Words by Ray Vincent-Mills / Pics by Connor Pope
It’s a coats up to the chin kind of Saturday night in Moseley, and I am lost. Whoops, I think, the venue can’t be an old church or the M&S food hall…? Eventually I walk through a curved aged metal gate of a quaint garden centre, and I am greeted by decadent hot chocolate with a smile and a hat of whipped cream.
Kikimora records is the self-described ‘label, promoter & ecosystem’ started up by artists and wonky noise makers Emily Doyle and Rosie Tee. Tonight is their first live event joint in Birmingham and also Emily’s 30th birthday.
I head to the back, walking past open fires and rows of succulents, to order a plate of homemade perogies topped with melted butter and crispy onions. Mulled cider is making the rounds, as I head inside a cabin and don’t quite feel like I’m in Birmingham anymore.
I feel like I’ve been shrunken down and transported to someone’s Nan’s house who’s on her way to becoming a fairy godmother; simultaneously elvish and homely, with the remanence of the garden centre (Moseley Gifts & Gardens, a longstanding fixture on Oxford Road, tonight known as Babicabin) being complimented by bright visuals and DJs.
It’s announced that the band are starting, as duo Moths of the Moon enter the stage. It starts off with one half of them setting up a music box and a punch card, which sets the tone of temporary mysticism that floats between the artists.
The other musician has an array of instruments including but not limited to a clarinet, flute, violin, recorder, and a xylophone. “I love that woman, each song I’m like ooooh what is she going to pull out next,” I hear from the crowd behind me.
The anticipation is high as the set evolves into a multi-instrumental masterpiece. The vocals hold an eerie beauty to the ambient vaporwave, somewhat reminiscent of a haunting but its elves and gnomes instead of ghosts. It is intergalactic, pensive, and thoughtful, with the music box being swapped out for a synth responsible for various beeps and boops.
Time slows as there is no rush between songs for silky smooth transitions. The band’s authentic, mysterious, and humble nature translates through the genre bending set. The DIY fairy setting compliments the music perfectly. The woman on stage picks up what I think is a chest and turns it round to reveal a glistening elaborate red accordion. The orchestra packed between the two of the them continues as the set ends with her shaking a tambourine, like she’s trying to get lost in its scent.
Bodies sway wrapped up in coats scarves and hats in a way that highlights the spontaneity (and at times random nature) of the arts scene in Birmingham, one that holds creativity and community in its palm.
In the corner is a craft table equipped with books about plants and the human body, ready to be torn apart and trimmed for collage. I become immersed for a good half an hour sticking and cutting with a backdrop of linocuts of the Babicabin drying behind me. A cake is brought out for Emily’s birthday celebration which she accepts along with a “you’re all really nice, thank you for coming.”
“Emily for president!” someone shouts.
A group of friends catch up over collage as someone excitedly exhales: “Quickly put this there, it’s a monkey teapot.” The lights go up illuminating the intimate unique setting and as the plants go to sleep for the night people start to exit, out of the magic back to the real world.
For more on Moths of the Moon visit www.facebook.com/mothsofthemoon