It’s about time we at Purple Amp Towers declared for our new favourite Birmingham band – Goodnight Lenin.
Earlier in the year a buzz built up around these feisty young folk kids, largely due to extensive coverage across BBC Radio, on 6 Music, Radio 2 and WM. So much so, they were given the honour of headlining the Lunar stage and warming up for Donovan at this year’s Moseley Folk Festival. They did not disappoint.
They put a modern twist on the obvious references of Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan, adding in really quite beautiful vocal harmonies and a real innocent quality.
Ragged Schools and Crook In The Creek are standout tracks and if the debut album matches up to the quality they’ve produced so far, don’t bet against it catapulting them to instant stardom.
Sad news reaches Purple Amp Towers – the Basement Bar is to close this month. Over to Basement supremo Aimee:
“It is with a heavy hearts filled to bursting with 12 whole months of fun that we must announce that The Basement will soon be shutting its doors for good. Sad faces all round, we know.
‘The Man’ has loved having us rent his unused, unwanted basement for ramshackle, packed out, rowdy, rowdy funtimes so much that when it came to renewing our lease he has more than tripled the yearly rent, to which we cannot rise. (Maybe they can turn it into another Subway?)”
This quite frankly sucks, but also fills me with a slight guilt of not having been down there in quite some time. The Basement was not only an Oxjam venue last year, it also served as the HQ for the day and Aimee and co were incredibly hospitable hosts all the way through – especially with the Sambucas. HONK!
Still, there’s plenty more chances to enjoy the place for the next week or so with what’s basically a party-a-night philosophy. Well, if you’re gonna out, go out in style!
A few years ago its cavernous rooms were home to the awesome Saturday club night PANIC! and its basement was home to the Barfly, where I DJd for a while. The Institute holds good memories for me, so I hope it’s latest reincarnation as a full-time gig venue pays off. It’s a welcome development to add to the diversity of Digbeth’s live music scene and a more than welcome challenger to the Academy monopoly on mid-size gigs.
There’s some cracking gigs on the way with The Drums, The Psychedelic Furs, Kate Nash and Sandi Thom all pencilled in. But perhaps most intriguing is the reunion of space-rock legends Gong on 20th September.
So join me as we jump in the flying teapot and zoom off to the Planet Gong!
Live acoustic sets in a coffee shop can work really well and Urban Coffee is an ideal location. Couple that with the perfect start time, 5pm on a Friday, and you have the ingredients for a great evening.
Unfortunately it was way too hot inside, even with Urban Coffee’s fabulous new coffee ice-cream, chilled Pimms and Cofftails on offer! There was also limited seating upstairs, so I only stuck around long enough to hear Alex Moir.
You don’t expect such powerful gravelly tones from one so young and the songwriting shows real potential too. It’s definitely worth your time checking out his MySpace.
Despite having to leave, it wasn’t the end of the evening for me. The Oxjam team covered the event online with live streaming, regular tweets and photos hitting the interwebs all evening. So the remaining acts Eliza Little, Marlem and Tom Peel weren’t complete strangers to me! Good job, folks.
I hope this is something both Oxjam and Urban Coffee look to continue, but perhaps ordering slightly cooler weather next time?
Forget Wayne Rooney, Kaka or Lionel Messi, the real star of the World Cup is none other than the humble Vuvuzela. Toot toot!
Thus far, the plastic trumpet has proved more memorable than the opening concert and the two opening matches. It may irritate the hell out of me by the time the final comes around, but right now, it’s amusing me greatly.
A word of advice to English fans though. If you bring a vuvuzela back from South Africa, you are likely to get a thump within seconds of blowing it at any English football match next season.
Check out this informative video about the vuvuzela – paying particular attention to 1:06…
Lady GaGa caused a stir recently by going boozing in Brum. According to various gossipy websites (I don’t read such things really… honest) she wrote lyrics on napkins, tweeted from the pub and picked up the tab for everyone.
She’s growing on me, that GaGa.
Oh okay, I’ll admit it, she’s my guilty pleasure. Someone I love to hate, or hate to love? Her videos are interesting, her songs are excruciatingly catchy. I find myself singing Bad Romance in the shower. Far. Too. Often.
She’s a pop star who actually has talent, that’s a rare thing these days. Check out this video and join me, raising a glass of whiskey and diet coke to the GaGa.
Once upon a time in a land far far away (well, Digbeth), I offered to help at Gigbeth. It was there I met Clare Edwards, music entrepreneur, fellow vodka taster and all-round good egg.
One of Clare’s long-term projects is the Notorious Choir, where she is music director. I can best describe the choir as contemporary, with an open and inclusive approach to membership. They also like to experiment with venues, taking the music to the people, rather than the other way around.
Normally, when someone utters the word “flashmob” to me, I run a mile. They’re one of the most cringeworthy inventions known to man. But there are the odd exceptions. Notorious performing Barbara Ann in the Pavilions shopping centre is one of those exceptions:
You can check out Notorious for yourself at their next performance on 20th June. It’s at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth (Warwick Street) and is FREE to all.
Last night I watched my favourite music film, High Fidelity, for the first time in years. I say music film, but it’s actually a romantic comedy, centred on music mad characters. I guess I like it because I see myself in all three of the main characters from Championship Vinyl – Rob (John Cusack), Barry (Jack Black) and Dick (Todd Louiso). I have Rob’s emotional wreck-head tendencies, Barry’s excitability and Dick’s total nerdiness – and all of them in spades. Not to mention their obsession with list making and constant musical references… when Rob’s ex-girlfriend’s dad dies, Barry immediately starts a game of “Top 5 songs about death, a Laura’s dad tribute list”, I don’t find that offensive or inappropriate in the slightest – I find it strangely comforting!
It’s been a long time since I organised my record collection, I have some on shelves, some in my car, some in boxes under my bed and some in cupboards. Some digitised, some not. But that’s my own form of organisation, which only I can understand. Again, strangely comforting.
This film (and book, beforehand) always used to make me want to start my own record store, but these days no longer. Probably due to watching the demise of Spinadisc in Northampton and Plastic Factory and Tempest in Birmingham over the years. But it does still stir an entrepreneurial spirit deep inside. Watching how happy Rob is to start his own label makes me all warm and fuzzy.
So while “Purple Amp Records” is some way off yet, I am going to dabble in creating and producing once more. That warm and fuzzy feeling of creating something will be mine once again.
Oh and yeah, if you’ve never watched it, you’re a dork. Watch it.