Call me Russ L

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: November 2014

Posted in Combat Sports, Films, Food, Linklog, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage by Russ L on 29 October, 2014

And with this post, I prove to myself that I am still capable of writing one of these posts. The James Brown Rule appears to be writ large this month – if you really want to see them and they’re particularly old, then make sure that you definitely do go to see them when they come to your area. Because they die. They all die.

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.

(Throughout the month, I think) (EDIT: Nope, it actually finishes on the 1st. Prior to me editing this, then) – Erica Nockalls exhibition @ Havill & Travis Gallery, Harborne, Birmingham – Yer lady who is now affiliated with The Wonderstuff and whatnot. This is a combined-arms operation, where you can bring a pair of headphones (standard mini-jack connection, I’m assuming, but I don’t know about these things nowadays) to examine her paintings and hear her new album at the same time.

Up until the 15th – George Saxon & John D. Briscoe’s “A Record Of Undying” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – An exhibition showing the ways in which Mr Saxon (consensually) documented Mr Briscoe’s dying and then death. I’m sure there’s a higher-minded way of saying this, but it sounds morbidly fascinating.

Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd – Dawn French @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Weird sidewards thought provoked by this – I can’t think of any other comedians with the same name as a nationality. There must surely be loads, though.

Saturday the 1st – “The Hundred Years War” (B2 Stage) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – 40 war poems written between 1914 and 2013. With music and images. This sort of thing is probably very important, given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Saturday the 1st – “Clamber Up The Crucifix” (not sure about a theatre company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A telegraph operator in the trenches. Possibly giving another meaning to the latter part of the old lineman’s adage of “Up poles and down holes”. Again, I will say that this sort of thing is probably very important given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Sunday the 2nd – Holst’s “The Planets Suite” (CBSO Youth Ochestra) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Just play “Mars” so we can all go home. (Disclaimer: I don’t really mean that).

Tuesday the 4th till Saturday the 8th – “My Perfect Mind” (Told By An Idiot, Young Vic & Theatre Royal Plymouth) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Lear, as learned by an actor who had a stroke halfway through. Decay portrayed through decay? Form and content, you see.

Wednesday the 5th till Sunday the 9th – Wagner’s “Ring” cycle (Mariinsky Opera) @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – A full Ring cycle by the Mariinsky opera in Birmingham! Alas, it costs like you’d expect it to (although there is a thing for cheaper tickets here).

Wednesday the 5th – Pam Ayres @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Her teeth are actually fine, you know.

Wednesday the 5th – Billy Idol @ The Academy, Birmingham – After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I must have some sort of semi-conscious fetish for popular music artistes named “Billy”.

Wednesday the 5th – John Mayall @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The man who gave Eric Clapton his first big break. That was a long time ago, though, so don’t hold it against him.

Wednesday the 5th – Lacuna Coil @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Spiralling nothingness is an excellent synonym for a goth-metal band name. I’m still looking for a drummer for my Lacuna Coil/Black Sabbath/Carina Round tribute band, who will be called “Lacuna Sunrise”.

Thursday the 6th – Bo Ningen @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Utterly utterly nutterly Japanese pysch-rock loonies. On the bill with Band Of Skulls, who are a quite-good 70s-influenced hard rock band and might be worth seeing too.

Thursday the 6th – Motorhead @ The NIA, Birmingham – What are Motorhead doing playing at the National Indoor Arena, I mean really now. This is going to be uncannily like the “four people and a dog” scene from “Bad News”.

Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th – “This Was The World And I Was King” (Hook Hitch Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Children use folk music and Robert Louis Stevenson to cope with their father being away at the front. As is becoming my mantra, I will say that this sort of thing is probably very important given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Friday the 7th – “Collector Of Tears” (Gobscure) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Tears are collected from various people over the span of four hundred years. That is genuinely a very striking thought.

Friday the 7th – British Sea Power @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – With a brass band in tow. I really can see that working well.

Saturday the 8th till Sunday the 16th – The Grand Slam Of Darts @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Obvious YouTube Link is obvious. Is Barry Hearn still alive? His son deals with the boxing now.

Saturday the 8th till Saturday the 15th – “King Lear” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre Company – Cordelia? I barely know ‘er.

Saturday the 8th – The Wailers @ The Academy, Birmingham – Doing “Legend”. On the one hand, this nostalgia-do-an-album-tour bit has gone a bit far when they’re even doing ‘em for best-of albums. On the other hand, it’s The Wailers doing “Legend”. Choices to be made.

Saturday the 8th – The Neville Staple Band @ The Oobleck, Digbeth, Birmingham – This’ll be probably be good, but The Specials themselves are playing later in the month…

Saturday the 8th – Mark Steel @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – So this is a “Back In Town” tour one rather than an “In Town” one, which I think means one with comedic observations about towns in general (such as I saw at The Mac the other year), rather than comedic observations about the specific town you’re in (such as you’d hear on the radio). I think.

Saturday the 8th – Louis Robinson’s Damba La Bamba @ The Symphony Hall foyer in the ICC, Birmingham – I didn’t know about this, but apparently there are a series of musical picnics for 0-7 year-olds, and this is one from your erstwhile Destroyers fella. Damba La Mamba (soy capitan?).

Sunday the 9th – Bellowhead @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Spiers And Boden aren’t together as a duo anymore (which is a shame – I saw them in May and they were ace) but you can still see them as part of Bellowhead, with a cast of thousands of other band members too.

Monday the 10th and Tuesday the 11th – “Not About Heroes” (Blackeyed Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Yet again, I will say that this sort of thing is probably very important given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Monday the 10th – “The Trial” (Music Theatre Wales/The Royal Opera/Theater Magdeburg/The Scottish Opera) @ The Rep Theatre (The House), Birmingham – Philip Glass’ opera, built out of Kafka’s “The Trial”. There’s nothing in that sentence that I don’t like.

Wednesday the 12th till Sunday the 16th – Slava’s Snowshow @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – This really is visually astonishing. Worth borrowing a child for an excuse to go and see it, if you don’t have one. And I hate children.

Wednesday the 12th till Saturday the 15th – “Miracle On 34th Street – The Musical” (Coventry Youth Operetta)@ The Albany Theatre, Coventry – I dunno if this is your post office version or your bank note version.

Wednesday the 12th till Saturday the 15th – “Othello” (Frantic Assembly/Theatre Royal Plymouth) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – Here sold under the name of “Shakespeare’s Othello”, just in case you were confusing it with… Verdi, I suppose.

Wednesday the 12th – Hannah Silva’s “Schlock!” @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – The female body reconstructed by means of ripping up and then combining “50 Shades Of Grey” and Kathy Ackers’ “Memoriam To Identity”.

Wednesday the 12th – Ben Frost @ Eastside Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – Yer man who did the opera version of “The Wasp Factory”, doing an improvised (I think?) bit in collaboration with one Greg Fox of Liturgy, who I know nothing about.

Thursday the 13th – Lady Gaga @ The NIA, Birmingham – Per-per-puh-puh-poker face, Granville.

Thursday the 13th – Cockney Rejects @ The Robin 2, Bilston – I always get them mixed up with Cock Sparrer. With semi-hilarious consequences.

Thursday the 13th – Street Eaters @ Talk Bar, Birmingham – Ferocious punk/post-punky stuff from Californ-I-A. Apparently many of their gigs have been “dense basement shows in the Midwest that turned into swamps; shows in haunted German schools-turned-squats, medieval French catacombs, smoke filled Japanese practice rooms, and abandoned Hungarian aluminum (sic) factories”. I expect this may seem a bit boring to them in comparison.

Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th – Mark Thomas @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – The “Cuckooed” tour, in which he relates the story of BAE Systems employing people to spy on him.

Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th – “Dorothy Towers” / “Only On Sundays” @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – A double-bill with the LGBT residents of a tower block, and the most laddish laddest lad falling in love.

Sunday the 16th – Focus @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Yodeedodleay yodelaey yodelaey etc. etc. etc.

Sunday the 16th – Dr John @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – I am really really looking forward to this one. They call him Doctor John, the… night triiippuh…

Tuesday the 18th till Saturday the 22nd – “Oh What A Lovely War” (The Arcadians theatre group) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham) – This sort of thing is probably very important given that etc etc etc. Alright, you’ve heard it already. It disgusts me, though. I really, really hate that stuff. Shame on them. Also, here’s a play.

Tuesday the 18th – The Roy Wood Rock’n’Roll Band @ The Robin 2, Bilston – It is nearly Christmas.

Tuesday the 18th – Charlie 2na @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – You can tune a hip-hop, but you can’t tune a fish.
Wednesday the 19th till Tuesday the 2nd of December – “The Pool” @ outside Warwick Arts Centre, near Coventry – Big concentric circles that you can jump on to make it light up with different colours. This sounds amazing.

Wednesday theFs 19th till Saturday the 22nd – Welsh National opera @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – I’m not sure what the theme of this season is, but you have Carmen on the 19th and 20th, Mosè in Egitto on the 21st, and Guillaume Tell on the 22nd.

Wednesday the 19th and Thursday the 20th – “Islands” (Caroline Horton & Co/China Plate/Bush Theatre) @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Studio Space), near Coventry – About offshore tax havens. I don’t approve of them.

Wednesday the 19th – John Shuttleworth @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Oof!

Wednesday the 19th – The CBSO’s “Spirit Of ‘45” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Not as war-celebratory as the title might suggest. This is a programme of music including Shostakovich’s 9th and the sea interludes from Britten’s “Peter Grimes” (AKA the best opera that they’ve yet come up with).

Thursday the 20th – The Specials @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – It’s not quite as exciting as it was a few years ago, when they came back and we were all thrilled that we’d get finally to see The Specials (maybe ‘again’, for those older than I), but still – The Specials~!

Friday the 21st – Robert Plant @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Robert Plant walked past me once. He looked confused. This is a true story.

Saturday the 22nd till Sunday the 29th – “The Judas Kiss” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – David Hare’s play about Oscar Wilde’s life and thoughts after dear old Bosie knifed him in the back.

Caturday the 22nd – The Supreme Cat Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Catcatcatcatcatcatcat.

Saturday the 22nd – Jim Moray @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – It took until the third time that I’d seen Jim Moray before I could remember anything at all about him. I loved his folksy business from thereonwards, though. So I suppose we all win in the end.

Sunday the 23rd – The Gaslight Anthem / Deer Tick @ The Academy, Birmingham – Two very different visions of Americana.

Sunday the 23rd- “Madama Butterfly” (Ellen Kent International) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – The Ellen Kent production of “La Bohème” that I saw about a year ago was an absolute shambles, but let’s assume that they’re not like that every night.

Tuesday the 25th till Saturday the 29th – “To Kill A Mockingbird” (specific touring cmpany?) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Embarrassing admission #381: I spent a long time assuming that Harper Lee was male, for no reason whatsoever.

Wednesday the 26th – Delain @ The Academy, Birmingham – Noun, Dutch symphonic (sic) metal band. Very definitely not the gerund verb, slowing something down.

Wednesday the 26th – Sharon Van Etten @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Wonderful singer-songwriter type with a name that always seems really verbally dissonant to me, although I can never understand why. Biblical Dutch forests or somesuch?

Wednesday the 26th – “The BFG” (Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – The Big Fu… no, sorry, The Big Friendly Giant.

Thursday the 27th till Sunday the 30th – The BBC Good Food Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’m really looking forward to the BBC Bad Food Show, which will presumably follow.

Thursday the 27th till Sunday the 30th – Birmingham Tradfest @ various venues in Birmingham, mostly in Digbeth – Loads of Irish folk gigs. Includes Frankie Gavin, but not the one you’re thinking of. Although he might be knocking around, who knows.

Thursday the 27th – Dreadzone @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – This’ll probably be good, but Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry himself is playing about twenty miles over…

Thursday the 27th – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry @ Warwick Arts Centre (Student Union Copper Rooms), near Coventry – Nothing that I could possibly type here would be adequate.

Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th – “Choose Your Own Documentary” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – As the name might suggest, a documentary in which you get to pick between options about what happens next. YOU are the narrative etc. etc.

Friday the 28th – Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – It is still hard to imagine that the fella from The Housemartins is the fella from The Beautiful South, but I do like both.

Friday the 28th – Chas & Dave @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – So, a few years ago they announced their last ever tour.

Friday the 28th – Eliza Shaddad @ Ort Café, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – Folk-blues type in “Doing a gig whilst not being on the same bill as Michael Chapman” shocker.

Satuday the 29th – Revolt @ The Coal Vaults, Coventry – Amazing feminist/LGBTQ gig-come-club-night that everyone should go to. Your line-up for this time is over here.

Saturday the 29th – Goodnight Lenin @ The Institute (Library Room). Digbeth, Birmingham – The launch gig for their long, long-awaited album.

Sunday the 30th – Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo’s “The Movie Doctors” @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – Hello to Jason Isaacs etc etc. I don’t actually like films, y’know.

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Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – March 2011

Posted in Books, Films, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 28 February, 2011

There’s some of B-Town’s finest annual stuff this month, alongside a whole load more.

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 Saturday the 5th – Eastern Electronic Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Audio and visual electronics from (or connected with) further East than even Lowestoft.

Tuesday the 1st till Saturday the 19th (but not Sundays or Mondays) – “The Cleansing Of Constance Brown” @ A.E. Harris Building, The Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – I saw this a few years ago and it was A-to-the-mazing. Vignettes of power change and elide into one another in a specially built corridor. It is astonishing in the literal sense (you will actually find yourself astonished). Really now – if I did a ‘Recommendation Of The Month’ then this would be it. Also: you might want to buy your tickets in advance.

Tuesday the 1st and Wednesday the 2nd – “The Pool Game” (Geiger Counter Theatre) @ The MAC (theatre), Edgbaston, Birmingham – A game of pool inspired by Kafka’s “The Trial”.

Thursday the 3rd till Saturday the 12th – “Notes To A Future Self” (Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company) @ The MAC (theatre), Edgbaston, Birmingham – The daughter of a free-wandering new ager has to come to terms with both normal life and her impending death. This is also on at The Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton on the 28th.

Thursday the 3rd – “Portrait Of An Actress As…” (Rogueplay Theatre) @ The Station, Sutton Coldfield – Comic sketches about struggling to make it in theatre. “Shamelessly bitchy”, it says. Also at The Old Joint Stock Theatre on the 4th and The Lamp Tavern (I imagine that they mean the one in Digbeth rather than the one in Dudley, although I don’t know) on the 12th.

Saturday the 5th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – All the fun of the Fairport.

Saturday the 5th – “The Sleeping Princess” (Krazy Kat Theatre) @ The Library Theatre, Birmingham – Puppets! Dragon puppets!

Saturday the 5th – Birmingham Poetry Ultras @ The Old Moseley Arms, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – Discussions of Seamus Heaney, for World Book Night. There’s also some WBN business at Brum Central Library, but I can’t find a link outside of this here CIB one.

Sunday the 6th – 7 Inch Cinema’s pre-Flatpack Festival warm-up do @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With DJs and short fillums and suchlike.

Monday the 7th – Elaine Paige @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The sound of my childhood. To some extent.

Tuesday the 8th till Saturday the 12th – “Black Watch (National Theatre Of Scotland) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), Coventry – Created from interviews with Royal Highlanders who served in Iraq.

Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th – “Pertencia” (Foursight Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Portugeezers on stage.

Wednesday the 9th – Science Museum Live @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – London Science museum, that is. Birmingham’s own science museum was of course taken over by the scalpers, turned into ‘Think Tank’ and now charges to get in, but let’s leave that (I get too angry). I don’t know what a science museum’s stage show would entail, but – whatever it is – this will be it.

Thursday the 10th till Sunday the 13th – Crufts @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Hounds, everyone’s fond of how-unds…

Thursday the 10th – Iron & Wine @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Beards and whispering.

Friday the 11th till Thurday the 17th – Birmingham St Patrick’s Day celebrations @ across Birmingham (mostly Digbeth) – The parade, this year on the 13th, has always been hailed as the biggest after those of New York and Dublin. Apparently Manchester is gunning for a big one this year, though, and we all know self-aggrandisement outweighs actual size.

Friday the 11th – Thomas Adès “In Seven Days” and Steve Reich’s “Music For 18 Musicians” (London Sinfionetta) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – On a related note, I recently read Alex Ross’ “The Rest Is Noise” and would very much recommend it.

Saturday the 12th – Alabama 3 @ The Institute (Library room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Woke up this morning but don’t run for the priest.

Saturday the 12th – Odyssey @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The actual, real Odyssey, far as I can tell. Going back to their roots (yeah).

Monday the 14th and Wednesday the 23rd – Capsule’s tree-related gigs @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The theme appears to be somewhat arboreal: you’ve got Woods on the 14th and Arbouretum (sic) on the 23rd.

Monday the 14th – “The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Blackeyed Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Keep your distance, Brecht.

Tuesday the 15th till Saturday the 19th – “George’s Marvellous Medicine” (Birmingham Stage Company) @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Roald Dahl seems to be everywhere just lately. Not that I’m complaining, I think he’s great.

Tuesday the 15th till Saturday the 19th – “And The Horse You Rode In On” (Told By An Idiot) @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), Coventry – A dark comedy with rabbits trying to stop aliens destroying the world and a look at how difficult it is to stop people going too far in support of their beliefs.

Tuesday the 15th – Primal Scream @ The Academy, Birmingham – Playing “Screamadelica” all the way through. They want to be free etc etc etc.

Wednesday the 16th till Saturday the 20th – “And The Rain Falls Down” (Fevered Sleep) @ The MAC (theatre), Edgbaston, Birmingham – This month’s one that I wish I was younger for: 3-4 year olds can splishy-sploshy in the rain.

Wednesday the 16th – Ben E. King @ The Jam House, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – The real Ben E. King (I thought it was a tribute at first), how about that. Gary U.S. Bonds will be there too.

Thursday the 17th – The Dubliners @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Seeing The Dubliners on Padraig’s day would surely be the greatest thing. It’s already sold out, though.

Friday the 18th – Chali 2na @ The Institute (Library room), Digbeth, Birmingham – The rapper who used to be in Jurassic 5. You know, those park-keepers.

Sunday the 20th – Mary Wilson / The Chi-Lites @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Soul survivors.

Saturday the 19th till Saturday the 26th – “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Well, you need a bit of balance after Crufts. Heh.

Saturday the 19th and onwards – the “Birmingham Mahler Cycle” continues @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – There’s the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome doing the 1st Symphony on the 19th, then the London Symphony Orchestra doing the 7th on the 25th and the CBSO doing the 6th on the 29th.

Saturday the 19th – The Stranglers @ The Academy, Birmingham – For the last time, I don’t know what happened to your bleedin’ heroes.

Tuesday the 22nd till Sunday the 27th – Flatpack Film Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Motion pictures galore! There’s a billion squillions things, including but not limited to stuff for young’ins, a barn as a conduit for God, a man in a cat, a tire going mental, Pram, Mordant Music, The Kinshasha Symphony Orchestra and a crazy amount more.

Tuesday the 22nd till Sunday the 27th – Fierce Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Once a festival/series with a whole tonne of arts and performance doings, Fierce now (seems to be) a smaller selection. If you go to that page you’ll need to click the “book tickets” links to see actual descriptions of the performances (this wasn’t initially obvious to me).

Tuesday the 22nd – Elbow @ The NIA, Birmingham – The arm-bone is connected the (beat) elbow, the elbow is connected to the (beat) other arm-bone etc. etc. etc.

Tuesday the 22nd – Seefeel @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – A band that many would consider to be amongst the Don Dadda elite of that post-rock sort of stuff that you all liked a few years ago.

Wednesday the 23rd till Saturday the 26th – “Maskerade” (Crescent Theatre Youth Seniors) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Terry Pratchett’s “Phantom Of The Opera” themed novel, only done as a play. Obviously.

Saturday the 26th – “Home Of Metal” open day @ The Public, West Bromwich – Incorporating a music photography workshop from the super-duper Steve Gerrard.

Saturday the 26th – Eska @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Anglo-Zimbabwean jazz-folk. Please don’t ask me to spell her surname.

Sunday the 27th – Manowar @ The Academy, Birmingham – Well, erm… yeah.

Monday the 28th till Saturday the 2nd of April – “Dinnerladies: Second Helpings” (damned if I can tell the company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Obviously the telly series was the top few best things ever. I’ve no idea abut this, but it does star the original Tony.

Monday the 28th – The Adverts @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – After Googling just now, I know for the first time in my life who Gary Gilmore is.

Monday the 28th – Cee Lo Green @ The Academy, Birmingham – Should it be “Cee Lo” or “Cee-Lo”? I’m damned if I-kno.

Thursday the 31st – Chas And Dave @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Their last ever tour ever, apparently.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: September 2009

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 2 September, 2009

There wasn’t an August, but it really doesn’t seem like there’s never much that’s particularly exciting in August. This particular list is even less exhaustive than usual, and also even more music-dominated than usual, but that’s what I’ve managed to come up with. Sorry. The comments box is as open as ever for the awesome stuff I’ve missed, if you feel like using it.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Wednesday the 2nd until Saturday the 19th – ‘Cabaret’ (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c’mon in. Or similar. We saw this production last year and it was quite good. Certainly less afraid of facing up to the nasty side of it all than a lot of big-budget touring musicals would probably be. I’m not sure about the extent to which the cast is the same as that one, but Wayne Sleep is definitely still playing The MC.

Wednesday the 2nd – Seasick Steve @ JB’s, Dudley – One of these occasions when the booking at JB’s really surprises you. Apparently it’s their 40th anniversary do and proceeds will be going to cancer charity ’The Proton Effect’. Scott Matthews is also on the bill, in proper Black Country fashion.

Thursday the 3rd – Maths @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Chaotic metally punk, or even screamo if you feel the need. They’re quite good from the bits and bobs I’ve heard, but more importantly than that they call themselves ‘Maths’ rather than ‘Math’. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that, in these times of everyone wanting to pretend to be an American.

Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – The Moseley Folk Festival @ Moseley Park, Moseley, Birmingham – Headlined by Saint Etienne (folk you say?), Beth Orton and Jethro Tull, whilst also featuring Swarbrick:Carthy, Ade Edmondson’s band, Keli Ali, Cara Dillon and a load of others. Bert Jansch won’t be there as originally advertised, due to ill-health.

Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – Birmingham Punks Picnic @ a few places in Brum – Cannon Hill Park on Saturday afternoon for cheap cider (no doubt), then gigs in the evening: The New Inn in Balsall Heath has Drongos For Europe and more on Friday then GBH, Runnin’ Riot and others on Saturday, whilst The Wagon & Horses in Digbeth has a line-up that includes Assert on Sunday.

Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th – “Off The Cuff” music event @ The Flapper, Birmingham – On the one hand it doesn’t look like Rolo Tomassi are doing this anymore (unfortunate) and their MySpace page doesn’t actually tell you which bands are playing on which day (stupid), but on the other hand some of the acts will be playing on a docked barge on the canal outside (brilliant).

Monday the 7th – Tori Amos @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – She’s ace, although she wasn’t that good when I saw her live a few years ago. But she is ace.

Thursday the 10th – The Drifters @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – To repeat what I said in a previous LOTTSADITWM: “Or a version thereof, at least. No Ben E. King or Clyde McPhatter, for obvious reasons.”

Thursday the 10th till Sunday the 13th – the opening of the new version of the Birmingham Academy @ The, erm, new version of the Academy, Birmingham – The previous toss-hut has closed its doors to be demolished (well, good) and a new ‘un is due to open. Let’s be positive – while it’d be outright stupid to hope that most of the problems with the old place will be rectified, perhaps the new place will be a better building and so perhaps some of the structure-related stuff will be better. Any sort of improvement would be a blessing, really. The opening doings involve four days o’ gigs headlined by Birmingham bands who have achieved fame (relatively) recently: Editors on Thursday, The Twang on Friday (apparently with nine other bands, although obviously it’d make life far too easy if the Academy website were to tell us who they are), The Streets on Saturday, and Ocean Colour Scene (bless) on Sunday. Lovely to see ‘em showing their commitment to the full ethnic make-up of Birmingham’s music so early on.

Friday the 11th till Sunday the 13th – Artsfest @ all over Birmingham – Annual free-family-fun-weekend that everyone bar me seems to hate. Typically there’s no sign of a line-up/timetable yet, but there is a list of ‘themes’, including the anniversaries of the death of Matthew Boulton, the birth of Charles Darwin, and the creation of… Barbie. I’m not making this up. (EDIT: The leaflets are out now, got one through the door today. Still nothing on the website, though). (EDIT EDIT: The timetable is on the website now. See comments below, too).

Friday the 11th – Electric Wizard @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Dooooooooooom.

Sunday the 13th – The Men They Couldn’t Hang @ The Robin 2, Bilston – They really should get TMTCH on at the Moseley Folk Festival, now that I think about it.

Friday the 18th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Steve Saville has a go at Scott Lawton for the English lightweight title, and if you’re into slebriteez then Angel McKenzie from ‘Big Brother’ faces our own local Lyndsey Scragg. I am completely confident that Lyndsey will absolutely wreck her, so let me know if you can find anyone running a book on it.

Sunday the 20th – The Digbeth O’Lympics @ various pubs in Digbeth – Although the website just shows you a flyer and doesn’t tell you what the events are (‘not wanting to let on about the line-up’ seems to be the theme this month, doesn’t it? Event promoters, you’re all rubbish. All of you), but in this case I don’t suppose it matters that much. Have a pint instead.

Tuesday the 22nd – Massive Attack @ The Academy, Birmingham – Currently running back at two members, I think. Possibly.

Tuesday the 22nd – Theo @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Fantastic loop-pedallin’ maths-rock one-man-band who rocked both your socks and mine at Supersonic this year. He’s first on the bill, with Fook Boottons headlining.

Wednesday the 23rd – “Under Milk Wood” (Guy Masterson) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Dylan ‘That’s lovely, you see, isn’t it’ Thomas. This claims to be “perhaps the ultimate rendition” of it, with a very strategically placed ‘perhaps’.

Thursday the 24th – The Wildhearts @ The Academy, Birmingham – Will my unbroken run of failing to attend any Wildhearts and/or Wildhearts-related gigs since June 2001 continue? The sensible money would say ‘yes’.

Saturday the 26th – AMMA @ Banks’ Stadium, Bescott, Walsall – The latest in the always-fantastic series of amateur MMA cards put on by Marc Goddard and co. The most recent bill I can find is here.

Monday the 28th till Saturday the 3rd of October – “Dinnerladies” (The Comedy Theatre Company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – The telly series was one of the greatest telly serieseseses ever, I think (by which I mean that it was really good, and not that I’m trying to damn it with faint praise). Obviously I don’t know how good this is.

Monday the 28th – the live version of “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I was really quite overjoyed to walk past Mornington Crescent tube station when I went to London in February.

Wednesday the 30th – ‘Canal Music’ @ outside The Flapper, Birmingham – This is a lovely idea for a tour: Lisa Knapp and Leafcutter John are playing a series of gigs up the length of the Grand Union Canal. It ends in Birmingham (obviously), outside The Flapper. I don’t know if they’re actually playing from the barge or not. If they are that’ll take a bit of the novelty away from the “Off The Cuff” thingy mentioned above.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: October 2008

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 September, 2008

Festival~!

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 Sunday the 5th – “Of All The People In All The World” (Stan’s Café) @ A.E. Harris Factory, The Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Also known as The Rice Show and acclaimed by many (including me) to be The Actual Best Thing Ever.

Wednesday the 1st till Friday the 24th – Birmingham Book Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Brum’s annual literary festival (festival~!). There’s lots of interesting stuff a-scheduled – read on down.

Friday the 3rd till Sunday the 12th – Birmingham Comedy Festival @ various venues, Birmingham – The annual comedy festival (festival~!). Some annoying nonsense, but good stuff too – highlights include a Curates Egg do with John Cooper Clarke at The Hare & Hounds on the 3rd, and Mark Steel at The Glee Club on the 8th.

Saturday the 4th – “Space Day” @ Birmingham University, Edgbaston, Birmingham – LOOOST IN SPAAACE! All sorts of extra-planetary physics-based fun.

Saturday the 4th – Van Morrison @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Like the good ol’ strict ‘n’ stern Ulster protestant he is, Van The Man has decreed that no alcohol is to be sold at this gig. I wouldn’t go so far as to proclaim that this heralds the death of personal freedom, though.

Saturday the 4th – Stevie Wonder @ The NIA, Birmingham – Ooh, I’m really looking forward to this one.

Saturday the 4th – “Steve Coogan Is Alan Partridge and Other Less Successful Characters” @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – You’ve got to love that for tour-naming.

Saturday the 4th – The Ting Tings @ The Academy, Birmingham – Already sold out, although we’ve heard that one before from The Ting Tings.

Saturday the 4th – Muay Thai @ The Light Bar, Wolverhampton – Knees knees knees! Wolves’ Firewalker gym vs Leeds’ Bad Company gym.

Wednesday the 5th of October until Thursday the 6th of November – Birmingham Early Music Festival @ Various festivals in Birmingham – A festival (festival~!) of Rites And Revels.

Sunday the 5th – Balti In The Park @ Balsall Heath park, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – Mostly, food. But also live music. And stalls. And face painting. But mostly food.

Tuesday the 7th – Stevie Winwood @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Still keeping on running, after all this time.

Wednesday the 8th until Saturday the 11th – “The Boy With The Bomb In His Crisps” (Mad Half Hour) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – A play based on the tales of people who have journeyed to Coventry and Colchester. The story behind the (absolutely magnificent) title is here.

Wednesday the 8th till Sunday the 12th – Horse Of The Year Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – A horse is a horse, of course, of course…

Thursday the 9th – The Streets @ The Academy, Birmingham – Apparently he talks about fields and countryside and such on this new album. Pastoral Streets, what a notion.

Saturday the 11th – Billy Ocean @ The Academy, Birmingham – Aaaaw, he’s just so cuddly.

Monday the 13th till Friday the 17th – “Romeo And Juliet” (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Custard Factory – I have no concrete info, but apparently this may or may not be happening. Matinee performances only though, according to the information Nyki Getgood has acquired over at that link. On weekdays. Fantastic planning, there.

Monday the 13th – Cyndi Lauper @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Just wants to do something-or-other.

Tuesday the 14th – Polarbear: “If I Cover My Nose You Can’t See Me” @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – Hip-hop based storytelling. I’ve heard many good things about this.

Tuesday the 14th – Mark Thomas @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Part of the Birmingham Book Festival. This show is based around Mighty Mark’s looking into the ways and doings of Coca-Cola.

Wednesday the 15th – Stephen Stills @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Ah well now you see the thing here was that I was going to go to this and then I wasn’t and now I am again but all the time I thought I’d never heard any of his music outside of Crosby Stills And Nash And/Or Young but it turns out that “Love The One You’re With” which I liked but didn’t know who it was by was actually by him. So that was quite good. Yes.

Wednesday the 15th – Elbow @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – The band that beat Burial in the big national music quiz or whatever it was. Haven’t listened to this new album that they got the honours for, but they were lovely when I last saw/heard them a few years ago.

Wednesday the 15th – Spiritualized @ The Academy, Birmingham – Without the gospel singers this time, if I’m correct, but still bound to be amazing.

Thursday the 16th – Will Self @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Why if it ain’t young Billy Self in the best of health. Author, journalist, raconteur, cultural pundit, and Birmingham Book Festival performer.

Friday the 17th – Roots Manuva @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Summonin’ up the power of Banana Clan.

Friday the 17th – Black Diamond Heavies / The Solomons @ The Dragon Bar, The Barfly, Digbeth, Birmingham – Another night of blues ‘n’ roll brought to you by them Coldrice reprobates.

Saturday the 18th – UFC 89 @ The NIA, Birmingham – Headlined by Mike Bisping vs Chris Leben (Bisping, sub, R2. Yes that’s right I said ‘sub’), and also featuring the UFC debut of longtime fave of mine Dan Hardy (against Akihiro Gono. Hardy by decision). Speaking of longtime faves of mine, Paul ‘The Relentlessly Saddling Yampy Terminator’ Taylor (you know, the one from God’s Chosen Black Country) will also be fighting Chris Lytle (Taylor, decision).

Saturday the 18th – The Creeping Nobodies / The Courtesy Group @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – A Curates Egg night, so quality is assured.

Sunday the 19th – Scorpions @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Whistle whistle, whistle whuh-whuh-whistle-whistle…

Tuesday the 21st – Carol Ann Duffy @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Again as part of the Birmingham Book Festival. One of the best contemporary poets, with recent controversy to boot. If you’re really a fan then you can also attend a discussion of her work led by Roz Goddard on the 9th.

Wednesday the 22nd – Eddie Reader @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Your lady there who used to be in the wonderful wonderful wonderful (‘Perfect’, even) Fairground Attraction.

Wednesday the 22nd – Seth Lakeman @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – More fiddling folking fun with Seff.

Thursday the 23rd until Sunday the 26th – “Hello Digital” @ Various places in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Hereford – The Midlands’ first digital festival (festival~!), apparently, although I don’t myself have any idea at all about precisely what is meant to connect this seemingly disparate string of events. Some of it looks interesting, though, such as the Field Of Light at Millennium Point and Capsule’s Big Up The Metalz thingy at Wolves Art Gallery.

Thursday the 23rd – An Audience With Tony Benn @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Tony ‘Uncle’ Benn, speaking of the days when Labour was real Labour.

Thursday the 23rd – A. C. Grayling @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Another book festival affair. Grayling considers and speaks on the subject of reading, particularly as a “critical, challenging and subversive process”.

Friday the 24th – Capsule Night @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Watch Oxes on boxes, shake your hips to Bee Stung Lips, and do The Bump to Bilge Pump.

Friday the 24th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Not sure who will be fighting on this one, but it’ll no doubt include some of our local faves. (EDIT: Seems to be cancelled).

Sunday the 26th – Lau-Gar King Fu National Championships @ Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Hai- and indeed –Ya.

Tuesday the 28th – Al Green @ The NIA, Birmingham – The Reverend Al Green, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday the 28th – Slayer @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – And if you fancy an arena gig that couldn’t be more different to Al Green, there’s always Slayaaaarrrrgh. (EDIT: Alright, so no an arena gig: it’s been moved to The Civic).

Wednesday the 29th – Feed The Birds @ Woodgate Valley Country Park, Bartley Green, Birmingham – The rangers show you how to make a feeder and feed the birdies properly, for free.

Friday the 31st – Boxing (Sports Network) @ The Aston Events Centre, Aston, Birmingham – Pity poor old Uncle Frankie; Calzaghe’s left him and Khan got splattered across the canvas. Every ticket sale for this event is vital. He might not be able to afford this week’s ivory backscratcher otherwise. Also: Macklin/Broadhurst/Costello etc.