BPREVIEW: DJ Format & DJ Pogo – The Brum Do Over BBQ @ The Hawker Yard 28.07.18

DJ Format & DJ Pogo – The Brum Do Over BBQ @ The Hawker Yard 28.07.18Words by Ed King

On Saturday 28th July, DJ Format and DJ Pogo headline a day of hip hop, breaks, summer beats, break dancing, and sizzling snacks at The Brum Do Over BBQ – as presented by Scratch Club, Breakfest, and The Yardbird.

Hosted by The Hawker Yard, doors open to the The Brum Do Over BBQ from 2pm, with the event running until midnight.

Entry is free, gratis, zip, nada, zilch… leaving some room in the pocket for whatever’s looking good on the grill and the cocktails that should be floating around somewhere. It is officially summer, after all.

Coming up from Brighton, DJ Format is a stalwart of UK hip hop – cutting his teeth with Jurassic 5 and DJ Shadow back in the early noughties, then stamping his authority with his revered debut album, Music for the Mature B-Boy (2003), and ‘tougher sound’ sophomore, If You Can’t Join ‘Em… Beat ‘Em (2005). DJ Format’s latest LP, Still Hungry, was recorded alongside MC Abdominal and released on AFF Records in 2017.

Travelling from a little further afield, DJ Pogo is one of the founders of DMC Brazil – setting up the South American arm of the DJ competition after being crowned the UK Champion in 1997. An ambassador for the Brazilian turntable movement, DJ Pogo also has a strong name on the UK scene as the man behind remixes and productions for UK rap troupes such as London Posse, Demon, and Monie Love.

For direct event information about the The Brum Do Over BBQ at The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, check out the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.

So why a ‘do over?’ We get the BBQ bit, but as the event itself declares ‘the do over is a chance to do something over and over again to right a wrong or make something better.’ The key to this is the promoter collaboration; skip back to the first line of this BPREVIEW and say those words out loud. If you’re of a certain age, stage, or sensibility you’ll get this straight away. But if you’re not, allow me to furnish you with a little of Birmingham’s cultural back catalogue.

Before the centre of town was permanently ‘under construction’, and the revolving glass doors of Paradise Forum were still turning (and stalling, and stalling again) there’s was a feisty little independent music venue called The Yardbird. A proper meeting place for artists and performers, The Yardbird had jazz, funk, hip hop, and roots running through it’s small yet well endorsed veins – seeing the rise of DJs like five times World DMC Mixing Champion Mr Switch nestled alongside the great, good, and going to be huge from the jazz fraternity at Birmingham Conservatoire.

As eclectic as Birmingham can be, The Yardbird was quite simply a home away from home for many musicians and music lovers alike. Then one Tuesday evening a new hip hop, freestyle, and breaks night opened called Scratch Club…  eight years later and the event packed around 200 people into The Yardbird every fortnight without fail. Until The Yardbird closed, and a sigh was heard echoing round the city.

It sounds romantic, sure, but just mention a few of these names to certain people in certain corners of this city and see their reaction. The Yardbird was one of those ‘special places’ for many people in Birmingham, with the regular success of Scratch Club born from an open mic/open door policy and supported by a venue whose firm drive was the music.

And now the partners that brought that touch of magic to our city’s soundscape are back – taking over The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, with DJ Format and DJ Pogo headlining a crew of DJs and dancers including DJ Mushroom (Breakfest), Automoton (Scratch Club), Ill Boogs & Rob Life (Breakin Bread), DJ Silence/Tha Tarmac Nomad (Break Mission), DJ Junk (Second to None) and the man who opened, owned, and ran The Yardbird – Ollie Lloyd.

“A ‘do over’ is actually an American expression, it literally means to do something again,” explains Tom Dunstan – aka Automaton, and the promoter of Birmingham’s Scratch Club. “Sometimes it’s to right a wrong, sometimes to do something better than you have in the past, however, in this case, it’s to work in collaboration with Breakfest, Scratch Club and The Yardbird. 

Historically, we’ve each helped one other out from time to time and collaborated at music and dance events. But this is the first time all three of our brands have stood up together to do something like this. 

In a music scene that can be divided at the best of times, we’re genuinely bringing this show to Brum in the spirit of unity. It’s being held in an independently owned, off grid venue; it’s entirely a not-for profit music showcase and, therefore, completely free to attend. I hope it’s the first of many.”

And I’m sure many would agree. But the bricks and mortar that bound you all together shut around three years ago; despite being the hottest British summer on recent records, what’s the impetus for a ‘do over’ now?

“Well, some might say that there is a rare planetary alignment of the hip hop and funk planets over Birmingham on Saturday the 28th of July,” explains Ollie Lloyd, who opened The Yardbird back in 2007, “but I’d suggest it’s more the case that everyone on the bill has a long standing relationship with Darren (DJ Mushroom) and also many of the DJ’s have roots in the Midlands so I’m sure there will be a few family catch ups on Saturday. 

What started off as Mushroom looking for a venue to put on DJ Pogo, whilst he is visiting the UK from Brazil, grew into something bigger and funkier than was ever planned. It’s not often you see a line up in Birmingham with the calibre of DJ’s that this session offers, but luckily everyone involved was available and happy to contribute their records and skills for what promises to be a legendary meeting of musical minds and sounds. 

As owner of now-closed The Yardbird Jazz Club, I had the pleasure of hosting Format, Pogo, and Rob Life over the years, all DJ’s that have instant power and musical charisma over a dance floor and created some of my favourite memories at the venue. Darren is a good friend of mine, someone that I met through his involvement as main organiser of the Breakfest B-Boy events that used to be held nationwide. Tom (Dunstan/Automaton) is an old friend who launched Scratch Club at the bird, which ran with us for many years. Not forgetting DJ Junk, legendary Bournemouth based producer and b-boy (Second 2 None Crew) and Ill Boogs, heavy weight funk/breaks producer (and b-boy too) on the Breakin’ Bread label . 

It’s a nice feeling to work with a collection of Birmingham promoters (and friends) to pull together an event that is just for two things – the music and the people. Our gift to Brum is the perfect line up in the coolest outdoor space, absolutely free, and packing in 10 hours of the slickest funk, soul, hip hop and breaks known to man.”

DJ Format & DJ Pogo headline The Brum Do Over BBQ at The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, in a collaborative event from Scratch Club, Breakfest and The Yardbird. Entry is free, with a range of food and drinks available on site all day. For direct event information, visit the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.

For more from Scratch Club, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/scratchclubbirmingham

For more on The Hawker Yard, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.hawkeryard.com


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 sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

THE GALLERY: KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review




Words & pics by Aatish Ramchurn

Hip hop veteran, KRS-One, arrives in Birmingham to close his six date UK tour, for what’s been described as an exclusive and ‘intimate’ show at Hawker Yard.

When it comes to gigs, I’ve always taken the term ‘intimate’ to mean ‘artist playing in smaller setting than they normally would’. But as I look at Hawker Yard for the first time – with it’s tiny, wooden stage and tented roof covering a pebble-floored area no bigger than a local pub – I realise that intimate, in this case, really does mean intimate.

The evening has been warming up with DJs from the monthly Feel the Vibe nights at Hawker Yard, with kids break dancing in the middle of the floor, reminiscent of hip hop in the 1980s, only with a boombox missing.

Maxi Zee - supporting KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review(It would have been great to have had some photos of the break dancers, but I did not bring my flash with me and the environment was way too dark to capture anything. In fact, I was feeling like this whole night was going to be a challenge, in terms of lighting)

The live sets start at around 9pm – kicking off with Omen, then followed up by Maxi Zee from Germany. They had 15 minutes of stage time each, but it was enough time for both acts to make an impression on the Hawker Yard crowd. At this point in the night, I had enough room by the stage to take photographs, but the moment Trademark Blud came on stage I knew that things would get even more difficult for me when KRS-One shows up.

Trademark Blud, supported by his beat maker and DJ, Tricksta, captivates minds with his hard hitting, politically conscious brand of hip hop. I restrict my photography by retreating away from the stage as more people are towards it. Whilst watching Trademark Blud rapping frenetically, I strategise just how I’m going to take photos of KRS-One in a closed setting like this.

Trademark Blud - supporting KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham ReviewThe moment Trademark Blud leaves the stage, I make my way forwards and occupy the small gap left between the audience and the front of stage by squatting there. This spot is mine. And whilst I may make this sound uncomfortable, the truth is that it feels very relaxed; Hawker Yard just has a really friendly vibe, much like a community where you are simply made to feel welcome.

The man of the night, KRS-One, takes to the stage. Wildly glaring at the audience, and looking to make this a big night as Birmingham is the city he is closing his UK tour with. I take as many shots as I can before he even begins his first song, as I know it’s going to get rowdy as the night progresses.

KRS-One points to the area I’m occupying and says “It’s empty here” encouraging the audience to move closer to him, which they do with little hesitation. I spring up like a meerkat to avoid being trampled on, but I’m very much stuck in between people, all with their phones held high, capturing the moment that they were all standing right next to KRS-One.KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

I’m smiling throughout all this, mainly because I’ve never had this experience as a photographer; as if the low light wasn’t challenging enough, try getting any clear shots of an artist when squeezed in between so many fervent fans.

Wanting to get a few more crowd shots I retreat from the front, checking at the images at the back of my camera to make sure I’m happy with what I’ve got, as once I’m out there will be no return. And I had expected ‘Sound of Da Police’ (taken from KRS-One’s first album, Return of the Boom Bap) to be left until last, but fortunately for me it wasn’t so I could take my leave from the front after that.

But the whole idea of being a concert photographer is capturing these moments as they are. And that’s what these photos from KRS-One at Hawker Yard represent – a night where there is no stage, or status barrier between artist and audience, but one where a venue is simply united by hip hop.




KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

Trademark Blud - supporting KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

Trademark Blud - supporting KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

Maxi Zee - supporting KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19 / Aatish Ramchurn - Birmingham Review

For more on KRS-One, visit www.krs-one.com 

For more on Trademark Blud, visit www.trademarkblud.bandcamp.com

For more on Tricksta, visit www.facebook.com/TRICKSTA

For more on Hawker Yard, including full event listings, visit www.hawkeryard.com

For more on Mostly Jazz, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.mostlyjazz.co.uk

BPREVIEW: KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19

Words by Aatish Ramchurn

On Sunday 1st October 2017, KRS-One and DJ Predetor Pr!me come to Hawker Yard in Birmingham – with main support from Trademark Blud, Tricksta, Maxi Zee and Omen. Also on the night will be sets from DJ Jam Fu, DJ 6’5, Dek One and DJ Silence.

Doors at Hawker Yard open at 6pm. Early bird tickets are priced at £12.50, with standard release tickets priced at £15 – as presented by Mostly Jazz and Break Mission. For direct event info and links to online ticket sales, click here.

With a career spanning over three decades, Lawrence ‘Kris’ Parker, better known to the world as KRS-One, will be bringing his current six date tour of the UK to a close when he comes to Hawker Yard on Sunday 1st October.

Having kicked off at The Jazz Cafe in London on 23rd Sept, KRS-One will be moving out to mainland Europe for several dates across October, before returning to the UK for a final showcase/lecture at The Moustache Bar in London as part of Black History Month.

The World is Mind / KRS-OneSince his last visit to Birmingham at the O2 Institute last year, KRS-One released his latest album, The World Is MIND, in May 2017 – out through R.A.M.P. Agency. Parker‘s 13th solo album (19 including those released under Boogie Down Productions) The World Is MIND marks a career in hip hop spanning over 35 years, one that began in earnest with the release of Criminal Minded in 1987.

Pushing on with Boogie Down Productions after the fatal shooting of Scott La Rock, before going solo in the early 90s, KRS-One is often cited as one of the more influential figures in the hip hop scene. Evolving his style, moving away from the more hardcore and gangster rap, incorporating elements of Jamaican dancehall, KRS-One has also been politically active and community focused since the late 80’s.

KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.19Following the death of DJ Scott La Rock (who had been mediating between a local gang and the third member of Boogie Down Productions, D Nice) KRS-One formed the Stop the Violence Movement in 1989, aiming to challenge the aggression and internal feuds within the hip hop community.

On Sunday 1st October, KRS-One and DJ Predetor Pr!me will be headlining a night of hip hop and breaks at Hawker Yard – hosted by Mostly Jazz and break dance crew, Break Mission.

The night will start from 6pm, where resident DJs of Feel the Vibe (a monthly event at Hawker Yard) in association with Break Mission will warm up the event, before support acts Maxi Zee, Trademark Blud, Tricksta and Omen hit the stage. For direct gig info and link to online ticket sales, click here.

‘Show Respect’ / KRS-One


KRS-One @ Hawker Yard 01.10.17 (official trailer)


For more on KRS-One, visit www.krs-one.com

For more on Hawker Yard, including full event listings, visit www.hawkeryard.com 

For more on Mostly Jazz, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.mostlyjazz.co.uk

For more on Break Mission, visit www.breakmission.org

BREVIEW: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble @ Hawker Yard 27.08.17

Words & Pics by Cesilia Trecaquista

On an unusually hot and pleasant bank holiday Sunday evening, I set out to Hawker Yard with my partner from a far off land – determined to demonstrate that Birmingham, with its rich musical and cultural history, could rival anything that the capital could offer.

Hawker Yard is a relatively new venue, or at least new for me; ingeniously crafted using a mixture of scaffolding and shipping containers (who knows how they got that concept past the health and safety regulators), the inventive lighting arrangements made it an inviting yet unpretentious atmosphere.

As the night continues, I watch breakdancers perform to the funk and soul provided by DJ Silence (I always did wonder where one could go to do a bit of breakdancing after the beloved Yardbird closed its doors in 2014) but I’m struck by how few people there are in attendance. Could the low turnout be down the fact that many Brummies had escaped to the beach to take advantage of the sunny weather, or more likely to Shambala Festival? I choose to believe either of these options over the alternative; that a group of internationally renowned musicians from Chicago had come to play and tickets costing just £10.50 hadn’t been taken advantage of.

It’s nearing 10.30pm now and still no sign of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – the nine piece brass collective consisting of the sons of the Jazz trumpeter, Phil Cohran. The small, but happy and chilled out, audience’s anticipation becomes more and more eager, as I try to ignore the nice man beside me who is informing me that Hypnotic Brass Ensemble wanted tonight’s show after being tired from their Shambala performance the previous night.

Then, as if by magic, a plethora of musicians, dancers and a sound engineer cram themselves onto the stage in front of me – easing us into the show with a smooth number, before directing us all to make peace signs and introducing an explosive version of the track ‘War’, arguably Hypnotic Brass Ensemble‘s most recognisable composition (‘War’ was featured on the movie soundtrack of The Hunger Games).

The intimate party at Hawker Yard is in full swing by the time the appropriately named ‘Party Started’ was underway. Gabriel Hubert (A.K.A Huddah) invites us to partake in what turned out to be some amusingly out of tune sing-alongs, whilst breakdancers once again take to the floor and complement the unique artistry taking place on stage.

At times, watching 10 men crammed into a makeshift shipping container stage seems surreal. But the lack of performance space does nothing to stifle the infectious energy that radiates from an impeccably coordinated and rehearsed group of musicians, who, when in full flow and seemingly without breaking a sweat, provide an instrumental hotpot of jazz, swing and hip-hop.

And as the evening comes to a close, I leave Hawker Yard feeling satisfied that my partner and I had been in a great place for Birmingham entertainment this Bank Holiday Sunday night.

For more on Hypnotic Brass Enselble, visit www.hypnoticbrassensemble.com

For more from Hawker Yard, visit www.hawkeryardbirmingham.co.uk

BPREVIEW: Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 25- 27.08.17

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 27.08.17Hawker Yard is bringing a Bank Holiday Weekend live music special to Birmingham, 25-27th August. Beginning with Blak Twang + Mr Thing and culminating with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the al-fresco eatery is celebrating the long weekend with a combination of dirty beats and delicious food.

Birmingham’s first purpose built street food centre, Hawker Yard opened in 2016. Founded by Brum Yum Yum’s Duncan Stanley, the shipping container and scaffolding structure (somewhat dubiously described as ‘cargotecture’) aimed to bring some ramshackle permanence to Brum’s emerging street food scene.

Styled with lanterns and lights, the formerly derelict yard now houses a variety of bar areas, lounging and eating options. The Pershore Road site was, however, put up for sale earlier this year as Stanley was seeking to relocate and recreate his East London vibe in, er, London.Blak Twang + Mr Thing - Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 26.08.17

Now promoters Feel the Vibe and Hawker Yard LIVE have combined to devise a Bank Holiday Weekender to tempt the ears as well as the taste buds: renowned turntablist DJ Mr. Thing and British rapper Blak Twang kick off the weekender with a ‘till late party promising street dance performances and scratching aplenty.

Saturday will see Sneaker Hawks launch the city’s newest ‘vintage, kicks and urban clothes’ event, with some of the £3 entry price supporting Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Non-shoppers wishing to indulge in some weekend philanthropy should appreciate the graffiti art, break dancing and fresh food, if not the ‘fresh garms’.

Sneaker Hawks - Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 26.08.17Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the seven sons of jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran, will round off the weekend. The group has real pedigree, having recorded and performed with the likes of MosDef, Wu Tang Clan, Prince, Childish Gambino, Maxwell, Erykah Badu, Gorillaz, and, of course, their father. No doubt their big eclectic sound, encompassing hip hop, jazz, funk and calypso will boom around Hawker Yard: the promoters promise a ‘bloc party vibe’ and the South Chicago band is likely to deliver with their delectable ‘hypnotic’ style.

Birmingham Review last saw Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at The Glee Club back in June 2015, click here to read the BREVIEW from Helen Knott with pics from Ella Carman.

For more on BLAK TWANG & DJ MR THING at Hawker Yard (Fri 25th), click here.

For more on the Sneaker Hawks launch party at Hawker Yard (Sat 26th), click here.

For more on the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at Hawker Yard (Sun 27th), click here.

For more from Hawker Yard, visit www.hawkeryardbirmingham.co.uk