Call me Russ L

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – May 2009

Posted in LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 April, 2009

So apparently there’s no Fierce Festival this year. Bah. A very music-centric one this time (even more so than usual), anyway, but there’s still plenty of different things agwaan.

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 of May – IWW West Midlands’ International Workers Day party @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – Not actually on the day in question but nevertheless featuring food and drink and music a-plenty (including Una Corda and D’Corner Bois).

Friday the 1st – Mayday Art Crawl @ sundry locations in Digbeth, Birmingham – Like the above it’s not actually on Mayday, but still: Vivid, Ikon Eastside and Eastside Projects all have new exhibitions, and then there are plenty of good pubs in that neck of the woods for afterwards. Pubs where you can complain about people saying ‘Eastside’ instead of ‘Digbeth’.

Friday the 1st – Paul Murphy @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Doing a solo/smaller version of the “Sir Rhu Barb’s Tale” lark I saw in December. I suspect this way might work a bit better than that did, actually.

Saturday the 2nd till Monday the 4th – ‘The Ultimate Pet Show’ @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Not just your ordinary pets, oh no. This is for the ultimate in pets. Also including Britain’s Most Talented Pet (click that – I love the fact that the pictures of dogs playing the piano and mowing the lawn are left to explain themselves, but if you hover your pointer over the picture of a horse on its back you get a caption saying ‘horse rolling’. Just in case, y’know, you thought it had just died or something).

Saturday the 2nd – ‘World 501 Dholis’ @ Centenary Square, Birmingham – An attempt to break the world record for the number of dhol drummers playing in one place at one time, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Wasn’t this meant to happen at Artsfest last year? I don’t know, I get confused.

Sunday the 3rd – Ginger / Laika Dog @ J.B’s, Dudley – That would be Ginger of The Wildhearts fame, and the current band involving Tony Wright of Terrorvision fame. It’s like some 90s Britrock extravaganza.

Sunday the 3rd – Sky Larkin @ The Victoria, Birmingham – An interestingly dynamic indie rock’n’roll band about whom I’ve liked the odds ‘n’ sods I’ve heard for ages but haven’t ever really got around to checking out properly. As is my way. I think they may be headlining an alldayer here, actually, but I’m not entirely sure. Uselessness all-round from your correspondent, then.

Sunday the 3rd – Sway @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – A man who deserves to go down in history for his guest verse on The Mitchell Brothers’ “Harvey Nicks” (watch 2:35 – 3:23 here, really now).

Monday the 4th – Cancer Bats / The Plight / SSS @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Very metal, although I suspect it may not be metal that is considered True by the purists…

Tuesday the 5th – Saxon / Doro @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – …Unlike this one, which qualifies as proper metal under any and all systems that you might use to count.

Thursday the 7th – Jeffrey Lewis And The Junkyard @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – He was with The Jitters last time I saw him, rather than The Junkyard. These people should make their minds up, I say.

Thursday the 7th – ‘Making Do’ @ The New Art Gallery, Walsall – Great big free extravaganza from Capsule and 7 Inch Cinema, based around themes of post-war austerity. There’s live music from Pram, July Skies and The Winter League; there’s a film programme including the Housewives’ Choice series that I was sad to miss last year; there’s knitting courtesy of Stitches And Hos; there’s loads of other stuff too.

Friday the 8th till Saturday the 23rd – ‘Serious Money’ (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – Caryl Churchill spearin’ yuppies. Possibly given newer relevance on top, what with recent financial happenstances ‘n’ such.

Saturday the 9th – Project X Presents “Xhibition! @ a few different venues in Moseley, Birmingham – An assortment of various stuff, as is Project X’s wont, all centered around the big crossroads in Moseley.

Monday the 11th till Saturday the 16th – ‘Dinnerladies’ @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – I really thought the telly programme (the second series in particular) was one of the most wonderful things ever. This stage version stars Tony and Anita from that, too.

Wednesday the 13th – Morrissey @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Stephen, not Neil.

Thursday the 14th till Saturday the 16th – “Our Country’s Good” (Rage Ensemble) @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Australians wouldn’t give Castlemaine XXXX for anything else.

Friday the 15th till Saturday the 30th – “Looking For Yoghurt” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company, Hanyong Theatre, and a pile of others) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – A collaboration between British, Japanese and Korean theatrical sorts, this children’s show involves a little ‘un looking for her cat, Yoghurt. That is a magnificent name for a cat.

Friday the 15th till Saturday the 17th – ‘English Originals’ folk festival @ Symphony Hall and Town Hall, Birmingham – The second year running for this TH/SH weekender. Here we have the lovely Rachel Unthank And The Winterset on Friday night, a tribute concert to Nick Drake on the Saturday (involving Vashti Bunyan amongst others), and Seth Lakeman on the Sunday. On top of the big gigs there are also films, talks and free performances (including a set in the ICC on Friday from Mama Matrix, who also appear to be playing at The Wagon & Horses later that night).

Friday the 15th – Melt Banana @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – Japanese madness for May #1 (also: this is at The Rainbow Warehouse, not The Med Bar/Factory Club as advertised in some places).

Friday the 15th – Church Of Misery @ Busk, Birmingham – Japanese madness for May #2/Sabbath worship for May #1.

Friday the 15th – Cursive @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – I think this is beginning to take the Michael a bit, with so many worthwhile gigs on the same night. Overwrought but witty American indie, anyway.

Saturday the 16th – Chris Addison @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ooh, I’m looking forward to seeing ‘In The Loop’. I really do love ‘The Thick Of It’.

Saturday the 16th – “Caliban’s Island” (Somesuch Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – What happened after ‘The Tempest’, when they’d all buggered off and left Caliban on his own.

Sunday the 17th – Witchcraft @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Sabbath worship for May #2.

Monday the 18th – Mark Thomas @ The Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – And you can submit your own policies for the “People’s Manifesto” he’s compiling. Compulsory wearing of wigs on Wednesdays it is, then.

Tuesday the 19th – Maximo Park @ The Academy, Birmingham – I described the first song I heard by them (courtesy of Paul Greyshades) as sounding like ‘a Sparks/Therapy? collaboration voiced by a cross between Ian Curtis and Spuggy from “Byker Grove”’, and if that doesn’t sound enticing to you then I don’t know what will.

Wednesday the 20th – The Autumn Store @ The Victoria, Birmingham – Dance the lindy-hop to some indie-pop.

Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 23rd – “Hit The Baby, Natasha!” (Happiness Patrol) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A new variation on Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, with a genuinely fantastic name.

Thursday the 21st – ‘Sublime Frequencies’ tour @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With Omar Souleyman from Syria and Group Doueh from Western Sahara.

Friday the 22nd – Great Lake Swimmers @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Lovely mellow Canadian folk-rock. They sound like Crosby Stills & Nash hugging their duvets and yawning melodically.

Friday the 22nd – Subhumans @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – One of the best punk bands ever, kiddo. Apparently this do is a benefit for the Faslane Peace Camp.

Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th – Birmingham Pride 2009 @ Various places in Birmingham city centre – Apparently the largest two-day LGBT event in the UK (any jokes I made here about size being important would be cheap and unnecessary). There’s lots of stuff happening and various stages. The website doesn’t seem to want to say who will be performing on them, but they’ll be there.

Saturday the 23rd – “A Night Of Aural Carnage” (Capsule) @ Vivid, Digbeth, Birmingham – Noise, noise, lots of noise. Prurient are headlining, and Beestung Lips are also on the bill (seeming a bit out of place, unless I’ve massively misjudged the nature of the rest of it).

Saturday the 23rd – Beyonce @ The NIA, Birmingham – Buuuuuuur. Buh buh buh buh buh buuuuuuuuur. Buh buh buh buh buh… ahem. Sorry. Just got the urge to do the horn bit from ‘Crazy In Love’.

Sunday the 24th – Terror @ Busk, Birmingham – Metallic hardcore band more widely remembered for the wit and wisdom of their singer, Scott Vogel.

Sunday the 24th – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Hip hop-influenced brass band aceness. The sad thing (and not to take anything away from Hypnotic) is that finding out about this made me wonder when The Youngblood Brass Band were coming around again, and upon inspection it looks like they’re touring in May but not doing any gigs anywhere near here. Bah.

Tuesday the 26th – Combichrist @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Mentioned mostly due to how weird it looks to see an EBM/industrial/goth-techno/whateverhaveyou band alongside all the tribute acts and trad blues-rockers on the coupon at The Robin. I just have a feeling it’ll turn out hilarious, although I’m not sure why.

Wednesday the 27th & Sunday the 31st – Mahler’s 2nd (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – My favourite symphony, as Mahler would no doubt have been gratified to know.

Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th – “The Iron Eyelashes” (Imaginary Forces Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Does your man there pick family in East Berlin, or freedom in the West?

Friday the 29th till Sunday the 31st – “Bach – A Beautiful Mind” @ Town Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham – A mini-festival type thing. I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I love Douglas Adams’ quote on J.S. Bach – “When I hear Beethoven I understand what it was like to be Beethoven. When I hear Mozart I understand what it is to be human. When I hear Bach I understand the universe.”

Saturday the 30th and Sunday the 31st – Birmingham “Rat Race” @ various places in Brum but starting in Centenary square, I think – Race about the place in what is apparently “a multi-disciplined challenge of navigation, endurance, skills and guts” requiring participants to “run, climb, mountain bike, kayak, abseil and navigate”. Best of all, it’s set against a “70s skyline”.

Saturday the 30th – The Mighty Diamonds @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Y’know, the ones that can pronounce ‘Kouchie’.

Sunday the 31st – Mark Steel @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ah, Mark Steel. One of the highlights of last year was hearing a professional comedian describe my beau as “the most pedantic woman in the Midlands”.

Sunday the 31st – Chrome Hoof @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, BirminghamCapsule finish off a busy five-gig month by hosting the band who really must be the world’s greatest tinfoil-wearing disco-krautrock-metal group, and I don’t throw that sort of praise around lightly. (EDIT: Cancelled~! Boooooo. Still, though, there is a talk from Martin Atkins of Public Image Limited at the H&H that night. It’s free, too).

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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.