Call me Russ L

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – December 2006

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 29 November, 2006

It’s nearly Christmas! Obviously most of your time will be spent shopping and wrapping, but should there be any left over then you could do worse than having a look at this little lot. Standard disclaimers (with a new one added): I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. Please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Wednesday the 29th of November to Saturday the 30th of December – “Alice In Wonderland – A Musical” @ The Rep, Birmingham – I absolutely adore Alice. It manages to be so sweet and pretty yet so nightmarishly Kafka-esque at the same time. I’m assuming this is will be a particularly kiddie-leaning version, but I’m certain it’s going to be great. They also invite people to go dressed up as their favourite character. Where can I get a flamingo-polo-mallet costume?

Friday the 1st of December – These Arms Are Snakes / Rolo Tomassi @ The Flapper & Firkin, Birmingham – I’ve never listened to These Arms Are Snakes. They’re one of those bands who manage to become hugely popular amongst underground sorts (it’s not oxymoronic really) before I’ve heard of them and thus end up feeling like they have nothing to do with my life. I don’t think I can define that any more clearly, which is a shame since it’s been the bane of many-a-group in my eyes, but never mind. They have ex-members of someone-or-other, anyway, and I’m sure they’re just super. More important (and the reason why I’m recommending this gig) is the presence of South Yorkshire streamofmusicalconsciouscore-istas Rolo Tomassi, surely one of the finest noisy bands going in this country at the moment.

Friday the 1st of December – Ringside Promotions’ “The Battle Of Birmingham” (boxing) @ The Aston Events Centre, Aston, Birmingham – Brum’s proudest son Wayne Elcock intends to bring home the English title. Hopefully a bunch of silly beggars won’t decide to attempt to re-enact The Charge Of The Heavy Brigade like they did at the last Aston card. The current bill can be seen here.

Saturday the 2nd to Saturday the 9th – “Aston Hall By Candlelight” @ Aston Hall, Aston, Birmingham – I recall this being lovely a few years ago. You get to drink mead from the Jacobean fair outside, too.

Saturday the 2nd – The Courtesy Group @ The Flapper & Firkin, Birmingham – Absolutely stonkingly good post-punk jazzyproggy poetry reciting types, who manage to be entirely insane and ludicrous without being the least bit wacky. This is to be applauded. Fantastic band.

Sunday the 3rd – “The Thomas Vale Pantomime Horse Grand National” @ Victoria Square, Birmingham – Last year Jon Bounds of Birmingham: It’s Not Shit gloriously came last.

Tuesday the 5th – Basement Jaxx @ The NIA, Birmingham – Listen to me. No, shut up and listen to me. You have to go to this. You will be missing out if you don’t. Their gig at The Academy last year was by far the best gig of 2005, as proclaimed by anyone and everyone who can tell their arse from their elbow. Never mind Dragonforce or whoever else is playing on the same night. No other gig is important in comparison.

Tuesday the 5th – Boxing (PJ Promotions) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – The card looks good and I wish Martin Gethin every bit of luck in his title match (he deserves a belt), but it’s the same night as Basement Jaxx. Bah.

Wednesday the 6th – David Benson’s “Think No Evil Of Us” @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – His original stageshow, I believe. I’ve written about David Benson a few times in the past, and his shows are always funny and likeable entertainment.

Thursday the 7th to Saturday the 9th – “Alice In Wonderland” @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Another version of Alice. I’ve only just spotted this one. I may have to go to both.

Saturday the 9th to Wednesday the 20th – Hungarian Christmas market @ Queen Square, Wolverhampton – Everyone knows about the Frankfurt Christmas market in Brum, but less seem to be aware of the Hungarian equivalent in Wolves. I didn’t, last year, until I happened to go up there in the daytime for unrelated reasons and actually saw it. I can just imagine the scene, though – a council bigwig on the phone:
“We need to compete with Birmingham’s German xmas market. How much would it cost for a French or Italian one?


Really, that much? Ok… erm… how about Hungary?”

Sunday the 10th – Broad Street Canal Boat Light Parade @ The stretch of canal between the NIA and The Mailbox, Birmingham – This looks like it might be pretty.

Tuesday the 12th to December the 14th – Mark Thomas’ “As Used On The Famous Nelson Mandela” @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Tickets have all long-since gone, but I know some of you out there have your means and methods.

Wednesday the 13th – Billy Bragg @ The Academy, Birmingham – I love Braggy, on both ‘national treasure’ and ‘really really good’ levels. This is the second leg of the “Hope Not Hate” tour, ‘in support of’ (I’m never sure precisely what that means) various anti-fascist organisations.

Wednesday the 13th to Saturday the 17th – “Eight Pantos In Eighty Minutes” @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – “The Most Untraditional Christmas Show You’ll See This Year!” it proclaims. Looks like it’ll be a laugh, anyway.

Thursday the 14th – The Roots @ The Academy, Birmingham – Many hold The Roots to be the best live hip-hop act going. Are they? We’ll see. Or I hope we will, anyway. I’ve managed to miss them for one reason or another every time they’ve been around before now.

Monday the 17th – Decimate @ The Flapper & Firkin, Birmingham – Decimate are a great headbangy metallic hardcore band, who practise the nifty trick of ‘having actual good songs.’ Many people seem to be of the idea that this is the last gig at The Flapper before it shuts down. I am 99.9% certain that this is not in fact true (Zoot, for example, seem to think they have until the end of the year at least. I imagine they’d know, y’know). EDIT: It’s cancelled, this one. The Flapper lingers on, for a while at least.

Wednesday the 20th – “The Family Tree Tour” @ The Boiler Room, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Featuring Moorish Delta 7, Fire Camp, Baby J and a bunch of others. It’s always good to see lesser-known hip-hop acts touring, mainly because it just doesn’t happen so much.

Saturday the 23rd – Grandscope @ The Jug Of Ale, Moseley, Birmingham – Fantastic but bizarrely unsung electronic-influenced indie band. Indonic, if you will. There are very, very distant hints of Radiohead’s “Kid A” about them, but their sound is all their own.

Monday the 25th – Christmas @ all of our hearts and minds – Enjoy yourselves.

~ Russ L, wondering if anyone else knows of a nice version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ appearing onstage anytime soon anywhere nearby? I don’t particularly want to go and see Barrymore at The Grand.


5 Responses

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  1. throughsilver said, on 30 November, 2006 at 12:32 am

    re: These Arms Are Snakes

    Ex-members of Kill Sadie, Nineironspitfire and, more importantly, Botch.

  2. Russ L said, on 1 December, 2006 at 8:45 am

    As I said – I’m sure they’re super.



    (And once again they’re all about the date clashes)

    Wednesay the 20th – John Legend @ The NIA Academy, Birmingham – The best male R’n’B (the phrase is ringing in my ears after recent events) artiste since D’Angelo, if you ask me.

    Wednesday the 20th (according to The Academy’s site. I’ve seen elsewhere than it might be Thursday the 21st) – The Twang/Murdoch/Untitled Musical Project/The Rips/Deluka – Booked in accordance with the ‘Best Midlands’ (HA HA HA IT IS FUNNY) feature that the NME ran recently, by the looks of it (good ol’ P’Ashton presents it in computerised form here). The Twang Are absolutely bosting and definitely worth seeing. Not too keen on Murdoch myself, though, and I dunno about any of the others. Lots of folk seem to like Untitled Musical Project, in spite of their Godawful name. Mind you, I reviewed a band called Mik Mak Mok for The Communion recently. How’s a man to keep his sanity?


  3. Jez said, on 1 December, 2006 at 9:15 am

    Been looking forward to this post (even if, ultimately, I’m unlikely to end up actually going to any of them).

    How about the model railway exhibition at the NEC on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd, run (slightly implausably) by Warley Model Railway Club. Admittedly not much of a draw unless you or someone in your care is big into model railways, but unmissable if you are.

    Also you unaccountably overlooked the greatest band in the world playing at the NEC on the 15th. That’s right. I’m talking about the D. JB. KG. Tenacious D. Rock!

    The gymnastics last month were top, by the way.

  4. Russ L said, on 1 December, 2006 at 10:20 am

    I’m not a model railway follower myself, but I am a fan of all things from Warley. Even if it doesn’t technically exist anymore. Oh, Black Country boundaries, how I love thee.

    Fact of the day: Frank Sinatra was a huge model railway collector. Tell that to anyone who thinks they’re uncool.

    While I did laugh at the video for ‘Tribute,’ I’m not a big fan of Tenacious D. I’m not overly keen on Jack Black at all, actually. He strikes me as being the American big budget equivalent of those typecast actors who made a living playing slobby fat geezers called ‘Ron’ in 80s sitcoms.

    Trampolining and tumbling results via Jez! Trampolining and tumbling have results, now there’s a thing to know.

  5. Jez said, on 1 December, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    I’m entirely at ease with your non-keeness for Jack Black. I suspect if I’d come to, say, King Kong before the Tenacious D comedy shorts I’d not be so keen either. I find his attitude – “the Tenacious D move might be a big pile of stinky poo, but it’ll my big pile of stinky poo” – pleasingly agreeable.


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