TICKET GIVEAWAY: REWS + NOVACUB, [SKETCH] @ O2 Institute 3 – 21.03.20

Words by Ed King

To celebrate International Women’s Day, and to help keep the aims, objectives, and principles of this single day alive throughout the other 365 (…calm down, it’s a leap year) Birmingham Review is giving away a handful of tickets to see REWS + NOVACUB, [SKETCH] at the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March. Minimum age of entry to the gig is 14years+ with doors opening from 6pm.

But there is a snag… we’re only giving them to women.

And before anyone gets tangled in testosterone, we crunched the numbers and felt that after centuries of gender oppression a couple of free gig tickets are not going to rob any men of their rights. I wouldn’t worry about your perceived ‘manhood’. You’ll be OK.

So, yeah, back to the free stuff.

On Saturday 21st March, REWS come back to Birmingham – Shauna Tohill’s alt rock powerhouse are bringing The Phoenix Tour to the O2 Institute 3, with a renewed line up and some of their best new material to date. Don’t believe us, check out the link to ‘Monsters’ below.

Joining REWS as tour support will be NOVACUB, a four piece indie/pop fledgling – fronted and founded by Louise Bartle, who is also the drummer for Bloc Party. You know, just ‘cos there are still some hours in the day when she isn’t working (Birmingham Review also snagged a quick Q&A with Louise Bartle ahead of the O2 Institute show, click here to read… whole lotta fun).

And the show would not be complete without a hat tip to Birmingham’s own tartan clad rock/punksters, [SKETCH]. But being all men, even being lovely humans who respect and value all people… we’re still crazy excited to have them at the gig though. For more gig info and links to online tickets, for any gender, click here to visit the Facebook event page**.

Sufficed to say, we have landed an awesome line up with two female fronted bands who are fully committed to music and ferociously inspiring to anyone (especially if you share gender identity) who might want to get up on stage themselves one day. Or even if you just respect the hell out of a cracking live gig.

So, we want to celebrate and share this by giving away a few freebies to the show.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: If you are female or identify as female, all you have to do is share this post via whatever social media you prefer – then send an email to info@birminghamreview.net with your name and the name of your guest, putting ‘Free Tickets Please’ in the subject box. Then we’ll send you FREE TICKETS TO SEE REWS + NOVACUB, [SKETCH] AT THE O2 INSTITUTE ON SAY 21ST MARCH. First come first served. Couldn’t be simpler.

But if you still need a little nudge, here’s a sneaky peak of what’s coming to the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March. Enjoy.

‘Monsters’ – REWS

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‘Wait Up’ – NOVACUB

Ed’s note…

I’m all for debate. I encourage people with all opinions to engage in conversation, because I believe it’s how we create change. Healthy, non-oppressive change – where everyone is on board and the differences we want to make stand a chance of lasting.

But there are some arguments that test this. So, whilst we on the whole ‘but what about the blokes thing…’ if you genuinely feel that there is a disparagement in days such as International Women’s Day, I want to run through a couple of facts and figures that might get you thinking.

Then we can start talking:

  • It took until 1928 (and World War One) for women  over the age of 21 to be allowed to vote in the UK
  • Up to the 1970’s, and with absurdly slow reform, women were not allowed to buy property in their own right – needing the signature of their husband or father
  • The same went for credit cards
  • Until 1991, a man could rape his wife and be legally exempt from prosecution
  • Until 1992, a man could physically assault his wife and be legally exempt from prosecution
  • Until 1999, there was no statutory right for maternity leave – with UK Employment law forcing many women out of their jobs if they became pregnant
  • In 2020, the UK’s gender pay gap UK stands between 15-25% – meaning on average women spend two months a year working for ‘free’, in comparison to their male counterparts

REWS perform at the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March, with support from NOVACUB and [SKETCH] – 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 www.reviewpublishing.net/product/rews-novacub-sketch-o2-institute-21-03-20

**£1 from all tickets sold through Review Publishing will get donated to the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, challenging sexual violence in our music scene – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play. For more on NOT NORMAL NOT OK, visit www.notnormalnotok.com

For more on REWS, visit www.rewsmusic.com
For more on Novacub, visit www.wearenovacub.com
For more on [SKETCH], visit www.sketchband.com

For more on the O2 Institute, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham/

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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.

Q&A: NOVACUB – Louise Bartle

Words by Ed King & Louise Bartle – NOVACUB / Pics courtesy of K2 Agency

On Saturday 21st March, NOVACUB will be coming back to Birmingham – joining alt-rock powerhouse REWS on their Phoenix Tour, and playing alongside Birmingham’s own tartan clad rock/punksters [SKETCH] at the O2 Institute 3.

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: www.reviewpublishing.net/product/rews-novacub-sketch-o2-institute-21-03-20/**
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Having formed just over a year ago by Bloc Party drummer Louise Bartle (who also brought Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack into the fold) it’s been a pretty non-stop first dance around the sun for NOVACUB – playing some heavyweight support slots, releasing a series of singles and their debut EP.

Now coming back to Birmingham, joining REWS and [SKETCH] at the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March, Birmingham Review snagged a cheeky Q&A with NOVACUB founder and frontwoman Louise Bartle:

BR: Hello NOVACUB, thanks for letting us pick your brains ahead of the O2 Institute gig – very excited to have you back in Birmingham. You came to the Castle and Falcon in April 2019 with The Xcerts, any drunken/late night (mis)adventures from the last time you were in the city?

NOVACUB: HEY! Haha well I think we were pretty boring actually as we’re always paranoid about the safety of our instruments etc – there’s a lot of packing and unpacking when you’re in your own cars/van. It was a great show last time we were there though!!

BR: And this time last year you were also sandwiched by tour dates with the Kaiser Chiefs – how does it feel to be now heading out on the road with REWS?

NOVACUB: Yeah, it feels really exciting! It always does! We love playing our music to anyone who wants to listen haha!

We’re really excited to be playing shows!! We love playing live, it’s such a cathartic experience! Really looking forward to meeting REWS and making new memories together!

BR: As individuals you have a wealth of talent and experience already under your belts, from working with Selena Gomez to Birmingham’s own Laura Mvula. But as band, NOVACUB are relatively newborn – how have the past 12months+ learning to walk been?

NOVACUB: It’s been really exciting for us – we’ve already been through so much together! We still feel that it’s early days for us and can’t wait for people to get to know us more! We love putting music out so we’re going to focus on that this year.

BR: ‘I Still Need It’ debuted in Jan 2019, with ‘Strike’ and ‘Wait Up’ coming out in April and July respectively. How were the singles received?

NOVACUB: Yeah they went down well! It’s nice when people start to discover the band – it’s a new feeling for us and really exciting honestly.

BR: Then, with a couple of extra cherries on the cake, your Future Echoes EP came out in October 2019 – how was it to see a larger slice of NOVACUB get served up?

NOVACUB: Really special – it’s our first body of work! We have so much more to come and are dying to serve you up some more madness!!

BR: Then ‘November’ came out in, well, November 2019 – releasing your first track not featured on the Future Echoes EP. You can probably guess what we’re building up to… is there an album on its way?

NOVACUB: Hehe well… We are working on something really exciting. We have over two albums worth of music honestly but we want to pace ourselves! I will say we are going to put more music out later this year..

BR: And where did the hat tip to early rave and piano house in ‘Strike’ come from – elements of production that followed into ‘November’? Not that we’re complaining… takes us back… but it’s a little shift from the clear guitar riffs of other tracks.

NOVACUB: Well firstly we all love different styles of music so it feeds into the band. Secondly, Russell our guitarist likes to play his guitar so it doesn’t sound like one (sometimes) and this is an example of him demonstrating his skills in that regard. When he first sent the song to me (Louise) I absolutely loved it and wanted to top what he’d written somehow haha!!

BR: We love a good game of guess the genre, and we’ve seen variations of the rock-pop-indie holy trinity next to your name. But set us all straight – how would you describe NOVACUB’s sound?

NOVACUB: Anything and everything, haha, but for real probably mainly indie pop/rock – we write whatever we want though which is why I love being in the band!

BR: We also love a good democracy, and you look very warm and cuddly on your promo shots. But NOVACUB is the brainchild of Bartle – is that reflected in the songwriting or studio?

NOVACUB: I’d say that in the studio I (Louise) am more controlling. The only other way I could be considered the ‘brainchild’ of NOVACUB is that I brought us together as I knew everyone separately first! I feel we are all pretty hands on in different ways though! You all have to be a team in a band so that everyone knows how important they are!

BR: And is it still all love and hugs with Bloc Party, or is there now some silent/healthy competition…?

NOVACUB: Well it depends how you look it at… I’ve never viewed music as a competition and I don’t see any other band or artist as competition so it’s all love from me!

BR: All that’s left is for us to wish you the very best with the REWS tour – especially (selfishly) the gig at the O2 Institute on Saturday 21st March.

NOVACUB: Thank you!!

‘I Still Need It’ – NOVACUB

NOVACUB come to the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March, supporting REWS and playing alongside Birmingham’s own tartan clad rock/pinksters [SKETCH]. For more gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page. 

**£1 from all tickets sold through Review Publishing will be donated to the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign – click here for a direct link to online ticket sales: www.reviewpublishing.net/product/rews-novacub-sketch-o2-institute-21-03-20

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For more on NOVACUB, visit www.wearenovacub.com

For more on REWS, visit www.rewsmusic.com
For more on [SKETCH], visit
www.sketchband.com

For more on the O2 Institute, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

________

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: REWS + Novacub, [SKETCH] @ O2 Institute 3 – 21.03.20

Words by Ed King / Pics courtesy of REWSMarshall Records

On Saturday 21st March, REWS come back to Birmingham – bringing The Phoenix Tour to the O2 Institute 3.

REWS will be joined by their travelling companions and Bloc Party splinter group Novacub, performing alongside local support band [SKETCH] – hot off the heels of a sell out show supporting The Pagans S.O.H. and Kioko. But more on these little beauties a little later…

Minimum age of entry to the REWS 21st March show is 14 years old, with the O2 Institute opening the top floor venue doors from 7pm. 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.

** Birmingham Review will donate £1 from all tickets sold through Review Publishing to the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign – challenging sexual violence in the music industry. From dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play. Click here for tickets: www.reviewpublishing.net/product/rews-novacub-sketch-o2-institute-21-03-20**

REWS, or ‘the mighty REWS’ as we have begun calling this band, were last in Birmingham supporting The Darkness – playing to a packed out arena at the O2 Academy just before Christmas. Before that, the mighty REWS (…told you) were supporting Halestorm, again at the O2 Academy, as the North American rock giants stomped their sell out tour across the UK in September 2018.

Now REWS are back in Birmingham for one of the final few dates on The Phoenix Tour, which founder and frontwoman Shauna Tohill explains is: “celebrating rebirth and change, which seems quite apt, given that we are all going through dark times at the moment. I’m hoping it will inspire people to keep positive, be confident and change for the better. Expect new tunes, a new band and a safe space to immerse yourself. See you at the front!”

Led by N. Irish musician and songwriter Shauna Tohill, REWS somewhat exploded onto the UK’s live circuit a few years ago – releasing their first album, Pyro, in November 2017. Chocked with ‘wall to wall bangers’ (which is you’ve ever been to a REWS gig is a pretty appropriate metaphor) this ambitious debut featured previously released singles such as ‘Miss You in the Dark‘, ‘Shine’, ‘Your Tears’, and Birmingham Review favourite ‘Can You Feel It?

A monster of an album, with an infectious onslaught of high energy alt-rock/pop, the onlything better than listening to a copy of Pyro is when REWS play it live. But don’t take our word for it, as this 10 track line in the sand won REWS a bevy of Radio 1 airtime and a spot on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury 2018 – with plaudits across the BBC and Pilton festival alike, including Mark Radcliffe’s clarion call: “Stupendous – if you get a chance, go and see them. Go.” A sentiment we whole heartedly agree with.

REWS were also the inaugural UK signing to Marshall Records, when the ionic rock music brand formed it’s own record label in 2017 – opening up territories across the globe and seeing this ferocious high rising balloon travel even further.

And it’s been strength to strength for REWS ever since (albeit with some lineup changes at the tail end of 2018, turning the two piece into a three piece) as the act once nominated for Planet Rock’s ‘Best New Band 2017’ are now back on the road and releasing some of their best new music to date. Which considering their back catalogue is a hard bubble to burst, with only the inevitable ‘…album two’ question left hanging in the air.

But again, don’t take our word for it – to check out REWS’ latest single, ‘Birdsong’, click on the airtwork above or the video below. And if after listening to it you think all the hype is hyperbole, then you’re either a cynic by default or clinically dead on the inside. And that’s as objective as I can get.

Then again, you might just want a little more proof. Perhaps in a live setting, for example. Which is fair enough… I suppose. Did we mention REWS come to the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March?

‘Birdsong’ – REWS

REWS perform at the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March, with support from Novacub and [SKETCH] – as promoted by Metropolis Music and Birmingham Review, with support from the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign. 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: www.reviewpublishing.net/rews-novacub-sketch-o2-institute-21-03-20/**

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For more on REWS, visit www.rewsmusic.com

For more on Novacub, visit www.wearenovacub.com
For more on [SKETCH], visit www.sketchband.com

For more on the O2 Institute, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

________

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.

BREVIEW: Pixies @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 16.09.19

Words by Abi Whistance / Pics by Phil Drury (2324 Photography)

Pixies have made it pretty clear in recent years that, frankly, they’re getting a little too worn out for the yelps, shrieks and piercing guitars of their adolescence. Settling nicely into Frank Black’s country grooves the band have mellowed in their releases, Beneath the Eyrie being no exception.

It was difficult to know what to expect with a world tour of their latest album; the worry that I’d gotten my hopes up for a surprise appearance of ‘I’ve Been Tired’ or ‘Nimrod’s Son’ was almost debilitating. With such a cult-like fanbase it would have been impossible to fulfil the wishes of every unshakable Trompe Le Monde buff on site, with at least a handful of the crowd crying for a rendition of ‘that B-side they did once that only exists by word of mouth’ or a 1988 debuted cover of ‘a classic’.

Yet as time went by and their arrival onto the O2 Academy’s stage crept closer, I couldn’t help but feel that high hopes weren’t going to be unwarranted.

Erupting into ‘Gouge Away’, I knew then my gut had pointed me in the right direction. Pixies weren’t here to tiptoe; this was floorboard-rattling, neighbour-waking material that pleased all the right people and pissed all the wrong ones off. A set peppered with phenomenal renditions of fan favourites made it nearly impossible to go without for more than a few minutes, even the pickiest were brought to a grinding halt when the likes of ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and ‘Planet of Sound’ were plucked from the hat.

The new album provided a breather in the set; thrashing and flaying ensued during the haphazardly selected relics of Come on Pilgrim and Doolittle, the latest ‘Silver Bullet’ and ‘Ready for Love’ alternatively offering a brief moment of reflection. Not just because they lack excitement, which undeniably they do, but also because we’re yet to warm to them.

Still, there’s no better way to fall in love than face to face, and Pixies are aiming for nothing less than head over heels with Beneath the Eyrie on tour. Snatching hearts one by one, Francis is leaving no survivors this lap of the globe.

Pixies – with support from The Big Moon @ 02 Academy (B’ham) 16.09.19 / Phil Drury (2324 Photography)

Gallery not found.  
For more on Pixies, visit www.pixiesmusic.com   
For more on The Big Moon, visit www.thebigmoon.co.uk

For more on the O2 Academy Birmingham, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham

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NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

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 of the 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.

ALBUM: Beneath the Eyrie – Pixies 13.09.19

Words by Abi Whistance

It feels necessary for this review to come with a cover letter of sorts. When it comes to Pixies, I’m a diehard. In my eyes, Francis can do no wrong.

Yet, on receiving a copy of new album Beneath the Eyrie, I knew I needed to put my Surfer Rosa loving, Trompe Le Monde abiding ways behind me. So, this is it – welcome, not to a shrine, but to a review.

I’ve never heard anyone say their favourite album by Pixies is Indie Cindy, and if they did I’d hurtle a copy of anything else in their discography at them and declare them criminally insane. What made, and continues to make, Pixies so goddamn great is their unadulterated strangeness, rage and ability to make you sick to your stomach.

In the same way Indie Cindy is good but lacking in the musto-gusto, Beneath the Eyrie just ain’t their best. It’s passive in parts, lacking the otherworldly force you know exists but can’t quite put your finger on, and kind of pussyfoots its way through twelve tracks. For Pixies, a vast chunk of this album is unremarkable; a strong start dwindles away into records that play it safe, occasionally throwing a much needed wild-card in there to grab your attention again as the mind wanders.

Yet there are still some real gems to find on here. Album opener, ‘In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain’, makes for one of the best on the record – setting the tone for a surprisingly consistent forty minute ride of more subdued Pixies material. Standard biblical omens and a strong riff are all they need to get my attention, and in the first few minutes I’m feeling satisfied. Promotional single, ‘On Graveyard Hill’ features our beloved screeches and howls from Francis himself – no doubt as a demonstration that hey, the kid’s still got it and he’s not afraid to let us have it.

We then slip into the mediocre, which makes it even more infuriating when they throw a kicker in the mix with ‘St. Nazaire’. One of the best modern Pixies tracks to date, it feels wasted on an album that for the most part doesn’t deserve to possess such a, for want of a better word, kick-ass track. The musical lull perishes and suddenly there’s fire here; this is exactly what I wanted from the whole album and failed to get from pretty much anything else on it.

Nevertheless, it must be noted that what Beneath the Eyrie lacks in strength it regains in its storytelling ability. It seems to me that a choice has arisen with this record, a choice between weaving fiction and sounding mighty had splayed itself on the table, and for most tracks Pixies have sacrificed the power for the fable. The carefully fashioned imagery of ‘Catfish Kate’ and ‘Silver Bullet’ stand as a reminder of that, crafting complex stories that can sway you to forget what it is they’re missing.

So, do I like it? Of course I do, and so will everyone else. It’s great. It’s fantastic, even. But does it give me the fuck yeah feeling I was gifted with Trompe Le Monde, or even Head Carrier? No.

There’s nothing wrong with this record just being good. With a back catalogue as strong as that of Pixies, there’s no harm in dropping a, let’s say, ‘filler-not-killer’ into the mix. Three years ago, Head Carrier threw us right back to the band at their finest hour; tracks like ‘Baal’s Back’ and ‘Um Chagga Lagga’ quelling all doubts that they’d ripened and gone soft.

Maybe if Beneath the Eyrie wasn’t preceded by such a formidable force of an album I’d be concerned, but instead this feels like the calm after the storm.

‘On Graveyard Hill’ – Pixies

Pixies release Beneath the Eyrie on Friday 13th September, out on Infection/BMG and available through all the usual online outlets. For more on Pixies, including links to online sales, visit www.pixiesmusic.com

Pixies will also be performing at the O2 Academy Birmingham on Monday 16th September – for more direct gig information, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

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NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

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 of the 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.