Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: September 2013
Blimey, it’s been nearly a year since I did one of these (EDIT: I tell a lie, I did one for March. My mistake). Ah well. The biggest things this month are the revelries connected with the re-opening of the big ol’ library, but even beyond that there are (sing it with me now) Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands.
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 30th of August till Sunday the 2nd of September – Moseley Folk Festival @ Moseley Park, Moseley, Birmingham – Lovely setting etc etc etc. It’s true, but you’ve heard it before. Y’all can stick your ‘Ocean Colour Scene’ up your jumper, but The Dubliners are there and are going to be amazing. I would class Efterklang as one of the best bands of these recent times, too, and (alongside an enormous amount else) there are a load of fun locals like Goodnight Lenin, Boat To Row, Abie’s Miracle Tonic, Mellow Peaches, David Campbell, Katherine Priddy, and Dan Whitehouse.
Friday the 30th of August till Sunday the 2nd of September – Brum Punx Picnic 2013 @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – Or if Moseley Folk doesn’t appeal, here we have another good excuse to get all cidered up. You’ve got Hard Skin (oi!), P.A.I.N., Eastfield, Rotunda, and (naturally) a band called Trigger McPoopshute.
Sunday the 1st – Country Music Festival @ The Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston, Birmingham – This probably won’t be as cider-y.
Monday the 2nd and onwards for ages – The Library of Birmingham Discovery Season/Opening Festival @ Loads o’places around Brum but mostly the library and its environs, I suppose – A million billion things are happening in honour of the abandonment of the old bookhouse and the consecration of the new one. Buildings are decried as ugly to current tastes and then future generations decry those who got rid of them as history-bustin’ philistines. Happens. Every. Bloody. Time. But I digress… there’s a whole load of stuff happening. Omar is playing in the library on the 6th (and there’s nothing like that), Stan’s Café will be doing their “The Commentators” between the 2nd and the 5th (never entirely understood how that works, but anything Stan’s Café does is always brilliant), MortonUnderwood have built a sound trolley to play with (it contains an optical sequencer to make different sounds depending on what surface you push it over. I can’t be the only one thinking “pub carpets” right now), old books are being remade in unique ways (that sounds gorgeous), and… oh, there’s loads and loads of stuff, have a look.
Monday the 2nd – Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Robert Plant walked past me once. He looked confused.
Tuesday the 3rd till Saturday the 7th – “Suessical The Musical” by Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty (Wolverhampton Youth Musical Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – I do love Dr Seuss, I was just unable to come up with any convincing sounding rhymes to put in this bit.
Thursday the 5th till Saturday the 7th – “An Inspector Calls” by J.B. Priestley (Stourbridge Theatre Company) The Town Hall, Stourbridge – You’re all to blame. All of you.
Thursday the 5th till Saturday the 7th – “Free School: Poetry, Carnival, Politics” / “Call To Arms” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – Fillums, music and spoken words concerning themselves with Malcolm X, The Black Panthers, and concurrent black experience in Britain.
Thursday the 5th – Jimmy Eat World @ The Academy, Birmingham – Salt sweat, sugar Michael Aspel…
Friday the 6th till Sunday the 8th – 4 Squares Weekender @ Centenary, Chamberlain, Victoria & Oozells Square, Birmingham – Seemingly a festival within the library opening festival, and what could be more of a Birmingham version of fractal recursion than that. There’s a whole load o’free stuff (and in no way at all anything like Artsfest, honest guv) in the four big public squares. Most of it seems to be workshops for the young’ins, but there is also what looks like one of those big public spectacles that they had a couple of last year and that I do really like. High wire trapezin’ out in a big public square! I do enjoy seeing that sort of thing.
Saturday the 7th – The Brand New Heavies @ The Town Hall, Birmingham– Name change needed. They’ve been knocking around forever.
Saturday the 7th – Back Yard Launch @ The Back Yard, Handsworth, Birmingham – So the New Century Arts folks are creating a new venue/performance space in the back yard (Iseewhattheydidthere) of their offices, and (prior to his Mike Smith Larks mentioned below) Soweto Kinch will be MC-ing at the launch do.
Saturday the 7th – Boxing (Errol Johnson promotions) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – Headlined by Jason Welborn vs Max Maxwell, i.e. Rowley Regis vs probably the most likeable British boxer of recent times. A dilemma about who to cheer for.
Saturday the 7th – “Hansel And Gretel” (Language Alive Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – An interactive version that your young’ins can join in with. ‘Ideal for’ 5-11 year olds, it says.
Sunday the 8th – Leonard Cohen @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Why if it ain’t Laughin’ Lennie Cohen.
Sunday the 8th – Fuck Buttons @ The Institute (Library Room) @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Many years ago I saw this duo in the downstairs room of Scruffy Murphy’s, and they played in the middle while we all stood in a circle around them. I would never, ever have predicted that they’d end up playing big venues and being (apparently, I gather) a well known band.
Sunday the 8th – Ben E. King @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Stand by him. He’s at The Jam House on the 4th, too, but that’s a venue so ‘orrible that it actually managed to spoil my enjoyment of him the last time round. That takes some doing, y’know. It’s Ben E. King for crying out loud.
Monday the 9th – Rory McLeod @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Taking on all-comers in a highest-break competition… Oh, wait, it’s “Rory McLeod who did the theme music for ‘Creature Comforts’”, not “snooker player Rory McLeod”.
Tuesday the 10th – Matthew Barley’s “Around Britten” @ The CBSO Centre, Birmingham – Benjamin Britten’s 3rd Suite For Violin, alongside some John Taverner and some of those modern things that they have these days. The backing visuals look very pretty – have a goosey gander at this very good explanatory video.
Thursday the 12th till Saturday the 28th – Soweto Kinch’s “The Legend Of Mike Smith” @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – It’s not immediately clear to me what the actual ratio of gig-to-theatrical performance is on this, but nevertheless: everyone’s favourite jazz-hip-hop saxophonist Soweto Kinch (what, no Flyover Show this year?) has been inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins and Dante’s “Inferno” to create this tale of a young MC and his travails.
Friday the 13th till Sunday the 22nd – Still Walking Festival @ walking routes all over Birmingham and possibly other places nearby too – I must confess to being slightly confused given that A) there isn’t a programme available yet and it’s two weeks away, B) there was only a Still Walking Festival about five minutes ago, and C) there isn’t any word of it on their actual website yet, but the Still Walking Twitter page does say that there’s going to be another go-round between the 13th and the 22nd, and if so then that promises a lot of psychogeographical and social-historical fun, amongst loads of other prefix-discipline kinds of fun too. The Sabbath tour was absolutely brilliant in June.
Friday the 13th – Alabama 3 @ The River Rooms, Stourbridge – They’re not from Alabama and there are more than three of them. Other than those two things, they have a very descriptive name.
Friday the 13th – Boxing (It’s-A-Bout-Boxing Promotions) @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Young Mutley is on the card! One half of the most exciting fight that I ever saw live. If you want to make a boxing weekend of it, there’s also…
Saturday the 14th – Boxing (Errol Johnson Promotions) @ The Copthorne Hotel, Brierley Hill – …this one. This’ll be one of those stupidly expensive dinner shows though, I expect.
Saturday the 14th – Soundgarden @ The Academy, Birmingham – You: stock thing about them not really being a grunge band etc, Me: stock insistence that these terms are descriptive and not taxonomical etc.
Saturday the 14th – “BAMMA 13: Night Of Champion” MMA card (British Association Of Mixed Martial Arts) @ The NIA, Birmingham – The childish side of me (that’s the main side, obviously) has been sad that they didn’t call themselves “British Union of Mixed Martial Arts” all the time since they started.
Saturday the 14th – Nile @ Rock Zombie, Dudley – Egypt-themed death metal. Playing in Dudley. Do not dare to tell me that I’m the only one who thought about ‘borrowing’ a couple of camels from the zoo.
Saturday the 14th – Jeremy Hardy @ The MAC (Theatre Space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Contrary to impressions, he doesn’t exist solely on the radio and does in fact have a physical form.
Sunday the 15th – Community Food Festival @ The Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Don’t get carried away and start eating the flowers. They won’t like that.
Wednesday the 18th – “Fawlty Towers: The Dining Experience” (Interactive Theatre International) @ The Mercure Goldthorn Hotel. Blakenhall (and subsequently at The Rep in Brum between the 24th and 28th) – You get a three course meal, but are attended on by Basil, Sybil & Manuel (not actually John Cleese et al, as probably does not need mentioning). I get the feeling that this will be either absolutely hilarious or really, really bad.
Thursday the 19th till Saturday the 21st – “Rebel Girl” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – Films and talks on the subject of the legacy of Riot Grrrl, two decades after Kathleen Hannah’s manifesto.
Thursday the 19th – Jim White @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – The weeeeird side of Americana (#1).
Thursday the 19th – Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite Of Spring” and sundry bits o’ Wagner (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – ‘Rite’ singular, as it is apparently increasingly popular to ignore. I think they call that ‘pulling a Revelation’.
Friday the 20th – Layers @ The Academy 3, Birmingham – I only know their Christmas song, but I love that and I am definitely all in favour of bringing new songs into the Christmas canon.
Saturday the 21st till Saturday the 28th – “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf?” by Edward Albee (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Incidentally, I should mention that I do like the design of this range of posters from The Crescent Theatre.
Satuday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd – The World B-Boy Championship Finals @ The Academy, Birmingham – I know bugger all about this, but I’d be supporting this fella.
Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd – The Tesco Wine Fair @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Listing this here in no way constitutes an endorsement of Tesco’s various unsavoury practices.
Saturday the 21st – “Salon: Archive This” @ Eastside Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – Talks on the creation and use of archives and libraries. I hope those in charge of the new big ‘un pay heed to the wisdom.
Sunday the 22nd – John Otway @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – It won’t be really free, but I doubt it’ll be tooooo expensive.
Tuesday the 24th to Saturday the 28th – “Dunsinane” (National Theatre Of Scotland & The Royal Shakespeare Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – David Grieg’s sequel (as such) to ‘Macbeth’. Not, as I originally hoped it might be, a version of Macbeth from the viewpoint of the forest. Someone should write that. That’d be good.
Tuesday the 24th – Wire @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – Sheeeeeeeeeeeeit, the game stay the game… Oh, wait, it’s “Wire”, not “The Wire”.
Wednesday the 25th – Johnny Dowd @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The weeeeird side of Americana (#2).
Wednesday the 25th – Swarbrick/Carthy @ The Red Lion, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Customary monthly Carthy sighting!
Wednesday the 25th – Lúnasa @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Come for the instrumental Irish jigs but stay for the flautist’s between-song blarney. He was hilarious when I saw them.
Thursday the 26th – Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes” (London Philharmonic Orchestra) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – AKA “Don’t Be A Fisherman’s Friend”, AKA “If You Keep On Killing Your Apprentices You Shan’t Be Allowed To Have Any” etc etc etc.
Thursday the 26th – Richard Foote’s Young Pilgrims @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Because sousaphone, that’s why.
Friday the 27th – Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – He’s been seen to be good at it for a long time now. You wouldn’t have expected him to be confused.
Saturday the 28th – Andy Cutting @ The Newhampton Inn, Wolverhampton – I don’t know anything of his own music, but when he was in a duo with Chris Wood they called themselves “Wood And Cutting”. I feel that this should be applauded.
Saturday the 28th – “Live_Transmission” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Joy Division re-interpretations done with visuals and whatnot. And an orchestra. I hope that the conductor doesn’t (wait for it, wait for it) lose control again.
Saturday the 28th – Mega Emotion @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Rocking synthpop with noisy guitar over the top, playing as part of an Atta Grrl night. They do brilliant things and I’ve only ended up not mentioning them in one of these posts before because I’m not the biggest fan of club-night-ish-type-things.
Sunday the 29th – Dan Whitehouse @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Lovely local singer-songwritery type doing a gig in the name of the release of his second album. I won’t mention that he looks exactly like Stephen Mangan in the name of the fact that he’s probably sick of hearing it.