Call me Russ L

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: February ’08

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 27 January, 2008

More stuff this month, at least. Still mostly gigs, but there seems to be a decent chunk of theatre too.

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

Friday the 1st – “Things That Can’t Be Said” (Re:Volve Theatre) @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A multimedia sort of thing exploring what (supposedly) cannot be said and creating “a visual tapestry of love, life and relationships.” Also at The Arena Theatre in Wolves on Wednesday the 6th.

Saturday the 2nd – Babar Luck @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Completely looney but massively uplifting choons from the ex-King Prawn fella. Gangsta Folk, if you will.

Sunday the 3rd – Municipal Waste @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Ther-rrraaaassshhh. Possibly the worst venue in which you could ever manage to see The Waste, but still.

Sunday the 3rd – Carmina Burana (CBSO & Choruses) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – You can go either as a punter, or you can actually become part of the ensemble and sing. I think that’s fantastic.

Sunday the 3rd – It’s Just Noise Halfdayer @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Starting at 5:30pm and featuring Blakfish, The Arm, Mills & Boon and many other delights.

Friday the 8th – Dropkick Murphys @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Oi Oi Oirish.

Friday the 8th – KODO @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Here come the drums here come the drums.

Saturday the 9th – The Move @ J.B.’s, Dudley – Or the current touring version of The Move, anyway. Apparently Bev Bevan and Trevor Burton are amongst their number, but Roy Wood isn’t.

Saturday the 9th – Reanimator metal night @ The Bristol Pear, Selly Oak, Birmingham – Birmingham’s main extreme metal put-er on-ers bring you this night, headlined by German thrashsorts Nocturnal.

Saturday The 9th – Authority To Pay Recordings night @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Courtesy o’ Capsule, headlined by Fuck Buttons. It seems strange to get so angry about confectionary.

Monday the 11th – Earth @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – In the field of drone-rock, it is not cosmologically incorrect to say that the Earth is older than the Sunn O))). Hyuck hyuck hyuck har har har.

Wednesday the 13th – The Twang @ J.B.’s, Dudley – There would have been some sort of trope here based around “Hang the DJ/Twang The J.B.’s”, but I decided I love you all too much to subject you to something quite so feeble.

Tuesday the 19th – Storytelling Café @ Wednesbury Library, Wednesbury – Tell some stories. Also at the Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath the following night, and that one will apparently have an Irish theme.

Tuesday the 19th – “Bacchic” (Actors Of Dionysus) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – ‘The Bacchae’ with aerial theatre (does that mean trapeze?), specially composed music and ‘inspired’ lighting. Sounds interesting at the very least.

Wednesday the 20th – Dillinger Escape Plan @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – This is the one that was originally due to be on the 5th of November and may or may not have been originally due to also feature Meshuggah (it isn’t now). I suppose, as creators of mad fractured music, it seems apt that their gigs have mad fractured arrangements.

Wednesday the 20th to Saturday the 23rd – “Angel House” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – How two brothers lives can take very different paths. Written by the highly respected Roy Williams.

Wednesday the 20th to Saturday the 1st of March – Birmingham School Of Acting: Spring 2008 season @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Four different plays over a week and a bit. Including “Prince Pippin’s quest to find personal significance.”

Thursday the 21st to Saturday the 23rd – “Waitress For Godot” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – The Old Joint Stock’s resident theatre company re-lick the obvious Beckett play from a female perspective, involving two women waiting for Estragon and Vladimir. Intriguing.

Friday the 22nd – Megadeth @ The Academy, Birmingham – The ‘Wow, they’re still going! Who knew?’ option for this month.

Sunday the 24th – ISKA International Thaiboxing @ Wombourne Leisure Centre, Wombourne, Wolverhampton – No details or proper link, as ever.

Monday the 25th – Boxing (Pat Cowdell) @ The Burlington Hotel, Birmingham – Usual drill: dinner show, I’ve no idea who might be fighting, etc, etc.

Tuesday the 26th – Mayhem @ The Barfly, Digbeth, BirminghamDon’t approach any of them and ask them if they’re pining for the fjords. Someone I know did this last time they were over here, and they had him ejected from the premises (more things happened but they may be libelous to relate). I’m not joking, this is a true story. Anyway, unholy black metal and so on.

Tuesday the 26th – Eels @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – That recent BBC4 documentary about Mark E Of The Eels’ rediscovery of his grandfather (Hugh Everett III) and his ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics was really good. Ben Swizzle writes about it here. On that note, I’m currently reading Quantum – A Guide For The Perplexed by Jim Al-Khalili and would recommend it to all, explaining (as it does) things very well to simpletons like me as well as being beautifully illustrated. I’m off on a bit of a tangent here, but since this gig is already sold out I expect you won’t mind.

Tuesday the 26th – Rolo Tomassi @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Supporting I Was A Cub Scout, who I once saw supporting Rolo Tomassi (funnily enough) but didn’t think were anything particularly special.

Tuesday the 26th to Saturday the 1st of March – ‘Metamorphosis (Vesturport Theatre) @ The Rep, Birmingham – I’m reeeally looking forward to this: a staged version of the Kafka short story with a score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Get Carina Round and some jalapeno peppers involved somehow and this would include pretty much everything I love in the world.

Wednesday the 27th – “Here Be Monsters” (Rejects Revenge) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – The world’s first steam-powered spaceship, and apparently lots of silliness. Sounds like fun to me. I can’t help be thinking of Werewolves and Queen Victoria, though, getahmean?

Thursday the 28th – Alicia Keys @ The NIA, Birmingham – She wasn’t all that great when I saw her a few years back (well… she’s not the sort of artist you want to have to grin and bare onstage skits from, is she?), but I would assume that by now she has enough material to fill a set without arseing about pretending to take phonecalls from a prop phonebox. And that’d be quite good.

Thursday the 28th – Boxing (First Team Promotions) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Black Country vs Birmingham derby! Matty Hough takes on Max Maxwell for the Midlands area middleweight title, and it will be great. Also featuring some of our other local faves like Lyndsey Scragg, Rob Hunt, Dean Harrison, etc.

Friday the 29th – Editors @ The NIA, Birmingham – And so you’d better not make any spelling mistakes.

Friday the 29th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – It’ll never be said in fair England that I slew a naked man, either.