Well we all collectively never – it’s a “Lots” post! For the first time in a very long time! Judging by the things that are happening, November 2016 will apparently be remembered both as “Goth Month” and as “Pride And Prejudice Month”.
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 (although, happily, no-one ever does this anymore).
Currently and up until Saturday the 12th – “What Shadows” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep/Library Of Birmingham (The Studio room), Birmingham – About Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech. I swear this better not be an apologetic, not right now.
Monday the 1st and Tuesday the 2nd – “Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons” (Walrus Theatre) @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – A play about what would happen if there was a limit to the number of words you could say in your life. If that was the case then I’d say ‘banana’ a lot rather than ‘lemons’, and squeeze more syllables out of the quota.
Monday the 1st till Wednesday the 3rd – ‘Emerge’ theatre festival @ Warwick Arts Centre, near Coventry – I don’t know if there’s a theme, but there are polar bears and dolphins and allsorts more.
Monday the 1st till Friday the 5th – “Heads Will Roll” (Told By An Idiot and Theatre Royal Plymouth) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Inspired by the search for El Dorado, and featuring “live music from one of Barcelona’s most unique musicians”. That could mean a lot of things, really.
Monday the 1st till Monday the 14th – Coventry Peace Festival @ various venues in Coventry – On one hand I like the idea of granting ‘peace’ an ontological status beyond ‘the absence of conflict’. On the other it seems a bit glib. But still! Lots of different stuff to see and participate in.
Wednesday the 2nd – Andy Irvine @ The Red Lion, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Your man from Planxty. Not that one. One of the other ones.
Wednesday the 2nd – “Gothic Tales” (European Arts Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – GOTH MONTH. Although in the ‘gothic literary tradition’ sense rather than the ‘kohl’ sense, in this case. Adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” (I just went to see another one of those, funnily enough), H.G. Wells’ “The Red Room” and Charles Dickens’ ”The Signalman”.
Wednesday the 2nd – The Mouse Outfit @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Nine hip-hop mice, nine hip-hop mice, see how they rap, see how they rap…
Thursday the 3rd – Echo & The Bunnyman @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Not part of goth month as such, but certainly affiliated.
Thursday the 3rd – Flamingods @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – Psycho-rhythmic freakouts with a bunch of interesting different instruments. It took me a while to realise that the name was mean to be as in “flamingo” rather than as in “on fire”.
Thursday the 3rd – “The Collector” (Kathryn Barker Productions)@ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A Iraqi translator working for American interrogators encounters a committed supporter of the old regime.
Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th- Capsule’ “Supersonic 2017 Launch Party” @ Centrala, Digbeth, Birmingham – There’s gonna be a Supersonic Festival next year! Wa-hey! And this is a harbinger of it. Two nights of varied stuff, headlined by Xylouris White – Jim White of The Dirty Three in collaboration with the Cretan lute player Giorgos Xylouris.
Friday the 4th – The Specials @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Bernie Rhodes knows: don’t argue.
Friday the 4th – Smoove & Turrell @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – I’ve seen ‘em live before and I still have trouble believing that his voice comes out of his body.
Friday the 4th – Politics And Theatre Symposium @ The Rep/Library Of Birmingham (Studio), Birmingham – I think it’s more-or-less exactly what the name suggests.
Friday the 4th – “Coulrophobia” (Pickled Imaged Theatre) @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Why is everything clown-related lately? Clowns this, clowns that. It’s like that period in the late 90s/early 2000s when people suddenly started saying ‘monkey’ in every other sentence. But I digress. I don’t think the clowns in this play are clowns for your kiddies.
Friday the 4th – “Maddy And The Invisible Band Of Groovers” (Invisible Flash Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Probably the best title for a play that I have ever seen.
Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th – The National Pet Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’m gonna go and get me an ocelot.
Saturday the 5th – “Midlands Calling”punk alldayer @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Sham 69! Subhumans! Also Angelic Upstarts, UK Subs, GBH, 999, Drongos and loads of others.
Saturday the 5th – Elaine Paige @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Nothing is so good it lasts eternally/perfect situations must go wrong. Entropy, they call it. Wasn’t it good? Oh so good.
Sunday the 6th- Saxon @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – I should bloody well hope that the band will play on, if you’ve paid for a ticket and all.
Sunday the 6th – The Mission @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – GOTH MONTH. Apparently it’s their 30th anniversary tour. So many years, so much dry ice sacrificed for the cause.
Sunday the 6th – David Essex @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham (and also at Wolves Civic on the 27th) – I’ll brave your cries of “WHAAAAT? NOOOOO!” and acknowledge that I don’t actually think the thought of a David Essex gig is an exceptionally interesting thing. I just wanted to self-indulgently tell an anecdote. Up until about a-year-or-so ago, I’d managed to never have heard of this Joey Essex figure who’s apparently a big telly star nowadays. When I heard tell of some of his exploits (I forget precisely what he was supposed to be up to), it didn’t make any sense at all to me. It just wouldn’t compute that he might be doing this. Naturally, I was thinking of David Essex.
Sunday the 6th – The Skull @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Ex-members of Trouble and so on, but the main thing here is that you’ve got a doom metal band called “The Skull”. They know what the flip is going on.
Sunday the 6th – Eliza Carthy @ The Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventy – There’s a hole in my bucket, dear ‘Liza, dear ‘Liza. I imagine that she won’t play that.
Tuesday the 8th till Saturday the 12th – the Welsh National Opera come to town @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – The theme this time around is the obscure playwright Billy Shakespeare. You have Verdi’s Macbeth, Andrei Tchaikowsky’s (not P.I. Tchaikovsky. I am certain you know that, but it’s confused me in the past) The Merchant Of Venice, and (moving diagonally sideways into the world of musicals) you have Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate.
Tuesday the 8th till Saturday the 12th – “Pride And Prejudice” (Regent’s Park Theatre) @ The Rep, Birmingham – PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MONTH. Starring the man who played The Definitive Lenny at this very venue many yeas ago, Matthew “You Bet!” Kelly.
Wednesday the 9th – Chas & Dave @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – A few years ago I wondered if C&D’s “last ever tour” of the time was reeeaaaally actually going to be their last. I was assured that it was. Heh.
Thursday the 10th till Sunday the 13th- “The Seventh Wave” electronic music festival @ various venues in Brum – Including gigs from :Zoviet*France and Wolfgang Flür o’ Kraftwerk, a conference, and allsorts.
Thursday the 10th till Sunday the 20th – Shout festival @ various venues in Birmingham – You know you make me wanna… have a festival of queer arts and culture. There’s loads happening, have a look.
Thursday the 10th till Monday the 28th – BASS Festival 2016 @ various venues in Brum – This year’s theme is “Hip Hop 360”. Loads of things happening including gigs from Jazzy Jeff and Slick Rick, but the absolute can’t-miss one will be The Robert Glasper Experiment playing at Brum Town Hall on the 20th.
Thursday the 10th – An evening with Glen Matlock @ The Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – “Sacked me, they did. Got this other fella in, instead. Needless to say I had the last laugh.”
Friday the 11th – “Nabucco” (Ellen Kent International) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – You could do a Verdi Double this week if you wanted, between this and the WNO’s “Macbeth” performance. A Verdouble, if you will.
Saturday the 12th – The Wailers @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – I was about to say that it’s basically Aston Barett plus backing band nowadays, but upon inspection it looks like he isn’t even with them anymore. But still, they’re playing.
Saturday the 12th – the Singha Grand Slam Of Darts @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Sports that you play outside are stupid.
Saturday the 12th – Roni Size @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – It’s a DJ set, but I see a lot of appeal in the idea of charging around the place and insistently demanding “WHO… TOLD… YOU… you could do it like… THIS?” of people.
Satuday the 12th – Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (Opera Anywhere) @ The Botanical Gardens, Harborne, Birmingham – I bet this’ll be nice, amongst the flowers.
Sunday the 13th – Billy Bragg & Joe Henry @ The Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, near Coventry – Touring following their joint album themed around railroad songs. They’ve added some great lyrics to “The Theme From Thomas The Tank Engine”, I’ll tell you.
Sunday the 13th – Lacuna Coil @ The Institute 2, Digbeth, Birmingham – Another not-quite-goth-month-but-definitely-affiliated event.
Sunday the 13th- New Model Army @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Nuts to Cromwell, though.
Wednesday the 16th till Saturday the 19th – “Beautiful Thing” (can’t find the theatre company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – I wasn’t really aware of this but apparently it’s famous. And even more so after the Stan’s Café folks plugged it.
Thursday the 17th – Alabama 3 @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Apparently their 20th anniversary tour. It’s all about the anniversaries nowadays.
Thursday the 7th – The Skatalites @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With the original vocalist, which (if I’m to be honest) I wouldn’t have expected.
Thursday the 17th – The Hollies @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – All they need is the air that they breathe, and food, and shelter, and clean water. And to love you. Possibly jam on it as well.
Thursday the 17th – “Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge In Coventry 1828” (Warwick University’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project & Belgrade Theatre) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – So apparently an under-21-year-old black man became the manager of a theatre in Coventry… in 1828. This will feature a documentary about him followed by a trip to the site of the actual theatre, as well as excerpts from the plays he put on.
Friday the 18th – Public Image Ltd @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Yes, I agree that Lydon is a tosser. But still.
Friday the 18th – Roachford @ The Kasbah, Coventry – Now and forever: There’s no fog!
Saturday the 19th – Laura Mvula @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Songs that can lift your spirits, songs that can jig your foot.
Saturday the 19th – “Going For Gold” boxing card (UKO Boxing) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – I have no idea about the local boxing scene anymore, but it looks like Martin Gethin is still going so good luck to him.
Monday the 21st till the 10th of December – “The Wind In The Willows” @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Be careful before you book a ticket, though – word reaches me that Mr Toad may have been sacked for punching the producer. The pompous oaf.
Monday the 21st still Wednesday the 23rd – “Shakespeare, His Wife, And The Dog” (Bated Breath Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Bill and Anne have lost their dog.
Tuesday the 22nd – She Makes War @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – It’s styled as one of your “An evening with…” affairs (if you look here), so there may well be more chat than usual. She was very funny when I saw her and apparently she has done comedy in the past.
Wednesday the 23rd – Terrorvision @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Playing “Regular Urban Survivors” all the way through on yet another of those anniversary tours. Dog chewed t’handle.
Thursday the 24th till Sunday the 27th – the BBC Good Food Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – “Good food? But that’s my favourite type of food!”
Thursday the 24th till Sunday the 27th – The Trip To Birmingham Tradfest @ various venues in Birmingham, mostly Digbeth – Irish folk festival, with tooralooraloo and maybe a tooraloorali as well.
Friday the 25th – Bus Station Loonies @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – A surprising venue for this band to be playing. But there we are.
Saturday the 26th – Future Of The Left @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Some of the best song-titlers of our times. My current fave would have to be “Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop”.
Saturday the 26th – An Audience With Lesley Garrett @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Look, sod off, I like her.
Saturday the 26th – Goodnight Lenin @ Muthers Studio, Digbeth, Birmingham – They used to be a West-Coast-American-folk-rock type band. Nowadays they have keyboards and riffs and allsorts. We live in crazy times.
Sunday the 27th – Mark Kermode @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – God, Kermode, your hands are massive.
Tuesday the 29th – The Damned @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Another goth month affiliate.
Wednesday the 30th – Shalamar @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – They’re gonna make it (wait for it, waaaait for iiiiiiit) a night to remember.
There’s always loads in March – Crufts, Flatpack, Frontiers, the WNO coming around, St Padraig’s, loads. March this year is no exception, and has plenty of non-regular delights too (Sooty, sousaphones, loads). I was going to waffle on here (in my usual grumpy fashion) about the NIA now being ‘The Barclaycard Arena” (I see the NEC Arena has changed names again, too), but I cant be bothered anymore. Sod ‘em. Sod ‘em all.
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.
Sunday the 1st – “Hercules” (The English Concert) @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Handel’s oratorio, so more your ‘tale of jealousy causing strife’ than your ‘twelve labours thereof’.
Sunday the 1st – “…And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel” (Finishing Touch Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Stan visits the dying Ollie. Shame that this couldn’t have been performed at The Bartons Arms, really, with its L&H connections and all.
Tuesday the 3rd and Wednesday the 4th – “Nursing Lives” (Vamos Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Last month I wrote “Stories of nurses, performed by “the UK’s leading full mask theatre company”. Presumably not just surgical masks, then.” This month I can’t be bothered to think of anything extra to write.
Tuesday the 3rd – “Adorno and Art” talk and book launch @ Eastside Projects, Birmingham – One Dr James Hellings has written a book of that title. I expect the “Adorno took our symphonies away” view will be thoroughly debunked therein. Dunno, meself.
Wednesday the 4th till Saturday the 7th – Welsh National Opera @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – The Welsh National Opea company rolls into town for one of its mini-seasons, although there doesn’t seem to be a theme this time around. You do, nevertheless, have a gala performance with the lovely Lesley Garrett on the 4th, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” on the 5th and 6th, and Humperdinck’s “Hansel And Gretel” on the 7th.
Wednesday the 4th – In This Moment @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Every time I hear their name, I think involuntarily of Martine McCutcheon’s “This Is My Moment”. That’s quite different, musically speaking. I would like to hear her have a stab at melodic metalcore, though.
Wednesday the 4th – John Renbourn & Wizz Jones @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Folk guitarerarering, and plenty of it.
Wednesday the 4th – Barbara Dickson @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – She knew him so well.
Wednesday the 4th – Mellow Peaches @ The Hare & Hounds, Birmingham – Excellent rootsy bluegrassy country-bluesy type o’band. I think they’re first on the bill with other artistes at this one, but apparently it’s only a pound to get in.
Friday the 6th till Sunday the 8th – Bandage Live @ various venues in Birmingham & Sutton Coldfield – Various benefit gigs for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The website isn’t exactly a thorough listing, but I know that a Paul Murphy gig is part of it.
Friday the 6th – Hawkwind / Focus @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Or the current version thereof, you know how it goes. I’m sure this’ll be mindbending nevertheless.
Friday the 6th – Mob 47 @ The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – I swear that they used to call this sort of thing “Discore” rather than “D-Beat” when I were a lad. If neither of those terms mean anything to you then I’d take a wild flying guess at saying that this gig probably won’t be your type of thing.
Friday the 6th – “Ideas Of Noise” @ Minerva Works, Digbeth, Birmingham – An evening of ‘noise used creatively’. Sarah Farmer seems to be putting it on but I’m not sure if she’s actually performing or not. I like the sound of a “harsh noise ballet” by Justin Wiggan and Genevieve Say.
Saturday the 7th till Saturday the 15th – Birmingham St Padraig’s Day Festival @ all over Digbeth, Birmingham – The parade (3rd largest in the world etc.) is on the 15th, this year. The closest thing to any listings that I can find for the fringe festival is this.
Saturday the 7th – Revolt @ The Coal Vaults, Coventry – Amazing-beyond-amazing feminist and LGBTQIA+ postive punk night. This time you’ll have Liines, The Ethical Debating Society, Big Joanie, and Bad Horse, as well as there being DJs and spoken word and zines and all sorts of lovely stuff.
Saturday the 7th – Grant Nicholas @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – Yer fella from Feeder. Believe an old man when I tell you that Feeder actually used to be alright before they became really boring.
Sunday the 8th – The Unthanks @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Folk music and clog-dancing. The new mania that’s sweeping the nation.
Sunday the 8th – The 2015 Soul Acoustic Tour @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Headlined by Carroll Thompson, and also featuring Raheem Bakaré (I got there too late to see him supporting D’Angelo a few weeks ago, which is a shame since he seems like he could be quite interesting).
Sunday the 8th – “Pathways & Places” (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Stan’s Café) @ The CBSO Centre, Birmingham – A BCMG family concert, with the always-amazing Stan’s Café people providing visuals. There are also “activity cafes” an hour before each performance, in which you can contribute to the music that will eventually be played.
Monday the 9th till the 30th of April – BOM Fellows Show @ Birmingham Open Media, Birmingham – A work-in-progress sort of exhibition, with the ten ‘Fellows’ of BOM showing ideas in development. Includes Pete Ashton’s meditation about the overuse of the word ‘mighty’ on Instagram.
Monday the 9th till Saturday the 14th – “Jeeves And Wooster in ‘Perfect Nonsense’” (some sort of production-specific touring theatre company) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – Starring Robert Webb as Bertie and Christopher Ryan as… Seppings? Apparently. I can’t remember who that is.
Monday the 9th – Clean Bandit @ The Academy, Birmingham – I’d seen the band name ‘Clean Bandit’ around for a good while before I realised that they were that-band-who-do-that-‘doodly-doo-doo-do’ song, but I was always amused by it. ‘Clean Bandit’. I don’t know why that tickles me so much.
Tuesday the 10th – Idlewild @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Believe an old man when I tell you that Idlewild also actually used to be alright before they became really boring.
Wednesday the 11th – “One Man ‘Breaking Bad’: The Unauthorised Parody” @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Dunno about this. It surely requires at least two people to do the best bits (i.e. Badger & Skinny Pete routines). (Also on at Warwick Arts Centre on the 14th).
Thursday the 12th – An Evening With Arthur Brown @ The Robin 2, Bilston – ‘An Evening With…’ rather than ‘The Crazy World Of…’, so I assume he’ll be telling anecdotes more than he’ll be setting fire to his own head.
Thursday the 12th – Pharoahe Monch @ The Oobleck, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Simon Says Fuck You.
Thursday the 12th – “Ways of Something” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – A screening of a remake of John Berger’s “Ways Of Seeing”, in which 60 second clips of contemporary artists’ work are spliced in. It’s very important that you watch to watch the original series too, of course. And to read Walter Benjamin’s “The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction” as well, while we’re at it.
Friday the 13th (whooooo) – GoGo Penguin @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Penguins, in my admittedly limited experience, don’t need much encouragement to act. They will go at the very slightest provocation, whatever going might entail. Also here you have some twinkly-piano jazz-come-electronics.
Friday the 13th (whooooo) – Dan Walsh @ The Woodman Folk Club, Kingswinford – The instrumentals are always the best when it comes to clawhammer banjo music. They always sound like the background theme to a chase scene.
Saturday the 14th till Saturday the 21st- “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Younger readers might be amused by a joke using the phrase “Ratched-ass girl” but I don’t know anything about all that.
Saturday the 14th – Lionel Richie @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – Q. How does Lionel Richie answer the phone? (Aaaaalltogether now…) A. He says “Lionel Richie speaking”.
Saturday the 14th – Europe @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – It’s not the penultimate count-up. No sirree. That’s absolutely not what it is.
Saturday the 14th – The Sooty Show with Richard Cadell @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – I didn’t know there was such thing as post-Corbett Sooty! Little Cousin piggin’ Scampi appears to have buggered off, too, so there’s plenty to celebrate.
Saturday the 14th – Zun Zun Egui @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – Indie-rock by way of Afrobeat, and you can hear their new album in its entirety here.
Saturday the 14th – “La Traviata” (Ellen Kent Opera & Ballet International) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – The only one of these Ellen Kent productions I’ve ever been to see was an absolutely shambolic attempt at “La Boheme” at The Grand, a couple of years ago. They had some bad luck, though (as well as being in a horrible theatre). I’m sure that not absolutely every performance they do of an Italian opera set in France is like that every time.
Saturday the 14th – “Tear Up At The Tower 7” Muay Thai @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Good luck to Si Whitehead and everyone from K-Star Legacy.
Sunday the 15th – The Strawbs @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Actually it’s a triple-bill of Carl Palmer (of ELP fame), Martin whatjacallhim (of Wishbone Ash fame), and The Strawbs (of The Strawbs fame). Unlikely bedfellows.
Sunday the 15th – Chris Wood @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Folk music. Yeah, that’s right, I’m bored of thinking up wood/tree/forest puns every time Chris Wood does a gig.
Sunday the 15th – Hirax @ The Asylum 2, Hockley, Birmingham – Thrashthrashthrash!
Monday the 26th till Friday the 27th – Frontiers Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Two weeks of unusual contemporary music. There’s a you-name-it selection of stuff: Jonathan Harvey’s “From Silence”, everything in Beethoven’s 5th played by one woman, Indonesian Gamelan, jazz themed around intra- and inter-state conflict, I-don’t-even-know-what themed around the number ‘108’, you name it…
Tuesday the 17th till Tuesday the 31st – The Young Rep 2015 Festival: ‘Manifesto’ @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – The youth theatre festival based around ‘punchy’ political ideas. Including a cut-up version of Hamlet, Pies, British Values, and loads and loads more.
Wednesday the 18th – Alabama 3 @ The Robin 2, Bilston – I’m in a lonely room, Hank Williams sings a lovesick tune. I’m sure it won’t be a lonely room for this gig, though. I expect it’ll be quite busy.
Thursday the 19th till Sunday the 29th – Flatpack Film Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Flatpack! Brumagem’s primary festival of film and film-related activity. It’s another you-name-it job: the biggest one for me is a Richard Dawson gig, but there’s also Peggy Seeger, the Swedish Monty Python equivalent, the Odyssey done with cardboard cut-out characters, cats, more cats, I felt sorry for that cat, air guitar, you name it…
Thursday the 19th – Spandau Ballet @ The Genting Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Yes, they’re playing there. It’s… TRU-WOO!
*** Pick Of The Month~! ***
Friday the 20th – Fanfare Ciocărlia @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – At least some of the people reading this are likely to be fans of The Destroyers, and to those (and everyone else, actually) I would recommend Fanfare Ciocărlia. This gig does seem to be seated, though. If any gig at the Town Hall ever begs for the seats to be taken up, it’ll be this one. People are going to want to have a Balkan Boogie. They have two sousaphones! Two!
Friday the 20th – Stiff Little Fingers @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Don’t leave anything lying around at the gig. The venue might end up being evacuated if they find something that get mistaken for a sus… sus… sus… suss us sussuspect device.
Friday the 20th – Warpaint @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Now that I think of it, ‘Woad’ would be a good band name.
Sunday the 22nd – Dropkick Murphys / The Mahones / Blood Or Whiskey / Resistance 77 @ The Academy, Birmingham – The ‘Celtic Punk Invasion’ tour. Once I would have made a joke about the massive total of one of the bands being from a Celtic Country, but it did eventually dawn on me that this would be close to breaking the “you never, ever get to tell anyone else what their identity is” rule. And I do that that’s a very good rule to live by.
Sunday the 22nd – Seth Lakeman @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – His name always makes me think of the old ‘spaceman’ joke. What do you do if you see a Lakeman? Fish in it, maaaaaan…
Sunday the 22nd – Malcolm X Film Festival @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Accompanying events nationally. I continually find myself irritated by those who purport to forget the definition of the word ‘necessary’ when trying to find reasons to dislike Malcolm X.
Monday the 23rd till Saturday the 28th – “Arcadia” (English Touring Theatre & Theatre Royal Brighton Productions) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – The best English language play of our times, sez me. Also you can nick bits of the dialogue to explain entropy to people.
Tuesday the 24th till Wednesday the 1st of April – “A Passion For Birmingham” (can’t seem to work out the name of the theatre company) @ Birmingham Cathedral and The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Jesus in Brum.
Tuesday the 24th till Saturday the 28th – “All My Sons” (Talawa Theatre Company) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – See the next entry, if you would.
Tuesday the 24th till Saturday the 28th – “The View From The Bridge (Touring Consortium Theatre Company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Given how far in advance theatres make their bookings, you’d have thought that they would have avoided having two big Arthur Miller Productions in the same area on exactly the same dates. Or maybe it’s deliberate counter-programming? If they’d both been in Birmingham then someone would have called it ‘Millerfest’.
Tuesday the 24th – Usher @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – I remember the time when he got mistaken for one of the venue’s actual ushers. Oh, the hilarious sitcom-style misunderstandings that occurred.
Tuesday the 24th – Oysterband @ The Robin 2, Bilston – I condone any folk act named after seafood.
Friday the 27th till Saturday the 11th of April – “Blood” (Belgrade Theatre & Tamasha) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Anglo-Asian Romeo & Juliet.
Wednesday the 25th till Saturday the 28th – “Alice” (Crescent Youth Theatre) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – A modern version of Alice, with your Wonderlandy characters helping her with bereavement.
Friday the 27th – Cara Dillon @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Her fiddle player’s “bit scared” story absolutely cracked me up when I saw her.
Friday the 27th – Prince Phillip @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – “It’s all the fault of the bleddy Chinese, don’tchaknow…”
Saturday the 28th – Ameriie @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – *DRUMS* Na-na-na-na-na-no…
Saturday the 28th – The Selecter @ Warwick Arts Centre (Student Union Copper Rooms), near Coventry – It’s just a simple
show gig on my radio at Warwick Arts Centre.
Monday the 30th – “Collidoscope” (Freshold Theatre & Untitled Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Anna deals with upset in her life by becoming Madeleine Carroll. This is a genius idea and I’ll have to try it myself.
Tuesday the 31st till Sunday the 26th of April – “Shrek – The Musical” (Dreamworks Theatricals) @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – I wonder if they work “It’s Not Easy Being Green” in there, since it’s a musical?
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 the 31st of January all the way up to the 11th of April – “Birmingham Show” @ Eastside Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – An art exhibition that concerns itself with three questions: ‘What is the art of Birmingham?’ ‘Is there an accent to Birmingham’s art making?’ and ‘How is Birmingham useful for the production of art?’. Potentially very interesting – I often feel like there are common threads that I can’t quite put my finger on amongst local stuff.
Sunday the 1st – Joe @ The Academy, Birmingham – Soul month! I’d call Joe ‘alright’ rather than ‘great’. I might not have mentioned him here were it not for A) the respect-worthy lack of effort that went into his stage name, and B) that concept album he did that was set in Possilpark.
Sunday the 1st – “Gaza: When Fire Rained Down From The Sky” @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – A talk from Musheir El-Farra, who recently wrote a book of the same name about victims of Israel’s 2008 campaign.
Monday the 2nd – Jefferson Starship @ The Robin 2, Bilston – The current touring version of Jefferson Starship, doing the music of Jefferson Airplane. I’ll leave you to decide whether that’s a retrograde step or not.
Tuesday the 3rd till Saturday the 7th – “The History Boys” (Sell A Door Theatre Company) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry –
Gordon Alan Bennett. (Also on at The Alexandra between the 23d and the 28th).
Wednesday the 4th till Saturday the 7th – “The Glass Menagerie” (Warwick University Drama Society) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), near Coventry – Tenner C. Williams. Tenner him? I barely know him.
Friday the 6th – “The Tell-Tale Heart” @ The Spotted Dog, Digbeth, Birmingham – Readings and film showings and stuff hidden under the floor, all in honour of Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday.
Saturday the 7th till Saturday the 21st – “Only A Day” (Belgrade Theatre Company) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – A fox and a boar watch over the birth of a mayfly. For children aged seven and over.
Saturday the 7th – “Inside” (Strawberry Blonde Curls Theatre Company) @ The MAC (the Hexagon), Edgbaston, Birmingham – About Stockholm Syndrome. You know, that one where you fall in love with your pet moose.
Sunday the 8th – “Only Fools And Boycie – An Evening With John Challis” @ The Old Rep, Birmingham – I saw him as the voice of The Book in that touring version of Hitchhikers the other year, which was interesting casting. This, I assume (and sort-of hope), will consist of him doing this for an hour and a half.
Tuesday the 10th till Saturday the 14th – Matthew Bourne’s “Edward Scissorhands”(New Avenues) @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – They won’t let me have scissors. Not the sharp ones, anyway.
Tuesday the 10th till Saturday the 14th – “Forever Young” (Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company & Oldham Coliseum Theatre) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre), near Coventry – Aging pantomime actors try to prove that it isn’t all behind them. That’s a plot description. I’ve no idea if it functions on a meta level as well or not.
Tuesday the 10th – Kenny Garrett @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Jazz sax-o-mo-phone. I expect that a lot of people get him mixed up with Kenny G. I also expect that he doesn’t like that very much.
Wednesday the 11th – The CBSO’s “Shostakovich Uncovered” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The 11th symphony (“In The Year 1905”) with an explanatory talk/performance attached. It’s also being done as part of the ‘War And Revolution’ programme on the 15th, and if you like Shosto then there’s also first piano trio on the 26th.
Friday the 13th (whoooo) – Macy Gray @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Soul Month! I know “I Try” got really flipping irritating the first time around, after it was projected into every semi-stable bit of air in the entire world non-stop for about two years running, but listen back to it now – it’s lovely. There has, presumably, been some more stuff since then too. Maybe I should try to hear some of it.
Saturday the 14th – Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – My first thought when I heard the name was a reflexive “Oh yes, and what precisely is quite so postmodern about it all?”, but they do actually appear to be applying signifiers out of context to see what they end up doing. So…
Saturday the 14th – Gruff Rhys @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Star of “Not The Nine O’Clock News” and “Alas Smith & Jones”, latterly more well known for larking about on boats. What?
Saturday the 14th – Fascinating Aïda @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The Cheap Flights song absolutely cracked me up.
Saturday the 14th – Professional Boxing @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Ah, I have no idea who the local boxers are nowadays. The balcony in The Civic is a great place to watch fighting sports, though – you get a great view of the ring. There’s also boxing at the Holte Suite at the Villa ground on the 20th and at Bescot stadium on the 21st, but again I dunno.
Sunday the 15th and Monday the 16th – “The Snail And The Whale” (Tall Stories) @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – A snail wants to see the world and so hitches a ride on the back of a whale. You don’t know how much I’d like to do that.
Sunday the 15th – The Dublin Legends @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – “Will they ever be called ‘The Dubliners’ again?” (Wait for it, wait for it) No, nay, never, no nay never no more…
Sunday the 15th – “UK Burger Battle Valentine Special” @ Spotlight, Digbeth – You get to eat two burgers from two different chefs and judge them. The winner gets… I dunno, indigestion I expect.
Sunday the 15th – Echo & The Bunnymen @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Rescheduled from last year, due to illness. I think one of the Bunnymen was poorly. Echo was notably annoyed about having to cancel gigs.
Monday the 16th till Saturday the 21st – “The Honey Man” (Birmingham Rep Theatre & Judy Owen Ltd) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – An old Caribbean beekeeper is harassed by the daughter of the his landlord. This one has been well-regarded for a long time now. (It’s also on at The Arena in Wolves on the 24th, and… y’know, I swear I saw it on somewhere else in February but I can’t quite seem to locate where. Sorry).
Tuesday the 17th till Saturday the 21st – “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time” (National Theatre) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – With the usual caveats about representation. And the usual caveats about The Grand Theatre.
Tuesday the 17th – D’Angelo @ The Academy, Birmingham – Soul Month! I like this trend of famous artists releasing albums on two-minutes notice, it’s fun. Particularly when, like Dang (as he is known to the non-boring), you’re famous for hardly releasing albums at all.
Tuesday the 17th – “Alice In Wonderland” (Box Tale Soup) @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – A puppetry version, which actually does strike me as a very good medium for it.
Wednesday the 18th – The Decemberists @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Any band that do a video based in a scene from “Infinite Jest” are alright by me.
Wednesday the 18th – Hey Colossus @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Doom-come-post-rock sorts, who were something beyond amazing the first time I saw them and then a bit dull the second time.
Friday the 20th – Sleaford Mods @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – I’m not entirely convinced that he’s not just a pub bore moaning about other pub bores, but I’m open to be persuaded.
Friday the 20th – Mitch Benn @ The MAC (Theatre Space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Like Jeremy Hardy, tours mostly to prove that he exists in the corporeal world and not solely on the radio.
Friday the 20th – St Patrick’s Day Charity Event @ The Irish Centre, Digbeth, Birmingham – It seems that the Birmingham Saint Padraig’s Day parade (3rd largest in the world etc) has had its funding cut. Money is being raised, and this here is a benefit gig with loads of Irish music (including The Father Teds).
Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd – “Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus” (Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), near Coventry – Good advice for living, as well as the title of this play for children three and older.
Saturday the 21st – Earth @ The Oobleck, Digbeth, Birmingham – Yer contemporary drone band, not Black Sabbath under their original name. Or Earth, Wind & Fire. Or Manfred Mann’s Earthband.
Saturday the 21st – MMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Wolves council had a bit of a “ban this filth” fit over MMA a few years ago and cancelled an event that was due to take place at the Civic (in spite of the fact that MMA fights had already taken place there, on a kickboxing card. I know, I was there), so I’m glad that’s all settled down. This card features mega-prospect Tom Duquesnoy, and (as I mentioned above) this is a good venue for fightsports. One Paul Taylor is fighting, too, but sadly it’s not that Paul Taylor.
Saturday the 21st – Pete Rock @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – CL Smooth’s mate. They reminisce they reminisce.
Sunday the 22nd – Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The second most famous folky from Barnsley and the second most famous folky from the Lakeman family, making something first class when combined.
Sunday the 22nd – Mahler’s First Symphony by the CBSO Youth Orchestra @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – And if you like Mahlo, there’s the sixth symphony on the 26th and the 28th.
Sunday the 22nd – “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – With Jack Dee and the surprisingly corporeal Jeremy Hardy and all o’them other fellas. Mornington Crescent.
Monday the 23rd – “Woyzeck” (Splendid Productions) @ The MAC (the Hexagon), Edgbaston, Birmingham – I always forget that this was a play before it was an opera.
Wednesday the 25th till Thursday the 7th of March – “The King’s Speech” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company & Chichester Festival Theatre) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – P-p-p-p-p-p-poker F-f-face, Granville. With Jason Donovan! Wow.
Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th – Selina Thompson’s “Chewing The Fat” @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), near Coventry – I can’t help but chuckle about the fact that Warwick Arts Centre’s page for this comedy/theatre performance about weight/body image finishes with “Theatre Supper: Enjoy a post-show supper in Le Gusta…”
Wednesday the 25th – The Jesus & Mary Chain @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Doing their vaunted “Psychocandy” album. Feeding the feedback back.
Wednesday the 25th – Michael Chapman @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Fun fact: between September 2011 and February 2013 I saw Chappo and his bluesy fingepickin’ guitarin’ five times, which seems (to me) like quite a high times-to-time ratio for seeing someone non-local. I’ve not seen him before or since.
Wednesday the 25th – “The Cloth Of The World” (The Fetch Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A puppetry performance inspired by Hereford Cathedral’s Mappa Mundi, which is an intriguingly mad concept. Includes mermaids, mandrakes, and gold-digging ants.
Thursday the 26th till Sunday the 28th – “Ava’s Wedding” (students of Birmingham Conservatoire) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – A new opera, by Michael Wolters of the Conservatoire. The libretto (by Alexandra Taylor) is apparently influenced by soap operas, making this a soap opera-opera. If you will.
Friday the 27th – Richard Herring @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – I used to love “Fists Of Fun” and “TMWRNJ”, but I’m afraid to go back and try to watch them again. I have a faint worry that it might just turn out to have been a load of wacky-student crapola.
Friday the 27th – Syleena Johnson @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Soul month! It’s really not clear to me whether she’s supporting Faith Evans, or they’re doing some sort of joint tour with ‘em all together on stage at once.
Friday the 27th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The soirée at the just harbour town (‘Fair’,’port’… geddit?).
Friday the 27th – “Nursing Lives” (Vamos Theatre) @ The MAC (theatre), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Stories of nurses, performed by “the UK’s leading full mask theatre company”. Presumably not just surgical masks, then.
Friday the 27th – Mark Thomas’ “Cuckooed” @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre), near Coventry – The tale of how a friend of his turned out to be informing about his activities to BAE systems. I suspect the same thing is happening to me. Only BAE Systems don’t care about me and wish that this person would stop bothering them.
Saturday the 28th – The Black Keys @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – I have a vague memory of being more-or-less indifferent to the odd songs of theirs that I’ve heard (maybe. I dunno, I’m reasonably sure I’ve heard their own stuff but I have no distinct recollections), but that Dr John album that their frontman helped him out with is really good so maybe they are worthwhile after all. Or perhaps it was all just Dr John. He has a sazzle of gris-gris in his hand, as you know.
Saturday the 28th – “Bag Lady” (Hidden Gems Productions) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Eve the bag lady is angry. This play would seem to be about why.
Saturday the 28th – Broken Bones @ The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – Your band that grew out of Discharge. Finish your Soul Month (!) with some thrashin’ punk.
March~! As usual, this is the month of Crufts, Flatpack festival, Saint P, and lots of opera. There are other themes this time around, though – if you so wish you can make it the month you’ll remember for whisky, for folk music, for two-tone ska, for walking around the place, or for Brechtian alienation. Check out this little lot and make your choices…
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.
Until the 15th of March – “Never Try This At Home” (Birmingham Rep Theatre & Told By An Idiot) @ The Rep Theatre (The Studio), Birmingham – About Saturday morning kids’ telly and described in the promotional letter as “Tiswas starring Vic and Bob directed by Brass Eye’s Chris Morris”. That’s the best description of anything that we’re going to get until the Wildflowers gig on the 8th.
Throughout March and on until April – “Epic Encounters” (i.e. Brecht a-plenty) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – There’s a whole imperial pile of Bertolt Brecht-related stuff at The Rep. You have A Life Of Galileo from the 28th of Feb till the 8th, The Mother on the 15th, a film showing of Baal (David Bowie version) on the 25th, The Threepenny Opera from the 27th till the 12th of April, a day of talks about Brecht’s dramatic theories in practice on the 27th, a day of talks about Brecht’s politics on the 29th, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle on the 29th. You also have some one-step-removed stuff too (Eisler, Eisler and Bunge, Weil, of whom I’d only heard of Kurt Weil).
Saturday the 1st through to Monday the 17th – St Padraig’s Day Festival @ all around Digbeth, Birmingham – All sorts of snake banishin’ stuff, with the actual parade (third biggest in the world etc.) on the 16th.
Saturday the 1st until Saturday the 8th – “Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – You can probably expect more of this sort of thing now that all of the soldiers are coming back from colonial wars again.
Saturday the 1st – Boxing (EJKO Promotions) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – Punchy punchy punchy punchy.
Saturday the 1st – “Punjabi Wolves King Of The Ring” @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – I’m not 100% sure what this is, but it seems like white-collar boxing (non-professional punchy punchy punchy punchy) with roulette tables to play on.
Saturday the 1st – “Whisky Birmingham” @ The Bond, Digbeth, Birmingham – Top’n’tail the month with fermented grain mash (see also the 29th).
Sunday the 2nd – Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival Of The Animals” (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – This sounds like a brilliant one for the young’ins. “Carnival Of The Animals” will be performed with introductory narration from the lady who played Laa-Laa in “The Teletubbies”, and you’re invited to come dressed as your favourite animal. I don’t see how anyone could possibly lose.
Monday the 3rd till Wednesday the 5th – “Blink” (Soho Theatre and Nabakov) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck… No, wait, that’s something completely different! This here is about two shy individuals falling in love.
Tuesday the 4th till Saturday the 8th and then Tuesday the 25th and Wednesday the 26th – Welsh National Opera’s “Fallen Women” series @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham/Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton/The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – The “Fallen Women” series, because we all know about opera and its sexual politics. At The Hippodrome you have Verdi’s La Traviata on the 4th and the 8th, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut on the 5th and the 7th, and Hans Werner Henze’s newer Boulevard Solitude on the 6th. At the Newhampton Arts Centre on the 25th and the Midlands Art Centre on the 26th, you have Errollyn Wallen’s Anon, as part of WNO’s (wonderful) youth & community programme.
Tuesday the 4th and Wednesday the 5th – “How To Occupy An Oil Rig” (AC Stockton) @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), near Coventry – A “playful and provocative show about protest”, in which you get to play with plasticine! You can’t lose. (Oooh ooh ooh I’ve just seen that it’s at The MAC on the 20th, too).
Tuesday the 4th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – A holiday, a holiday, the first one of the year. By ‘holiday’ I mean ‘Fairport Convention gig taking place round these parts”, obviously.
Wednesday the 5th – Michael Chapman @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Blues/folk/occasional noise. Chappo seems to be coming back into fashion again of late (a bit), and I approve of this.
Wednesday the 5th – Chris Wood @ The Red Lion, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Given that he used to be in a duo with Andy Cutting called “Wood And Cutting”, I reckon he should collaborate with Carrie Tree. And maybe The Roots? No, that’s just silly.
Thursday the 6th till Sunday the 9th – Crufts @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Diggedy daaaaaaaawgs~!
Thursday the 6th till Saturday the 8th – “Emma” (Sutton Arts Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A Jane Austen adaptation co-written by Doon Mackichan of The Day Today/Brass Eye/Smack The Pony/etc. That strikes me as quite nifty.
Thursday the 6th till Saturday the 8th – “Dialogues des Carmélites” (Birmingham Conservatoire) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Do you know what nuns are for? They’re for operas by Francois Poulenc. (Also: it really really is a shame that this clashes with the WNO at the Hippo, surely that could have been avoided).
Friday the 7th – The Dublin Legends @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Née The Dubliners. They were an enormous amount of fun at Moseley Folk last year.
Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th – “Entertaining Ideas” festival @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – “A weekend of inspiring talks from engaging speakers, celebrating Town Hall’s rich heritage of public speaking”, it says, which probably wouldn’t be a remarkable thing if the tradition was a strong as suggested, but still. Jonathan Meades’ talk about Birmingham could be a good ‘un, I think.
Saturday the 8th – “Stargazing” (Language Alive Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Galileo’s defence of his theories of planetary motion, for 7-11 year olds. I suppose you could call this another one-step-removed adjunct to the Brecht series mentioned above.
Saturday the 8th – Puccini’s “La Bohème” (Ellen Kent International) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – I saw the first act (before leaving) of this production a few months ago and it was pretty shambolic, but presumably the surtitles won’t be malfunctioning every night and this isn’t at the vile Grand Theatre. I will say that Elena Dee was pretty magnificent as Mimi (although it’s had to tell for certain whether she’ll still be singing the role here or not. They choose not to make these things clear).
Saturday the 8th – Wildflowers @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – Wildflowers at the Sunflower, flower. Harmony-laden Americana, with a lead singer who has apparently been described elsewhere as “the punk Dolly Parton”. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any better things to be. If you want to make a weekend of your poppy Americana stuff, then don’t forget that… (EDIT: Postponed until the 25th of April, whereupon it’ll be at The H&H).
Sunday the 9th – Dar Williams @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – … Dar Williams is playing the following night.
Sunday the 9th – The English Beat @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – One tone. (N.B. This seems to be the version of The Beat without Rankin’ Roger).
Sunday the 9th – “Only Fools And Boycie” with John Challis @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A talk from Terrence Aubrey Boyce himself. Maaarleeeeeeeeene…
Tuesday the 11th – “Pregnazi” (Birmingham Ormiston Academy) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – I nearly just dismissed this without even looking at it on the grounds that I’m really, really fed up of “Nazi” being used as a suffix in descriptions of “anything I don’t like”. This, though, is apparently about a baby in Walsall that is born with Hitler’s face. I reckon that probably happens all the time. They’re all imprisoned and forced to live slave-like existences in the cellar of The Starting Gate (Walsall reference whoooooo).
Wednesday the 12th and Thursday the 13th – “The Sistren” (Gazebo Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Mary Wollstonecroft, Claudia Jones and Emma Lloyd all in the same play, which sounds good to me. It’s also on at The Drum on the 26th.
Thursday the 13th till Saturday the 15th – “Pronoun” (Belgrade Youth Theatre) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – The tale of a teenager finally deciding to do something about his body having been birth-assigned the wrong gender. As an aside, I believe Finnish doesn’t have gender-specific pronouns. That should be the international lingua franca.
Friday the 14th till Saturday the 20th – Still Walking Festival @ various places in Birmingham – The festival of unusual guided walking tours that seems to happen at decidedly irregular intervals. Walks include tours concerned with mystery boulders that spread to the Midlands from Wales during the last ice age, and the city’s corners – check out the programme.
Friday the 14th – Katherine Priddy / The Cadbury Sisters @ Ort Café, Balsall Heath, Birmingham As I’ve said before, Katherine Priddy’s version of “Beeswing” (a song that eeeeeveryone seems to be doing nowadays) is the definitive one (unless, I suppose, you count “Carmen” in its entirety). The Cadbury Sisters’ forebears probably used to own all or most of the neck o’the woods where this gig will be taking place. So there’s a talking point.
Friday the 14th – “Heterophobia” (Outspoken Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – A heterosexual attempts to come out in a homosexual society. I faintly recall Martin Amis writing a short story like this, sensitive fellow that he is.
Friday the 14th – Boxing (Tommy Owens Promotions) @ Villa Park (Holte Suite), Aston, Birmingham – Punchy punchy punchy punchy…Hey, Don Broadhurst is fighting! I was under the impression that he’d packed it in. Although (looking it up as I type this) it appears that he’d reached a Prizefighter final since I last had that vague thought about him having packed it in, so that tells you how on-the-ball I am nowadays.
Saturday the 15th till Saturday the 22nd- “An Inspector Calls” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – “Was it you what done it?” “No.” “Ah but if you examine how your prior actions resonate in the world and peoples’ lives then you may find that it was you who, in fact, done it.” “Oh. Bugger.”
Saturday the 15th till Tuesday the 18th – “Uluzuzulalia” (Your Vivacious Voice) @ The MAC (Theatre Space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Pronounced “OO-LOO-ZOO-ZOO-LAY-LIA”, it seems. In this one, families can explore the worlds of “Squeak” (non-verbal) and “Speak” (verbal).
Saturday the 15th – Grand Magus @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – So I had/have a taped copy of their first album from over a decade ago, and always thought that they sounded astonishingly like Soundgarden for a Swedish band with a Very Metal name. I’ve just had a quick listen to a couple more recent tunes on YouTube though, and they nowadays they do sound a bit more like you’d expect them to.
Saturday the 15th – Bad Manners @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Three tone?
Sunday the 16th – Martha Tilston @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – No Watersons/Carthys this month, have a Tilston instead.
Monday the 17th till Sunday the 30th – “Fortnight” (Proto-Type Theatre) @ Coventry in general, it seems – The notion that small change to context can massively change the way that you perceive something is surely a trivial one, but the specific ways in which it can do so are often fascinating to perceive. If you’re knocking around in the CV1-CV7 area then you can apply to join this, but apparently the best stuff is between the 23rd and 29th (so make sure you’re available over those evenings).
Monday the 17th till Friday the 21st – English Touring Opera’s stint @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – I hate The Grand Theatre. There, I said it. That aside, the well-respected ETO are doing Mozart’s The Magic Flute on the 17th, Britten’s Paul Bunyan on the 18th, and the locally-themed/community-based Zeppelin Dreams (composer? Possibly collectively composed. Have a trailer in lieu of this information) about Wolves being bombed by a WW1 Zeppelin (also, I get a feeling that I See What They Did There).
Monday the 17th – Tom Paxton @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Weird to note that the folky described as a “young man” on Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Overcome” album is now 76. Although (given that) I suppose it’s even weirder to note that Pete Seeger has only recently died.
Tuesday the 18th – Spiers & Boden @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – This tour/string o’gigs is the last one in which these motherfolkers will be performing together as a duo, so you if you want to see them then make sure that you do.
Wednesday the 19th – “In Praise Of Elephants” (Farnham Maltings) @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – Hooray! Elephants deserve to be praised! There’s a trailer!
Thursday the 20th till Saturday the 30th – Flatpack Film Festival @ lots of venues in Birmingham – Apparently it’s changed its name to “Flatpack Film Festival” from “Flatpack Festival”, which is a surprise to me chiefly on the grounds that I thought it always was called that. The themes seem to be “food” and “brains”, but as ever there’s a crazy amount of stuff to see – the Kathleen Hanna film, European cartoons that you can create the sound effects for, Yam Yam-ery, holy Ecclescake, mining, a strange little cat, a freaky clubnight, another guided walk, Hugo The Hippo, If Wet, pubs, you name it they’ve got it.
Thursday the 20th – Oysterband @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Do people who want to sound cool say “I preferred them when they were The Oyster Ceilidh Band”? They should, it’d be funny.
Friday the 21st – Stiff Little Fingers @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – So yeah, the modern-day stuff might be a bit wet, but “Suspect Device” remains one of the most amazing songs ever committed to recording. Your other traditional punk option for the evening will of course be…
Friday the 21st – GBH / Drongos For Europe @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – …GBH and Drongos at The Wagon, so take your pick.
Saturday the 22nd till the 5th of April – Frontiers Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Attempting to link Birmingham and New York (different weight classes, I would’ve thought) by means of extraordinary music, they say. You have a contemporisificated version of Mozart’s “Bastien Und Bastienne”, In C, Sarah Farmer, yet more walking tours, and plenty more.
Saturday the 22nd – Boxing (P.J. Rowson) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Punchy punchy punchy punchy.
Tuesday the 25th – Lethal Bizzle @ The Institute (Temple Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – You don’t wanna bring armshouse, I’ll bring armshouse to your mom’s house, you don’t wanna bring no beef, bring some beef you lose some teef. I bet he doesn’t perform any of that stuff anymore.
Wednesday the 26th and on until Saturday the 19th of April – “Spanish Golden Age” season (Belgrade Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath and Arcola Theatre) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – New translations of three rarely-seen plays from Habsburg-era Spain, by Lope de Vega and Tirsa da Molina. I don’t know a thing about any of this, but “Don Gil of The Green Breeches” is an amazing title.
Wednesday the 26th – “Mad(e) In Hades” (students of the University of Birmingham’s Master Playwriting course) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A re-telling of Heracles. Insert the stock “Euripedes trousers” joke here.
Wednesday the 26th – Goldfrapp @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I’ve honestly never been able to decide whether I prefer their Marlene-Dietrich-clouded-in-Gitane-smoke stuff or their Madonna-choking-on-Soft-Cell-fumes stuff. Having said that, I haven’t heard anything at all that they’ve done for several years and so they might well have had another five modes since then.
Thursday the 27th till Saturday the 29th – “Our House” (Bimingham Ormiston Academy Musical Theatre) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – The Madness musical. I generally tend to view these things about as well as I do tribute bands, but I gather that this one has some social commentary to it. Or I may have got that wrong. I do like Madness, anyway.
Thursday the 27th – Azealia Banks @ The Academy, Birmingham – I’ve not enjoyed anything I’ve heard by her anywhere near as much as I did 212, but that one is so glorious that this gig might be worth it for that alone. (Edit: Cancelled. So many gigs seem to be being cancelled lately).
Thursday the 27th – Dan Whitehouse @ The ICC (Symphony Hall foyer), Birmingham – Doing the Folk For Free thing, which (as the name suggests) is free. I will not mention a certain television actor lookalike.
Friday the 28th – ABC @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – A gold lamé suit being, of course, the best armour to protect you from poison arrows.
Friday the 28th – Jack Bruce And His Blues Big Band @ The Robin 2, Bilston – The forgotten, sane, member of Cream.
Saturday the 29th – Mozart’s Requiem (Birmingham Choral Union) @ The University Of Birmingham (The Elgar Concert Hall), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Dies irae, dies illa, dies et cetera.
Saturday the 29th – “Going Dark” (Sound And Fury) @ The MAC (Theatre Space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – 75 minutes in the dark, telling and (to a lesser extent) showing the tale of a photographer losing his eyesight.
Saturday the 29th – Midlands Whisky Festival @ The Town Hall, Stourbridge – Top’n’tail the month with fermented grain mash (see also the 1st).
I know this is the case because of the aches that I can currently feel.
So far I can tell you that A) I’m every bit as rubbish as I expected to be; B) K-Star Legacy in Quinton is a nice, beginner-friendly place; and C) oh lord it aches.
(Edit: It’s good, though. The thought occured to me that that the above might suggest that I’m regretting it. That’s not the case at the present).
End-Of-Year-Count 2013: Talks, films, music that doesn’t fit into ‘pop’ or ‘opera’, exhibitions and attractions, sport, animals, barbeque, miscellany
Hey, there’s been more stuff too.
I have managed three of these in a row! Hooray!
Friday the 1st till Saturday the 16th – “Tartuffe” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Molière, played in this instance by Peterson/We Wanna Be Tergevva. Apparently he was in Harry Potter too, if you must.
Friday the 1st till Thursday the 14th – The Coventry Peace Festival @ various venues in Coventry – I can already imagine the tedious jokes that some will make about there never being any peace in Coventry. Lots of things are happening so clickedy-click for the line-up.
Friday he 1st till Saturday the 9th – “Bedlam: A Festival of Mad Ideas” @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – A series of mental-health-themed events, with both theatre and practical talks/workshops. [Rare moment of non-flippancy]I’m always happy to see any sort of awareness-raising like this[/Rare moment of non-flippancy].
Friday the 1st – “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Little Earthquake Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Thump-thump, thump-thump. Can’t say I’ve ever had a problem with the body parts I’ve put under the floor myself, but it takes all sorts.
Friday the 1st – The Full English @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – A supergroup (if you feel like you’re in a position where you, in point of fact, will) of folksy sorts with Martin Simpson (see also the 27th ), Seth Lakeman, and loads of others. They’ll be performing bits from the Full English, which is apparently a new digital archive of traditional music.
Friday the 1st – Slade / The Sweet @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Glam! Maybe possibly a few original members!
Friday the 1st – “Dinosaur Zoo” (Erth Visual & Physical Inc.) @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – Is it just me or do there seem to be loads of dinosaur shows for kids lately? Not that it’s a problem. Kids love dinosaurs.
Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd – Peaky Blinders-themed walking tours around Digbeth @ starting outside The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – I got bored and gave up halfway through the telly series (visually spectacular, of course, but then that is the most boring sense), but I suspect that this’ll be very interesting.
Saturday the 2nd – Youngblood Brass Band @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – SOU. SA. PHONE. (Chant with me now). SOU. SA. PHONE.
Saturday the 2nd – Paul Merton’s Impro Chums @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Ian Hislop isn’t a chum, presumably. Nor Boris.
Saturday the 2nd – Charlemagne Palestine, Rhys Chatham, and The Ex Easter Island Head Large Guitar Ensemble @ The Library Of Birmingham (studio theatre), Birmingham – The only chance in the UK to see/hear this Charlemagne Palestine collaboration. I suppose you would need a large guitar if you were a massive stone head.
Saturday the 2nd – English Dogs @ The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – Proper punk. I’m still not entirely clear whether they became Janus Stark for a few years or whether that was actually a different band.
Sunday the 3rd – Eddie Reader @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – What she doesn’t want is a half-heated love affair. At the very least, three-fifths of a heart will be required.
Sunday the 3rd – Mark Lanegan @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – You have to wonder what he did to the poor trees.
Sunday the 3rd – The Stylistics @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – On the off-chance that there are any original members left, they’d probably love you to make them fell brand new.
Tuesday the 5th – “The Ghost Ship” (Rumpus Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolvehampton – Is it me or are a lot of Joseph Conrad things getting adapted for stage just lately?
Tuesday the 5th – Enablers @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Post/indie-rock poetry , and an amazing live band.
Tuesday the 5th – Xhumed/Dead Good (not sure which of those is meant to be the name of the event) @ The Library Of Birmingham, Birmingham – Six people give speeches as six (late) people from history – J.B. Priestley, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Erasmus Darwin, Andrew Carnegie, Geraldine Cadbury, Matthew Boulton, and John Baskerville. There seems to be something of a local slant there.
Thursday the 7th till Saturday the 9th – “The Anatomy Of Melancholy” (Stan’s Cafe) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – As I always say when it comes to anything regarding them, it’s Stan’s Cafe and so it’ll be brilliant. I actually read Robert Burton’s “The Anatomy Of Melancholy” this year. I genuinely have no idea how they’re going to turn the blighter into a stage work, but that just makes it more exciting.
Friday the 8th – The Hollies @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – All they need is the air that they breath, food, water and shelter.
Friday the 8th – Billy Joel @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – I like him (nuts to you), but he seems to protest too much sometimes. He didn’t start the fire, he says. He’s an innocent man, he says.
Saturday the 9th – Esoteric @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – The doom band from Birmingham called Esoteric, rather than any of the other bands from elsewhere called Esoteric. They’re good but when I saw them the singer completely failed to make use of the Madonna-styled headset mic. No dance moves at all.
Saturday the 9th – “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” (Tutti Frutti Productions) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Inspired by, but not actually, the Aesop fable.
Sunday the 10th – “Down The Rabbit Hole” (Companis) @ The Library Of Birmingham, Birmingham – A “five course sensory mobile meal”, taking place around the library and involving readings and sensory deprivation. I don’t know if any of the courses actually are rabbit.
Monday the 11th and Tuesday the 12th – operas courtesy of Ellen Kent International @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – “La Boheme” on the 11th and “Aida” on the 12th (and they’re also doing that one at Warwick Arts Centre on the 21st). If you fancy an opera-themed week, this could be usefully combined with…
Tuesday the 12th till Monday the 18th – Welsh National Opera coming around these parts @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham and this time also at The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Right, so, you have the “The Tudors” season at The Hippo, which sees Donizetti’s Anna Bolena on the 13th, Maria Stuarda on the 14th, and Roberto Devereux on the 15th. Alongside that, there’s also Tosca at The Hippo on the 12th and 16th, and on the 18th at The Mac there’s the new “I Had An Angel” by John O’Hara.
Tuesday the 12th and Wednesday the 13th – “Peppa Pig’s Big Splash” @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – I don’t know much about Peppa Pig other than that she’s really cute, but she is really cute.
Tuesday the 12th – Bellowhead @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Bands with a double-figures number of members are always good live. That’s a maxim that will never fail you.
Wednesday the 13th till Saturday the 16th – “Road” (Warwick University Drama Society) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio Theatre), near Coventry – Add stock (albeit true) comment here about this play probably being just as fitting now as it was in the mid eighties.
Wednesday the 13th – Flatpack Festival’s “Miners’ Hymns” @ The Town Hall, Bilston – A screening of Bill Morrison’s “The Miners’ Hymns” (which sounds brilliant), as well as additional related local archive footage.
Thursday the 14th – Cockney Rejects @ The Robin 2, Bilston – England belongs to them. Quite a big claim, when you think about it.
Friday the 15th till Sunday the 17th – This Is Tmrw’s “All Year’s Leaving” festival @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Thr nght fstval t th Hr & Hnds, brght t y by Brm prmters Ths s TMRW nd nvlvng Dstph, Bt T Rw, Sky Lrkn, Vctrs t S, nd lds f thrs. S, ‘m ll cl lk th yng pple wth n vwls.
Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th “Zhe: [Noun] Undefined” (Collective Artistes) @ The Rep, Birmingham – A play exploring the identity & sexuality of two British Africans. ‘Zhe’ is a gender-neutral pronoun, although it isn’t clear to me in which language. That may or may not be part of the point.
Friday the 15th – Mahler’s 7th symphony (Philharmonia Orchestra) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – As conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, who is never not described as charismatic.
Friday the 15th – Soul II Soul @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Back to life, back to the Town Hall.
Saturday the 16th – Mozart’s “Requiem” (Orchestra Of The Swan) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – They’re playing the overture of “The Marriage Of Figaro” too, which is great fun.
Saturday the 16th – Editors @ The Academy, Birmingham – A band I’d forgotten about. Perhaps we should become re-acquainted.
Saturday the 16th – Boxing (Errol Johnson promotions) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – Fight fight fight
Tuesday the 19th – “The Events” (Actors Touring Company, Schauspielhaus Wien, Brageteatret, and the Young Vic) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – David Greig’s play, looking at ideas of community and using local choirs wherever it goes. I still can’t help thinking of this, though.
Tuesday the 19th – Gary Numan @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Right-wing-rockstars in Wolverhampton on the 19th #1: The “I only voted Tory once, honest” division.
Tuesday the 19th – Motorhead @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Right-wing rockstars in Wolverhampton on the 19th #2: The “I only dress up like a silly arse, I’m not one really, honest” division.
Tuesday the 19th – So Solid Crew @ The Institute (library room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Rescheduled from last month. Whether that eats into their allotted 21 seconds or not is something that I don’t know.
Wednesday the 20th till Saturday the 23rd (and I think there may be more yet to come) – Capital Theatre Festival 2013 @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – “The Disappearance Of Sadie Jones” updates Strindberg’s “A Dream Play”, and “Ugly, Duck” sees an ordinary fella from Stoke become a nude model. It would seem that there are also further plays yet to be announced.
Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 24th – Festive Gift Fair 2013 @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – All I want for Christmas is either A) you, or B) me two front teeth. Christmas~!
Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 23rd – “Josef K” (can’t seem to see the theatre company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Inspired by, but not actually, “The Trial”.
Thursday the 21st – Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Eddiiieee! Eddie-ee-ee!
Thursday the 21st – Go Kart Mozart @ The Academy 3, Birmingham – Them what did that “Selfish And Lazy And Greedy” song. It seems that the fella was in some other bands that a lot of people seem to like, too, but I don’t know about any of all that.
Friday the 22nd – Benjamin Britten Centenary Concert (CBSO Chorus) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I do hope that people aren’t getting bored of Britten due to over-exposure, just lately. The recent (amazing) “Peter Grimes” at Symphony hall was quite sparsely attended.
Saturday the 23rd – The Supreme Cat Show @ The NEC, Maston Green, Birmingham – Every cat is The Supreme Cat if you ask it, of course.
Sunday the 24th – Billy Bragg @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Just because I’m lazy, doesn’t mean you’re better than me (that’s my version and I’m sticking to it).
Sunday the 24th – Sham 69 @ The Roadhouse, Stirchley, Birmingham – Weeeeeeee’re gowin’ dahn tha pab…
Sunday the 24th – Akala @ The Academy 3, Birmingham – Braggy, Sham 69 and Akala all in Brum on the same evening. Revolution a-brew, ah reckons.
Sunday the 24th – Terry Riley’s “In C” (Adrian Utley’s Guitar Orchestra) @ The Library Of Birmingham, Birmingham – The one you always forget from Portishead’s new ensemble, performing the influential minimalist piece. (Ooh I’ve just seen that Pram will be playing as well, so that’s cool).
Sunday the 24th – Goodnight Lenin @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Supporting Stornoway, who I thought were pretty dull when I saw them, but still. G’Lenin are ace.
Monday the 25th till Wednesday the 27th – “Beauty And The Beast” (One Of Us Productions/Improbable Theatre) @ Warwick Arts Centre (studio theatre), near Coventry – An adult version. Hopefully not that definition of ‘adult’ that just means ‘childish’.
Monday the 25th – Shellac @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – … Of North America.
Tuesday the 26th till Saturday the 30th – “Cabaret” (Bill Kenwright Ltd.) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – With Will Young as the Emcee. For some reason.
Tuesday the 26th – Om / Ore @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – I didn’t really like drone-doom types Om that much when I see them, but people always manage to make them sound good when describing them so maybe I should have another go someday. Also, tubah monstahs Ore are playing.
Wednesday the 27th until the 4th of January – “A Christmas Carol” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – This must be the single thing I’ve seen the most different versions of, between book/stage/screen. Christmas~!
Wednesday the 27th till Sunday the 1st of December – The BBC Winter Good Food Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’d be interested to see the BBC bad food show as well.
Thursday the 28th – John Cooper Clarke @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – The flipping train is flipping late, you flipping wait you flipping wait.
Friday the 29th – Five @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Aw, I always liked Five. This is the boyband Five, not the metal band 5ive.
Friday the 29th – “Bring Your Own Beamer” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – In this context ‘beamer’ apparently means a digital overhead projector, rather than sim sim simma who got the keys to my etc. Those participating are to project their responses to the last eight months of revolution/protest-themed material displayed at Vivid.
Saturday the 30th till Sunday the 29th of December – “Room On The Broom” @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – I like the cat, although I expect everyone says that.
Saturday the 30th – Crystal Fighters @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Spanish folk meets bangin’ dance choons. As I believe the young people say.
Saturday the 30th – various bits of J.S. Bach, John Adams and Steve Reich (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Unlikely bedfellows, you might think.
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.
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.
Nuts to you all, I’m-a write something soon.
Here, meanwhile, are a few videos that I’ve particularly enjoyed of late.
Shining doing a cover of “Twentieth Century Schizoid Man” (Shining sound absolutely nothing like they used to when I last heard them, but this is thoroughly rocking and also a bit jazzing):
How animals eat their food (many will already have seen this long before I did, but it had me in hysterics):
“Surgeon Simulator 2013” LP (I’m not really one for Veedya gamez, but this had me in hysterics too):
Anderson Silva and Jon Jones are kidnapped and forced to fight (Non-MMA fans probably won’t get the jokes):
DENNIS. SKINNER. (No parenthetical remarks necessary):