Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The wonder that was The Dublin Castle open mic known as Redrock Jam!

The crowd dancing and having fun to local talent Jon Crabb.

Oh what a night is all I can say! I knew to expect great things from an open mic in such a historical music venue as the The Dublin Castle but Redrock Jam certainly didn't disappoint. If you don't know a lot about The Dublin Castle Pub in Camden, then well shame on you ha! But here is abit of history. Like many other pubs in Camden the venue was originally built to serve Irish immigrants working on the railway nearby, and the apart from the occasional tradition Irish session it was not known as a music venue. 
In the seventies Camden Town started to change and lots of popular music venues started to open making it a hub for live music, this meant the musicians started to flock to this part of London. Along with these musicians was a band called Madness, then still known as The Camden Invaders and invade they did. In January 1979 they performed for the first time in The Dublin Castle and were invited back by the landlord at the time Alo Conlon for further gigs to help establish their reputation. Soon enough the bands fanbase grew along with the crowd attending the gigs and a legendary music venue was born. Following on from the success of Madness many bands played some of there first major gigs in the venue. Amy Winehouse would often visit the bar to drink, sing and serve some lucky customers their drinks. Stories like this just add that bit of Camden magic to the venue.

Now as I spoke about in my previous blog supporting live music venues is something that is very close to my heart and very important to me, so it was a absolute pleasure to talk to the guys that organise Redrock Jam and watch them in action. When I first entered the room I could tell it was different to many Open mics I have been to before with a set up for a full band available so that anyone can just rock up and do their thing. The lighting was great and gave it a very edgy rock and roll feel and the energy was high in the room. The support that all the musicians gave each other was great too and a stand out factor with no musicians just leaving after there set, instead staying to listen to the other acts. The musicians socialise with each other and of course jumped back up on stage if needed to support another act. This was most notable when Dave Elvis (a Camden legend is his own right) who is an Elvis impersonator in his seventies, wanted to get up and sing a few songs. To help a fellow performer, a musician called Carlos got up to play guitar for him. Furthermore he was also supported by Dineshraj (one of the organisers of Redrock Jam) which I felt was a nice personal touch.

My overall experience at Redrock jam was one I will not forget. I laughed, danced and witnessed some raw London talent. Personally I couldn't ask for more from an open mic night. This was all topped off by being served by friendly bar staff and getting to socialise with some great, passionate musicians from all walks of life. My friend and I came up with the analogy that the open mic could be described as a big bag of all sorts and as each act got up you just didn't know what to expect, which brought a sense of excitement to each performance.  

For any London musician I can't recommend this open mic enough, and especially if you are new to the scene. You will be supported by all and its a great chance to meet new friends too, because as we all know London is a very big city and not always easy to live in. This is a great open mic to build your confidence up and really showcase what you have got. If you have one original song, a whole album or you want to sing some covers go along and you will be welcomed with open arms. Plus you get to say you have performed in a venue that's been honoured with the Music Heritage award. For my first blog open mic review I couldn't be happier I choose Redrock Jam as I was given great support from the team and Amie took the time to have a quick chat with me and I will feature her interview below.

Links of interest to check out: 
Madness interview about the great Dublin Castle 

My Interview With Aimee Rivers: October 2017

Hi Amiee, so you are part of the band Redwire who are behind organising the Redrock jam, What type of band are you?

We're a London based hard rock band. We've played all over the country and abroad, and we put on a festival in October last year inviting a lot of the bands we've previously played with to come to London for an all-day free festival. It went extremely well, and we recently repeated it for a second year.

Great stuff , When did you start Redrock Jam? 

We began Redrock Jam in November last year as a follow-on from the very successful festival. 

And what made you choose The Dublin Castle as a venue?

The Dublin Castle is the obvious place for it, for its musical heritage and the friendly staff. It's also our second home; we're often to be found hanging out there.

What do you think makes you different from some of the open mics out there?

What I personally love about it so much is the variety and quality of the people we have come to perform. Each week there's a nice mix of newcomers and regulars, but without fail every week there will be something unexpected that blows my mind.

We are one of the few open mic nights that has a full back line so that a band can just turn up and play. We wished there was something like that when we were first starting out as a band. We've seen many bands do their first ever performance at Redrock Jam.

We like to put on a showcase band every week, which is a pre-arranged half-hour slot at 9pm. That is always very popular and breaks up the night nicely. It also encourages more bands to come along. Several of the bands that were a Redrock Jam showcase band also played at this year's Redrock Festival, including Broken Bones Matilda, LaFlamme, Wild Horse, Filthy Militia and Sofasonic.One of the other great things about Redrock Jam is the atmosphere. We cultivate a supportive approach, encouraging musicians not just to turn up and do their bit and leave, but to listen to each other, to cheer each other on. Lots of musical connections and collaborations are made, and we often see people trying new ideas out jamming with each other.

Whats one of the best examples, when you have seen this happen?

A great example of this is Bill Dury, whose dad was none other than Ian Dury, who also played at the Dublin Castle a few times! Bill loves to gather a collection of musicians together during the night to do a 15 minute improv performance. He calls it Bill Dury And The Collaborators. Nothing is planned, but amazing musical creations are created every time. Bill improvises some lyrics to go with the music that his collaborators are making.

What is one if the best success stories you have witnessed while doing Redrock Jam ?

A big success story is Martyn Peters. We supported him when he first moved to London from North Wales. His music is amazing and we've been helping to promote his album. He was recently played by Steve Lamaq on BBC 6 Music. He often comes back to play at Redrock Jam, or just to pop in and listen to the other musicians.

Great stuff Aimee and team keep up the good work. 

If you have enjoyed this blog/interview and are interested in experiencing Redrock Jam please visit The Dublin Castle, its on every Tuesday and sign up is from 7.30 pm or contact The Redrock Jam Team. Feel free to message me if you would like anymore details. Keep supporting the blog guys and your local music venues, feel free to message me any gigs or open mics you would like me to check out , open to lots of suggestions.

Useful Links:

Facebook: Redrock Jam


  1. It warms my heart to hear others appreciating Aimee's generous approach to life. Thanks for taking the trouble to write your experiences and the interview. Aimee's my step daughter and I'm very proud of her. :)

  2. Great blog kim I’ll be keeping this venue on my to go list 👍🏻 X

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