Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: September 2009
There wasn’t an August, but it really doesn’t seem like there’s never much that’s particularly exciting in August. This particular list is even less exhaustive than usual, and also even more music-dominated than usual, but that’s what I’ve managed to come up with. Sorry. The comments box is as open as ever for the awesome stuff I’ve missed, if you feel like using it.
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.
Wednesday the 2nd until Saturday the 19th – ‘Cabaret’ (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c’mon in. Or similar. We saw this production last year and it was quite good. Certainly less afraid of facing up to the nasty side of it all than a lot of big-budget touring musicals would probably be. I’m not sure about the extent to which the cast is the same as that one, but Wayne Sleep is definitely still playing The MC.
Wednesday the 2nd – Seasick Steve @ JB’s, Dudley – One of these occasions when the booking at JB’s really surprises you. Apparently it’s their 40th anniversary do and proceeds will be going to cancer charity ’The Proton Effect’. Scott Matthews is also on the bill, in proper Black Country fashion.
Thursday the 3rd – Maths @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Chaotic metally punk, or even screamo if you feel the need. They’re quite good from the bits and bobs I’ve heard, but more importantly than that they call themselves ‘Maths’ rather than ‘Math’. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that, in these times of everyone wanting to pretend to be an American.
Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – The Moseley Folk Festival @ Moseley Park, Moseley, Birmingham – Headlined by Saint Etienne (folk you say?), Beth Orton and Jethro Tull, whilst also featuring Swarbrick:Carthy, Ade Edmondson’s band, Keli Ali, Cara Dillon and a load of others. Bert Jansch won’t be there as originally advertised, due to ill-health.
Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – Birmingham Punks Picnic @ a few places in Brum – Cannon Hill Park on Saturday afternoon for cheap cider (no doubt), then gigs in the evening: The New Inn in Balsall Heath has Drongos For Europe and more on Friday then GBH, Runnin’ Riot and others on Saturday, whilst The Wagon & Horses in Digbeth has a line-up that includes Assert on Sunday.
Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th – “Off The Cuff” music event @ The Flapper, Birmingham – On the one hand it doesn’t look like Rolo Tomassi are doing this anymore (unfortunate) and their MySpace page doesn’t actually tell you which bands are playing on which day (stupid), but on the other hand some of the acts will be playing on a docked barge on the canal outside (brilliant).
Monday the 7th – Tori Amos @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – She’s ace, although she wasn’t that good when I saw her live a few years ago. But she is ace.
Thursday the 10th – The Drifters @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – To repeat what I said in a previous LOTTSADITWM: “Or a version thereof, at least. No Ben E. King or Clyde McPhatter, for obvious reasons.”
Thursday the 10th till Sunday the 13th – the opening of the new version of the Birmingham Academy @ The, erm, new version of the Academy, Birmingham – The previous toss-hut has closed its doors to be demolished (well, good) and a new ‘un is due to open. Let’s be positive – while it’d be outright stupid to hope that most of the problems with the old place will be rectified, perhaps the new place will be a better building and so perhaps some of the structure-related stuff will be better. Any sort of improvement would be a blessing, really. The opening doings involve four days o’ gigs headlined by Birmingham bands who have achieved fame (relatively) recently: Editors on Thursday, The Twang on Friday (apparently with nine other bands, although obviously it’d make life far too easy if the Academy website were to tell us who they are), The Streets on Saturday, and Ocean Colour Scene (bless) on Sunday. Lovely to see ‘em showing their commitment to the full ethnic make-up of Birmingham’s music so early on.
Friday the 11th till Sunday the 13th – Artsfest @ all over Birmingham – Annual free-family-fun-weekend that everyone bar me seems to hate. Typically there’s no sign of a line-up/timetable yet, but there is a list of ‘themes’, including the anniversaries of the death of Matthew Boulton, the birth of Charles Darwin, and the creation of… Barbie. I’m not making this up. (EDIT: The leaflets are out now, got one through the door today. Still nothing on the website, though). (EDIT EDIT: The timetable is on the website now. See comments below, too).
Sunday the 13th – The Men They Couldn’t Hang @ The Robin 2, Bilston – They really should get TMTCH on at the Moseley Folk Festival, now that I think about it.
Friday the 18th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Steve Saville has a go at Scott Lawton for the English lightweight title, and if you’re into slebriteez then Angel McKenzie from ‘Big Brother’ faces our own local Lyndsey Scragg. I am completely confident that Lyndsey will absolutely wreck her, so let me know if you can find anyone running a book on it.
Sunday the 20th – The Digbeth O’Lympics @ various pubs in Digbeth – Although the website just shows you a flyer and doesn’t tell you what the events are (‘not wanting to let on about the line-up’ seems to be the theme this month, doesn’t it? Event promoters, you’re all rubbish. All of you), but in this case I don’t suppose it matters that much. Have a pint instead.
Tuesday the 22nd – Massive Attack @ The Academy, Birmingham – Currently running back at two members, I think. Possibly.
Tuesday the 22nd – Theo @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Fantastic loop-pedallin’ maths-rock one-man-band who rocked both your socks and mine at Supersonic this year. He’s first on the bill, with Fook Boottons headlining.
Wednesday the 23rd – “Under Milk Wood” (Guy Masterson) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Dylan ‘That’s lovely, you see, isn’t it’ Thomas. This claims to be “perhaps the ultimate rendition” of it, with a very strategically placed ‘perhaps’.
Thursday the 24th – The Wildhearts @ The Academy, Birmingham – Will my unbroken run of failing to attend any Wildhearts and/or Wildhearts-related gigs since June 2001 continue? The sensible money would say ‘yes’.
Saturday the 26th – AMMA @ Banks’ Stadium, Bescott, Walsall – The latest in the always-fantastic series of amateur MMA cards put on by Marc Goddard and co. The most recent bill I can find is here.
Monday the 28th till Saturday the 3rd of October – “Dinnerladies” (The Comedy Theatre Company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – The telly series was one of the greatest telly serieseseses ever, I think (by which I mean that it was really good, and not that I’m trying to damn it with faint praise). Obviously I don’t know how good this is.
Monday the 28th – the live version of “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I was really quite overjoyed to walk past Mornington Crescent tube station when I went to London in February.
Wednesday the 30th – ‘Canal Music’ @ outside The Flapper, Birmingham – This is a lovely idea for a tour: Lisa Knapp and Leafcutter John are playing a series of gigs up the length of the Grand Union Canal. It ends in Birmingham (obviously), outside The Flapper. I don’t know if they’re actually playing from the barge or not. If they are that’ll take a bit of the novelty away from the “Off The Cuff” thingy mentioned above.