Monday, January 04, 2010

Top Ten Birmingham Bands of the Decade

The High Society...glam punk gutterstars

Inspired by Russ L (who was, in turn, inspired by this over at the Blue Whale Blog…which I missed ‘cos I’m a bit crap) I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favourite Birmingham bands of the decade. Quite a few are fairly recent discoveries but several (notably Misty’s Big Adventure and King Adora) date back to the dim and distant past when I had my own teeth and the Bull Ring was just a field. I’ve ummed and ahhed over the final list and plumped for the bands who’ve given me the most bang for my buck. There were many, many more in the longlist who I’ve enjoyed over the years (and probably a whole heap more I've forgotten about):

(1) Misty’s Big Adventure

They have to be there and they have to be at the top. This is the band (not just 'local' but from anywhere) that I’ve seen most in my life, stretching back to something like 2002 (I think). Combining the wit and wonder of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band with a little ska, jazz, lounge, exotica, classic pop and a healthy dose of cynicism about the modern world we all find ourselves stuck in they are, quite simply, a national treasure.

(2) Kate Goes

The yang to Misty’s ying, Kate Goes is fronted by…er Kate…and each gig follows a different theme with the band dressing up accordingly. Twee pop at it’s very finest, just check out their track Heartbeat and prepare to fall in love forever.

(3) Reverie Strings (aka Reverie)

Singer Ian Darby plus a moveable feast of other musicians play lush orchestral pop. Seemingly on a bit of a live hiatus at the moment.

(4) Gemma Quarterman

One of the brightest stars in the singer/songwriter scene and one of the sweetest people you’re ever likely to meet...capable of conjuring up the sort of raw emotional intensity that Mr Jeff Buckley had perfected before going for that ill advised dip in the river.

(5) King Adora / The High Society

Glam, bam, thank you mam…King Adora were genuine gutter glam punk superstars for a while (making it onto the front cover of Melody Maker - RIP - I believe) before morphing into the equally compelling High Society. A reunion of the former band is a-happening this April...eye liner optional.

(6) The Destroyers

Balkan gypsy madness with a cast of thousands buzzing around the truly inspirational figure of Mr Paul Murphy.

(7) I Thee Lothario

Power pomp pop a doodle dandy the likes of which you’ve not seen or heard since the glory days of the 80’s.

(8) Envy and Other Sins

Think The Feeling with more bite and wit (and much better outfits). Despite (or perhaps because of) winning some Channel 4 talent contest thingy the Sins never got the support they deserved and are seemingly no more. Shame.

(9) The Black & Reds

The guy who drums in this band is AWESOME (nice tats too). Raw high octane rock n’roll of the highest order…which leads us neatly on to the next couple of bands…

(10) Coptor / The Big Bang

I couldn’t leave either band out so I’ve cheated and lumped ‘em together (they often played on the same bill, so that’s allowed right?). The Coptor line up includes robot (as you do) and a bloke who sounds like a mad preacher. The Big Bang (who I fear have split up) are/were a three piece who wouldn’t have sounded out of place at some really cool 60’s garage party. Hell yeah!

Just bubbling outside the top 10…or inside the top 10 depending on my mood…Beestung Lips, Velvet Texas Cannonball, Destroy Cowboy, Tom Peel, 10 Guitars, Anyone For Shark?, The Courtesy Group, Old School Tie, Miss Halliwell, Sunset Cinema Club, LP45, Twist, Goodnight Lenin (featuring members of another great band…now deceased…The Allies), Soweto Kinch, The Toy Hearts, Modified Toy Orchestra, Broadcast, Johnny Foreigner, The Scarlet Harlots, Vix n'the Kix, Pram, The Indigos (now trading as Black Fang…but I’ve not seen ‘em live yet) and oh so many more. In fact compiling this list reminds me of just how many great bands we have in and around the City...whoops...better keep quiet about that, don't want a repeat of the NME's Best Midlands fiasco now do we?

EDIT: And how could I forget Black Market Empire, Einstellung, Prospect Lane, Theatre of the Absurd, Andre Aristotle and Das Bastard? The list grows...


Andy said...

Shame you missed out mate, but thanks for the plug any way.

Great choices there!



The Baron said...

My pleasure Andy. Looking forward to the seeing the final results. My money's on Misty's for the top slot.

Lady B said...

There's far too many to include but 3 of my faves are The Palantines, The Ripps & The Bourgeois 4.
Lady B x

The Baron said...

I only excluded The Ripps 'cos they're from Cov. The B4 and The Palantines should be in there though...check out the Blue Whale Blog's top 100 (from 100 - 11).