ED’S PICK: April ‘18

Words by Ed King

Easter Sunday, 1st April… There’s probably a joke in there somewhere. But with a basket of listings and entertainment based excel spreadsheets to plough through who has the time to be witty? Or hunt for Easter eggs, for that matter. Being an adult sucks.

However (…are you ready for this segue) it does allow me to enjoy all the delights of the Flatpack Film Festival without worrying about ID – actually, I’m not sure there’s too much on the programme with an age restriction but Dots & Loops are part of the festival and they brought us Lesley the Pony Has and A+ Day!, so…

Back for festival number 12, those glorious creatives at Flatpack have put on a nine day smorgasbord of celluloid, digital, and other audio/visual treats – running from 13th to 22nd April, in a variety of venue across the city. Too much to cram into this round up; look out for our more in-depth cherry pick in the days to come, or click here for more direct information on the full programme.

Elsewhere in the non-greenfield, Ebola flirting, footwear wrecking land of multi-stage events, we have the Birmingham Literature Festival – hop scotching from various corners of the REP to the Birmingham and Midland Institute from 27th to 29th April. Now old enough to drink beer in America, this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival has a focus on women in literature and publishing, alongside a weekend long programme of ‘inspiring conversations, writing and debate’. Again too much to adequately surmise, but click here for more direct info.

Following on with a female focus, Birmingham Jazz launches its Legends Festival on 27th April – running as a series of satellite events across the city until 20th May. This year’s linchpin is ‘Celebrating Women in Jazz’, with local artists such as Trish Clowes joining a myriad of talent from across the globe. Too much to fit into… you know the drill, click here.

Theatre comes in all shapes and sizes this month, including a couple of choice cuts on Hurst Street – with Wicked beginning its Birmingham run at the Hippodrome (4th-29th Apr) and The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel at the Patrick Centre (4th– 8th Apr).

Across the duel carriageways and road works we have Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock coming to the Birmingham REP (10th – 14th) followed by the political see-saw of 1970’s Britain in This House (17th – 21st) – reminding us fear mongering comes from both sides of the aisle and a dash of vitriol isn’t a particular new idea. How times have changed… or not.

Music takes its usual fat belly slice of our monthly listings, with a few ‘big gigs’ of notE coming to the NEC portfolio – as the Genting Arena sees both Arcade Fire (15th Apr) and Dua Lipa (17th Apr), whilst Arena Birmingham welcomes the Manic Street Preachers (27th Apr) back to the city.

Playing across the non-arena rooms of our musical city, the Hare & Hounds has another eclectic mix – with Kushikatsu Records presenting Shonen Knife (15th Apr) followed Snowpoet (19th Apr) courtesy of Jazzlines. Whilst The Glee Club sees the very welcome return of Nerina Pallot (9th Apr) stopping off in Birmingham on the second date if her UK tour. Fingers crossed there’s a piano on stage.

The Sunflower Lounge sees Killer Wave and Outlander host their ‘Help the Homeless’ pay-as-you-feel charity fundraiser (8th Apr) – with all money raised going to Shelter and Tabor House. Then we have Lucy May Walker playing her first headline show in Birmingham (18th Apr) – both events well worth a stop, look and listen. And £5 of your hard earned cash, of course.

Our mobile branded venues see a bevy of acts this month too, with the O2 Academy presenting George Ezra (4th Apr), The Vaccines (7th Apr), Trivium (17th Apr), The Streets (19th Apr), Coasts (21st Apr) and Akala (24th Apr). Whilst the O2 Institute leads out with Walk the Moon (7th Apr), Little Comets (14th Apr), Aquilo (16th Apr), Of Mice and Men (25th Apr) and Sharon Needles: Battle Axe Tour (26th Apr).

A special mention also has to go to the Hummingbird-Menagerie-Indie-salad days-nostalgia trip coming to the O2 Academy with Love From Stourbridge – featuring The Wonder Stuff and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (14th Apr). Someone pass me my German army shirt, skateboard and a can of Red Stripe, we’re going early 90’s feral…

And if you’re committed to your anti-corporate support of live music, never fear as mac welcomes Juice Aleem & Surge Orchestra (21st Apr) whilst Mama Roux’s serves two sides of the musical rainbow with The Herbaliser (19th Apr) and Mallory Knox (24th Apr)… probably not a good idea to get those dates mixed up in your diary.

Elsewhere in the city, comedy offers a relatively strong respite from those kids and their music – with The Glee Club presenting Tony Law (13th Apr), Alun Cochrane (15th Apr) and Craig Campbell (22nd Apr).

Or if you just want to stand and stare, you could waste a happy hour or two at Lewes Herriot: The Glass Arcana exhibition at Artefact in Stirchley (13th – 14th Apr). Or watching the flyers unfold with an exhibition from the seminal 90’s ambient electro club Oscillate, at Centrala (16th – 28th Apr) – bearing in mind there is an end of exhibition party with HIA and POLE (28th Apr) so you might want to do more than actually just stand and stare. Or not. Depends how you dance to Sun Electric, I suppose. Necking enough amphetamines to kill a small horse always worked for me, but vegetarian options are available.

But to end on the most glamorous of high notes (pun absolutely intended) Paul Alexsandr and Dragpunk present Candyland at The Nightingale (6th Apr) – a choc full celebration of ‘local and national UK drag of all genders, sexualities and abilities that you’ll adore.’ Then at the other end of the April rainbow, Opulence are launching Mother’s Meeting at Bar Jester (28th Apr) – a band spanking new ‘performance night dedicated to showing off a variety of drag and queer talent across Birmingham and the U.K.’, with special guest Charity Kase joined by a pageant of the Opulence crew on stage and Elliot Barnicle on the decks.

Birmingham can be proud for many reasons, but the cross over embrace of its drag community is one to really get those flags waving. We love covering it, and it seems the punters of Birmingham love supporting it. So, Vive la/le drag community of our fair/fairer city, alongside all who sail on these most wonderful of waters. Save some energy though, Birmingham Pride is a mere calendar page turn away.

And wait, I’ve just thought of one. A Jewish carpenter and a 6ft rabbit walk into Cadbury World…

For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlinks. Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview. To follow Ed King on Twitter, click here.

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