Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: October 2013
Even without Supersonic, October is still a big festival month (although every month is a festival month in Birmingham). This is a particularly gig-heavy edition of “Lots…” (even though they’re always gig-heavy). The theme, therefore, is “Yes, only more so”.
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 – “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show Live” @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Given that I think that “Hitchhiker’s” is in with good shout for being the high point of human cultural creation so far (really), you can imagine that I’m quite looking forward to this.
Thursday the 3rd till Saturday the 12th – Birmingham Literature Festival @ various venues in Birmingham but mainly the new library – The erstwhile Birmingham Book Festival. There’s loads of written-word-related fun – I have my tickets for Will Self and Catherine O’Flynn, but there’s also Carol Ann Duffy, Benjamin Zephaniah, Germaine Greer, you name ‘em.
Thursday the 3rd till Sunday the 6th – Sounding The River @ starting at The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A walk down the Rea with added lights and music and such. I bet this’ll be really pretty.
Thursday the 3rd – So Solid Crew @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – It makes you feel old when acts from your late teens/early twenties are doing nostalgia re-union tours.
Friday the 4th till Saturday the 2nd of November – “The Morgue Live” @ on Hurst Street, Birmingham – A live horror maze, it sez. It promises that you’ll confront your worst horrors, but God knows how they’ve managed to get Kilroy-Silk back into a position of influence.
Friday the 4th till Saturday the 19th – “Twelve Angry Men” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – A realistic theatrical representation of jury duty would just make you sit in the foyer for ages, and only very occasionally let you into the auditorium to see anything.
Friday the 4th till Sunday the 13th – Birmingham Comedy Festival @ varius venues in Birmingham – Hyuck hyuck hyuck guffaw and snigger. This is stymied for me by my complete lack of a sense of humour, but the highlight looks to me to be The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre at The Old Joint Stock on Friday the 11th (I do very much enjoy their predictions of what TuckerDoctor will be like).
Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – Fierce Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – The fifteenth anniversary of the arts festival, both performed and displayed. Things that caught my eye include a feast and an argument that goes on all afternoon.
Friday the 4th till Saturday the 6th – “Fearfest” @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – This is a real stop-press thing, as I really wasn’t aware of this at all until right before I was about to post this post. The line-up looks great if you’re into your distorted guitar larks (including, for old/out-of-touch me, a ton of “oh they’re still going/going again? Cool” names), though – Police Bastard, POA, Freebase, Selfless, Mothertrucker, and loads more.
Friday the 4th – Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Greek” (Music Theatre Wales) @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Turnage’s operatic version of Berkoff’s “Greek, which is of course a modernised version of Sophocles’ “Oedipus The King”. Nothing new under the sun etc etc etc.
Saturday the 5th till Saturday the 12th – “The Constant Wife” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – W. Somerset Maugham. He’s not quite W. Axl Rose in the “rarely-used ‘W’ initials” stakes, but he’s definitely in the field.
Saturday the 5th – Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” (Ellen Kent International Productions) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Surprisingly, the Triumphal March is actually quite difficult to transcribe in my usual dah-de-dahs.
Saturday the 5th – Zoe Rahman @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Bangladeshi-Irish jazz, which is not a combination you hear every day. I don’t know what the Arena will be like for gigs, but perhaps this could be the time to find out.
Satuday the 5th – “Haden Hill Dog Awareness Day” @ Haden Hill Park, Cradley Heath – Not just for those unaware of the existence of dogs. There is a “Dog most like its owner” class, and I do hope that’ll be as good as it promises to be.
Sunday the 6th – Crosby, Stills & Nash @ The NIA, Birmingham – Almost cut my hair. (Disclaimer: not really).
Sunday the 6th – “The Last Sheep” @ The New Art Gallery, Walsall – Go and make your own sheep memento. It seems to be for kiddies, which is a shame. I love sheep.
Sunday the 6th – R.M. Hubbert @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Flamenco-influenced guitarist from Glasgow. Flamengow, if you will.
Tuesday the 8th – Nadine Shah @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Goth-jazz-folk, possibly? It’s hard to describe a disparate artist on just the basis of a few YouTube videos that you’ve enjoyed, sometimes. She’s at The Slade Rooms in Wolves the following night, too.
Tuesday the 8th till Saturday the 12th – “The Secret Agent” (Theatre O) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – A stage version of Joseph Conrad’s really quite astonishingly prescient novella. Apparently the performance style has a lot to do with music hall and early cinema.
Tuesday the 8th – Laura Mvula @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – You’ve already stuffed your chances to see her in small venues. This might be your last chance to see her in any venues that aren’t actually arenas.
Wednesday the 9th till Saturday the 13th – The Horse Of The Year Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I gather we’re actually in the year of the horse, so there should be a strong line-up this time.
Wednesday the 9th till Friday the 11th – “A Clockwork Orange” (Birmingham School Of Acting) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – I don’t normally like to quote an event’s own blurb here (that seems far too lazy), but in this case I’m not going to top it: “Ludwig Van Beethoven with knives in it.”
Wednesday the 9th – “Best Of The BE Festival” (Birmingham European Theatre Festival) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Three half-hour plays from the BE Festival (I like the sound of three buffoons building a tower), and food is included in your ticket price.
Thursday the 10th and Saturday the 12th – “Twilightofthefreakinggods” (Stan’s Cafe) @ A.E. Harris, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – In honour of the ensmallening (it’s a perfectly cromulent word) of A.E. Harris, Stan’s Cafe are doing “Götterdämmerung” with all the music replaced. Absolutely everything that the Stan’s Cafe people do is always clever and funny and visually inventive. I keep telling you that.
Friday the 11th – Charles Bradley @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Southern soul, and I ain’t talking about Croydon.
Saturday the 12th – Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” (CBSO & Ex-Cathedra) – Symphony Hall, Birmingham – This’ll be the Ludwig Van Beethoven without knives in it.
Sunday the 13th – The Will Pound Band @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio Space), near Coventry – Haaaaaaaaaaarmonica. A good instrument. I’d maybe consider allowing a harmonica into my sousaphone band.
Sunday the 13th – Cara Dillon @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – I do hope her fiddle player tells the “bit scared” story. That was hilarious.
Sunday the 13th – Acid Mothers Temple @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Heh, Acid Mothers Temple playing on a Sunday night. Comical. They should be finished by about Wednesday.
Monday the 14th till Saturday the 2nd of November – “Yumm-A-Yukk-A-Boo” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company/Neighbourhood Rep) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Tales of international foods for young’ins.
Monday the 14th – Tunng @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Catching bullets with their teeth. Now with more Iceland.
Tuesday the 15th till Saturday the 19th – “1984” (Headlong Theatre) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re already familiar with the gist of this one.
Tuesday the 15th – Seth Lakeman @ The Robin 2, Bilston – It may seem like a minor thing, but I’m really pleased that his website’s giglist has “BILSTON Robin”, and not “Wolverhampton” as you tend to see from most of these nationally famous artists trying to glom onto that Wulfrunian big-city glamour. Using the real place names – that’s proper Folk.
Tuesday the 15th – Deep Purple @ The NIA, Birmingham – *Hums THE RIFF*
Wednesday the 16th till Saturday the 19th – “Europa” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company, Teatr Polski, Bydgoszcz, Staatsschauspiel Dresden, and the Zagreb Youth Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Various theatre companies from across Europe have combined to create this work in which various individuals across Europe try to get to grips with changes in national identities. I’m picturing “Going For Gold”.
Wednesday the 16th – The Orb @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – The Slade Rooms might have quite a high ceiling, but I doubt that any Little Fluffy Clouds will form.
Wednesday the 16th – Stuart Maconie’s “The People’s Songs” @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The story of post-war Britain, apparently, told through 50 popular music singles. Could be fun or could be exactly the type of ‘history’ that I hate. If you’re into Macaronie, note that he’s at the book festival too.
Thursday the 17th – The Drifters @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – In some sort of spatial/directional relationship with the boardwalk.
Thursday the 17th – Half Man Half Biscuit @The Academy 2, Birmingham – God speed the trial, to cite my childish kicks.
Friday the 18th – The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – He brings you one of the elements. I forget which, precisely.
Saturday the 19th and Saturday the 26th, then Monday the 28th till Saturday the 2nd – “Bank On It” @ a secret location in Coventry but you sort it out via Warwick Arts Centre – Children of five and over (and the adults they’re taking for a walk) can wonder through a bank and try to work out what is actually going on. I’m genuinely not sure what the ratio of satire-to-innocent-fun is.
Saturday the 19th – Baroness @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – I thought that all the band members had died in a car crash or something. If they did and they’re still going then that is proper Metal.
Saturday the 19th – Chris Wood @ The Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – It was only at Moseley Folk recently that I realised how much yer current king o’folk looks like yer late previous king o’folk.
Saturday the 19th – The Mighty Diamonds @ The Institute (Library room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Proper, proper reggae. I have often thought that many boring “The Nouns”-style band names could be improved by sticking the word “Mighty” in the middle.
Saturday the 19th – Caribbean-Style Domino Tournament @ The New Art Gallery, Walsall – The thought occurs that you can probably get this all over the place all the time in places other than an art gallery, but still. It’s here if you want it.
Sunday the 20th – Public Image Ltd / The Selecter @ The Academy, Birmingham – Interesting combination, actually. The two bands seem to make perfect sense together and no sense at all together, at the same time.
Sunday the 20th – Roachford @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – More cuddly toy than “The Generation Game”.
Sunday the 20th – VV Brown @ The Institute (Temple room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Crikey, I hadn’t known that she was still going but I am glad to hear that she is. The gig of hers that I saw a few years ago was fun for various reasons, not least because she couldn’t remember what city she was in. And also not least because I saw what I feel I can fairly and accurately describe as “The Most Middle Class Non-Verbal Gesture Ever Made” from another audience member.
Monday the 21st – Ghostpoet @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Comedown-y hip-hop-ery trip-hop-ery. Amazing at MOJFAS last year.
Tuesday the 22nd till Wednesday the 30th – “Open House” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – An installation (?) house for 0-2 years olds to wander around. When I was little I used to love going to the ‘pretend house’ (showroom-type-thing) at a big interiors/DIY shop, so I expect I’d have loved this.
Tuesday the 22nd till Saturday the 26th – Gaetano Donizetti’s “The Elixir Of Love” (Midlands Opera) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Re-set in a spiffing tea-on-the-village green type of 1939 English village. There’s tonnes of Donizetti going on next month too, if you like that sort of thing.
Monday the 21st – Gabby Young & Other Animals @ The Yardbird, Birmingham – Balkan-jazz-swing, perhaps? As I said above, it’s hard to describe a disparate artist on the basis of a few YouTube videos that you’ve enjoyed sometimes.
Tuesday the 22nd – AlunaGeorge @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – I was really disproportionately pleased when I read that their names are actually Aluna and George.
Wednesday the 23rd – “Monkey Bars” (Chris Goode & Company) @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Various kids were interviewed, and here their words are delivered by adult actors. Adult actors are probably disillusioned enough to work for less.
Wednesday the 23rd – Wizz Jones @ Katie Fitzgerald’s, Stourbridge – Finger lickin’ finger pickin’ folk’n’blues guitar.
Friday the 25th till Sunday the 27th – Capsule’s “Bring To Light” @ The Rainbow Warehouse in Digbeth & the new Central Library, Birmingham – Or “Bring To (Supersonic-)Light”, if you will. You have Shangaan Electro, Deafheaven, Laurence Hunt, a bloke in a rabbit costume, and loads more. Speaking of “Light”…
Friday the 25th till Sunday the 27th – “Illuminations” @ I’m not going to say “Southside” because that’s just very very stupid, but around Hurst Street/The Hippodrome/The Arcadian etc, Birmingham – Available information seems light (didjaseewhatIdidthere) at the moment, but there are three days of optical-related festivities, including a “360 degree film igloo” and The Lanterns Of The Terracotta Warriors.
Friday the 25th – Goodnight Lenin @ The Prince Of Wales, Moseley, Birmingham – I swear there’s some sort of contractual obligation that obliges everyone in a band in Birmingham to say that the Moseley Prince Of Wales is their favourite pub. It is a very good one, of course. Gets so busy, though. Anyway, if you like G’Lenin then see also the 31st.
Saturday the 26th till Saturday the 30th – Big Fun Festival @ Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Birmingham – A string of musical and other events aimed at kiddies/families (although absent, as far as I can tell, the most obvious bit of music). There are pigs, there are dinosaurs, Soweto is having a picnic and Neil Cowley is somehow involved with a gorilla.
Saturday the 26th – Travis @ The Academy, Birmingham – Yeah, that’s right, Travis. Want a fight about it?
Sunday the 27th – Dick Gaughan @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Helping you mind Thomas Muir of Huntershill.
Wednesday the 30th – Alexei Sayle @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – I’ve not always been mad, y’know. I was actually driven mad by the indifference of architecture and council planners.
Thursday the 31st – “Russian Masters” (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, Schostakovich’s 1st, and Rachmaninov’s “The Bells”. They’re going for a campanological theme, it seems.
Thursday the 31st – John Fell @ The Symphony Hall foyer in The ICC, Birmingham – Yer man from Goodnight Lenin doing the Folk For Free bit. Not sure whether this will consist entirely of GL songs or some that are just his own or what.
Thursday the 31st – F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – With appropriately halloween-ish pipe organ accompaniment.