“You can obsess over something but in the end no one pays it much notice to it. I mean, Smashing Pumpkins – a terrible name for a band.”
It’s a good point; for that matter what the hell is a Pearl Jam?
But fame and fortune aren’t the driving force behind YR Welcome, Birmingham – at least, not for the promoters (tickets are £7.50 per day / £10 weekend); the two day bandfest is an assault of live music, punched out in 25minute sets across two stages – with the priority put firmly on the acts performing and the people watching them. Vince Powers can rest easy.
“It’s a scratch the surface kind of gig,” continues Maher, “a marathon of the bands that are knocking around and gaining attention.
And we’ve made sure there’s loads of communication between us and the acts booked; we keep talking about the bands, putting them front and centre of the promotion. We’re documenting the whole show too.”
Sounds laudable, what a promoter should do; has the effort been reciprocated? “Most, if not all, of the acts booked have got into the spirit of things – everyone’s enthusiasm rubs off on a potential crowd.”
And there’s a fair amount to ‘rub off’, with 26 bands performing over the two day festival. But with many of Birmingham’s musical horde looking for some more respectable limelight, was it a difficult event to programme?
“Some bands we’d already seen, some approached us, but all were agreed by a collective decision. It’s a snapshot from the underbelly of Birmingham’s rock scene.” Sounds bohemian? “…nothing too Avant-garde, but all doing something creative and interesting within their chosen genre.”
Broadcast wannabes or not, performing over the YR Welcome, Birmingham weekend is a veritable smorgasbord of local or locally endorsed acts, with names such as Slaves, Ions, ANiMA, God Damn and Ghosts of Dead Airplanes peppering the sardine tin line up. And whilst we’re on food related metaphors, there’s a definite hard candy appeal if you’re into your rock.
“Saturday has a very current ‘noise rock’ feel,” describes Maher, “lots of two pieces. Sunday is less so, with a variety of indie, punk, alternative and grungier elements. But there’ll be a range, with some acoustic and post-rock too.”
So basically shut up and listen, or even learn something; with 25minute sets across two stages there’s enough to sink your ears into. “Yeah, it’s a constant and robust running order keeping up momentum. People should be able to take five band chunks before coming up for air.”
Chris Maher is arguably well versed in Birmingham bands, having promoted across the city’s art scene for several years. But YR Welcome, Birmingham is not his endevour alone, rather the culmination of promotions from Digbeth based arts collective DIE DAS DER – whose 2014 shenanigans have so far come to The Lamp Tavern (Digbeth) and The Sun & the Station (Kings Heath). And with six other people steering DIE DAS DER – all with music and/or arts portfolios, it was unlikely to settle there.
“DIE DAS DER put a few gigs on from February, with a DIY aesthetic – in the back rooms of pubs etc, and we’d built up a roster of acts and venues.” With YR Welcome, Birmingham the logical next step? “We wanted to lead into a larger, cohesive event.”
Larger it certainly is, but how cohesive YR Welcome, Birmingham will be – with wall to wall gigs from Dead Sea Skulls to Kate Roberta, is in the hands of the Almighty. Or the sound technician, which with 26 bands on your bill is pretty much the same thing.
Saturday 9th August
22:15 SWOOMPTHEENG (Outdoor)
21:30 Slaves (Outdoor)
21:00 God Damn (Indoor)
20:30 Ghosts of Dead Airplanes (Outdoor)
20:00 Table Scraps (Indoor)
19:30 Ratel (Outdoor)
19:00 Little Death Machine (Indoor)
18:30 Frauds (Outdoor)
18:00 Ignoramuss (Indoor)
17:30 MUTT (Outdoor)
17:00 Mutes (Indoor)
16:30 Kate Roberta (Outdoor)
15:30 DNP (Outdoor)
Sunday 10th August
21:30 Dead Sea Skulls (Outdoor)
21:00 WAX FUTURES (Indoor)
20:30 ANiMA (Outdoor)
20:00 Fauxchisels (Indoor)
19:30 IONS (Outdoor)
19:00 Adore (Indoor)
18:30 Great Uncles (Outdoor)
18:00 The Mighty Young (Indoor)
17:30 Eat Y’Self Pretty (Outdoor)
17:00 Rick Wellings (Indoor)
16:30 Ultimate Grand Supreme (Outdoor)
16:00 Why? Said the Moon to Earth (Indoor)
15:30 Princess Maha (The Kut) (Outdoor)
YR Welcome, Birmingham comes to the Wagon & Horses in Digbeth, held across Sat 9th – Sun 10th August. Tickets are £7.50 per day / £10 weekend. For more information, including links to online tickets, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/482685528544138/
For more on DIE DAS DER, visit https://www.facebook.com/wearediedasder
For more from the Wagon & Horses, visit http://www.wagonandhorsesdigbeth.com/