Letter to Bruce Springsteen

Dear Bruce

I was surprised to learn recently that you did not at first
take to the moniker ‘The Boss’ with which you are now intrinsic due to your distaste of the bossman giving you hell. And although I was initially surprised it actually makes perfect sense, your reticent acceptance of your title is clear evidence of the sincerity of everything that people have taken you to represent; the beauty of the working man and woman, the power of every person’s story.

There is no better medium for the expression of these values than live music, it is stirring to see people still empowered by music in a time where it has been cheapened by the ascension of shallow, soulless musical machinery (I know this is a common gripe but it was on my mind and I thought you would understand). You only need to look to the reclamation of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ as a symbol of hopeful solidarity in the face of the Manchester terror attacks in May of 2017 for a representation of the unique unifying power music possess. 

A more personal example is as follows, we recently found ourselves
aboard a canal barge in the heart of Camden Lock, an exciting but daunting experience as the captain warned us that too much movement would see both ourselves and our gear thrown into the water, something that would’ve made for entertaining viewing for the hundreds of people who were (hopefully pleasantly) surprised to find a young rock and roll band sailing into their lunch time. As much as the excitement we felt stemmed from the novelty of playing on a river vessel, it was also in witnessing the coming together of this crowd of people who, as far as we know, had no prior connection to each other and would not have been interacting in such a way had it not been for our nautical performance. Rather than the usual introverted lunch time rush, people were chatting, singing and dancing in the streets, which was a joy to behold, despite being told to turn it down by some unappreciative coppers (we didn’t(we turned it up)). So whether it was Jonny and Andy taking to the roof to see the whites of Camden’s eyes, or the lovely older couple who attempted to board our boat and sail down the river with us (we think they may have mistaken us for a water taxi) the memory of this particular gig will stay with us for some time.

I hope people aren’t starting to forget about the path of live music, I hope you are not the last man to play a three hour show and have the people begging for more. From the beginning we have aspired to consistently bring the same power and love to the stage as you’ve been doing your whole career and we’re looking forward to making more memories like this one in the future. 

We’ll be back to the big smoke on Wednesday 28th February for a gig at the map studio café; if you want to pop your head in it would be lovely to see you.

Hope you are well,

Hardwicke Circus

Some call him Tim

There’s a man about town in old Carlisle, carrying an acoustic guitar and a new-found sense of self. Some call him Tim.  

I was ecstatic to discover that Hardwicke Circus’ good friend Tim Baugh has recorded an E.P in Kiwi Studios entitled Throw Caution to the Wind, planning a launch at the Vinyl Café on 24th February. 

The first reason this is such good news is because I’m excited to hear Tim’s music put to tape, music which is simple, sincere and relatable on a base human level. However, it is also exciting because of what it clearly means for Tim and how it represents the freedom music offers people.  

You see it wasn’t so long ago that it would require substantial persuasion to encourage Tim onto the stage. I remember the first time I ever saw him get up at the Source open mike night and play a couple of songs from his childhood, the experience was so thrilling for him it was impossible not to enjoy. At that time Tim felt that if he could play a gig of his own with his own material to a crowd he would have achieved something beautiful. It is where we all begin in music and is one of the purest forms of joy there is. 

Fast forward only a small time and Tim is now a seasoned performer around Carlisle, having played sets of his own original material (of which he says he has around an hour) at gigs at The Source, the Vinyl Café, the Old Fire Station, as well as playing at the Within the Walls festival and many others. The confidence he now exudes from the stage show how much his music and his experience has helped him grow. It’s brilliant to see Tim achieve the things he is achieving and play alongside some of the other great musicians in this fair city.  

Tim’s life hasn’t always been easy, his music contains stories of sour love and dark times. He has spent most of his adult life as a chef, only really coming to writing and performing music recently, but it’s clear that his songs have given him an outlet for the stories that are so close to him. The E.P contains 6 original tracks, including the classic ‘Bottle of Wine’, and a cover of a Deep Purple track. 

Tim really is a great example of music freeing a person, allowing them to pursue goals they thought beyond them and express ideas and emotions they thought inexpressible, it’s been a pleasure to support and follow him and I can’t wait to see what he does next.  

You’re gonna love him, you just don’t know it yet.

A Journey South

During this notable brisk and snowy festive season, my dad
currently finds himself in a very relatable predicament, if a wholly
un-relatable situation.

You see, like many people up and down the UK, Dad has found
wind and snow to be preventing him for reaching his desired destination.
However, rather than being unable to make it to school or work, the weather is preventing my old man from scaling the highest peak in Antarctica and subsequently skiing to the geographic south pole. The problem’s began almost immediately, having flown from London to Punta Arenas, Chile’s most southern city, Dad then should’ve flown onto Union Glacier, located in Ellsworth Land, Antarctica, however weather issues prevented them from leaving on schedule. With delays starting to look major, it became necessary to bare the storm and fly in the midst of the kind of weather small aircrafts generally avoid, especially when the pilots are relying on visual flying. Despite the conditions Dad arrived safely, knuckles white and stomach freshly emptied.   

Having finally escaped from Chile, Dad landed on Union Glacier in the midst of a blizzard. This would keep him stranded there for 5 days, sleeping in tents in temperatures that fell as low as -20 degrees
Celsius, causing Dad to suffer frost nip in his fingers and nose; not as
serious as frost bite but still extremely painful (were hopeful he won’t have to saw his finger ends off a la Renulph Fiennes). Maddeningly, the team were required to trek back and forth between Union Glacier and base camp in order to move their gear to the point at which they would begin their climb to the peak, however once again they found themselves held up by poor weather conditions.  Eventually, Dad and his cohorts were able to
take advantage of a brief break in the weather to set out, reaching the summit and return to base camp in a mere 4 days, an astonishing achievement given the record, set by a team of highly experienced mountaineers, is 3.    

The next stage of the journey will be to ski to the South Pole, however the weather is currently holding dad up once again; the idea was that he would be back in time for Christmas however this is looking less and less likely as the journey goes on.

This is not the first of Dad’s little excursions, having already journeyed to his current destinations northern counterpart as well as
taming such beasts as Kilimanjaro (the highest peak in Africa), Aconcagua (the highest in South America and the highest outside of Asia) and Elberus (debatably the highest in Europe), amongst others. So I think all of this needs to be looked at with a greater perspective. 

You see Dad hasn’t spent his entire life as an explorer (maybe at heart), he spent the first portion of his adult life building up a business he started in the midst of raising two young (handsome and charming) sons. Through all the years he was providing for his family I believe that it was always in his DNA to chase the spirit of adventure, but it wouldn’t be until his 40’s that Dad would go on his first expedition, climbing Kilimanjaro in 2010. On that journey, as on his current and all those in between, Dad faced hardships and set backs but was equal to them all. 

For most people it is not enough to simply survive, having a vision and pursuing it is one of the things that defines us as humans. However it’s easy to drift from the track in the melee of 21st century existence and the responsibility that comes with it. It seems to me that is is not that people forget to dream, but that we can forget there was ever anything that inspired us in the first place. As with Dad being stalled by the weather, it is almost always the case that in the face of short term struggles people will step up and find that they can achieve things they never imagined, but it is allowing yourself to take the first step of the journey that can be the most difficult. 

H.C x

Birthday Boys

Last week we celebrated two birthdays; on Tuesday Zack turned 20 and on Thursday Andy turned 46. In recognition of their special days, we’ve written up a brief profile of the lads.

Born in the wilds of northern Scotland on 28th November 1997 to English parents, Zack has never truly felt like he belonged. His dichotomous existence has left him in a state of perpetual internal conflict, often leaving Zack looking vacant or confused at the simplest of tasks.  Some have confused this for Zack being ‘thick’ and asking if he is ‘okay’. Despite this constant internal struggle, Zack has found one thing he is certain about; his love for all things six stringed. Having original taken up the guitar as the loud noise would scare off the savages that attempted to raid his cave, he found he had an affinity for the axe. Taking influence from Rory Gallagher, Tom Petty and Dolph the Elder he joined the band close to three years ago having first seen us play in Glasgow at King Tuts. Zack enjoys writing Gothic poetry, ducking under doorways and drinking gin. 

Little is known of the history Andrew James Phillips. Reports are wildly inconsistent, and include claims that he was one of the prime suspects in the Great Train Robbery, that he kick started the summer of love by importing LSD from Columbia into San Francisco and that he may have played a role in the French Revolution, all under a series of pseudonyms. What we do know is he was born on November 30th, and that at some point in his enigmatic journey through live he discovered a love for music. We met Andy whilst he graced the good folk of Carlisle College with his smooth, velvety tones in 2014 and quickly snapped him up to fill the vacant tenor sax position. Andy takes influence from Clarence Clememts, Bobby Keys and Michael Brecker and can often be found listening to New Orleans Jazz and reading Nietzsche in the back of the van. Andy enjoys learning new languages (of which he claims to speak 13), stretching to peer over dashboards and his favorite color is a light mauve (also please ask him if a piano is a string or a percussion instrument, he doesn’t get asked enough).      

That New Shit

With shows such as the X Factor still clinging to life, and the state of Radio 1, the UK currently suffers from a collective petulance at the
state of music, so we here at Hardwicke Circus feel like the time is right for a hero to ride in and rescue you forlorn appreciators of good music from the sonic doldrums by introducing you to some of the young up and comers that get a spin in the van to and from gigs. Some you probably already know, hopefully you will be introduced to some new faces.

Gang of Youths

This is something of a cheat as Gang Of Youths are already considered
indie rock royalty in the home country of Australia, however Blightly has yet to wise up to the quintet, whose most recent album, Big Music Masterpiece go ‘Farther in Lightness’, reached number 1 in the Australian album charts. The thing that first strikes you when listening to these lads is singer Dave Le’aupepe’s magnanimous lyrical approach. With songs coming in on average over 5 minutes on an album over an hour long, Dave’s soul shaking voice is close to ubiquitous (if you disregard the 3 musical interlude tracks), poetically exploring the human experience in all its bleakness and triumph, confusion and clarity, heartbreak and joyousness.

The band also display an appreciation for intricate musical detail,
with each track offering satisfying reveals to those willing to take the time to truly digest them. The songs are unique enough in structure to keep fans engaged without straying too far from the old pop song chestnut to alienate the passing listener.

All around Gang of Youths are one of the finest bands Australia
has produced in recent years, easily standing shoulder to shoulder with bands like world conquering Tame Impala and the vastly underappreciated Middle East.  

Give them a go if you like: Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen,
The National

The Lemon Twigs

The Lemon Twigs are mad; there really is no getting away
from it. The band, led by New York based brothers Mike and Brian D’Addario, are a beautiful, dysfunctional, outrageous spectacle of a band, and probably one of the most engaging things you’ll ever see. Only those that have seen the Twigs live will be able to attest to the bizarre pair, backed up by Danny Ayala on keys and Megan Zeankowski on bass, the brothers spend the first half of the show with older brother Brian on vocals and guitar and younger brother Mike on drums, before swapping duties at half time. Both brothers boast enviable chops on drums and guitar, as well as being one of the most incredible, tightest vocal bands currently around.

But it’s in the performance that the band really shines. With Brian on the vocals and Mike on the drums the band are a tight, grooving power pop machine, exuding effortless cool with the power of The Who and the beautifully crafted songs of the Beach Boys. All members of the band get chance to flex their musical muscle and display the kind of playing that musicians twice their age dream off.

However, with Mike and Brian switching the band takes on a whole
new persona. Mike, having revealed himself to be sporting a fetching sequin dress, struts around the stage like Iggy Pop, kicking over mike stands,
smashing guitars, performing muscle snapping high kicks and generally being a storm of high octane lunacy. Mike’s raucous punk defiance proves to be the
perfect counterbalance to the smooth 70’s sheen of his brother, and it is this contrast that makes the band so eminently watchable. This really is something you must see before the whole thing implodes.  

 Check them out if you like: the Beach Boys, The Who, Iggy Pop


Parcels are the best looking band in the world right now, which
is a fact. They are also one of the best retro-pop bands around. Another lot hailing from Australia, now living in Berlin, they do a fine job of mixing Chic-esque funk with modern pop sensibility, with the outcome being songs with choruses that will be stuck with you for days and grooves that don’t quit. Taking influence from Jungle, the vocals are, layered, super tight and show a band clearly dedicated to their craft. For evidence of just how tight this band are, check on YouTube their performance at the Funkhaus. Effortlessly cool and
tight as fuck, it’s the kind of thing that could make a believer out of the most miserable bastards.

For Fans Of: Chic, Jungle, Fleetwood Mac    

Please do check these bands out and come back next week for
some other upcoming bands that we love.


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