Ed’s… Highlights, Nov ‘12

Ahhh November, the dwindling year’s last chance salon for self centred retail. From Hindu to Methodist, no one here gets out alive – fiscally speaking; from now until the end of the year, your God wants you to spend, spend, spend.

But the sugar coating comes in musical form this winter, with a bevy of buck worthy gigs to treat yourself with first.

Kicking off, day one. Bat for Lashes (HMV Institute, Nov 1st). Natasha Khan returns with a new haircut, album and s#*t hot PR team.

Then the days of rave yesterday get celebrated, again, at ’93 (HMV Institute, Nov 3rd), before Ingrid Michaelson gets a welcomed stage to herself (Glee Club, Nov 5th).

Clean cut (at least on the outside) Indie rockers Spector play one side of town (HMV Institute, Nov 7th), whilst ‘tell me she wasn’t’ near miss Vicar, Jack White, plays the other (O2Academy, Nov 7th).

Warp’s entire successful rock act rosta, or Maximo Park, stamp and shout (HMV Institute, Nov 9th), before the oh so talented, young and personification of my jealous rages – Jake Bugg, takes to the same stage a few days later (HMV Institute, Nov 12th).

Ignoring promotional rhetoric that makes me want to smack someone in the chops, Bugg is one of the best things to come out of the Midlands in years. Google ‘Lightning Bolt’ and tell me I’m wrong.

Jump to the other side of the month and there’s Ben Howard – supported by Willy Mason (O2 Academy, Nov 24th), followed by the awesome Akala (O2 Academy, Nov 26th).

Beth Orton raises a new album above the water (Glee Club, Nov 26th); whilst The Staves (H&H, Nov 28th) and Elbow (NIA, Nov 28th) share the city two days later.

Outside of all that you’ve got: The Cribs (HMV Institute, Nov 6th), Conor Maynard (HMV Institute, Nov 8th), Mad Dog Mcrea & Cosmo Jarvis (HMV Institute, Nov 15th), Band of Horses (HMV Institute, Nov 15th),The Wedding Present (O2 Academy, Nov 15th), Ezio (Glee Club, Nov 16th), Speech Debelle (HMV Institute, Nov 17th), Rizzle Kicks (O2 Academy, Nov 17th), Mystery Jets (HMV Institute, Nov 19th), Levellers (O2 Academy, Nov 23rd), Rodrigo y Gabriela (HMV Institute, Nov 25th), The Vaccines (O2 Academy, Nov 29th) and The North Sea Scrolls (Glee Club, Nov 30th).

And if you really, REALLY want to avoid anything religious – Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson come to Birmingham (NIA, Nov 29th), on the UK leg of their worldwide ‘Twins of Evil’ tour.

Guaranteed to be both carol and dreidel free, but I’d think twice about the mulled wine. Enjoy.

You can follow Ed King at www.twitter.com/edking2210

Ed’s… Highlights, Oct ’12


Blah, blah, blah, October. Loose segue, leaves falling. Harvest reference. Bountiful, thankful, yada yada yada; a cornucopia of concerts.

Starting with you-can-take-the-girl-out-of-Wolves, Carina Round (H&H, 3rd); touring her new album ‘Tigermending’.

Then the slightly sharper tongued Azealia Banks (HMV Institute, 5th) raps one end of the rainbow, whilst Vatican wet dream – The Vienna Boys Choir, sing the other (Town Hall, 5th); before the man with the ever growing mantelpiece, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, comes to town (N.I.A., 7th).

Pre J-Pop alt rock trio Shonen Knife (Glee Club, 8th) kitsch it up, a day before We Are Augustines (BBallroom, 9th) and the only man in rock with meth amphetamine and hair insurance, Slash (N.I.A., 9th).

Michelle Shocked reminds me of just how old I am (H&H, 10th) before Waldo’s harbinger of postal love doom, John Cale (HMV Institute, 11th), is on the road with an autumn release.

Also touring a new L.P. (apologies if you were born post 1990) are UK Hip Hop ‘n’ Dubsteppers, Foreign Beggars (O2 Academy 2, 11th), whilst the Womble following Katie Melua (Symphony Hall, 12th) brings the closest thing to boring back to Birmingham.

In a front man fight for your right to (anachronistically) party, we have The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell in one corner (O2 Academy, 13th) and The KinksRay Davies in the other (Symphony Hall, 13th); whilst young contender Bloc Party staggers back from the ropes (O2 Academy, 15th).

For a few more juicy berries, pick out: Kathryn Williams (Glee Club, 16th), Newton Faulkner (O2 Academy, 18th), Rick Astley (O2 Academy 2, 18th), Toy (HMV Institute, 20th), Delilah (HMV Institute, 21st), The Twilight Sad (H&H, 22nd), Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (HMV Institute, 24th), Seth Lakeman (Town Hall, 25th), Joan Armatrading (Symphony Hall, 26th), Goodnight Lenin – with Arcane Fire & Dry the River (HMV Institute, 30th), Tyler Hilton (O2 Academy 2, 30th), Tom McRae (Glee Club, 30th) & Muse (LG Arena, 30th).

And just in time for Halloween, we have Toyah – retouring/performing ‘The Changeling’ (BBallroom, 31st). Plus The Killers, with support from Tegan & Sara (LG Arena, 31st).

Erm… bright orange hair, Brandon Flowers, something about pumpkins? Enjoy.

You can follow Ed King at www.twitter.com/edking2210

Ed’s… Highlights, Sept ’12

September comes but once a year; bringing Indian summers, a new school term and offensively early rhetoric about ‘…shopping days left’.

But it’s also the start of another seasonal tour circuit, where labels and lucky independents try and get you to spend, spend, spend – encouraging the smashing of piggy banks as the C Word approaches.

But perhaps worth a quick squeal are Irish Indie three piece, pop rock flop hair mob, Two Door Cinema Club (HMV, 4th). The MySpace dropouts are set to UK release their second album, ‘Beacon’, on September 3rd. See paragraph one.

The charmingly titled Espirtito Brum (meaning the spirit of Birmingham), appears in several venues from 11th to 16th‘bringing together artists from Brazil, Birmingham and the wider UK’.

DMC champion DJ Switch, the Munchbreak collective, Mark ‘Magoo’ Robertson and Overproof Soundsystem represent the home team; batting basslines and beats to Brazil’s Dea Trancoso, Luiz Gabriel Lopes and Dragoes De Komodo – São Paulo’s 6 piece emcee collective. For more info visit www.espiritobrum.org

The in-no-way-whatsoever-dubiously-titled Dexy’s play the Symphony Hall on the 12th; allowing 24hrs for the nauseating musical tinnitus (or ‘Come on Eileen’ as it’s better known) to subside, before the ambitiously titled ‘Planet Earth in Concert’ (Symphony Hall, 13th).

A ludicrously low £5 door charge will get you to see Roachford (Jam House, 13th) on the same day, whilst a more respectfully priced £12.50 will show you Geno Washington (yep – as in the Ram Jam Band / H&H, 15th) a couple of days later.

But my September Highlight’s highlight is Rachel Sermanni (Glee Club, 27th), bizarrely playing the smaller Studio Room at the city centre comedy/music venue.

Ms Sermanni is on the ‘paragraph one’ as well, with her first studio album ‘Under Mountains’ released on Sept 17th; but I’ll be happily hammer handed to get my mitts on this long awaited debut. For more on Rachel Sermanni, if you don’t know by now, visit www.rachelsermanni.net

Elsewhere you’ve got: Dave Stewart (Symphony Hall, 4th), Sue Denim (O2 Academy, 12th), Cate Le Bon (H&H, 13th), George Michael (LG Arena, 16/17th), Jesca Hoop (Glee Club, 19th), The Maine (O2 Academy, 20th), Richard Hawley (HMV Institute, 22nd), Anneke van Giersbergen (O2 Academy, 23rd), Smoke Fairies (H&H, 26th), Alexander O’Neal (Jam House, 26th), Ultavox (Symphony Hall, 26th), Marc Almond (Symphony Hall, 28th), Tom Baxter (HMV Institute, 29th), Maverick Sabre (O2 Academy, 29th) and Battleship Potemkin by Michael Nyman (Symphony Hall, 30th).

Also worth checking out is Cheek Mountain Thief (H&H, 13th); the ‘alter ego’ of Tunng front man, Matt Lindsey.

One of only 4 UK shows, this is a quarter chance to catch his new project – recorded in solitude on the eponymous North Icelandic mountain.

Which if anyone mentions reindeers or resolutions, is precisely where I’m heading.

You can follow Ed King at www.twitter.com/edking2210

Ed’s… (end of festivals) Highlights, Aug ’12

August, the most musically moribund month of the year.

The last ‘summer’ month of festival bills, every artist worth a cover charge is holed up in a camper van green room or VIP marquee (a beer tent with chairs, to the lay person).

Seriously, check the listings. Who? Huh? Why? I thought they were dead..? It’s pitiful; a despondent byproduct of Festival Republic’s monotonous takeover.

But luckily for us, a couple of bright sparks decided THIS was the month to do something special; to bring a bulging bevy bag of brilliance (it exists) to the bleak seats of Birmingham.

And whilst one perches on the zenith of the fiscal rainbow, the other is free. So like Lisa Simpson’s cooking ‘it all balances out’.

The Flyover Show 2012 

Underneath the Hockley Flyover, Aug 18th

Literally what it says it is; a big sound system party underneath the Hockley Flyover. Which, if you’re not au fait with the underpasses of Birmingham, is the ‘forgotten space’ in the middle of the Hockley Circus roundabout – joining Soho Road and Great Hampton St.

And before you groan under the weight of another ‘creative urban endeavour’, this little beauty has been running consecutively for the past 5 years. And it rocks. My official descriptive.

Previous Flyover Shows have seen Ms Dynamite, Bashy, and last year’s headliners – Akala and Goldie, all play FOR FREE at this very special occasion.

This year’s event celebrates the cultural contributions of Jamaica to Britain throughout its programme”; which means MAXI PRIEST is headlining, alongside Janet Kay (of ‘Silly Games’ fame), Steel Pulse founder – Basil Gabbidon, Julian Joseph, Wordsworth MC (popping over from Brooklyn), and the man whose idea it was in the first place, Soweto Kinch.

Local support comes from the Deci4life, RTKAL and Lady Leshurr – the Brummie contingent of the 367 Crew and a frighteningly fast lyricist. Keep your eye on her.

The Flyover Show 2012 takes place on Sat Aug 18th, underneath the Hockley Flyover – at the bottom of Soho Road and Great Hampton St.

Running from 12noon until 9pm, it’s totally free to attend.

For full details check out www.theflyovershow.com or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/theflyovershow


Moseley Folk Festival 2012

Moseley Park, Aug 31st to Sept 2nd

They said it would never happen; now 6 years old, the Moseley Folk Festival is arguably the best annual event in the postcode. Possibly the city.

Beautifully decorated, dutifully attended, stocked to the hilt with overpriced food and drink – it’s a

proper festival festival; held over three days in the picturesque setting that was many a Moseleyite first drunken playground. Something’s never change.

Now held across two stages, this year’s lineup headlines Echo & the Bunnymen, Roy Harper and Steeleye Span; with Guillemots, The Destroyers, Goodnight Lenin, Lanterns on the Lake and the phenomenally understated Rachel Sermanni (if you don’t know, learn – http://www.rachelsermanni.net)

Tickets are a little pricey, between £28.50 – £79 (single day – weekend), but when it’s got a 2,000 capacity limit you’ll be guaranteed a place to sit. Worth every shekel.

Full details at http://www.moseleyfolk.co.uk


And outside all that outside, there is an indoor alternative – Kimbra is playing at The Glee Club on Aug 29th.

Most recognised in the UK as Gotye’s whispy female vocalist on ‘Somebody I Used to Know’, Kimbra is a big noise in New Zealand and worth a tenner to check out.

Plus Carina Round’s new album, the lustrously titled ‘Tigermending’, has a July/August UK release; info and online sales at http://carinaround.com

You can follow Ed King at www.twitter.com/edking2210

Ed’s… Highlights, July ‘12

The next few months are festival fever, i.e. spending HUGE sums of cash.

So to save money, words and comedic tautology (there’s only so many jokes you can make about Group 4 and mud), I’ll be giving you a shortened gigs highlight, followed by some cherry picked festies.

On stage; July pickings in the city are pretty slim. Although, with a summer of field based fun to tempt them across the Atlantic, there’s few imports worth checking out.

Canadian electropoper Lights brings her emo cut, gritted teeth singing to the O2 Academy (July 2nd), whilst America extradites Sharon Van Etten to The Glee Club (July 11th), Lera Lynn to the HMV Institute (July 24th) and Jenny O to the Hare & Hounds (July 31st); for crimes against six string mediocrity, a federal problem in the U.S.

Elsewhere, check out; Gabrielle Aplin (HMV Institute, July 4th), Futures (HMV Institute, July 6th), Junior Marvin (H&H, July 13th), Goodnight Lenin (H&H, July 14th), Lady Antebellum (O2 Academy, July 17th), Boss Caine (Yardbird, July 18th), Carlou D (H&H, July 19th), Nanci Griffith (Town Hall, July 24th), Frankie Rose (O2 Academy, July 25th) and Deborah Bond (H&H, July 28th).


As for festivals this month, have a look at the following:

Larmer Tree Festival (July 11th to 15th) – 22 years old, the Larmer Tree Festival has outlived many contemporary rivals.  Inspired by the Bracknell Jazz Festival, back in the 1970’s, the event has grown to 6 stages of music and comedy – attracting some very respectable artists to its five day programme.

Keeping a ‘intimate’ feel (the technical term for a 4,000 capacity), the Larmer Tree Festival has won awards celebrating their family friendly appeal, plus their ‘Best Toilets’ – an important consideration for any seasoned festival goer. Plus there’s a strong environmental message, with the website warning ‘to conserve water we can’t allow paddling pools’.

Music acts for 2012 include: Joss Stone, Rachael Sermanni, Paloma Faith, Amadou & Mariam, Levellers, Roots Manuva, Ragu Dixit, Akala, DJ Derek, Shlomo. For full details visit http://www.larmertreefestival.co.uk/


Kendal Calling (July 27th to 29th) – Set in the self professed ‘beautiful lake district’, this 8,000 capacity event won ‘Best Small Festival’ at the UK Festival awards in 2011. Seven years old, 2012 is Kendal Calling’s forth year at the Lowther Deer Park near Penrith – seeing it grow from just a 900 capacity event in 2006. 

Known for its idyllic setting, Kendal Calling is a revered young buck in the festival circuit, pulling in significant headliners and a healthy undercurrent of support.

This year’s main attractions include; Dizzee Rascal, James, Maximo Park and Feeder, alongside DJs Benga, Andy C and Shy FX. For full details visit http://www.kendalcalling.co.uk


Global Gathering (July 27th to 28th) – One of the last two surviving Superclub festivals, and arguably the most successful, Global Gathering started out as a 15,000 capacity ‘rave in a field’.

Original organiser’s humble, and no doubt cost effective, pure DJ/dance music mandate has been replaced with a bevy of Dance and Urban A-listers.

2012 will see acts including; Tinie Temper, Armin Van Buuren, Skrillex, Magnetic Man, Chase & Status, Jamie Jones, Funkagenda, Paul Thomas, Benga, High Contrast and Nero; playing across seven stages on the Long Marston Airfield site in Stratford. For further details visit http://www.globalgathering.com


Or if you’re determined to stay in Birmingham to hemorrhage money this month, why not see Madonna at the NIA (July 19th).

Tickets are on sale for; £55, £95, £125 & £175. And whilst I may have run out of jokes about festivals…

You can follow Ed King at www.twitter.com/edking2210