Snapshots of Mumbai – by Ed King, featuring pictures from Paul Ward

Pics by Paul Ward – all photography in this article has taken from Snapshots of Mumbai

On Saturday 15th August, Birmingham born writer Ed King releases Snapshots of Mumbai – marking 75 years of India’s independence from British colonial rule.

Supporting the text are a series of original images from photographer Paul Ward, who recently won the ‘Fashion Photographer’ category at the British Photography Awards 2020.

Exploring the might and majesty of India, whilst following the roots of British imperialism, Snapshots of Mumbai is ‘a love letter’ to the modern day megacity – published by Review Publishing, owners of Birmingham Review.

The 204 page coffee table book is an anthology of essays and interviews from Mumbai – starting with ‘South City’, a walking tour through the history of this sprawling modern metropolis.

‘Places Behind’ goes deeper under the surface of prominent areas in Mumbai, such as Dhobi Ghats – the world’s largest outdoor laundromat, and Dharavi – Asia’s biggest slum where the film Slumdog Millionaire was set.

‘Modern Gods’ explores three major driving forces behind Mumbai, told through more extensive essays on religion, entertainment, and trade.

Whilst ‘Interviews’ sees Ed King talk directly to of people about their first-hand experiences of living and working in Mumbai.

Featured in the chapter are Saami – a street hawker who works and lives on the streets of Colaba, and Ashwin Merchant – Deputy Director of the Swiss Business Hub, who had to help Mumbai police identify bodies after the 2008 terror attacks, and Naresh Fernandes – a prominent Mumbai based journalist and writer, who was editor of Time Out Mumbai when interviewed.

‘The Gallery’, the final chapter in Snapshots of Mumbai, showcases a special series of twelve photographs from the project by Paul Ward – which have already been on display as standalone exhibitions at both Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Bilston Art Gallery.

Written for audiences who may or may not know the city, Snapshots of Mumbai is also ‘a reminder’ of Britain’s colonial legacy in South Asia – introducing today’s readers to the ‘forgotten history’ of the British Raj.

The first of five books that will follow Britain’s involvement with India – from the trade of the East India Company to the military occupation enforced by the British Crown – the Snapshots of… series will further cover Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Kashmir.

Ed King was born in Birmingham, but has a longstanding relationship with India – having covered music events across the country for a number of UK titles.

Although it was his own ignorance of the history between the two countries that spurred him to write Snapshots of Mumbai.

“The term ‘Empire’ was never taught in my history lessons,” tells Ed King, “it was a left to fade behind tales of the League of Nations and other heroic feathers in caps.

“But the legacy of British India has shaped both countries, tied them together – and it’s becoming part of the world’s conveniently forgotten history.

“I wrote Snapshots of Mumbai because I wanted to learn about the relationship between Britain and India myself. Something I hoped to pass on in an engaging narrative surrounded by beautiful pictures – thank you Paul Ward. This book is not an accusation of ignorance; I want the book to be enjoyed. It is, quite simply, a love letter to the city – an exploration of Mumbai.

“But we should hold on to history and know how the world was formed by our grandparents, our great grandparent’s, and those that came before. It is a frightening and absurd chapter to forget. There’s still an audience for truth.”

Ed King interviewed about Snapshots of Mumbai – filmed at Oikos Café, Erdington

Snapshots of Mumbai is available in both hardback and paperback editions from Saturday, 15 August, release by Review Publishing. 

For more on Snapshots of Mumbai, including links to online sales, visit

For more on Paul Ward, visit

ALBUM: Warriors – REWS 07.08.20

Words by Ed King / Images courtesy of Marshall Records

That difficult second album was a little more challenging for REWS, aka the Belfast born London living rock songstress that is Shauna Tohill.

Not only did Tohill have her band spilt in two, following an absurdly strong debut album, but that pesky global pandemic severed the promo gigs for her follow up right down the middle as well – with concerns over coronavirus cutting short the aptly named Phoenix Tour in early March.

Now, on the red latter date that is 7th August 2020, finally something is going her way. REWS’s sophomore album, Warriors, has hit the shelves – or whatever lexicon describes our current online purchasing patterns. But sterilised, self-isolated, never before touched by human hands copies of this 11 track return to glory are now flinging themselves up and down the country. At least something can.

So, is it any good? Has the wait been worth it?

It is tempting to make similes about the name of the previously cancelled tour… but a mythical bird that is gloriously reborn from the flames and ash of its own demise is quite a fitting symbol. If I can find something in Greek mythology that symbolises a killer rock riff and soaring vocals, then the metaphor may be complete.

But to use the parlance of more modern times, Warriors is ‘a banger’ – start to finish, a wrecking ball of a rock album. Warriors is more mature, robust, and ultimately promising than its predecessor, showing a diversity and bravery in its approach that screams gold stars for Tohill and her team.

Opening with ‘Birdsong’, which is simply a corker of a tune, the album is peppered with chorus catching singles such as ‘Monster’ and ‘Heat on Fire’– standing tall as singles should.

Across the 11 tracks there are moments of wonderful restraint, held against Tohill’s powerful front person persona which has always made REWS such a confident and class act  – the album’s sorta/kinda title track ‘Today We’re Warriors’ is a great line in the sand for this, alongside the furiously addictive ‘Razorblade’.

And whilst Tohill has not lost her flair for melody, it’s the song writing that really shines across Warriors – this is development, and in that crazy good way that makes you believe you’ll be listening to this artist in your dotage.

‘Move On’ is a cracking raw edge, ‘Play Dead’ shows a confident grasp on the new ensemble, and the denouement, ‘Bad Habits’, is a wonderful surprise and goodbye. Or rather, see you later – we hope. And to this writer, lyrically Warriors is unrecognisable from what came before. I just love it.

REWS have often been referred to as a ‘powerhouse’ – and this declaration to not go quietly into the night is another stamp of their increasing authority on modern rock. Which, honestly, it might not have been – with all the hurdles that have been put in front of it, you’d be forgiven for making a few stumbles along the way.

Warriors if the start of something, not the end – with bright red plumes to send it on its way. And if you’ve ever seen Shauna Tohill strut her funky stuff on stage, you know this is going to ABSOLUTELY SLAY live – once the doors are open and the drinks are flowing again. Socially distanced mosh pit anyone?

‘Today We’re Warriors’

Warriors by REWS is out from Friday 7th August, released via Marshall Records. For online orders and other related REWS merchandise, visit 

For more on REWS, visit

SINGLES: ‘Today We’re Warriors’ – REWS / ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ – [SKETCH]

Ed’s note…

A long time ago in a music venue far, far away…

Like much of the entertainment industry, Birmingham Review has been ‘resting’ since the end of March – when we published our last article before all that pesky pandemic malarkey.

Although we were amongst the lucky ones; the venues were closing, the gigs weren’t happening, so a surprise holiday was about the darkest cloud on our horizon. And how many times had we cried out for the ‘life pause button’… Our hats are off and our hearts go out to all the artists and venues who have been much more adversely affected.

But there was one casualty in Camp Review, our gig with REWS – originally scheduled for 21st March at the O2 Institute 3, with local punk-rocksters [SKETCH] supporting – was postponed.

Until when, we didn’t know. No one knew. And there were a lot of questions before that one that people needed answering.

But on Friday 17th July, we can once again celebrate both of these bands – and whilst we desperately still want to see them share a stage, having the same single release day is a pretty good interim measure. So welcome back one and all – and however you’ve been hit by the coronaviris crisis, we wish you all the luck and love you need to make it through x


Words by Ed King / Profile pic by Jude Palmer

‘Today We’re Warriors’ – REWS

Someone once challenged me to name a band, any band, that continuously gets better as they get older – single after single, album after album, tour after tour… still grabbing your attention in the way they first did. Try it. It’s not as easy as it sounds. And you can’t say The Beatles.

REWS, however, are one of these bands – it’s why Birmingham Review has thrown so much page space their way. When we first saw them, they were awesome. The next time they came to Brum, they were even better. The time after that, they had taken another step up. And the story continues…

But the sword of album two was always hanging over their heads, alongside a line up change that was so unfortunately timed it could have derailed any ensemble. Old or new. Pyro was a ferocious debut, a real monster of an album, which is great… but how the f*ck are you going to pull another one of those out the bag???

Kicking off, and we use the adjective/noun deliberately, with a Shauna Tohill signature foot stomping guitar riff, ‘Today We’re Warriors’ is immediately another REWS banger (official term). Add it to the list, pour another shandy, and scream with the windows rolled down – REWS keep getting bigger and bolder.

But with maturity comes confidence, and REWS pull back on the reigns of their new single – with a pause, rim tap, and tempered vocals taking over after about 10secs in. You know that question about ‘still grabbing your attention’… yeah, well, this is how you do that.

But the ferocity we know and love REWS for is not too far behind, with the dance between IN YOUR FACE ROCK and a stripped-back-strut-inducing sound keeping this track on its toes from start to finish. If this is the taste of Warriors – REWS’s sophomore album,  set for release on 7th August – then I might just have an answer to my original question…

“Today were warriors – the song exclaims exactly what the name suggests!” explains Shauna Tohill. “Every morning we wake up, we have a choice in what kind of journey we will lead.  There are dark days where our path is unclear and blocked (some more than others) and that’s when I want to encourage everyone to keep fighting forward, to gather together in the spirit of music with those who are good in your life, to support and respect each other! 

“TODAY, we got this, we will get through this and we will keep moving forward to see a better, positive, thriving and equal future for all women, men, children from all races and backgrounds. Today, we’re warriors!”

‘Today We’re Warriors’ – REWS

‘Today We’re Warriors’ by REWS is out from Friday 17th July, released via Marshall Records. REWS sophomore album, Warriors, is set for release on Friday 7th August – to pre-order a copy, visit

For more on REWS, visit


Words by Ed King / Profile pic courtesy of [SKETCH] 

‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ – [SKETCH] 

Infectious. If I was going to review the latest single from [SKETCH] in a word, that would be it. Give me two, and I’d stick ‘seriously’ in as a prefix.

But if this new track from Birmingham’s tartan clad pop punkrocksters doesn’t ignite-the-planet’s-musical-blue-touch-paper-and-shower-down-a-sparkling-rain-of-glorious-audio-technicolour-onto-the-ears-and-mosh-pits-across-the… perhaps two words is a good limit. Seriously infectious… yep, that about sums it up. 

A love song, of sorts, ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ is “more of an attitude” than a dedication – with [SKETCH] never shying away from using personal experience as inspiration (check out ‘My Girlfriend’s a Vampire’ and keep bear that in mind).

With immediate swagger, the tracks starts off suitably high octane – there is no escape, so you might as well surrender. Front man Foley’s vocals have just the right amount of confidence and grit, slicing through a punchy pop punk masterclass and infectious lyrics. There’s that word again. But seriously (and that one) if you can make it to the end of the chorus with singing along, whether you know the right words or not, then you’re probably dead inside.

“We like to call this an absolute stomper,” tells Matt Robinson – [SKETCH] percussionist, lyricist, general manager, and all round ambassador of the local music scene. “It’s boyish ego mixed with massive vulnerability, and it represents a wider audience… it’s a statement to them.” 

Written by Robinson and Foley, ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ was conceived “in the rain, in a shed” – then recorded by Gavin Monaghan at his Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton. But the contagious little number has already travelled a lot further than up the Birmingham Road, climbing to No10 on Banks Radio Australia Top 15 UK tracks chart.

But don’t fret pet, you don’t have to circumnavigate the world to see [SKETCH] as they have recently announced a rescheduled date for their Hands Off Gretel support slot – now coming to the O2 Academy on 6th December 2020. For more details and links to online ticket sales, click here.

But if December and the idea of standing in a room full of strangers seems too far away, you can always listen to ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ a little closer to home…

‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ – [SKETCH]

‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ Warriors’ by [SKETCH] is out from Friday 17th July, released through the band’s social media and usual suspect online streaming platforms. For more on [SKETCH], visit


NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual aggression in the music industry and beyond – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.


Words by Ed King & [SKETCH] / Pics courtesy of [SKETCH]

On Saturday 21st March, [SKETCH] will be playing at the O2 Institute 3 – alongside Louise Bartle’s Bloc Party splinter group, NOVACUB, supporting the alt-rock powerhouse REWS as they come to Birmingham on The Phoenix Tour.

Minimum age of entry to gig is 14 years old, with doors open from 6pm. Tickets are priced at £10 (+ booking fee) – as promoted by Metropolis Music and Birmingham Review.

For more gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page. Or for a direct link to online ticket sales, visit:

[SKETCH] are Birmingham’s own tartan clad rock/punkers, currently promoting their latest single ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ – set for release later this spring. Birmingham Review caught up with them for a small cranium crunch, ahead of their gig supporting REWS at the O2 Institute on Saturday 21st March:

BR: Hi [SKETCH], thanks for agreeing to a quick fire Q&A on the run up to next Saturday’s show supporting REWS – we’ve got a good feeling about this gig… any butterflies in [SKETCH] stomachs?

[SKETCH]: Hi, we have a good feeling about this show too. Wouldn’t say there’s butterflies just a nice excitement brewing as tickets start to sell and our Setlist was decided this week so we just can’t wait to get on stage.

BR: You’ve played the O2 Academy before, as part of the Catapult Club showcases there – but is this your first time at its sister venue across town?

[SKETCH]: Yeah, we played a few times with the Catapult Club when starting out as a band, it’s a great beginning circuit for any local acts. This isn’t our first show at the O2 Institute, we’ve headlined the Institute 3 a few times and had a gig in the bigger O2 Institute 2 as well; it’s a great venue with some good pedigree and we always enjoy playing there.

BR: On the run up to the REWS gig, we’ve been referring to you as ‘Birmingham’s own tartan clad rock/punksters’ – but geography aside (we know Matt comes from Stratford) how close to the mark are we musically?

[SKETCH]: To be honest pretty close. Whilst Foley would marry the very un-brummie Sid Vicious if he could and Joe adores the likes of Slash, Black Sabbath has played a part in all of our lives at some point and Foley and Matt both love the pioneering work Jaykae is doing in the grime scene and have followed him from his really early days. We think we carry that seemingly Birmingham (definitely nothing to do with Peaky Blinders) attitude of ‘work hard, play hard’, and it’s an attitude we have great pride in showcasing in our music.

BR: Individually, you embrace a wide spectrum of genres and styles – you’re all rock fans, sure, but Matt likes his hip hop and Foley started out playing the trumpet. How does this factor into your song writing?

[SKETCH]: Oh god, please don’t tell us Matt has asked you to beatbox whilst he ‘spits some bars!’ Yeah, we all come from different music backgrounds which helps massively when song writing. Matt and Foley do the majority of the composing before Joe and Sam put the needed icing on the cake.

BR: Who writes the lyrics? We’ve got a song about your girlfriend being a vampire in our minds…

[SKETCH]: It’s usually Matt who writes the lyrics. That song was actually about a couple of lovebirds in his class at college. It was the kind of relationship where one person was into it way too deep and despite all the warning signs they never learnt the lesson, so Matt imagined one night about being that person and how it must have been easier to think of your girlfriend as a vampire because she’s always out at night and smells of others rather than the seemingly bitter truth.

BR: And where did the tartan come from? It’s not a look everyone can pull off…

[SKETCH]: Have you spoken to our ex-girlfriends? They’re usually the ones who say we can’t pull the look off! It’s a look that Foley has triumphed since the beginning of the band and then Matt had the idea of everyone wearing a different colour of Tartan, almost like a teenage drink fuelled punk rock Power Rangers.

BR: We last saw you at The Sunflower Lounge, when you were smashing it wall to ceiling packed with The Pagans S.O.H and Kioko – great to see the show sold out, but how was that gig for you on stage?

[SKETCH]: Yeah, the last show at The Sunflower was a great one, especially to have the Pagans and Kioko on the bill to make it a jam packed night. It was a great show to play, very sweaty as all of our shows seem to be and if we remember correct one of the only days that week where it didn’t rain so someone up there was looking for us to have a good night.

BR: You’re playing with The Pagans S.O.H again on 30th May, this time at Muthers Studio. Was this after the success of The Sunflower Lounge show or are you just professionally stalking them?

[SKETCH]: We love that term, ‘professional stalking’. We’ve played with the Pagans a couple of times now and we love their energy. This gig came from conversations following the Sunflower Lounge show and it’s a show that we think will sell out quickly (we’ll be sure to invite you guys along!)

BR: But before that you’re supporting Barnsley alt rockers Hands Off Gretel, when they come to the O2 Academy on 7th ​May – a band with a pretty big online audience, over 22k Instagram and 25K Facebook followers. We heard you got that gig after sending them a copy of ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’

[SKETCH]: Yeah, we sent through ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ to the band and they passed us onto their agent who liked the track. It’s a show we’re really excited about and a band that are making some great music. It’s nice that this next track is getting some early recognition pre-release and hopefully it will do well for us.

BR: Any other bands you’re itching to support, you never know who might be coming to Birmingham…?

[SKETCH]: There are too many bands we would love to support! Anyone travelling with a great sound and who you could go for a pint with they’re usually the kind of people we get on best with. If we had to name names of bands we reckon we’d rock a stage with SWMRS, Muse, The Libertines, that kind of sound and attitude.

BR: ‘Do You Love Me?’ is an absurdly addictive track though, it certainly grabbed our attention. Again, with some great lyrics (‘Got rosy cheeks ‘cos I’m running from cop’ is our personal favourite). What’s next on the [SKETCH] release schedule?

[SKETCH]: ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ is next to release in April. We can exclusively let you guys know that we’ve been recording the music video for the song and we hope it’s a goodun.

BR: Will it be back to The Magic Garden, getting Gavin Monaghan in again as producer?

[SKETCH]: The recording of ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ was the first time we’ve worked with Gavin and we had a great time in the studio so assuming dates can be matched we’d love to work with Gavin in The Magic Garden again shortly.

BR: And we have to ask, because it’s been ‘eagerly awaited’ for some time, but how is the debut album looking…? And why is it a problem when you’re cooking under the influence?

[SKETCH]: I think our parents are most eagerly awaiting an album so we can set up a direct debit and start paying them back for all of the equipment we’ve broke over the years! We have a couple of plans in place to release music a little differently to what the usual industry expects and we hope it’s a move that can really make a difference. One thing is for certain and that’s music is coming from April onwards!

In answer to the second part of the question, we decided to call our first EP Don’t Cook Drunk as a nod for the first time we all were in a room together (which was at a party).  The line-up was a little different back then and after the said party Matt decided to cook some chicken nuggets for the band but didn’t turn the oven on so after 20 minutes when he (with oven gloves) removed them from the oven, our then guitarist Charlie got through about 6 or 7 before we realised they were raw and he was ill for a few months. Matt hasn’t been seen cooking since…

[SKETCH] play at the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March, performing alongside NOVACUB and supporting REWS on The Phoenix Tour. For more gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page.

**Birmingham Review will donate £1 from all tickets sold through Review Publishing to the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign – click here for tickets:


For more on [SKETCH], visit 

For more on NOVACUB, visit
For more on REWS, visit

For more on the O2 Institute, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual aggression in the music industry and beyond – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.

BPREVIEW: GETRZ @ The Sunflower Lounge 11.03.20

Words by Ed King

On Wednesday 11th March, GETRZ come to The Sunflower Lounge – performing against a stacked support line up including Gen & the Degenerates, Spit, and Sedated Society.

Doors open at 7:30pm with tickets priced at £6, as promoted by Indie Midlands. For more direct gig info and links to online ticket sales, visit

Last seen in Birmingham back at the Hare & Hounds, pretty much two years ago to the day, GETRZ have been keeping busy. Swindon’s hot alt rock potato (to expand a metaphor past any reasonable level…) have been accumulating festival dates and accolades across the country – stamping their authority and arguable shift in sound with the release of their debut EP, Think of the Future, in August last year.

Now, following a brief sojourn in Liverpool, Leeds, and Manchester, GETRZ are back on the road – coming to The Sunflower Lounge on Wednesday 11th March, before heading down to Bristol the day after and ending up back in Swindon for the tour’s home town swan song on Saturday 14th March.

Joining GETRZ as tour support are self-declared ‘gate crashers’ of the North West, Gen & the Degenerates – with Stourbridge’s Sonic Youth inspired four piece, Spit, and Worcester’s experimental pop psych rockers, Sedated Society, making up the more local line up.

Although relatively fresh faced, Spit have carved a confident curve for themselves on Birmingham’s live music circuit – playing regular support slots at The Sunflower Lounge, alongside more established acts such as Bad Girlfriend, MeMe Detroit, and A Void, when the latter came to the city in February. And with some line-up changes and song writing pencilled into the 2020 diary, this could be an defining year for a band already building up some noticeable Midlands momentum.

Sedated Society are another addition to the fuck-you-and-your-genre strata of the modern music scene, taking influences from across the audio spectrum and self-declaring to ‘bleed an expansive combination of stoner rock, blues, grunge, R&B, jazz, shoegaze and pop music…’ Stick that in your HMV shop assistant and smoke it.

…and not bad for £6. Well, what else are you going to do for the safer side of a tenner?

‘Annie’ – GETRZ 

GETRZ play at The Sunflower Lounge on Wednesday 11th March, with support from Gen and the Degenerates, Spit, and Sedated Society – as presented by Indie Midlands. For direct gig information and links to online tickets, visit 

For more on GETRZ, visit

For more on Gen & the Degenerates, visit
For more on Spit, visit
For more on Sedated Society, visit

For more from Indie Midlands, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more on The Sunflower Lounge, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual aggression in the music industry and beyond – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.