Writer & Photographer Emily Doyle
Birmingham’s best promoter knows how to put on a show, delivering eight hours of tempting riffs on 15 October. In the words of openers Wiiince, “what else would you be doing on a Saturday afternoon?”
The whole offering takes place at The Crossing, a six-hundred capacity venue that This Is Tmrw have been making their city centre home of late – at least when it’s not a school night. During the week the venue serves as part of the campus for South and City College.
The undeniable school canteen surroundings are effectively dressed up with eye-burning bright visuals, courtesy of local legend Lewes Herriot. Market stalls from local creatives Sleep Sparrow, and Rotunda Industries jostle for attention, with the growing queue for Bop Kebabs generating a proper festival buzz amongst Digbeth’s unrelenting roadworks.
It has to be said that the bar situation is also very festival-esque; while inflation might account for the five-pound cans of Red Stripe, making guests empty water bottles and chuck unopened soft drinks on the door and not providing any tap water inside the venue seems a little uncharitable.
A thread of palatable indie-rock runs through the program. Plucky popsters Wiiince kick off the event with some endearing indie-pop, almost as sugary sweet as Porridge Radio on the main stage later on.
Chichester comeback kids TRAAMS take things in a more robust direction with their motorik return to the This Is Tmrw stage.
Meanwhile, The Lounge Society cement their reputation as ‘up-and-coming’ with an energised set of post-punk, complete with instrument swapping and dance moves to rival Jarvis Cocker from vocalist Cameron Davey.
Birmingham’s own Brian Lightning is perhaps the only performer to one up Davey, interspersing his sparkly lounge pop with magic tricks and costume changes.
A counterpoint to all the jangly riffs and melodic vocals is a gloriously heavy set from Spits Milk. The noise-punk supergroup – which count members of Distophia, Calories, Burning Alms, Sunshine Frisbee Lazerbeam, Mothertrucker and Opium Lord among their ranks- have been making a real name for themselves since their 2021 debut.
Equally refreshing is Sinead O’Brien, who’s post-punk poetry writhes on a bed of woozy synth-rock.
Keg are another wildcard. With trombone parping away at the centre of their agitated art-punk sound, comparisons to Cardiacs are inevitable. But tonight they show themselves to be gleefully, danceably weird in their own right.
Black Mekon need no introduction round these parts, and their packed out headline set on the Weird On Purpose stage goes to show why.
The duo storm through their back catalogue of grotty garage rock jams without pausing for breath. Shrieking harmonica and purring “Mekonizer” segue perfectly into the mangled noise rock riffs on the main stage.
Dublin’s Gilla Band (formerly “Girl Band”) draw the night to a heroic close, peppering fan favourites ‘Pears For Lunch’ and their inspired cover of ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’ with new material that, if less familiar, is just as arresting.
The whole set is a highly textured audio assault that’s sure to blow the cobwebs away from even the weariest ears.
Future Days @ The Crossing 15.10.22 / Emily Doyle
For more from Brian Lightning, please go to www.instagram.com/brianlightninginc
For more from TRAAMS, please go to www.traams.bandcamp.com
For more from Porridge Radio, please go to www.porridgeradio.com
For more from The Lounge Society, please go to www.facebook.com/theloungesociety
For more from Sinead O’Brien, please go to www.sineadobrienpoetry.bandcamp.com
For more from Keg, please go to www.thebandkeg.com
For more from Spits Milk, please go to www.spitsmilk.bandcamp.com
For more from Wiiince, please go to www.wiiince.bandcamp.com
For more from Black Mekon, please go to www.blackmekon.bandcamp.com
For more from Gilla Band, please go to www.gillaband.com