Thursday, April 27, 2017

The end of The Rainbow...?




Very sad news from Brum, The Rainbow (picture above from the Monotonix gig there way back in 2008!), one if the city's finest small venues, is set to close next month unless someone comes forward to take it on. Current landlord Lee McDonald took it over 13 years ago and in the intervening years it's played host to some of the best local and up and coming bands around. We first started going there back in the early noughties before Digbeth was 'cool' and to be fair the place was a little bit rough around the edges (the men's loos were always a bit of an experience), but over the years Lee and his team clearly put a bucket load of blood, sweat, tears and money into it. I know very little about the mechanics of running a pub or a gig venue but I'm guessing it ain't easy so to have stuck with it for so long is pretty commendable, especially when the development of apartment blocks nearby resulted in a costly noise abatement order. Yeah, I know, why move to a city centre location and then bitch about a little noise?

Sadly it seems as though live music venues are shutting at an alarming rate these days, either because the building's worth more as a residential development or no buggers bother going there anymore and, with a lot of mainstream music becoming so blandly polished that performing it live is practically impossible/pointless (reducing gigs to nothing more than mere playbacks) I can't see that changing. There'll always be live music of course and there'll always be venues but the days when big cities could boast a good half a dozen or more diverse places to perform or watch music seem to be slipping away. I guess that's progress for you. Speaking of which here's an interesting little interview with The The's Matt Johnson. What he says isn't particularly new but it sums up just what a mess the music industry made of things and how the people who got (and are still getting) royally screwed over are the artists themselves. 20 years ago a moderately successful band could make a decent living, but now? Seemingly not a hope and that's not only bad for venues like The Rainbow but also the soul nourishing cultural broth that, for many of us, make life just that little bit better.



Monday, April 24, 2017

A Trio of Trios! Live!




Heads up if you're in or around Brum this Friday evening (April 28th) as The Station in Kings Heath hosts three of the City's finest three pieces for a mere fiver (£3 if you're a student). The Crooked Hooks kick things of at 8-ish, Balaban and the Bald Illeagles seize the baton at 9pm and then The Day Ends set fire to the whole damn thing at 10pm. Boom. More info right here. Be there or be Theresa May's flyaway hair.

PS: Check out The Day Ends' Miles Perhower and CPM's Sean smashing out the beats at last Sunday's Sunday Xpress (tried to embed the video but Facebook's not playing ball for some reason...sucking balls yes, playing ball no. Technology eh?!).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Back with a Bullitt...




No post for over a week? Where does the time go eh? Mainly painting ruddy decking and gardening in my case - oh my rock 'n' roll lifestyle - but we won't go into that right now. I did manage to find time to trawl various charity shops and jumble sales though and snaffled a rather tasty Canadian pressing of the classic Bullitt soundtrack on vinyl for just a pound. Bargain. It's the kind of music that makes you feel at least 68% cooler...70% if you combine it with a shot of neat Jack D...which of course I will. Speaking of classic vinyl it's Record Store Day this weekend so if you're Brum based get yourselves down to Swordfish Records (oh how I miss that place) or if you're here in sunny Devon I can highly recommend Phoenix Sound in Newton Abbot. Combine that with a pint or two at the Cider Barn and you've pretty much got the perfect day. There's a wallet / purse emptying 500 releases this year too, half of which will probably end up on e-Bay at vastly inflated prices but there you go, that's capitalism for you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ankathie Koi - Black Mamba




Austria's number 1 queen of oddball electropop, Ankathie Koi, is back with an equally addictive follow up to Little Hell and this time she's sporting the kind of outfit you'd normally only find in some kind of slightly deviant sex club...which of course I know absolutely nothing about. Ahem. Anyway enjoy...both the video and the outfit. I'll have to get me one of them.

Friday, April 07, 2017

The O'Jays - Livin' For The Weekend




Well it's Friday again and having recently snapped up the Philadelphia Records 10CD boxset for a mere fiver...seriously...five hundred pence...this little beauty from The O'Jays seems particularly appropriate. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding




Syria? North Korea? Spain? The rest of Europe? The odds on some sort of military conflict involving the UK before too much longer seen to be dropping by the day. War, as Culture Club once put it, is stupid but there we go, the human race doesn't seem to have learnt many lessons over the past few thousand years eh? Pop's littered with anti-war classics but perhaps one of the best is Elvis Costello's Shipbuilding. Inspired by the Falkland's conflict almost 40 years ago it's just as pertinent today, even though the British Navy doesn't seem to have any ruddy ships anymore, at least not ones that work. Anyway, whilst Costello's version is good Robert Wyatt's is utterly brilliant. I'm guessing there's pretty much zero chance that you won't have heard it before but just in case you haven't give it a spin.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Gruff Rhys - Skylon




Friday again. Tempus fugit eh? Back in the (now far off) days when I worked in an office Friday afternoons seemed to go on foreverrrrrrrrrrrr. Fortunately, working in the kerazzzzzzzy world of advertising, we were able to have music on all day and everyday which was obviously a bit of a bonus and it was always nice to end the week with something suitably epic. For a few weeks this was my go to track, Gruff Rhys' 14 minute 40 second masterpiece Skylon. If I timed it right I could pop it on at 5.15 so it climaxed at 5.30. Simple pleasures but to this day it still reminds me of Friday afternoons so that's as good an excuse as any to stick it up here again. Absolutely ter-Gruff-ic.

PS: Just in case you fancy dancing around in your pants after that here's another work place favourite...It's A Rave Dave...