BPREVIEW: Editors @ O2 Academy 19.10.18

BPREVIEW: Editors @ O2 Academy 19.10.18

Words by Ed King

On Friday 19th October, Editors play the O2 Academy Birmingham – on the road promoting their sixth studio album, Violence.

Doors open at the O2 Academy Birmingham from 7pm, with tickets priced at £25.00 (plus booking fees) – as presented by SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours and Goldenvoice. For direct gig information, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

N.B. At the time of writing, Editors’ gig at the O2 Academy Birmingham has sold out – for details of the band’s full touring schedule, across the UK and beyond, click here.

Likened to most bands that ever donned a frown and a trench coat, it can be easy to pigeon hole Editors. Cue comparison to Interpol… But go back over their now six album strong portfolio and you’ll find an intelligent evolution of sounds, from a band who arguably defined their own genre rather than being pulled down by the indie rock undercurrent or slipping into store bought comparisons. NME tried once, with a description I won’t bother to repeat, but with Editors the old adage is the best – the music speaks for itself.

Returning to the venue they opened back in September 2009 (queue jumping The Twang and Ocean Colour Scene to christen the O2 Academy Birmingham’s new Bristol Street main stage) Editors are on the road promoting Violence – the nine track hybrid of dark rock and electronica, with the thumbprints of razor edged pop that the band do so well. Cue comparison to Depeche Mode…

Released in March 2018 through PIAS Records, Violence has Editors sharing the production credit with Leo Abrahams – the guitarist and producer who has played with Imogen Heap, Pulp and Ed Harcourt, and produced artists including Carl Barât, Frightened Rabbit and Paulo Nuiti.

The album’s lead single, ‘Magazine’, was released to favourable reviews in January – a track that had been bouncing around Editors’ songbook since The Weight of Your Love, but has only found it’s home with the new ensemble. Further singles ‘Hallelujah (So Low)’ and ‘Darkness at the Door’ were released in February and April respectively, with the album’s latest single and opening track, ‘Cold’, released in October.

The O2 Academy Birmingham ‘homecoming’ gig sold out back in August, not a huge surprise. But there are more UK dates across October if you have the desire and designated driver free to get there – and if you live in mainland Europe, Editors will no doubt be on a festival bill somewhere near you soon.

Otherwise settle down in your plush Chesterfield armchair, look meaningful through a sideways glance, pick your favourite vacuous celebrity or BS infused politician, and…

‘Magazine’ – Editors

Editors play the O2 Academy Birmingham on Friday 19th October – as presented by SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours and Goldenvoice. For direct gig information, including venue details and links to online ticket sales, click here.

For more on Editors, including full tours details, visit www.editors-official.com 

For more from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.gigsandtours.com

For more from Goldenvoice, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.goldenvoice.com

For more from the O2 Academy Birmingham, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham


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ED’S PICK: March ‘18

Rews + You Dirty Blue, P.E.T @ Hare & Hounds 22.03.18Words by Ed King

**Due to the severe weather conditions, some March editorial may be delayed. It has nothing to do with 1) hangovers, 2) gigs on a Sunday that cause hangovers, 3) each episode of The Deuce being 1hr long. It’s the snow… it’s all about the snow**

The BIG NEWS this month is that Rews are coming back to Birmingham, finishing of their England tour with a special gig at the Hare & Hounds on Thursday 22nd March – joined by an awesome local line up, Tamworth’s garage rock two piece You Dirty Blue and Birmingham’s rising balloon punksters P.E.T.

Still out smashing holes in radio playlists and the right kind of ear drums across the country,  Rews are back on the road (do they ever stop!?!?) with their debut album Pyro – a rock pop stonker which we thoroughly suggest you check out. Read my Birmingham Review of the ten track beast here, or cut out the middle person and just get yourself a copy. You can bill me if you’re unhappy.

But Rews are a step up live. And don’t just take my word for it, ask any of the following: Hew Edwards, Mark Radcliffe, John Kennedy, Scott Mills, Alice Levine, Dev, Greg James, Scott Mills, Clara Amfo, Adele Roberts… (and that’s just the beeb). Or anyone who’s seen them play. Or Google. It’s not a difficult cross reference.

Of course, the best way to know for absolute certainty is to come and see Rews at the Hare & Hounds on 22nd March – for direct gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here. Or to can hop over to the Facebook event page for updates, info and links aplenty – click here.

Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18WARNING – CONTAINS CIVIC PRIDE: Rews have bolted Birmingham onto their England tour dates because their last gig in the city was such a stormer – Birmingham loves Rews, and it seems there’s a little mutual flutter there too. So, come down to the Hare on 22nd March, enjoy an awesome gig from Rews, You Dirty Blue and P.E.T, and stand on for your local live music scene. BRUMMIES UNITE.

And breathe…. There are other gigs this month, some pretty high profile shows too. In the land of five figure crowds, the Genting Arena hosts All Time Low (15th Mar) and the resplendent resurfacing of Paloma Faith (21st Mar). Whilst at Arena Birmingham we see some of America’s A-Lists rock with Fall Out Boy (27th Mar) and 30 Seconds to Mars (29th Mar). So, that’ll keep you busy. And a little broke.

Feeder @ O2 Academy 14.03.18N.B. Paul Weller was scheduled to play at the Genting Arena on 2nd March, but due to the school run slaying beast from the east (erm, the snow) this gig has been postponed. When we know more…

Editors play an ‘intimate’ gig at the Town Hall (4th Mar) to showcase their new album, Violence. Whilst across town Hookworms headline at the Hare & Hounds (4th Mar), and across the road Amit Dittani introduces his debut solo album, Santiago, at the Kitchen Garden Café (4th Mar).

Elsewhere in the city, Ezio return to Birmingham but this time at the Kitchen Garden Cafe (7th Mar), Astroid Boys tour their debut album, Broke, at The Asylum (1th Mar), Feeder take us on a retrospective love in at the O2 Academy (14th Mar), Joan Baez celebrates the end of a near 60 year live career as her Fare Thee Well Tour comes to the Symphony Hall (14th Mar), The Stranglers come to the O2 Academy (17th Mar),Rae Morris @ O2 Institute 21.03.18 ‘First Lady of Celtic Music’ and Clannad family member Moya Brennan plays at the Glee Club (20th Mar), whilst Rae Morris brings a sneak peak of her sophomore album, Someone Out There, to the O2 Institute (21st Mar). Phew… can anyone lend me a tenner?

And so exciting it gets it’s own paragraph, electronic music pioneers, Plaid, bring their AV tour to the Hare & Hounds on 10th March. A pivotal piece in the EDM jigsaw, Plaid come back to Birmingham after their sell out gig in the city last year – if this show doesn’t pack out then there’s something inherently wrong with the world, so we would suggest getting your Warp loving wriggle on and buying a ticket or two quick smart. For direct gig info and online ticket sales, click here or on the relevant hyper link.

Plaid @ Hare & Hounds 10.03.18A little later in the month the same promoters, Scratch Club, are putting on a breaks, beats and hip hop free bash at One Trick Pony with Dr Syntax (The Mouse Outfit, Foreign Beggars) & Pete Cannon, joined by Birmingham’s own DMC champion Mr Switch (30th Mar). For free..!?!? Now that’s a good bloomin’ Friday.

Film is stomping is size 10s across the city too, a cheeky month before Flatpack #12, with a healthy collage of celluloid (well, probably digital now) coming to screens in a variety of Birmingham venues. Ruben Östlund’s takes a well-penned stab at the pretensions of class and art with The Square – on general UK release from 16th March, before coming to The Electric (23rd Mar) and mac (30th Mar). Whilst mac programme a centennial celebration of Ingmar Burgman with The Seventh Seal (16th Mar), The Touch (17th Mar) and Persona (18th Mar).Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits @ The Mockingbird Kitchen & Cinema 26.03.18

The Mockingbird hosts a Wes Anderson Marathon (18th Mar) featuring The Royal Tenenbaums at 12noon, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou at 2:30pm, Fantastic Mr Fox at 5:00pm and The Grand Budapest Hotel at 6:45pm. Bit of a welcome refresher course before Anderson’s latest (and animated) feature, Isle of Dogs, is out on general release from 30th March – with two preview screenings at The Electric (25th Mar) if you wanted to jump the gun a little.

The Mockingbird are also showing the eponymous biopic about the notorious fashion designer, Westwood, throughout the month. But we recommend you wait until 26th March, so you can jump straight into Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits – another biopic, but this time about an altogether more altogether slice of formative female punk.Comedy Short - fundraiser fro SIFA Fireside @ Artefact (Stirchley High Street) 21.03.18

On the city’s smaller silver screens this March, Neighbourhood present a series of comedy shorts at Artefact in Stirchley (21st Mar) – with a pay as you feel fundraiser for SIFA Fireside, a Birmingham based organisation who support ‘those experiencing homelessness or who are vulnerably-housed.’ A great charity that deserves our cash and consideration; look outside, now pay what you feel.

Elsewhere, The Victoria welcomes the rescheduled Birmingham Horror Group: Mini-Movie Marathon (25th Mar) which is also fundraising – this time ‘with proceeds from ticket sales going to the medical charity Diabetes UK’. Whilst the Kitchen Garden Café screen the Arnie body count craziness and all round awesome… Predator  (20th Mar) – which we are more than a little happy about. I’m off to buy a dog eared cigar, dog eared dog tags, and practice the film’s profound script such as, “if it bleeds we can kill it”. Powerful stuff Arn, Kierkegaard?

The Gilded Merkin @ Glee Club 18.03.18Treading the boards this month, Joe Black starts the UK run of his new show, Touch of Evil: A Celebration of Villainy in Song, with two nights at The Old Joint Stock (09-10th Mar). The Birmingham REP stages fingersmiths’ rewrite of John Godber’s Up’n’Under (12-14th Mar) – a play about pride and adversity (and rugby, to be fair) which has been adapted for all audiences ‘with a cast of Deaf and hearing actors using British Sign Language and spoken English’.

Overlapping a little bit, REP also present The Kite Runner (13-24th Mar) performed in venue’s main theatre, coming to Birmingham after ‘an outstanding’ run in the West End. Then back in the ‘burbs, The Wardrobe Ensemble present their tale 90’s nostalgia and the Blair honeymoon – Education, Education, Education – at mac (20th Mar).

On the more glamourous side of town, Alyssa Edwards’ The Secret Is Out Tour saunters over to the Glee Club (7th Mar), before BCU’s Burlesque society present Dare to Desire at the Bierkeller (15th Mar) and Scarlett Daggers brings The Gilded Merkin burlesque show back to the Glee Club (18th Mar).The Twisted Circus @ O2 Academy 30.03.18 Not far behind is Ben DeLaCreme, with her ‘terminally delightful’ show coming to the Glee Club (29th Mar) – a day before Klub Kids present The Twisted Circus in all its glitz and glory at the O2 Academy (30th Mar).

Comedy has a pretty decent crack of the whip in March too, kicking off with Russell Brand’s Re:Birth at Symphony Hall (8th Mar) before the Glee Club takes the reigns until April, with Phil Wang (11th Mar), John Robbins (21st Mar) and Tiff Stevenson (23rd Mar).

Outside of all that, if you’ve got any dry socks or shekles left, there’s A Notorious Odyssey at The Electric (24th Mar) – as Birmingham’s 35 piece a cappella choir, notorious, take us on ‘a musical voyage where no audience has gone before’ performing ‘tunes from sc-fi films and TV, to music inspired by space and the future.’

Across town and the space-time continuum, Rupi Kaur presents an evening of performance poetry the Town Hall (24th Mar) including work from her recently released second collection, The Sun and Her Flowers.Phil Wang @ Glee Club 11.03.18 Then just shy of a week later, Richard P Rogers rounds off the month with his Frank Cook and the Birmingham Scene exhibition at mac’s Community Gallery (30th Mar) – a study of the titular Ladywood artist, as he worked his way from the north Birmingham back to backs to art school in London in the late 1960’s.

Right then, a fair amount happening in March – I’m off to do some diary/bank statement cross referencing. And maybe drink a glass of wine, or two. What day is it again…?

For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlinks. Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview.

BREVIEW: Beyond The Tracks… Sunday @ Eastside Park 17.09.17

Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review




Words by Damien Russell / Pics by Michelle Martin

Day three of any festival weekend is always a tough one for me. Day one I’m mad for it. Day two is a recover and then get back on it kind of day. Day three is usually spent sober, tired, and can be a very tough sell.

There’s also no pretending I’m not hungover. So, having made it down in time for breakfast a fruit based recovery drink is in order. The city centre feel quiet as Paul and I head on the now familiar journey to Eastside Park. And whilst it takes a little longer to get through the gates with our bags today, the queue isn’t vast.

That being so, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a fair-sized crowd already watching Nadine Shah as she performs a mix of new and classic material; she is good naturedly takes requests and works well with the audience, as well as putting on an expressive performance. Shah is an artist who knows how and when to bring her political agenda into her art, mentioning it, tastefully, toward the end but in a manner that leaves little room for confusion on what her point may be. Dorcha – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham ReviewNadine Shah and her band put on a good show, and the few times where the saxophone and guitar clash – making the instrumentation a little muddy – can certainly be forgiven.

The next band on are Dorcha, on the second stage. Unfortunately they are absolutely not what my brain needs at the time of day they are on. They play well together, but the sound is high pitched and quite intense, and while I did on-site describe them as the sound I would expect a band to make when falling slowly down a hill, this was largely an expression of how they made my hangover feel rather than a statement on them as a group.

Not one to be driven to drink on a final festival day, I nevertheless relent and get a recovery cocktail – clutching it tightly in my hand, I head back to the stage as Peter Hook & The Light start their set. Peter Hook, being a previous Joy Division member, has brought with him a little slice of the 80’s. No bad thing in my opinion. But I must admit, I’d had never expected to see two bass guitars playing complimentary melodies and with different effects. And yet the result is definitely a positive one.

Peter Hook himself has a great, powerful stage presence. He jokes about being from up north and waiting for his son (being the other bass player, Jack Bates) to get ready. At 61, and with 41 years in the industry (possibly more), Hook puts on an excellent show. The band play  a mix of New Order and Joy Division numbers and end with, you guessed it, Love Will Tear Us Apart; a classic, but one that didn’t excessively stand out in an all-round high-quality set.

With little change-over time, Hoopla Blue take to the second stage. I can see straight away that these guys are what I would expect from the term ‘shoegaze’ – although perhaps ‘stargaze’ would be more fitting and would work well with their ethereal, spacey sound. Hoopla Blue have some great songs with ‘Rotten Sodden Loot’ arguably the best of the day.

Hoopla Blue – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham ReviewI must admit that seeing them in a live setting doesn’t work as well for me; having listened to their recorded material, I prefer the records. Not to disparage a good set too heavily, but some bands are just more effective in a studio setting; fact that Hoopla Blue come across as slightly shy, alongside the limits imposed by live sound, make me feel that their recorded sound wins out.

That being the case, I take the executive decision that standing for most of the weekend has made my knees hurt, so I retreat to an area of open space and take a seat where I can still see the stage. I’ve had a message from a friend telling me to be sure to check out both Slowdive and The Jesus & Mary Chain; knowing Slowdive are on next, I prepare to either stay put or make a move to the front.

Staying put it is. Slowdive are continuing what I’m beginning to think might be the theme for the rest of the day: ethereal, slightly psychedelic, rock. They provide a good soundtrack to sitting in the sun sipping an iced drink, and have the kind of trippy visual effects on stage that I was Slowdive – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Reviewexpecting from Friday night – with the video screen working wonders for their live show. It may be unfair to make comparisons, but in some ways Slowdive put me in mind of a The-Wall-era Pink Floyd. No bad thing; music to relax to, a great soundtrack to a Sunday afternoon.

While Slowdive’s ‘When the Sun Hits’ does indeed bring out the sun, the closing of their set seems to encourage the lovely rainbow over the stage to become the considerably less lovely rain. Blackash take to the second stage under a slightly gloomy mix of cloud, rain and sun, all paying Beyond The Tracks a visit in around five minute cycles. Not to worry, Blackash are here to brighten your day regardless.

The first thing that springs to mind is Assassin’s Creed, as the band are all dressed in partial face coverings and hoods. I was expecting this to some degree, but the image still makes an impact and it’s hard to know how to take them. None too seriously as it turns out; Blackash are a band here for a good time and here to make you have a good time too. They suffer a little with the sound and the vocals are both lacking volume and a little of their trademark Wild Beasts – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Reviewdistortion.

Nevertheless, they are up-tempo (which I am infinitely glad of at this stage in the day) and good fun – with an appropriate response from the crowd, who, I think, were a little uncertain to begin with. They seem to warm to this surreal bunch and there’s a good bit of dancing and nodding along before Blackash’s set is through. Another band I would definitely see again.

As Blackash finish, Paul and I get chatting to two lovely people who were enjoying the set as much as we were. They heartily recommend Wild Beasts, the next band on the main stage, and furnish us with glow sticks that would probably have been better fitted to Friday night, but will also work perfectly well with Sunday’s space-rock.

I’ve been forced to admit that I’ve not heard of Wild Beasts, but as they come onstage they kick into their set this thought gets pushed aside as they’re good; very good, in fact. Slightly dance oriented, they’re more artsy than Blackash but have a similar head nodding, foot tapping effect on the Sunday crowd. Exhibiting excellent musicianship, each band member seems to play at least two different instruments (excluding the poor drummer who is stuck where he is).

Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham ReviewWild Beasts also have two lead vocalists –  both very different, both very good. From all Beyond The Tracks’ Sunday line up, Wild Beasts have the highest number of catchy songs so and ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Alpha Female’ and ‘Get My Bang’ are stuck in my head for quite some time afterwards. They have quite a few songs about… well, as Ben Little says, “Fucking”, and that gives them even more of a dual image.

Funky but ethereal, artsy but obvious, sensitive but direct; it’s the sort of thing that appeals to me, in that my opinion of it can change dependent on my mood. As Wild Beasts’ set progresses, the good run of weather comes to an end and the rain comes down. A good few people retreat to the shelter of the beer tent but I just put my coat on and wait it out. No way am I missing this set for a bit of water.

With the rain slowing but still coming down, it’s time to commit to my no-drinking Sunday. I go and grab a coffee to warm my cold hands and move over to the second stage as Victories At Sea are announced.

And move offstage again.

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham ReviewWell, it had to happen sooner or later. Technical difficulties. Whether the weather is to blame or not is a matter for the event staff alone to determine, but between the rain and the delays Victories At Sea start their set with some ground to make up. And it’s hard to be sure what else is to blame, but to my ear the sound is still terrible. It does get better as their set progresses but not enough to save it for me. (After the effect, I’ve done some research and again Victories At Sea recorded music sounds nothing like the stage show I watched. So I attribute it to water logged or faulty equipment, but bad luck all round)

After this minor downer, and having been given somewhat conflicting opinions of The Jesus & Mary Chain, I keep my fingers crossed for the next hour. As they take to the stage and their set starts, I’m once again pleasantly surprised. The uber-80’s sound I was told to expect fails to materialise and it turns out that The Jesus & Mary Chain are a good up-tempo Country-influenced band. Admittedly, they’re not as entertaining as they could be on stage, and their music isn’t entirely my sort of thing, but they’re solid enough for a Sunday with a 16-song set that is quite varied.Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

When they’re in the throes of a song, the sound is good and the balance of instruments works well, but for some reason William Reid won’t stop playing between songs making the set seem a little unprofessional. In some ways Jim Reid’s voice sounds a little strained too, but it doesn’t slow him down any and it was always their style in a way anyway.

They kick their Beyond The Tracks set off with the slightly new romantic/punk-esque ‘Amputation’, with the rest of the follows that somewhat heavily guitar led feeling. In comparison to the stargaze space rock mood of much of the day, The Jesus & Mary Chain seem more grounded and more traditional rock oriented.

Their set does unfortunately feel a little long, so when the last strains of the curiously titled ‘I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll’ fade away, I head away from the stage and find somewhere to sit down. I can hear Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation starting up on the second stage, but they sadly take a backseat to my desire for pizza as I follow Lazlo’s hierarchy and get food.

Editors – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham ReviewThe main stage is now a hive of activity, as what look like industrial extract fans are set up and drum kits, pianos, keyboards, and other musical items are brought out; it all looks very exciting. As my hunger is sated and my interest is piqued, Editors begin, striking out with ‘Cold’, ‘Sugar’ and then ‘The Racing Rats’. It’s easy for me to see why they were chosen to headline; the setting they’ve brought is excellent, making maximum use of the stage and the available lighting.

Their performance is musically excellent too, as you would expect from a band of 15 years pedigree, but also very visual with Tom Smith throwing his all into it. It’s a set to rival Saturday night’s Maxïmo Park experience and with the light show to go with it; I’m hard pressed to decide which I think is best. I decide to just love them both equally, and by the time Editors’ set is halfway through and ‘An End Has a Start begins, I’m having a too much of a good care either way. Smith has a warm vocal tone and the 80’s leaning that he is known for, alongside their synthesiser driven backline, ties the day together well.Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Editors finish their main set 14 songs in with ‘Marching Orders’ and I can’t imagine what they could possibly do to top it. One cliched pause for applause later and they’re back out, smashing into ‘Open Your Arms’, ‘Bullets’, ‘Munich’ and finally ‘Papillion’ – arguably their most 80’s oriented track. It’s a fantastic encore and an excellent end to the day; Editors come across as the culmination of everything we’ve seen and heard throughout Sunday at Beyond The Tracks and what perfect headliners it makes them.

Slightly sad that it’s all over, but with one eye on work tomorrow morning, the walk to the train station is a swirling mix of emotions. The journey back to Wolverhampton is spent comparing highs and lows, reliving the highlights one more time, and making plans for the next event from this fledgling festival.

As we found out in our recent interview with the festival organiser, John Fell, Beyond the Tracks may not be back in 2018 – but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for it in 2019. In the meantime I guess it’s back to normality.




Dorcha – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin

Dorcha – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Dorcha – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Dorcha – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on Dorcha, visit www.dorcha.co.uk


Peter Hook & The Light – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin Peter Hook & The Light – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Peter Hook & The Light – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Peter Hook & The Light – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on Peter Hook & The Light, visit www.peterhook.get-ctrl.com


Hoopla Blue – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin

Hoopla Blue – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Hoopla Blue – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Hoopla Blue – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on Hoopla Blue, visit www.soundcloud.com/hoopla-blue


Slowdive – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin

Slowdive – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Slowdive – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Slowdive – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on Slowdive, visit www.slowdiveofficial.com


Wild Beasts – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin

Wild Beasts – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Wild Beasts – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Wild Beasts – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on Wild Beasts, visit www.wild-beasts.co.uk


The Jesus & Mary Chain – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on The Jesus & Mary Chain, visit www.thejesusandmarychain.uk.com


Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, visit www.josefinohrnandtheliberation.bandcamp.com


Editors – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin

Editors – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Editors – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

Editors – Beyond The Tracks @ Eastside Park 17.09.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review

For more on Editors, visit www.editorsofficial.com

For more on Beyond The Tracks, visit www.beyondthetracks.org

INTERVIEW: John Fell – Beyond the Tracks @ Eastside Park 15-17.09.17

John Fell - Beyond the Tracks @ Eastside Park 15-17.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Review

Words by Damien Russell / Pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe

Feeling like a lazy Sunday afternoon despite being a Monday (thank you Bank Holiday), sitting in the shade at Eastside Park has got something of a ‘last day of a festival’ feel.

Convenient really as I’ve braved exhaustion and headed out to into the sun to see a man about a festival. That man is John Fell and the festival is, of course, Beyond The Tracks.

I say ‘of course’ but given that Beyond The Tracks (for those who have missed the promo so far) is the newest addition to the Moseley Folk portfolio, it may not be as clear cut as that. This new city-centre, three day event  is nestled comfortably alongside the Moseley Folk Festival itself, the Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival, and the Lunar Festival, all under the Moseley Folk banner.

And John Fell is, “kind of Festival Manager, really, so to be honest I do a lot things from booking the line-up to the marketing, to the press, the finances, I get involved with a little bit of kind of planning the site and things like that. All the staffing. So, it’s a lot there really.” If he does say so himself. And I agree, it is a lot; they’re big events with stellar line-ups and not exactly spread out in either area or through the year.

Curious about this, I ask about the rest of the team. “Well, there’s me, full time, and then there’s two directors (Gerv Havill, Carl Phillips) that are kind of more part time on the festivals. They’ve got their other businesses. And we’ve just taken on a new member of staff as well and she’s become a kind of Festival Assistant, so it’s slowly growing but it’s not a big team for all the things we do really”, Fell explains.

John Fell - Beyond the Tracks @ Eastside Park 15-17.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham ReviewNot a big team at all. And with a variety of other events as well as the festivals, it must be a lot to take on. John Fell is a collected man and while he will admit that focusing on so much is “quite difficult”, he quickly adds, “I’ve always been quite good at that really. I’ve always… I don’t sit still very often”. I’m glad we got him pinned down for half an hour to talk to us.

So how did it all begin? And how did it become Beyond The Tracks? “When I joined we’d just created Goodnight Lenin”, Fell says, taking us back to both the start of his band (recently announced to be on hiatus) and his time with Moseley Folk, “and JJ from the band asked me to go round and come and play music at 3 o’clock in the morning because they’d been up all night drinking. Normally I would never do it, not if I hadn’t been out already, and I thought ‘you know what, fine, I’ll go round’. If he wants to play music, I’ll do it, whatever time of day”. And a 3am video became Goodnight Lenin’s application to play Moseley Folk Festival. “Carl who ran the festival rang us up and said ‘I wanna come and see you play’ and he wanted to manage the band and put us as headlining the second stage, the Lunar stage” Fell expands, describing an opportunity most bands would do something their mothers would disapprove of, to get.

It isn’t surprising but it is good to be reminded that Moseley Folk (both festival and company) have always been committed to local talent. And actively looking for it has “always been an ethos of ours, to support that and provide a platform for that. Which is quite cool”. And not just at the festivals. They “do loads of cool shows throughout the year… and because that’s not really our… job, I guess, our festivals are where we kind of scrape our salaries… we can book who we want. We’re not pressured to book gigs, we don’t just put gigs on for the sake of it; we can book who we want”.

An envious place to be. And a powerful place. Free from the constraints of popularity and to a certain extent cost, Moseley Folk remind me of the record companies of old – able to take risks and trail-blaze if they wish, whilst hosting the type of gigs many bands dream of getting to play at.

With such an open opportunity for booking talent, I wonder how the Beyond The Tracks lineup was approached. The answer lies in being different to the other festivals in the Moseley Folk portfolio, “with Folk and Jazz, Lunar’s a bit more psychedelic… we wanted to essentially make three different gigs. I mean, originally we didn’t put weekend tickets on sale because we didn’t think there would be that much demand. Essentially it was an electronic night, an indie night and, I guess, like a post-punk, shoegaze kind of Sunday, which is cool”.John Fell - Beyond the Tracks @ Eastside Park 15-17.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Review

Planning, then combining, three different gigs sounds like an unusual way to approach a festival, but less so when originally it was “going to be an Ocean Colour Scene gig with, you know, Maximo Park or whoever, and it grew into a festival which is, you know…”, John Fell leaves me to offer the rather clichéd ‘really cool’ but charitably goes with it. “It is really cool. So the whole thing has just been, like, a really natural progression”.

Choosing this site, currently just open grass and quiet couples, was also natural progression; John Fell takes us back to 22nd January 2016, and to the 20th anniversary shows of Ocean Colour Scene’s Moseley Shoals in Moseley Park. “And that was just incredible”, Fell says, and shortly after those shows “we were just sat outside the pub, the Eagle and Tun, and looking at this space and were like ‘why have we not done a festival here?’ Or at least a gig here” so they decide they should and went full on for Beyond The Tracks.

And what a festival it’s pitched to be. “It’s Birmingham’s, you know, I guess biggest inner city, kind of ‘band festival”, in John Fell’s words. “Obviously you’ve got things like MADE which are doing incredibly at The Rainbow and a lot of other events going on” he continues, “I suppose it’s not like a Great Escape but that kind of inner city festival, Tramlines in Sheffield, that kind of thing. And we thought for the first year we should really celebrate Birmingham music. We already had Ocean Colour Scene; Editors have got strong Birmingham links. So then we just go ‘right, okay, we want to support other bands’ so, you know: Superfood, Jaws, Victories at Sea, Dorcha, Table Scraps. We just added Hoopla Blue and Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam, there’s so many bands… The Leftfield guys are coming to DJ, Magic Door guys coming to DJ… So it’s a bit of a Birmingham love-in really. It’s gonna be really cool.”

And speaking of Hoopla Blue… I ask John about the sad news that Goodnight Lenin wouldn’t be playing and would be replaced by, you guessed it, “Hoopla Blue. Yeah, we wanted it to be a local band and Hoopla – great band – they just jumped on it straight away. It is a shame but it just felt right to end Goodnight Lenin with Liam rather than playing another show, it didn’t quite make sense”. I don’t ask about the conflict of interest in booking a band you play with; if John Fell began working for Moseley Folk through Goodnight Lenin, it stands to reason Goodnight Lenin would still be one of Moseley Folk’s regular artists.

John Fell - Beyond the Tracks @ Eastside Park 15-17.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham ReviewThere’s certainly plenty of Birmingham music at Beyond The Tracks, possibly more Birmingham on the stage than in the audience at times, as to my surprise, “Friday night’s about 40 percent people coming from outside the Midlands. Which is pretty incredible. It’s very similar numbers to the Jazz and Folk, to be honest with you, it’s like, high 30’s from outside the Midlands. Saturday here with Ocean Colour Scene and The Twang, is obviously more localised but it’s still a good 25 percent from outside the Midlands and Sunday as well is about 30, high 30’s. So, we are actually bringing people in,” and in saying so Fell sounds proud. And I believe he is, proud of what Birmingham has to offer and proud to be a part of it.

And not without merit either; four major festivals are not organised through hope alone, that kind of work needs vision. The vision that Beyond The Tracks is “what Birmingham needs really just to kind of give it that other, kind of, star next to its name of what we have here to offer”. The drive to “bring people to Birmingham and actually show them what we do”. And the eye on the future looking to “see what else we can do for the city now”.

But with the rise of Beyond The Tracks, we’ve seen the fall of the Lunar Festival; this yearly switch looks set to continue, as the original three year access to the Beyond The Tracks site has been scuppered by the HS2 development. “We are bringing Lunar back next year and then… we don’t have the land for this (Beyond The Tracks) next year”, Fell explains, taking me a little by surprise. “We were told two years, we could have it… three years we could have it and HS2 is being built on this land. So they’re acquiring the land. So it might be the case that we maybe have a year off Beyond The Tracks, bring Lunar back. We’ve been refining that (Lunar Festival) so we’re quite excited to bring that back. Erm, and then, you know, hopefully we can bring Beyond The Tracks back the year after, maybe”.

Maybe, maybe not; there is always the fear that “it’s four festivals. You do start eating into your own audience as well. People only have so much money”. So maybe one on, one off could be on the cards. Or maybe it’s just a one-off.

Either way, when you think that “Friday night’s going to be crazy with Leftfield and Orbital and the light show they’ve got, here, in the city centre on a Friday night”, then the local focus lineup on Saturday and Sunday, with “Fairground Rides in the middle… a Ferris wheel and everything” it’s hard not to get a building sense of excitement.

And as I walk back across the site toward The Woodman pub, thinking to myself ‘stage there, fairground there, bar somewhere here…’ it’s also hard to disagree with John Fell when he shares the sentiment, “It’s gonna be quite cool. I mean it’s gonna be phenomenal, you know. It’s costing the world, really, so it should be…. But yeah, it gonna be cool, man”. Cool indeed. Phenomenal sounds about right too; I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Beyond The Tracks comes to Eastside Park in Birmingham City Centre, running 15th to 17th September. Tickets for this event are £54.45 for individual day tickets, £145 for a weekend pass, with a host of after parties after each day. 

For more on Beyond The Tracks, including full festival details and online ticket sales, visit www.beyondthetracks.org

BPREVIEW: Beyond the Tracks @ Eastside Park 15-17.09.17

BPREVIEW: Beyond the Tracks @ Eastside Park 15-17.09.17

Words by Damien Russell & Paul Gallear

Birmingham’s Beyond the Tracks festival is set to take over the Eastside City Park, outside Millennium Point, from the 15th to the 17th of September.

This new three day addition to the Birmingham festival scene has a stellar line-up and caters for an eclectic audience incorporating rock, britpop, dance, electronica and more. And it’s not just music that’s on offer, the festival website boasts a ‘great selection of gourmet caterers to suit all tastes and appetites’ as well as ‘a choice of well stocked and well staffed bars’ which, while not essential for the festival experience, will certainly be reassuring for some (me included).

Beyond the Tracks is one of the biggest city centre festivals this year and although there’s no camping, being just five minutes from Moor Street Station the transport access is good enough to take away the sting of the daily ‘commute’. For direct festival info, including more about getting on and off site, click here. For information and online bookings for all Birmingham city centre stations (Moor Street, New Street and Snow Hill) click here to visit Trainline.com

On Friday 15th September the gates will open at 14:00 and this is definitely your day if you like electronic music. Orbital, reunited and with a new track released this February, are the headliners – with Leftfield performing their 1995 album Leftism in full as part of their anniversary tour. There will be a DJ set BPREVIEW: Leftfield @ Beyond the Tracks - Friday 15th Septemberfrom electronica stalwarts Faithless, with Australia’s Jagwar Ma also providing a touch of psychedelia to the Friday night bill.

Beyond the Tracks opening night also sees the return of the Higher Intelligence Agency (HIA) to our city’s soundsytems, who will no doubt bring the old ambient/Oscillate crowd out from under whatever chamomile flavoured rock of lost serotonin they are currently resting – Birmingham Review’s editor included. HIA are also hosting an unofficial after party at Centrala on Friday night, for direct info click here.

On Saturday and Sunday the gates open at midday, with both days set to have a more rock-based line up. There are also a number of notable local names across the weekend, including Saturday’s headliners – britpop veterans Ocean Colour Scene.

Saturday daytime the event openers are Penkridge based indie-rockers Sugarthief, who have had an impressive festival run this year including Y Not and Kendal Calling. They are followed by ‘experimental’ Birmingham band Health & Efficiency who make me think of what indie would sound like if it were invented in the 80’s. Noise punk fuzz merchants Table Scraps are up next, who recently spoke to our own Ed King at their recent double a-side launch with Black Mekon at the Hare & Hounds – click here for the Birmingham Review of the gig, alongside links to the full interview.

BPREVIEW: Table Scraps @ Beyond the Tracks - Saturday 16th SeptemberAlso performing across the Saturday programme are The Americas, with their driving up-tempo rock (reminiscent of Tom Petty) describing themselves as ‘music to ride a motorbike to’. Then there’s Midlands based artfully crafted classic college-rock quartet Superfood and B-Town indie-pop rockers Jaws, both coming back to Birmingham after some significant success outside the city walls. The Twang, who are celebrating the ten-year anniversary of their debut album Love It When I Feel Like This, Maxïmo Park – touring following the release or their 2017 album Rick To Exist – and The Coral complete an indie side to the day’s line-up. To read Damien Russell’s Birmingham Review of Risk To Exist, click here.

For those still craving more following all that, there is an after party running from 23:00 to 03:00 at the O2 Institute featuring a DJ set from Maxïmo Park, Blast Off DJs and Dave Southam of Snobs – click here for more details or check out the banner ad below.

For those not exhausted by the previous two days partying, Sunday is a more eclectic line-up with artists such as Scottish 80’s alternative rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain – touring their new album Damage and Joy, Reading’s shoegaze rockers Slowdive – promoting their eponymous album (the first for twenty-two years) and Birmingham’s own Editors bringing the proceedings to a close.

Beyond the TracksBPREVIEW: Slowdive @ Beyond the Tracks - Sunday 17th September‘ final day will be opened by Dorcha – ‘a five piece Birmingham band of synths, strings, electronics and heavy beats led by composer Anna Palmer’. Then throughout Sunday we will see sets from Victories at Sea – described by The Guardian as ‘dolorous indie disco with a fresh spin’, Goodnight Lenin – who have recently announced they are recording their second album, and psychedelic industrial rockers BLACKASH.

I think it would be fair to say that there is something for everyone on the Beyond the Tracks bill and seeing big national names with current tours/releases lined up side by side with solid local acts is a pleasure. The organisers seem to have considered every act and made sure they all have a connection to the area or to the 2017 music scene – an attention to detail that bodes well for the wider event.

Speaking of the wider event, while information is a little sparse the promotional video for the festival (link below) goes into a little more about what non-music elements we can expect. There is the promise of ‘fine ales, imported lagers, craft beers, scrumpy cider shack, quality cocktails and fine wines & fizz’ for the drinkers, alongside the aforementioned ‘gourmet street food & snacks’ to soak it all up with and and keep you going.

Then for those moments when the music has got a bit too much, we have some ‘cabaret side shows and walkabouts’ for the grown ups. Not a lot on the programme for children though, with the Beyond the Tracks organsisers issuing the following statement:

‘The event is aimed at an adult audience. There will not be any specific children’s entertainment on site with the focus primarily on the music itself. That said, we are keen not to exclude anyone from the event so have not set an arbitrary age limit for this year. However, all persons do require a full ticket for the event regardless of age’.

But seriously, who under the age of… is going to be losing it to Orbital or The Jesus and Mary Train? Also worth noting Beyond the Tracks has a no re-entry policy and once you’re in, you’re in. Although with a line-up like this I can’t see why anyone would possibly want to be ‘out’.

Beyond the Tracks 2017 – Official Trailer

Tickets for this event are £54.45 for individual day tickets, £145 for a weekend pass, and £11 for the Saturday night after party at the O2 Institute. 

For more on Beyond the Tracks, including full festival details and online ticket sales, visit www.beyondthetracks.org

BPREVIEW: Beyond the Tracks - after party @ O2 Institute 16..09.17