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Dec-Jan 2014/15

www.brumnotes.com music and lifestyle for the west midlands

December 2014

free

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Thurs 18th Dec • £15 adv

Tues 17th Mar • £20 adv

Sat 11th Apr 15 • £39.50 adv

(acoustic) + special guest Mark Morriss (The Bluetones)

Weds 18th Mar • £29.50 adv

Tues 21st Apr 15 • £15 adv

Fri 19th Dec

Sun 22nd Mar 15 • £19.50 adv

Fri 24th Apr 15 • £11 adv

UB40 ft. Ali, Astro & Mickey

Celtic Punk Invasion Tour + The Mahones + Blood or Whiskey

The Wonder Stuff

10.30pm-3.30am • £4 adv

OVER 18S ONLY - PROOF OF AGE REQUIRED

Weds 31st Dec £10 adv / £20 VIP (early bird) 9pm - 4am • over 18s only

Propaganda’s Great Gatsby New Years Eve Blow Out! Weds 3rd Dec • £12 adv

Electric Six + Andy D + Only The Good

Thurs 4th Dec • £30 adv

Boyz II Men

Fri 5th Dec • £15 adv 6.30pm -10pm

Graham Bonnet

Catch the Rainbow Tour + Morpheus Rising + Ronin

6pm -10pm

+ Radio Riddler

Sat 20th Dec • £20 adv

The Twang & The Enemy + Jaws

Fri 16th Jan 15 • £10 adv

Gerard Way Tues 27th Jan 15

Jessie J

Mon 8th Dec • £8 adv

Raging Speedhorn + Sworn To Oath + Godsize Thurs 11th Dec • £19.50 adv

Gogol Bordello

Joe & Jagged Edge Mon 16th Feb 15 • £11 adv

Chelsea Grin & Veil Of Maya

Tues 17th Feb 15 • £30.50 / £35.50 adv

D’Angelo

Weds 18th Feb 15

George Ezra Thurs 19th Feb 15 • £16.50 adv

The Kerrang! Tour 2015

+ Mariachi El Bronx

ft. Don Broco + We Are The In Crowd

Fri 12th Dec • £18.50 adv

Sat 21st Feb 15 • £15 adv

6pm -10pm

Behemoth

+ Decapitated + Grand Magus + Winterfylleth Fri 12th Dec • £11.50 adv 6.30pm -10pm

The Doors Alive

Before You Exit & Christina Grimmie + Hannah Trigwell

Thurs 5th Mar 15 • £18.50 adv

Yellowcard & Less Than Jake

+ ONDAHWUN

+ Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!

Weds 17th Dec • £18.50 adv £65 VIP Meet & Greet

Mon 9th Mar 15 • £19.50 adv

Heffron Drive

6pm -10pm

Of Mice & Men 6pm -10pm

6.30pm -10pm

The Smyths

Celebrating 30 years of Meat is Murder plus the Hits Weds 29th Apr 15 • £15 adv / £40 VIP

Damage

+ Rough Copy Sat 21st Nov 15 • £22.50 adv

From The Jam

Sound Affects 35th Anniversary Tour

6pm -10pm

The Wombats

FOR FULL AND LATEST LISTINGS CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE

Tues 9th Dec • £9 adv

Sat 21st Feb 15 • £8 adv

+ Trophy Scars + The Crimson Star + The Zaps

Sun 22nd Feb 15 • £9 adv

Fri 10th Apr 15 • £17 adv

Clean Bandit

Thurs 12th Mar 15 • £10 adv / £25 VIP

‘68

Weds 10th Dec • £8 adv

The Last Carnival + Speaking in Shadows Sat 13th Dec • £6 adv

LIPZKIN

+ Jimmy Davis + Ginger Bread Men + Quarry Sun 14th Dec • FREE TIX FROM orchardhilltickets.bigcartel.com 6pm-10pm

Fearless Vampire Killers Sat 28th Feb 15 • £6 adv 6.45pm - 10pm

Left For Red

(Album Launch Show) + One For Sorrow + IHYM + Beneath The Reamins Sat 14th Mar 15 • £6 adv 6.45pm - 11pm

Martyr De Mona + Eyes of the Raven + Aceldama

Tues 20th Jan 15 • £9 adv

Sat 21st Mar 15 • £15 adv

The Weeks

Fri 30th Jan 15 • £11.50 adv 6pm-10pm

Lights

Mike Peters presents The Alarm Strength – 30th Anniversary Tour 2015

Sat 31st Jan 15 • £6 adv

Sat 25th Apr 15 • £6 adv

The Mighty Wraith

Lovebite

6.45pm - 11pm

+ Signs of Fire + Resin + Torous + Guts for Glory

Room 94

Sat 7th Feb 15 • £10 adv

+ Darkest Hour + Heart of A Coward

Sat 14th Mar 15 • £23 adv

A Tribute to the Man in Black with Full Live Band

The Stranglers

George The Poet

Orchard Hill

Thurs 18th Dec • £25 adv

Machine Head

Prong

Neck Deep

+ Ginuwine

Inspiral Carpets

Fri 3rd Apr 15 • £16.50 adv

Simple Minds

Tues 27th Jan 15

Sat 6th Dec • £8.50 adv

Sun 7th Dec • £18.50 adv

The Coronas

Tues 20th Jan 15 • £22.50 adv

Sat 1st Feb • £30.50/£35.50 adv

ft. Rose Redd + Hope Street + Hidden Skies + Singing Towards Disaster + SevenDaze + Out of Luck

Weds 25th Mar • £9 adv

Sleeping With Sirens & Pierce The Veil

Alex Goot

Professor Green Ones To Watch

Dropkick Murphys

Weds 8th Apr 15 • £20 adv

+ Knuckle Puck + Trophy Eyes + Seaway

6.45pm -10.30pm

Placebo

6.30pm -10pm

Sat 6th Dec • £18.50 adv

Rescheduled show • original tickets valid

Papa Roach

Cash

6.45pm - 11pm

Sat 9th May 15 • £13 adv 6.30pm - 10.30pm

Ultimate Genesis Fri 15th May 15 • £12 adv 6.30pm - 10pm

Cloudbusting (Kate Bush Tribute)

16-18 Horsefair, Bristol St, Birmingham, B1 1DB 2

Doors 7.00pm unless stated • Venue box office opening hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm, Sat 11am-4pm • No booking fee o n cash transactions

Brum Notes Magazine

ticketweb.co.uk • seetickets.com • gigantic.com • ticketmaster.co.uk


BRUM NOTES

CHRISTMAS PARTY

MIDNIGHT BONFIRES THE GOOD WATER THE MIGHTY YOUNG & DJs TBC

Tickets priced at £5 adv* are on sale at www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk. For more info see www.brumnotes.com or follow @BrumNotesMag on Twitter.

HARE & HOUNDS KINGS HEATH DEC 20, 2014 DOORS: 8pm

*More on the door.

December 2014

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CONTENTS

Kasabian live in Birmingham. Read the review on P32-34 Photo by Andy Hughes. Brum Notes Magazine Unit 12 The Bond 180-182 Fazeley Street Birmingham B5 5SE info@brumnotes.com 0121 224 7363 Advertising 0121 224 7363 advertising@brumnotes.com Distribution StickupMedia! 0121 224 7364 Editor: Chris Moriarty Contributors Words: Josh Allen, Lyle Bignon, Daron Billings, Matthew Burdon, Ben Calvert, Lauren Cox, Sam Lambeth, Ed Ling, Dan Owens, Saima Razzaq, Dave Vincent Assistant Editor: Amy Sumner Arts Editor: Dan Cooper-Gavin Pictures: Daisy Blecker, Wayne Fox, Rob Hadley, Andy Hughes, Jonathan Morgan, B at GIPPA, Sam Wood Cover photo: Andy Hughes Design: Adam Williams, Andy Aitken Connect Twitter: @BrumNotesMag Facebook: www.facebook.com/ BrumNotesMagazine Online: www.brumnotes.com

Regulars News6-7 Fresh Talent 8 Food & Drink  28-29 Live Reviews 32-34 Album Reviews: Best of 2014 36-37 What’s On Guide - including NYE special 38-46 Music and Features Ones to Watch 2015  10-11 Festive Arts Guide 12-13 Alvvays14-15 Them Wolves / Table Scraps 16-17 Midnight Bonfires 18-19 The Twang 20 Funeral for a Friend 22 Cast23 UB4024-25 First Aid Kit 26-27 Christmas Gift Guide 30-31 All content Š Brum Notes Magazine. Views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Brum Notes Magazine. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of content, Brum Notes Magazine will not be held liable for any errors or losses claimed to have been incurred by any errors. Advertising terms and conditions available on request.

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Brum Notes Magazine


December 2014

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FAN APPEAL TO REPLACE ARSON-HIT TOUR VAN

news

CELEBS, MODELS AND FASHION BARGAINS GALORE, AS CLOTHES SHOW LIVE RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM A regular fixture in the pre-Christmas shopping calendar, The Clothes Show Live returns to the NEC in Birmingham from December 5-9. Attractions at the UK’s biggest public retail fashion event include the Urban Retro Lounge, for all things vintage, a new Saks Platinum Pamper Lounge, for those minimanicures and luxury blow-drys, plus a discounted Designer Outlet. Over 500 leading fashion and beauty brands will be at the show, offering deals up to 70 per cent off. There’s also the usual catwalk performances and, if you fancy your chances of being the next big thing (Erin O’Connor, Holly Willoughby, Nina Porter and Georgia Frost were all spotted at Clothes Show Live), there are modelling masterclasses. Among the obligatory celeb guests in attendance will be a herd of Made in Chelsea bods (including Jamie Laing, Spencer Matthews, Oliver Proudlock, Stevie Johnson and Andy Jordan), TV presenter Rick Edwards, Millie Mackintosh, Amy Childs, Lauren Goodger, Henry Holland and various vloggers. They’ll be joined by such pop acts as Neon Jungle, Jetta and Peter Andre. Open 9am to 6pm, tickets are £29 standard (students £26) and £42 platinum (students £37.80) plus booking fees. For more information see www.clothesshowlive.com.

Birmingham band Johnny Kowalski & the Sexy Weirdos have launched a crowdfunding campaign to replace their tour van and equipment, which were torched in an arson attack. The band, who have gigged extensively for the past four-and-a-half years with their rousing brand of Balkan folk, punk and reggae, are hoping to raise enough money to replace the vehicle and gear, allowing them to head out on their fifth European tour in 2015. The estimated cost to replace the van – which was sadly not insured at the time of the attack in Selly Oak last month – and the drums and PA that were inside is more than £3,000, with a donation page now set up on www.gofundme.com. A statement from the band said: “This crowdfunding project is possibly our only option for getting back on the road in 2015 and completing our fifth European tour, which we have already started booking for.” A variety of pledge and reward options are available, ranging from £5 to include a thankyou message inside the band’s next album, to £800 for a full evening of live musical entertainment. Search for the donation page on gofundme. com or find the link at facebook.com/ sexyweirdos.

songwriters dan whitehouse and chris tye join forces to release charity christmas single

Dan Whitehouse

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Bored of Band Aid already? Well you can enjoy a taste of some festive charity musical goodness courtesy of two Birmingham musicians instead. Local singer-songwriters Dan Whitehouse and Chris Tye have teamed up for a festive charity single, entitled, appropriately enough, This Christmas. Coinciding with the release of Dan’s third album, Raw State, and Chris’ LP The Paper Grenade, the track was penned in the spring and recorded at Michael Clarke’s Kings

Heath studio. Proceeds go to Net Patient Foundation. The duo will be airing the song live for the first time at The Glee Club on December 7 as part of Dan’s Raw State launch show, which will also include live performances from guests Harriet Harkcom, BJ Cole and Duke Special. This Christmas is available to download from December 1. For more information visit christyemusic.bandcamp.com or head to www.dan-whitehouse.com. Brum Notes Magazine


TWO OF BRUM’S BIGGEST VENUES TO BE RENAMED

A week-long music event will take place in Birmingham in February 2015, designed to raise the profile of the city’s music industry. Levitate: Birmingham Music Week will celebrate musical offerings during seven days of programmed live and academic events, taking place in venues across the city from February 23 to March 1. Organised by Professional Incredibles and Tiger Bam Communications, it will be made up of different elements, including an industry showcase day along with city wide events and showcases supported by new initiative the Birmingham Music Map. The map – inspired by the crowdfunded Birmingham Art Map – will see designers An Endless Supply and Wild Ilk collaborate to create a dynamic map showcasing events, retail and live music venues in Birmingham, promoting the city’s regular live music calendar and specially curated events for the week of Levitate. It will be freely available in locations across the city, as well as downloadable from the Levitate website. Tessa Burwood, Levitate project manager and director of Professional Incredibles, said: “Levitate is a celebration of Birmingham’s music industry. From my experience wherever you go in the world, those who know about Birmingham are more often than not musicians. “It’s no secret that the city is both an incubator and a destination for great live music. With Levitate we want to highlight this, and by highlighting a city-wide live music programme during the week, we hope to showcase all the great things already happening in the city. “Through this industry-led project, we’re starting the journey towards a distinctive and functional music week for Birmingham. The industry and showcasing element is a very important part of Levitate.” Hanna Tidd from Tiger Bam Communications said they were looking forward to developing an event that celebrates and boosts Birmingham’s music industry. “We hope by working in partnership with the city’s music professionals we can raise the profile of Birmingham’s music scene, and create opportunities for different facets of the sector – from those who are thriving to those who are just starting out.”

Two of Birmingham’s biggest live music and entertainment venues will have new names for 2015, following multi-million pound sponsorship deals. The canalside National Indoor Arena (NIA) is to be renamed the Barclaycard Arena when it re-opens in December, following a £26 million refurbishment – including a brand new glass facade overlooking Brindleyplace. A new sponsor has also been revealed for its sister venue at the NEC, with the LG Arena to become the Genting Arena from January 2015. The NIA in the city centre is set to officially reopen as the Barclaycard Arena with a live show from Michael Bublé on December 2, with other acts set to take to the stage during December and January including The Who, Culture Club and Slipknot. Other upgrades to the 24-year-old venue include adding nearly 6,000 sq m of new show space, new food and drink options and upgraded seating that combines extra legroom with the removal of barriers. Paul Thandi, chief executive of venue owners the NEC Group, said the arena had a rich history of welcoming world-renowned singers, athletes, comedians and performers. “The renaming is another historic moment in this and allows us to continue to be a world class venue leading in providing the ultimate live experience,” he added. The new sponsorship for the Genting Arena at the NEC in Solihull, which begins in January, will tie in with the development of what is described as the country’s first fully integrated destination leisure and entertainment complex – the adjacent £150m Resorts World Birmingham launching this spring, in which casino group Genting is already heavily involved. For more information on the venues visit www.barclaycardarena.co.uk or head to www.gentingarena.co.uk.

Photo by Andy Hughes

New week-long event in 2015 aims to levitate birmingham’s music industry

For more details and announcements stay tuned to www.brumnotes.com, visit www.youcanlevitate.com or follow @youcanlevitate on Twitter. To contribute to the Birmingham Music Map email map@youcanlevitate.com before December 8.

COMPETITION: WIN TICKETS TO DAY ONE FESTIVAL ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, HEADLINED BY MK After getting 2014 off to a memorable start, Day One Festival returns to Digbeth on January 1 to help you begin 2015 with a bang. Running from 12pm, the event is headlined by pioneering US dub house master MK. He’s joined by Circoloco (aka tech house titans Davide Squillace and Matthias Tanzmann), UK garage house sensation Huxley, minimal DC10 man DeWalta, Sankeys Ibiza regular Samu.L and Fuse’s Seb Zito and Rossko.

December 2014

Produced by the team behind the GLAS daytime parties, TRMNL and Lab11 club, Day One Festival will see an entire street closed, car park converted and two warehouses transformed with lights, lasers, and killer sound system. Tickets are £22-£35 from dayonefestival.com. To win a pair of tickets, simply tell us the name of the MK re-release which charted in the UK over the summer? Email competitions@brumnotes.com with your entry, name and age by December 23. 7


Words by Amy Sumner and Saima Razzaq

grooves in there.

HYENA

“I write the songs and the initial guitar parts and then we all work on the arrangement and length of the song together. It often ends up being something completely different to what it started as, so it is quite a collaborative effort once we begin working on a song.”

facebook.com/HyenabandUK

You may recognise Telford’s Hyena from their previous guise as Weatherbird. “To be honest there was a lot of baggage that came with the name Weatherbird because we’d been called that since we were really young, we wanted to get rid of it and start fresh,” explains frontman Jacob Ball. Perhaps the best decision they ever made. Playing one of their first shows under their new moniker with DZ Deathrays, Hyena put out Mental Home (produced by Royal Blood producer Tom Dalgety) and promptly notched up over 17,000 listens on SoundCloud, helped along by plays on BBC 6 Music and column space from the NME. The attention isn’t surprising when you listen to them. Mental Home is a full throttle slice of rock carried off with a punk swagger. Equal parts Pulled Apart By Horses and Queens of the Stone Age, and that Royal Blood kinetic energy suckerpunches through it all. “It’s pretty slacker and grungy I think,” says Ball, “but we’re all into bands like Eagles of Death Metal too so there’s definitely some

In terms of the band make-up, Ball grew up with bassist Josh Taylor and drummer Reuben Gwilliam (“We literally have photos of us together in nappies, it’s very weird...”). Guitarist Dom Farley met the group at school and the band was formed. And now, looking forward to 2015, it seems as though Hyena have big plans. “We’ll be going into the studio in March to do a couple of new tunes, then I guess the rest of the year will be leading towards an album in late 2015. Festival season should be pretty busy for us too, so we’re looking forward to that and hopefully getting to play to some big crowds.” In the meantime, what’s on those Christmas lists? “A £20 million record deal which would mean we could spend Christmas on the beach in California ‘finding ourselves’ would be good,” says Ball. “If not, a packed out night at The Sunflower Lounge and plenty of drink will have to do.”

THE PLAYLIST BEN CALVERT & THE SWIFTS The Sea, The Sea The first instalment in a series of releases planned for the next 12 months, this ghostly single makes a beautiful introduction. If you like Bon Iver, Midlake or Fleet Foxes then this was made for you. Out now on iTunes THE BOURGEOIS FOUR Celebrity Body Crisis/Facecrime ‘Celebrity Body Crisis tackles the banality of the media as entertainment,’ says the song’s press release. The double A-side is a fast paced lo-fi punk rock scramble born by serial offenders of the Birmingham music scene – a ballsy affront through a DIY ethic. Out now via Speech Fewapy Records, speechfewapy.com MAUVELLE Save Me A delicious slice of alt-pop from this Birmingham duo, balancing synth and drums with sweet vocals and an almost XX backing. We’ve got our eye on this pair... Streaming now via SoundCloud, soundcloud.com/mauvellemusic

Follow us at soundcloud.com/ brumnotes for more

Hyena are live at The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham, on December 19.

ONES TO WATCH THE GOOD WATER Digbeth duo Robert Clements and Thomas Fisher bring their mix of indie and blues rock’n’roll to the Brum Notes Christmas Party. Try listening to their 775 single without getting its big old earworm stuck in your head. Hare & Hounds, December 20 8

ABEL GRAY Slice of hip hop fresh out of Redditch. Abel Grey meshes storytelling and rap with his blend of R’n’B and soul in a deliciously eclectic mix. Relive his BBC WM acoustic session online ahead of his debut EP release. O2 Academy, December 13

TOM WILLIAMS & THE BOAT Less ones to watch now (they formed in 2008) and more ones to watch when Tom plays a beautiful solo set at Boat To Row’s Nocturne Christmas event. Don’t miss what promises to be very special indeed. Cafe Ort, December 5

DEAD FLOWERS A full throttle shot of garage rock’n’roll from this trio who started as a two-piece and expanded. Check them out on this extremely complementary bill in this always-energetic venue. The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, December 5 Brum Notes Magazine


Playing live, writing or recording? Join the network of 30,000 musicians across the UK

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Joe Schiavon, booker and promoter, Transmission Music Group / Academy Events I’ve got quite a few that I’m keeping an eye on. Top three probably James Bay, who will almost certainly win BRITs Critics’ Choice and BBC Sound of 2015, Prides and Jack Garratt. Prides The most exciting thing to come out of Scotland since deep-fried Mars Bars. Played the Olympics opening ceremony and have some BIG tunes. Jack Garratt He’s basically a one-man orchestra, with a voice like velvet. Needs to be seen live, he’s awesome.

Slaves. Photo by B at GIPPA

With a new year comes a new wave of excitement about the latest bands and producers, rising stars and best kept secrets that you should be paying attention to. We grilled the movers and shakers from the music industry in Birmingham and beyond, as well as the team here at Brum Notes, to find out what acts should be on your radar for 2015…

NES TO WATCH IN 2015 part of the lovely Renowned group, is about to enter 2015 with major productions, including Mary J Blige.

Invasion Crew Invasion Crew are by far the hardest working grime crew in the Midlands, with notable releases next year, watch out for these Brummie lads to amplify their sound in 2015.

Tom Hopkins, promoter, Leftfoot / This is Tmrw / Hare & Hounds

James Bay Same management as George Ezra, John Newman, James Morrison etc, so great track record with breaking solo artists.

Poppy Twist, drummer and vocalist, Table Scraps Amarillo band Western Plaza have just been signed to Burger Records and they give me happy-pop 60s The Choir vibes. My friends in Telegram deserve big things next year – Japan loves them and they’re playing with my childhood favourite Adam Ant soon.

Ammo Talwar, CEO, Punch Records Knox Brown Local maverick producer Knox Brown, already known for producing credits with Wretch 32 and 10

Ought Saw them playing in Manchester recently and they were hands down one of the best live acts I’ve seen in ages. Definitely one band I’d highly recommend you check out live in 2015 if you get the chance. Febueder A three-piece form Ascot, they’ve already got two EPs out and the latest, Lilac Lane, is really strong. I personally don’t think there’s a bad track on it. If you’re a fan of Foals, Alt-J, Adult Jazz then I think you’ll be into these. Chartreuse We had these guys play for us on a This Is Tmrw lineup towards the end of 2014 and they really impressed us. They’ve got one song online at the moment, Hoover Dam, which is a really good track and judging from what we heard live there’s still plenty more to come from them. Really do think they’re going to be a great addition to the Brum – and hopefully beyond – music scene in 2015 and well worth keeping an eye on.

Sean Morgan, promoter, Academy Events Hummingbirds The most talked about band to come out of Liverpool since The Wombats. About to sell out main room O2 Academy – and they still don’t have a record deal. Slaves In an era of classic two-pieces is this the one that could define them all? The Riptide Movement After scoring the biggest hit any band has had for years in their native Eire, this four-piece look set to spread across the planet with their major deal with Universal.

Andy Hughes, music photographer and Brum Notes contributor Slaves The feisty Royal Tunbridge Wells duo of Isaac Holman (vocals and drums) and Laurie Vincent (guitar and vocals) come at you with the power and force of a hundred men. Their live shows are both physically and mentally exhausting, but their charm and presence will keep you coming back for more and more. Catchy hooks, beats and lyrics which would start off a mosh pit in an old people’s home. You will want to see this band at a small venue before they literally blow up, coming off the back of a support tour with Jamie T and their own reckless headline tour with support from our very own God Damn, it won’t be long before you will know and love them.

Lyle Bignon, music PR and Brum Notes writer Kaytranada Janet Jackson, Portico Quartet, Missy Elliott and Tensnake are amongst the artists who have had the trademark Kaytranada remix treatment – bassheavy open hi-hats and beefed up 90s R’n’B Brum Notes Magazine


vibes. And 2015 can only bring more good moves from the 22-year-old Canadian producer. Ekkah Formed out of the ashes of Birmingham’s sometime indie outfit Arcadian Kicks, the duo of Rebeccas Pennington and Wilson backed by another trio of band members ramp up the pop sound to great effect. The EP dropped last month, next up, a full length in 2015? Shamir Described as ‘Prince masquerading as Camille’ by one US music site, the flamboyant singer, songwriter, rapper and performer smashes the flow of Yo! Majesty together with the house sensibilities of Thunderheist to bring the party. A must listen for new music fans.

play. Check out You’re More Like a Young Mary Bell. New material on the way next year. Connor Hemming The only way to understand what this guy is all about is to go and see him live. You won’t regret it.

Matthew Burdon, Brum Notes writer

Micheala Fellows, Birmingham Promoters

Dan Owens, Brum Notes writer Girlpool Crude yet eloquent, US teens Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad make music that kicks against convention. Forgoing drums in favour of a simple bass and guitar set-up, their self-titled debut EP – released last month through Wichita – is a fierce blend of juvenile screech and patriarchal critique. Praised for their equally inflammatory live shows, this bratty duo could well trigger a Riot Grrrl revival before the year’s out.

Joel Webster, promoter, Killer Wave Sudakistan are my ones hotly tipped for 2015. Their first album is due for release early in the year on PNKSLM and it sounds massive. I’m saying an avalanche of percussion making a carnival for the psychedelic, wailing guitars over chugging prog bass lines and dark South American/English lyrics. Fixing to blow your mind. Their live shows speak for themselves and anyone that has seen them can testify. There’s a whole load of great music coming out of Sweden at the moment, see The Hanged Man and Holy as well for more taking up GOAT’s mantle.

Milk Teeth Since the release of Vanilla in May 2013 Milk Teeth have refused to slow down or pause for breath. Spending an impossible amount of time on the road, they have spread their frantic songs of wasted youth and apathy across the country and if you haven’t heard of them yet you will be hearing from them soon. Their upcoming EP Sad Sack, which features both Vitamins and Linda, is out via Venn Records on January 25. See www.brumnotes.com for our interview with Milk Teeth, ahead of their headline show at The Sunflower Lounge on December 18.

Zoe Hinks, owner, The Roadhouse Mauvelle are an alt-pop duo from Birmingham made up of Melissa Hollick on vocals and synth and Joe Sullivan on vocals, drum pads and guitar. They combine both electronic and organic sounds, finding a middle ground between catchy pop riffs and deep ambient vibes. With several gigs coming up and the release of a music video in the new year, the duo are keeping busy and trying to create a real buzz.

Sam Redmore, DJ and promoter, Freestyle

Ben Calvert, musician and promoter, Bohemian Jukebox

The Bluebeat Arkestra have a totally unique sound, taking influences from all over the place – disco, trip hop, punk, electronica, indie – and make it work in a truly beautiful way. Free School have been on many peoples’ radar for some time, but I think 2015 could be a big year for them with the release of a brilliant second album just around the corner.

Nat Bite has recently been wowing audiences at intimate Birmingham shows and playing as a tour support to Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls. A Birmingham Conservatoire graduate with a background in metal bands, she plays her own individual style of dark, folky, acoustic baroque metal. She’ll be releasing her debut EP in the spring.

Thomas Barr, promotions coordinator, The Institute Girl Band Definitely one of the best sets I’ve seen this year supporting Metz at the Hare & Hounds in August. Them Wolves Still my favourite Birmingham band and dubious style icons. They get heavier with every show they December 2014

feels like finally more and more of Birmingham’s feisty females are coming out of the woodwork and I really like the direction this band are headed. From further afield I’m crossing my fingers for strong follow-ups from Liverpool’s Outfit, whose debut album was exquisite, and Beaty Heart whose superb first record I thought was shamefully overlooked.

Amy Sumner, Brum Notes assistant editor On the home front I’d like to see Coventry’s Batsch do well. It’s Metronomy meets Dutch Uncles – the perfect blend of disco and carefully thought through concept. I’ve always been behind Hoopla Blue so I’d like to see a good year for them, they’re a beautiful beautiful band, and I’m going to second Hopkins’ Chartreuse tip too, it

Cold Ocean Lies Having already gained support slots with bands such as The Voyeurs and playing a packed out hometown headline show at The Oobleck this year, Cold Ocean Lies are steadily amassing quite the following. Their sound draws influences from a whole host of eras and genres, including grunge, shoegaze and 90s Britpop, nodding to bands such as the Smashing Pumpkins, Ride and Oasis respectively. Hyena The young Telford four-piece formerly known as Weatherbird have undergone a makeover, reinventing themselves as Hyena, but have not lost any of their ferocity in the process. Debut single Mental Home was produced by Tom Dalgety, Royal Blood producer who honed in on the band’s surging, Nirvana-esque dynamic and raw power. The band received critical acclaim from NME, heralding them as one of the big players in the current ‘rock revival’. Coves Leamington duo Coves catapulted onto the scene with a number of impressive support slots with acts such as Band of Skulls, St Vincent and The Raveonettes. With critical backing from NME, who gave the band a staggering 9/10 for their packed out headline show at London’s Koko venue, the duo have also won praise from the likes of BBC DJs Zane Lowe, Nick Grimshaw and Lauren Laverne.

Chris Moriarty, Brum Notes editor Elephantine After creeping into view late last year, 2014 has seen Elephantine growing their reputation with every live show. Their intense yet melodic take on noise rock translated impressively onto October’s debut EP Glimmer, giving a glimpse of more excitement to come in 2015. God Damn Rollicking riff-laden duos may be all the rage right now, but Black Country boys God Damn are all about making the noise they want to make rather than following trends. We nailed our colours to their mast back in their early days as a trio and it’s hard to beat the unadulterated joy of watching a crowd erupt to their turbocharged blend of blues, grunge and metal. With their debut album due out in the spring through One Little Indian, 2015 is set to go into overdrive. 11


arts & culture

Clive Francis in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Dec 21 at the Town Hall)

Ho ho ho! Christmas comes but once a year, so to help you get the most out of the festive season, here’s arts editor Dan Cooper-Gavin with the essential BrumNotes guide to what’s on across the city this Yuletide…

What better way to kick off the festive season than a trip on Birmingham’s magnificent Art Bus (December 3)? Hop on and off throughout the evening to enjoy special late-night openings at Ikon, the Barber Institute, the RBSA, Mac and Eastside Projects, with Christmassy refreshments to help you on your way. Check online for the bus timetable. In other early-December treats, the Custard Factory will be taken over by festive-themed street art in the City of Colours Winter Showcase (December 6), featuring more than 30 local artists, a graffiti battle, DJs and a Christmas market with as many minced pies as you can handle. And on the same day down in Edgbaston, it’s the opening of Mac’s famous Christmas Craft Markets (December 6-14), with a wide range of gift options to be found across nearly 100 stalls. Back in Digbeth, The Bond also hosts its own artisan festive market Barbara Nice’s Christmas Cracker (Dec 12–13 at the Mac)

offering, with the Birmingham Winter Market (December 6) offering arts and gifts, DJs, popup cinema, cocktails, street food and craft ale. Cultural connoisseurs rejoice, because Brum has plenty of excellent Christmas shows to choose from. The Old Joint Stock has two seasonal treats on offer – The Twelve Dates of Christmas (December 9-13) is an acclaimed feel-good play in which a woman seeks redemption after discovering her fiancé has been cheating, while there’s rather more spooky fare to be had in Ghost Stories For Christmas (December 17–18), which comes courtesy of local Victoriana enthusiasts Don’t Go Into The Cellar!. Not to be missed at the Mac, Adam Kay – known for the X-rated musical parodies of his hugely successful Amateur Transplants project – comes to town for one night only with his one-man smutfest Going for a Number One at Christmas (December 16). The seasonal offering at The Drum in Aston this year comes in the shape of Uncle Ben’s Festive Block Party (December 18–21), in which grumpy old Ben decides to invite the neighbours round for a Christmas blowout. Meanwhile, Wonderland comes to life at The Rep, with Alice, the March Hare and the Cheshire Cat inviting you to dance the night away at The Mad Hatter’s Christmas Party (December 18–20). Actor Clive Francis returns to the Town Hall to perform Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

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Uncle Ben’s Festive Block Party (Dec 18–21 at The Drum)

(December 21). The Town Hall was the scene of the first ever public reading of the story back in 1853, with Francis here recreating the occasion, embodying the famous characters and relating the events of over 160 years ago. For a more irreverent take on Dickens, there are screenings of The Muppet Christmas Carol at the Mac (December 6) and The Electric Cinema (December 21). The Electric is also one of the venues carrying a special performance of The Nutcracker (December 21), screened live via satellite from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. In Coventry, the Belgrade Theatre welcomes back Oh No It Isn’t! (December 6-27), a comedy thriller from local writer Nick Walker in which a pantomime’s cast find themselves embroiled in a plot to kill each other. And there’s more festive goriness at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, also in Coventry, in a tale from Middle English romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (December 16). Brum Notes Magazine


Town Hall Gospel Choir (Dec 15 at the Town Hall)

And no Christmas is complete without a performance of Twelfth Night. This year, Brum youththeatre outfit Drama-Link oblige, with their take on Shakespeare’s unlikely love triangle playing at The Crescent Theatre (December 17–20). There’s Christmas fun to be had for comedy fans too. The Blue Orange Theatre welcomes impro troupe Box of Frogs for special festivethemed show Impro-HO-HO! (December 5), while local hero Barbara Nice pitches up at the Mac to present her annual Christmas Cracker (December 12–13), complete with raffle and tombola. And The Old Joint Stock has a special Free Festive Funnies show (December 15), headlined by the acclaimed stand-up and writer Meryl O’Rourke. If you prefer your Christmas as noisy as possible, then the Hare & Hounds is the place for you, as Supersonic and Milque & Muhle team up to present the Xmas Cocktail one-dayer (December 13). Amongst the acts spread across the venue’s two rooms are sludge merchants Palehorse, the euphoric rhythms of Sly & The Family

Drone, unmistakable all-girl post-punkers Ravioli Me Away and blistering garage duo Table Scraps. Earplugs recommended. See our interview with Table Scraps for more. Infinitely gentler but no less essential, Barnsley folkie Kate Rusby calls into the Symphony Hall (December 11). With her backing band replete with brass quintet, Kate and her unfeasibly dulcet tones will perform a set drawing heavily on her back catalogue of Christmas songs and carols. And that’s just one part of an extraordinarily busy festive programme at the Symphony Hall. Amongst the other Christmas attractions on offer, there are performances of Handel’s Messiah by Ex Cathedra (December 7) and the City of Birmingham Choir (December 12), seasonal celebrations courtesy of The Salvation Army (December 14), and songs and readings compèred by comedian Hugh Dennis in CBSO Festive Favourites (December 19, 21, 22). Meanwhile, the Town Hall has seasonal performances from the Town Hall Gospel Choir (December 15) and the BBC Big Band (December 16).

The Muppet Christmas Carol (screening Dec 6 at the Mac and Dec 21 at The Electric Cinema)

December 2014

Adam Kay of Amateur Transplants (Dec 16 at the Mac)

There’s festive cheer to be had amidst the Georgian splendour of Handsworth’s Soho House, with the Christmas Delights tour (December 4, 11, 18) recalling celebrations in the 19th century. There are also special Carols events at Aston Hall (December 5), the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter (December 6) and Soho House (December 13). The Crescent Theatre present their annual Christmas Wassail evening of music, spoken word, comedy and, yes, mulled wine at Highbury Hall (December 8-9) and at the theatre itself (December 14–16), while at St Paul’s Church there are two further events courtesy of Ex Cathedra – Christmas Music By Candlelight (December 19, 20, 22, 23) and the family-friendly Angels, Stars & Kings (December 20). And if all that is not enough…there’s always panto. Cruise-ship warbler Jane McDonald, boy-band favourite Duncan James and Coronation Street’s Chris Gascoyne are in action in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hippodrome (from December 19), while over in Wolverhampton, Julian Clary and Hollyoaks’ Joe Tracini tread the boards in Cinderella (from December 6).

BBC Big Band (Dec 16 at the Town Hall)

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It’s not just their penchant for misspelling that makes Alvvays bang on trend. David Vincent finds out more about one of 2015’s brightest prospects. “Our parents force-fed us the pop they grew up with,” they say.

Alvvays’ yearning Archie, Marry Me was a near perfect summer indie anthem that seemingly placed the Canadian quintet as part of an esteemed lineage of acts beholden by fuzzy 60s pop, C86 DIY and jangly Scottish guitar pop.

“The Smiths, Stone Roses, and early REM were always pretty revered amongst our buddies,” he continues. “We clued into Teenage Fanclub and Magnetic Fields a little later on. Twee came filtered through Belle & Sebastian and Yo La Tengo.”

“We’d be flattered to be considered a twig in that family tree,” declares guitarist Alec O’Hanley, clearly taken by the observation. “Our parents force-fed us the pop they grew up with, maybe we subconsciously kept chasing those melodic inclinations through the generations.

Hailing from Toronto, Alec, Molly Rankin (lead vocals/guitar), Kerri Maclellan (keys/vocals), Brian Murphy (bass) and Phil MacIsaac (drums) came together after Molly – who is related to the multiaward winning Canadian folk act, The Rankin Family – produced an EP under her own name.

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“Molly’s solo SHE EP was primordial Alvvays – we did some modest touring of that with the current lineup minus Kerri, who’d yet to be conned into playing with us. I produced and co-wrote that record with Molly,” Alex explains, adding: “If anyone has a copy, we’ll buy it from you. She never really released it.” As the solo thing morphed naturally into a band thing, they adopted the name Alvvays (pronounced ‘Always’), adding the double-V to differentiate themselves from forgotten Brit act Always.

Brum Notes Magazine


“It’s slightly irksome when people say they won’t listen to us because of our band name.”

“They were pretty good,” reckons Alec of their predecessors. “I haven’t listened extensively but I think they sound like Felt, if memory serves.” On the constant mispronunciation of their revised moniker (‘Al-Vahys’ is a common mistake), Alec says: “That’s all good. It’s [only] slightly irksome when people say they won’t listen to us because of our band name.” Featuring tracks Archie, Marry Me, Next Of Kin and Adult Diversion, their eponymous debut long-player was produced by Chad VanGaalen, mixed by Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh and John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile), and garnered widespread acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. “The ease with which some of the floatier minimal songs arrived at the magic point surprised us, particularly Red Planet and Dives,” Alec says of the album’s creation. “Archie is near and dear to us too, like a little brother.” Officially released through Transgressive over the summer, the album actually first saw the light of day on cassette a year earlier. “We pressed about 50 cassettes as a prerequisite to play a county fair type festival in the Canadian Maritimes. Is that a release?” As part of a rolling tour of headline and support slots, the five-piece recently played with New Jersey jangle-merchants Real Estate at Birmingham’s Institute. “The tour was our funnest yet,” states Alec. “We’re accustomed to abruptly blowing up UK lights and speakers with our bizarro voltage North American gear. That didn’t happen this time so we were happy. The fans were rabid, the inter-band camaraderie was remarkable. We all had a good time and were well December 2014

received. Sold out shows, lots of exuberant humans.” Any good tour anecdotes? “We kept it all pretty PG,” responds Alec. “We did some karaoke. Phil did Creed’s With Arms Wide Open to widespread acclaim. I chauffeured Annie from St Vincent around Brum for an afternoon. We went to Faculty [cafe in Piccadilly Arcade] and she bought me a weed leaf t-shirt at the market. It now pads the inside of our bass drum. “We [also] climbed some Barcelonan trees and started hooting like chimps at local baby boomers who muttered ‘something something Americanos’ distastefully.” Looking ahead, there’s a return trip to Brum already lined up, plus dates with The Decemberists and Absolutely Free – one of a number of rising Canadian acts Alvvays rate highly. “Absolutely Free are great, they’re along on our current jaunt doing the full U of the USA. Kinda like a poppier Canuck Kraftwerk. Chad Vangaalen is great too, he recorded our album in Calgary. Viet Cong are sweet and from Calgary too.” And alongside the live shows there is, of course, also Christmas and the big New Year’s Eve party looming. Or not. “NYE is always a bit of a bust, we try not to get our hopes up,” says Alec. “My dad always said September 1 is the real new year because nothing’s happening in January. What are we celebrating? A calendar flip? It’s a pretty arbitrary holiday. I think I asphyxiated on some Montreal fried rice last year. If we’re lucky we’ll get into a fondue.” Alvvays are live at the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, on January 27, 2015. 15


THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Noise rock outfit Them Wolves head up a rowdy Christmas party delivered by raucous underground collective Die Das Der – celebrating an impressive year of staging free-spirited parties across the city. Amy Sumner catches up with the headline act to find out what’s in store inside the intimate confines of Muthers Studio.

Photo by Daisy Blecker

“Friends. 100 per cent. And I’m told that it shows on stage.” Them Wolves guitarist Stuart-Lee Tovey lets us into the secret to the band’s successful dynamic. “Personally I think that mastering playing live is the most important thing because live is where you actually feel like a band. The idea becomes tangible for a moment.” Them Wolves are very loud and very full throttle and very shouty sometimes though, so how can people penetrate that? “As long as it isn’t with a knife, Greg knows about that,” says Stuart. “We don’t want to be penetrated with knives. Someone stabbed Greg. Penetrated with cold steel.” Sitting comfortably next to bands like Blacklisters, Shellac and Pissed Jeans, Them Wolves are a three-man wall of noise and energy and power. Now into their third year together, the Birmingham 16

band have notched up some impressive support slots with Pulled Apart By Horses and Bats, amongst others, and are currently working on their next release due out in spring 2015. “We have some stuff that we have already played live and some stuff that is at the half-way point,” explains Stuart of the makeup of material. “As for themes, we have a very specific way of writing lyrics – we like to put cryptic stuff in there, things you need to do a bit of research to figure out the meaning of.”

“We don’t go into the practice space with any prewritten ideas, we just jam everything out,” Stuart explains of how Them Wolves songs come into being. “We are really tough on ourselves and lots of stuff doesn’t make it through. I’ve learnt to kind of just let things happen. Being too precious will drive you mad.” Them Wolves headline the Die Das Der Christmas Special at Muthers studio in Digbeth on December 20. Other bands on the bill include Youth Man, Frauds and John. Die Das Der have a very DIY aesthetic and have been putting on independent shows across Birmingham’s independent venues throughout the year. “DDD have been doing some great things, they quite obviously have a drive and passion for the DIY. We fit together well,” says Stuart of the pairing. And what atmosphere will Them Wolves be aiming for? “It’ll be 78 per cent nitrogen, 21 per cent oxygen, 1 per cent misc.” If that sounds like your dream proportions, be sure not to miss the noise rock extravaganza.

Like the name then, because Them Wolves is a good name but not very grammatically correct… “The rules already existed before any of us got here, that doesn’t mean we should accept them,” he insists.

Them Wolves headline the Die Das Der Christmas Party at Muthers Studio in Digbeth on December 20, joined by Youth Man, Frauds and John. Entry is £4 OTD. Brum Notes Magazine


SCRAPPY CHRISTMAS Birmingham’s most adventurous music festival, Supersonic, joins forces with the city’s most adventurous record shop, Milque & Muhle, to deliver a daring Xmas Cocktail of high octane music spread across two rooms in the Hare & Hounds. Birmingham’s own noise punk duo Table Scraps will be joining an international lineup on the night, so we asked drummer and vocalist Poppy Twist to talk us through the rest of the bill, as well as her own Christmas wishes…

Can you talk us through each of the rest of the acts on the bill? Paddy Steer and Glatze are for you if you’re feeling that “all bands with drums, guitar and bass are so over, man…give me theremin, xylophone and an assortment of mutilated dolls any day.” Paddy Steer’s set up looks a bit like one of those automaton bands that you see at the edge of a pier or whatever…with, like, a monkey on drums. Which is obviously good. Glatze self-describes his ‘thing’ as Romany Surf Step. I don’t know what that means but I’ll take his word for it. Glatze means ‘bald’ in German, which, to be fair, is 100 per cent accurate labelling. I like the cut of this man’s jib. Lowest Form and Palehorse are ear-melting, spittle-soaked hardcore bands from the capital. Both have impressively evaded the usual music industry hype-train, so this is your best chance to see two incredible bands that you may not have heard of before. Listen to Lowest Form’s Negative Ecstasy EP online (it’s out on Iron Lung records), to prepare yourself. December 2014

Ravioli Me Away are kitsch as fuck and they give me a Slits Tradition-era Slits vibe. Imagination is their best song on Soundcloud at the moment. It samples a David Cameron speech and has the funkiest bass I have enjoyed this side of the 80s. Rainbow Grave is the new project of Nathan from Milque & Muhle and Nick from Napalm Death, which is precisely as good as it sounds. Hordes are the blackest black metal and (along with Table Scraps) are representing Birmingham on the lineup. Sly & the Family Drone were a big hit at Supersonic last year with their unique brand of uncut industrial noise. I expect lots of headbanging. And then there’s us. We’re a noise-punk band and we’re ace. In other words, expect ringing ears long after the last Christmas dinner sandwich is polished off on Boxing Day. What would you put in your own ultimate Christmas cocktail? Sherry and Bucks Fizz are my sort of ‘from dawn til dusk’ Christmas drink choices. Bucks Shizz? Sounds good. And an Alka-Seltzer to put paid to the inevitable. And who would be your dream Christmas dinner guests? John Waters, Jayne Mansfield, Elvis, Divine and The Garden Twins. Only some of those people are dead, which is a bonus.

Anything on your Christmas list you’d care to share? King Tuff merch. Fat Whites merch. Merch merch merch. I’m also keen on one of artist Penelope Gazin’s ‘Believe in Pain’ baseball caps. What have been your Table Scraps personal highlights for 2014? Almost eloping with Sylvain Sylvain from the New York Dolls. Building and performing our puppet video for Bug. And what’s in store for 2015? We’ve recorded our album and the next single. We are just deciding in what forms we shall assault you with it. I’ve been keen on the idea of marbled vinyl ever since I got my hands on Sub-Pop’s Loser Editions, so let’s see if the student loan will cover it. We seem to get invited to a different state each week these days, so a US tour seems a distinct possibility.

Supersonic Festival and Milque & Muhle’s Xmas Cocktail takes place at the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, on December 13, featuring live sets from Palehorse, Sly & the Family Drone, Lowest Form, Ravioli Me Away, Paddy Steer, Table Scraps and Rainbow Grave. 17

Photo by Luca Giorietto

What did you think of the lineup when you were first asked to play? We have always been very keen to play a Supersonic event as the lineups are notoriously eclectic and exciting, and this night is no exception. Also, Scott and I were pretty enamoured with the use of ‘ravioli’ in a band name.


WE GREW UP AT MIDNIGHT Midnight Bonfires were the perfect choice to headline our Christmas Party this year. But behind the fun party spirit is a serious side to a band determined to succeed. They tell Amy Sumner how they have come out of a busy 2014 with a sound that is bigger and bolder than ever.

“It was great fun. Away from home is always strange at first but once we were on stage it was great. We saw a few cockneys dance about and have a good time which is unheard of.” Midnight Bonfires frontman David Langley is talking about the band’s debut headline show in London, which they played at The Buffalo Bar in Islington last month. Since releasing their debut single Misbehave in 2011, Midnight Bonfires have come a long way. From sharing stages with Jamie Cullum, Cosmo Jarvis and The Twang, to releasing their self-titled debut EP in November 2012 and enjoying an 18

appearance on BBC WM. From a sound which started off rooted deep in folk, Midnight Bonfires have evolved into a band cavorting that folk influence through snappy pop structures and creating party songs to have a good time to, with choruses you can whoop with abandon. There’s something of Alt-J’s Joe Newman in Langley’s vocals and they’re subverting the traditional pop construct in much the same way. While it might not have been the speediest of ascents, it’s been a steadfast one. “So much has happened in the last 12 months,” says drummer Mark Banks, “playing the Brum Notes Christmas Party last year only feels like

five minutes ago. We did some touring early this year, put out another single and video, played a few really good support shows locally, headlined the Lunar Stage at Moseley Folk Festival, and wrote and recorded a new EP. Warming up for Johnny Marr at a festival down the road from where we grew up was a definite high. There’s hundreds of low points when you’re in a band at this level, but the love of what we’re doing and the support from each other keeps our heads up. We’re very committed.” Each single Midnight Bonfires have released, from Misbehave through to Someone Else, Lights Out Brum Notes Magazine


“THERE’S HUNDREDS OF LOW POINTS WHEN YOU’RE IN A BAND AT THIS LEVEL, BUT THE LOVE OF WHAT WE’RE DOING AND THE SUPPORT FROM EACH OTHER KEEPS OUR HEADS UP. WE’RE VERY COMMITTED.”

and Exhale, has felt like a marked progression showcasing the differing aspects of the band’s diverse talent. They’re a band who don’t stand still. “We all feel that we’ve moved on with our sound, it’s bigger and bolder and we wanted to get that down on record,” says David on the recording of Midnight Bonfires’ second EP. “It’s mainly brand new material, five tracks recorded over three days.” “It’s where we want to take the sound of the band,” adds guitarist Simon Gregory, “we’ve changed a lot musically in the last year and it shows on this record. We’ve pretty much left the ‘folk’ label behind us, although it will always be there. But I think the sound is a lot fuller now. The EP has a name but it won’t be revealed until the release date. It’s a bit of a musical journey, it shows an aggression in parts that may not have been apparent before…” “As for themes…lust, love, control, irony and loss…in fact all, in that order,” continues David. “Most of what I write is either from personal experiences – warped, warts and all – or tall tales.”

The studio was fantastic too, it’s been hand built with love.” Midnight Bonfires headline this year’s Brum Notes Christmas Party at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath on December 20. They will be joined by psych blues duo The Good Water and garage noisemakers The Mighty Young, with further doors to be opened on the rest of the festivities over the coming weeks.

MIDNIGHT BONFIRES THE GOOD WATER THE MIGHTY YOUNG & DJs TBC

Tickets priced at £5 adv* are on sale at www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk. For more info see www.brumnotes.com or follow @BrumNotesMag on Twitter.

HARE & HOUNDS KINGS HEATH DEC 20, 2014 DOORS: 8pm

*More on the door.

“It’s going to be a very quaint event,” conjectures mandolin player Rick Hughes. “[Bassist] Theo [Hockly] has agreed to perform his one man show of It’s A Wonderful Life. We’ll be lucky if there is any time left for music to be honest. “The heat inside that Santa outfit nearly killed me last year so I need to rethink that one,” says Mark. “And someone slagged it off for being the red Coca Cola version… maybe I’ll wear a big advent calendar this year, and lucky – or unlucky – members of the audience can open the doors throughout the night.” And after that, how do Midnight Bonfires plan to celebrate Christmas?

The EP was recorded with Dave McCabe at Muthers Studio in Digbeth, fast becoming one of the go-to recording spots for upcoming bands in Birmingham.

“We are firm believers in the tradition of Christmas,” says Rick. “So we plan on getting extremely pissed and eating ‘til we shit.”

“He’s worked with a lot of bands at Muthers as well as doing loads with his own projects so his ideas come from a load of different experiences,” explains Mark. “Dave understood the songs and could see where we wanted to go with them.

Midnight Bonfires headline the Brum Notes Christmas Party at the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, on December 20. Tickets are £5 and available now from hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk.

December 2014

BRUM NOTES

CHRISTMAS PARTY

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To find out how, sign up at: www.nowlines.com

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Formed in the early 2000s, Brummie and Black Country combo The Twang were part of a wave of local bands tipped for success, breaking the top five with their debut album, Love It When It Feels Like This, in 2007 – the same year that saw Coventry’s The Enemy hit the top spot with their own debut, We’ll Live And Die In These Towns. This month the two bands join forces for a pre-Christmas tour, including what is sure to be a raucous affair in their native West Midlands. In what some have declared a comeback, this year saw The Twang release their fourth album, Neontwang (a title that references their original name) and appear with The Libertines, The Pogues, Spiritualized and The Enemy at Hyde Park’s British Summer Time. Prior to their homecoming show with The Enemy, main man Phil Etheridge answers the questions. Looking back over 2014, what’s been the highlight? Hopefully the highlight will be this tour in December with The Enemy, but as that hasn’t happened yet I’ll say releasing our fourth record, Neontwang, in March – to still be friends and making music together after all this time is an achievement in itself. This isn’t the first time you’ve played with The Enemy – when did you guys first meet? We both broke around the same time. The NME had this ‘Best Midlands’ nonsense going on in 2006 – kinda like the B-Town thing that happened last year – and had a photoshoot in The Old Library at the Custard Factory, which we turned up to far too drunk for and proceeded to annoy every fucker there…including The Enemy probably! From then on we kept bumping into each other all the time, whether it be Glastonbury or 20

Japan, they always seemed to be on the bill. They was doing well and so were we, so all was good. What do you think you have in common? I think all bands can find common ground as we’re all just trying to do the same thing – escape the mundane and create something that will live forever. There’s loads of great new acts in the West Midlands at the moment – is there anyone you especially like? I’m really liking the Jaws record at the moment, which they actually tracked in our studio. They’ve also just agreed to open up each night on this tour so I’m buzzin’. I’m digging that Midnight Bonfires as well, as they remind me of Modest Mouse in parts, and I’m always interested in what Simon [Gregory] from the band is up to as he’s been a friend from way back in his Tantrums days.

What would you buy The Enemy for Christmas? I think I’ll spend December getting to know ‘em and then maybe I’ll nip out and get ‘em all a little something. Ya gotta build up to buying people gifts or it don’t mean nothing. What would you like to get for Christmas from them? Ten per cent more of the fee from this tour [laughs]. What’s your favourite Christmas song? Bar The Pogues’s Fairy Tale Of New York, obviously, I’ll go for Jingle Bell Rock [written in 1958 and included in the film Home Alone 2: Lost In New York]. Home Alone’s one of those movies that I’m sure at some point over the festive season I’ll be sat watching with mince pie crumbs all over my new sweater… Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? To be mindful.

What song by The Enemy do you wish you’d written? Away From Here, as it made them fuckin’ huge for a bit.

What are The Twang’s plans for the year ahead? Honestly, I really don’t know…

If The Enemy had to cover one of your songs, which one would you suggest? Wide Awake – I reckon he’d probably sing it better than me…

The Twang and The Enemy play the O2 Academy, Birmingham, on December 20, with support from Jaws. Brum Notes Magazine


Join us for the sunplugged christmas special on sunday 21st december at 5pm. great acoustic acts with mince pies and mulled wine!

the nurvrax 3 host presents at the sun at the station on friday 19th at 7pm. with festive drinks & fancy dress encouraged! djs and live music until late!

at the station we have maz and bamber providing the best in party tunes to see you to midnight and beyond! and at the sun on the hill we’ve got a selection of our usual guests to get your night off to a great start!

TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS djs GET YOUR CHRISTMAS OFF TO THE RIGHT START AT THE STATION until late!

We have djs all christmas long at both pubs, check listings for info!

sunonthehill.co.uk - @sunonthehill - facebook.com - the sun on the hill

sunatthestation.co.uk - @sunatthestation - facebook.com - the sun at the station December 2014

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T H E LAT E ST C HA PT ER

Welsh rockers Funeral For A Friend have been delivering their own brand of high octane posthardcore for nearly 15 years. They tell Josh Allen how setting themselves a tight deadline has helped to keep the energy levels up on their latest record. “I’m really proud of this record,” says Funeral For A Friend (FFAF) guitarist and post-hardcore hero Kris Coombs-Roberts, who is in a seemingly very upbeat mood. He’s enthused by the rapid fire approach that FFAF took to recording Chapter and Verse, their forthcoming seventh LP. “We got it all down [in the studio] in two weeks. The deadline gave us urgency, I think this comes out in the sheer energy of the songs.” “In the past we spent four months on a record, we got cabin fever. We were just picking at songs and tweaking little bits of them, so having just two weeks meant we weren’t just sitting there analysing it all.” He’s pleased to outline the reflections that led the band to decide to such a tight deadline. “Matt [Davies, lead singer] and I went back and listened to a lot of stuff from the early 90s, the kind of music that we grew up with. [Back then] everything was done on tape, it wasn’t like now when you can just feed it all into a computer and tune it all after the fact, make it sound like you’re the world’s greatest player. As an artist you really had to perform.” The band were turned off by modern recording techniques, feeling that “modern records are overproduced,” as Kris explains. “Because everything sounds so perfect everything ends up sounding 22

inhuman. After all, as a species we’re imperfect by design. What I really hope is that by showing through the recording some of our little flaws we’ve ended up with a record that has a more honest, human and believable quality.” But if the recording techniques harked back to another age, Kris is keen to spell out how FFAF have evolved as a band since the release of mid2000s classics such as Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation (2003), Hours (2005) and Tale’s Don’t Tell Themselves (2007). “Essentially we’ve grown up,” he says. “Matt [who writes all our lyrics] has been married for how long now? So it’s not really honest any more us singing about broken relationships and how terrible everything is all the time, it just isn’t what our lives are like, it isn’t believable. We always try to sing from the heart.” With Chapter and Verse FFAF appear to be focusing on larger, more political issues than before. “Matt is quite a socially aware person,” says Kris. “[Chapter and Verse] is all about stuff that’s been going on both locally to us and nationally. We’re told that we’ve been in and out of recession – apparently we have – it doesn’t feel like it does it? It feels more like we’ve constantly been in one.” He reflects on their recently released, politicallycharged single 1%. “I’m really lucky in that everyone I know is incredibly honest, has an awful lot

of integrity and knows to be true to themselves. The song, though, is a reflection on how kids especially make certain codes and try to live by them, as they grow up those codes come to mean less and less, I think this is especially true for certain genres of music. But you could say the same for certain people in national politics,” he laughs. But if the band’s mindset and approach to songwriting has evolved since they began in 2001, then the music industry as a whole has even more. “Back then downloading was just starting to be rife, but now it’s the norm…[People] think music should be free and forget how much effort, how much money, goes into producing a record. Look, it took us two weeks to record [Chapter and Verse] but we spent at least 18 months thinking about and compiling everything on there.” But he’s still steadfast about why they are in a band in the first place. “The whole point of being in a band is to make the music you want to hear, the sounds no one else is making, because no one else will. For me music has to be raw, emotional and believable.” Funeral For A Friend are live at The Institute, Birmingham, on January 16, 2015. New album Chapter and Verse is due out on January 19 through Distiller Records. Brum Notes Magazine


Still having a fine time Britpop heroes Cast are back on the road. “I feel very, very proud,” says frontman John Power. David Vincent takes note. Leaving the legendary La’s to form his own band, John Power’s Cast were one of the big Britpop guitar bands of the mid-90s, up there with Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene. Their 1995 album, All Change, delivered a string of hit singles and became the fastest selling debut album for label Polydor (previously home to Hendrix, The Who and The Jam), establishing the band as a major live force. “It’s very, very, very strange looking back,” says Power. “It’s funny, innit, life? The one thing I’ve learnt now is to live in the present. Back then, I missed lots of things as I was too busy looking forward, too busy planning, writing – I don’t know if I enjoyed it. I was a bit stressed, a bit tired, a bit high. “When you’re young you’re a bit immortal…there’s that slight arrogance of youth. Apparently it was great,” he laughs. “At the time, tiredness is setting in, you’re feeling slightly paranoid…I ended up not being in such a pretty place.”

Encouraged by the affection that greeted the band’s reunion, Power, Liam ‘Skin’ Tyson (lead guitar), Pete Wilkinson (bass) and Keith O’Neill (drums) have continued, releasing a fifth album, Troubled Times, in 2011/2012, with more new material now on the cards. “We’ve just done a track, Baby Blue Eyes, which you can download for free from the website,” says the songwriter. “When we get together we’ll look at doing something else, an EP at least, maybe a new album as next year is the 20th anniversary of All Change, so we should do something.” It’s likely that new tracks will pick up on Troubled Times’ energy and lyrical themes. “I was quite focused on Troubled Times. That was a real important thing for me and the lads. We hadn’t been together for a long time – a few years, 10 years – and it was great getting people in the same room together.

Cast called it a day after third album 2001’s Beetroot, and Power went solo, forging his own way as a singer-songwriter. He initially turning his back on past successes, but has since come to terms with Cast’s legacy, performing hits (such as Alright, Sandstorm, Walkaway) and eventually reforming the band in 2010.

“I was tuning into this unsettling mindset at the time and that’s still relevant now. There was lots of shit happening at the time, and those things are still on the agenda. People are still being bombarded with negative headlines, shit TV, and they don’t have the time to question, to ask what the real issues are. Troubled Times was me homing in on that.”

“There was a time when I didn’t sing any of those [Cast] songs…now I feel very, very proud, very privileged. Singing those songs and seeing people singing along…to be a conduit for that feeling, it’s a great thing. I feel very humbled by it. Now, I’m singing and performing those songs and enjoying it.”

While Cast were in hiatus, members, naturally, got on with their lives. Power took part in The La’s reunion and took to the stage in theatrical biog Lennon (“probably the most bizarre and challenging thing I’ve ever done…I was well out of my comfort zone”). Pete returned to Shack, worked with Echo & The Bunnymen and released material

December 2014

as Aviator. Keith tour manages Johnny Marr, while Skin plays with Robert Plant. As a result, full reunions can be a logistical nightmare, but that hasn’t hindered the band’s progress. “We do have an understanding. We can call on Steve Pilgrim, who drummed on Troubled Times and plays with Paul Weller. Peter’s with Mick Head and he has a floating membership. Everyone does. If someone can’t make it, everyone’s cool with it. Jay Lewis has played bass with Cast before – and played with The La’s – that will probably happen again. “That’s how we keep Cast together. Everyone is involved in decision making, they get to give their blessing if they can’t make it. We’re relaxed about it. If you’re unfortunate enough, or fortunate enough, to be doing something else, not to be able to make it, we don’t say ‘right, you can’t be in the band’, we’ve been through all that before… we know Cast is bigger than the parts. We’ve all been through it, we’re older now, mature, and everyone we use has a connection to the band – like Jay, like Steve.” For Power, the Cast tour comes off the back of a series of “grass roots” acoustic shows with Jay, prompting the reissue of Happening For Love and other solo albums. “The solo stuff is really rare, you just can’t get hold of it at the moment and doing these solo gigs, people want to buy ‘em,” he says, adding the plan is to put them out as a boxset in March, complete with extra tracks. Outside of that project, and some co-writing, he says he has no idea what 2015 will bring. “I haven’t a fuckin’ clue!” he laughs. Cast are live at The Institute Birmingham, on December 14. 23


Signing up The original members of Birmingham’s legendary reggae act UB40 are still very much split down the middle. But that doesn’t stop the fans flocking to see them, in whatever guise they take. This month, original vocalist Ali Campbell heads up his own version of the band with a sell-out show in their home city. These days he is joined by fellow founder member Micky Virtue and now Astro too, who insists the prospect of performing a country and western album with ‘the other’ UB40 was the last straw, switching sides late last year. “I’m loving every minute of it,” he tells David Vincent.

Astro is on the top of the world. Literally. “We’re the in the middle of a world tour, we’ve been to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), South Africa, Finland, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, and then we’re off to Australia, and New Zealand…

“Country and western!” Astro declares with despair. “Not as I live and breathe! We were reportedly the biggest reggae band on the planet, we set out to popularise reggae music, so why the others wanted to record an album of country is beyond me.

“I’m loving every minute of it,” he cries. “The crowds have been fantastic and for the most part, the shows have sold out – you can’t ask for more than that.”

“There have been links with reggae and country artists in the past,” he says, as acts such as Beres Hammond and Bob Marley have all covered country, “but that’s not what I’m about. You listen to country when you’re an old bloke! Our fans want to hear reggae – not slide guitar and yodelling. For me that was the last straw in a catalogue of events.”

The vocalist, trumpeter and percussionist is out-and-about with fellow UB40 founders Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue in support of new album Silhouette – a collection of reggae-fied covers by the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Chi-Lites and others, plus originals, released under the lengthy moniker ‘Ali Campbell, The Legendary Voice Of UB40, Reunited With Astro and Mickey’. Ali quit UB40 in 2008 citing financial concerns, with Mickey joining him a few months later. Meanwhile, the remaining UBs continued with sibling Duncan Campbell joining brother Robin, releasing a fourth Labour of Love collection, and the controversial Getting Over the Storm. Financial worries continued to concern the band, but it was this last album which finally convinced Astro it was time to leave. 24

It was a normally upbeat pre-release unveiling of the album to usually supportive old pals that was a turning point for Astro. “My mates came round to listen to Getting Over the Storm and I found myself trying to convince them. If I can’t convince my closest friends to give it a chance…I’d never had to do that before, so in my heart I knew. The most important thing for me was to be able to look at myself in the mirror,” he says. So 12 months ago, he swapped sides. And has had no regrets, loving every minute of his reunion.

“The first gig with Mickey and Ali was at the O2 in London on December 6, 2013. It was just testing the water, seeing if the chemistry was still there. I dipped my toe in the water…and it was so brilliant. Great! Me and Mickey used to go to school together and it was so like an old school reunion. It was rapturous. The chemistry hasn’t changed. It was like time had stood still. Just beautiful.” Splitting the songs with Ali, he says: “We’re just sharing the workload. It’s just fabulous. There’s the same vibe now as when we started, back in 79/80, when we did The Pretenders’ tour. We have the same enthusiasm for the music.” Despite arriving late in the process, Astro is also pretty chuffed with Silhouette. “Because I didn’t join until December 2013 – we hadn’t been canoodling for four months before, which some have said happened – Ali had already recorded 80 per cent of the album. So it was a case of me going in and adding to tracks. I did four, five vocal tracks where the focus had been different. I’m happy with the songs’ changes, it’s better than Getting Over the Storm!” Brum Notes Magazine


The public seems to agree. While Silhouette instantly broke the top 20, Getting Over the Storm’s two-week chart stint peaked at number 29.

In the end, says Astro, it’s the fans that suffer: “They should be protected. They deserve more than a substandard show.”

With a run of crowd-pleasing global dates behind them, the ‘Legendary Voice’ UBs play a sold-out O2 Academy show in their home city of Birmingham on December 19, 2014, with a high profile NIA show scheduled for spring 2015.

the two factions, Astro – understandably – cannot imagine a fully reunited UB40.

“When we put tickets on sale for the O2 Academy Birmingham, we thought, ‘that’s a pretty small gig’. We tried to tell the agent, ‘this is Birmingham! Is this a mistake?’ And within days it had sold out. In under a week. So our agent has put us into the NIA by popular demand. That just shows how popular our fanbase is,” says Astro, who quickly makes a contrast with the fortunes of the ‘other’ remaining UBs, whose last Brum gig was at The Institute, and who have voiced their desire to play “intimate” venues. “It’s really pitiful,” decries Astro of their rival’s fortunes. “Every British tour was playing the NEC. In our heyday we did six nights at the NEC. To publicise a British tour and play to venues of less than 2,000 people. It’s a real downer for me. Humiliating!” December 2014

“It was rapturous. The chemistry hasn’t changed. It was like time had stood still. Just beautiful.” As bad vibes and strong words fly between

“Because of a lot of the rhetoric that’s been going back and forward, especially with a couple of members, they’ve burnt their bridges…burnt their bridges,” he says, saddened but firmly. “If [things had gone differently] maybe we could have worked something out, sat around and talked. In all honestly, it’ll probably happen 10 minutes after hell has frozen over.” Reflecting on their shared history, he adds: “We’ve done extremely well. We’ve kept things rolling for 28 years when your average rock band has a lifespan of about five years. That’s a remarkable achievement. But all good things come to an end.” Having survived his skirmish with country and western and shrinking venues, Astro says his current Legendary lineup is continuing the UB’s pioneering legacy, and still finding countries to play for the first time.

“I had never played Papua New Guinea, Kuala Lumpa or Iceland – all firsts,” he says with pride, describing scenes of crowds dancing, unable to resist the music. “Reggae itself is an international language, it doesn’t matter where you go. It’s not about the lyrical content, as not everyone has English as their first language, but a bassline can say more than a thousand words. Reggae [has] travelled around the world. Everywhere there’s water surrounding a country they fall in love with reggae. Half the battle has been won before you open your mouth.” Ali Campbell, the Legendary Voice of UB40, reunited with Astro and Mickey, are live at the O2 Academy, Birmingham, on December 19, 2014. They also play the Barclaycard Arena (the NIA), on April 17, 2015. Latest album Silhouette is out now on Cooking Vinyl. For more details visit www.ub40.org. 25


All That Glitters Overflowing with angelic harmonies and haunting folk melodies, Stay Gold, the latest album from Swedish duo First Aid Kit, has been one of the shining stars of 2014. David Vincent hears how it was inspired by an eight-line poem. 26

Brum Notes Magazine


It begins ‘Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold,’ and concludes with the line ‘Nothing gold can stay.’ Penned by American-born poet Robert Frost during the early 1920s, the eight-line autumnal poem Nothing Gold Can Stay, though brief, has had a powerful influence on Swedish duo First Aid Kit’s third album, Stay Gold. “We had actually started writing [Stay Gold], and had already incorporated the gold theme in the song and were stuck when this poem appeared by chance,” recalls Klara, the younger Söderberg sister. “I was looking through a collection of poetry and Robert Frost’s words stared back from the page. It was just perfect, everything we wanted to say right there. It’s a very mysterious poem, describing how fleeting everything is in life and nature.”

earth. To have him play on our tracks adds so much. He comes up with simple but effective melodies.” Stay Gold has marked a shift in First Aid Kit’s approach to songwriting as their earlier blend of American folk, Swedish folklore and storytelling takes on a newfound, more personal voice. “On our other records, we wrote a lot about nature and fairytale-ish stuff,” Johanna says. “But if you listen to the lyrics on this one, you can tell it’s much more about us, more personal.” This subtle change came about more by chance than design.

Described as “a song about change, and maybe not wanting to change,” by sister Johanna, it’s one of several treasures on the band’s first album for major label Columbia Records. Change is something the girls have had to get used to since their cover of Fleet Foxes’ Tiger Mountain Peasant Song went viral in 2008. Their debut album, The Big Black and The Blue, followed two years later, prompting dates with Patti Smith and Jack White. Their international profile continued to rise with 2011’s The Lion’s Roar, which saw the siblings hook up with Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk’s multi-instrumentalist and producer Mike Mogis.

“It all started because we’re huge Bright Eyes fans, they basically got us into folk and country music…a year later we met Conor and Mike in Austin, Texas. We asked Mike if he wanted to produce our next record and he said yes. It was so surreal!”

“It all started because we’re huge Bright Eyes fans, they basically got us into folk and country music,” says Klara of Mike’s involvement with First Aid Kit. “We went to a Monsters of Folk show in our hometown Stockholm in 2009 and went backstage to give Conor Oberst our then unreleased first record. It was a really awkward moment and we thought he’d never listen to it. However, a year later we met Conor and Mike in Austin, Texas. We asked Mike if he wanted to produce our next record and he said yes. It was so surreal!”

“Honestly, it wasn’t a conscious decision at all,” Johanna continues. “The songs just happened to be like this. When we write we try to be as intuitive as possible. Perhaps we’ve been through a lot of things the past couple of years and needed to write about it. It’s been a hectic intense period in our lives. We’ve seen a lot and been through a lot, both career-wise and on a more personal level. However, we’re still writing through characters, we always will. It just happened to be more direct this time around. The characters are more like us, instead of housewives or middle-aged men. That doesn’t mean we won’t write more songs like that in the future though…”

It was clearly a fruitful relationship, as Mike stayed on to produce Stay Gold too. “Mike is such a good listener,” explains Johanna. “He just gets our songs and what they’re about. He realises the importance of the lyrics and conveying the song’s message. That is the most important thing for him and for us. His arrangements really enhance the emotional feel of the song. Mike is such a good musician too, he basically plays every single string instrument on December 2014

Whether writing through characters or from their personal experience, one theme that does seem to recur through several songs is that of longing. “We are constantly on tour so it’s not that strange that the theme of longing creeps its way into the songs. It’s not easy being away from the people you love,” explains Klara.

Another key influence on the siblings is troubled singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt. He died in 1997 without a major hit, yet has been covered and name-checked by such heavyweights as Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, Devendra Banhart and Laura Marling. Johanna says she was attracted by “the vulnerability in his voice. The darkness. The hauntingly pretty string arrangements.” For those unaware of Townes’s particular genius, Klara recommends a good starting place for the uninitiated: “The [1969] selftitled album is a great place to start. All the songs on that record are classics and the production is just perfect. We also love his album Our Mother the Mountain – we were actually very inspired by that record when we made Stay Gold. The way the strings are used in the arrangements is so haunting and beautiful.” Perhaps reflecting their move to a major label, Stay Gold features a more expansive sound, though their January UK headline dates will see First Aid Kit stripping things back to the basics. Probably… “We’ve always tried to keep it simple for the live shows,” says Johanna. “It becomes more intimate that way and you can hear every sound and instrument clearly. People do seem to enjoy the songs we do completely unplugged with just two vocals and a guitar the most at our live shows, which is interesting. Live we play more raw and simple versions of our songs, but we like that it’s a different experience than listening to the record. We’re currently a four-piece on stage but do play with a string quartet for certain bigger shows and it’s so much fun – so we’ll see! Who knows?” The looming tour follows their sell-out 2014 dates, the highlight of which was an 18-months-in-the-planning concert at London’s swanky Royal Albert Hall. “It felt like such a big moment in our career, like a milestone, a highlight,” enthuses Johanna. “Just being there in that huge room where all the legends have played felt so epic. We were so nervous the whole day, the anticipation was just too much. We couldn’t sit still. But then as soon as we started playing it felt great. It was really intimate despite being so big somehow. Perhaps because the crowd was so close to us? Anyway, we will never forget that night.” First Aid Kit are live at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, on January 16, 2015. 27


COMIDA 4 Gordon Road, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9HB comidatapaskitchen.com

0121 439 2800

On a quiet road in Harborne, sat among houses on a suburban street you’ll find this beauty. With its cooking area at the heart of the eatery, Comida Tapas Kitchen is a fitting name. Designed by owner Jade herself, the decor is minimalist with white walls, feature ceiling lights and potted trees. While most tapas dishes are served in Britain as small plates to make up a main meal, here they opt for the Spanish approach – tasty little accompaniments to drinks (that you bring yourself). Having said that, you can order as much as you like, so you do have the option to eat lots of small plates here to make up a main meal. Or you can order one of their large plates.

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Meat-eaters can get their chops round Pork Belly Stew and Meat Platters. There’s a good range of choice for a piscatarian like me. Patatas Bravas are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The Grilled Squid is tender and tasty. While the Manchego Cheese and Quince Jelly are a perfect match, the slivers of cheese might be a little on the slim side for the price. But, as Comida is unlicensed they aren’t making massive mark-ups on alcoholic drinks like other eateries, so you can allow them this, surely? The test of tapas is always the Tortilla Espanola. Comida’s are tops, having the authentic homogeneity of egg and potato, and they are brave to include a good amount of onion

Cuisine: Tapas Price: £22 for 4 tapas Service: Atmosphere: Food: Overall:

to add flavour. There is a lot of garlic mayonnaise as an accompaniment to most dishes, which in my book is a good thing. As we leave, we’re treated to a row of olive oil chocolate each. Adventurous palates will find that it has a taste of dark chocolate with a smooth texture, and it’s enough to make me want a whole bar of it to myself. Comida is the best example of truly independent dining that we’ve had the pleasure of in some time. With a hand-picked family of happy staff, and a menu that changes frequently, there’s added encouragement to return again soon. Ben Calvert

Brum Notes Magazine


SIX OF THE BEST…

CHRISTMAS BEERS By Krishan Rajput, Stirchley Wines & Spirits

Breakfast: Deus Brut des Flandres (Belgium – Bière de Champagne ABV 11% 75cl, £18.49) Begin the day in style with a champagne beer. Made in Belgium and finished in France using champagne production methods, it has the sweetness of a grape and the fruitiness of a dessert apple – it’s all about the bubbles on this one.

APPETISER: The Wild Beer Co – Epic Saison (UK – Saison ABV 5% 330ml, £2.55) Something to fill the gap between breakfast and dinner, how about a farmhouse ale with a fusion of Belgian yeast and American hops, zesty, tangy, spicy? Something to lift your pre dinner munchies.

The Main Event: Hardknott – Queboid (UK – Strong Belgian Ale ABV 8% 330ml, £3.19) A great accompaniment to your Christmas turkey, a big nod to Belgian brewing with a strong citrus nose with spicy, fruity banana and full on golden syrup flavour to a bitter sweet finish. It screams Christmas and deserves to be served with the main meal.

Dessert: Siren – Broken Dream (UK – Oatmeal Stout ABV 6.7% 330ml, £2.75) Breakfast Stout with a gentle touch of smoke, chocolate and coffee, a perfect accompaniment to the Christmas pudding or a slice of chocolate cake.

Walk It Off: Liefmans – Glühkriek (Belgium – Fruit Beer ABV 6.5% 75cl, £6.49) Something to warm you up after that post-Christmas dinner walk, a Belgian fruit beer flavoured with cherries, herbs and spices. Warmed and served at 70°C it’s a great alternative to mulled wine.

Stick A Fork In It, We’re Done: North Coast Brewing – Old Stock Ale 2014 (USA – Barley Wine ABV 11.8% 355ml, £5.75) The perfect way to end the Christmas Day festivities, brewed with classic Maris Otter malt and Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops, it’s a proper boozy barley wine. Roll on Boxing Day!

You can find Stirchley Wines & Spirits at 1535/1537 Pershore Road, Stirchley, Birmingham. Visit www.stichleywines.co.uk or call 0121 459 9936 for opening hours and more information. December 2014

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£105

Still looking for some inspiration for your Christmas shopping? Or after ideas on what to seek out in the January sales? From designer swag to top notch goodies by local independents, here’s a selection of what we’d love to find under our tree this year…

£30

£22

Closed on Monday Matte Moisturiser, Provide, Custard Factory, www.provideshop.com

£59

30

£20

No Fit State Lumberjack t-shirt, No Fit State Clothing, www.nfsclothing.com

Marc by Marc Jacobs gold foil iPhone cover, Selfridges, Bullring

£36

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, Jessops, Temple Row, city centre, www.jessops.com

Johnstons of Elgin checked cashmere scarf, Selfridges, Bullring

£20

Snow Leopard Vodka, Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox, Wharfside ST / Waitrose

The Greatest Albums You’ll Never Hear by Bruno MacDonald, Waterstones, New ST, city centre

Brum Notes Magazine


£82

Otoo Cassette Ring, Bug jewellery, www.thelostlanes.com

FROM

Deezer music streaming subscription cards, 3, 6, 12 months, www.deezer.com

£30

Don Papa Rum Gift Pack, Majestic, Hagley Road, Smethwick

December 2014

£26

Indian Spice Tin and handmade silk cover, Spice Kitchen, www.spicekitchenuk.com

£72

£20

Euston socks, Clements & Church, Church ST, Birmingham, www.clementsandchurch.co.uk

P&Co black denim jacket, www.pand.co

£85

Thierry Mugler Angel perfume, Selfridges, Bullring

£30

REG.

£31

VIP

£71

Christmas special tickets. Festival takes place March 7, 2015, The Bond, Digbeth, www.whiskybirmingham.co.uk

£25

PROVIDE x IMBUE t-shirt, Provide, Custard Factory, www.provideshop.com

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live

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM O2 Academy, Birmingham

Photo by Rob Hadley

23/11/14

A music venue, oddly, seems the wrong outlet for tonight’s show – you really need an open highway, a keg of beer and a pickup truck to complement the sounds in this room. Openers Deer Tick kick up sawdust with the Teenage Fanclub-esque The Curtain and These Old Shoes. They don’t quite maintain this quality (Twenty Miles steers dangerously close to Uncle Kracker territory), but a closing cover of La Bamba makes sure they leave a lasting impression. It’s The Gaslight Anthem the sold-out crowd is here to see though. Opening with stone cold classic The ’59 Sound and lunging into Handwritten, it’s amazing just how far Fallon and co have come – their heart-on-sleeve, asson-bar lyrics, channelled through Springsteen, Buffalo Tom and many more, have a startling connection with so many. The pounding American Slang and the fingerpickin’ good Great Expectations, sung in Fallon’s signature lovelorn, sandpaper-coated howl, are top notch. Latest album, Get Hurt, which once more established them as everyone’s favourite blue-collar rock band, isn’t given much attention tonight aside from the rousing 1,000 Years and a smattering of other songs. This show is all about the classics. A cover of House of the Rising

Sun is feverishly greeted, and as they leave with closing number The Backseat, everyone doffs their flat caps as the New Jersey rockers depart...presumably to the bar. Sam Lambeth

AN EVENING WITH NOEL FIELDING Symphony Hall, Birmingham

LA ROUX

20/11/14

The Institute, Birmingham 08/11/14

An Evening With Noel Fielding is separated into two halves by an interval, as, largely, is its humour. On the formative side, Fielding stands in front of the red curtain performing an hour of stand-up and demonstrates his quick-wittedness and knack for articulation, which really is enjoyable and has all levels of the packed-out Symphony Hall in stitches. In half number two, Fielding opts to roll out his wacky Luxury Comedy show, assisted on stage by some of its players (and The Moon) and the night descends into weirdness for weirdness’ sake, a panto of audience participation which is at least diverting if not actually very funny. It’s difficult not to enjoy the entire performance however, Fielding is an attractive mesh of childlike silliness, psychedelic ramblings and soft furnishings – it’s out of that he’s carved his niche and

La Roux Photo by Andy Hughes

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as an audience of teenage girls and adults who quite often find it comforting to revert to that intoxicating state of Crayola-infused childhood, it’s in that niche we’re happy to indulge him. Amy Sumner

Loyal La Roux fans are not disappointed when Elly Jackson returns to Birmingham in support of Trouble In Paradise, her second full-length album and first record in five years. Lit up to resemble a giant disco ball, The Institute’s main room, occupied by cheering fans of all ages, proves the perfect setting for the bequiffed icon’s dance-orientated style. Kicking off with new album highlight, Let Me Down Gently, the set perfectly blends the funky likes of Jackson’s more recent material (Tropical Chancer and Cruel Sexuality), with earlier favourites such as Fascinations and Colourless Colour. With both drawing similarly enthusiastic reactions, it’s easy to see that the absence of former songwriting partner, Ben Langmaid, has had little impact on the quality of her work. During In For The Kill, the track that first catapulted her to fame, the crowd raises its arms in unison, as if in worship of Jackson’s diminutive figure, passionately ‘oo-ing’ along to the killer electronica of its chorus. Taking obvious influence from 80s synth, tonight La Roux’s nod to the past is delivered with talent rather than irony, her latest Birmingham appearance showcasing a maturity gained from her prolonged hiatus, turning her from guilty pleasure to respected artist in her time away. Lauren Cox Brum Notes Magazine


Curriculum, as this reviewer was), illuminating just what a national institution John Cooper Clarke has become. Amy Sumner

KASABIAN LG Arena, Birmingham 22/11/14

Kasabian Photo by Andy Hughes

BANKS The Institute, Birmingham 17/11/14

The recipient of much critical acclaim, tonight marks the beginning of the ethereal soul diva’s first headline UK tour and the consolidation of her move out of the bedroom and into the very real world of 21st century pop. Well, sort of. Clearly taking influence from St Vincent’s static choreography, the miscommunication between hips and feet on stage marks a set that begins in turmoil. As an exponent of experimental vocal styles and multiple textures, it’d be extremely naive not to expect Banks to pepper her show with studio-assembled bleeps and gurgles. But on Goddess and This Is What It Feels Like, this heavily-treated air proves so thick that it’s often hard to tell where prerecorded sonic trickery ends and live vocals begin. And these are not isolated incidents. There are times, notably during Fuck ‘Em Only We Know, that she slinks into the background and leaves the words free to pour forth from an unoccupied microphone – up until its mid-point, Banks’ set is not augmented, but tarnished, by an overly-polished production, her skeletal and emotionallyfraught poetry smoothed over by the bells and whistles of modern technology. But, as she retreats to the piano, her gateway instrument, in order to “share how all of the songs begin”, she regains some authenticity. Fall Over exposes a hitherto unheard emaciated warble and the bluesy groove of Come Closer is delivered with previously non-existent intensity. It’s the cue for a complete overhaul in approach that does away with the studio gloss almost completely. On record, Banks’ songs contain the hallmarks of a first-class December 2014

songstress. But her peculiar brand of moody and doe-eyed funk still needs to be perfected in a live setting. Is this possible? We’ll just have to play the waiting game. Dan Owens

JOHN COOPER CLARKE Town Hall, Birmingham 23/10/14

“Unfortunately, I arrived too late to hand in the guestlist tonight. Luckily, everybody I know in the area, well their names happen to rhyme,” introduces the bard of Salford before reciting his Official Guestlist. It’s beautiful if slightly bizarre to see John Cooper Clarke perform in such a grand surround, his punk poetry so inextricably linked as it always has been to the dingy punk rock circuit of the late 70s. Newer material Necrophilia (a haiku: ‘Fed up with foreplay / And all that palaver? A / Vada Kedavra’) and Hire Car are interspersed around old favourites Beasley Street, Evidently Chicken Town and, of course, Twat – and his offhand remarks throughout demonstrate the natural quick wit and eloquence which always characterised his popularity (“this one’s written in the same tune for your convenience.”) At one point someone shouts down from the balcony “John, is there a God?”, which clearly throws him, sending him off into an unfortunate and slightly uncomfortable ramble through song and frantic flicking through his notebook before he’s able to pick up again – a case in point if ever there was one for keeping your mouth shut in the audience. Once all is restored though we’re on our way again and treated to an encore of I Wanna Be Yours, recently popularised again by Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys (who was probably introduced to Cooper Clarke by the National

Tom Meighan, Serge Pizzorno and the boys launch first into Bumblebeee, a wall of sound built on top of Serge’s wails and bludgeoning guitar and the gallop of Shoot the Runner before the sweeping Where Did All The Love Go? gives fans time to catch their breath. The Leicester band perform the perfect setlist with songs from their latest album 48:13 slotting seamlessly in amongst the classics. They even dust off the Gallagheresque folky strum Thick As Thieves, tonight dedicated to Serge’s dad, Richard. Of the new songs, Clouds is suitably soaring, Treat displays the layered bleeps so prominent on their debut, and the infectious Eez-eh sees the Birmingham audience jump up in unison. “Do you think they can handle what’s coming next, Serge?” enquires Tom, “this is gonna knock you out.” He’s not far wrong – building from its chugging intro, Fire has lost none of its potency, a fist-pumping anthem which gets even the most conservative fans dancing. Club Foot and its jet-black guitar motif sounds like a juggernaut, the swashbuckling Empire is a call-to-arms and closer LSF has the crowd singing its ‘la la la’ hook all the way back to the car park. If it was ever in doubt, Kasabian proved again on Saturday why they’re one of the planet’s best live bands. “Birmingham, you are fucking empire,” shouts Meighan. So are you, Tom. So are you. Sam Lambeth

MOTORHEAD NIA, Birmingham 06/11/14

After recently seeing off Mr Grim Reaper, Motorhead main man Lemmy Kilmister could be forgiven for wanting to curl up on a rocking chair and mainline Werther’s Originals. Instead, quite possibly against all medical advice, he got back on the road and is playing some pretty ambitiously sized venues on this latest tour. From the addictively riffy wild west (Midlands) rock out of Shoot You In The Back, Lemmy and co do more for hearing aid sales than anyone else in metal. Mikkey Dee drums like a man on a mission to spontaneously combust (he actually succeeds in stopping the show twice by destroying bits of his kit), whilst bandmate Phil Campbell prowls the stage cranking out one killer riff 33


Jamie T Photo by Jonathan Morgan

after another. At the heart of it all, eyes to the sky as ever, Lemmy grunts out the lyrics as hundreds of denim and leather clad fans worship at the mole-ter. The voice is rougher than ever, a lifetime of Marlborough Reds and Jack D will do that, but given that many of the songs are all about overdoing it you really wouldn’t want it any other way. Tearing tracks from albums old and new the entire set’s a lesson in how to rock ‘til you drop (and you get the impression that’s just how Lemmy will finally check out one day), with highlights Damage Case, Doctor Rock and Killed By Death (the last two featuring truly mind blowing drum solos) getting a small but enthusiastic moshpit going. Ace of Spades, which sees the trio joined by exmember ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke (Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor is also in attendance) will always be their killer track though and tonight it seems to take on a new meaning. At nearly 70 and with a dodgy ticker, surely Lemmy’s literally gambling with his life at every gig now but, as the lyrics go ‘The pleasure is to play’. And to watch, Mr Kilmister…and to watch. Daron Billings

MARIKA HACKMAN The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham 13/11/15

Known for her dark slant on indie folk, Marika Hackman lulls you into a false sense of security. Deep Green introduces Hackman’s set. It’s filled with angst – tales of knives and blood go unnoticed behind the Nicolike vocals layered with deceptively upbeat rhythms. Though she jokes around with the audience between songs, it doesn’t intrude on the solemn tone under the melancholic broodiness. Left unaided for Retina Television, Hackman never elaborates too much but her poetic lyrics leave the crowd entranced. Mixing older tracks with new material from her forthcoming debut album We 34

Slept At Last, it’s easy to see how far she’s come with even darker imagery in her lullabies. Although a cover of Joanna Newsom’s 81 may seem chancy, Hackman does it more than justice with the same otherworldly approach as in her own material making it seem like one of her own. Marika Hackman brings more than just folk, her personal approach stripping it back to reveal something more gothic and haunting. If the album sounds as good when it comes out as it does live, there’s a lot to look forward to. Becky Rogers

JAMIE T O2 Academy, Birmingham 13/11/14

Vanishing from the public eye shortly after the release of his second album Kings & Queens, it’s been a long time since Jamie T has ventured into our neck of the woods. Inactive for half a decade and susceptible to panic attacks in his youth, tonight, you’d be forgiven for expecting him to crumble under the pressure of recapturing the ferocity that made his early gigs so intoxicating. But, proving the doubters wrong, the street-slumming privileged kid’s riotous near-90 minute show bears little trace of stage rust. With a pool of new songs at his disposal and a reshuffled band keeping everything in check, his return to Birmingham is, as he wails in characteristic South London snarl throughout Operation’s scratchy reggae, quite unmistakably ‘all thriller, no filler’. Bounding on stage to profane football-terrace style chants, his face obscured by a tight-fitting cap, it’s with slight trepidation that he approaches the set’s opening two tracks, Limits Lie and Don’t You Find. Yet, despite both being plucked from his latest album Carry on the Grudge, their contagious choruses coax passionate singalongs more usually reserved for the classics, putting him at ease and heralding a brisk first

half-hour that is top-heavy with new material. It’s clear that Treays (yep, he has a real surname) is not here to re-hash the past, but when he does, we re-live the joyous sonic innovation and swagger that triggered his mid-noughties pomp. The bedroom-grown and sample-happy likes of Salvador and The Man’s Machine still bristle with mischief and Spider’s Web loses none of its ukulele-led, quasi-political charm. Visibly more confident in his older work, he pogoes through 368 and So Lonely Was the Ballad’s electrifying verse, rap hands and all, before shelving his impressive motor-mouthing for an affecting solo version of Emily’s Heart and then inciting the launch of a bevy of lager-filled cups during Sheila’s bracing encore. As an articulate chronicler of London and life’s edgy fringes, Jamie T is one of the closest things that we have to a modern day Joe Strummer. Dan Owens

SLAVES The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton 16/11/14

Thanks to Jools Holland, Slaves are getting a mainstream buzz. But could they bring it on a wet Sunday evening? Yes. Yes they could. First though, openers Angry Lennox had a lot going on – intelligent 90s proto-emo (think Dinosaur Jr. at their catchiest) with the odd hardcore punk flourish, all driven along by a Mayan warrior priest on drums. For real. God Damn are the non-pop, ultra-heavy Royal Blood, to paraphrase the old NME. And this hairy experiment with decibels alternately grooved, fuzzed and loosened your bowels. The shockwave these two human beings produce has to be experienced first-hand. Central to this musical equivalent of aerial carpet bombing is drummer Ash Weaver, a cross between Animal out the muppets and a bricklayer’s apprentice circa 1971, who basically channels the spirit of John Bonham, combining cataclysmic brute force with an unpretentious sense of swing. And then Slaves. The set-up is unique (a frontman on drums…standing?) but the true genius of Slaves is their simplicity. A bare minimum of instrumental fuss enables the blazing personalities of this pair of Maidstone wideboys to take centre stage. There’s as much story-telling and space in what they do as there is nuts-tight visceral garage-punk fury. There’s nothing fancy about stuff like Beauty Quest or Girl Fight. It’s just a little fella hammering his kit and telling you about the things that annoy him, while his mate cuts in with perfectly-timed riffs. But the result is anti-pop gold. Ed Ling

Brum Notes Magazine


December 2014

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album reviews

THE BEST ALBUMS OF

2 14

What end of year edition would be complete without a rundown of the top albums of the past 12 months? Well, here to help you finalise your Christmas list, we take you through the most highlyrated records to adorn our album review pages in 2014 – alongside some more top choices that definitely demand your attention…

Beaty Heart Mixed Blessings What we said: This is a beautiful work of upbeat psychedelic pop, inextricably indebted to Animal Collective but wearing its heart on its sleeve as it does so, building upon the foundations which that band laid and making it their own, their beating tribal heart running right through the middle of it, binding it together, a coursing red ribbon through its very veins. Beaty Heart layer and texture their way to an intricate album that gets better with each listen and the discovery of hidden strands you’d before listened past. Amy Sumner

SUPERFOOD Don’t Say That What we said: After being heavily compared to Blur, labelled as Britpop revivalists, and thrown in with the B-Town lot (over which the national fervour appears to have fizzled out by now), Superfood have worked hard to make space for themselves. On Don’t Say That they now finally just sound like themselves. On top of this, they’ve made the catchiest album of the year. By all accounts, this is a debut album to be proud of. Tom Clabon

DAMIEN RICE My Favourite Faded Fantasy What we said: There is no doubt that Damien Rice fans who have waited so patiently for such a long time will absolutely adore this album. Fans of intelligent and inventive songwriting, you’ll love it too. Ben Russell

Flying Lotus You’re Dead What we said: From the extra-terrestrial quasi hip hop of Obligatory Cadence to the Bohemian Rhapsody-esque 36

stylings of Descent Into Madness, FlyLo weaves an immense tapestry, with every thread adding to the picture as a whole. Will Pace

PHILIP SELWAY Weatherhouse What we said: Mild-mannered in delivery, the record doesn’t scratch as violently at scars as, say, some of John Lennon’s early solo work, but there’s plenty here to suggest that Selway’s life hasn’t exactly been packed full of smiles. Poignant and pondering, Weatherhouse is the sound of a man forced to stifle his creativity for so long at the peak of his creative powers, with absolutely everything in its right place. Hail to the drummer! Dan Owens

Scott Matthews Home Part 1 What we said: Without the firm hand of a seasoned producer, Scott has nonetheless produced a remarkable, layered recording. Though he does call on close friends (brother Darren, Sam Martin and Danny Keane), he also plays the majority of instruments himself (guitars, piano, bass, harmonica, percussion). It’s a remarkable feat, with tracks such as The Night Is Young both rich and subtle. Home Part 1 – backed by a solid game-plan – should be the album that sets Scott back on the path he began with his debut, way back in 2006. A success on every level. David Vincent

Dark Horses Hail Lucid State What we said: The album combines krautrock rhythms, snarling guitars and Swedish singer Lisa Elle’s vocals, morphing through Karen O cool-cut breathiness to Siouxsie Sioux post-punk shrill. Album opener Live On Hunger perfectly demonstrates this, a track

that is hatched from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Mosquito and transforms into a swirling, psych drama. Andrew Gutteridge

KONGOS Lunatic What we said: In the case of Kongos – brothers Jesse, Johnny, Daniel and Dylan – the dynamic is a curious one. While their Kwaito-tinged musical ensemble is comprehensive, their contrast of personalities makes them utterly compelling. With each brother writing individually, the divergence of styles and influences is quadrophenic. Sibling rivalry has never sounded so good. Stephen Brolan

Jaws Be Slowly What we said: Each song is made to sound as big as it possibly can, with every note allowed to echo and reverberate. Subtle details are also quietly noticeable with the odd accentuated sigh here and the dreamy ‘ooh’ there. That’s what Jaws do best, ever so slightly understating gargantuan pop songs that in the hands of another band would sound a lot different. This is pop music for shy people and they’ll find a home in Be Slowly. Jack Parker

Glass Animals Zaba What we said: Zaba is the sultry and seductive debut from fourpiece Oxfordshire band Glass Animals. The band were born almost as a happy accident when singer/songwriter Dave Bayley’s insomnia developed whilst studying at medical school…The result is a smart and infectious yet equally danceable record, which promises much for a band in their early stages. If Zaba is the outcome of no shut eye, then who needs sleep anyway? Matthew Way Brum Notes Magazine


THE WYTCHES Annabel Dream Reader What we said: The dark side of psychedelia is ever-present in The Wytches’ debut. Their riotous sound kicks in straight away, slightly softened by their application of surf pop which is apparent in the bends of Weights and Ties, this conflicts nicely with the grungy, heavier likes of Gravedweller and Digsaw…Psychedelia has been painted black. Becky Rogers

King Creosote From Scotland with Love What we said: From Scotland with Love is an exquisite collaboration that offers an honest journey into Scotland’s past, in which Creosote presents a voice to director Virginia Heath’s silent characters [in the accompanying documentary] who emerge to share their stories. Saima Razzaq

TELEMAN Breakfast What we said: It’s a varied record with elements of kraut and whimsical intelli-pop, in fact there is a lot of elements in play but simultaneously it’s pleasingly naive and minimalistic. Amy Sumner

Sharon Van Etten Are We There What we said: Are We There, Van Etten’s latest demonstration of steely courage in the face of adversity, carries a weight of expectation, but it shoulders the burden well…Van Etten’s world remains as turbulent, fragile and strangely beautiful as ever. Dan Cooper-Gavin

Parquet Courts Sunbathing Animal What we said: There are definite elements of country and blues and good old rock’n’roll embedded in the genes of Sunbathing Animal, and nice elements of oddity that definitely impress, but there is also a nagging feeling of familiarity on occasions…As a collection, Sunbathing Animal has a distinct lineage, harking back to the days of oddball subversions and distortions of an overused art form, and for this it should be praised. Katie Duffy

EMBRACE Embrace What we said: If you’re going to return after a long stint away – as might be the case with a reconciled relationship – yours is an obligation to demonstrate change, while also retaining the essence of what December 2014

made love happen in the first place…They’re back, and Embrace are truly reaching out – an absence that has truly made the heart grow fonder. Scintillating, spellbinding, a masterpiece. What more can you ask for? Stephen Brolan

bridging – Lost Forever, Lost Together is as dark and punishing as you like. And has some interesting things to say. Genuinely raging post-metalcore. Veritably filled with passionate intensity. Ed Ling

DAMON ALBARN

James Vincent McMorrow

Everyday Robots What we said: The album’s truest gem and final track, Heavy Seas Of Love, is a gospel-led sea shanty that reveals in its playfulness an earnest heart that exposes Damon Albarn to be the big humanitarian softie we always suspected he was. Stephen Brolan

Post Tropical What we said: Post Tropical is the work of a man seemingly determined to plough his own musical furrow. The wispy falsettos are accompanied by an ethereal backdrop, punctuated by touches of electronica, but more successfully using orchestral flourishes to add a real depth to his sound. All in all, a hauntingly layered record with some moments of majesty. Chris Moriarty

The Amazing Snakeheads Amphetamine Ballads What we said: The result is a series of brooding, booze-soaked urban tableaux of addled sexual longing, casual violence, frustrated hope and self-loathing. And great fun it is too. Ed Ling

HOWLER World of Joy What we said: The album begins with a few quiet cowbell strikes, but don’t let that deceive you: what follows is an outrageously infectious explosion of Husker Dü-tinged energy. This is the anthemic Al’s Corral, where the band add chorus to their trademark fuzzy guitars. Tom Roden

Eagulls Eagulls What we said: There is aggression, attitude, noise, swearing, shouting, grit, determination, and catchy tunes. The final track is called Soulless Youth. And it’s hard to think of a better way of describing the sound of this band than that. Jon Pritchard

Johnny Foreigner You Can Do Better What we said: The first two seconds of Junior Laidley’s drums on opener Shipping make it apparent that this record doesn’t merely demand your attention, but waggles its big hairy nethers in your face, forcing you to submit to its abrasive majesty. Andy Roberts

Architects Lost Forever, Lost Together What we said: A seething mass of apocalyptic slamming, cleverly pulsating guitar work, scream-a-rama vocals, blastbeats and the occasional burst of harmonic

Peggy Sue Choir of Echoes What we said: What we have in Choir of Echoes are 13 eloquently crafted tracks that seamlessly merge into a postfolk phenomenon. Think Feist meets My Morning Jacket. You may not instantly be drawn into this release but it’s definitely worth making time for a couple of listens, it’s a grower. Saima Razzaq

Wild Beasts Present Tense What we said: Guitars have been traded for delicate electronics and personal explorations for those of the world around us, but retaining those hauntingly trademark vocals, it’s a return to form indeed for Wild Beasts… Amy Sumner

THE BEST OF THE REST: HONEYBLOOD – Honeyblood WILEY – Snakes and Ladders ALVVAYS – Alvvays FUTURE ISLANDS – Singles FKA twigs – LP1 JUNGLE – Jungle HOOKWORMS – The Hum CHILDHOOD – Lacuna KING TUFF – Black Moon Spell EAST INDIA YOUTH – Total Strife Forever

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2015

new year’s eve in brum: top picks

here we come Ready for the biggest night of the year? If not, now’s your chance, as we take you through some of the best New Year’s Eve parties taking place across Birmingham, helping you to launch yourself into 2015 in style… Hare & Hounds: New Year’s Eve

Shut Up and Skank NYE Bruk Out

All bases covered? Pretty much! Venue 1 sees Jam Hott, up from the Bull’s Head, battle it out with R’n’R sleazeballs Killer Wave as Ben Dunn, DJ Mylz, Knicker Bocker Corey, Joel Webster and Richard Buckley present a night of hip hop, bass, party breaks, disco, house. Meanwhile, it’s Sweat in Venue 2, with Cheesedip and Joolz Belgium heading down the funk, soul, Acid Jazz and rare groove route, and High Fidelity DJs downstairs, spinning indie New Wave classics. Time: From 9pm Tickets: £10 adv Hare and Hounds, High St, Kings Heath Details: hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk

Suki10c, Digbeth’s eye-catching bastion of all things bass and under-the-radar raving, is urging you to get your skank on this NYE, with the promise that pure jungle and D’n’B DJ sets from the likes of Kenny Ken, Aries, Tim Ryan, Cautious, Pidge and Cheshire Cat will “blow your minds and skank your pants.” If that sounds like the perfect way to see in 2015, then step up – this one keeps going well into the early hours of New Year’s Day. Time: 9.30pm-5am Tickets: £10 adv Suki10c, Bordesley Street, Digbeth Details: www.facebook.com/Suki10c

Global Gathering Presents NYE While the festival takes a break next year, you can still get yer GG kicks with their sure-to-sell-out New Year’s Eve marathon. At the time of going to press, the line-up is Wilkinson, reggae geezer David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan, Friction and special guest, cut’n’paste hero Jaguar Skills, with more acts TBA. Time: From 9pm Tickets: £19.50 adv The Institute, Digbeth Details: mamacolive.com/theinstitute

Propaganda’s Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve Blow Out! The UK’s biggest indie night promises “unforgettable production, extravagance, unrestrained partying” with an audio-visual mix of new and classic tunes in the main room, ‘Pop’aganda (pop, dance and D’n’B) in Room 2, and Digital Disco (electro, house and dubstep) in Room 3. The ticket includes free entry into any Propaganda night nationwide during January. Happy New Year! Time: From 9pm Tickets: £11.25 std; £22.50 VIP O2 Academy Birmingham, Horsefair Details: www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk

Photo by Wayne Fox

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Brum Notes Magazine


David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan, Global Gathering Presents NYE

Aloha NYE! Two floors of “tropical mayhem” featuring hip hop, soul and rock’n’roll in the main bar, courtesy of Takin’ Care of Business, and swingin’ tunes in Tiki with Shimmy Shimmy Ya’s Enchantment Under The Sea Dance. Plus themed cocktails and blow-up seagulls (‘cos Brum city centre obviously doesn’t have enough real seagulls). Time: From 9pm Tickets: From £8 (limited) Island Bar, Suffolk St Details: www.bar-island.co.uk

Snobs New Year’s Eve Gav La Jones, Dave Southam and DJ Deafout head for 2015 with two rooms of “indie beats and retro treats.” Time: From 10pm Tickets: £6 adv/ £10 door Snob, Smallbrook Queensway Details: www.snobsnightclub.co.uk

The Blind Pig Prohibition Night The Rainbow NYE 2014 Billed as “The Rainbow’s last ever street party” (sob) the multi-venue complex pulls out the stops with a hometown bass-heavy headliner set from Hannah Wants, who is continuing to make her name internationally. She’ll be joined by German Brigante, Tuccilo and piles more courtesy of FACE, 02:31 and Seedy Sonics, Silent Noize and Fidget, amongst others – 6am curfew too. Time: From 9pm Tickets: From £15-£25 The Rainbow Venues, Digbeth Details: www.therainbowvenues.co.uk

Bull’s Head: Enter The Dragon An ETD NYE Special as Jem Atkins, Phil Swayer and Steve Kelley keep the night going with “Loft/ House Classics” in the 100-capacity upstairs room, inspired by Godskitchen’s famed 1996 Dragon Bar at the Sanctuary. A vinyl-only party from DJs whose guest-slots have included Bakers, SLAG, Tin Tins and Sundissential. Keeping the vibe going downstairs (free entry) are Dwnlwd and Friends. Time: From 9pm Tickets: £10 Bull’s Head, St Mary’s Row, Moseley Details: bullsheadmoseley.co.uk

THE Sun at the Station: The Party with Chicks Dig Jerks They say the best things in life are free – and whether you believe that or not, The Sun at the Station is at least determined to prove that the best night out of the year can be. Taking inspiration from a house party vibe, with a relaxed atmosphere, free entry and an eclectic soundtrack from Chicks Dig Jerks DJs. Dance if you want to, or just December 2014

enjoy the tunes if you don’t, dress up or dress down, this is a laid-back party in your laid-back Kings Heath boozer. The perfect way to enjoy a fuss-free NYE with your pals. Time: 7pm until late Tickets: Free entry The Sun at The Station, Kings Heath Details: twitter.com/sunatthestation

Swingamajig New Year’s Eve The ultimate retro night as it’s time to “party like it’s 1929”. Four floors of entertainment, with live bands, DJs, dancers, performers, magic, visual art, and more, all curated by the Electric Swing Circus. Ragtime Records serve up a selection of electro swing and gypsy folk in the main room, while the Attic Room covers everything from rock’n’roll and reggae to party breaks and drum’n’bass thanks to rolling 1hr DJ slots. Braces on? Flapper dresses ready? Time: From 9pm Tickets: From £15 adv Alfie Bird’s/The Oobleck, Custard Factory Details: theoobleck.co.uk

Madame Moonshine and Blind Pig present more 1920s themed shenanigans, with DJs, gaming table, fancy dress, live band, and plenty of Blind Pig Cider. Oink oink! Time: From 7pm Tickets: From £10 / £15 The Victoria, John Bright St Details: www.thevictoriabirmingham.co.uk

New Year’s Eve Comedy Want to start 2015 with a smile on your face? Four top comedians, in the shape of Andy Robinson, Rob Deering, Mickey D and Nathan Caton, lead celebrations at The Glee Club, where you can enjoy an evening of stand-up, the comfort of pre-ordered drinks and food delivered to your seats, before the big midnight countdown and a disco until late. Time: 7.30pm Tickets: £30 The Glee Club, The Arcadian Details: www.glee.co.uk

New Year’s Eve Rockabilly Spectacular A night of jumpin’ jivin’ twistin’ 1950s nostalgia headlined by rock-tight rockabilly trio The Delray Rockets. Plus, burlesque with Nenedhel Absynthium, DeVelvet Empire Steampunk Emporium, American Diner-themed food and Rockin’ Dan, who only plays 50s vinyl records. It’s like The Beatles never happened… Time: From 7pm Tickets: £10 The Roadhouse, Lifford Lane, Stirchley Details: www.theroadhousebirmingham.com 39


gigs

Photo by Wayne Fox

Peace

PICK

The Institute, January 24 A homecoming gig that is sure to blow away those January cobwebs. With a much-anticipated second album, Happy People, set to be unveiled in February and an ever-growing fanbase, Peace will be looking to ram home their reputation as the flag-bearers of Birmingham’s guitar music resurgence of recent years. Can they still woo a Brummie crowd the way they always did in their early days in Digbeth? Only one way to find out…

Milk Teeth

The Sunflower Lounge, December 18 The perfect chance to see one of the bands we’re tipping for a very exciting 2015. Get in while you can to catch them in the environment that suits them best – tight, intimate and sweaty. They’ve gigged relentlessly during the past year, racking up some wild live shows and stellar support slots, but this headline appearance should see them really coming into their own. With nods to Nirvana and Pixies, expect a wall of sound undercut by stabbing guitar riffs. Support comes from Swerve, Vault of Eagles and Curb. Explosive stuff.

NINA NESBITT

The Glee Club, December 8 Mixing the lustrous folk of Laura Marling with the mainstream appeal of Ed Sheeran, Edinburghborn singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt has spent the past few months opening shows for heartstealing boy band The Vamps. Fresh from firing up screaming teens, she brings her chart-friendly acoustic pop to The Glee Club this winter, putting the finishing touches to her finest year to date.

SAINT SAVIOUR and BILL RYDER-JONES Hare & Hounds, December 8

Fans of The Coral and Groove Armada will be no strangers to the talents of Bill Ryder-Jones 40

and Saint Saviour. After leaving their respective collectives behind in pursuit of solo careers, the two divergent Northerners came together when the dance-oriented vocalist enlisted Ryder-Jones (noted for stellar studio work with The Wytches and Arctic Monkeys and the evocative nature of his own soundtrack-inspired solo records) as producer for her introspective second album, In The Seams. Now, backed by the fleeting strings of the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, the two co-headline a range of dates in support of this majestic joint work, and will be certain to mix in some of their separate solo material for good measure too.

The Crooked Hooks

BYRON HARE

JJM Club Night ft Dead Sea Skulls, Modern Minds and Regale

The Sunflower Lounge, December 9 Active for just shy of 18 months, soulful Redditch six-piece Byron Hare have certainly wasted no time in getting themselves noticed. Frequenters of the local touring circuit, their debut recording, Sleep on the Fire – the first EP to be released on Redditch record shop Death or Glory’s own imprint – perfectly captured their moody blues on record, and has since received regular airplay on Radio 1, as well as earning plenty of admirers elsewhere. With all signs pointing to success and bigger venues next on the agenda, enjoy them in an intimate setting while you still can.

Bull’s Head, December 14

Jim Lowe, Saul Hillier and Davey B write and tell the stories of Edgbaston through the eyes of a bunch of skewed characters. These songs are laugh-out-loud observations with an upfront Ian Dury delivery and madcap Captain Beefheart touches. Streetwise Brummie psych folk rock at its very best. And 2015 looks to be their year as they came from nowhere to second place in the ReverbNation Regional Folk Charts, just behind Scott Matthews. They headline the Bohemian Jukebox Sunday Social at The Bull’s Head on Sunday, December 14.

JJM Studios, Walsall, January 10

Showing no signs of taking it easy for January, the recently-launched club night in the confines of this impressive Walsall recording studio has gone from strength to strength. And January sees it launch itself into the new year with one of its strongest lineups yet, with the swaggering melodies of Regale, stylish indie rock of Modern Minds and the energetic garage punk of Dead Sea Skulls. Special offers on drinks on the night will help ease the pressure on your post-Christmas budget too.

Brum Notes Magazine


club nights

FACE PRESENTS JORIS VOORN

PICK

NextDoor & Spotlight, December 13

Dutch label owner (Rejected, Green) and house DJ Joris Voorn plays an exclusive Birmingham date as part of a select few UK shows this season. Gaining notoriety for his modern take on Detroit techno, Voorn has performed at various festivals including Awakenings, Space Ibiza and Sensation, as well as appearing in Pete Tong’s Essential Mix. Expect a party in true Face style, venturing away from their usual home at The Rainbow for the equally edgy surroundings of NextDoor & Spotlight, nestled under the Digbeth arches.

Lone

Alfie Bird’s, December 5 Kicking off a heavyweight weekend double-header from Astrx, Friday night brings East Midlands electronic experimentalist Lone to the beating heart of clubbing at the Custard Factory. Effortlessly blending hip hop, house, rave and Detroit tech, Lone – aka Matt Cutler – is one of the most exciting producers around right now. And he knows how to work a dancefloor too.

CREAM BIRMINGHAM 8TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY

The Rainbow Warehouse, December 6 Riding the swells of the first acid house wave, the legendary Cream brand has come to define two generations of clubbers. This celebration of eight years in Birmingham features a debut in the city from Grammy-winning Brooklyn DJ David Morales, as well as Danny Rampling and Tall Paul amongst others. Three rooms of Cream anthems, eight years to celebrate – be sure to get your beauty sleep in the night before.

SENSATERIA VOL III FEATURING THE DIALS AND GOLDEN GLASS The Old Printworks, December 12

After 2013’s instalment with Night Beats and part two featuring The Orange Revival earlier in the year, the wonderful world of Sensateria returns December 2014

one last time for 2014 to bid farewell to the year in another unique underground venue. With live sets from Brighton’s The Dials and Birmingham’s own Golden Glass, plus DJ sets from Ben Drummond (Wax Truths) and Craig Wagstaff (The Darkside) as well as Sensateria residents Mack & Pete Feely playing the best in 60s Garage and Psych, expect the unexpected from this legendary longrunning nighttime affair.

and producer combining dynamic and spiritual prowess with high energy roots-reggae sounds. Considered the forefather of UK dub yet performing at the same time with live instrumentation, Jah Shaka’s strict Rastafarian attitude combined with his all-inclusive milieu has earned him fans as diverse as The Disciples, Prince Allah and Basement Jaxx.

JAH SHAKA SOUND

Hare & Hounds, January 24

Rainbow Warehouse, December 20 With over 40 years in the business, Jah Shaka is a legendary reggae/dub soundsystem operator

CRAIG CHARLES

Actor and BBC Radio 6 DJ Craig Charles brings his Funk & Soul Club to the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath once again. Playing the best in funk, soul, acid jazz, Motown and disco, Charles’ sets have sold out this venue time and again. With support from Sam Redmore and Soul Food Soundsystem, this show promises to beat those January blues.

GODSKITCHEN AND TRANCECODA PRESENT: AS ONE Boxxed, January 3

Two heavyweights of the Midlands Trance scene come together in a 2,000-capacity warehouse space to set 2015 off with a bang. Featuring sets from John O’Callaghan, Genix and The Thrillseekers amongst others across two rooms, there’ll be lasers, pyrotechnics and heck, even fire. You can also upgrade to VIP for a Champagne reception. 41


arts & culture

Uncle Ben’s Festive Block Party The Drum, December 18-21

PICK

This year’s irreverent Christmas offering from the UK’s foremost intercultural arts centre comes from the pen of local writer Rem Conway. Grumpy old Ben has been laid up all year, but he decides to celebrate the festive season by showing some goodwill to all men and arranging a huge blowout for the neighbours. Described as a ‘one of a kind’ pantomime, don’t expect the course of party-planning to run too smoothly along the way. But can he manage to pull it off...?

Darren Banks, The Raven

New Art Gallery Walsall, from Dec 4 Mike Raven was one of the very first presenters on Radio 1, but he did much more than broadcast blues music to the nation. He was also a ballet dancer, photographer and horror actor, before jacking it all in for a life as a farmer and wood carver in Cornwall. On discovering a family link to Raven, artist Darren Banks set about creating

a series of works in response to his maverick life. Amongst the pieces on display in Walsall will be a new installation from Banks as well as one of Raven’s own sculptures.

City of Colours Winter Showcase Custard Factory, December 6

Following the glittering success of their festival in September, City of Colours return to Digbeth for a Christmas-themed celebration of street art. There’ll be more than 30 local artists in action, with graffiti battles and workshops alongside screen printing in the Market Hall and breakdancing in The Oobleck. That’s not to mention the retro gaming, DJs, affordable art sale and a gigantic Christmas market.

Ghost Stories For Christmas

Old Joint Stock, December 17-18 Don’t Go Into The Cellar! are a macabre local combo who specialise in theatrical Victoriana, giving the old tales a modern multimedia twist. This one-man show recalls the BBC’s 1970s fright fest A Ghost Story For Christmas, with the performance bolstered by chilling lighting and sound. With the added threat of audience participation, this is not your relaxing Christmas evening. 42

Oh No It Isn’t!

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Dec 6-27 Back in Coventry for Christmas 2014 is this seasonal comedy thriller from local writer Nick Walker. The play follows the cast of a pantomime who, it transpires, are all embroiled in a real-life plot to kill each other. Fun for all the family it’s not, but it’s a devilish alternative to Jack & the Beanstalk.

Fleabag

The Rep, January 14-17 With an Olivier nomination and a raft of ecstatic reviews, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s X-rated, darkly comic one-hander sees a woman lay bare her sex life during a job interview. It heads to Birmingham following a sell-out run at Soho Theatre, so get in early for tickets. Plus, entry includes a free cocktail, which sounds like a great take on the January sales to us.

Unknown Male

The Rep, January 28-31 The world premiere of the new play from acclaimed writer Stephanie Ridings, in which a family attempt to come to terms with tragedy. This performance is made especially poignant by the fact that the script was written during her time on The Rep’s own Foundry writer development programme. Brum Notes Magazine


WHAT’S ON

KEY TO LISTINGS: M = LIVE MUSIC CN = CLUB NIGHT C = COMEDY

BIRMINGHAM: O2 Academy, Horsefair, Bristol St B1, 0844 4772000; The Institute, High St, Digbeth B5, 0844 2485037; NIA, King Edwards Rd B1, 0121 7804141; LG Arena, NEC, Solihull B40, 0121 7804141; The Flapper, Kingston Row B1, 0121 2362421; The Victoria, John Bright St B1, 0121 6339439; Hare & Hounds, High St, Kings Heath B14, 0121 4442081; The Actress & Bishop, Ludgate Hill B3, 0121 2367426; The Sunflower Lounge, Smallbrook Queensway B5, 0121 6327656; Symphony Hall, Broad St B1, 0121 7803333; Town Hall, Victoria Sq B3, 0121 7803333; Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Kings Heath B14, 0121 4434725; Alexandra Theatre, Station St B1, 0844 8472302; Bull’s Head, St Marys Row, Moseley B13, 0121 2567777; Island Bar, Suffolk St B1, 0121 6325296; The Jam House, St Pauls Sq B3, 0121 2003030; Ort, Moseley Rd, Balsall Heath, B12; The Asylum, Hampton St, Hockley B19, 0121 2331109; The Rainbow, High St, Digbeth B12, 0121 7728174; Adam & Eve, Bradford St, Digbeth B12, 0121 6931500; The Rose Villa Tavern, Warstone Lane, B18, 0121 2367910; The Yardbird, Paradise Place B3, 0121 2122524; The Glee Club, The Arcadian, Hurst St B5, 0871 4720400; MAC, Cannon Hill Park B12, 0121 4463232; Nightingale, Kent St B5, 0121 6221718; Scruffy Murphys, The Priory Queensway B4, 0121 2362035; The Wagon & Horses, Adderley St, Digbeth B9, 0121 7721403; Lab11, Trent St B5, lab11.co.uk; The Moseley Arms, Ravenhurst St B12, 0121 7668467; Alfie Bird’s/The Oobleck, The Custard Factory B9, 0121 270 6665; Suki10c, Bordesley Street B5; Gatecrasher, Broad St B15, 0121 633 1520 Monday, Dec 1 Baby Godzilla M I The Breather M CN Jam Jah Reggae

M M M M M M M M M M M C M M M M M M M M CN C C

The Oobleck

Birmingham

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

M M M M M M M M M

Tuesday, Dec 2 Ordre Etern + Coagul + Unbecome Janet Devlin

The Wagon & Horses Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

The Wytches

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Defiled

The Slade Rooms

Wolverhampton

Wednesday, Dec 3 Alright Weds ft Heard

Island Bar

Birmingham

Electric Six

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Basement Jaxx

The Institute

Birmingham

Hacktivist

The Institute

Birmingham

Breed 77 + Protafield

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Beans On Toast

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Jack Garratt + The Mispers Craig Murray

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

CN

The Glee Club

Birmingham

CN

O2 Academy

Birmingham

Tyrannosaurus Nebulous The Hell

Subside

Birmingham

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Low Derive + Question The Mark Any Trouble

The Wagon & Horses Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

CN

Kings Heath

C

Culture Dub Orchestra

Bull’s Head

Moseley

Hourglass

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

Ben Howard

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Tiki Thursday ft Sam Redmore Rob Rouse

Island Bar

Birmingham

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Manilla Road Comedy

The Victoria

Birmingham

Thursday, Dec 4 Boyz II Men

December 2014

Kings Heath

M M M CN CN

CN

Friday, Dec 5 Nocturne Christmas ft Boat To Row Graham Bonnet

M M M

info@ brumnotes.com All details correct at time of going to press. Check with venues before setting out.

Café Ort

Balsall Heath

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Longfallboots + Judges

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Symphony Hall

Birmingham

Alabama 3

The Institute

Birmingham

Centiment

The Oobleck

Birmingham

The Lunar Society

The Rainbow

Birmingham

Hiss Golden Messenger

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Kings Heath Blues Club ft Maxwell’s Quandri Desperado

The Sun at the Station The Roadhouse

Kings Heath

The Human League

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Augustines

Wulfrun Hall

Wolverhampton

Astrx presents Lone

Alfie Bird’s

Birmingham

Taking Care Of Business Blackdot presents Petre Inspirescu The Bouncy Winter Wonderland Seedy Sonics Food Music Tour DJ Darrol

Island Bar

Birmingham

NextDoor

Birmingham

Suki10c

Birmingham

The Rainbow Warehouse The Victoria

Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Birmingham

Professor Green

Actress & Bishop O2 Academy

Rose Redd

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Headbangers Balls 2014

The Flapper

Birmingham

CN CN Madame Moonshine

M

Want your gig or club night listed in our monthly guide? Send details to:

Does Downton An Evening with Knicker Bocker Corey Dave Fulton + Geoff Norcott + Marlon Davis Saturday, Dec 6 Soldier + Duke

Stirchley

Birmingham

Birmingham

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M M

M

Imelda May

The Institute

Birmingham

Turbowolf + Empress AD + God Damn Free Sun Rising

The Institute

Birmingham

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Blues Club with Rebecca Downes The Blockheads

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

M CN Shuffle - The Human

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

M

Island Bar

Birmingham

M

CN

The Rainbow Warehouse

Birmingham

M CN Tiki Thursday ft Sam

The Rainbow Warehouse Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

M M

CN

Jukebox Cream Birmingham: The 8th Year Anniversary Mr Jangles Launch

CN Bruk Up With Marcia CN C M M M M M M M M M M

Carr + Nubian Soul M O D O with Miguel Verde Dave Fulton Sunday, Dec 7 Inspiral Carpets

CN M M C M M M M C M M M M

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The Glee Club O2 Academy 2

Moseley Birmingham Birmingham

Maybeshewill

The Flapper

Birmingham

Dan Whitehouse

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Catfish & The Bottlemen Shalamar

The Institute

Birmingham

The Institute

Birmingham

At The Gates

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Big Sixes

The Sunflower Lounge Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Slade Rooms Wulfrun Hall

Wolverhampton

Island Bar

Birmingham

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Monday, Dec 8 Raging Speedhorn

O2 Academy 3

Nina Nesbitt The Cadillac Three Saint Saviour + Billy Ryder-Jones Jam Jah Reggae

Angel At My Table Hank Wood & The Hammerheads Reckless Love

Rival Sons M CN Zinc ft Paradise Bro’s Rough Works C

M M M M

Bull’s Head

Kings Heath

Tuesday, Dec 9 Byron Hare The Little Unsaid

Kings Heath

C C M M M M M M

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Freedom Fringe ft Alex Moir + Dubcherry + more Oracle + Vexxen + more Tony Wright (Terrorvision) Saxon

The Lounge

Selly Oak

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

The Slade Rooms Wulfrun Hall

Wolverhampton

Island Bar

Birmingham

Redmore John Fothergill

Wolverhampton

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Omid Djalili

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Friday, Dec 12 Behemoth

O2 Academy

Birmingham

The Doors Alive

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Escaping Vendetta

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Echo & The Bunnymen

The Institute

Birmingham

Re:Wired ft Little Simz + OCD: Moosh & Twist Spirit Bomb + Fukdust 4 + The Army of Skanks Looca

The Institute

Birmingham

The Wagon & Horses Bull’s Head

Birmingham

M Chrissie Hynde Wulfrun Hall M Sensateria Volume III ft The Old CN

Moseley

CN CN Resurrection Presents

Birmingham

The Dials Shimmy Shimmy Ya

Wolverhampton Balsall Heath

Printworks Island Bar Suki10c

Birmingham

The Rainbow Warehouse The Rainbow

Birmingham

CN CN Taking Care Of Busi-

The Tunnel Club

Birmingham

The Victoria

Birmingham

Birmingham

CN

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Kings Heath

Birmingham

CN

Hare & Hounds

The Oobleck Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham Birmingham

LPZKIN + Jimmy Davis

Actress & Bishop O2 Academy 3

Eric Martin

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Blues Club ft Pure Instinct Supersonic & Milque & Muhle Xmas Cocktail Santafest ft The Wogans The Crockers

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Sun at the Station Wulfrun Hall

Kings Heath

Island Bar

Birmingham

NextDoor

Birmingham

The Victoria

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

JJM Studios

Walsall

The Sunflower Lounge Hare & Hounds

Wolverhampton

CN CN

M

Kings Heath

M M M

Hockley

Wednesday, Dec 10 The Last Carnival

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

By The Rivers

The Institute

Birmingham

Brother Strut

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bombay Bicycle Club

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

John Fothergill

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Thursday, Dec 11 Gogol Bordello

O2 Academy

Birmingham

Insolito

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Taking Back Sunday

The Institute

Birmingham

UK Subs

The Institute

Birmingham

The Big Christmas Bash Hype Birmingham ft Funtcase + Eptic Mixmag Live presents The Martinez Brothers Hell Is Hard Event 9 ft ness Moulin Groove with Steffan Taylor Out On The Floor Tonight - A Northern Soul Party Hot Wax

CN John Fothergill C

Birmingham

The Rose Villa Tavern

JQ Comedy

M M

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble Laetitia Sadier

M M

Saturday, Dec 13 Red Light Room

M CN Hot Wax CN Face presents Joris

Voorn Shimmy Shimmy Ya

CN CN Killer Wave 2.0 CN Glow presents The Cloudy Room

Birmingham

Birmingham

Wolverhampton

Brum Notes Magazine


C C M M M M M M

John Fothergill

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Jimmy Carr

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Sunday, Dec 14 Orchard Hill

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Cast + Modern Minds

The Institute

Birmingham

Sunplugged

The Sun at the Station Bull’s Head

Kings Heath

Bohemian Jukebox Sunday Social ft The Crooked Hooks Promethea H.E.A.T

CN Zinc ft Paradise Bros John Fothergill C

Moseley

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

The Slade Rooms Island Bar

Wolverhampton

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Birmingham

M

Hyena

M

The NurVrax 3 Christmas Special The Sherbet + Duke

The Sunflower Lounge The Sun at the Station Bull’s Head

Birmingham

Island Bar

Birmingham

Paleman

NextDoor

Birmingham

Love

The Institute

Birmingham

DJ Tony Jenkins

The Victoria

Birmingham

Hot Club De Swing Christmas Party OOOOOO Look RIP ft Matt Beck + Greg Bird Dan Nightingale

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Roy Chubby Brown

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Café Ort

Balsall Heath

O2 Academy

Birmingham

The Flapper

Birmingham

The Institute

Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Sun at the Station Bull’s Head

Kings Heath

The Slade Rooms The Victoria

Wolverhampton

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Glee Club

Birmingham

The Sun on the Hill Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

The Sun at the Station Bull’s Head

Kings Heath

The Prince of Wales

Moseley

Island Bar

Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

The Victoria

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

M CN Shuffle CN CN CN CN CN C C

Monday, Dec 15 Jam Jah Reggae

Bull’s Head

Moseley

Tuesday, Dec 16 Arch Enemy + Kreator

M CN Jazz Jams with Andy

The Institute

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

M

C

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

M

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Jools Holland & His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra Canterbury

Symphony Hall

Birmingham

The Flapper

Birmingham

Hozier

The Institute

Birmingham

Dutch Cousin EP Launch Party Reggae Uni Showcase

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

Comedy Island

Island Bar

Birmingham

Dan Nightingale

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Thursday, Dec 18 Machine Head

O2 Academy

Birmingham

The Wonder Stuff

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

China Drum

The Institute

Birmingham

Wiley

The Institute

Birmingham

Where I’m Bound

The Rainbow

Birmingham

Milk Teeth

The Sunflower Lounge Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

M

Kings Heath

M

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Prince Of Wales Island Bar

Moseley Birmingham

CN

The Glee Club

Birmingham

M

Wulfrun Hall

Wolverhampton

CN CN Jam Jah Reggae

CN

M M M M M M C C M M M M M M M M M M CN C C M M M M M

Gayle Lee Mack

Wednesday, Dec 17 Heffron Drive

Aziz Ibrahim The Dylan Project with Steve Gibbons This Is Tmrw Christmas Party ft Black Mekon The Destroyers Christmas Party Tiki Thursday ft Sam Redmore Dan Nightingale + Mark Oliver + Charlie Baker Seann Walsh Friday, Dec 19 UB40

M

M M M

M M M

CN Sam & Simon CN Circles Christmas Party Dan Nightingale C M

M M

O2 Academy

Birmingham

The Traps + I Lived In Trees Wait For The Fall

The Flapper

Birmingham

M

The Institute

Birmingham

CN

3 Daft Monkeys

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Revolver

The Rainbow

Birmingham

December 2014

Saturday, Dec 20 Buzzard Lope + Gill Sandell + Ben Calvert & The Swifts The Enemy + The Twang + Jaws The Samuel Rogers Band + Reaside + more Brum Punx Xmas Bash ft GBH Blues Club ft The Headhunters Brum Notes Christmas Party ft Midnight Bonfires + The Good Water + The Mighty Young Matthew Edwards & The Unfortunates Celestial Christmas Special Theia

CN

Sunday, Dec 21 Sunsets Alternative Dubstep Orchestra Sunplugged Christmas Special Psyched Collective + UUOO + David Parfitt Dirty Old Folkers Christmas Extravaganza Zinc ft Paradise Bros Monday, Dec 22 The Toy Hearts ft Big Boy Bloater Fistful of Dynamite Tuesday, Dec 23 Cubstone Christmas Show The Xmas Eve Eve Lock In M O D O with Miguel Verde

Kings Heath Moseley

Moseley

Birmingham

Kings Heath

Moseley

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M M

Wednesday, Dec 24 Misty’s Big Adventure

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Sun at the Station Bull’s Head

Kings Heath

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

CN CN Rag & Bone vs Gutter-

Secret Location

Birmingham

Snobs

Birmingham

CN

The Victoria

Birmingham

CN CN

Skabucks Christmas Eve Special Hot Wax Christmas Special Takin’ Care Of Business

CN Friends Christmas Party M

CN

Friday, Dec 26 Souled Out 2 Funk Boxing Day Special Secret City Boxing Day skank vs Click Fridays Taking Care Of Business Love The Life vs Bigger Than Barry Boxing Day Sticky Joe

Moseley

M

Sunplugged

M

Alternative Christmas Burlesque Special Zinc ft Paradise Bros

The Sun at the Station The Roadhouse

Kings Heath

Island Bar

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

CN CN Swingamajig NYE CN Aloha NYE ft Takin’

Adam & Eve

Birmingham

Alfie Bird’s

Birmingham

Island Bar

Birmingham

CN

Jekyll & Hyde

Birmingham

O2 Academy

Birmingham

The Institute

Birmingham

The Rainbow Warehouse The Victoria

Birmingham

The Rose Villa Tavern Hare & Hounds

Hockley

The Sun at the Station Bull’s Head

Kings Heath

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

CN CN Relative Jay Handley C CN M

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Sun at the Station Bull’s Head

Kings Heath

M CN Steve Jones - Soul &

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Island Bar

Birmingham

CN

CN

Jekyll & Hyde

Birmingham

CN

The Rainbow Warehouse The Victoria

Birmingham

CN

Birmingham

CN

Hockley

CN Freestyle Christmas

The Rose Villa Tavern Hare & Hounds

CN

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

CN CN

CN CN CN

C

Coloré x Leftback Boxing Day Party Saturday, Dec 27 The Trojans Funk Friday Classics Dr Jekyll’s Potion - Cold Rice The Portal presents Viva Warriors Steve Jones Boxing Day Party Juqebox ft Funk Fusion Party ft The Bluebeat Arkestra For The Love with DJ Paul Boots Andrew McBurney

Moseley

Kings Heath

Sunday, Dec 28

CN CN

CN CN CN C

Monday, Dec 29 Jam Jah Reggae Session Tuesday, Dec 30 The Trevor Burton Christmas Show Wednesday, Dec 31 Cocksure NYE

Care Of Business + Shimmy Shimmy Ya Dr Jekyll’s NYE Potion Sounds from the South Propaganda Great Gatsby NYE Blow Out GlobalGathering presents NYE The Rainbow Venues New Year’s Eve The Blind Pig Prohibition Night NYE Frat Party ft Hot Wax Jam Hott vs Killer Wave + Sweat ft DJ Cheesedip + High Fidelity The Party ft Chicks Dig Jerks Enter The Dragon + DWNLWD & Friends Rockabilly Spectacular ft The Delray Rockets + Rockin Dan DJ NYE ft Anthony Robinson + Rob Deering

Stirchley

Birmingham

Kings Heath

Moseley

JANUARY 2015 THE HIGHLIGHTS CN CN CN

M M M M

Thursday, Jan 1 2015 Below New Year’s Day ft Kerri Chandler Day One Festival Saturday, Jan 3 2015 Godskitchen & Trancecoda present As One Friday, Jan 16 2015 First Aid Kit

Birmingham

Digbeth Street Party

Birmingham

Boxxed

Birmingham

Symphony Hall

Birmingham

Funeral For A Friend

The Institute

Birmingham

Alex Goot

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Tuesday, Jan 20 2015 Gerard Way

O2 Academy

Birmingham

Friday, Jan 23 2015

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The Rainbow

Queen with Adam Lambert Atomic Jam 19th Birthday Pt 2 Saturday, Jan 24 2015 Peace

Barclaycard Arena NextDoor

Birmingham

The Institute

Birmingham

Paul Carrack

Symphony Hall

Birmingham

Craig Charles

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

M

Sunday, Jan 25 2015 Julian Cope

The Glee Club

Birmingham

M

Tuesday, Jan 27 2015 Slipnot + Korn

Birmingham

M

Alvvays

Barclaycard Arena Hare & Hounds

CN

Friday, Jan 30 2015 Andrew Weatherall + Mark E

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

CN M M CN

See more at www.brumnotes.com

Birmingham

Kings Heath

Brum Notes Magazine


December 2014

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Brum Notes Magazine

Brum Notes Magazine - December 2014  

The bumper Christmas edition of Brum Notes Magazine takes you right through December and January, featuring Midnight Bonfires, Alvvays, UB40...

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