Friday, February 26, 2016
There are many things I miss about not living in Brum and Sunday Xpress is one of 'em. Possibly the most eclectic line up of music, spoken word and occasional mayhem on offer anywhere on a Sunday afternoon/evening this month's offering includes the sublime genius that is Kate Goes. If your heart doesn't melt like butter on a BBQ at the loveliness of Heartbeat then you're quite possibly dead inside. Also on the 'bill' you'll find Canard Du Jour (bill...canard...get it...eh...eh...oh never mind), Cities Prepare for Attack and Cracked Actors plus whoever else has the balls/ovaries to get up on stage to do their thang. As ever it's all ruddy free too.
Details on the suitably DIY poster above or flip on over to The Sunday Xpress Facebook page. Be there or Big Bren'll visit you in the wee small hours...
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Emerging from the twisted still smoking wreckage of Miss Halliwell Miles Perhower’s new musical assault vehicle is The Day Ends and this track, The Mentality Mob, is its first missive...actually make that missile. It’s pretty fair to say that Miles’ relationship with the music ‘biz’, national or local, has been a little ‘frosty’ from time to time but The Day Ends ramps things up (or down) to absolute zero. Listing/slaughtering a series of adversaries against a blistering post punk backdrop it’s the sound of man incinerating not just burning his bridges. Like it or loath it, love him or hate him, this track’s pretty much guaranteed to provoke a reaction and ask yourself this, how often does that happen in music these days? Exactly.
PS: The Day Ends make their live debut at March’s Sunday Xpress (March 20th at The Edge...appropriately enough...in Digbeth)...light the blue touch paper and stand well back.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Second time at Taking the Mic and, if anything, an even higher standard of performances than the last one. I think we ended up with around 20 individual slots of around 5 minutes or so covering everything from Dildos to Grandmothers (insert your own Wayne Rooney gag here). Now that’s what I call variety. Plenty of regulars but a couple of very talented newbies too and a wonderfully supportive and chilled out atmosphere throughout the night. Compères Tim and Morwenna seemed genuinely knocked out by the quality on offer and quite frankly you’d need ears of cloth and a brain made of offal to disagree. The whole ruddy thing’s FREE too...two hours plus of top notch spoken word and music for FREE. What’s not to love? The next one's on Wednesday March 16th, highly recommended.
PS: Preferred the upstairs venue (The Voodoo Lounge I think it was) rather than the bar where we were last time. Much easier to give the whole thing the attention it deserves when you haven’t got someone ordering a white wine spritzer and a packet of pork scratchings down yer ear ‘ole...
PPS: An impressive crowd too...they’re going to need a bigger venue at this rate.
PPPS: Someone should be recording this stuff for posterity.
PPPPS: I’ll stop now.
Monday, February 15, 2016
If this doesn’t get your limbs twitching like you’ve been wired up to the mains and doused in water then you may well need to check you’re still alive. Tricot, four young ladies from Japan, play joyously jerky math rock with sugar sweet vocals that have a wonderful habit of suddenly exploding into a bit of a post-punk frenzy.
Cop a listen, ruddy good stuff eh? Happily they’re over in the UK for a tour in March and...joy of joys...they’re playing The Cavern in Exeter.
Tickets still available right here right now but this one should sell out. Tanoshimimasu!
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Continuing the random eyes closed trawl through 35 years worth of record collecting today’s gem is Kirsty MacColl’s Walking Down Madison, perhaps the rockiest and most ‘street’ she ever got in a career tragically cut short by a complete and utter moron in a speedboat. A co-write with Johnny Marr and an all too rare hit single (number 23 no less) incredibly it celebrates its 25th birthday this year and, well, it doesn’t sound too shabby does it eh?
Monday, February 08, 2016
The last time I saw Mark Chadwick I was surrounded by a couple of thousand other punters at the Birmingham Academy and he was surrounded by the band he formed way back in 1988, The Levellers. This evening he was flying solo and audience numbers were a more modest 200 or so, at least one of whom had travelled all the way from Cardiff to be here. What’s the Welsh for dedication...hold on...’ymroddiad’ apparently...hey, who says the internet’s just a vapid pool of porn and pictures of cats that look like Hitler eh?
First up though local band The Sweet Black Angels, indie country folksters with some instantly hummable tunes and a bit of an Oasis twang here and there, minus the OTT Manc swagger thankfully. Well worth catching if you get the chance.
Ambling onstage at around 8-ish Chadwick launched into what amounted to a greatest hits set that was refreshingly relaxed and informal, especially for an artist with six gold discs and a number one album in his back pocket...yep, I know...you kind of forget that don’t you? It was a timely reminder for anyone there who wasn’t a superfan (a fair portion of the crowd were judging by the enthusiastic word perfect singalongs) though just how many great tracks The Levellers have and it’s a real shame that, so far at least, they’re perhaps not held in the same esteem as, say, yer Billy Bragg, one of the few other artists for whom politics and social issues aren’t dirty words.
Despite one of the organisers encouraging him to have mid set break so he could get his merch out he played on, noting that he wasn’t “that mercantile” and that if anyone wanted anything his Skoda was parked out the back with the doors open and they could just help themselves. From anyone else this would merely sound like an amusing joke but you kind of got the feeling that he was being genuine. Bless him.
Set highlight, the truly anthemic - and for once the word’s justified - One Way predictably went down a storm (even if it did only reach number 51 in the charts way back in 1991) and Mark even managed to inspire a mini moshpit, albeit one of the gentlest moshpits in the history of moshpits.
Gently teasing the crowd throughout the set for living in ‘Hobiton’ and having nothing to worry about apart from interior design issues (gawd knows what he’d make of Whimple...we’ll have to get him down here to find out) he blazed through the hits with the same kind of passion and oomph that he brings to the band (“I don’t know what they do in February” he mulled midset “don’t think I want to know either”) even bantering with the crowd and taking the odd request towards the end. That’s the (One) Way to do it.
Tickets for The Levellers very own Beautiful Days Festival are on sale right here, right now.
Friday, February 05, 2016
And so it goes on...2016 really does seem to be intent on wiping out some of the most talented souls around, this time it's Earth, Wind and Fire's founding father Maurice White, producer and lead vocalist on the utterly fabulous disco funk classic Boogie Wonderland. Now if that isn't a tune for a Friday afternoon dance in your pants then I don't know what is. RIP.
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Another perfect piece of post pastoral folk from Boat to Row together with a video that, now I’m living in the wilds of Devon, sparked more than the odd pang of nostalgia for dear old Brum (even if the ‘planners’ are currently doing their level best to screw it up...RIP the ‘ziggurat’).
Over the past few years Boat to Row have been quietly slipping out one gentle gem after another and Handsome Beats is another ‘string’ of beauty (and the beats), a melancholy masterpiece in fact, “we’re broken beats so scattered, some end well most of us don’t” sings lead Boatman Michael King, “so I pull open the curtain on a day when others won’t”. Coming so soon after the passing of the legend that is Mr Paul Murphy (who I believe was also an admirer of the band) that’s a line, for me at least, that comes loaded with added poignancy. Beautiful stuff.
PS: You can catch Boat to Row out on tour in February and March. Dates here!