Ed’s… Highlights – June ’11

As we roll midway through our nation’s most esoteric of concepts, the official British Summer Time, there’s a few things you can count on. Rain. 20% off at Millets, and extortionate festivals. But if you don’t want to remortgage a kidney for good tunes this June, here’s some of our city’s more accessible ear candy.

The big venue battle continues in town, with the O2 Academy hosting Adam Ant-and-his-ridiculously-long-named-band-album-and-tour on June 1st, and the HMV Institute promoting Jamie Woon’s Birmingham debut on June 4th. The only other, vaguely, slightly, kind of, interesting Academy offers are well enunciated pop punk protégés, Futures, on June 5th and the man who busted Busted, Charlie Simpson, on July 1st. But it’s a decisive win, again, for the HMV Institute, with the Wu-Tang Clan on June 13th, Gomez on June 20th and Fat Freddie’s Drop on June 21st.

The LG Arena boasts a dinosaur line up this month, with Journey, Foreigner and Styx all on the same June 5th bill. The 80’s pop pension support package, or ‘Here & Now Tour’ as it’s promoters call it, is on June 24th, with Boy George, Jason Donovan, Belinda Carlise and other artists you’d find on a Now That’s What I Call Music cassette compilation all sharing the stage. But the big room highlight is not one, but two nights of Neil Diamond on June 28th and 30th. No jokes about this gig. Diamond’s fans may be easily startled, but they’ll be back… and in greater numbers. 

Over at the NIA Paul Simon plays a ferociously expensive gig on June 30th, but the real point of interest is Roger Waters’ new version of ‘The Wall Live’ on June 28th. It’s the first time in 20 years ‘The Wall’ has been toured, and celebrates the 30th anniversary of the seminal Pink Floyd album. And with the average NIA ticket this month costing £55-65, maybe it’ll even make some money this time around?

Back in more familiar postcodes the Hare & Hounds has some of the best people to ever pick up an acoustic guitar on stage this month, with Carina Round and Vijay Kishore both performing on June 8th. If you do nothing else this month, go to this gig. It’s really that simple.

Then on June 8th, dolphin tear jerker Martyn Joseph will be touring his new album, ‘Under Lemonade Skies’. Joseph is the reason I fell for UK folk, after seeing him support Mary Black at the Town Hall in the early 90’s. So to all of my teenage romances, its his fault, now’s your chance.

Elsewhere within a stones throw, The Cross start a series of summer parties on June 10th with DJ Shaun Williams, the man basically responsible for the Rum Runner legacy. The Kitchen Garden Café goes middle class music mad with the Birmingham Chinese Chamber Trio on June 1st, whilst MAC hosts the phenomenal Rich Batsford on June 11th.

But by far the most exciting thing on Brum’s immediate music calendar is the Mostly Jazz Festival, happening in our very own Moseley Park from 1st – 3rd July. Booker T, Alice Russell, Andy Hamilton & The Blue Notes, Gilles Peterson, Matthew Herbert Big Band, Dele Sosimi, Manouche… the list goes on. Although it’ll be watching Milestones perform Davis’ classic ‘Kind Of Blue’ on Sat June 2nd or the Cinematic Orchestra on Fri June 1st that’ll make me sob like a child. And all for considerably less money than a discounted 4-man tent. In a word, magic.

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