Welcome to Mazzy’s Music Box Monthly Round Up, October edition. Each month I will tell you about some gigs I’ve been to, new releases, old favourites, and interesting goings-on. It’s been another exciting month with all kinds of musical delights in and around Brum, but it’s also been a very sad time for the Birmingham music scene….
Birmingham’s music scene lost one of its brightest sparks last month, the sad passing of Geoff Foulkes of Troumaca sent ripples throughout the city with an overwhelming show of love throughout social networks such as Facebook, or as a good friend of his said to me ‘Geoff-book’.
These outpourings online and in person has meant that Geoff’s band mates, girlfriend Sarah, family and friends have been left in no doubt what an amazing person he was and the impact that he had on others.
Although Geoff had fought a year-long battle with cancer he seemed to be in recovery, so it was a great shock to all concerned when he sadly passed away.
Geoff’s brother Carl has set up a charity project ‘Feel the Grace’ in Geoff’s honour asking that friends and fans donate to this Just Giving page instead of buying flowers.
“Feel the Grace project aims to raise money to support young potential that may require assistance for course materials, contribution to fees, educational games, toys, electronic devices, musical instruments, scholarship…”
You can show your support for this worthy cause by donating here https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/feelthegrace
Punk Rock!! So What??
As a big punk and new wave fan I was delighted to discover this exhibition, curated by Dr Russell Bestley, being held at Birmingham City University’s Parkside Gallery, just next to Millennium Point. The exhibition, which runs until November 13, shows the changing imagery of punk, as well its influence on societal, cultural and political thinking.
It features some of fantastic album artwork from seminal bands such as Sex Pistols and The Ramones, and a Siouxsie & the Banshees poster which took me back to being a 12 year old Goth, back combing my hair and covering half my face in black eye make-up! Most impressive perhaps, is some of the startling imagery such as Margaret Thatcher defecating into a bucket and a Roman Catholic cardinal at a 1930’s Nazi parade.
I would highly recommend a visit to Parkside for this exhibition whether you’re a music fan, an art fan or are interested in the political aspect, and it’s free of course!
To coincide with this there is also the ‘Punk Now!!’ conference, organised by the UK’s Punk Scholar’s Network which is being held on October 29-30 in the Parkside Building.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of DJing at Eye Candy Festival’s ‘Mucha Brumcha’ event as part of the Birmingham Weekender. I’m hoping that you all managed to catch a glimpse of some of the fantastic free live arts and music performances that were going on throughout the city.
Mucha Brumcha was a two-day event celebrating the Mexican ‘Day Of The Dead’, this is far from a morbid occasion, in fact it’s seen as an opportunity to communicate with long lost loved ones and celebrate their lives. Eye Candy did a fantastic job of bringing the festivities to Centenary Square and onlookers were soon in awe of dare-devil circus performers, smiling and boogying along with the dancing skeletons whilst children had their faces painted as the traditional sugar skulls.
On Sunday there was the welcome addition of the Voodoo Love Orchestra, who not only played a rip-roaring roaming set in the afternoon, but also joined the closing parade which was led by a giant robotic Lady Godiva, flanked by colourful dancers and joined in by onlookers like some sort of giant conga line. It was truly a sight to behold and a warm fuzzy feeling ensued.
Sunshine on Leith
Last night I experienced another musical delight, ‘Sunshine on Leith’ a musical based around three connected couples featuring songs by The Proclaimers. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I only really know the two biggies ‘500 Miles’ and ‘A Letter from America’, I didn’t recognise the other songs but they were all fantastic and the storyline was masterfully woven around the song subject matter.
Every single one of the locally based actors sang and spoke in authentic Scottish accents, if I didn’t know they were Brummies I would have thought they were a touring company down from Leith itself! A really uplifting and heart-warming play that I would recommend to all ages. Put it this way I’m definitely hunting down some Proclaimers songs today!
You can still catch it if you’re quick! It’s on at The Crescent Theatre until 3rd October.
Everyone love’s a bit of gossip don’t they? Well when it’s the nice kind anyway! I heard on the grapevine that local singer-song writer Barnesy has been getting a lot of industry attention of late, if you haven’t already been bowled-over by his stunning vocals and heart-felt lyrics then you can catch him on BBCWM Introducing on Saturday 17th October.
Fried Chicken & Bondage, Bad Girlfriend
Birmingham is so brimming with talent at the moment that new bands are popping up left, right and centre. Possibly one of the most exciting of the freshest batch are ‘Bad Girlfriend’.
Bad Girlfriend’s debut EP, “Fried Chicken & Bondage” is due out on 11th October, limited to 50 CD copies, or available via Spotify. The no doubt explosive launch party gig is being held at The Flapper that night.
Here’s a basic run-down of the tracks:
Sparks aka MTV 2 – Gleefully ballsy punk rock. Catchy, grungey and with Sabbath-esque riffs. The stuff of dreams/nightmares.
Goodbye – A jarring intro gives way to a driving and vicious tirade of insults. Weirdly melodic in parts.
Little black spider – This track reminds me of bands such as Chinese Stars on the legendary threeoneg label, but again there are catchy melodic sections you don’t expect, it works!
Birds – Pixies meet Black Lips on this strangely hypnotic ditty.
You can watch the video for the single ‘Goodbye’ here: http://youtu.be/QYD4YqsnrLE
There is so much going on in October, for a fuller list of gigs and club nights, check out Nick Byng’s October guide Birmingham Music Guide October 2015 and if you like arts in general, why not take a peek at Sally Watson-Jones’ October Arts Guide.
But I’m not going to tell you about stuff you already know about, I want to talk about the unusual, underground and independent music events that are going on in and around Birmingham. This is just a few highlights and I’d love to hear about anything like this for future editions, so make sure you keep me in the loop
This month you should most certainly have a look at these:
- Saturday 3rd October – ‘Wacky Weird & Wonderful presents’ The Hip Priests + The Black Bombers + The Dregs @The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham. 8pm, £5 on the door.
It baffles me how these nights constantly seem to fall under the radar when they continue to bring top notch line-ups to Digbeth. If you’re a fan of garage punk metal, bands such as Turbo Negro, The Damned and New York Dolls then this line-up is for you. Dress trashy-as-hell.
- Monday 5th October – Alexander + Jump The Shark + The Rooz @The Temple, The Institute, Digbeth, BirminghamA great opportunity to catch three incredible up and coming bands and my particularly favourites, fuzzy indie rockers Jump The Shark who are on stage at 8.30pm. £6 advance.
- Friday 9th October – Getting Away With It On A Night like This @Hare & Hounds (Room 2), York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham. 8.30pm, £3 on door with flyer, £4 without flyer.Ok so I’m aware Nick has already featured this on the main Grapevine gig listing, but I just thought I needed to stress that (aside from my own of course), this is hands down my favourite club night in Birmingham. It is truly AMAZING. Lovingly crafted by super cute (& highly knowledgeable) couple Roxie Collins (Sugarfoot Stomp) & Peter James, they bring together music, art, visuals, and the obligatory sweet treats for a night of alternative 80s and 90s wonder. This is one of those club nights I wished I’d created but I’m so glad I didn’t because I’m free to enjoy it to the max. The kind of night where you are still dancing when the bouncers kick you out at the end.
- Saturday 10th October – The Trail of Thomas Love @Enginuity, Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, Shropshire, TF8 7DQ. 7pm, £5 advance. http://bit.ly/thetrailofthomasloveThe Trail of Thomas Love is Nathan Troman’s highly emotive audio-visual project inspired by his time living in Ironbridge. A modern day Leonard Cohen, his inspiration comes from his research into his ancestors, and his photographic exploration of the Severn Gorge.
- Saturday 10th October – An Evening With The Pete Williams Band @Halesowen Athletic & Cycle Club, Birmingham, B62. 8pm.You’d be forgiven for missing this one, as it’s been hard to find any information on it, I’m still not sure how much it is in but I imagine it’ll be reasonable given Pete’s previous gig prices. If you don’t know Pete’s incredible country soul solo material, you might know him better as a member of Dexys, previously known as Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
- Saturday 10th October – Heart & Soul @ The Irish Centre, Digbeth, Birmingham. 8pm. £5 on the door, £2 per raffle ticket.A firm favourite with soul and ska fans this super-friendly vibe club night is a charity event, with 100% of money taken goes to Ethan’s Gift & Heart Research, basically raising money for children with poorly hearts. Everyone involved is doing it for the love and you can even win fantastic raffle prizes such as a holiday or a scooter.
- Saturday 10th October – Party At Black Mekon’s House @Black Mekon’s Studio, Fazeley Park, Unit 14 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5RSI think we can agree there’s a LOT going on 10th October. If you like ballsy, garagey, trashy, music with a hip underground vibe there is no other place to be.
- Sunday 11th October – St Pierre Snake invasion + I Cried Wolf + Bad Girlfriend @The Flapper, Birmingham. £6 advance https://www.theticketsellers.co.uk/tickets/st-pierre-snake-invasion-i-cried-wolf-support/10037891Make sure you catch the hottest maniacs of the moment, Bad Girlfriend onstage at 745pm.
- Thursday 15th October – Jurassic Pop + Handwaxx + special guests @The Sunflower Lounge, Smallbrook Queensway, Birmingham. 7.30pm. £5 advance.What in ISLA NUBLAR is this?! A night of music from Jurassic Park that’s what it is! Do we know what to expect? No, not apart from the main theme! Does that make it more exciting!? Hell yes! Can’t wait to check out this weirdo night of music!
- Thursday 22nd October – Killer Wave presents The Abjects @One Trick Pony Club, Moseley, Birmingham. 9pm. Free entry.Thursday nights at One Trick Pony are fast becoming the place to catch all manner of weird and wonderful bands. This week is no different with all-girl London garage trio Abjects heading things up. It’s always a great atmosphere and sterling support from the best in local unsigned talent.
- Friday 23rd October – The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion + Black Mekon @The Oobleck/Alfie Birds, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham. £19.50 advance tickets https://www.theticketsellers.co.uk/tickets/the-jon-spencer-blues-explosion/10037070The blues is number 1! This had better be packed Birmingham! Beck’s old buddy Jon Spencer & his gang are back in Brum playing a very intimate show that’s bound to blow the roof off The Oobleck. Garagey bluesy rock at its finest. A must-see show. Oh and Birmingham’s best rock n roll highwaymen Black Mekon open up. Double Dragon.
- Saturday 24th October – All Years Leaving Festival presents A Lecture With Andy Inglis @Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham. 2-4pm. £10 for lecture, £20 with festival ticket – http://hareandhoundskingsheath.skiddletickets.com/event.php?id=12542441Of course you should already know about this fantastic independent festival held annually at The Hare & Hounds, curated by possibly Birmingham’s best independent promoters, This Is Tomorrow.Andy Inglis is perhaps now best known as manager of Mercury Prize-nominated East India Youth, but he is also a tour manager and lecturer in Live Music Industry, was Live & Regional Editor of The Fly Magazine, co-founded legendary London venue The Luminaire and much more.This informative talk is curated by Lyle Bignon (music publicist, writer and lecturer)
- Saturday 24th October – Chicks Dig Jerks @The Sun On The Hill, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham. 8pm-1am, free entryI’m not going to advertise every DJ set or event that I do, but this is one of my favourites, just a good old knees up playing an eclectic alternative mix of tunes with DJ partner in crime Richard Bamber.
- Monday 26th October – The Vintage Caravan @The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham. 7pm. £8 advance tickets http://www.seetickets.com/event/the-vintage-caravan/the-rainbow-cellar/892732This unusual Icelandic rock band are definitely worth a look in. Supports tbc.
- Saturday 31st October – Mostly Motown Monster Mash @The Night Owl, Lower Trinity Street, Digbeth, Birmingham. £5 on the door.With prizes for best Halloween costumes and the finest in soul, mod and ska music, there’s no happier place to be this Halloween.If you’re wondering why your event or release isn’t included, did you check the main Grapevine gig guide? If it’s not on either maybe you should tell me about your next one? Drop me an email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: ‘Music Box’.Find out more about what I get up to here: http://mazzysnape.com