PHOTO GALLERY: Employed to Serve – with support from Pupil Slicer and Going Off @ Devil’s Dog 31.10.23

Words by Ed King / Pics by Alice Needham

On Tuesday 31 October, Employed to Serve headlined at Devil’s Dog in Digbeth – with support from Pupil Slicer and Going Off.

Coming through Birmingham on their UK wide tour, the Surry born and hell raised death metal heads played the second city before heading down to Bristol, right to Cardiff, left to London, then in a straight line to the coast for their final gig in Brighton.

Touring tracks from their four album back catalogue, including their revered 2021 release Conquering – which the Guardian gave a very respectable four star rating, calling it a ‘gut-churning thrill ride of an album’ – Employed to Serve packed out Devil’s Dog on a cold and Digbeth drizzle Tuesday night.

But whilst the seasons were turning for the worse outside, inside Devil’s Dog it was aloha to beach party vibes – with Hawaiian shirts and inflatable palm trees both on stage and off, and a super committed-to-the-cause merch desk official crowd surfing in an inflatable dingy.

A special salute to the Zombie Elvis who never broke character through the entire night – whom or whatever was under all that Halloween make up, we salute you.

Both support acts came in full make up mode too, with Pupil Slicer dressed as characters from Mario Kart and Going Off sending in the clowns (think Marcel Marceau meets Pennywise) with a mic in hand and an axe to grind.

The singers for both Pupil Slicer and Going Off, respectively Kate Davies and Jake Huxley, joined Employed to Serve founder and vocalist, Justine Jones, for a couple of tracks too – bringing a sense of shared carnival comradery to the entire night.

But enough words, feast your peepers on some beautiful pics of all the bands below.

Employed to Serve + Pupil Slice, Going Off @ Devil’s Dog 31.10.23 / Alice Needham

For more on Employed to Serve visit

For more on Pupil Slicer visit
For more on Going Off visit

For more from Devil’s Dog, including full event listings and links to online ticket sales, visit

Bio Arts Birmingham Gets Local Artistic Babs Thinking Big (And Really Small)

Writer Emily Doyle / Photographers Mica Gray & Rob Lockley

The first edition of Bio Arts Birmingham Laboratory (or ‘BAB Lab’ for short) brought together open-minded creatives from across the region to experiment with, play with, and discuss the way living materials can be used to make art. The programme took a ‘kitchen science’ approach throughout a week in mid-August, making accessible workshops out of intimidating topics.

Working with biomaterials can sound intimidating. The perfect remedy to this was a Monday morning spent baking rye bread and challah at Stirchley’s beloved bakery, Loaf. Austrian bio-artist Günter Seyfried walked participants through his process of making ‘yeastograms’, images developed on agar plates by exposing yeast colonies to UV light to limit their growth.

Later in the week, Fred Hubble demonstrated his own methods of shaping living beings. He introduced his collection of bonsai, cultivated over years as meditations on seasonality.

Artist-biologist Matt Gale’s work exists on a much shorter time scale. He showed samples of rapidly growing wild fungi he has cloned (a more straightforward process than you would imagine) and the hardwearing mycelial materials he’s grown from the cultures.

Ceramicists Paul McAlister and Megumi Naitoh also used foraged materials, demonstrating their ‘Ceramic Commons’ 3D printing framework with wild clay gathered from Wyre Forest.

Arguably the most immediate living material for any artist to work with is the human body.

Performer and facilitator Roo Dhissou demonstrated this to great effect. Drawing on her Sikh and Punjabi heritage to embody her God/cyborg avatar, Dhissou coached participants through drawing their own larger-than-life ‘power beings’ to be displayed on the walls at BOM on the corner of Dudley Street and Hinckley Street.

The whole programme is a fusion of scientific methods, and free-reign creativity. Prop designer Cal Westbrook stitched whimsical soft-sculpture fungi. Playful artist duo Hipkiss and Graney led the group in an experimental game of ‘Mycelium Max: Fungal Road’ out in the baking sun at Hazelwell Park.

Inspired by the wood-wide-web described by the likes of Paul Stamets and Merlin Sheldrake, participants ferry large papier-mâché nitrogen and glucose particles along fabric walkways, all the while dressed in homemade costumes with more than a hint of The Wicker Man about them.

Microscopic lives also inspire miniaturist Eiair, who delivered their workshop via video call from Bangkok. Eiair’s tiny porcelain sculptures reflect the symmetric forms of microbial beings. The class provides mindful respite in a busy programme.

Meanwhile, microbiologist Connagh Redmond is zoomed in from Melbourne to talk the group through creating agar art, planting petri-dish gardens using swabs from the verdant South Loop Park.

Digital artist Rosa Francesca gave attendees a glimpse into an unseen world of her own. Wearing an EEG headset to monitor her brain activity, she spoke and sang in front of a projection she’s coded to visualise the electrical signals from her brain in a display of self-described ‘twenty-first century telekinesis’.

Over the week, various ethical debates arise. Dramaturg Rosa Postlethwaite introduced the group to the jar of sourdough starter they’ve been spending time with as part of their performance art, which examines collaboration with other-than-human species. Postlethwaite is still in the exploratory stages of the project, and seems prepared for some playful questioning.]

They’re immediately validated by the bakers at Loaf, who consider their yeast cultures as a powerful agent in the creative process.

Artist/writer and self-identifying cyborg …kruse sparked heated conversation with their proposal of an interspecies manifesto. An altar of feathers and sunflowers and cups of Darjeeling chai all round, the stage was set for a calm and reflective panel, but emotions ran high as talk turned to veganism, utopian thinking, and human rights for household pests.

Andre Reid cultivated a more easy-going atmosphere in the Modern Clay studio. Speaking about the various cultural and folkloric significances of clay, Reid invited attendees to explore the medium as a tool for community-building and reflection.

Inclusivity, commoning and shared responsibility are themes that are woven throughout the week. For Trixiebella Suen’s workshop on creating plant based paints and dyes, design activist Daniel Blyde took the group on a canalside walk to gather materials. Foragers were encouraged to take responsibility – never pick the first you see of something, never take more than half, and don’t disturb anything that’s home to wildlife.

Robin Wall Kimmerer’s principles of the ‘Honourable Harvest’ guided the practice. The Potawatomi writer and biologist is well-loved by the community at Civic Square. Copies of her book Braiding Sweetgrass were given out as part of their book exchange and a hand painted banner with her affirmation that “All Flourishing Is Mutual” hangs over the warehouse space.

The weeks’ venues were all chosen for their principles; Loaf, Artefact, and Modern Clay are all cooperatives. Civic Square (formerly Impact Hub) is a regenerative business researching radical neighbourhood economics, and BOM, where BAB Lab founder Laurie Ramsell works as Learning Producer, is a sensory-friendly space that nurtures diverse talent in creative technology.

All these spaces offer the artists on the programme plenty of opportunity to share ideas, expertise, and food throughout the week.

As BAB Lab 2022 draws to a close, there’s a strong camaraderie among the group. From microbiomes to the global environment, everyone’s left with plenty to think on. I’m sure Interesting creative responses will surface soon.

For more on Rosa Postlethwaite visit
For more on Günter Seyfried visit
For more on Hipkiss and Graney visit
For more on Cal Westbrook visit
For more on Matt Gale visit
For more on Eiair visit
For more on Andre Reid visit
For more on the Ceramic Commons visit
For more on Connagh Redmond visit
For more on Trixiebella Suen visit
For more on Daniel Blyden visit
For more on Fred Hubble visit
For more on Roo Dhissou visit
For more on Rosa Francesca visit
For more on …kruse visit

Supersonic Festival Takes Over Digbeth: Sunday 10 July

Writers Mark Roberts & Richard Bari / Photographer Jack James

The Sunday 10 July of Supersonic Festival starts for me (Mark) at 1pm at Centrala for a talk on The Art of Collaboration, unfortunately something has gone wrong, and it’s delayed so I see what’s going on downstairs instead.

I speak to Joseph Frascina, 32, from Redditch, to get a take on his workshop that is underway – ‘Cut That Out! Posters of Protest’. Frascina explains the group “are making protest posters using limited resources and showing that limited resources and limited means doesn’t necessarily mean limited ideas.”

I look over the table to see posters beginning to take shape using scrap magazines, card, and paper. I also talk to Pablo Jimenez-Moreno, 36, from Banbury who has attended the workshop.

He says, “I wasn’t planning on it. I came to see the lecture. It was something spontaneous. I think I have always been attracted to protest in some kind of way, even though I have never been active.

“But the visual effect of protest and visual art, that is the main interest, the impression it can have on culture.”

I’m sad to have missed the talk but I’m pretty sure Richie’s catching one in an hour.

Radio 6’s Stuart Maconie kicks off my Sunday proceedings by sitting down with Radwan Ghazi Moumneh at Centrala.

A renowned producer and musician in his own right, Moumneh performs under the alias Jerusalem In My Heart. Not only is he billed on the line-up, but he has also been invited to share his expertise as a co-curator for this year’s Supersonic festival.

The two speakers hit it off right away and Moumneh delves into his musical background and development.

As the child of Lebanese emigrants living in Canada, his defining influences came from two completely different worlds. One his parents were trying to preserve in their home and one he was finding with his peers.

Moumneh recalls stories of buying punk cassettes in Oman, hearing Arabic music for the first time, and performing Sonic Youth’s ‘Dirty Boots’ at a school talent show – a moment which solidified his love for performing.

“That’s why I’m here today,” he says. That punk attitude follows him into his visceral, one-take, quick recording method.

As the conversation moves forward, Moumneh delves into the story behind his Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) project.

The aim: to visually and sonically “show” the state of Lebanon – “the state that literally blew up”.

Using his sound and the films of Erin Weisgerber, the counterpart in JIMH, they are ready to deliver an emotionally driven set later today.

I wonder if the whole team will be able to catch it. I saw Mark leaving Centrala as I arrived.

After sauntering around Centrala’s exhibition space I head over to The Mill for A.A. Williams. A big ‘A’ backlit stands monolithic in the centre of the stage. The band takes the stage and I can’t see my notebook for the life of me, but I also can’t complain because the atmosphere is perfect for what begins.

Her beautiful harmonies cry from the void, dark sustained chords with a romantic chromaticism in their progression produce sounds from a gothic past. It’s a welcome respite from the sensory onslaught of the day before.

A.A. Williams is dramatic, ethereal, passionate, and enveloping.

There are quiet moments of purity in this set, more like the soundtrack to a film rather than a set by a band. A.A. Williams relies on dynamics consistently, a conceit that works to staggering efficiency. The vocals extend and harmonise in unexpected ways, with influences that seem to come from older more traditional forms of English music.

Her songs have Floydian and Radiohead influences with one tune reminding me of the song ‘Lucky’ by the latter. Every track is incredibly heavy in its guitar tones but has a softness to it, like a velvet lined Iron Maiden.

With a new-found love for this band, I leave and head over to J Zunz at 7SVN. They are another atmospheric onslaught. Noise be thy festival and Noise it shall be. I feel like I might collapse.

J Zunz opens with a droning bass that is expectant, luring one into its ever-building sound. An electric jaw harp mixed with noises that would not be a miss in the Wii Sports soundtrack, if they did an adult only version.

Cyberpunk sounds cross into the mix and emanate inwardly, a relentless trancelike beat holding it all together. All encompassing, all enticing and building, I’m reminded of The War of The Worlds for some reason.

Suddenly it stops, a small voice thanks the audience and we’re into the next song.

The fem vocals create mantras over the tunes that are barely intelligible from where I’m standing. The hi hats tremble and I wonder if the vocals are even in English. Growling from the fourth-dimension bass, at this point, it sounds like Optimus Prime knocking one out in the channel tunnel.

The heat might be getting to me, and the end of this set comes with quiet relief but at the same time a thunderous feeling within.

I think Richie’s about to catch Farida Amadou at The Mill

Farida Amadou takes the main stage in The Mill, and a backlight shines down on her as she sits beside her stacked bass amp. Within minutes, she embarks on reinventing the conventional functionality of a bass guitar.

First, she lays into a repetitive strumming of all four strings, creating a percussive pluck which, through the power of multiple effects pedals, resonates and floods the whole room. She continues with this theme before picking the instrument up and passing it by her amp’s speaker – sending out a dose of vibrating feedback into everyone’s chest.

Next up, she places a drumstick between a fret and the strings, raising the pitch and tension on the bass. Then by hitting and tapping the guitar’s body, an array of percussive tones are born, depending on the point of contact.

The deep dive into the possibilities of sound and the out-of-the-box approach to the instrument is cool, however the improvised approach becomes very Out To Lunch!! I wonder what BIG | BRAVE will be like.

The heat wave continues, but I don’t have time to take it in before making my way to Upper Trinity Street.

The corrugated steel panels fixed to the exterior of 7SVN shake madly to the chords struck by BIG | BRAVE. The whole building sounds like a big maraca and I haven’t even made my way in yet.

I’ve seen some loud acts this weekend, but BIG | BRAVE takes the prize. As I walk into the venue, I’m met with brutal waves of overridden guitars, bass, and heavy-handed drums – the ear plugs come out. These guys are very heavy. The drummer is smashing down on his cymbals so hard that their stands keep collapsing from the pressure.

Playing his ride vertically for the latter half of a song. The sound of each synchronised downstroke between the band members creates a satisfying, drony sound.

This is only bettered by the intermissions between chords, where singer-guitarist Robin Wattie’s vocals come forth. No growls, or digital manipulation, her voice is almost like a pearl in the dirt. It’s refreshing to hear my first fem-fronted act this weekend. The audience digs them too, with heads bopping away in sedated slow fashion.

Mark would’ve liked this one, but I think he’s headed back to The Mill to get some food. I know BONEHEAD are there and they’ve got some Chinese food, some vegan beetroot burgers, and some cactus tacos as well.

I walk-in on an outdoor set by Shovel Dance Collective in the courtyard in The Mill, who I missed earlier in the day. As I listen in, I grab myself some dumplings and rice.

Shovel Dance Collective reminds me of a rarely visible truth for a lot of lefties in this country, that there is a shared unity and heritage amongst British people beyond imperialism and colonisation.

This diverse array of people provides the audience with a drunken singalong with perfect harmonies interrupted by small laughs. A true knees-up combining politics and class-conscious messages with old British folk.

Truly, this is the most magical part of the festival for me, a moment of participation in an event filled with experiences that are to be quietly appreciated. With that I head off to the rooftop of The Mill to cool down as I am overheating, to finish my day off lying down to the sounds of subterranean post punk courtesy of The Quietus.

I’m not able to make Jerusalem In My Heart. It’s good that Richie’s covering though, after hearing about the talk earlier, I can tell it’s likely to be a poignant performance.

Moumneh takes centre stage at The Mill and sits down amongst a flood of guitar pedals and digital instruments. Behind him, two buzuqs rest in their stands. He’s wearing a suit and sunglasses like he’s done all weekend, but finally the mask of reservation is about to come down.

Without warning, the show erupts into a barrage of heavily distorted sounds which Moumneh growls over in Arabic – the punk influence mentioned earlier starts to creep in. While the audience cannot take their eyes off him, what is even more visually striking is Weisgerber’s projections, covering Moumneh and a white sheet behind him.

Having set up four film reel projectors on a platform amongst the audience, images of landscapes, flowers, and war bleed onto the screen behind the performer. It’s not necessary to understand the language here. The projected images and the physical nature of the music translates everything that needs to be said.

Moumneh steals the show once the buzuq comes out. Moving up and down the scales, he lays down traditional motifs which are lathered in delay, modulation, and reverb.

Two worlds meet here, and they come together in fashion that’s equally beautiful and thought-provoking. 

It’s a meaningful way for me to end a festival which has clearly considered every detail. I’d like to stay longer but my nine-to-five call, and so does Jack’s last train.

I think my ears might take some time to recover – it was definitely worth it.

Supersonic Festival, Sunday 10 July – Jack James 

For more about Joseph Frascina’s art go to
For more music from A. A. Williams go to
For more music from J Zunz go to
For more from Farida Amadou go to:
For more from Big Brave go to:
For more music from Shovel Dance Collective go to
For more from Jerusalem In My Heart:
For more from The Quietus go to

To find out what’s happening at 7SVN got to:
To find out what’s coming up at The Mill go to:
For more from Centrala got to:

For more from Supersonic Festival go to:

Supersonic Festival Takes Over Digbeth: Saturday 9 July

Writers Mark Roberts & Richard Bari / Photographer Jack James

After eating some food and arriving far too early (or late) on Saturday 9 July to collect my wristband at the Supersonic Festival box office, I’m eager to make my way to 7SVN for the first musical act of the day.

The NADJA’s set is well attended. A sea of heads already reaches forward as a wall of bass shudders to greet us (Jack James and Mark). Barely audible vocals loom, cavernous yet forlorn over the apocalyptic soundscape. Cat videos are playing on the back wall, no one really knows why.

The doom-drone band, NADJA, are a perfect opener for this chaotic Saturday line-up. It should be noted that earplugs are a must at Supersonic. Seemingly everything is intense and loud and as we all should know by now, loud is more good.

After NADJA blows my brains out, I head to The Marketplace, which is situated in a backroom at The Mill. Big Brave, who are set to do a set tomorrow, are DJing, hauntingly beautiful electronic swells around the room.

Books of all leftist persuasion are on sale. Some Noam Chomsky, a book called Russian Counterrevolution and the more simply put ACAB are on display.

Posters line-up behind the wall with messages such as “Solidarity Not Charity” and “Already Against The Next War”.

On other tables are beautiful pieces of art, record stalls, and beautiful T-shirts. Brelliot, a local pedal manufacturer, is selling one of their pedals with unique artwork options from Mutartis, who is selling T-shirts next door.

As a guitarist, I can’t help but try out the pedal (The TODP) and I would recommend it to any guitarist that wants an all-out versatile overdrive. It really cuts the mustard.

At this point I bump into Richie, who is about to cover Tat Vision’s workshop.

Tucked away in the corner, Tat Vision prepares for his ‘Felt Tip Workshop’ in the courtyard by unloading a literal suitcase full of felt tip pens. Half of which brandish mismatched lids to their original colour of course.

Like a makeshift tobacconist, he transfers a load of pens into a hawker tray, and we get going. We roam around the sunny beer garden and one by one pick subjects who don’t mind getting immortalised in colours such as “mouth pink”.

I ask: “Well, what separates the felt tip pen from other mediums?”.

“It’s cheap, easy and nostalgic”, Tat says. “No pretension, just scribbles”.

Slowly he accosts a small army of felt tip ready artists and the portraits start rolling out en masse. Everyone on the recipient side seems happy, too.

“Show THAT to the Art Council”, says the man of the hour.

After catching up with Tat, I sit down on a fold-out chair in the marketplace, and on the stage in front of me Rosie Solomon is interviewing JR Moore. Both of them, I admittedly have never heard of.

Despite my ignorance however, there is a good amount of people around, who are attentively listening to JR – author of the recently published Electric Wizards.

Discussing the history and evolution of heavy music, he raises very interesting points. Going as far as looking into the influence that George Clinton and Neil Young’s methods had on the development of the genre.

And the man seems to know his stuff… I mean, he has written a book after all.

There is time for questions and audience members name drop bands that don’t seem to make the grade in JR’s eyes.

His simple definition of what constitutes as heavy gives great context for what’s to come during the weekend.

“At a punk concert you’re jumping, that’s an upward motion. You might spit at the singer, that’s an upward motion, too. Heavy stuff pulls you DOWN. Headbanging goes downwards. It’s the difference between the downward and upward motion.”

Next up for me is Buñuel, but Mark is covering Rachel Aggs’ set first as part of Decolonise Fest’s takeover. The rest of our Decolonise Fest coverage will be coming from Jasmine imminently.

Aggs has been described on the bill as post punk. I can’t say I agree, firstly post punk is restrictive for what Aggs is doing, their sound is too diverse and bold. Playing a completely solo set with drum machines, keyboards, a guitar that sounds as if it just floated ashore, and a violin, they open the set with a wobbling guitar that has an antagonistic relationship with the key of the song.

It sounds amazing.

There is ‘hope’ refracting through Aggs’ music, but her experimentation throughout really draws a punk aesthetic to it, even if not necessarily punk in terms of the genre. Complex rhythms of electronic variety inspired by West African highlife bound about the audience. It’s the first danceable moment of the festival for me and I savour it.

Aggs tells me they’re inspired by the sun in their music, and you can feel that. Every song is sun drenched but complicated in its emotional range. As the set ends, Aggs moves away from the mic singing directly to the audience with no auditory aid, a clear glistening voice with a London twang. The screams of the audience are deafening.

For the next act I wait in The Mill before the set, but I know Richie is about to listen to Buñuel at 7SVN.

Quartet, Buñuel, has my heart from the get-go. Eugene S Robinson, on the front line, walks on stage in a leather shirt, skin-tight tiny purple shorts, a star of David around his neck and gaffer tape pinning his ears down.

What follows is a glorious mindf*ck of genres and sounds. By the time you can point your finger and pin them down to a defining category, Buñuel are already onto something else.

They kick the show off with a classic, slow doom track.

Next, razor-like blips pierce your ears. Then, a barrage of drums kicks off a high-speed stomper. Crazy stuff, but it’s a mix that works very well.

I can’t tie the pieces together and suddenly the room is flooded with smoke that turns red from the stage lights. Powerhouse drumming, the guitarist literally ramming a metal slide into his pick-up, Eugene looking wild as ever… The sound of the apocalypse is only hindered by the multicolour paper balloons hanging above the stage.

Next, I swear they break out into an AC/DC song.

In a manner typical to the Aussie outfit, the guitar builds up before the drummer gets into a heavy backbeat swing. I can’t tell if my mind is placing the words over a familiar riff, or someone is actually singing.

Nevertheless, they do it again. Completely out of nowhere, another unexpected turn but with total conviction and a bad boy delivery.

Mark must be about to start Bloody Head at The Mill.

The room is mostly empty to my surprise but two minutes before the set time everyone arrives. Bloody Head takes the stage, the singer with closed eyes as they all stand motionless for the opening moments.

Scratchy guitars reverberate around the room, echoing and shimmering off the walls and floor. A dark Floydian song unfolds from within the space, the pace brooding and powerful.

The trancelike stature from the band’s lead singer suggests something is coming. All at a crescendo the singer’s eyes open as spoken word style speech explodes from his mouth; the words are out of reach, but the depth is there.

Long drawn-out chords transport me to a new plane, through interdimensional space, the guitars and bass collide in a cacophony. This is doom psych, it feels like I’m having a moment of sudden, catastrophic realisation, like I’ve found out a horrible truth.

Some of the crowd start moshing to the rhythms as it picks up and reaches a punkier tempo. The songs descend into absolute filth as the lead singer chucks a half downed tinnie into the audience, hitting and shocking an unaware older gentleman in the chest. The metal and psych blend into a phosphorescent blade that cuts through my ears.

The set reaches its climax as Bloody Head’s lead singer almost garrottes himself with the mic wire whilst screaming “and so it goes”.

Next up, it is Pharaoh Overlord and Arron Turner with Richie over at 7SVN.

I stand on the side-line 7SVN’s stage when the band emerges, and I’m quickly taken aback.

Slowly building their sound up, they create spacey, repetitive sonic landscapes mixing live and digital instrumentation.

Despite being described as having elements of krautrock in the festival programme, I find them reminiscent of a half-speed, real heavy Depeche Mode – minus the vocal delivery and battery powered pink rabbit.

What strikes me the most is the drumming. Throughout the set, the drive and impeccable timekeeping of the drummer keeps me from peeling my eyes away, placing me in almost a meditative state.

A practically flawless, hour-long nod inducer.

They deliver a mix of instrumentals and vocal-lead numbers, during which the frontman growls and chants with the delivery of an ancient mage. Not to take away from his ability at all, but I find the vocal delivery clashing with the music.

But this ain’t my band, so power to them.

I had already spent some time listening to Thou’s material a couple of days before the festival, after finding their promo poster very striking. So, I’m somewhat prepared for the last band of the evening.

Finding myself quite far away from the stage, I don’t get to see them in the flesh. But boy are they loud.

I lean against a wall in the far back and upon looking down at my phone, the screen goes fuzzy from my eyeballs rattling – the band makes the whole room shake. This bass could rattle a kidney stone out of an ale drinker.

Thou create an interesting mix of a heavy sludge sound and vocals with black metal sensibilities. The shrieks and screams making the words hard to distinguish.

Despite that, it is a combination which I think translates better in this live setting rather than on record.

I’m off home to get ready for tomorrow, Mark’s in the crowd across from me and says he’s got a little bit more left in him.

After saying bye to Richie, I join in with the head sways for the next couple of songs before heading back to The Mill.

I end my day of reviewing by lying down on the roof of The Mill to some beats so large you could stack them, provided by UKAEA for The Quietus. A juxtaposition between my prone body, the heat, and the pounding music.

Supersonic Festival, Saturday 9 July – Jack James

For more music from NADJA go to:
For more from Tat Vision go to his website:
For more music from Rachel Aggs go to
For more from Buñuel go to:
For more pedals by Brelliot go to:
For more art by Mutartis go to:  
For more music from Bloody Head go to:
For more from Thou go to:
For more music from UKAEA go to Hominid Sounds’ page on Discogs:
For more music from Pharaoh Overlord go to:

To find out what’s happening at 7SVN got to:
To find out what’s coming up at The Mill go to:

For more from Supersonic Festival go to:

Digbeth Photography Walk With Jack Lewdjaw

Writer & Photographer Beth Exley 

I’m helping to run a photography walk around Digbeth with Bristol-based visual artist Jack Lewdjaw, as part of the public programming for The Age of Dreamers is Over exhibition at Grand Union. I’ve been co-curating this exhibition with my university course-mates and the wonderful staff at Grand Union since September, so it’s such a relief to have the finished product out in the world.

Jack’s works that have been included in The Age of Dreamers is Over largely draw upon commercial signage and imagery, so this walking workshop has been planned to offer insight into his artistic process and how he draws upon features of urban landscapes for inspiration. To begin with, Jack encourages all of the group to sit on the floor of the gallery space – which is currently very dark and lit mainly by his neon work, ‘Happy Place’ (2019).

The atmosphere is cosy and relaxed; Jack cracks a few jokes and chats with us about his work and intentions for around twenty minutes.

It’s fascinating to hear an artist talk about their work when sitting directly in front of it. Jack describes how he constructed ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ (2019) from picture frames and acrylic, and then goes on to describe how different types of signage grab his attention – apparently flat, modern signs do very little for him. But he always finds his attention drawn to chunky 3D lettering.

After this short talk and a cup of tea, it’s time to head out and take some photographs. I’m not a natural photographer but the workshop has been advertised as ‘phone camera photography,’ and under Jack’s guidance I think I’ll be alright.

We head out onto the street outside Minerva Works and Jack immediately points out a large sign attached to a derelict building advertising TVs and Printers that looks like it must have been made in the 1980s. Jack explains that his background in freelance graphic design has left him with a keen eye for fonts.

Hearing someone be so interested in something as seemingly innocuous as fonts and signs is quite funny but also quite lovely – it’s great to see someone be so passionate about their work that they can make you interested in something you’ve not really thought much about before.

We walk further down the road, stopping at a few specific things Jack himself finds interesting – a door where the paint has been peeled away by tape, bricks filling a window, an unusually shaped bollard. Seeing him point out these small design choices and strange textures on streets I’ve walked down one hundred times is eye opening. I’ve lived in Birmingham for about five years, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the place in this much detail.

After letting us snap some photos of the street, Jack stops and asks us all what we’re interested in photographing, or what we notice we always end up taking pictures of.

One girl on the walk says any kind of dogs, another person says things that look out of place in the surroundings. I have a quick flip through my camera roll and see that I seem to take a hell of a lot of photos of reflections in water. I’ve never realised this is something I gravitate towards, but it is definitely something I find very visually interesting.

As we begin to head back to Grand Union for a second cup of tea and to get out of the rain that’s started to plop down, I find myself reflecting on the beauty that can be found in seemingly boring objects and locations. This walk with Jack has left me with the desire to slow down and take in my surroundings a little bit more – whether that be in Digbeth or further afield.

To find out more about Jack Lewdjaw visit his website here: 

The Age of Dreamers is Over is running at Grand Union until 25 June, find out more at: