Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: June 2009
A short one this month, which is more my fault than that of the rest of the world. Having given it a last read-through before posting, I’d also like to note that I’m giving some serious consideration to toning down the stupid commentary henceforth. I probably won’t, though.
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.
From Monday the 1st and onwards into July – Bass Festival @ various venues in Birmingham and other cites too – This year’s theme is “Inspired by Africa and Africans”. All sorts of things are a-going on, so have a little look at the What’s On page.
Monday the 1st – Manic Street Preachers @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Intermittently worthwhile student-radical Welshers. Must all be about five hundred years old by now.
Tuesday the 2nd – The Horrors @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Hyped so much that even I’ve noticed, but you can have a listen to their new album here (scroll down a bit, try not to get too distracted by the picture of Rollins needing a wash) and I quite like it. 80s-style indie rock: bit of J&MC, bit of (a much more polite version of) The Birthday Party, derivative but great fun.
Tuesday the 2nd and Wednesday the 3rd – “Tempest In A Tea Cup” (Side By Side Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – There seem to be a few offshoots of ‘The Tempest’ knocking around the theatrical world lately. This one features dysfunctional MPs and is set in a kitchen and a standard lamp. Apparently.
Friday the 5th till Saturday the 13th of June – “The Government Inspector” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Wait for it, wait for it… Corrupt politicians and their cronies are afraid that their embezzling and wrongdoing will be exposed. Also there’s a play by Gogol (hithangyew).
Saturday the 6th – Pritchattsbury Festival @ Pritchatts Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Apparently in its sixth year and the biggest festival in Brum, although no-one seems to have heard of it. Those playing include Just Jack, Lethal Bizzle and The Rumblestrips, although I’m getting sick of this “using ‘-bury’ as a general suffix for a festival name” lark. Just as Watergate would now be Watergategate, that thing in the West Country is presumably now Glastonburybury.
Saturday the 6th – Joan Of Arc @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Featuring ex-members of a pile of those types of bands that everyone else has heard apart from me, but never mind that: they sound like they have an interesting mix of wonky springy indie-rock, twingly-twangly guitar instrumentation that’s probably ala all those aforementioned bands although possibly not, and that kind-of-folksy-but-not-really American half-effort singing that is usually annoying but sometimes endearing, as per here. One day I’ll meet someone to whom my descriptions actually make sense, and it’ll probably bring about the apocalypse or somesuch.
Saturday the 6th – Schostakovich’s Fifth Symphony (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Nuts to that Stalin character. This’ll learn him.
Monday the 8th – Mark Thomas @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The selection of policies for a “People’s Manifesto” continues. You can look at the full list here – I particularly like “Margaret Thatcher should pay for her own funeral”, “To replace organ donor cards with an opt out scheme”, “That the 1967 Abortion Act should be introduced to Northern Ireland”, “If MPs want a second job in order to gain a greater understanding of life outside of government, then the constituents should be able to vote and choose which job they think would best expand their MPs horizons”, and “Those who peddle homeopathic remedies should only receive homeopathic medicines when they have major illnesses”.
Tuesday the 9th – Lady Sovereign @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Hooray for short people! I don’t know, you lot with your ‘leg room’ and your ‘ow I’ve banged my head’.
Wednesday the 10th – The Drones @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Awesome Australian indie rock’n’roll band who awesomely and Australianly actually use the word ‘daggy’ in this interview. Awesome. And Australian. And also it’s an interesting read outside of that.
Friday the 12th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Steve Saville defends his Midlands Area lightweight title against Gary Reid, which is very far from a definite win for him. Lyndsey Scragg, meanwhile, has drawn Ugandan Agnes Adonga in a fight for something called the GBC women’s super-flyweight title, and Dean Harrison is on the card too.
Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th – “24 Hour Scalextric Grand Prix” (Stan’s Café) @ The A. E. Harris Building, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – I always think ‘Scalextric’ sounds like a mispronunciation along the lines of ‘skellington’ or ‘sumbarine’. But it’s not. A 24 hour race, anyway, with running commentary through the whole thing. 7 Inch Cinema will be showing some pictures, too.
Saturday the 13th – The Flyover Show @ Hockley Flyover, Hockley, Birmngham – Urban jazzman Soweto Kinch’s second annual all-dayer under the A-Road, which makes for a really cool venue. Artists on include Ty, Bashy, and even Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Saturday the 13th – ‘Sci-Fi Fete’ @ St Mary’s Church, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham – A science-fiction themed church fete is not something you see every day.
Saturday the 13th – Æthenor / Einstellung @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Brought to you by Capsule, whose ranks are now (in a way) bolstered by P’Ashton. An example of intertwingling, perhaps.
Tuesday the 16th – Boxing (no bleeding idea) @ The Arden Hotel, Solihull – Sorry about that, but it’s the best link I can find. The world of boxing, yet again, decides that the best way to make sure its shows are full of punters is to make sure everything is a bit more difficult for them than it might otherwise be (although in the name of not being quite so relentlessly negative I’ll say that I am quite happy that this now exists. That has nothing to do with this card, of course). This will apparently feature Kell Brook vs John O’Donnell in a British welterweight title fight and Gary Buckland vs Henry Castle in an eliminator for the British lightweight. Quite why those particular fights would end up happening in Solihull is beyond me, but there we are.
Thursday the 18th – Billy Bragg @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Braggy normally does the Wulfrun when he plays in Wolves, but this one is at The Civic. Climbing the capitalist ladder as ever, tsk.
Friday the 19th – “The War Of The Worlds” @ The NIA, Birmingham – UUULLLAAAAAAAAA.
Friday the 19th – UFO @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Doctor Doctor, there’s a fly in my soup. You don’t hear those jokes nowadays. I think that’s a shame. This is also quite possibly a very oblique reference.
Friday the 19th – The Sweet @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Or a version thereof, anyway. That’s right. That’s right that’s right.
Sunday the 21st – “The Secret Life Of Bees” @ Clent Hills, Hagley – Beeeeees. This is a walk and talk about bees, I should add, not a play built from the novel of the same name or anything like that.
Monday the 22nd – Shonen Knife @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Japanese girly pop-punkists who were really young when they started but have been going forever and so probably aren’t really young any more, if I understand this ‘chronology’ lark rightly (see also: 1st of the month). My favourite (possibly apocryphal) story about them is that – when they first started – the guitarist couldn’t play her instrument while standing up, having only ever practiced whilst sitting down. I think there’s something really lovely about that.
Tuesday the 23rd till Saturday the 27th – “The BFG” (Fiery Light/Royal & Derngate) @ The Rep, Birmingham – I approve of Roald Dahl as an author for children. I don’t approve of children, obviously, but if they have to exist then Roald Dahl is a good author for them to read. Then when a bit older Rushdie’s “Haroun And The Sea Of Stories” and Gaardner’s “Sophie’s World”. Continue with Alice and Hitchhikers, and then they’re ready for Kafka. I reckon.
Tuesday the 23rd – A Hawk And A Hacksaw @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Them having a song called “God Bless The Ottoman Empire” gives Johnny Punter a good reason to go to this gig. Them having one of those websites (I’ve linked the MySpace instead there, to spare you) that does the ol’ “resized pop-up window” thing gives a good reason to try and spite them by not going. I thought that crap had died out. Messing about with my screen without asking me is not the best way to endear yourself to me, dunno about you.
Wednesday the 24th – Blur @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Whoo and also, if you find yourself so inclined, Hoo.
Wednesday the 24th – Hot 8 Brass Band @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – It seems to be an evolving tradition for the H&H to host a hip-hop influenced brass band every month. Not that I disapprove of this.
Thursday the 25th – B.B. King @ The NIA, Birmingham – ‘The legendary bluesman’, as professional music writers would insist you refer to him.
Thursday the 25th – Jeff Beck @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – “So, Jeff Beck pops his head round the corner and mentions that there’s a little sweetshop at the edge of town…”
Friday the 26th till Sunday the 5th of July – Moseley Festival @ sundry locations in Moseley, Birmingham – All sorts of stuff in that there spot with those there people. I’m having trouble picturing a ‘Rocky Horror’ night at The Prince Of Wales, though. Also: it’s a bit of a digression, but Eye On Moseley has made me laugh more than any other blog I’ve seen in quite a long time.
Friday the 26th – Pendulum @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – They display an astonishing ignorance of arachnid physiology, it’s true, but they nevertheless make your body goi stiff an your spine goi numb. Come fe get some.
Sunday the 28th – Boxing (Warrior Promotions, I’m guessing) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – One of these afternoon ones, I’m also guessing. Featuring a rematch between Dee Mitchell and Martin Concepcion: trust me when I say that their first fight was fantastic, up there with other four-round classics of our times like Gethin vs Carey and Davies vs Rasani.