Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – May 2009
So apparently there’s no Fierce Festival this year. Bah. A very music-centric one this time (even more so than usual), anyway, but there’s still plenty of different things agwaan.
Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.
Friday the 1st of May – IWW West Midlands’ International Workers Day party @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – Not actually on the day in question but nevertheless featuring food and drink and music a-plenty (including Una Corda and D’Corner Bois).
Friday the 1st – Mayday Art Crawl @ sundry locations in Digbeth, Birmingham – Like the above it’s not actually on Mayday, but still: Vivid, Ikon Eastside and Eastside Projects all have new exhibitions, and then there are plenty of good pubs in that neck of the woods for afterwards. Pubs where you can complain about people saying ‘Eastside’ instead of ‘Digbeth’.
Friday the 1st – Paul Murphy @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Doing a solo/smaller version of the “Sir Rhu Barb’s Tale” lark I saw in December. I suspect this way might work a bit better than that did, actually.
Saturday the 2nd till Monday the 4th – ‘The Ultimate Pet Show’ @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Not just your ordinary pets, oh no. This is for the ultimate in pets. Also including Britain’s Most Talented Pet (click that – I love the fact that the pictures of dogs playing the piano and mowing the lawn are left to explain themselves, but if you hover your pointer over the picture of a horse on its back you get a caption saying ‘horse rolling’. Just in case, y’know, you thought it had just died or something).
Saturday the 2nd – ‘World 501 Dholis’ @ Centenary Square, Birmingham – An attempt to break the world record for the number of dhol drummers playing in one place at one time, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Wasn’t this meant to happen at Artsfest last year? I don’t know, I get confused.
Sunday the 3rd – Ginger / Laika Dog @ J.B’s, Dudley – That would be Ginger of The Wildhearts fame, and the current band involving Tony Wright of Terrorvision fame. It’s like some 90s Britrock extravaganza.
Sunday the 3rd – Sky Larkin @ The Victoria, Birmingham – An interestingly dynamic indie rock’n’roll band about whom I’ve liked the odds ‘n’ sods I’ve heard for ages but haven’t ever really got around to checking out properly. As is my way. I think they may be headlining an alldayer here, actually, but I’m not entirely sure. Uselessness all-round from your correspondent, then.
Sunday the 3rd – Sway @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – A man who deserves to go down in history for his guest verse on The Mitchell Brothers’ “Harvey Nicks” (watch 2:35 – 3:23 here, really now).
Thursday the 7th – Jeffrey Lewis And The Junkyard @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – He was with The Jitters last time I saw him, rather than The Junkyard. These people should make their minds up, I say.
Thursday the 7th – ‘Making Do’ @ The New Art Gallery, Walsall – Great big free extravaganza from Capsule and 7 Inch Cinema, based around themes of post-war austerity. There’s live music from Pram, July Skies and The Winter League; there’s a film programme including the Housewives’ Choice series that I was sad to miss last year; there’s knitting courtesy of Stitches And Hos; there’s loads of other stuff too.
Friday the 8th till Saturday the 23rd – ‘Serious Money’ (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – Caryl Churchill spearin’ yuppies. Possibly given newer relevance on top, what with recent financial happenstances ‘n’ such.
Saturday the 9th – Project X Presents “Xhibition! @ a few different venues in Moseley, Birmingham – An assortment of various stuff, as is Project X’s wont, all centered around the big crossroads in Moseley.
Monday the 11th till Saturday the 16th – ‘Dinnerladies’ @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – I really thought the telly programme (the second series in particular) was one of the most wonderful things ever. This stage version stars Tony and Anita from that, too.
Wednesday the 13th – Morrissey @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Stephen, not Neil.
Thursday the 14th till Saturday the 16th – “Our Country’s Good” (Rage Ensemble) @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Australians wouldn’t give Castlemaine XXXX for anything else.
Friday the 15th till Saturday the 30th – “Looking For Yoghurt” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company, Hanyong Theatre, and a pile of others) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – A collaboration between British, Japanese and Korean theatrical sorts, this children’s show involves a little ‘un looking for her cat, Yoghurt. That is a magnificent name for a cat.
Friday the 15th till Saturday the 17th – ‘English Originals’ folk festival @ Symphony Hall and Town Hall, Birmingham – The second year running for this TH/SH weekender. Here we have the lovely Rachel Unthank And The Winterset on Friday night, a tribute concert to Nick Drake on the Saturday (involving Vashti Bunyan amongst others), and Seth Lakeman on the Sunday. On top of the big gigs there are also films, talks and free performances (including a set in the ICC on Friday from Mama Matrix, who also appear to be playing at The Wagon & Horses later that night).
Friday the 15th – Melt Banana @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – Japanese madness for May #1 (also: this is at The Rainbow Warehouse, not The Med Bar/Factory Club as advertised in some places).
Friday the 15th – Church Of Misery @ Busk, Birmingham – Japanese madness for May #2/Sabbath worship for May #1.
Friday the 15th – Cursive @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – I think this is beginning to take the Michael a bit, with so many worthwhile gigs on the same night. Overwrought but witty American indie, anyway.
Saturday the 16th – Chris Addison @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ooh, I’m looking forward to seeing ‘In The Loop’. I really do love ‘The Thick Of It’.
Saturday the 16th – “Caliban’s Island” (Somesuch Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – What happened after ‘The Tempest’, when they’d all buggered off and left Caliban on his own.
Sunday the 17th – Witchcraft @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Sabbath worship for May #2.
Monday the 18th – Mark Thomas @ The Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – And you can submit your own policies for the “People’s Manifesto” he’s compiling. Compulsory wearing of wigs on Wednesdays it is, then.
Tuesday the 19th – Maximo Park @ The Academy, Birmingham – I described the first song I heard by them (courtesy of Paul Greyshades) as sounding like ‘a Sparks/Therapy? collaboration voiced by a cross between Ian Curtis and Spuggy from “Byker Grove”’, and if that doesn’t sound enticing to you then I don’t know what will.
Wednesday the 20th – The Autumn Store @ The Victoria, Birmingham – Dance the lindy-hop to some indie-pop.
Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 23rd – “Hit The Baby, Natasha!” (Happiness Patrol) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A new variation on Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, with a genuinely fantastic name.
Thursday the 21st – ‘Sublime Frequencies’ tour @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With Omar Souleyman from Syria and Group Doueh from Western Sahara.
Friday the 22nd – Great Lake Swimmers @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Lovely mellow Canadian folk-rock. They sound like Crosby Stills & Nash hugging their duvets and yawning melodically.
Friday the 22nd – Subhumans @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – One of the best punk bands ever, kiddo. Apparently this do is a benefit for the Faslane Peace Camp.
Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th – Birmingham Pride 2009 @ Various places in Birmingham city centre – Apparently the largest two-day LGBT event in the UK (any jokes I made here about size being important would be cheap and unnecessary). There’s lots of stuff happening and various stages. The website doesn’t seem to want to say who will be performing on them, but they’ll be there.
Saturday the 23rd – “A Night Of Aural Carnage” (Capsule) @ Vivid, Digbeth, Birmingham – Noise, noise, lots of noise. Prurient are headlining, and Beestung Lips are also on the bill (seeming a bit out of place, unless I’ve massively misjudged the nature of the rest of it).
Saturday the 23rd – Beyonce @ The NIA, Birmingham – Buuuuuuur. Buh buh buh buh buh buuuuuuuuur. Buh buh buh buh buh… ahem. Sorry. Just got the urge to do the horn bit from ‘Crazy In Love’.
Sunday the 24th – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Hip hop-influenced brass band aceness. The sad thing (and not to take anything away from Hypnotic) is that finding out about this made me wonder when The Youngblood Brass Band were coming around again, and upon inspection it looks like they’re touring in May but not doing any gigs anywhere near here. Bah.
Tuesday the 26th – Combichrist @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Mentioned mostly due to how weird it looks to see an EBM/industrial/goth-techno/whateverhaveyou band alongside all the tribute acts and trad blues-rockers on the coupon at The Robin. I just have a feeling it’ll turn out hilarious, although I’m not sure why.
Wednesday the 27th & Sunday the 31st – Mahler’s 2nd (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – My favourite symphony, as Mahler would no doubt have been gratified to know.
Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th – “The Iron Eyelashes” (Imaginary Forces Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Does your man there pick family in East Berlin, or freedom in the West?
Friday the 29th till Sunday the 31st – “Bach – A Beautiful Mind” @ Town Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham – A mini-festival type thing. I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I love Douglas Adams’ quote on J.S. Bach – “When I hear Beethoven I understand what it was like to be Beethoven. When I hear Mozart I understand what it is to be human. When I hear Bach I understand the universe.”
Saturday the 30th and Sunday the 31st – Birmingham “Rat Race” @ various places in Brum but starting in Centenary square, I think – Race about the place in what is apparently “a multi-disciplined challenge of navigation, endurance, skills and guts” requiring participants to “run, climb, mountain bike, kayak, abseil and navigate”. Best of all, it’s set against a “70s skyline”.
Saturday the 30th – The Mighty Diamonds @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Y’know, the ones that can pronounce ‘Kouchie’.
Sunday the 31st – Mark Steel @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ah, Mark Steel. One of the highlights of last year was hearing a professional comedian describe my beau as “the most pedantic woman in the Midlands”.
Sunday the 31st – Chrome Hoof @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Capsule finish off a busy five-gig month by hosting the band who really must be the world’s greatest tinfoil-wearing disco-krautrock-metal group, and I don’t throw that sort of praise around lightly. (EDIT: Cancelled~! Boooooo. Still, though, there is a talk from Martin Atkins of Public Image Limited at the H&H that night. It’s free, too).
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