John Waller has written three double-page-spread articles on the history of the Topic, complete with pictures, for the Bradford Telegraph & Argus's "Remember When?" regular feature, published 20th and 26th March and the 3rd April 2022
The Topic is at Groove Pad, 48 Saltaire Road, Shipley BD18 3HN. It’s a bar/coffee lounge on two floors. The Topic has exclusive use of the downstairs coffee lounge area on Thursday nights. The bar upstairs serves a fine selection of drinks and does table service to the cafe area if required.
Groove Pad Shipley is the second of Andy Parkinson’s establishments, the Otley Groove Pad having been open for some years. The Shipley site opened in August 2021. Andy is a musician himself, a member of the local folk-rock band Summercross, so is sensitive to the needs (and whims!) of performers. The venue hosts many music events: gigs usually in the upstairs bar, and teaching sessions and other musical activities downstairs on other nights. Groove Pad Shipley facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groovepadshipley/
Groove Pad is situated next to the Aagrah Restaurant on Saltaire Road. Easy street parking is available nearby and it’s only a few minutes walk from Shipley train station and the bus terminus.
NOTE: The downstairs bar will be staffed before the main performance, during the interval and after the performance has finished. If you need to go upstairs, please only move around between songs during the applause. This is to try to minimise disturbance and distractions and is how we ran back at Glyde House and The Irish Club.
Although there are no legally enforceable restrictions at the moment (pubs are open as normal) we would politely ask those who attend to be mindful of their duty of care towards other audience members, particularly in regard to social distancing as far as is possible. Wearing masks is of course no longer mandatory but please do so if you wish, especially when coming into the venue and when moving around. Hand sanitiser will be available on the door for those who wish to use it.
Groove Pad is significantly larger than the Merchant Bar (though not as large as the room at Glyde House). Tables will be set out with two or three chairs to each table to provide an element of social distancing. We sincerely hope that no-one will consider attending if they have any signs or symptoms of any illness (an option is of course to do a Lateral Flow Test before venturing out).
Finally we would point out that for the moment we are not booking acts that are travelling around a lot.
Hopefully you will feel that the club is doing sufficient under the current circumstances, which we acknowledge remain somewhat uncertain.
Exciting acoustic 3-piece band Atlas Bridge bring together Becky Taylor (Uilleann pipes, Northumbrian smallpipes, whistles and mandolin), Madeline Andrew (vocals, 5-string banjo, guitar, bodhran and whistle) and Steve Lacey (guitar and vocals).
Expect engaging, high energy, lively tune sets interspersed with thought-provoking songs. With a multitude of different instruments between them and a fresh approach to more familiar material as well as vocal variety, there is plenty of interest here!
Atlas Bridge came to life in the Sparrow Café in Bradford, drawing on their shared love of good tunes, good songs and a willingness to keep the show on the road no matter what. Their name, with its roots in Greek mythological references to the Atlantic Ocean or Atlantis Sea, echoes the big musical connection between Irish and other Celtic folk traditions and the Americana/Appalachian music and song reflected in their repertoire.
£7 (£6 members)
Not a band name, as your website maintainer idly thought at first, this and Friday 3rd are actual bank holidays connected with the Queen's 70th year of being on the throne.
A double nomination in the 2015 BBC Folk Awards – for best singer and best new song – was a timely reminder of Jez Lowe’s standing in the UK folk and acoustic music scene. Of course, he is well-known to Topic audiences over 40 years, having appeared 17 times between February 1982 and June 2019.
Not only he is one of the busiest live performers in the country, but his songs are among the most widely sung by other performers, whether by long-established acts like Fairport Convention, The Dubliners and Bob Fox, or by the new breed of stars like The Unthanks, The Young Uns and The Duhks.
Jez’s own long-established band The Bad Pennies continue to attract a huge following, and his other collaborations with The Pitmen Poets, The Broonzies, Men at Words and with fellow-songwriter Steve Tilston show a willingness to push boundaries and venture boldly into pastures new. Meanwhile, his involvement in the award-winning BBC series The Radio Ballads continues as does his role as musical director for Badapple Theatre.
His most recent solo album, Crazy Pagan, recorded during the lockdown of 2020, is his first for six years and is a tantalising and hopeful glimpse to the future.
£7 (£6 members)
Singers and Musicians
Alice Jones is a folk singer, multi-instrumentalist and dancer from Ripponden in West Yorkshire. She sings mainly traditional English and American folk songs accompanying herself on piano, harmonium, tenor guitar and sometimes only body or foot percussion. Alice also plays the clarinet, whistle and is a dancer specialising in Appalachian clogging as well as other forms of percussive and traditional folk dance.
"This voice, once heard, falls squarely into the realm of 'unforgettable'." Folk Words
"...an exceptional talent who really can hold the audience in the palm of her hand." R2 Magazine
"She has the rare knack of the great folk artist - getting so directly to the heart of the matter that it's as if she lived inside every song..." Morning Star