Words by Ed King
The shortest month of the year is here. Luckily it’s also the turning point, as life starts to push up through the thaw and Percy Thrower can start planning his planters. OK, bad example, but there’s a joke about daisies in the somewhere.
But luckily for us mortal coilers, the venues and promoters of this city are still packing a pretty heavy punch with February’s event calendar. If there truly is no rest for the wicked, then it seem incongruous that anyone got Christmas presents this year.
Comedy starts strong with the ‘queen of the acerbic broad smile’, or Katherine Ryan as she’s known in other publications, bringing her Glitter Room tour to the Symphony Hall (2nd Feb) – a week before the Machynlleth Comedy Festival Showcase (9th Feb) comes to mac with Joe Lycett, Tom Parry, Mike Bubbins, Rachel Parris and Danny Clives. Then it’s back to the Glee Club for a little end of the month self help, as Lloyd Griffiths (23rd Feb) walks us through what it’s like to feel in:Undated in ‘a show about overcoming the overwhelming.’ I call them mornings, but we’ll see what he brings to the table.
Hurst Street is the home of dance this month, with Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella coming to the Hippodrome (6th – 10th Feb) whilst round the corner DanceXchange and Mark Bruce Company present a reworking of Macbeth (8th-9th Feb). And no doubt making St Valentine’s Day less of a massacre for many in this city, see what I did there, Birmingham Royal Ballet present The Sleeping Beauty back at the Hippodrome (13th – 24th Feb).
Music has everyone from the soon to be great to the already good coming through the city, kicking off with a cross city battle between Peach Club at The Sunflower Lounge (6th Feb) and While She Sleeps at the O2 Institute (6th Feb). A week later we have Iron & Wine at Symphony Hall (13th Feb), followed by Bedford’s alt rockers Don Bronco at the O2 Academy (15th Feb) as Dermot Kennedy plays the O2 Institute (15th Feb). A day later there’s Mondo Royale spicing it up at the Actress & Bishop (16th Feb) bringing a few different strands of your music rainbow across our city. In the days after that, we see Cabbage at the Castle & Falcon (17th Feb), one not to be missed, The Ataris at The Asylum (17th Feb), Irit at the Glee Club (19th Feb), Laura Misch at the Hare & Hounds (20th Feb), Big Cat at the Indie Lounge in Selly Oak (23rd Feb) and Puma Blue at The Sunflower Lounge (24th Feb).
All the ‘big gigs’ this month are at the Genting Arena, in the shape of Imagine Dragons (24th Feb) and the man himself, or one of them at least, Morrissey (27th Feb). But there’s a few home grown releases this month worth saving your sheckles for too, as Amit Datani releases his debut solo album – Santiago (17th Feb) and Table Scraps send another fuzz monster into the world with their latest long player – Autonomy (23rd). Watch out for March’s listings for showcase gigs from both.
Exhibitions come from a multitude of angles this month, with the two blips on our radar being Factory Warhol at The Sunflower Lounge (10th Feb) and The Dekkan Trap from Sahej Rahal in mac’s First Floor Gallery (17th Feb) – with a few ancillary events to introduce both the artist and exhibition.
Some suitable love story based theatre starts treading the boards in this most Hallmark of months, with Penguins (1st –10th Feb) and Brief Encounter (2nd – 17th Feb) coming to the Birmingham REP, as The Last Five Years get played out at The Old Joint Stock (14th – 18th Feb). Then it’s the arguably less seductive A History of Heavy Metal with Andrew O’Neill & Band in mac’s Theatre (18th Feb), before the award winning Mental has a three day at The Old Joint Stock (21st – 23rd Feb) and Terence Rattigan’s The Windslow Boy begins it’s run at REP (21st Feb – 3rd Mar). And for one night only each, LEFTY SCUM: Josie Long, Jonny & The Baptists and Grace Petrie present a mix bag of ‘Music! Comedy! Revolutionary socialism’ again in mac’s Theatre (27th Feb) whilst back at The Old Joint Stock there is single An Act of Kindness (28th Feb) to round off the month. But don’t worry, it’ll be back in March.
So, enough to keep you lovebirds busy this month – or to distract the kings and queens of singledom on that depressing light letter box day. But whether you face this world alone or together there’s always Fight Club for £1 at The Mockingbird Kitchen & Cinema (12th Feb). Cheaper than a card, at least.
For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlink. Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview.