By ViX (Victoria Perks)
Ed’s Note – A few months ago, Victoria Perks wrote the following opinion piece; after seeing some of the bands mentioned at One Beat Sunday. I held the article, wanting to find another hook to hang it on.
On Sat Oct 13th, The Independent ran a story, by Alison King, on ‘B Town’ – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/forget-madchester-its-all-about-the-btown-scene-8207631.html
King’s story is arguably questionable, but the reaction to it has prompted the posting of Victoria’s article. With a cap doff to Lyle Bignon and a salute to Ms Perk’s patience.
What does the term ‘B-Town’ mean to you? Anything? Nothing?
Well, word ‘on the street’ is that B-Town is the moniker given to the hip, happening new music scene in, and hailing from, Birmingham. (C’mon guys, get with it)
Curious, but suspicious of a southern conspiracy, I question whether this term was coined by London and/or the NME, to pigeonhole up ‘n’ coming Birmingham artists as a fad – one which could be quickly forgotten.
On the contrary, local bands, Peace and Troumaca, are the most likely suspects responsible for the resurgence of this term, since it is by no means new or unique to Brum anyway (See http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com).
The consensus of opinion is that bands such as Peace, Swim Deep, Troumaca, Xova, The Musgraves, The Carpels, Poppy & the Jezebels, Tempting Rosie, Jaws, Victories at Sea and The Twang are THE bands to see right now, and could all stand under the banner of B-Town. Stylistically we are predominantly talking indie, lo-fi, electronica, ska, reggae, rock and a blend of these genres.
But is this B-Town? The tag has arguably negative connotations, of B-list, second rate, second place… or am I just being overly sensitive? I mean, we are the SECOND city; despite what megalomaniac musical centres such as Manchester and Liverpool may think of us, our city and our music scene.
And second to our country’s capital isn’t exactly a bad place to be, is it? Can we afford to turn our noses up at a hard-earned, well-deserved silver medal? Personally, I’m not in favour of cutting off my nose to spite my face.
So, to B or not to B? That was the original question.
I say go with it; embrace it; take ownership; jump on board and ring the bell. However crass it may seem, fact is that something easily labelled and packaged is easily sold. It’s OUR city, it’s OUR music and it’s high time Birmingham was not only remembered for its vast and varied musical heritage, but also repeatedly recognised for its constant and consistent creativity.
After all, a band by any other name would smell as sweet. And whoever created the name, WE create the music. That’s what really matters.
**ViX’S NOTE – Thanks to all these guys for being splendiferous sounding boards for the above article:
AUTONOMY CENTRAL, ONE BEAT RECORDS, BIRMINGHAM PROMOTERS, GOTHAM RECORDS/BTMG, RADIO TO GO.**