BPREVIEW: Michael Oesterle @ CBSO 18.11.16

Michael Oesterle @ CBSO 18.11.16




Words by Ed King

On Friday 18th November, Michael Oesterle performs at the CBSO alongside new compositions from Peter Bell, Patrick Ellis, Seán Clancy – as presented by Frontiers. The conductor will be Richard Baker with the Thallein Ensemble.birm_prev-logo-main-lr

Doors open at 7:30pm, with standard tickets charged at £10 (advance) and £12 (otd). For direct gig info & online ticket sales, click here.

Born in Germany, but living and working from Canada since 1982, Michael Oesterle studied composition at the University of British Columbia. Later he earned his doctorate from Princeton University – under the supervision of American composer Paul Lansky and Dutch composer Louis Andriessen.

Post PHD, Michael Oesterle established himself internationally; alongside a significant portfolio in Canada, Oesterle’s music has been performed across Europe and North America by ensembles including Julliard New Music Ensemble (New York, US), Continuum (London, UK) and Les Percussions de Strasbourg (Strasbourg, France) and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Montreal, Canada).

Described by Simon Bertrand at www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca as ‘reminiscent of the music of some American minimalist composers (e.g., John Adams or Terry Riley)’ Michael Oesterle’s work explores ‘varied sonorities, sophisticated use of timbres, and postmodern techniques’.

In residence at Birmingham Conservatoire for the week, this Frontiers programmed/CBSO hosted event on Friday 18th November will be a chance for the general public to see Michael Oesterle perform two original compositions: ‘California’, ‘Babbitt’.

The composition featured below, titled ‘Carrousel’, was written by Oesterle as a quartet for Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Marimba, and Piano. It was premièred at Koerner Hall, Toronto in 2013 – performed by Haruka Fujii, Rika Fujii, Gregory Oh, Ryan Scott.

‘Carrousel’ – Michael Oesterle


Michael Oesterle performs at the CBSO on Friday 18th November, alongside new compositions from Peter Bell, Patrick Ellis, Seán Clancy – as presented by Frontiers. For direct gig info & online ticket sales, click here.

For more on Michael Oesterle, visit www.michaeloesterle.com

For more from Frontiers, including their ongoing programme of events, visit www.frontiersmusic.org

For more from CBSO, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.cbso.co.uk


BPREVIEW: Kristin Hersh @ The Glee Club 15.11.16

Kristin Hersh @ The Glee Club 15.11.16

Words by Ed King

On Tuesday 15th November, ‘An Evening with Kristin Hersh’ comes to The Glee Club in Birmingham, where the singer/songwriter and author will present ‘songs and readings from works spanning her entire career.’main-with-web-colour-bcg-lr

Doors open at 7pm with last entry at 7:45pm – tickets are priced at £17.50 + booking fee. For direct gig info & online ticket sales, click here.

So, this is the kind of gig to invite a preamble; let’s start at the beginning… (cue wavy dream sequence…)

Kristen Hersh and her bestie/step-sister, Tanya Donelly, pick up teenage guitars and form a duo. About a year later they recruit some schoolmates. A band grows. The name of the band grows. The name of the band shortens, and after meeting a couple of limey label execs Throwing Muses release their eponymous debut album. This is still the mid 80’s and Throwing Muses’ indie rock paves the way for further US signing to 4AD, including Pixies – a good few years before SubPop would sign Mudhoney and a couple of nihilists from Aberdeen.

Throwing Muses were heralded as a break to the norm; traditions and song structures be damned. Throwing Muses became a success, both critically and commercially, with Kristin Hersh writing the majority of the songs – lyrics that fused a still-water anger, folk storytelling, visceral self-dissection and a good old rock war cry.

Three albums later and Sister Donelly leaves to form and front Belly. Three albums later still, after ‘a band who’d leave me one by one’, and Sister Hersh goes solo – piping the final Muses’ LP to the post with her own debut album, Hips and Makers. Cue the single ‘Your Ghost’, cue Strings EP, two novels, a children’s book, eight further solo albums, and we’re queuing up for tickets to spend ‘An Evening with Kristin Hersh.’ And if I was to give you some more Google/Spotify fodder, Sunny Border Blue.

Wyatt at the Coyote Palace / Kristin HershI should, also, not skip quite so quickly past the literature that Kristin Hersh has penned and produced: Toby Snax (2007), Rat Girl/Paradoxical Undressing (2010), Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt (2015). Truthfully, I’ve not read them, so it’s a little presumptuous to comment. But I can tell you the first is an illustrated children’s book, the second is about Hersh’s early touring days with Throwing Muses, and the third is a posthumous celebration about her friendship with singer/songwriter Vic Chestnut. And added to the ferocious honesty and habitual nature of Kristin Hersh’s musical accomplishments… well, fuck me.

Kristin Hersh has also released a triptych of book/CD combos, starting with Throwing Muses’ first studio album (including Sister Donelly) in a decade, Purgatory/Paradise (2013) – apparently named after a intersection on Rhode Island and not Dante’s infernal struggle. This collection was followed up with Hersh’s solo release, Crooked, in 2015.

The lasted installment is titled Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, an anthology of ‘essays and lyrics with two CD’s included’ – released as a hardback on 15th November (the day of this gig) and named after the exploration of an abandoned building behind the studio the LP was recorded in. Wyatt is Kristin Hersh’s son.

So, that’s us all caught up then… kinda, sorta. 50FOOTWAVE. There you go.Hips and Makers / Kristin Hersh

The last time I saw Kristin Hersh was shortly after her solo debut, Hips and Makers, had been released; Hersh was playing in the New Bands tent at Glastonbury Festival. I think it was 1994, but it could have been a year later. Or even two. There were a lot of drugs in my system during the mid 90’s. But the girl-guitar on stage stuck in my mind, with a flicker of precocious excitement that I’d be able to see her perform again. Only took me about 20 years.

Plus this is ‘An Evening with…’ so I may get to extend my knowledge, with readings from her prose also being performed.

But in the interim, I ‘m going to leave you with an album track from the LP that started this solo machine. One of my favourites. So look down. Click. Listen. And I’ll see you next Tuesday..?

‘Me and My Charms’ – Kristin Hersh

An Evening with Kristin Hersh comes to The Glee Club (B’ham) on Tuesday 15th November – alongside the release of Wyatt at the Coyote Palace. For direct gig info & online ticket sales, visit www.glee.co.uk/performer/kristin-hersh

For more on Kristin Hersh, visit www.kristinhersh.com

For more from The Glee Club, visit www.glee.co.uk


BPREVIEW: SHOUT Festival 10-20.11.16

SHOUT Festival 10-20.11.16 / www.shoutfestival.co.uk

Words by Ed King

Running from 10th to 20th November, SHOUT Festival returns to Birmingham – presenting a 10 day celebration of ‘Queer Arts & Culture’ in venues across the city.main-with-web-colour-bcg-lr

Expect film, theatre, seminars, stand up, club nights, and a bevy of both performing and visual arts on the 2016 programme. Held as a series of satellite events, entry to each can range from free to £13.50 –  but for a breakdown of the full SHOUT programme, including individual show times, locations, prices & online tickets sales, click here.

Now in its 8th year, SHOUT is a locally programmed festival that ‘brings the best in queer and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT) artists, work, and culture from across the UK and beyond to Birmingham.’

Headed by the great, good and garrulous of Birmingham’s LGBT community, SHOUT holds a firm focus on both expression and education – aiming to establish an annual ‘place to celebrate diversity, push boundaries, challenge views, explore meaning and provides a platform for the voices and experiences of queer people.’ So… probably not so many 80’s throwbacks on stage.

But pride is rife across the SHOUT mandate, with an arguably more intelligent approach to the sexual politics that – as the festival organisers say themselves – have ‘become more prominent in the public eye than ever before.’ No longer are we being asked to get used to anything, but instead celebrate all the colours of the rainbow through an innovative and inspirational programme. That and the darker side of cabaret. And establishment support: we’re here, we’re queer, now where’s our arts funding..?

But whatever your predilection, sexual or artistic, SHOUT Festival has a solid array of events to incite and attract – all of which have been seemingly priced with consideration. Not one will cost you over £15 with a packet of crisps in the interval. Loads to check out; here’s a couple of event that grabbed us by the short and curlies:


miss-behave-game-showMiss Behave’s Game Show @ Chic Nightclub / 10.11.16

Kicking off the SHOUT programme, Miss Behave presents her ‘renegade Gameshow for the austerity generation’ as part of the festival’s official launch shenanigans. Watch with wonder as the audience battle through pint drinking, head banging, number dialing, in an evening of ‘brand new idiocy, fun and chaos’.

The latest incarnation from Amy Saunders, one of ‘the world’s last surviving’ and self taught female sword swallowers, Miss Behave’s Gameshow looks as riotous, without being an actual riot (although…), as ou’re going to get. Bonkers fun; at the time of writing only a handful of tickets are available on the door at Chic Night Club, with an after party… well, afterwards.

For more on Miss Behave’s Gameshow, visit www.missbehavegameshow.com


meet-me-at-the-eldoradoJoe Black: Meet Me at the Eldorado @ The Old Joint Stock / 11.11.16

I’m going to try and write this without getting sued by either Richard O’Brien or Bob Fosse… Meet Me at the Eldorado is the new show from ‘notorious cabaret reprobate Joe Black’ – giving two performances at the Old Joint Stock, as part of SHOUT Festival ’16 and her/his wider UK tour. ‘A villainous maestro of the cabaret genre, Joe Black blurs the line between utterly sinister and completely delightful’, in a one woman/man show that teaches you everything from where not to put clothes pegs to which existentialist to keep away from your dinner table (and not, as my addled brain first heard it, a ‘lioness’…).

Taking its name from the Eldorado establishments of Weimar Berlin, a city with a prominent LGBT community until some hateful little Austrian sat there and ruined the world, Joe Black’s new cabaret has been sweeping up accolades. At the time of writing an extra 10pm show had been added to the SHOUT programme, with the early 8pm performance already sold out; moving quickly wouldn’t be a bad idea if you want to see this in Birmingham.

For more on Joe Black, visit www.misterjoeblack.com


Douze: XNTHONY & The Penny Slots @ The Old Joint Stock / 12.11.16

DISCLAIMER: I don’t watch a huge amount of telly (I don’t have a telly) so I’m still not 100% sure if this is a spoof. So if it’s not… dear god almighty, and good luck/God bless. Make sure a grown up goes with them.

XNTHONY is a self made pop star. XNTHONY has ‘a collective’ behind him. XNTHONY believes he should, nay must, represent Ireland in that most hallowed of artistic endeavours, the Eurovision Song Contest. He’s got the glitz, he’s got the spandex, he’s got a song about numbers (it’s just numbers) and he’s got both a blonde and brunette backing singer (both the backing singers have scrunchies). He’s even already performed in front royalty, Prince Edward no less, so all that’s left is the nationwide support. That’s where you come in, as XNTHONY & the Penny Slots tour the UK on self driven their campaign to make it into the 2016 Eurovision Pop Contest. Or the 2017 contest, that would be ok too.

‘An x-posé into the edible world of pop spectacle, fame and fandom,’ Douze looks like a real treat. For anyone who has sat staring at a screen, jaw dropped in both abject horror and gallows humour, this is a kind of must see. Or if you were ever a member of Bucks Fizz.

For more on XNTHONY, visit www.xnthony.com


polari-literary-salonPolari Literary Salon @ mac / 19.11.16

Described by writer Ali Smith (Like, The Accidental, How to be Both) as ‘a blend of audience sweetness, panache, cleverness and really good fun’, Polari is a monthly meeting London based literary salon. Award winning, publically revered, generally given an enthusiastic thumbs up, Polari was set up by writer/journalist Paul Burson to focus on the literary endeavours from, of and about LGBT culture.

Coming to back to SHOUT as part of a UK wide tour, supported by the Arts Council England, Polari enjoyed ‘a big hit’ at last year’s festival – with Paul Burson hosting the 2016 event. Also in discussion will be writers Kiki Archer (Too Late… I Love You), Scott Campbell (The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street), VG Lee (Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire) and Karen Mcleod (In Search of the Missing Eyelash).

For more on Polari Literary Salon, visit www.polariliterarysalon.co.uk


Also work checking out at this year’s SHOUT Festival are Deep in the Heart of Me at The Wellington Hotel (Sat 12th Nov), My Comedy at The Loft Lounge  (Sun 13th Nov), A Boy Named Sue at the REP (Fri 18th & Sat 19th Nov), Slope-tend-big at Grand Union (Fri 11th to Fri 18th Nov), Big Girl’s Blouse at mac (Sun 20th Nov). Click on the highlighted links for more info & online ticket sales.

SHOUT Festival runs from 10th to 20th November, with satellite events held in venues across Birmingham. For more on SHOUT Festival, visit www.shoutfestival.co.uk


BPREVIEW: The Cinematic Orchestra @ O2 Institute 09.11

The Cinematic Orchestra / By B+ (Mochilla)

Words by Ed King / Pic by B+ (Mochilla)

On Wednesday 9th November, The Cinematic Orchestra perform a full live set at the O2 Institute with support from Submotion Orchestra – as presented by Leftfoot & Ninja Tune.main-with-web-colour-bcg-lr

Doors open at 7pm with tickets priced at £25+booking fee. For direct gig info, including online tickets sales, click here.

The words ‘eagerly awaited’ are thrown around. Like ‘love’ on Valentine’s Day, we mean it for the second the sentence leaves our lips, and then… maybe… what was your sister’s name again..?

But expect to hear these words. In 2017 The Cinematic Orchestra will be releasing another album, their first studio recorded release since Ma Fleur in 2007, and from the jaunty hats of Hoxton to the Grime & Crime of Salford an audible anticipation grows. Probably justified this time too, with the previous proffering from Messers Swinscoe & Co being a decade ago. And you’re fooling no one with your ‘Live at…’ or mix compilations; we want blood.

So what to expect? The Ninja Tune press release tells us to expect ‘some of the most poised, ravishing music of this band’s stellar career’. Plus there are some more sexy ass collaborations, this time from Beck, Sufjan Stevens, Solange, ninja-tune-logo-br-web-colours-lrJames Blake and Moses Sumney – the latter being the guest vocalist on the album’s teaser single release, ‘To Believe’.

Outside of that, The Cinematic Orchestra’s next album is all a little cloak and dagger – with only a live European tour between us and the chasm of cultural ignorance. At the time of writing, we don’t know what it’s called or when it’s arriving (cue jokes about teenage pregnancy) and the only chance we’ll have to get anything more out of them is half cut at one of the concerts (cue jokes about teenage pregnancy).

But luckily for Birmingham, The Cinematic Orchestra are popping into the O2 Institute on their way from Nottingham to London – playing one of only 8 UK dates here on Wednesday 9th November. So screw you Wolverhampton Civic Hall. And go and drink a pint at the Hare & Hounds, it’s the very least we can do.

In the meantime, check out the aforementioned teaser single – click on the link below. You can download this from The Cinematic Orchestra’s website too.

‘To Believe’ featuring Moses Sumney – The Cinematic Orchestra

The Cinematic Orchestra play at the O2 Institute on Wednesday 9th November – with support from Submotion Orchestra. For direct gig info & online ticket sales, click here.Print


For more on The Cinematic Orchestra, visit www.cinematicorchestra.com

For more on Submotion Orchestra, visit www.submotion.co.uk


For more from the O2 Institute, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

For more from Leftfoot, visit www.leftfootevents.co.uk

For more form Ninja Tune, visit www.ninjatune.net


INTERVIEW: Ozzy Osborne

Ozzy Osborne interview - 26.06.10 / Paul Ward



Words by Ed King / Pics by Paul Ward

Everybody’s waiting. The media in a corridor upstairs, the fans against the railings downstairs. Gargantuan pillars of security standing stoic in the middle. We were all told to ‘be here by 1pm sharp’ but there’s been queues on the street for over 36 hours. Why? Ozzy Osbourne of course. Birmingham’s infamous bat Ozzy Osborne signing - 26.06.10 / Paul Wardbiter is in back town and it seems half the city has turned out to meet him.

“I was here a few months ago,” says Ozzy,“promoting my new book (I Am Ozzy). Lots of things have changed, new buildings and that. I mean, what’s with that big golf ball in the centre? It’s changed amazingly,” a strong accent blows all stardust from the room, “I mean, I used to get lost when I lived here. But it’s always good to be back in Birmingham. I’d consider moving back here but Sharon likes it over in America.”

Modern Birmingham’s constantly under construction, but how does Ozzy feel about the city he grew up in? “Coming into Birmingham just now I was reflecting back on what it used to be like when I lived at No14 Rose Road (The Birmingham Observer cannot confirm this address),” I think I’ve just worked out why there’s been a delay, “I was sitting there thinking, such a lot has happened in my life. I just could not have planned this. It’s unbelievable.” A fair description of over 18 albums selling millions worldwide. Ozzy grins, “42 years later and I’m still playing the Town Hall.”Ozzy Osborne signing - 26.06.10 / Paul Ward

Ozzy is back on the road promoting his 10th solo studio album, Scream, released in April this year. 18 months long and internationally wide, Scream tours across Europe, America and Japan. During a year and half of globetrotting performances how does Ozzy plan to stay sane?

“Not by drinking that’s for sure,” Ozzy is very candid about his alcoholism and recovery, “I haven’t drunk for a long time now, about 7-8 years. If I was drinking I don’t think I’d make it a week.” Judging by the hype surrounding today I’m not sure Ozzy’s management team will make it 18 months without. “I’m quite a straight laced guy nowadays.”

So with no bats on stage what can we expect from the Scream album and tour? “Heavy. Very heavy. You know, real Rock. It reminds me of my Sabbath days,” many reviews echo the same, “and some of my early solo stuff. But it was unintentional, you know, not a conscious decision.”

Conscious or not it’s been three years since his last album, Black Rain. Is Ozzy happy with his latest release? “I’m never happy. About a week after Scream got released I’m thinking why did I put that there? Why didn’t I change Ozzy Osborne interview - 26.06.10 / Paul Wardthat track?” So the artist still struggles even four decades on, doesn’t Ozzy feel good enough yet? ”That’s for the fans to tell me. What I’m good at is making an album and then demolishing it, you know. If I get a good review I kind of raise one eyebrow. What I have to do now is let go.”

Scream is the first Ozzy solo release since the mid eighties without longstanding guitarist Zack Wylde, cited as the most ‘endearing’ replacement since Ozzy’s original guitarist Randy Rhoades was killed in a plane accident in 1982. How does Ozzy find working with the new line up?

“Great. Gus is really, really good,” Gus G, aka Kostas Karamitroudis from Greek power metal band Firewind, “I’ve got high hopes for him. I mean, guitarists can be great but then you’ve got to find out if you can live with them.” A final grin as Ozzy’s publicist points to his watch, “we’re on the road for 18 months… I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Scream, Ozzy Osbourne’s 10th studio solo album, was released in April 2010. For more information about the album and worldwide tour visit www.ozzy.com