Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Well, the writing's been on the wall for a while now (and I don't just mean in the men's loos) but very sadly The Flapper's confirmed that it's closing in June to make way for yet more oh so vital apartments that some investor on the other side of the world will no doubt snap up and then leave empty for 20 years. Oh what a jolly wheeze eh? This shit's going on all over the place right now and I suspect that within the next 10 years most of the remaining small to medium sized independent music venues will have gone the same way.
I can't begin to count the number of great gigs I saw at The Flapper (and Firkin)...Add N to X, Bis, Editors, Catatonia, Idlewild (on the first night of their very first national tour...they rang Steve Lamacq live on Radio One from a payphone nearby...yes, it was THAT long ago), Acid Mothers Temple, Misty's Big Adventure (I first discovered them there...back in 2000?), Arab Strap, The Computers, Doll and the Kicks, Everything Everything, Miles Hunt, Dodgy, O Children, Off The Cuff Festivals...but the place has been hosting live music since 1969 so lord knows how many bands got their big break there too.
They say you can't halt progress but what kind of progress is this eh? Nowhere for new bands and artists to play live means, well, no more great new live bands. Welcome to the future people. A world where 'acts' are manufactured in a lab by HUGE corporations, fans sucked in and brainwashed via the internet and then the whole thing rolled straight out into MASSIVE venues owned by...oh yes... the HUGE corporations who'll charge you £75 for a seat...a fucking seat...at a fucking gig...half a mile from the stage.
And where are soundmen/women and new promoters supposed to cut their teeth eh? Budding gig photographers and reviewers? With an ever decreasing network of small to medium sized venues across the UK how many bands will be able to scrape a living together an afford to put on a tour? I could bang on and on about this but I'm guessing if you're reading this you're on the same age. For now though if you've ever been to The Flapper as a performer, punter or drinker let's celebrate what it meant and mourn the loss of yet another chunk of Brum's musical past, present and, perhaps most sadly of all, future.
PS: I picked the vid to accompany this piece partly because it was filmed in The Flapper, partly because I love Misty's and...well partly because if Birmingham City Council doesn't start doing some 'wising up' of its own all that will be left of the City's nightlife will be the bloody nightclubs of Broad Street. God help us all.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
As part of their ongoing mission to bring their particular brand of musical magic / madness / mayhem / mayonnaise to the wider world The Day Ends are planning to remove the safety nets altogether and start live streaming all kinds of freaky shit via You Tube. Sadly Mr Tube requires that before they can do this they need a minimum number of subscribers. That's where you come in. Just click on this link, hit subscribe and bathe in the warm glow of knowing you might well be giving the world the musical enema it needs right now.
Friday, February 09, 2018
Now signed to Alcopop! Records and with a tour in the offing Youth Man are back with a brand new track that's quite possibly the best thing they've ever done. No, scratch that, it IS the best thing they've ever done. With an intro that nods back to the very best of Television and Wire the song's chorus blends a surprisingly harmonious backing vocal with lead singer Kaila Whyte trademark primal scream to create something that'll make your ears melt into a sticky puddle round yer feet. Find me a better new release this month and I'll eat Donald Trump's toupee.
You can listen to I Don't Know right here...I did try to embed the song on this post but...er...I Don't Know how to...spooky eh?
Thursday, February 08, 2018
I've been trying to find a version of Go-Kart Mozart's latest track Relative Poverty that I can stick up here but without success so let's plump for last year's When You're Depressed instead. Apparently, according to Go-Kart Mozart's record label Cherry Red, 2018's the year of Lawrence (the band's cult lead singer, who also fronted Felt and Denim dontcha know). Let's hope it is, the world could do with a little more Lawrence and lord knows the poor bloke deserves his day in the sun...heck he's been wearing those shades in preparation for long enough...almost 40 years in fact. No wonder he's depressed.
Monday, February 05, 2018
This has been rumbling on for a while now but if The Rainbow Venues in Digbeth do remain closed after the revocation of its licence/s it will be one of the most short sighted decisions Birmingham City Council will have ever made...and bear in mind this is a Council that paid its female employees less money than its male employees for years eventually landing itself with a £750million bill. Genius.
Of course it's very sad that a couple of people lost their lives at The Rainbow Venues through drugs but very sadly people lose their lives through all kinds of reckless behaviour on a daily basis. I mean every year numerous individuals pop their clogs during marathons...and we going to ban these now? How many people die on the roads ever year? Hey, let's ban cars too. In fact the outside world's a pretty dangerous place...let's force everyone to stay indoors, that'll keep the death rate down...as long as no one tries to do any DIY. Deadly that is.
I don't live in Brum any more but I still care about what happens to the place that I had the pleasure to call home for almost half a century. Shutting down somewhere that gave many thousands of people pleasure, employed hundreds and enriched Brum's cultural scene no end is utterly senseless. Unless of course the land's being eyed up by developers who want to build more flats. Cynical? Me? Hmmmm.
Anyway, a website's been set up to try to overturn this ridiculous decision so head on over to http://www.educatenotrevocate.com/ and show them some love.
PS: Not sure if Floorplan's ever played The Rainbow Venues but I really don't need an excuse to stick this track up. Proof that the devil doesn't always have the best tunes.
Thursday, February 01, 2018
Finally got round to watching the XTC doc This Is Pop last week, well worth your time if you've got an hour or two to spare. If it weren't for Andy Partridge's must publicised meltdown (caused when a well meaning girlfriend flushed his valium down the loo...as you do) who knows how big they'd have been but my money's on a REM level of fame and fortune. As it is they remain something of a cult act which, given their run of awesome singles in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, is nothing short of an international disgrace. I can't imagine that anyone reading this isn't familiar with the band's output but just in case cop a load of these beauties...
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Like MGMT's Time To Pretend's twisted sister Ezra Furman's latest, the radio friendly (ahem) Suck The Blood From My Wound is, well, bloody brilliant. I was lucky enough to see him live a couple of years back (yes, I know, me at a live gig...) and he's the kind of gutsy, give it 100%, get it all out there artist that the world's quite frankly crying out for these days. There's a touch of Springsteen about him, albeit a Springsteen in a bit of lippie and a feather boa, and it's not difficult to imagine him playing a ruddy great stadium one day. Oh alright then, maybe not, but we can all live in hope eh?