Call me Russ L

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

Posted in Combat Sports, Films, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 October, 2011

Cats, hares, tortoises, seabirds and bears of possibly a couple of different types – it’s animal 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. That’s not the way it works.

Ongoing through the month – “Shout” festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Brum’s festival of Queer/LGBT culture. Includes, amongst many other things, ”A Tale Of Two Symphonies” with the Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra (an entity of which I was not aware until just now), and tales of Stevenage.

Saturday the 29th of October until Saturday the 12th of November – “Macbeth” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – I love Macbeth. It’s just so gangsta.

Tuesday the 1st and Wednesday the 2nd – “Stig Of The Dump” (Mind The Gap Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – I loved the book as a child.

Tuesday the 1st – Melvins @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – One of those bands who I like, but don’t like as much as everyone else who likes them seems to like them, so everyone else who likes them doesn’t listen to me properly and just decides that I don’t like them. But I do like them. Just not as much as etc. etc. etc.

Tuesday the 1st – Natty @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Children get your culture, and don’t stand there and gesture or the battle will be hotter.

Tuesday the 1st – Bill Bailey @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Hawk The Slayer’s rubbish (do I make these references a touch too oblique at times?)

Wednesday the 2nd – Motorhead / Anti-Nowhere League / UK Subs @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Motorhead are clever – although they may have been playing more-or-less the same set for 381 years, they always make sure their annual autumn tour is a package-affair with other bands you might want to see. This time it’s all a bit punky.

Wednesday the 2nd – “Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks” (The Foundry Group Theatre) @ The Forrest Arts Centre, Walsall – A comedy about Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks, which is one of ideas that I suspect we all wish we’d had first.

Thursday the 3rd – The Bad Shepherds @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – On their “First Farewell Tour”, which is at least honest.

Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – Cake International – The Sugarcraft & Cake Decoration Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I saw the most gorgeous cake that was shaped and decorated like a bunch of roses, recently. I was enormously impressed, it was beautiful.

Friday the 4th – Anna Calvi @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – She’s smaller than you’d imagine, in real life.

Friday the 4th – Toumani Diabate @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Playing his Kora. They should get him on with a choir, then you could have choral kora.

Saturday the 5th – UFC 138 (MMA) @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Heh, a UFC card in Brum and I’m not going. I should be ashamed to call myself an MMA fan or such.

Saturday the 5th – Acid Mothers Temple @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The over/under on how long they play for is set at 3.5 hours. Put your predictions in now, please.

Saturday the 5th – “The Hare And The Tortoise” (Tutti Frutti Productions & York Theatre Royal) @ The Library Theatre, Birmingham – Postscript scene here.

Saturday the 5th – An evening of Janacek and Dvorak (CBSO & City Of Birmingham Choir) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Just make sure you get a good seat and don’t have to sit uncomfortably to see, or you might end up with Czech neck. See also the Welsh National Opera entry below if you fancy a bit more Janacek.

Sunday the 6th – Glen Campbell @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – His last ever ever tour ever before retirement.

Sunday the 6th – The Drifters @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Any resemblance to any original band members living or dead is purely coincidental.

Sunday the 6th – Focus @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Dutch yodelling (also: prog-rock).

Monday the 7th – Ghostface Killah @ The Institute (The Library), Digbeth, Birmingham – It’s been a very Wu-Tang-y year in Brum, 2011 has. Assuming he turns up.

Wednesday the 9th till Sunday the 13th – Slava’s Snowshow @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – Not just for kiddies, this really is one of the most visually astonishing things that you’ll ever see.

Wednesday the 9th – Guillemots @ The Institute (The Library), Digbeth, Birmingham – Call ‘em a doctor.

Thursday the 10th – The Damned @ The Academy, Birmingham – On their 35th anniversary tour, which is pretty much guaranteed to make some folks feel extremely old.

Thursday the 10th – Paul Murphy @ The ICC (Symphony Hall foyer), Birmingham – Your man from The Destroyers, playing as part of the ongoing Folk For Free series.

Thursday the 10th and again on Saturday the 12th – Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Derrr, derrr, du-duh-duh, derrr, derrr, de-deh-deh, dun dun dun dun der dun dun, dun dun dun dun der dun dun. That’s my transcription of the invasion theme. I’m telling you, sheet music will be a thing of the past once my notation system catches on.

Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th – “The Importance Of Being Earnest” (New Century Theatre Company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Possibly unfortunate timing, given the recent big Birmingham Rep version of this, but I suppose it could be fun to compare and contrast. Featuring (it appears) suitcases (not handbags) used prominently in the staging.

Friday the 11th – “Fighting The Cuts” (Banner Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Apparently a cabaret performance themed around resistance to the current government. That doesn’t sound like the type of thing you see every day.

Friday the 11th – “Sacred and Profane Love in 13th Century France” @ St George’s Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham – As performed by Sinfonye. What a title, though. What a dream of a title.

Saturday the 12th till Sunday the 20th – Grand Slam Of Darts 2011 @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – So I hear they’re starting to catch up with Phil Taylor nowadays, finally. I’ve always recommended not having heroes.

Saturday the 12th – Opeth @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – There’s always one “band I used to be into but have drifted away from over the years, for no obvious reason” every month, and your Swedish prog-folk-blues-metallers here are November’s representatives.

Saturday the 12th – Bellowhead @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Often said to be one of the best live bands going. I haven’t seen ‘em so I wouldn’t know, but people do say this.

Saturday the 12th – “Breaking Down The Wall” @ New Art Gallery, Walsall – Live poetry, percussion and graffiti. Connected with the Salaam Islamic Arts Festival.

Saturday the 12th – “Play School” (Mid*Point Theatre) @ A.E. Harris, The Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Presented as just as games evening, although I’m not so sure it wont turn out to be something a bit more, well, theatrical. Apparently they will provide board games and organise “low tech sports”. This leaves me wondering what a hi-tech sport might be. Robot Wars?

Sunday the 13th – Thomas Dolby @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Science~!

Monday the 14th till Saturday the 19th – “Keeler” (can’t seem to find the theatre company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – The play about the Profumo Affair that is apparently very well regarded by Christine Keeler herself.

Tuesday the 15th till Saturday the 26th – “Bagpuss” (Birmingham Stage Company) @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Bagpuss! He’s so lovely.

Tuesday the 15th till Saturday the 19th – Welsh National Opera @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – With Don Giovanni on the 15th and 18th, Katya Kabanov on the 16th, and The Barber of Seville on the 17th and 19th.

Tuesday the 15th till Saturday the 19th – “Oh What A Lovely War” (Blackeyed Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Hasn’t this been on at The Arena for about fifteen runs in the last few years, or am I just imagining it? I’m not saying that this is a bad thing.

Tuesday the 15th – Wire @ The Institute (The Temple), Digbeth, Birmingham – I’d got the impression from somewhere that this was supposed to be a “doing Pink Flag all the way through” gig, in the way that all old bands do with their great albums nowadays, but it doesn’t look like it actually is. I have no idea where I got that idea from.

Wednesday the 16th – (MF) Doom @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – His name’s, Doom, they wonder who he is but don’t wor, -ry, believe me he’ll get busy. When it comes, to, poetry he’s got plenty, la la laa. La la, la la, la la.

Thursday the 17th to Sunday the 20th – “Autumn Almanac” @ Ikon Gallery, Birmingham – A four day affair with local createurs of sundry stripe. Includes a 7 Inch Cinema film selection (themed around the date it’s on, the 17th of November) and Doom-Tuba courtesy of Ore (they were amazing at Supersonic), amongst many other things.

Friday the 18th – The Beat / The Selecter @ The Town Hall, Bimingham – On my radio in the bathroom.

Friday the 18th – Boxing (First Team Promotions) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – Including Martin Gethin’s first local fight in ages.

Friday the 18th – Rihanna @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – And also at the NIA on the 29th. She’ll need a big umbrella indeed if everyone in venues of those sizes are to be invited to stand underneath.

Friday the 18th – The Dwarves @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Once upon a time The Most Dangerous Band On The Planet, then a polite little pop-punk group, and I don’t actually know what they’re up to nowadays.

Friday the 18th – “The Lonely Clouds Of Guernica” (Come As You Are Arts Northwest) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A play concerning the fact (and I didn’t know this one, but it seems hardly surprising) that Bush’n’Blair wanted Picasso’s “Guernica” covered up at the UN when they were a-having wars.

<iSaturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th – The Warley National Model Railway Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Choo-choo and indeed chug-a-puff. Is that Warley as in right here in Sandwell? Cool.

Saturday the 19th – The Supreme Show of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Look at this, I mean really now.

Sunday the 20th – Morbid Angel @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – Surely the deathliest death metal that ever died metallically.

Tuesday the 22nd till Saturday the 26th – “The Producers” (West Bromwich Operatic Society) @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – It’d be good if people dressed up for this in a manner similar to how folk do when they go to see “Rocky Horror”, ‘cos then we’d all have an excuse to carry our blue blankets around with us.

Tuesday the 22nd and Wednesday the 23rd – “A Clockwork Orange” (Volcano Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Apparently “Volcano Theatre Sidestep the cult movie and recapture the shock of the original novella”, which is good because I love the book and have never particularly liked the fillum.

Tuesday the 22nd – Beverley Knight @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Our Bev. There may be higher-energy artists and there may be artists in higher heels, but you won’t find a greater combination of the two.

Wednesday the 23rd and on until 2012 – “The Sleeping Beauty” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – From the perspective of the fairy who cursed Beauty to sleep in the first place.

Wednesday the 23rd until Sunday the 27th – The BBC Winter Good Food Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Incorporating, pleasingly, The World Cheese Awards.

Wednesday the 23rd – Alabama 3 @ The Academy, Birmingham – Actually, Opeth aren’t this months only candidates for “band I used to be into but have drifted away from over the years, for no obvious reason”.

Thursday the 24th till Saturday the 26th – “Hobson’s Choice” (The Luke Players) @ The MAC (Theatre Space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – I always think “Harold Brighouse” sounds like more of name for a gangster than for a playwrite. ‘Ard ‘Arry Brighouse from Landan taaahn.

Saturday the 26th – Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band @ The Cross, Moseley, Birmingham – Oh, Geno.

Saturday the 26th – Dimmu Borgir @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – It’s billed as “An evening with Dimmu Borgir”, and so I do hope they’ll be taking questions and relating humorous anecdotes about their lives. Whilst wearing corpsepaint.

Saturday the 26th – Martin Carthy @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – If it’s a month with a vowel in it then you can be sure that at least one of the Waterson/Carthy family will be playing somewhere in your county.

Sunday the 27th – Deep Purple @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Plus a full orchestra, ‘cos they’re a bit like that, that Deep Purple.

Tuesday the 29th – Flogging Molly @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Faith and begorrah, you can’t beat a bit of the auld Irish-American punk.

Wednesday the 30th till Saturday the 3rd of December – “Joseph K” (Birmingham School of Acting) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – A modernised version of “The Trial”. I am keen on Kafka, kid.

Wednesday the 30th and on until next year – “The Jungle Book” (Birmingham Stage Company) @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Bear necessities and Mother Nature’s recipes.



Posted in Modern Living by Russ L on 20 March, 2010

Crufts (specifically the hounds & terriers day on the 12th of March) was great fun. I’ve never been 100% comfortable with the eugenics aspect of it all, but have to admit that I don’t really understand the situation in general. We went out for the day, anyway, met some nice pooches and saw a lot more.

We missed the flyball this year but the agility in the arena was enormous fun to watch again (the LG Arena has been spruced up no end. It needed it), and I’d really like to go and go and watch it more all year round. If anyone does know about any West Midlands-y agility events please let me know, as google isn’t helping all that much.

We were also able to get my favourite poochie (and fellow David Foster Wallace fan) Meg some prezzies for being brave regarding her recent operation. I was happy to see that Cat Protection League had a stall again, too, and hadn’t in fact been intimidated into never returning.

Great fun and I’m looking forward to next year already. I may be A Cat Person but I love those hounds too.

(Additionally: I think I deserve some bonus couth points for resisting the urge to entitle this post “All these fine bitches equal Rex to me”).

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

Posted in Combat Sports, Films, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 31 October, 2009

So let us talk about what this is and what this isn’t. This is a list of things due to happen that I’ve heard about and that I think look like they could be good. This is not some proper arts listing or gig guide that you can submit your events to. Cool? Cool.

Standard disclaimers (y’know, the ones that appear here every month that you would have thought were sufficient to render the previous paragraph unnecessary): 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 Monday the 30th – Shout Festival @ venues all over Brum – I don’t know what Pride is if this is (as claimed) Brum’s first dedicated LGBT festival but there’s plenty a-happening, mostly theatre and sport: line-up here.

Up until Sunday the 8th, but not including Monday the 2nd – “Eat Your Heart Out” (Kindle Theatre) @ The A. E. Harris Building, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Three cooks create a meal at the end of the world. A play including music and food for the audience (I think. Not 100% sure about that).

Sunday the 1st – The Bad Shepherds @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Along with everyone else who was present at the Sunday of Moseley Folk this year, I absolutely adore their version of “All Around My Hat”.

Wednesday the 4th till Sunday the 8th – “The Event” @ various venues in Digbeth, Birmingham – Or rather a series of events. I like the sound of pigeon loft themed content at The Rea Garden.

Thursday the 5th till Saturday the 7th – Flip Animation Festival @ The Light House, Wolverhampton – With all sorts of animatory and computer gamery fun happening. You can even have a go yourself.

Thursday the 5th – Steve Earle @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Doing a set dedicated to Townes Van Zandt. I’m told he was on fantastic form in Derby last month.

Friday the 6th till Sunday the 8th – Hellfire Festival @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – With Saxon, Fields Of The Nephilim, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Katatonia, Blakfish and a load more. #MetalNovember and I suppose a bit #GothNovember too.

Friday the 6th – Clutch @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Real Maryland Rock and that’s all there is to it. There are a few gigs on this night, though. (EDIT: Oh me oh my it appears that Kylesa are also on the bill. #MetalNovember).

Friday the 6th – Alabama 3 @ The Academy, Birmingham – See? London cowboys, anyway, and I’m not talking about cockney builders.

Friday the 6th – Beverley Knight @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Yampy soulstress of high repute. Another victim of The Great Friday The 6th Gig Clash, but she is also at Symphony Hall in Brum on Monday the 23rd.

Saturday the 7th – Femme Metal Festival @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – Will it be challenging or reinforcing stereotypes? I’m never cynical as you know Ted. #MetalNovember.

Saturday the 7th – Damien Jurado @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – “If you tear down the dancehall places / Where’re we gonna see the beautiful faces?” he asks through the medium of swirly psychedelia. It’d probably be more apt for him to play in Digbeth than Kings Heath.

Sunday the 8th – Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – This promises to tell us what bassoon players are secretly obsessed with, and I for one would like to know.

Monday the 9th till Saturday the 14th – “Mrs Warren’s Profession” (Bath Theatre Royal) @ The Rep, Birmingham – George Bernard Shaw comedy, starring Felicity Kendall. Hopefully she’ll bring that pet bird of hers that flies around the outside of a flower while light music plays.

Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th – The Specials @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Definitely looking like we’re getting towards our last chances to see them, now.

Monday the 9th – VV Brown @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Poppy garage soul’n’roll. Really fun, going on the few songs I’ve heard.

Tuesday the 10th – The New Beautiful South @ The Academy 3, Birmingham – I actually liked The Old Beautiful South, now you come to mention it.

Tuesday the 10th – Woods / Espers / The Cave Singers @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Folk rockin’ (head knockin’ quick droppin’, they laugh ‘cos they mastered the craft etc).

Wednesday the 11th – The Drones @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Were bloody amazing at the same venue in June. Wouldn’t give a Castlemaine XXXX for anything else.

Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th – “The Waiting Room” (Other People’s Shoes Theatre Company) @ The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham – Three actresses wait together for their separate auditions. This sounds to me like the tradition of a play within a play, only it’s not actually in the play.

Thursday the 12th – Beyonce @ The NIA, Birmingham – The most famous person I’ve ever actually met. And that includes Pato Banton.

Thursday the 12th – Sham 69 @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Although apparently Jimmy Pursey isn’t in the band anymore.

Thursday the 12th – Worriedaboutsatan @ Ikon Eastside, Digbeth, Birmingham – Electronic/groovy-glitch types playing a gig in the name of the end of Ryoji Ikeda’s installation, through which he considers the nature of data between 0 and 1.

Friday the 13th – Einstellung @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Local Krautrocky repeatalots, and very good they are too. (EDITED: I originally had this on the 12th, presumably because I am a dur-brain. Ta to Big Dave C in the comments).

Friday the 13th – Deep Purple @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – DER DER DERRN, DER DER DERN-NERRN (#MetalNovember).

Friday the 13th – Martha Tilston @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Folkstress with some fantastic album titles (I cannot find any fault at all with “Mouse Tales” or “Of Milkmaids And Architects”).

Saturday the 14th till Sunday the 22nd – The Grand Slam Of Darts @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – And Bully’s SPECIAL PRIIIIIIIIIZZZE…

Saturday the 14th – “Culture Jam” @ Moor Straight Station Wine Bar (I did not know that such a thing did or could exist) and Volt Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – Anglo-Lithuanian arts and music and fun. Now there’s a sentence you don’t get to say every day.

Sunday the 15th – “Celebrating Darwin: Is Human Evolution Over?” with Steve Jones (the biologist, not the one from the Sex Pistols) @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The response that leaps to mind is “Eh? What makes you think that it even possibly might be?”, but then again I haven’t heard what he actually has to say.

Sunday the 15th – The Christmas Reindeer Parade @ Birmingham City Centre – Santa with his reindeer, a-parading. We’re also promised lanterns and marching bands.

Monday the 16th – Joe Lally @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Your man there from Fugazi. Mentioning ‘Fugazi’ is not, as some would have it, some sort of assertion of elitist superiority. It’s just a question of them being the band he’s in, y’get’me?

Wednesday the 18th – “Hearts And Minds” (The Drum & Khayaal Theatre Company) @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – There was another play called “Hearts And Minds” around here not so long ago, but this isn’t the same one. In this, young Asif is forced to contemplate to whom or what he feels loyal to.

Thursday the 19th – Slayer @ The Academy, Birmingham – Slayaaaaaarrrgh. #MetalNovember.

Friday the 20th – Alec Empire @ Busk, Birmingham – At! Ar! Ee! Tee! Nage! Riot! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!

Saturday the 21st – The Supreme Cat Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – It’ll be a bit like this, I imagine.

Saturday the 21st – Junius @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Pinchin’-from-the-80s atmospheric indie-rock, but a touch (only a touch, lets not go mad) less obvious about it than your Editors and your The Horrorses and your Interpols and whatnot. Not that I dislike any of those.

Sunday the 22nd – The Pantomime Horse Grand National @ Birmingham City Centre – Stick a fiver each way on Airbiscuit, if he’s running this year.

Wednesday the 25th then all the way till Saturday the 9th of January – “A Christmas Carol” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – By far the thing I’ve seen the most different versions of over the years, between stage and screen. I doubt I’m alone in that. The Muppets were the best, obviously.

Wednesday the 25th – Skunk Anansie @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – A band who aren’t exactly forgotten but (I think) deserve to be remembered a lot more widely than they currently are. Or were. Looks like they’re back together now.

Friday the 25th – Chuck Berry And His American Band @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – That’s how it’s advertised. A shame, really: I’d always thought he sounded his best when with his Estonian band. It’s Chuck Berry, anyway, I’m sure I don’t need to describe him.

Friday the 27th – Dio @ The Academy, Birmingham – Surely the most #MetalNovember of them all.

Friday the 27th and Saturday the 28th – “Tales Of Terror” (Happiness Patrol) @ The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham – Spooky stories from the theatre company that did an absolutely amazing version of Poe’s “The Masque Of The Red Death” last year.

Friday the 27th – Steeleye Span @ The Town Hall, Birmingham (no proper website as far as I can find, sorry) – Well, they’re no Bad Shepherds (see 1st), but their version of “All Around My Hat” is quite good too.

Friday the 27th – Discharge @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – Not quite part of #MetalNovember, but there’s certainly some overlap.

Friday the 27th – The Heavy @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Indie-hop-soul. Or somesuch.

Friday the 27th – Boxing (First Team Promotions) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – First Team promoting at The Tower Ballroom seems to have been done deliberately to confuse me. At the time of writing it’s said to be Neil Perkins, Rob Hunt, Chris Truman, Nasser Al Harbi and Ben Wilkes all against the feared TBA. First Team then also have a doings at The Venue in Dudley the following night, with Alex Strutt, Jamie Ball, Richard Ghent, Dean Anderson, Spencer Evans and Rob Doodie all also against the dreaded TBA (once again as advertised at the time of writing).

Sunday the 29th – Motorhead / The Damned / Girlschool @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Motorhead tend to try to get around the fact that they’ve been playing near enough exactly the same set for FIVE HUNDRED YEARS by always having a good supporting line-up. This does, by and large, work. P.S. #MetalNovember.

Sunday the 29th – A @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – 90s Britrock sorts who never seemed to get quite as big as quite a lot of their contemporaries. Nowadays I would put that down to them having such a pain-in-the-arse name for search engines.

Sunday the 29th – Thea Gilmore @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Last time I saw her she thought Wolverhampton and Bilston were the same place, but I suppose we shouldn’t hold that against her forever.

Monday the 30th – Regina Spektor @ The Academy, Birmingham – Like a young Tori Amos, only a bit Russian.

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

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 29 October, 2008

Once again giving lie to the myth that there’s no culture round these here parts, that world-conquering franchise LOTTSADITWM is back with a whole pile of things on which you can spend that money you thought you were keeping for Christmas presents.

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.

Saturday the 1st – Shellac / Om / Wooden Shjips / Pissed Jeans / Lightning Bolt @ Space 2, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – A fair little ol’ line-up to start the month with. Punters are encouraged to dress up Halloween stylee, apparently.

Saturday the 1st – Goldblade @ The Barfly, Digbeth, Birmingham – Soul ‘n’ rollers fronted by professional endearing gobshite John Robb.

Sunday the 2nd – Kickboxing (IFA/Kash Gill) @ Space 2, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – As ever with the ol’ kickboxing, I have bugger all in the way of info. I’m not sure if it’s FC style or what. Nasty Nasser Mohammed is fighting, though.

Monday the 3rd – Motorhead / Saxon @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Motorhead and Saxon on the same bill. It’s hard to imagine anything more RRRRRRRRRROCK.

Tuesday the 4th – Sigur Rós @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Floaty wibbly floatiness. Already sold out, though.

Tuesday the 4th – Zero (Theatre Absolute) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A translator in a dystopic concentration camp yearns to tell the world of the horrors he sees. Just seen that it’s sold out.

Tuesday the 4th – Acid Mothers Temple @ Taylor John’s House, Coventry – Japanese psych/rock collective who were great fun in Brum in August.

Wednesday the 5th – Capsule @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With The Dead Science, Una Corda and Theo.

Wednesday the 5th – “Darwin’s Worms” (Bent Architect) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – To celebrate Darwin’s impending 200 year birthday, this play celebrates Darwin’s love of worms and includes ‘a crack team of scientists’ recreating some of his more unusual experiments.

Thursday the 6th till Saturday the 8th – Flip Animation Festival @ The Light House, Wolverhampton – All sorts of animated goodness, including screenings of the recreated lost Dr Who episodes from the 60s and a festival-ending party courtesy of Colour.

Thursday the 6th – “Rock The Bells” @ The Academy, Birmingham – Not the Christmas Carols that one might expect, no. This is in fact a hip-hop extravaganza, featuring (amongst others) Nas, Mos Def and The Pharcyde.

Thursday the 6th – Paul Heaton @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – ‘Im what was in The Beautiful South.

Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th – ‘Gigbeth’ @ various venues in Digbeth, Birmingham – I may have expressed a faintly negative opinion regarding whatever the hell the entire thing is meant to actually be, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some cool gigs a-happening as part of it. There’s Kano, there’s Einstellung, there’s Anathema, there’s Guillemots, there’s Rich Batsford, there’s The Sugar Hill Gang, and perhaps best of all there’s a free thing outside Millennium Point with Musical Youth and The Destroyers. EDIT: Apparently the free bit with The Destroyers is now going to be at South Birmingham College, and (according to B:INS) P’Ashton‘s long-awaited thingamygoop set will be taking place somewhere amongst this whole palava.

Friday the 7th – Mercury Rev @ The Academy, Birmingham – There’s a goddess on the highway and a goddess on the floor and a goddess on the ceiling and a goddess at the door, there’s a goddess on the M6 and a goddess feeling poor and a goddess drinking lager and a goddess eating corn.

Friday the 7th – The Temptations @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Get Ready, My Girl.

Friday the 7th – Basement Jaxx DJ set @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Obviously I’d be happier seeing them live again, but Basement Jaxx are definitely one of the best bands of recent years.

Saturday the 8th until Saturday the 15th – ‘Murder in Play’ (Oldbury Repertory Players) @ Oldbury Rep Theatre, Langley – A fella playing a fella playing a play in a play is murdered while playing a play and… no, it’s no use, I’ll probably need to go and see it to be able to follow.

Saturday the 8th – The “Eastpak Antidote Tour” @ The Academy, Birmingham Backpack (or ‘pak’, if you will) manufacturers in Cynical Brand-Building shocker. Still, it includes the wonderful Flogging Molly and the they-have-their-moments-I-suppose Skindred.

Saturday the 8th – Drop Beats not Bombs @ The Rainbow & The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – Beats and breaks and allsorts more in aid of CND. There’s also a bit of a tie-in with Gigbeth.

Saturday the 8th – Rose Royce @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Love don’t car wash here anymore.

Sunday the 9th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Headlined by Steve Saville vs Baz Carey for the Midlands light-welterweight title, and also featuring the return of Dean Harrison.

Monday the 10th till Saturday the 15th – ‘Enjoy’ (Peter Hall Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – An Alan Bennett play, starring The Second Doctor. You can’t lose really.

Tuesday the 11th and Wednesday the 12th – “Oh What A Lovely War” (Blackeyed Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Who wouldn’t be a soldier, eh?

Tuesday the 11th – Rancid @ The Academy, Birmingham – Rancid. Bootboys. Rancid. Bootboys.

Thursday the 13th – “The Legend Of Salt And Sauce” @ The Light House, Wolverhampton – A do dedicated to the memory of Salt and Sauce: “Wolverhampton’s two circus elephants who lived in a yard in Gorsebrook Road from 1920 until the Second World War.”

Friday the 14th until Sunday the 23rd – Darts a’plenty @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – There’s a celebrity darts thingy on the 14th, then the Grand Slam tournament from the 15th through to the 23rd. As I’ve said before, I don’t follow darts but it is a sport of which I approve.

Friday the 14th – Boxing (Warrior Promotions) @ The Holiday Inn, Birmingham – One o’them dinner shows, I assume. Bah.

Saturday the 15th – Kanye West @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Apparently the ‘LG Arena’ is what those crazy kids are calling the NEC Arena nowadays.

Sunday the 16th – Murcoff/Oren Marshall @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Two composers of New Music doing their thang.

Wednesday the 19th – Opeth @ The Academy, Birmingham – Swedish progressive death metal (a description that will either entice or horrify, with very little middle ground).

Wednesday the 19th – Michael Weston King @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Once you get past the cognitive dissonance of a Midlander pretending to be an American, his songs seem very good indeed.

Thursday the 20th – Clinic @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Scouse surgeon-impersonators present a ‘contemporary psychedelic happening’, in collaboration with animator Clemens Habicht and under the watchful eye of Capsule.

Thursday the 20th – Herbie Hancock @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Funking hell.

Saturday the 22nd – Leonard Cohen @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – This month’s entry that I really shouldn’t need to explain.

Saturday the 22nd – Supreme Cat Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Not just any cat show, you know. This is the Supreme one.

Sunday the 23rd – Reindeer & Lantern Parade @ through the city centre, Birmingham – From New Street to Brindley Place, Santa will a-lead his reindeer.

Sunday the 23rd – Racebannon / Trencher @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Racebannon are a band lots of people seem to love but I haven’t got around to listening to yet. Trencher play grind with synths whilst not taking themselves too seriously, and I approve of them.

Wednesday the 26th – Git Some @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Noisy messy splattery rawk‘n’roll ala Black Flag/Jesus Lizard etc, courtesy of the good folks them at It’s Just Noise.

Thursday the 27th – “The Bible: The Complete Word Of God (Abridged) (The Reduced Shakespeare Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – The Bible, condensed and reduced. Can, they ask, lightning bolts be far behind? (In actual fact they’re ahead and playing on the 1st. See above).

Friday the 28th – Guy Masterson’s “American Poodle” @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Two monologues looking at the ‘special relationship’ from both sides of the Atlantic.

Sunday the 30th – AMMA @ The Holte Suite, Aston Villa Football Club, Aston, Birmingham – I know I always say this, but the AMMA cards really are very good. Current version of the fightcard here.

Sunday the 30th – Cryptopsy @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – Ultra-technical Canadian death metallers.

Sunday the 30th – 7 Inch Cinema’s “Housewives’ Choice” @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Shorts courtesy of the British Film Institute Archive, chronicling the British housewife from the 20s to the 50s.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – September 2008

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 28 August, 2008

Rumours of my blogging death have been greatly exaggerated.

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 13th – ‘Cabaret’ (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – You know what life is, old chum? It’s a cabaret. You know what to do.

Wednesday the 3rd – Gomez @ The Academy, Birmingham – Playing their first album in its entirety. Aaaah, pointless nostalgia. It is a very good album, though.

Thursday the 4th – Boxing (Ricky Hatton/Ringside Promotions) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Bizarre one, this. Ricky “Did I Mention That I Still Drink Down The Local And Play Darts? ‘Cos, Y’know, I Still Drink Down The Local And Play Darts. Did I Mention That?” Hatton is trying his hand at being a promoter, and it has somehow worked out that one of his early practice efforts before he can put on a supercard will be a £381,987 per ticket dinner show in Brum in association with the not-visibly-active-of-late Ringside Promotions. Happily, it seems that Matty Hough has decided not to retire after all and will be having a stab at a British Masters title at this one.

Thursday the 4th – Mothertrucker @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – Birmingham’s best instrumetal sorts playing their first gig in ages, at this new (-ish) Asylum place. I’ve heard it’s meant to be good.

Friday the 5th – Copter @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Album launch party for Brum’s finest testifying soul’n’rollers. Apparently you’ll get given a code to download the album for free if you attend this.

Saturday the 6th of September – ‘The Tell Woman’ @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – For ages 5 to 8. The lady who was La-La in The Tellytubbies plays The Tell Woman, whose skirt contains many stories.

Sunday the 7th – Heart Of England Judo Championships @ The NIA, Birmingham – JUDO.

Monday the 8th – Stevie Wonder @ The NIA, Birmingham – One that doesn’t need explaining. He’s at the same venue on the 4th of October too.

Thursday the 11th – Meshuggah @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Oi vey. Polyrhythmicy complicatory MetalSwedes. Ay ay ay.

Friday the 12th – Boxing (1st Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – It’s a very boxy month, this here September. This one has the return of Dean Harrison after his summer off (the ‘international masters’ title is up for grabs. Oh yes.) (Edit: actually, no, it looks like he ain’t fighting on this one now) as well as your fave and mine Lyndsey Scragg and a whole pile of others.

Friday the 12th till Sunday the 14th – Artsfest @ all over Birmingham – As ever, we’re only two weeks before what’s meant to be one of Birmingham’s biggest annual events and the Artsfest website itself contains absolutely bugger all about what is actually going to be happening. Handy. Stalwart sorts have assembled such details as they can here and here. Artsfest usually makes for some nice trips out, anyway.

Monday the 13th till Sunday the 5th of October – “Of All The People In All The World” (Stan’s Café) @ A.E. Harris Factory, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Rice! Representing people! From the gang that bought you the amazing “Cleansing Of Constance Brown” and it sounds absolutely ace, just click the link. Here’s a map to the venue.

Saturday the 13th – Project X @ Busk, Birmingham – The big thing with the several hours worth of things, there. Busk is a new venue opposite the Alexandra Theatre, apparently, and so the map may be worth linking to. The line-up includes Rich Batsford and 360 and lots of other luvverly stuff.

Saturday the 13th – The Wyvern Cat Club Show @ Cocks Moor Leisure Centre, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Exhibitionist cat is exhibitionist.

Sunday the 14th – Boxing (Warrior Promotions) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Max Maxwell drops back down to light-middle for a stab at being a two-weight Midlands champ. Rob Kenney from Wolverhampton opposes him, but (and alas) I’d be really surprised to see a Black Country victory in this particular fight.

Wednesday the 17th – Torche @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Supporting The Despicable Pelican, but don’t let that put you off. I initially thought that Kayo Dot were meant to be on this tour, but it seems that I am wrong.

Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st – GB Women’s Judo World Cup @ The NIA, Birmingham – JUDO.

Saturday the 20th – Netherton Victoriana Day @ the town centre, Netherton – [in-joke]There’s nothing sexier than shabby Victoriana[/in-joke]. There’s a market and a fair and suchforth out in the street during the day, then ‘Olde Tyme Music Hall’ in the evening at Netherton Arts Centre, with Aynuk of Aynuk & Ayli fame.

Monday the 22nd – Nile @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ancient-Egypt-themed death metal. That really should be the greatest thing in the world ever.

Tuesday the 23rd – “Approximately Infinite Universe – A Caravan Of Raw Sound Magic From Finland And The US” (Capsule) @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The Brum stop of a very intriguing looking tour, featuring collaborations between intriguing-looking American and Finnish artists. I particularly like the sound of Islaja, with her “spookily affecting chemically-altered late night torch style”.

Wednesday the 24th – Rolo Tomassi @ The Barfly, Digbeth, Birmingham – Exceedingly good Sheffield screamy/noisy/time-change-y sorts. One of the highlights of Supersonic this year, in my view.

Wednesday the 24th – Heavy Trash @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Jon Spencer [in-joke](no, not that one)[/in-joke] and his current merry band of rockabilly dusty funsters.

Monday the 29th till Saturday the 4th of October – “Zero” (Theatre Absolute) @ The Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – An interesting-sounding dystopic kinda play, told from the perspective of a translator at a torture camp.

Monday the 29th till Saturday the 4th – “Absurd Person Singular” @ Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – The famed Alan Ayckbourne comedy. I thought I saw this at The Rep once, but on reading a description of it I’m not sure anymore. Hmmm.

Tuesday the 30th – Travis @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Ah, sod off. I like them.