Burnley band Birdhouse spreading their wings after landing dream opportunity to play in France this Christmas

A Burnley band who formed during the first lockdown 18 months ago are heading to France after being given the "opportunity of a lifetime".

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 11:10 am

With no live shows under their belt, and a hospitality industry slowly coming to terms with the pandemic, Birdhouse expected very little when they emerged from their Covid bubble last summer.

However, following their first ever gig, at Penny Black in Hargreaves Street, bookings soon began flying in, and it wasn't long before the Birdhouse name was attracting international attention.

Three months ago, the band was contacted by the owner of the Tibeten Cafe in Morzine, a popular ski resort nestled in the French Alps. He wanted a UK band to play there for the duration of their winter season, and after seeing Birdhouse online knew he had found the one.

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They travel there this week, and will be playing six nights a week for four months, including shows on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Singer Jane Daniels, 27, said they still can't believe it.

"We're so excited. As a relatively new band we were shocked when Tony [the owner] got in touch. We were all a bit nervous when we first got the call because none of us have been away from home for Christmas. But when Tony came over and met us in Manchester, he seemed like a really nice guy, and somebody who was going to have our back. That got us excited, and we knew then that this was the right decision."

Jane is joined in the band by Vance Cookson, 23, (keys, guitar), Sean Toms, 21, (drummer) and Beckham Dutton, 23, (bass).

Vance, Beckham and Sean all met at Blessed Trinity RC College. While working together at Posh nightclub, Vance and Beckham decided to form indie/rock band Surf.

A chance meeting with Jane around the start of the first lockdown though set them all on a different course.

"I hadn't long got back from travelling," said Jane. "We decided to jam together, and Birdhouse was born. We became each other's bubble for the entire lockdown, deciding not to see other family or friends in order to basically rehearse and get better.

"Once hospitality re-opened I didn't think we would really get any gigs. I thought we'd struggle a bit, because we're a new band. We did two livestream gigs throughout the lockdowns to keep spirits up, one at Illuminati Burnley and one at The Cork House. Then, after our first show at Penny Black we found ourselves quickly getting booked at venues up and down the country.

"We play pretty much everything, I think we cater to every type of audience. We play 90s, 80s, pop covers, chart songs. I know a lot of bands say that, but I feel what we developed really quickly was a unique sound, one that allows us to change the covers and really make them our own.

"It is in the pipeline that we're going to start on some original content, which is exciting. We're hoping to find a recording studio out in France, and maybe do something out there. But at the minute we're concentrating on the covers."

Covid has been an ever-present foe in the band's quest to establish a name for themselves, but they haven't let the threat of further restrictions or lockdowns dampen their optimism.

"It's all been a bit nerve-racking," said Jane. "Every time Boris does a new announcement we're all watching because we don't know what he's going to say, so it has been a little scary.

"Tony has been ringing me from France keeping me updated on their restrictions. But he rang me the other day to let me know that nothing much has changed over there recently. You have to wear your mask, everybody has to be vaccinated, nobody unvaccinated can go in a bar.

"There's been a lot of paperwork, and it has been hard work; but it'll be worth it once we're playing there."