PREVIEW: Midnight Bonfires + Byron Hare @ One Trick Pony Club (Moseley), 9th April ‘15

Event flyerOn Thursday 9th April, Midnight Bonfires & Byron Hare play the One Trick Pony Club in Moseley Village.

Entry is free, with venue doors open all day – music scheduled from 9pm to 11pm. For further venue & gig info, click here.

Taking over the ‘Old O’Neil’s’ pub in Moseley Village, One Trick Pony Club has been putting in place an ents calendar to rival/mirror/compliment the endevours of its neighbours.

Main with web colour bcg - lrPart of the bill is a bi-weekly Thursday night live gig promotion from Killer Wave – bringing B13 another ‘good chunk of mid week rock n roll’ at the revamped High Street venue.

Generously allowing everyone in for free (…crazy bast*rds) recent gigs have showcased Catbone, The Watchmakers, I Am Anushka, Fruit Tones & Spit Shake Sisters – alongside a veritably strong cast in support.

This week it’s the addictive & distinct Midnight Bonfires (think Devendra Banhart meets The Sonics), joined by ‘one of the newest, most exciting bands to come out of Redditch for nearly a decade’ – Byron Hare.

And for a bit more garrulous preamble, see below:

Midnight Bonfires
A stalwart in the city’s music scene, Midnight Bonfires have been steadily navigating the greasy pole since first releasing their debut single, ‘Misbehave’, in Oct 2011. Self described as ‘a band fusing folk sensitivity with rock and roll energy’, Midnight Bonfires are one of those rarities that Oxygen EP - Midnight Bonfiresmanage to spruce up each genre they get attributed to, whilst remaining genuinely identifiable. A part of Birmingham to be prouder of?

Their list of accolades and achievements include several notable supports (Johnny Marr perhaps the most bucket list) festival dates and media attention, which all kind of asks the question why we can still see them for free on a Thursday night in Moseley. Not that my pocket is complaining. Make hay audiences, make hay.

Listen to Oxygen EP by Midnight Bonfires – click here or on the artwork (left)


Byron Hare
Championed by the Reddich based Death or Glory Records, Byron Hare are a ‘Post Pop’ six piece – fronted by vocalist Jodie Ollis.

Byron-Hare-8001Covering some significant ground since their first live gig in May 2014, Byron Hare’s debut Sleep on the Fire EP came out on Death or Glory Records in December the same (last) year; six tracks long and with smatterings of a less psychedelic Jefferson Airplane.

Being picked up by more promoters and media around the UK, Byron Hare have a fruitful summer ahead of them – including a slot on the exquisite looking Lunar Festival bill. But for a saving of between £39-89 you can see them at One Trick Pony Club first.

Listen to/watch ‘Something Surreal’ by Byron Hare, from their Sleep on the Fire EP click here or on the band picture (above right)


Midnight Bonfires & Byron Hare play the One Trick Pony Club (Moseley) on Thursday 9th April – free entry all night. For more info visit

For more on Midnight Bonfires, visit

For more on Byron Hare, visit

For more on One Trick Pony Club, visit

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BPREVIEW: Sunjay Brayne + Bethan and the Morgans @ Ort Café, Sat 12th July

Sunjay Brayne + Bethan and the Morgans @ Ort Cafe, Sat 12th JulyRounding off one of the more sensible musical weekends in the city, Sunjay Braye plays at Ort Cafe tonight – with support from Bethan and the Morgans. Doors open at 8:30pm, with admission charged at £5.Birmingham Preview /

Sunjay Brayne / www.sunjaybrayne.comA younger man with an older sound, Sunjay Brayne is a solo singer/songwriter – delivering confident vocals behind a Bluesy Folk guitar. With perhaps a touch of Country.

But learning the guitar when most of us were tackling the Etch A Sketch, precocity is no stranger to the 20year old Derby man – who was nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2012, missing out to the traditional Irish five piece, Ioscaid.

Reminiscent of his own declared influences, Buddy Holly and Don McLean, Sunjay Brayne is cited as an exemplary guitarist, with Steve Tilson saying “…I’m going to have to connect jump leads to your fingers.” Although I’m not sure it that’s to harness Brayne’s ‘power’ or in some churlish act of jealousy; either way, that’s not a bad endorsement coming from Steve Tilson.

Currently working on album No3, following Seems So Real (2011) and One Night Only (2013) – the latter a live album recorded on one nig… you get the picture, Sunjay Brayne is showcasing new material over a pretty mammoth 40 dates headline tour. But the man seems sturdy enough, before the year is out Brayne will have clocked up over 100 gigs across the UK; if there’s a Club or Festival with Folk in the title, chances are Sunjay Brayne will play there at some point.

But tonight it’s Ort Café’s turn, with a little taster from Sunjay Brayne performing ‘Sitting on Top of the World’ – click here or on the image below:

Sunjay Brayne - colour, landscape

For more from Sunjay Brayne, visit


Staying in the Folk/Country tone, support comes from Bethan and the Morgans – a West Midlands based ensemble and self cited ‘brave sound from the Black County’.Bethan & the Morgans /

A combination of Americana melodies, the occasional Bluegrass footstomp, and a vocal lead that’s not a million miles away from the Volunteer State’s diminutive first lady, Bethan and the Morgans have a Country flavor that tastes of more than one territory.

Confident and sassy, their sound has graced several stages across the West Midlands. Appearing on a few familiar festival bills too, Bethan and the Morgans recently supported Jasper in the Company of Others at the Severn Sounds Festival in Worcester, over the last May Bank Holiday.

And with their eponymous EP nearly a year old, Bethan and the Morgans are now ‘working towards’ their debut album. We’ve been told to ‘watch this space’. So in the meantime here’s the official video for ‘Go Away’, taken from Bethan and the Morgans‘ four track release last august – click here or on the image below:

Bethan and the Morgans EP

For more on Bethan and the Morgans, visit


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Sunjay Brayne plays at Ort Café tonight, with support from Bethan and the Morgans. Doors open at 8:30pm, with admission charged at £5.

For more info visit

For more on Ort Café, including directions and full event listings, visit

BPREVIEW: Hannah Brown + Affiejam @ Ort Café, Fri 11th July

Hannah Brown + AffieJam @ Ort Cafe, Fri 11th July /
Playing at Ort Café tonight are Hannah Brown + AffieJam – two girl & guitar singer/songwriters with early established local records.

Doors open at 8:30pm, with admission charged at £3.Birmingham Preview /

Hannah Brown is actually from Nottingham, but is ‘currently residing in Birmingham’, studies in the city, and has supported Ruby Turner – so ticks enough boxes for civic appropriation.

On the cusp of her debut album, the simply titled Refuge, Hannah Brown has a portfolio of six sting laments and acoustic heartbreak.

Refuge is cited as an album that ‘speaks of pain, joy, peace and realisation’, with Brown stating her debut album is “a moment in time along the endless path of personal self discovery ex-pressed within music.” So a cheeky Beyoncé cover is probably off the table.

To listen to ‘Refuge from the Rain’ – Hannah Brown’s first single from Refuge, click here or on the image below:

Refuge from the Rain
For more from Hannah Brown, visit

Alima ‘AffieJam’ first came to Birmingham Review’s attention after appearing on the bill for Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy EP launch in January.

Performing behind a piano or guitar, and stacked to the finger tips with soul, AffieJam’s honey vocals cover simple acoustic melodies – kicking her seemingly effortless musical footprint off stage.

Often appearing as a solo artist or with simple percussion, AffieJam is a relative regular at some of the more respectable grass root showcases in the city.

But with no releases (yet) to push her name up to the all important CAPITAL LETTER TOP SLOT, this a cycle of support slots could become a comfortable constriction; AffieJam is one of those artists Birmingham Review would like to see (and hear) more from, which apparently we might in August.

But there is an official AffieJam music video – to stop, look & listen, click here or on the image below:

AffieJam - video still

For more from AffieJam, visit
Hannah Brown + AffieJam play at Ort Café, in Balsall Heath tonight – click here for more details. Doors open at 8:30pm, with admission charged at £3.

For more from Ort Café, including directions and full event listings, visit

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PREVIEW: Jayne Powell + Rachael and Friend @ Ort Café, Fri 4th July

Jayne Powell, lr, cropped

Playing at Ort Café tonight, Jayne Powell returns after a self confessed & productive hiatus – with support from Rachael and Friend. Doors open at 8:30pm with a £4 entry.

Birmingham based Jayne Powell has played at and played with, a respectable portfolio – but has been off the gig circuit for a few years ‘working on new material’ and ‘setting up her power trio’. Previously surrounded by either more or less, the most pertinent result of this shift is her new Late One EP, whose title track marches out bluesy Americana and steady punch riffs; a solid build, break, keys, confident lament, with invitations to “run away”. Roy Orbison would be proud.Main with web colour bcg - lr

What else is on the Late One EP, we’re not sure – with the sweepingly clandestine approach to online marketing alive and well here. Too. So I guess you’ll have to go to Ort Café tonight and find out.

But we can tell you (or reiterate to you) Jayne Powell ‘returns with a more gutsy edge to her songwriting and live performances’. Plus she sings like Aimee Mann, which is no bad thing. But for something altogether more representative or retrospective there’s enough on Jayne  Powell’s Soundcloud page to keep you busy all lunchtime.

Rachael and Friend - The One Take EPRachael and Friend support, with their ‘acoustic folk boy girl minimal ukulele Greenville’ as defined by the almighty #. But with a new six track release to play and sell, The One Take, you’ll no doubt get more to sink your lexicon into. Plus they’ve travelled a long way (from South Carolina) to kick of their 15 date UK tour at Ort Café tonight. And if it’s your birthday…

Rachael and Friend are new to Birmingham Review, and a Google search with ‘Rachael’ and ‘Friend’ doesn’t bring up much that’s helpful – other than ‘Rachael Gallman and Jaron Ferrer are the best of friends.’ Sounds like one of the more frustrating outcomes of my formative years. But The One Take is a fruitful endevour; tight with vocals, creatively paced, and lining up enough melodies to keep the cursor hovering over repeat.Ort logo - cropped, lr

Alongside the return of Jayne Powell to a Birmingham stage, tonight at Ort Cafe is not a bad idea for a Friday night live.


Jayne Powell plays at Ort Café tonight, with support from Rachael and Friend. For more info, on tonight and other events, visit

For more on Jayne Powell, visit or

For more on Rachael and Friend, visit

Cherry Reds (Kings Heath)

Cherry Reds / www.cherryreds.comSmall yet sumptuously formed, Cherry Reds opened on York Road (off Kings Heath High Street) in December 2010.

Taking over from an old, old-skool greasy spoon, this pocket-sized café/bar brought in a well considered menu of homemade food (from Vegan to beef burger), garish cupcakes, outlandish beers & cider*, as well as a healthy, or unhealthy – depending on the time of day, cocktail menu with incentives.**

An overtly personal venue, adorning itself with soft furnishings, home from home décor and popular culture cuttings on the wall, Cherry Reds found the balance between creative endeavour and commercial nous – nurturing a loyal core Cherry Reds by Laura Billings / www.cherryreds.comCherry Reds / www.cherryreds.comof enthusiasts, whilst welcoming the stranger in with generous arms. A rare and reassuring approach. One that works so well, you sometimes have to sit on the benches outside.

From the board games to sports days, acoustic music to quiz nights, this Kings Heath (ad)venture introduced a now blossoming bohemia to the High Street side street. An injection of culture that arguably paved the way for other fledgling York Road venues, whilst underpinning the hubris of those more established.***

And so successful was this approach, Cherry Reds are at it again on the once beleaguered John Bright Street in Birmingham’s City Centre.

But Kings Heath is where the first Cherry popped, and remains a turning point in the chequered evolution of a once desperately formulaic High Street – nestling into a side Cherry Reds / www.cherryreds.comroad that (as certain quarters will not stop reminding us) saw ‘all the greats play here’ when the Ritz Ballroom was in literal full swing.

And whilst today’s fast food franchises play Jacobs Ladder with bus stop friendly outlets, and the Wetherspoon vultures seek out more self hatred and carrion, Cherry Reds continues to strive.

A quiet example of Birmingham getting it right.

Operating times
Monday to Saturday: 9am – 11pm
Sunday: 10am – 11pm
*Cherry Reds has a licence until 2am, but must refuse further entry after the above operating times

**Happy Hour, from 4-7pm each day
Cocktails £3.50
Selected beers £2.50
Bottles of wine £8

Cherry Reds,
16 York Road,
Kings Heath,
B14 7RZ

Tel: 0121 441 3155
Email / general:

***Cherry Reds is available to hire each night – except Friday. For Saturday night hire please contact as early as possible, due to demand

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For further information, on both Cherry Reds Kings Heath & John Bright St, visit


Ed’s note…

@edking2210I used to live opposite where Cherry Reds (Kings Heath) now stands, frequenting the diseased lung that was York Road Café – the site’s A2 only predecessor. So when my cholesterol-challenging-lazy-breakfast closed its shutters for the last time, I felt a twinge of regret.

But like all good fires, colourful wings came to brush away the smouldering rubble and nostalgic detritus – replacing battery farming and unquestioned cheap meat, with a much healthier animal. Cherry Reds was born, marking the first truly grass roots changes to a High Street splinter.Cherry Reds /

Plus they make excellent cocktails, good burgers, and were kind to my mum. So we love them. And the name makes me think of teenage crushes, pigeon park and The Hummingbird.

Cherry Reds is a genuine home from home experience, with the only downside being a) it’s not actually my home, and b) it’s too small for all the people who ‘live’ there. Such is the burden of a good idea – people want in.

So grab your favourite seat, mark your territory, and defend it with a fortress of alcoholic ginger beer & White Russians. I can think of worse ways to pass an afternoon.