Ed’s… Highlights – July ’11

At the risk of repeating myself (…as if I ever) everything’s going festivaltastic. From Lichfield to Harborne; balloons are being blown, tumbolas are being tumbled, main stages are being wired to the mains and revellers of all ages, shapes and economic sizes are getting frisky in wellies. Or Birkenstocks, if you’re on the Art Trail in Eastnor.

But look… outside the Harris fencing, some escaped musicians playing regular gigs. Quick, stop them before Vince Powers wakes up.

Headbanging rocker and rumoured Marilyn Manson muse, James Taylor, is bringing his cutting edge nu-punk to the LG Arena on July 9th. As Bill Hicks once explained, that man has a lot of the 70’s pent up frustration to answer for. American college rock trio Blink 182 follow him less than a week later on July 15th, bringing their three ages of man tattoos and safe bad boy punk tantrums to the arenas of Birmingham. So lock up your daughters. Or not. My 5 year old niece would fancy her chances in a straight fight with the drummer.

In the city’s other big rooms, the HMV Institute presents the ethereally sexy Alexis Jordan on July 2nd, with the O2 Academy answering back in the form of trailer park debutant Ke$ha on July 3rd. Neither artist is the cancer cure of music, but dear god Ke$ha… there has to be an easier way.

On a more intimate note Lucy Wainwright Roche brings her accoustic American folk to the Glee Club on July 17th. The third in the Wainwright trilogy, Lucy only joined the family business full time in 2007 after being a school teacher. You can kind of see it too, and she’s definitely well worth a ticket to listen to as well.

Closer to B13, 6 piece a cappella advert sensation The Magnets play a special concert at the MAC on July 8th. Birmingham 13 covered this in our last issue, so I won’t repeat… hold on, anyway, it’ll be a lot of fun and all the ticket money goes to the Teenage Cancer Trust. So go or be guilty.

And now, with the will power of a recovering alcoholic I avoid the Hare & Hounds listings to tackle the beginning of festival season head on. First off, Birmingham has two major Jazz festivals happening this month, rather curiously at the same time. Mostly Jazz takes over Moseley Park from 1st – 3rd July, bringing a bounty of artists including the Cinematic Orchestra, Alice Russell and the legendary Booker T, whilst the 27th Birmingham International Jazz Festival takes over a splattering of city centre venues from July 1st – 10th. I could double my word count listing the acts appearing throughout the BIJF, but here’s some names a Brummie might recognise; King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, The Notebenders, Steve Ajao and Andy Hamilton.

If Jazz is not you’re thing then there are alternatives, namely the Latin American Festival in Victoria Square on July 4th, the National Youth Music Organisations festival at the Town Hall on July 11th and the Birmingham Belly Dancing festival at the Dance XChange on July 23rd. Although really these are just one day events, but if you want a festival in the proper sense of the word…

Global Gathering is back at Long Marston Airfield on July 29th – 30th. What started as a one night 15,000 person rave in a field is now a monster of a festival. Pendulum, Tinie Tempah, Underworld, Case & Status, the list is pretty much endless. Plus at £99 for a weekend ticket it’s not a bad bullet to bite. Enjoy.