Here's what fans need to know about the legendary North London venue.
So, we are at the halfway point of my Shelter Tour. What a whirlwind, and mixed bag of shows it has been so far. Every one has had a different quality, a quirk, a celebration.
I started on Monday in Birmingham, and in all honesty, it was my best and favourite show I’ve ever done. You always bring so much love, but this time was different – there were loads of you! I wasn’t expecting anywhere near as many people as what filled up The Sunflower Lounge, I mean, I’ve been gigging in Brum for bloody years. I started off maybe 7 years ago at The Plug on one cold and sad Saturday afternoon.
I’ve nearly played every single venue in this city and Monday was a perfect example of how long and how much hard work it takes to truly build an audience – organically. There is never any smoke and mirrors to what it is I do, it’s as DIY as you can get, but Monday was a result, a big win. All of those years, support shows, miles, kebabs, hangovers, empty crowds, sticky floors came to something. I can’t thank the people of Birmingham enough. 5 years from now, I want Symphony Hall. Let’s do it?
This takes us onto Norwich – I’ve played here maybe twice before. The Bicycle Shop in 2014 and The Owl Sanctuary in 2015 (which I now hear is closed?!). So I step into the venue, and it’s a little bigger than what I was expecting so naturally, I’m alarmed. I don’t know if other bands are being honest about this sort of thing, but “COME ON VENUES, STICK UP A POSTER AT LEAST”. I was a little putout, worried that my pre-sale wasn’t going to fill the room but then you find your silver lining.
First, our rider was smoked salmon – hell yeah. Secondly, some distant family surprised me and turned up in their little gang for a mid-week outing -. Thirdly – there were some real and true CC fans there which I wasn’t expecting at all. Some I’d met from festivals in the summer, some which have been following me for years but never made a show, and then it hits you. This is a part of it all. There’s never really a bad night when there’s real people in front of you, in any capacity. They chose to be there and we have to keep putting on the same show just for those people in the room.
In that moment, they are all that matters. The truth is, 2 or so years ago I wasn’t getting people coming to shows at all. It’s always good for some reflection. We did manage to squeeze in a cheeky kebab on the way home, and I introduced the guys to the new Killers record on the way down the A14 – it’s an absolute stomper.
Guildford! Now, this really was my curveball of the tour. I’ve never been, only ever passed by on the train but when I was booking this tour I knew I wanted to try some new territory. These come with challenges because you never know what to expect, but a friend of mine – Andy – runs a label down there and he’s been reviewing and sharing my music for years so it was an honour to have had my first show with him in Guildford.
The Star Inn is a wonderful pub (the oldest in Guildford actually) and the back room is such a great venue! It’s a hidden gem. I was starving after soundcheck, so we find ourselves a Wagamama where I nearly choke on the hottest chilli of all time but it did help move some blocked nose residue (snot) around a little bit. It’s shows like these where you get to meet the spine of a city or town, the people who are working so hard to create something, and I felt lucky to be in a room with people who cared so deeply about growing their local music scene.
There’s a great analogy somebody taught me when I was young. If you drop a pebble into a puddle, you’ll see ripples. Those ripples create other ripples and the movement grows. I have never believed that harder in my entire life. I like to think that maybe someday, somewhere, somebody will say ‘Hey, do you remember seeing Charlotte in the backroom at The Star Inn in 2017?’. It’s all about the movement.
Thank you Birmingham, Norwich and Guildford some truly memorable experiences. Leicester, Tynemouth and London to go…
Friday 27th – The Cookie, Leicester http://bit.ly/ccleicester
Sunday 29th – Surf Cafe, Tynemouth (free entry)
Take a listen to Charlotte’s latest EP “Shelter” here and grab a ticket above for her big, London finale on 1st November.