Bristol venues helped by Agent of Change law

Agent of Change

We’re so happy to hear that the Agent of Change law has been brought into the National Planing Policy Framework meaning that developers can’t move into an area where a music venue is, build flats and then get the music venue to pickup the cost of soundproofing further to avoid complaints from flat owners living in the new development.

It’s great news for live music venues like the Thekla, Fiddlers and more around the city.

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/victory-live-music-venues-given-1086879

Ibiza DJ 80 LED parbar problems

Ibiza DJ Light 80 LED

I bought these lights from an online retailer as the price was ridiculously cheap for what they were (2 x four LED lights for £130 odd quid). The trouble you have with lights at this price point is that they usually aren’t put together that well and so with a great sense of timing, one of the lights stopped working two weeks after I’d had them delivered.

I’d tried to get it replaced but the online retailer was being the very definition of an online retailer (truculent, evasive and generally a bit shit). So after a while I thought “sod it, I’ll see what’s inside” and it’s a lot less than I had thought.

Ibiza DJ 80 LEDThe piece that seemed to be doing the grunt work was this pcb located on the left had side of the unit. I had noticed that the power would come in and cut out when you rattled the light bar so I thought it would probably be a loose wire or a dry joint. Luckily it was the former. There are two connection blocks that I’ve highlighted in this hastily taken photo that deliver the power to the lights themselves and I found that they’d been screwed in but not tightened enough. A few turns of a screwdriver and my unit was working perfectly.

So my advice if you do buy cheap lights is don’t try to get them replaced, open up the unit and see if you can fix it yourself. This obviously comes with the warning that you should know what you are doing and the potential dangers inherent in working on an electrical item. Disconnect the power before working on anything. This unit does come with an led attached to the pcb that lights up when there’s power going to the unit. Make sure it’s off before doing anything!

What you can do to Save Thekla

Save Thekla Image

As many of you have also recently found out, one of Bristol’s favourite music venues has the threat of closure from developers hanging over it. Much like The Fleece before it, The Thekla is potentially under threat from a development on the Redcliffe Wharf opposite it. Many people are going online to express their support for the venerable music institute and that’s great to see, but there are also concrete steps you can take to help raise awareness within the council and let them know that this has to be a key part of the development plans.

Write to Bristol Council Planning Department

Up until 12pm today you can email the planning department expressing your concerns regarding the planning application. Email democratic.services@bristol.gov.uk using the subject line “Statement regarding Application Nos 17/02049/F & 17/02050/LA” and tell them what you think about the potential impact of live music venues in the area and specifically The Thekla and ask whether or not provisions have been made to ensure this long established venue is not under threat from noise complaints. Having read through the planning document there are particular areas to highlight in your email.

Section 7 Response to Community Publicity

7.1.8

– Concern that the noise assessment undertaken doesn’t properly consider the potential amenity impacts of the late night live music venues in the vicinity.

8.19.

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL POLLUTION CONTROL

8.19.1. The Bristol City Council Pollution Control team commented that the noise assessment for the site should take into account the potential for noise from the Thekla over the weekend, and that this could be secured through condition.

13. RECOMMENDATION

6. Noise Sensitive Premises Assessment

A detailed acoustic report on the existing noise climate at the development site will be submitted to and approved in writing by the Council prior to the commencement of the development hereby approved.

The details submitted shall specify the development phase(s) to which they relate. The report shall include a scheme of noise insulation measures for all residential accommodation. The noise insulation measures shall be designed to achieve noise insulation to a standard that nuisance will not be caused to the occupiers of residential accommodation by noise from the following:

a) Music and customer noise from the nearby licensed premises over a weekend and from the licensed premises to be provided as part of the development.

Noise Complaints

The last two items are critical and Thekla owners DHP have already expressed concerns that the Environmental Impact Assessment carried out was on a night when they weren’t even open.

We will be writing in and making sure our voices are heard. If you have the time, then write an email or call the planning department. You can also find out more about the planning committee below:

https://www.bristol.gov.uk/planning-and-building-regulations/development-control-committees

The garden is taking off!

Spring definitely seems to be getting its act together and we’ve had some really sunny days at the studio. One of the great side effects of this is that our garden is really starting to kick into high gear. Loads of plants growing, blooming and budding. It’s south facing so it’s a real sun trap and a great place to take a break from rehearsing and sit with a coffee or a cold drink!

New amp!

We’ve got ourselves a new bass amp! We’ve been treating the guitarists and drummers to new stuff so we thought it was time to give the bass players something to jump up and down about. This baby packs 350 watts into her tiny frame and 2 10″ speakers to give you that classic Ampeg growl. You can also plug a 1 x 15″ cab in and it’ll up-rate to 500 watts and give your guitarist something to think about when they do that ridiculous solo that doesn’t need to be there.

We’ll be hiring her out for £5 a session. Have fun!

Ampeg BA500 bass combo

Ampeg BA500 bass amp

Bands at Firebird Festival

Firebird Festival 2016 Heading

As the festival is a celebration of the bands that rehearse with us at the studios we thought we’d give you a bit of a low down on the bands that are playing on the day. You can find out more on this page.

The Cedar

This multi-instrumental band are a joy to watch as you’re never really sure who’s going to be playing what at any given time. Crafting beautiful arrangements and harmonies with sometimes cutting wit and light humour. If you are new to The Cedar, you are in for a treat.

Why We Love

This Bristol four piece has been a staple favourite of ours ever since we first head them rehearsing at the studios. Instantly recognisable for their charming brand of sparkly guitar pop, bittersweet lyrics and blood harmonies, all showcased in energetic live shows. They’re currently promoting their new album – The Boy You Knew – and getting a great reception for it so far.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3535718552 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=e99708 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Crystal Balloon

Up and coming South Wales band Crystal Balloon are already making waves in the local area with their brand of Americana influenced power pop. Their debut EP – Hurricane – will be out in July and having heard an advanced copy we can tell you it sounds amazing!

Mike Dennis

We first saw Mike playing at a pub in Totterdown and were instantly captivated by his unique blend of classical loops and hip hop lyrics. It’s a mesmerising mix and one that has seen him played all over BBC 6Music recently and described by Tom Robinson as “…like a hybrid between early Example and Franz Ferdinand at their knowing, cheeky best.”

Downard

Downard are a duo that describe themselves as an “atmospheric two-piece rock combo. Punishing distorto-riffs+math-slam drums+swirly voice confusion = we.” All we know is they sound incredible and you can’t believe that it’s just two people in the room when they get into full flight.

Sons of Liberty

This unashamedly Southern American rock covers band have been with us since the beginning and gig regularly around the South West to great acclaim. As you can see from the video below they go all out capturing the look and feel of your favourite Southern rock bands – Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and more.

Psychedelic Hearts

The Psychedelic Hearts Club have only recently started rehearsing with us but they created a sound that we thought was fantastic and wanted to showcase as part of the festival. They’re taking classic Beatles tracks and giving them a slightly different twist via Muse and other contemporary rock bands. It’ll be fun to listen to, that much we know!

Happy New Year

2015 – Festivals, film shoots and flapjacks

Firebird Studios Music GardenIt’s been a busy year here at the studio with more and more bands rehearsing with us, lots of improvements to the reception/cafe space, planting a studio garden and Firebird Studios getting out and about supporting local gigs, events, and festivals. It’s been amazing to read all the lovely reviews you’ve given us on Facebook and Google too, it’s great to know you think we’re getting it right!

Firebird Festival 2015 crowd shotIn July we celebrated our 1st Anniversary with an outdoor mini festival in the car park. We invested in a proper festival stage from Enlightened Lighting and it was worth it as it looked and sounded incredible! For us, it was a way of saying thank you to the bands who’ve rehearsed with us over the first year of running the studios and for everyone to hear each other’s music.  Despite the unpredictable summer weather, it was a really fun event and great to see so many Firebird bands playing live at the studios!

Grieved at Temples Festival Bristol 2015
Photo courtesy of www.ghostcultmag.com.

2015 also saw Firebird Studios get involved with some of the biggest and best Bristol Festivals. Swedish band Grieved flew in to use our studio prior to their performance at Temples Festival.

We also supplied all the backline to the Grain Barge for Bristol Harbourside Festival and to Tobacco Factory for Upfest 2015.

Synthetica Battle of the bands - Firebird Studios
In July/August we were proud sponsors of the Synthetica Events Battle of the Bands, which saw the winners – Myst – take away £1000 as a first prize. The band were in to rehearse recently and said they were using the money to record their first EP. Can’t wait to hear that!

ADS rocking out!

And who’d’ve thought we’d get the chance to rock out on a pirate ship, but that’s what we did with A Doubtful Sound when they asked us to provide a PA for their video shoot on The Matthew. The video was shot by Push The Button who are the people to go to if you’re looking for the best quality music videos! The band are now sadly moving back to New Zealand and we are going to miss them and all their rock nonsense very much!

So as you can see it’s been a pretty packed year. We’ve really enjoyed finding our feet with the studio and getting to be a part of the great Bristol music scene and hear so much good music. Happy New Year and see you for lots more music in 2016!