BPREVIEW: Kioko + Ed Geater, Kofi Stone @ O2 Academy 26.10.17

BPREVIEW: Kioko + Ed Geater, Kofi Stone @ O2 Academy 26.10.17

Words by Ed King 

On Thursday 26th October, the Birmingham based ska/reggae collective, Kioko, perform a special home town show at the O2 Academy – with support from Ed Geater and Kofi Stonehttp://birminghamreview.net/category/bpreviews/

Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £9 (+ booking fee) – as presented by DHP Family. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Birmingham reggae… not often you see those two words throw together these days, at least not unless Basil Gabbidon and friends are about to swagger on stage (and Gaw’d love ‘em when they do). But now this moniker can introduce a younger, leaner, smarter looking ensemble, as Kioko have been clawing their way across festival sites and music industry desks since their debut True What They Say EP back in 2014. And the seven piece have accumulated a fair amount of excitement too, bringing a fervent live show to pretty much every stage they grace… even if they do end up shouting the wrong town name to the crowd.

Picked up by BBC Introducing, Kioko have played respectable festivals including Glastonbury, Kendal Calling and Reading. But their support sets that have held some significant impact too – opening for luminaries including Dub Pistols, Lee Scratch Perry and The Wailers. So if they’re looking to build a portfolio of endorsement from the golden era of reggae, there’s only a few more until they get the complete set.

But Thursday 26th October is their show, with support from some more homespun talent in the form of hip hop producer and emcee Kofi Stone, and the one-man-six-string beat machine that is Ed Geater. And after chewing a diary for a few hours, we’ve landed on ‘STONKING’ as the line up’s official description.

Coming to the 600 capacity room at the O2 Academy, this is a big gig in more ways than one. But the momentum of love and support has been building behind it so we’re fingers crossed for a sell out – the heavens know the line up deserves one. So if you want to guarantee your place to see Kioko headline their homecoming, you might not want to not drag your ticket buying heels for to long.

‘Tired of Lying’ – Kioko

Kioko come to the O2 Academy on Thursday 26th October, with support from Ed Geater and Kofie Stone – as presented by DHP Family. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

For more on Kioko, visit www.soundcloud.com/kiokomusicuk

For more on Ed Geater, visit www.edgeater.co.uk

For more on Kofi Stone, visit www.soundcloud.com/kofistone

For more from DHP Family, including all tours and venues, visit www.dhpfamily.com

For more from the O2 Academy, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham

BPREVIEW: Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17

Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17

Words by  Ed King / Live pics by Rob Hadley & Paul Reynolds

On Saturday 25th November, Birmingham Review presents its winter showcase at the Actress & Bishop – a live gig, with Rews + The Hungry Ghosts as joint headliners, alongside Ed Geater in support.

Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £8 (advance) and £10 (on the door) plus the relevant booking fee if you buy through a ticket agent. Tickets can be bought via See Tickets, Eventbrite and Music Glue – click on the name/logo of each outlet for a direct link.



Tickets are also available through the individual artists’ websites: Rews, The Hungry Ghosts, Ed Geater. Or you can buy tickets direct from Birmingham Review – contact us on info@birminghamreview.net to arrange physical ticket sales (p&p may apply).

So that’s what, where and how much sorted. Now a little more on who… Birmingham Review is lucky enough to have covered a whole smorgasbord of music across 2017, from the lava lamp delights of The Mother’s Earth Experiment to the eclectic ensembles of the Post Paradise showcases at Centrala. Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17But there are always those that stick in our ears for a little longer, or to quote one of our headliners: “Like a little Tequila worm that crawls in, gets drunk, and stays in there forever.”

To show how much we love what we love, we’ve invited a few of our new(ish) friends to come and play at what is, in effect, our (non-denominational) Christmas party. And we’re inviting you, for the mere price of a ticket, to come and see a few of the horses we’re backing in the New Year.

You know that friend that always goes on about having seen (INSERT NAME OF BIG BAND) when they played (INSERT NAME OF SMALL VENUE)… well this is your chance to do one better. Three better, in fact. Check out the below for a sneaky peak at the Pyramid Stage headliners of tomorrow. Or even better, come down to the Actress & Bishop on Saturday November 25th and seem then a bit more close and personal… well, up close at least.



Rews @ The Flapper 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

First spotted playing at The Flapper back in February, where I got to interview the two women who are increasingly being referred to a ‘the next Royal Blood’ and Damien got to cover the gig. Seldom do you get such a good first impression, both on stage and off.

Since then Rews have gone on to storm Glastonbury (one of Mark Radcliffe’s festival highlights), nudge their way onto various national radio stations, be the first UK band signed to Marshall Records and line up an album, the actually eagerly awaited Pyro – out in November. Just don’t tell them I used an adverb. Infectious, awesome and will kick the teeth out of our Christmas party.

‘Shine’ – Rews (taken from their forthcoming debut album, Pyro) 

For more on Rews, visit www.rewsmusic.com


The Hungry Ghosts

The Hungry Ghosts - 'Amerika/Lazaro' single launch @ Centrala 22.07.17 / Rob Hadley - Birmingham Review

It’s no surprise that WE LOVE THE HUNGRY GHOSTS at Birmingham Review. And to prove it, we’ve covered them here, here, here, and of course here. I have even had to stop myself from writing about their gigs, as my sycophantic rhetoric is in danger of repeating itself. Plus, there’s no better metaphor than a Joe Joseph metaphor and I’m tired of being outdone (I should learn the guitar to balance things out).

But all their praise is deserved; to quote Larry Love from Alabama 3, whom ‘the ghosts’ supported back in 2015, “they’re a rock band. A real fucking rock band”. Which indeed, they are. The next 24 months could be the pivotal point for a band who, and I mean this, could well land somewhere between The Rolling Stones and The White Stripes in both sound and success. All aboard the Slaughterhouse Blues Express, next stop ‘Amerika’…

‘Amerika’ – The Hungry Ghosts

For more on The Hungry Ghosts, visit www.thehungryghosts.co.uk


Ed Geater

Ed Geater @ Hare & Hounds 24.03.17 / Rob Hadley - Birmingham Review

I first saw Ed Geater at a showcase presented by Call Me Unique (who sadly couldn’t join us on stage, but has promised to make up for it at the bar) – but his name has been buzzing around the Birmingham circuit and beyond for a while. I have never met someone who didn’t enjoy an Ed Geater gig – seriously, if you’re out there get in touch we need to emboss you in bronze.

Master of the loop pedal, a seriously talent songwriter and an overall lovely fella, if some savvy subsidiary doesn’t snap him up soon we’ll eat all the hats. Check out Giles Logan’s great interview with Mr. Geater too, ahead of his headline show Hare & Hounds homecoming hoedown…. and breathe, that we covered back in March.

‘Symmetry’ – Ed Geater

For more on Ed Geater, visit www.edgeater.co.uk/


Birmingham Review presents its winter showcase at the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 25th November, with Rews, The Hungry Ghosts, Ed Geater. For tickets email info@birminghamreview.net, or click on the following outlets: See Tickets, Eventbrite, Music Glue




For more from the Actress & Bishop, including venue details and links to event, visit www.facebook.com/Actressandbishop/

For more from Birmingham Promoters, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.birminghampromoters.com

BREVIEW: Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17

Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review




Words by  Ed King / Pics Paul Reynolds

Due to a late cancellation at The Sunflower Lounge, we have two extra names on the bill tonight – with North Parade and My-Hi joining Hankks, Quinn and Semantics at the Actress & Bishop. Not bad for a fiver (neither is the new Semantic EP, Acid Test… but more on that later).

But time, tide and the Number 45 bus wait for no man, and with an excellent track record of poor time keeping I rock up to the A&B just in time to catch the last song from My-Hi. Nothing like a bit of head banging at 8:30pm on a Saturday; I even have the hair for it nowadays… where’s my snakebite?

My-Hi - supporting Semantics, Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewNext up is Quinn, the curious three piece fronted by the legendary Sam Lambeth. Quinn look like a fresher’s party at five in the morning,  but sound like Mega City Four – for those of you who will get the somewhat archaic reference – with languid melodies disguised by fast paced distortion and an unashamed rock outlook on life. But Lambeth is a superstar in the making, with absurd confidence, deft solos and the kind of charisma that you would sign in blood to possess.

He’s a great writer too (one I tried to bring onto these pages but was trounced by the perennial lure of London) and even as a front man with sparkles from head to toe, kind to his audience – dedicating a track to “super fan Zach Aston, I heard you lost your virginity last night so this one’s for Quinn - supporting Semantics, Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Reviewyou”. But sadly, truthfully, and with the softest of kit gloves, the rest of the band fall a tad short; practice, a metronome and possibly some solo material might not be a bad idea for a while. I hear London’s quite up and coming so Lambeth should be in luck. For everything else there’s always Amazon.

A case of mistaken identity later and I’m wrestling my cider back from Hankks’ drummer, before the polka dot fronted four piece take to the stage. An honest mistake, but I can be a shallow man when it comes to alcohol. Mercifully Hankks are solid as a rock, with a tight (albeit slightly detached) set of bouncing grunge rock with little to let it down. Little to really remember too, and once my more learned friend noticed “they sound like an early Green Day” that’s all I could hold in my head.  But keep on trucking lads; you got mustard in there.

Hankks - supporting Semantics, Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewThen the lights go down, the mood shifts, and the most well dressed (and amongst the loveliest) band in Birmingham take their place centre stage. With a new EP on the table, literally, Semantics kick off their headline set.

DISCLAIMER: Birmingham Review is lucky enough to get a fair number of bands and musicians reach out to us, but the one’s that do it with kindness and candor (and enough advance notice) stand a much better chance of getting covered. Take note – this probably applies beyond our pages too. But that doesn’t mean we will them write a good review. An honest review, yes, but you have to earn your gold stars.

Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewJosh RB, Semantics‘ bass player, has been a joy to get to know – even bouncing over to give me a big hug and introduce their front man, Rob Lilley, whom I had not yet met (please don’t hug all our reviewers). So I’m nervous now. What if they’re shit. I am ruthless about honesty from the Birmingham Review contributors so should probably lead by example. A few minutes pass and I’m more nervous… seriously, what if they’re really shit.

Opening with an instrumental, Semantics sound is immediate; a brooding backdrop pierced by clear and dominating riffs (SECOND DISCLAIMER: I am not a musician). Then it’s the title track from the reason we’re here, as ‘Acid Test’ introduces the mournful lament of Rob Liley’s vocals – albeit somewhat let down by the sound desk – and the dark but beautiful box he wants our kisses wrapped up in.

‘A cut above’ is what I tap into Samsung Notes, before adding some nonsense about ‘sense and sensibility’ and spending the next 5 minutes looking for a glockenspiel.

But Semantics clearly know what they’re doing, as the set builds into a quite ferocious wall of sound (sorry, but the cliché is too appropriate not to use) adding layer upon glorious goth layer and dragging the audience into the stage with invisible fish hooks. I think, by now, I’m dancing, or an approximation of this. But the floor has to make room some as first Josh RB, then Bridie Green, step out into the crowd for a well controlled showcase. Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

This is when I stop writing (or an approximation of this) – Semantics, here tonight, are just too fucking good. Its a show; a proper gig. And aside from the vocals being squashed into a cotton wool pancake (seriously sound desk…?) the audio is awesome, the delivery is near perfect, and the look is… well, working.

I wasn’t sure if the stylised nature of this band would stand up in a live setting, and I was worried that the spectre of Ian Curtis would be too much of a distraction, but Semantics own every inch of their set with confidence and grace.

And because I also ask our contributors to try and find a counterpoint – what I call the ‘velvet glove punch’ – I shall end an overwhelmingly positive review with a word of warning. In fact I’ll end with three: Joy, Division, careful.Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

For more on Semantics, visit www.soundcloud.com/semanticsuk 

For more on Hankks, visit https://soundcloud.com/hankks 

For more on Quinn, visit www.soundcloud.com/quinn-580556457 

For more from Actress & Bishop, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/Actressandbishop

For more from Birmingham Promoters, visit www.birminghampromoters.com

BPREVIEW: Semantics – Acid Test EP launch @ Actress & Bishop 09.09.17

Words by Damien Russell

Striking in both sound and appearance, the Actress & Bishop welcome Semantics to its stage on 9th September 2017 – celebrating the release of their sophomore EP, Acid Test.

The event, brought to you by Birmingham Promoters, will run from 7.30pm through to 1.00am, with tickets priced at £6 plus the usual booking fees. For direct gig info, including online ticket sales, click here.

Semantics are supported by high octane indie/punk rockers Hankks, who are no strangers to the Actress & Bishop, and power pop band Quinn who remind me of a softer Smashing Pumpkins.

Starting with airplay on BBC WM Introducing, 2017 has been the year Semantics kicked things up a notch. Founded in 2014 and with their first recorded music release on the 1st July 2016, Semantics took a little time to prepare before taking the Birmingham music scene on fully, but since then they have been hitting it hard and keeping the pace high.

Their first EP, self titled, saw the first of their BBC WM Introducing spins, made it onto the Little Indie Blog track of the day and was crowned one of Scruff Of The Neck Records’ top five tracks of the week – all within two months.

Now before I go through any more of the year’s achievements, sound-wise Semantics are a fusion of 80’s synth-pop melodies and guitar led indie rock. Their music centers around the powerful vocals of Rob Lilley, and the simple, engaging melodies he creates.

Behind this sits a driving rhythm section that gives their songs a foot tapping, head nodding quality and a soaring guitar, heavily laden with echo (or delay, I can’t work out which) that adds a high melody to counterpoint Lilley’s vocal, bringing extra depth to their sound. Some bands work with each instrument in its place; some bands create a unified wall of sound. Semantics are the latter.

After a strong start in 2017, Semantics headed down south for their debut show in the capital before, in March, getting back into the studio for their second EP recording. In April they headlined the Into The Void Festival at the 6/8 Kafe before heading back down to London to The Finsbury Pub. The radio play and headline shows continued and while staying at a steady one-a-month kind of rate, there is a consistency to it that speaks to me of a steady but fierce rise.

Leading us to this… Semantics‘ second EP release show. Whether this will be promo, party or both is yet to be seen, but it’s a promising lineup and there’s only one way to find out; get yourself to the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 9th September. Click here for direct gig info and tickets, from Birmingham Promoters.

‘Acid Test’ – Semantics

For more on Semantics, visit www.soundcloud.com/semanticsuk

For more on Hankks, visit www.soundcloud.com/hankks

For more on Quinn, visit www.soundcloud.com/quinn-580556457

For more from Actress & Bishop, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/Actressandbishop

For more from Birmingham Promoters, visit www.birminghampromoters.com