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Archive for the ‘Gig Reviews’ Category

Glastonbury 2010

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

I’m a fan of festivals but have never been to Glastonbury.

There’s no real reason why, I’ve just never fancied it, perhaps it’s the scale of the the thing that puts me off. But why should that bother me? I know I’d spend all of my time on my own in the forests and such like seeing weird global orchestras with vuvzelas and finding my creative side – I’d probably come back master of some quirky South American craft.

Okay, the real reason is I’ve not been able to afford it!

Anyway my good mate Andy went this year for the first time and has written a spanking good review, which you can read here. I suggest you do. NOW!

On my list for next year was to be the EXIT Festival in Serbia, for the novelty of going to a festival abroad, but perhaps I should join the Glasto ticket scrum instead. After all, if it’s good enough for Doctor Who…

Casio Kids, Tantrums, Greg Bird @ Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath

Friday, May 28th, 2010

A Thursday night trip to Kings Heath is always a pleasure, even if I had to miss tea at the Kitchen Garden Cafe due to a lack of funds. Still, a bowl of cheap noodles later, I was on route to the good old Hare & Hounds with Andrew (whose blog you can read here), Gareth and Brian.

First up were Greg Bird & Flamingo Flame, whom after a quick Google search it seems were born out of the ashes of Brum favourites Sunset Cinema Club. Don’t think you can compare the two though, as Greg Bird has more in common with the Human League, Prince and, well, the 1980’s electro-funk movement in general than Sunset Cinema Club.

The nasty Simarjeet (boooo, hissss) described it as “Ross from Friends playing the keyboard” which was more than a little harsh. WHAT DOES SHE KNOW! (Love you really) The opening track was stargazingly wonderful and although my interest waned slightly through the set, there’s some genuine potential there. Check out Greg Bird for yourself here

Next up were Tantrums who seemed to bring with them the whole of Northfield, crammed into the small room at the H&H. TOO HOT. They were their usual dub-prog-reagge-rock selves, although the addition of Little Palm has improved the vocal aspect of their music immeasurably. Still ones to watch.

How can I describe Casio Kids? I’ll give it my best shot. Imagine a hot summers evening, on a beach, somewhere nice and tropical. Like this:

Got that? Good. Now, imagine a beach BBQ going on around you. I’m not talking some Spring Break crap, but a laid back, midsummers party with people you actually like. Now, imagine the fruit punch served up. Now finally, imagine drinking that fruit punch while listening to some form of alternative electronic music, with beats and bleeps galore. Still with me? THAT’S CASIO KIDS. A beaker of fruit punch, making alternative electronic music, with a smile.

Well worth a fiver!

Oh and check out Casio Kids’ mix for promoters This Is Tmrw here.

And as you’re so wonderful, here’s a video, too!

British Sea Power @ Birmingham Glee Club

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

British Sea Power are one of those bands I had always wanted to see, but never enough to actually go and see them. It was the era of so many explorative bands such as My Vitriol, The Cooper Temple Clause and The Music, that BSP simply strayed slightly under my radar.

Seven years later, I finally put that right – and am I glad I did. The band reaked of a group of mates REALLY enjoying what they do, a remarkable feat after so many years of under-achievement.

The Glee Club is a relatively new venue on the city’s music scene, moving from one-off to staple gig venue in the last few years. They’ve not yet cracked the sound though. It took four songs for the levels to be ironed out and even then they weren’t at all perfect. But that’s a mere niggle in the midst of a chaotic live show where you couldn’t take your eyes of the stage for a second, not least because, to quote my mate Andy, it looked like a scene from A Midsummer Nights Dream (I thought raves like these died in the nineties?)

As for the set itself, I was anticipating a more laid back approach with plenty of new, perhaps more experimental new material. But just a few songs in we’d already had the trippy Apologies To Insect Life and blistering anthem Remember Me. The sneaks! A few newbies were eventually performed to a pretty sedate reaction, but that was more to do with the vibe of the Glee Club than the quality of the songs. So much so even the awesome Waving Flags only received a smattering of applause. Credit to the band for keeping going with so much enthusiasm.

Like many before them, BSP keep things interesting by constantly chopping and changing the vocalists, guitars and adding in other instruments where necessary. But they risked this by dragging out the finale, a real pet hate of mine as you know the show has essentially finished, but you feel forced to watch a bunch of musicians indulge themselves. It’s the musical equivalent of eating an entire tub of Ben & Jerrys when you only wanted three scoops. It’s still nice, but each scoop gets less and less exciting.

But again, that’s a mere niggle. There’s a craftsmanship to British Sea Power’s music that kept my attention throughout, and I’m a fussy bugger. I’d see them again, so I guess that’s all you need to know.

Folk For Free at the Symphony Hall Bar

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Curated by Moseley Folk as part of Town Hall Symphony Hall’s English Originals weekend, Folk For Free saw some of Birmingham’s finest singer-songwriters take over the foyer of Symphony Hall for an afternoon.

I caught the latter half of Abie Budgen’s set whose fingerpicking and guitarslapping quirkiness kept my attention. The lovely thing about the venue was the opportunity to sit up on the balcony and have a picnic. In the interlude some lovely red pepper humous and carrot batons were consumed, followed by chocolate fingers. If only all gigs were like this. Promoters, take note!

Then came Deb Hodgson, who first came to my attention at the folk stage of last year’s OxjamBrum. Her voice is nothing short of sensational. She really made this relaxed setting her own, leading her band of guitar, piano, violin and cello on a journey from smokey New Orleans jazz club to the picturesque Moseley Park and back again. Of particular note was a beautiful interpretation of a poem “I Count The Days”, written by a member of the audience.

From a few conversations afterwards it seems Folk For Free is going to become a regular occurance in the Symphony Hall bar, in a similar vein to the Rush Hour Blues shows.

All this has really whetted the appetite for Moseley Folk 2010. Roll on the first weekend in September…