Thursday, February 27, 2014

Big shots from Big Bear

As part of their 45th anniversary celebrations Big Bear Records is exhibiting some rarely seen photographs from the archives of Mr Big Bear himself Jim Simpson. I've been lucky enough to have a sneak viewing of some of them and they're a fascinating snapshot of some of the biggest names in music from the 60s including The Rolling Stones complete with their founding father the late Brian Jones.

You'll also get to see Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Nina Simone, John Lee Hooker, Rod Stewart, The Spencer Davis Group and the very first publicity shots of The Moody Blues and The Move.

The exhibition's on at West Bromwich Library from March 1st to 29th and entry's FREE!

Here's a rather fabulous clip of The Spencer Davis Group to get you in the mood. Groovy baby.


With the exhibition as a backdrop, there will be a series of five events that aim to satisfy any curiosity about what actually happened back then, fill in some of the gaps between then and now, and encourage and inform musicians, aspirant musicians and anyone who is interested in the music business.
Events will take place on four Saturdays during March: 

8th 11:00 to 12:00
15th 12:00 to 13:00 and 13:00 to 14:00
22nd 12:00 to 13:00
29th 12:00 to 13:00

Again admission is FREE, everyone is welcome and each event is followed by a Q&A Session.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kids Interview...Insane Clown Posse!

Okay, so it may take $100,000 or so in therapy to help them get over it but Connie and Olivia from the always entertaining Kids Interview Bands website somehow survived an interview with Insane Clown Posse's Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. Here's what we all want to know though, would they be able to name all of the Spice Girls eh? Now that's one collaboration I'd love to see... hmmmm...Insane Spice Posse. I reckon it could work.

PS: I had no idea ICP were quite so's a useful primer:

Oh..and here's a video that guaranteed to put you off your spaghetti bolognese...

René launches One More Day EP

Manchester based funk and soul band René release their brand new EP this Friday with a gig at The Yardbird (they're playing a hometown show at The Whiskey Jar on the 27th too). It's a classy trio of tracks from the title song's anthem to all those of us who just want to run away from stuff (rain, work...Alex Salmond) through to the Chic-tastic SocioErosion (been pulling some shapes to that one...thank god the neighbours can't see in) and on to the reggae tinged What's It To Me. Really hope they make it along to the Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival this year...hint hint. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Radkey / Turbogeist / Lyger @ The Hare and Hounds – Monday 24th February 2014

“We are three brothers on a quest to save the world from false rock”. So reads the rather bold claim on Radkey’s Twitter page. Hell, it's not just 'false rock' that the world needs saving from these days so let’s hope they deliver eh?

First up Lyger, which is a half  tiger and half lion isn’t it? I like the idea of cross breeding shit, I’ve always thought a giraffe kangaroo mash up would be fun (a girafferoo perhaps), although no doubt the Danes would swiftly hack it to death...if they could catch it of course. Anyway Lyger the band is a London three piece who - rather remarkably considering how tight they were tonight - played their first live show just three short months ago. 

Their QOTSA / Foo Fighters-ish debut single Stroke is a pretty fine calling card for their sound, that of heads down fuzz rock with its eyes on arenadom. Elsewhere there’s a touch of Pumpkins’ style nihilistic grunge that should go down a storm with depressed teens...and middle aged men everywhere. That’ll be me then. Promising.  

Next up Turbogeist. Okay let’s get this out of the way first...even if addressing the subject might annoy the bejesus out of them...their lead singer Jimmy is none other than Mick Jagger’s son. Aside from a vague physical similarity that’s pretty much where the link ends. Turbogeist have been variously labelled as ‘thrash rock’, ‘punk rock’ and ‘grunge garage’, quite what Jagger Snr makes of it all hasn’t yet been reported. It was great to see Jagger Jnr up front dancing like a demon during Lyger’s set though and full marks for the Scando/Germanic accent he put on during the introduction to his own band’s opening number. Clearly this ain’t a vanity project and Jagger’s not even the star of the show...actually that accolade probably goes to the drummer who during the course of the set managed to almost poke out one of his own eyes, totally destroy a set of drum sticks and then eat the remaining shards of wood. Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll. Bloody good he was too. Truly great rock drummers are all too rare, this dude’s priceless. Jagger shares vocal duties with a bloke who bears a passing resemblance to Keef back in the day. Purely coincidental I’m sure. Ahem. Of course they sound as much like The Stones as One Direction sounds like Iggy and the Stooges. Musically there’s a touch of Sham 69, Angelic Upstarts and Cockney Rejects in there, albeit with a little bit more of a glam edge best heard on recent single Alien Girl. “Thanks for coming out on a Monday night, I know ‘ow ‘ard it is” acknowledged Jagger. Somehow knowing his old man’s notorious caution with cash you sort of believe him. 

Set highlight and single Mermaid’s Revenge is perhaps their most inventive moment to date, managing as it does to mash together sea shanty, screamcore, emo and heavy rock. A neat trick if you can pull it off...and they do. A suitably raucous cover of The Wipers’ Up Front no doubt bought a tear or two to some of the older crowd. Okay, so his old man may roll but JJ and co rock.

When the Radke brothers (hence the band’s name Radkey I guess) were born in the mid to late 90s (yep, the youngest member’s only 16 or so...good grief I have boxer shorts older than that) the various groups that clearly influence them (MC5, Stooges, Motorhead) were already well into their third or fourth decade of fame. Of course to the band all this shit still sounds new and fresh, bless ‘em, hence one of the most joyful and energetic performances I’ve seen for some time. Kicking off (and that’s a pretty apt description) with Out Here In My Head...a ferocious 100mph blast of primal punk...the band starts the show the way most groups would finish, giving it everything they’ve got. Like a man possessed Isaiah spends most of the show wrestling with his instrument (steady ladies), a twisting, jerking blur of bass whilst brother Dee alternates between a surprisingly deep vocal and some truly larynx shredding screams. Dee can play a mean guitar too. Perhaps contrary to the punk ethos there are some complex riffs in there and if the odd homage to Hendrix creeps in to some of his stage moves it’s not entirely unjustified. This kid is how old? 17? 18? Hmmmm...imagine what he’ll be like in his mid 20s. At the back drummer Solomon somehow keeps pace with the mayhem seemingly without breaking into a sweat. Oh what it is to be young.

In common with many gigs it took a tune or two to coax some of the crowd right to the front but the band’s got an answer to that via their track Come A Little Closer with its ‘Na na na na na” vocal hook drawing in the stragglers. It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see this stuff going down a storm during the festivals. “This track’s called Pretty Things” explained Isaiah “Got flashed in Kansas before playing this song...first pair of boobies I eva saw”. Who says rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t pay anymore eh?

The goth punk of Feed My Brain gave way to one of the band’s crowning glories to date, Start Freaking Out, three minutes of frantic full on mayhem designed purely to get you to bang your head clean off its shoulders. One bloke did just that. It’s probably still lying there under the stage right now. 

It came a close second to Romance Dawn though, a deceptively simple but actually bloody smart punk blues number that’s insanely addictive. Face to face and almost on their knees Dee and Isaiah trade licks as the crowd at the front go suitably mental. With no stage door to exit from the band hides behind speaker stacks and drums as calls for an encore build. This they duly repay with an explosive cover of another of their inspirations Misfits’ Last Caress. A-ma-zing.

Radkey is already a great band and this was a truly groin moisteningly great show. Sure they wear their influences on their sleeves but most importantly they wear them well. What’s even more exciting though is what these dudes will go on to do and sound like in the coming years. The world’s been waiting for another really great rock band for some time now. Could Radkey actually be it...? 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Miss Halliwell...words from the wise

Okay, yet another essential release from Miss Halliwell, this time the first in a planned trilogy (a bit like the Godfather but hopefully without the slightly crap one) of films entitled Brumdemoters. Chapter 1 sees the band playing music from their equally essential recent double album Fresh From The Holy Spring / Gusting Guests (Miles' solo release) available here. Chapter 2's being filmed at've guessed it...essential City Tavern gig on Friday 28th February. Chapter 3 will show Miss Halliwell on stage at the O2 Arena in London showering One Direction fans with offal and deliciously barbed comments. We can but dream. I seldom go balls out and say stupid things like "this is the best band around right now" because after saying that a couple of times about different bands you'd sound like a prize dick. But screw it. Ladies and gentlemen trust me...this is the best band around right now.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kids Interview...The Pixies!

If you've not dropped by the Kids Interview Bands website for a while set aside a few hours and enjoy some of the most refreshing band interviews in history. It's sheer genius. All of it. The latest one's just sooooooo cool too. Joey Santigo from the freakin' Pixies!

Oh, and here's the band's current single too. How the hell do they still sound so good after 100 years eh?

Got the Radkey, got the secret...

Okay, pardon the obscure Urban Cookie Collective pun (any 90s Eurodance fans in the house...just me then...right), couldn't resist it, just as I'm finding it pretty darn hard to resist the lure of Missouri three piece punkers Radkey right now. Dragging 80s punk kicking and screaming (literally) into the 21st Century they've already opened for the legendary Fishbone and appeared on Jools Holland, all before any of 'em turned 20. Blimey. Cop a load of this one...

Now you lucky, lucky people can catch them at the Hare and Hounds on Monday 24th February. Er...let me hear you say "Whooohooo!". I'm waiting...that's better. Hailed as "one of the best new teen rock bands of the moment" by The Guardian's Paul Lester (one of the few music writers I pay much attention to these days) they're ably supported by Turbogeist and the hotly tipped Lyger.

Tickets right here from our good chums at Birmingham Promoters.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Supreme Cuts - Divine

If you're in or around London this week pop down to The Old Blue Last on the 20th to catch Supreme Cuts, purveyors of this spiffingly catchy house, hip hop, ragga and anything they want to chuck into the mix track. 

It seems that The Old Blue Last (basically a pub) has just played host to a 'secret' gig from Kylie too, bless 'er. 

These 'secret' gigs seem to be a bit of a 'thing' right now, what with that lovely Prince chappie playing living rooms across the country (not in Birmingham sadly...despite my best efforts). They're obviously great for the lucky few that get to see them but if tales of 'celebs' swanning in to Prince's Ronnie Scott's gig last night, taking the place of fans who'd queued for hours, are to be believed it's a gimmick that's rapidly wearing thin. Ouch. That being said if Prince happens to read this he's still more than welcome to play under my stairs...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Heaven 17 @ Town Hall, Friday 14th February 2014

For a band that famously didn’t play gigs back in the day Heaven 17 (now just Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware) have certainly made up for it recently, in fact this is probably their third Birmingham gig in as many years. With a new album currently in production (their first in 12 years) it probably won’t be too long before they’re back again either. I’m not complaining, after all they were responsible for one of the early 80s biggest and best hits courtesy of Temptation plus a dozen or so other bone fide synth and soul classics. Whereas previous tours have tended to focus on a particular album this one’s an unashamed trawl through pretty much everything that Martyn Ware’s done which, of course, opens up some of his previous bands material (the early incarnation of The Human League) too. It’s the first time they’ve played the Town Hall, a venue I’ve grown to love again after a few dodgy experiences (mainly due to the audiences to be fair to the old place) and I was pondering whether it would be a seated or non seated gig. It was seated. This was perhaps an odd choice given the nature of the music (not sure if the band decides this or not, I’m guessing they do) and after a few tracks a fair number of people stood up anyway. Still, seating arrangements aside there was a decent turnout by the time the band came onstage (no support act so it was a very early start...a missed opportunity really, local bands Racing or Greg Bird and Flamingo Flame would've been great supports).

The Town Hall’s a magnificent space which is both its strength and occasionally Achilles heel. Being an electronic band Heaven 17 perhaps lacks the oomph and range of instruments that would best suit such a huge awe inspiring room and for the first few numbers in particular the sound was a touch ‘tinny’, especially up in ‘the gods’. Whoever was doing the sound clearly got on top of things as best they could however and by the time the workers’ revolt anthem Crushed By The Wheels of Industry rolled along things were noticeably better. It has to be said that Glenn and Martyn perhaps aren’t helping themselves though. The addition of guitar and drums for instance would really fatten up the overall sound, especially when they’re playing bigger venues like this one. Just a thought chaps. Play To Win saw most of the crowd of 40...50...60-somethings leap to their feet (as best they/we could...dodgy hips and all) and many remained upright for the rest of the set. Speaking of which it was a pretty diverse selection with everything from Dive (off the band’s last album Bigger Than America) to The Black Hit Of Space (from The Human League’s second album Travelogue...a mere 34 years ago) getting an airing. The latter still sounds incredibly futuristic, like Dr Who (the proper Dr Who...Tom Baker...not one of these modern imposters) in an indie disco on some far away planet, and Glenn does a decent job of replicating Phil Oakey’s suitably otherworldly and ominous delivery. Returning to Heaven 17’s back catalogue the homage to ‘mutually assured destruction’ (a cold war tactic that basically meant if one side launched a missile strike at you then you’d bomb them off the face of the earth too...kaboom...goodbye planet earth) Let's All Make A Bomb makes a mockery of anyone who says that music from the 80s was insubstantial fluff (step forward Danny Baker on a recent TV show), clearly they ain’t listening to lyrics like this. Next up Come Live With Me remains one of my favourite Heaven 17 songs, partially because when it first came out I was 12 or 13 and the thought of being 17 (the age of one of the characters in the song) let alone 37 (the age of the other) was terribly exciting. 

Now that both ages are but a distant memory it works the other way, taking on more of a poignant feel (even if the theme of the song is basically an older man nobbing a young girl...ahem...hmmmm...not used the word nobbing since I was 12 either). It was all the more poignant looking down on the sea of bald heads bobbing gently to the music. Lordy, when did we all get so old? As if to ram home that very point the next track plunged even further back in time courtesy of a cover of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling with Martyn stepping out from behind his theramin and keyboard to belt out the song with Glenn (The Rightsynth Brothers anyone?). “He’s my Valentine” quipped Glenn giving Martyn a cheeky peck as the song ended. Awwwwwww bless ‘em.

We Live So Fast (surely a template for techno?) rattled along at a fair old pace before the sparse monotone of I’m Your Money (one of Heaven 17’s earliest songs and a strangely prescient track given the later 80s ‘loadsamoney’ culture) and a perfectly serviceable glam and synth cover of Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging.

Ever wanted to know Glenn’s and Martyn’s favourite Heaven 17 song? Have a guess. Nope. Guess again. Nope...wrong! It’s actually Let Me Go. An oddly low key choice in many ways but again another fine example of how sophisticated 80s pop could be, both lyrically and musically. If you’ve ever experienced a break up or divorce I can imagine it’s pretty devastating. Still tonight’s for the loved up so the crowd happily claps along to arguably one of the band’s bleakest tracks. Temptation ends the main set and it’s now such an iconic tune that it struggles to avoid going a bit karaoke in places. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again (and no offence to the two female vocalists tonight who were excellent) but this song really needs Carol Kenyon’s voice. There’s something unique about her vocal on the original that I always miss whenever I hear it live. Also, and I could be in the minority here, I could do without all the remixing and fiddling about on this song. Why mess with perfection? Resist next time, that’s what I say.

After the traditional off again and on again nonsense the endlessly effervescent Glenn bounds back out with a “Let’s keep in the party mood...c’mon!” and launches into Penthouse and Pavement. Again this is another number that would benefit hugely from more live instruments. Where’s the funky guitarist that was so crucial on the original? 

Okay, so it costs more to have one but it would be soooooo worth it. There’s a club called Only After Dark in Brum that’s devoted to all things 80s and its named after an old Human League cover of a Mick Ronson track. Clearly a number of Only After Dark-ers are here tonight and this rarely played number (I think the band’s only ever played it a handful of times) get’s a huge whoop of appreciation.

Things ended where they began with the first song Martyn and Phil Oakey ever wrote together, Being Boiled (“Listen to the voice of Buddha, Saying stop your sericulture” don’t get that kind of lyric from One Direction eh?). It’s yet another one of those songs that sounds like it’s been beamed back from the future...albeit it via Sheffield. The past never sounded so futuristic.

That was that. It was all over remarkably quickly...and early. Given the cost of the tickets (£22) and the fact that the band’s got such a huge back catalogue a set lasting 1hour and 10 minutes seems a little tight. No one seemed particularly bothered by that though, besides we could all get home to our Horlicks before 10pm. ‘Going forward’ (as wanky politicians and failing Chief Executives always say) I’d like to see Heaven 17 play more club gigs. If they’re going to stick with the modest two keyboard set up this really suits smaller venues better and, with a new album in the pipeline, it might be nice to try to connect with a younger audience too. After all most of their existing fans ain’t 17 anymore...  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tonight...Heaven 17!

Okay just in case you've forgotten that it's Valentine's Day and you're stuck for a great night out I can heartily recommend synth and soul pioneers Heaven 17 at Birmingham Town Hall. It's the perfect music for couples, trust me. If you're at that stage in the relationship when things are edging close pumpy then there's Temptation. If you fancy moving in together there's Come Live With Me, if you're already living together well then there's At The Height Of The Fighting and if you've had enough of your other half there's Let Me Go...

Tickets available at the time of writing (10am-ish) right here!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It was five years ago today...

I don't often write much about myself on this blog, partly because I doubt that anyone would be particularly interested and partly to retain some exotic air of mystery. For all most of you know I could be handsome international playboy with a fleet of sports cars and my own vineyard in California, as opposed to a greying middle aged chap with a 'Daysaver' bus ticket and a bottle of Aldi's Rioja.

For many years I toiled away in various offices, like most of us I guess, keeping my nose clean(ish) and doing my time. No doubt I would still have been there now if it weren't for the 'credit crunch' which five years ago to this very day saw me fairly unceremoniously dumped from a well paid (far too well paid really) job. With no kids, little debt, no car and a pretty modest lifestyle things worked out and I'm now 'living the dream' working from home. Sure I'm not rich and it gets pretty damn cold in the winter (keeping the heating on simply isn't an option, mainly because I'm not lining the pockets of British Gas any more than I have to) but I'm much happier without all of the bullshit that inevitably comes with 'career progression', corporate cobblers and office politics. Work is a very, very strange thing when you think about it. Once you've got the whole food and shelter thing sorted that should kind of be enough but then the madness sets in and you want a bigger house, a newer car, the latest gadgets, fancy holidays, new clothes, meals out, botox...blah blah blah...most of which only partially fills the void created by being stuck in a ruddy office most of your life. The more stressed and miserable you get at work the more 'treats' you want to give yourself and so the whole meaningless cycle goes on.

Anyway, there is a musical point to all this. In the last place I worked we were able to play music pretty much all day. That was a good thing. A very good thing. A life saver in fact. We took it in turns to play stuff (although an internet radio station called Pig Radio was the default setting) and depending on your mood you could always dive into You Tube for an appropriate track or two (Rage Against The Machine was a particular favourite). On the last day, knowing I'd be unemployed in a matter of hours and leaving a place I'd spent most of the last 6 years of my life in, there was only one tune that would do. With tongue firmly in cheek I logged on for the last time, cranked up the speakers just as everyone was arriving in the office and hit play...

Heck, if you're going to go out go out with some cheesy Euro rock. It made me laugh anyway.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Young Fathers - Get Up

Ain't this one of the oddest but strangely most addictive tunes around right now? Yes...yes it is. With a Liberian, a Nigerian and a Scot in the band, Young Fathers, it's one of the more unusual line ups too. Hell, it works though. Part hip-hop, part revolutionary shout out, part messed up soundtrack from an obscure black and white art house movie it's the kind of thing that restores your faith in music's ability to move on and develop. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Some Girl I Used To Know @ The New Alexandra, Monday 10th February 2014

It must take balls (as it were) to do a one woman (or indeed a one man show) in a theatre. Gigs are different, more casual and laid back with the chance to natter to the audience and take a moment or two if things go wrong. In a theatre though there’s that expectation of polish and perfection, if you cock up your lines or freeze for any reason there’s no one there to bail you out. All eyes are on you and the success...or failure...of the whole night rests entirely on your shoulders. Thankfully tonight’s shoulders lead to a pretty safe pair of hands. Denise Van Outen has been treading the boards since 1986, perhaps most notably playing Roxy Hart in Chicago and appearing in a sell out run of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s one woman show Tell Me On A Sunday, which he apparently reworked specifically for her. With Some Girl I Used to Know she’s gone one better by co-writing the entire thing.

The idea’s a simple but cute one. Van Outen plays Stephanie, an underwear tycoon (shades of Ultimo’s Michelle Mone or Katie Price perhaps?) who’s settled in a comfortable but unsatisfying marriage. Whilst staying at a posh hotel during a product launch she receives a Facebook ‘poke’ from the original love of her life prompting a look back at the ‘girl she used to be’ (see what they did there?) scattering these reflections with some classic 80s pop songs and one original number. See, cute idea eh? Unlike many ‘jukebox musicals’ there’s far more dialogue than singing, happily there are plenty of laughs to be had though as Stephanie openly discusses her early teenage fumblings and uses for her boyfriend’s mum’s face towel as she debates the merits of hooking up with her ex for some no strings attached rumpy pumpy. Anyway as you’d expect Van Outen’s pretty much perfect for the role of Essex girl made good. It works because, let’s face it, she’s basically playing herself. Breaking the fourth wall throughout the show draws you in to the story nicely and the liberal use of 80s references (plus iconic ‘stuff’ from that decade suspended from the rafters) induced knowing nods and chuckles from the 40 somethings. It’s the vocal performances that impressed most though. From the Burt Bacharach-ised cover of Soft Cell’s Say Hello Wave Goodbye to the 60s tinged string rich version of Thompson Twin’s Hold Me Now Van Outen managed to bring something new to some of the 80s best loved pop songs. Who knew Sonia’s You’ve Never Stopped Me From Loving You could be a show stopper eh?

Some Girl I Used To Know is on at the New AlexandraTheatre until Wednesday 12th February then it’s off on tour of the UK. Dates and tickets for all shows right here...  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Miss Halliwell announces City Tavern gig!

Okay, so Prince may have ignored all my attempts to drag him up to Birmingham but who cares when Miss Halliwell are playing again eh? Entry is just £3 too so you can take someone else and still only spend what his Purpleness is currently charging for gigs. Bargain. I pretty much guarantee it'll be every bit as entertaining too...and the band's far less likely you up afterwards either...unless you want them to I guess. Anyway wrap your ears around these recent gems:

Friday, February 07, 2014

Someday our Prince will come...

Day three of the Bring Prince to Brum campaign and we're delighted to announce that the Buy Prince a Pint Fund has now reached the dizzying heights of £1.72. Suck on that Pudsey. In other news Mr Egg has promised Prince a meal fit for a king, so that'll be egg, egg, chips and egg then, and a well known gentlemen's club has offered a 5 minute lap dance with one-legged Lisa. The drop in centre for bored teens looking for free wi-fi aka the Library of Birmingham/Birmingham Library/the biggest waste of taxpayers money since 'The Public' has also pitched in with an offer to rename meeting room 4U as The I Would Die 4U Suite (staff only of course...intruders will be locked in one of those toilets designed for agoraphobic midget contortionists). All they ask is that he fixes the escalators, lifts and broken windows 'cos they can' afford to. Oh...and if he can remove all the suspicious stains mottling all the chairs and those weird slightly padded odd shaped things masquerading as somewhere to sit then they'll throw in a tour of the 'Secret Garden' as well. Bonus. Even Birmingham City Council has got in on the act by offering to paint the 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi' purple in return for a modest $500million donation to save them from having to flog the NEC to Poundland. If none of that sweetens the deal Prince just watch what the late, great Telly Savalas had to say about our fair City...and yes...Mrs Taylor's still up for it if you fancy a piece.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

PINS - Waiting For The End

If you're living in England right now the title of the new one from PINS seems pretty appropriate. Will it ever stop raining? Probably not...still give it another week or two and I'll finally get that sea view I always wanted. Not bad considering I live in Birmingham. Anyway, if this tune and video doesn't cheer you up then there's no hope. A classic slice of scuzzed up girl group pop. Enjoy.

Bring Prince to Birmingham!

Okay, the campaign starts here. That lovely Prince chap (or 3rdEyeGirl, the band he's now fronting) has seemingly decamped to London for a bit and is playing gigs pretty much anywhere. Living rooms, bars, telephone boxes...wonderful stuff. When he does charge for entry it's a mere $10 or so (around £6). When he could clearly sell out the O2 for the rest of his days and charge ten times as much you have to give him a virtual high five (although clearly the PR from all this is priceless). Anyway, his plans seem incredibly fluid so I'm throwing out an open invite to him and his peeps.

Here's the Facebook message I posted yesterday:

Dear Prince , yes London's a great city with a rich musical heritage but we'd really love it if you popped up to Birmingham as well. Black Sabbath, Duran Duran, UB40, Steel Pulse, ELO, Editors, Peace, Laura Mvula...all sprang from these streets. We've got some cool venues for you to play too. And we're a pretty friendly, down to earth bunch. We'll even buy you a pint. So, how about it? Lots of love, Birmingham x

Knowing that The Hearing Aid is read by pretty much anyone who's anyone in the music biz...sort of...I'm hoping he'll get the message. Fellow Midlanders can do their bit too by sharing this post, chipping in to the 'Buy Prince a Pint' fund and generally being funky motherhumpers (Prince can smell funky motherhumpers from a good 100 miles away). Any other ideas for encouraging him up here would be more than welcome. Seriously. Anything. Legal or otherwise.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Babypink - Cellar Door

What's behind the Cellar Door? money's on a cellar but whatever it is Birmingham's Babypink make it all sound terribly glam. Older readers may recall the mighty King Adora from back in the late 90s and this track's got a similar swagger. It's a little bit grungy, a little bit shoegazey and a little bit indie...with just a dash of smeared lipstick, a dribble of Jack Daniels and a half smoked joint for good measure (sounds like the perfect night out to me, but then I'm easy). Enjoy.

PS: "Your utensils leave me raw"...cheeky. I imagine we're not talking an egg whisk and potato peeler here.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Whooohhhhh here they come...

Coming hot on the heels of the announcement that Thompson Twin's Tom Bailey is playing his hits live again this year for the first time in 27 years (at the Rewind Festival), fans of all things 80s will be no doubt be cracking out the Quatro* at the news that Hall and Oates are touring the UK too. It's been a decade or so since they last played Blighty and who knows when / of they'll make it over here again. Hugely influential they're also apparently the biggest selling duo in history. Never knew that. Everyday's a school day eh? Anyway, they play Birmingham's Symphony Hall on July 22nd and I imagine it'll sell out in a flash (oh bugger...hang already has...balls). Here's a trio of Hall and Oates classics to get you in the mood...

Tickets no doubt now available on eBay at vastly inflated prices...

* For those of you who don't remember Quatro here's the ad...