Genre-bending punk duo Bob Vylan come to Birmingham’s O2 Institute ahead of new album 18.11.23

Words by Sophie Hack

London’s genre-bending punk duo Bob Vylan play the O2 Institute Birmingham on Saturday 18 November with support from Panic Shack and Kid Bookie.

Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £21.85 (stalls standing), promoted by AEG Events. The event is 14+, under 16s will need to be accompanied by an adult over 18.

Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Award-winning two-piece Bob Vylan (featuring vocalist Bobby and drummer Bobbie) head on tour ahead of their new album Humble as the Sun being released on 5 April 2024, the fourth in the duo’s catalogue of venomous punk with purposeful lyrics.

Bob Vylan catapulted onto the punk scene in 2017 with their first release ‘Vylan’ and since have become a vital voice in music. Bridging subcultures and genres together, the duo never shy away from important conversations of racism, toxic masculinity, and political unrest in the UK.

Bob Vylan are electrifying alternative music, winning ‘Best Alternative Music Act’ at the MOBO awards and ‘Best Album’ at the Kerrang! Awards, both in 2022. Their DIY, self-released titles embrace rock, grime, punk, reggae, and dance, and new single ‘He’s a Man’ follows with a perfect blend of rap over pulsing drum beat before kicking into full-throttle punk riffs.

“Accidentally amazing” support Panic Shack got their own taste of TikTok well-deserved virality with 2022’s track ‘The Ick’. The Cardiff four piece are brash, brazen, and a breath of fresh air in a sometimes-stale punk scene.

Second support Kid Bookie brings sinister rap and trap that changes shape with every turn. They effortlessly play between rap and metal, creating dark and twisted tracks with fast-paced hooks.

‘He’s a Man’ – Boy Vylan

Bob Vylan play O2’s Birmingham Institute on Saturday, 18 November – for online ticket sales and more information click here.

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Detroit punk rockers Protomartyr come to Hare and Hounds with new album 25.10.23

Words by Ed King

Detroit punk rockers Protomartyr are coming to the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath for a live show on Wednesday 25 October – with support from London’s Es.

Doors open at 7:30pm, with tickets priced at £16 plus booking fee – as promoted by This Is Tmrw. Minimum age of entry is 14 with anyone aged 16 or under needing adult supervision.

**At the time of writing tickets were close to selling out, but click here for more information and links to online sales**

In Birmingham and part of their European tour, the band who were once called Butt Babies are on the road touring their sixth studio album, Formal Growth in the Desert.

Released on Domino Records in June this year, the new 12 track LP from Protomartyr features all the blistering guitar riffs and pneumatic drill percussion you’d expect from an outfit who released their first album on (their hometown’s now defunct) Urinal Cake Records.

But the depth of the Detroit punk four piece comes through in the peaks and troughs that pepper their new album, as they have done across their back catalogue, with Casey’s all-to-easy-to-compare-to-so-and-so vocals once again firmly leading the charge. And on that, has anyone said ‘Mike Patton when he’s not screaming’ yet?

(Worth mentioning that the UK support act, Es, are also touring their debut album – the nine track Less of Everything – so everyone’s got a corner to fight for at this gig. And space on the merch desk.)

But enough words… tsk tusk, in this day and age ‘an all… check out the audio and visual from the new album below if you need a bit more convincing.

And with Protomartyr playing one gig in Birmingham and then one more in London, before a series of dates across mainland Europe, this is your ticking clock kick up the arse if you want to catch them on UK soil. And as previously mentioned, tickers are selling like hot (urinal) cakes…

(Although they will be closing off the run with a gig in Benidorm on 18 November, which is almost worth the airfare just to see what happens.)

‘Elimination Dances’ – Protomartyr

Protomartyr play at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath on Wednesday 25 October, with support from Es – for more gig information and links to online ticket sales click here.

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Genre bending jazz fusion ensemble Corto.alto tour debut album at Hare and Hounds on Wednesday 18 October

Words by Ed King

On Wednesday 18 October, the jazz rooted but genre bending Calto.alto comes to the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath – with support from mezzo-soprano and folk storyteller, Pippa Blundell.

With both acts hailing from Glasgow, they have been playing across the UK promoting new material throughout October, with the Birmingham gig marking a halfway point of their UK tour.

Doors open at 7:30pm, with tickets priced at £15 plus booking fee – as promoted by Leftfoot Events. Minimum age of entry is 14 with anyone aged 16 or under needing adult supervision.

For more direct gig info and links to online tickets sales, click here.

Corto.alto (meaning ‘short, tall’ in Spanish) is the musical moniker for a collective headed by Glaswegian based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, Liam Shortall – who mixes jazz with electronica and a variety of genres, recording and preforming original compositions with some of Scotland’s most exciting young musicians.

Alongside Shortall, the current Calto.alto line up includes pianist Fergus McCreadie, trumpet player James Copus, drummer Graham Costello, and trombonist Anoushka Nanguy.

Their debut album, Bad With Names, was released in early October through New Soil Records and Bridge the Gap – receiving positive reviews from the jazz music punditry.

London Jazz News called it “a fine palette of live sounds and electronic music… with rich harmonies and exciting improvisation”, further celebrating the collective skill sets and ambitions from the “golden generation of Scottish jazz talent” who appear on the LP.

The Skinny goes on to praise the album’s “variety, honesty and personality”, calling it a “hypnotic blend of soulful jazz expressed through outstanding levels of musical ability”.

But Corto.alto is as ‘cross over’ as you can get without getting lost, as Shortall’s background in electronica production takes the album on brave and exciting twists and turns across its 12 instrumental tracks.

There’s jazz, for sure, but also soul, strings, the occasional rock riff, and a sprinkling of psychedelia over breakbeat, making me think of a Stan Getz and Maya Jane Coles lovechild. Not words you often get to write…

(It is also worth mentioning, at this point and in general, that tour support Pippa Blundell released her debut EP Sisters at the beginning of the UK dates with Corto.alto – and will no doubt be showcasing tracks from this, alongside her back catalogue. A phenomenal vocalist and folk artist, having Blundell on the bill alongside Corto.alto is certainly getting your money’s worth and a real gift for any audience.)

And even the most egotistical man of letters wouldn’t try and describe the ineffable – so I’m simply going to leave you with the appropriately named last track on Corto.alto’s debut album, ‘Bye’.

A beautiful example of the vison and delivery from this exciting Scottish ensemble, and a damn fine video too. Enjoy.

‘Bye’ – Corto.alto

Corto.alto plays at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath on Wednesday 18 October, with support from Pippa Blundell. For direct gig info and links to online ticket click here.

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LA garage rockers Flat Worms tour new album at the Hare and Hounds on Monday 16 October – with support from Total Luck and Wax Head

Words by Ed King

On Monday 16 October, LA based garage rockers Flat Worms come to the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath – alongside support from Birmingham’s Total Luck and Manchester’s Wax Head.

Doors open  at the Hare from 7:30pm, with tickets priced at £15 + booking fee – as promoted by This Is Tmrw. Minimum age for entry is 14 with anyone aged 16 and under needing adult supervision.

For more direct gig info and links to online tickets sales, click here.

Coming to Birmingham for the last date of their UK tour, before jumping across the Channel for a series of gigs throughout France, Flat Worms are globetrotting with their latest studio album – the Ty Segall produced, Witness Marks.

An 11 track noise fest, as one would expect from the Californian trio who self described their release as ‘a buzzing combo of blunt force and surreal lyrics to hammer the absurdity of the status quo’, the latest LP has been brewing up a variety of storms since it’s September release on the Chicago based independent Drag City.

But whilst Flat Worm’s new album has all the haze and hallmarks you’d expect, there’s a smidge of production polish in comparison to their self-titled 2017 debut or 2020 sophomore LP, Antarctica.

Still as ferocious and amp confounding, with Will Ivy’s facts-in-your-face vocals swamped by relentless waves of guitar and percussion, the third edition into the Flat Worms Hall of Fame is well worth a stop, look, and listen.

All three of which you can do at the Hare and Hounds on Monday 16 October. Lucky you.

Support comes from the well loved Birmingham punksters Total Luck, and Manchester’s psych/garage four piece Wax Head. So, expect turned up tuneage, tinnitus, and a good start to the week.

And if you need a bit more convincing, check out ‘Time Warp in Exile’ below – a tiny taste from the new album.

Now get your hands down the back of that sofa and pawn the cat, you’ve got a gig ticket to buy.

‘Time Warp in Exile’ – Flat Worms

Flat Worms play at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath on Monday 16 October, with support from Total Luck and Wax Head. For direct gig info and links to online ticket sales click here

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Birmingham Anime Film Festival launches at The Mockingbird Cinema and Midlands Arts Centre – running from 29 September to 5 October

Words by Billy Beale and Ed King

Birmingham sees the launch of its first Anime film festival this week, with screenings at The Mockingbird Cinema and Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) running from 29 September to 5 October.

Organised in partnership with Flatpack Festival and Geeky Brummie, with sponsorship from the Glasgow based AllTheAnime, the inaugural Birmingham Anime Film Festival will showcase 20 films – from well-loved releases from Studio Ghibli to groundbreaking films from movie makers such as Makoto Shinkai.

Born from Japanese animated story telling there are now around 430 production companies producing Anime content, reaching audiences across the world through film, television, and modern day muti media.

Recognised as an important part of modern cinema, Anime releases have built dedicated audiences and achieve the highest industry accolades – with Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards.

Ahead of the Birmingham Anime Film Festival launch, Lee Nabbs from The Mockingbird Cinema told: “The Mockingbird is renowned for its mix of new releases, cult, and eclectic films.

“Regular Anime screenings have always been part of our scheduling mix and we’re proud to launch Birmingham Anime Film Festival to show our love for the genre and bring together fans from far and wide, to show the breadth and depth of this special part of cinema.”

David Baldwin, Producer – Cinema & Screen, Midlands Art Centre added: “The world of anime is no longer some niche genre. It’s a global phenomenon that has become a major part of cinema, streaming, toys and conventions.

“MAC is very pleased to be a part of Birmingham’s first official anime festival, with a focus on some of the more transgressive titles from across the history of anime, including classic works from Satoshi Kon and Eiichi Yamamoto.”

And to help you along your merry little way, Birmingham Review’s Billy Beale gives his cherry picked ‘ones to watch’ from the first ever Birmingham Anime Film Festival.

Weathering With You (subtitled – Saturday, 30 September, The Mockingbird Cinema)

A teenage boy moves to the city and meets new friends, including a girl who can magically bring the sun out on rainy days. Director Makoto Shinkai’s follow up to Your Name treads on familiar territory – teenage relationships in a relatable contemporary setting, with a magical twist.

Weathering With You wants to argue hopefully about future generations’ relationship to local communities, older generations, the environment. More than anything, it’s a sweet story with masterful animation.

Weather With You – official trailer


The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl (subtitled – Wednesday, 4 October, The Mockingbird Cinema)

The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl tells the story of a single revelrous night and the colourful characters that come in and out of the unnamed heroine’s drinking session, and the equally anonymous man pursuing her romantically.

It shares a great deal of its characters and art style with The Tatami Galaxy series and somehow manages to fit the same amount of youthful hangouts and cosmic introspection into just 90-odd minutes.

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl – official trailer


Belladonna of Sadness (Wednesday, 4 October, MAC)

A uniquely stylistic retelling of the Joan of Arc story, with suitably psychedelic artwork for 1973 and a soundtrack to match.

Apparently, this film bankrupted the studio on its release but it’s now being celebrated for its cult success 50 years later.

Belladona of Sadness – official trailer


Promare (Thursday, 5 October, The Mockingbird Cinema)

Like everything that comes out of Studio Trigger, Promare is high octane, high drama, high action. A team of elite firefighters combat pyromaniacal freedom fighters that threaten the public peace with their mutant fire powers.

It’s all clashing neons and pastels, mechanical fire trucks that don’t stop unfurling more and more firehoses until they’re about six storeys high. A feast for the eyes.

Promare – official trailer

The first ever Birmingham Anime Film Festival comes to The Mockingbird Cinema and Midlands Arts from 29 September to 5 October – in partnership with Geeky Brummie and Flatpack Festival, with sponsorship from AllTheAnime.

For more on the Birmingham Anime Film Festival, including full festival programme and links ot online ticket sales, visit

For more on The Mockingbird Cinema visit
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