A post of advocacy: Supersonic Festival
This may well be the weekend where that bloke I work with who thinks Trivium are “the most heavy, hardcore metal band coming out of America” (and, indeed, thousands like him) head off to Donnington to use the Download festival as an excuse to act like savages, but alternatives abound. Birmingham seems to have gone a bit mad with ‘events labelled as festivals’ this year. Between the already-passed Fierce and The Main Event, and the soon-to-come Moseley Festival, Gigbeth, Birmingham Book Festival, Artsfest, Moseley Folk Festival and loads of others I’m forgetting, there’s plenty of entertainment on offer for those of us who like having a wash and hence aren’t keen on the camping-based festivals. A wise man once relayed a trope about the sort of toilets you get there, full of used paper with a turd proudly perched atop like an ark on a Turkish mountain. I shudder, and try to avoid flashbacks to the Leeds festival I went to once.
The best of them all is only slightly more than a month away. Suspersonic, I tells ya, is the greatest annual event on the musical calendar and no fooling. It’s unlikely that anyone reading this isn’t fully aware of the event anyway (and if you aren’t – Hi there! You’re in for a treat!), but I wanted to make it clear that I do genuinely and literally think that. Capsule, Birmingham’s best promoters of Stuff That’s Ever So Slightly Different get a whole two days to play with. This is not an event where you’ll see yet another basic melodic rock group. This is where the interesting bands play. It’s been going since 2003, and while I wasn’t there right from the beginning (I went to the Saturday in 2005, then both the Friday and Saturday in 2006) I am now most definitely hooked.
So, what have we got this year? Well, things begin on Friday the 13th (ooh…) at the New Art Gallery in Walsall, for Metal – A Symposium. Apparently you need to register your name as places are limited. Initially this sounded like the greatest thing evaaar to me, but I’m not quite so sure on reflection. There is a slight scheduling clash (this goes on till 9pm, assuming it finishes on time. The main Supersonic starts at 9pm in Digbeth. If you’re on the bus then the 51 is at twenty past nine, and will take about forty minutes – assuming the traffic wants to play nice – followed by about five minutes or so to walk over to The Custard Factory. If you’re a motorist, you can sort yourself out. I know nothing of your world other than that you all tend to moan a lot), and there’s also the fact that both Ozomatli are playing at the Academy 2 and The Down And Outs at The Market Tavern. I’m going to have to defer my decision on this until such a time when (if?) a list of talking points is made public. I can already imagine precisely what the contribution of one of our fair pundits will amount to.
The meat of the festival begins over at The Custard Factory. Friday night’s line-up typically has a slightly clubbier vibe than the Saturday, albeit not the sort of club you see on Broad Street. I particularly recommend the yet-another-reformation of yam-yam attack-metallers Deadsunrising (mania, distilled and concentrated. They really do make for something to witness), the sublime cello creations of Bela Emerson (I fell in love with her in February), and PCM’s Drum & PushTheSkinBackOnTheSidesOfYourFace.
Saturday is the big alldayer bit with the outside stage and such. Mogwai are the headliners and by far the ‘biggest’ band Supersonic has thus far had, but everyone knows them so I won’t go on. I’ve spoken at length about the Modified Toy Orchestra before (this waffling is as good as any, I suppose), and I think Tunng are one of the best bands in the country, what with their mix of folk and weirdness and wide-eyed-wonder. I’ve also enjoyed Bee Stung Lips and Voice Of The Seven Woods in the past, but most of the fun in Supersonic comes from discovering new stuff. Chrome Hoof appear likely to be fantastic, but who knows what other delights we’ll all come across?
In sum: If you claim to be interested in music and are capable of getting to Supersonic, I question your wisdom (and call you insulting names) if you do not do so.