BPREVIEW: Sonic Gun Weekender @ The Castle & Falcon 17-19.08.18

BPREVIEW: Sonic Gun Weekender @ The Castle & Falcon 17-19.08.18

Words by Ed King

Sonic Gun are hold a mammoth weekend live music event at The Castle & Falcon – running from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th August. And although we’re only giving you a few hours notice… it’s been one of ‘those’ weeks, we still think it’s something worth SHOUTING ABOUT.

Doors open at 6:30pm on Friday, with bands playing from 3:30pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Tickets are a very kind £15 for the whole kit and caboodle, with individual day tickets also available for £8. Minimum age of entry is 14 years, with anyone under 16 needing a card carrying adult to pop along with them.

For direct information check out the Sonic Gun Weekender Facebook Event Page here, or go to the Castle & Falcon website here.

So, who’s on..? As if getting to spend the weekend in a pub watching live music for £15 wasn’t a compelling enough reason to drag yourself off the sofa. The whole line up is featured on the poster above and looks like a bit of a plate spinning/band booking miracle, especially considering you’ve got Project Soundlounge on one side of this event and the August Bank Holiday weekend on the other.

But hyperbole aside, some of the cream from Birmingham’s live circuit crop are playing at the Sonic Gun Weekender – with each day top, tailed, and stuffed like a pimento olive with bands well worth the daily door charge alone.

On Friday, the somewhat now past ‘rising balloon’ Riscas are headlining a bill, with local pop-rockers The Assist and Spilt Milk Society confidently chasing the top spot. Also appearing on this local yokel Friday night line up are Social State and Echo Beach – the one’s from Shrewsbury, not Liverpool or Quebec. There will also be a DJ set from one side of the main B Town see-saw, Swim Deep.

Saturday sees those cool kids Ivory Wave (…slow editorial hand clap) bring some multifaceted early 90’s indie to the top of the bill. A real Birmingham success story in the making, in my mind Ivory Wave just need to be locked in a room with Andrew Weatherall and given a good old shake. But for now you can watch them share their space with Sugarthief, The Cosmics, Violet, and a smattering of others including Cave Girl – who we are a little keen to see live, loud, and in the flesh. And completing my lazy metaphor, Peace will be delivering a Saturday night DJ set.

Then rounding off a pretty full weekend by any normal human standards, that rockabilly rockstar Harry Jordan will be headlining the Sunday setlists. Joining Jordan in a somewhat eclectic goodbye will be a bite of rhythm and blues from The Surrenders and The Good Water, with the rougher raucous coming from Bad Girlfriend, Kick the Clown (best band name ever) and one of our favourites at Birmingham Review, P.E.T. Paper Buoys will be DJing for the final day, sans wordplay.

There will also be beer from Dig Brew, who (after some extensive research) serve the city’s best rocket fuel in a glass by far, and food from The House of Hen – who we haven’t researched but we’re educated guessing serve chicken. Or houses.

But check out the banner above or visit the Sonic Gun Weekender Facebook Event Page for more details. Or just buy a weekend ticket and throw yourself in eyes wide shut – at £15 for a three day line up you can’t go wrong really.

The Sonic Gun Weekender comes to The Castle & Falcon – running from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th August. For direct event info and links to online ticket sales, click here. 

For more from Sonic Gun, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/sonicgunconcerts

For more on The Castle & Falcon, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.castleandfalcon.com

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NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BPREVIEW: The Taboo Club + Liquid Cheeks, Lilac Noise @ The Victoria 29.09.18

Words by Ed King

On Saturday 29th September, The Taboo Club headline the next Birmingham Review live music showcase – at The Victoria on John Bright Street.

Joining The Taboo Club will be Liquid Cheeks, playing their first live set as the newly formed electro/garage two piece – showcasing their current singles ‘He’s a Flower’ and ‘Serendipity’, alongside never before heard new music.

Also appearing will be Lilac Noise, Stoke’s electro melodic four piece who have been building a maelstrom of momentum since May this year – coming to Birmingham for their first show in the city, and riding the trail of their soon to be released debut single ‘Paradox’.

Doors open upstairs at The Victoria from 7pm, with tickets price at £7 (adv) and £10 (otd) – as presented by Birmingham Review. To stay up to day with announcements on our next live music showcase, keep reading Birmingham Review or join the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.

** At the time of writing this event has quarter sold out, to buy any of the remaining General Admission advance tickets click hereAdvance tickets are also available through each of the artists performing: to buy tickets from The Taboo Club, click here. To buy tickets from Liquid Cheeks, click here. To buy tickets from Lilac Noise, click here**

The Taboo Club are a newly formed ensemble of longstanding local musicians, delivering a ‘heartbreakingly cathartic’ amalgamation of genres and influences – all tinged with the sultry, low lit vibes of a ‘bourbon lit Harlem dive bar’. Led by rising waves of rhythm guitar, over an identifiable bass backbone, their sounds also embraces strong elements of saxophone and keys, with Rob Lilley’s brooding vocals firmly at the helm.

The Taboo Club released their debut single ‘Strangers’ on 20th July – an impressive ‘layer cake of crescendos’ produced by Ryan Pinson, and available to stream for free through the band’s Spotify account. You can also read our Birmingham Review of ‘Strangers’ here. But save some pocket money as more releases are set to come from the ensemble in Autumn, with the Birmingham Review live music showcase being the first chance to hear The Taboo Club’s newest material.

Performing as the evening’s local support, Liquid Cheeks will be joining The Taboo Club at The Victoria on Saturday 29th September. The new project from Ben Ollis Gibbs and Greg Clarke – two core members of the now disbanded Byron Hare – Liquid Cheeks are a glorious mix of electro, indie, and garage rock, delivering absurdly addictive melodies and a confident swagger.

With series of introductory singles in production or the pipeline, Liquid Cheeks have already got two new releases ‘on shelf’ – launching with ‘He’s a Flower’ in July. To read our Birmingham Review of their latest single, ‘Serendipity’, click here. Liquid Cheeks will be showcasing new material at The Victoria on Saturday 29th September, in the debut live set from this impressive new two piece.

Launched in Stoke earlier this year, Lilac Noise are an electro melodic four piece who have picked up the mantle of bands such as London Grammar – delivering a guitar and keys led sound with husky vocals and classically trained melodies at its heart.

Already creating an avalanche of excitement around The Midlands, Lilac Noise will join the live music showcase bill to play their debut Birmingham show at The Victoria on Saturday 29th September. Watch out for Lilac Noise’s debut single too, ‘Pardaox’, which is set for release in the next few weeks.

On Saturday 29th September, The Taboo Club headline the next live music showcase with Birmingham Review at The Victoria on John Bright Street – with Liquid Cheeks and Lilac Noise in support. For more information visit the Facebook Event Page by clicking here – or click on See Tickets the logo for a direct link to online sales.

For more on The Taboo Club, visit www.facebook.com/TheTabooClubUK 

For more on Liquid Cheeks, visit www.facebook.com/liquidcheeks 

For more on Lilac Noise, visit www.facebook.com/lilacnoiseuk 

For more on The Victoria, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.thevictoriabirmingham.co.uk

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NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BPREVIEW: Iron Maiden @ Genting Arena 07.08.18

BPREVIEW: Iron Maiden @ Genting Arena 07.08.18

Words by Ed King

On Tuesday 7th August, Iron Maiden bring their Legacy of the Beast World Tour to the Genting Arena with support from Killswitch Engage – as presented by Live Nation UK.

Doors open at the Genting Arena from 7:30pm, with tickets ranging from £48.50/60 plus booking and administrative fees – although prices vary depending on positioning within the arena and ticket outlet.

For direct gig information, including venue details and online sales through The Ticket Factory, click here. For tickets direct from Live Nation, click here. For tickets from Ticketmaster, click here.

Iron Maiden are, quite simply, one of the most successful bands on the planet. And their 40 year stamp of authority on the heavy metal scene is unrivalled, starting out with the release of their eponymous debut in 1980 and still breaking new ground (and sales figures) with their latest studio LP, The Book of Souls, released in 2015.

Seriously, try and name another metal outfit that survived for so long and has even grown its sales/fanbase decade after decade. You can’t. Because they don’t exist. Love ‘em, fear ‘em, blame ‘em for the satanic betrayal of the American dream (we’re pointing at you, The Moral Majority) Iron Maiden are a phenomenal success story.

But what makes their latest, arena packing, sell out, world tour such a litany of red letter dates is that it technically shouldn’t be happening – Iron Maiden founder and bassist, Steve Harris, had gone on record saying the band wouldn’t release more that 15 studio albums. The Book of Souls was No16; for all intents and purposes, Iron Maiden should have hung up their plectrums, mics and drumsticks back in 2015.

But as Harris told The Guardian during Iron Maiden’s first Indian concert, at the Bangalore Palace Grounds in 2007, ‘we do think about some kind of half-retirement… But it seems the world won’t let us.’ And why wouldn’t you carry on, when you’re band is still breaking new markets across the globe and your last studio album (and let’s just clarify the trajectory again, your sixteenth studio album) reached No1 in 24 countries.

Iron Maiden have been on the road with their Legacy of the Beast World Tour since May 2018, scheduled to play six dates in the UK from Belfast (2nd Aug) to London (10/11th Aug). According to the band’s longstanding manager, Rod Smallwood, fans can expect a “history/hits” set list with “both new material and the older favourites” getting performed from Iron Maiden’s extensive portfolio. Even Eddie, the band’s longstanding mascot, is dusting off some of his former glories – with the tour poster presenting him as from his Piece of Mind (1983) and Somewhere in Time (1986) days.

As Smallwood continues, “we decided to base the theme around the Legacy of the Beast name… giving us scope to get creative and have some fun, especially with Eddie! We’re working on a number of different stage sets, all in keeping with the Maiden tradition and we hope to give our fans a fantastic experience when they come to see this very special show.” 

‘Speed of Light’ – Iron Maiden (from The Book of Souls)

Iron Maiden bring their Legacy of the Beast World Tour to the Genting Arena on Tuesday 7th August, with support from Killswitch Engage. For direct show information, including venue details and online sales through The Ticket Factory, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk/whats-on/iron-maiden

For more on Iron Maiden, visit www.ironmaiden.com 

For more on Killswitch Engage, visit www.killswitchengage.com 

For more from Live Nation UK, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.livenation.co.uk

For more on the Genting Arena, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk

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NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BREVIEW: Nerina Pallot @ The Glee Club 17.02.13

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Words by Ed King / Pictures by Katja Ogrin

It’s the first Sunday after the Big Smooch, and Nerina Pallot is closing her Lonely Valentine Club Tour at the Birmingham Glee Club.

An auspicious day for several reasons, I walk through a deserted city centre muttering my journalistic mantra: “objectivity, objectivity, objectivity” – reiterating my golden rule of gig reporting, cover both the pros and the cons. No one likes a suck up or a bitch.

But I’m curious about tonight, having been aboard the good ship Pallot after hearing ‘Put Your Hands Up’ in early 2011 –  an infectious pop jaunt, and one I still struggle not to audibly sing along to. Often to the dismay of the rest of the train carriage (supermarket queue, bus, doctor’s waiting room…)

But it was watching Pallot’s live recordings that reeled me in: ‘Idaho’ preformed at Scala, her cover of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, and ‘Sophia’ performed on Gloria Hunniford’s TV show – the NerinaPallot_Glee_Feb13-2latter setting a benchmark I found unreached on the albums.  I’m curious to see, first hand, what Nerina Pallot is like on stage.

Arriving just before the doors close, The Glee Club is standing room only. I lean against the back wall, protecting a large Shiraz between my feet, and use the Emergency Exit sign for scribble light.

‘…full room’, ‘…end of tour’,’ …mixed crowd’. And to my selfish excitement ‘…Yamaha C5 Grand’ – there is a piano on stage.

Nerina Pallot starts, appropriately, with ‘It Starts’ – an album track from her 2009 LP, The Graduate. Then eyes closed, soaring vocals, soft proficient fingers, and straight into ‘Idaho’; as Pallot’s melodic declaration comes rolling off stage I fight a Cheshire Cat grin.

“Hello Brum, it’s beautiful to be back here,” welcomes us into the fold, as Pallot explains the Hallmark retaliation of her Lonely Valentine Club – available on stage and as an EP – and introduces the “sort of greatest hits set” she intends to perform. I scan the crowd, calculating couples and singles, as Pallot apologises for the evening’s lack of chintz or chocolate hearts, admitting “if you came in quite cheery, well… good for you.”

NerinaPallot_Glee_Feb13-17‘All Bets Are Off’ gets a bluesy outing on ivory, before an admission of “lottery longing”, religious indiscretion and gun point phobia segues us into ‘Once’ – the lead lounge jazz track from the tour’s eponymous EP.

“Clippetty clopping” over to the mike stand, Pallot picks up her guitar to play ‘Human’, reminding us before the end of the first verse that she is indeed just that. As soft plucking and considered strings fall into deep bluesy vocals and strum, I notice the couple in front of me start to embrace.

‘Love is an Unmade Bed’, another track from the Lonely Valentine Club EP, is up next; a slow bluesy lament about love’s mutual demise. Before the ferociously dark lyrics of ‘Mr King’ sneak cautiously off stage.

Two singles, the 2011 ‘Turn Me On Again’ and 2006 ‘Everybody’s Going to War’, get a back to back delivery – shining brighter acoustically than after their studio polishing. Before a brief pause to talk about the Hadron Collider and “out poshing” some ferry bound seat stealers.“Tweed when it’s not cold???” I am, at this point, crouched on the floor.

Back behind the piano and ‘Geek Love’ gets a jazz lilt, as Pallot rolls her shoulders up and down the keys, before moving straight into her 2009 single ‘Real Late Starter’.

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A call for requests ends up in a medley of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and ‘Learning to Breathe’, before a cover of Ce Ce Peniston’s 1991 dance track – ‘Finally’, surprises me. Seeing ‘Finally’ on the Lonely Valentine Club EP track listing left a nervous rock in my stomach, having witnessed many unfortunate attempts at dance floor adaptations. But Pallot gives the punchy love anthem a modern jazz sedative and makes it exquisitely her own; I am left to add the word ‘kudos’ to my scribbles, and not much else.

‘Grace’ gets Pallot back on guitar, before ‘Put Your Hands Up’ closes the set over a backdrop of unison hand clapping, sporadic dancing and restrained back of the room singing. I did warn you.

All that’s left is a slightly selfish encore (we all know Pallot has a sick child waiting in the wings) and the Ivor Novello nominated ‘Sophia’, a simply remarkable song and a fitting epitaph to the tour.

And as the standing ovation turns into an Alton Towers queue for the merchandise table, I stare at my notepad and mutter once more, “objectivity, objectivity, objectivity…”

I don’t like ‘Love is an Unmade Bed’, as a title. The only honest con I could muster.

For more on Nerina Pallot, including a digital download of her ‘Lonely Valentine Club’ EP, visit hwww.nerinapallot.com

For more gigs at The Glee Club, visit www.glee.co.uk/birmingham-music