Take yourself back to August 2020 for a second, many of us are getting acquainted or reacquainted with our local parks and wildlife. Supermarket shelves are being raided, shares in Zoom are taking off and mutual aid groups are connecting young volunteers with the clinically vulnerable. All the while, a group of men from one street in Harrow are gathering together for their first ever rock band practice.
Today’s Harrow Food Friends, Courtfield-19 are easily our favourite band in Harrow and once you catch them live, we’re sure they will be yours too. They are joining me for brunch at Harry’s Cafe in central Harrow, with their ever supportive band of WAGS.
Harry’s Cafe has been family run on Havelock Road in Harrow’s Town Centre for just over 13 years. While the menu has adapted over time, it has stayed true to a staple of quality handmade burgers, hearty jacket potatoes, omelettes, as well as good coffee and milkshakes. I’m enjoying a handmade burger patty today, which Harry prides on being fresh – every bite really beats the neighbouring burger bars along the high street! Across the table, we have got ourselves some scrumptious offerings of omelettes, full English breakfasts, jacket potatoes, with some delicious Lotus and Oreo milkshakes to boot.
With me are five neighbouring families that all really feel like one big family, as they have been for a couple of years now. This middle-aged male rockband fantasy is the consequence of a couple of beers between dads at a street party. Dan recalled Alex singing ‘Delilah’ loosely in a pub once and this conversation led to Alex recalling Chris playing guitar at their children’s scout group. They were aware Anant owned a drum kit and if they were lucky, they could get Fussi to join, the real professional musician on the street – playing instruments professionally and consistently for decades.
It all felt a little bit like a far-fetched dad dream, until it wasn’t and their street’s Summer soirée came knocking. After a month of rehearsals – in September 2020 they performed outside to their neighbours for the first time. By 2021, they were in a Government-endorsed ‘bubble’, preparing for their first big public performances at Trinity Bar. Since then, Courtfield-19 have embedded themselves in the local community, they’ve headlined local festivals and live music nights at pubs (SummerFest, Oktoberfest & The Dublin Castle Camden) and played no less than three street parties over the Jubilee weekend. They’ve also played a number of fundraising gigs for charities.
You can next hear them pumping out their classics like Talking Head’s ‘Psycho Killer’ or The Beatles’s ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ at central Harrow’s Trinity Bar on Friday, March 10th. The band play these anthems so comfortably now, they might even be mistaken for their own originals, as many a younger listener has made the mistake of doing… Courtfield-19 are even in the process of writing their own songs, the first of which (we can exclusively reveal) is a love song to Harrow’s much loved Trinity Bar, which aims to capture that “feeling of not wanting the night to end” so you make that ever popular inevitable decision to head to Trinity – it is aptly titled ‘Trinity’s Calling’.
If you were fortunate to hear some of the early stuff… the songs about lockdown 2020 or just some of the messy band practices – chances, are you would have been a Courtfield WAG. The collective of Courtfield partners keep band rehearsals going and provide likely the most loyal and most supportive fanbase in Harrow. Indeed, as publicists and managers, they are the reason I am speaking with Harrow’s number one band today and they are always scoping out locations for new gigs and potential merchandise designs.
Following the release of The Beatles: ‘Get Back’ last year, New York Times writer Amanda Hess described, with surprise, how she was “impressed by the stamina of Yoko Ono, then entranced by the provocation of her existence and ultimately dazzled by her performance”. Indeed, she was not the “groupie from hell” as she was unfairly considered to be – living up to the good groupie name, each Courtfield WAG can be found in the stands at every gig!
It’s been a good Sunday brunch with my Food Friends, Courtfield-19 – their story is one of the great, positive lockdown developments to take place in Harrow. Not only am I looking forward to my next burger at Harry’s, I’m also looking forward to the next the stage I see these guys on. For now, Trinity’s definitely Calling…