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So about a week ago we were at this party in Digbeth…

Swingamajig 2016 – the best dressed fest (in the West) has come & gone, and what a stonking 16 hours of debauchery that one was. The only dark cloud left hovering is the 12 months until we get to do it all over again.

Big thanks to all the artists, organisers & dapper/flappers who came to see us at the Swingamajig Review 2016 tent & Birmingham Review Chai Stall – mother is chuffed to buggery you liked the biscuits.Swingamajig Review & Chai Stall / By Michelle Martin

But don’t lose heart dear hearts – you can relive (or remember) this year’s festival with the Swingamajig Review 2016 – a 24 page souvenir from Birmingham Review, out in June.

Interviews, reviews, features, picture galleries & some dark discretion immortalised in print; it’s all in there. For a nominal fee, of course.

Pre orders / £5 + postage & packing – available through the Birmingham Review website & social media.

Meanwhile, back at the speakeasy… We’ll be feeding you teasers via the Swingamajig Review 2016 event page & on the Birmingham Review website. And as a starter for ten, a Q&D (quick & dirty) vox pop with the band who are one of the reasons we gave an Electro Swing in the first place – watch out for the full interview in the Swingamajig Review 2016.

Ladies & Gents, Mesdames et Messieurs, we give you the ‘definable Bristolian party band’. Drum roll please…

Q&D: The Rin Tins @ Swingamajig 2016

(watch out for the full interview – featured in the Swingamajig Review 2016)

The Rin Tins @ Swingamajig 2016 / By Ella Carman

(The Rin Tins, l-r: Ella Polczyk, Benjamin Leach, Jim Davies, Ryan Walker, Tara Baggott, Ross Labiak)

Lead pic by Ella Carman / Gig pics by Michelle Martin

How was your set?
JD: Epic; the crowd was awesome. They were really on board with everything we played, really responsive and they danced like crazy.
RW: Every Swingamajig gig we’ve ever done has been absolutely fantastic – the Shambala tent in 2014, Hot Club de Swing was amazing, last year’s festival was amazing as well. This year has just been fantastic again.

How would you describe your music, and the sets that you do? Are you electro swing?
EP: We’re more gypsy jazz, with a swing feel to it as well. Some of the stuff we do could be compare to electro swing but I wouldn’t say that we were.
JD: We’re like gypsy swing but ramped up and faster, with more energy.The Rin Tins @ Swingamajig 2016 / By Michelle Martin

Were you friends before you became The Rin Tins?
EP: We’re still not…
TB: …we don’t like each other.
JD: We’ve been together, as a band, for five years so we’re very close. We’re like a family.
RW: I moved to Bristol from Devon and met Jim…
JD: …we didn’t know anyone in Bristol, so we met and formed a little band. Then I met Ben at a party and he moved over from Swansea.

How did you meet?
TB: Some of us knew each other through work.
JD: …most of us were strangers.
RL: I came to a gig and really loved the band so I joined…
JD: We found him roaming in the woods, so we combed him, deflead him and brought him into civilization.
RW: It was a struggle.
RL: …I’m finally house broken.

The Rin Tins @ Swingamajig 2016 / By Michelle MartinWhat made you play the style of music you do, as The Rin Tins?
RW: Initially it was Gogol Bordello. I was in a group about seven years ago and the guitarist started to get into Django Reinhartd and we started playing Django Reinhartd songs together. Then I heard Gogol Bordello and realised you could do the same thing but ramp it up and make play it a lot faster, and people would dance. At the time I was living in Devon and there just weren’t any drummers around – but with this music you could still add that percussive playing and get people dancing. But when you add a drummer it just goes crazy.

Swingamajig is a great and diverse festival – with everything from electro swing to drum and bass featured somewhere. But do you ever find the electro swing scene… cliquey?
JD: I think what we do is so energetic that anyone can dance to it, and it works across the board; the songs are catchy, the music is fast and fun. As far ‘scenes’ go we’re ready to play anywhere and everyone will dance.
EP: I think we’re quite luck because where we’re from everyone is quite friendly and open. But we also did a gig recently in Glastonbury and it was more of a sit down gig with people clapping in solos and that kind of thing, but even they enjoyed it.
RW: I’d agree with that. It does feel strange when we’re at those sit down gigs and we’re used people dancing like crazy– but they sit there quite happily listening and really enjoying the music.
RL: And they were sober too.

So being ‘the definable Bristolian party band’… is that making you money?
RW: We are earning money but it all goes back straight into the band – playing for EPs, travel, accommodation. We bought a van so we could get around and gigging paid for that.The Rin Tins @ Swingamajig 2016 / By Michelle Martin

I’m the One EP came out last year, and on your Bandcamp page you’re asking for a donation?
JD: The donation is optional.
RW: If you want it you can just download it, but you can also make a donation as you see fit.
JD: But do bear in mind how thin Ryan is.

Any plans for the summer?
RW: We’re playing Glastonbury, and we’re releasing and EP just before that gig. We’re recording four tracks down in London in the next month or so. We haven’t decided on a title yet…
JD: We’re in a heavy argument about it.
RW: I wouldn’t describe it as heavy… it’s more a convoluted discussion.
JD: A fight to the death.

For more on The Rin Tins, visit www.therintins.com
To download a copy of I’m the One EP (and to help Ryan eat) visit www.therintins.bandcamp.com


For more on the Swingamajig Festival, visit http://swingamajig.co.uk/

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BPREVIEW: The Rin Tins @ Swingamajig 2016 – Rainbow Venues 01.05.16

The Rin Tins

Words by Ed King

2 days to go…

Main with web colour bcg - lrOne of my introductions to this thing they call swing, in an electro sense of course, were The Rin Tins. I first saw them at the Hot Club De SwingSwingamajig Warm Up last year, at the Hare & Hounds, when I had been drafted in to cover a rouge photographer who was too busy sleeping.

Yet despite my gigs shots from that night never making it into the wide world of the web, I was suitably impressed with the style, fervor and musicianship of this Bristol based sextet – keeping them in sight if not online ever since. Fetch my braces Marjorie, I feel a Charleston coming on.

swingamajigComprised of three guitarists, a drummer, a pianist, and a saxophonist/clarinetist/youth liaison officer, The Rin Tins are a tight ensemble – with a stage show that combines humour, narrative and a healthy medley of style and song.

They look and sound the part, then change the part, then look and sound the part again – all whilst being quite absurdly talented and entertaining. And I’m a cynic by default; Breaking Bad was a terrible series.

But I guess that’s to be expected from the ‘definable Bristolian party band’ who have been honing their sets across stages, pubs and green field sites since 2011 – when The Rin Tins became The Rin Tins.I'm the One EP - The Rin Tins

And Birmingham will get to see them in action again too, as The Rin Tins return to Swingamajg – playing The Arch Stage at 18:45.

Just about the time you want a cheeky chai, a mouth full of samosa (available from the Birmingham Review Chai Stall… plug, plug) a sneaky a snifter of rum and a bloody good knees up. And when you’re staring into the Bank Holiday abyss of well dressed debauchery, The Rin Tins wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

But in the interests of integrity don’t just take my word for it; have a stop, look and listen to The Rin Tins at Swingamajig 2015 – once again playing underneath the arches. Viddy, as always, below:

‘Donde Esta el Cartero?’ / The Rin Tins @ Swingamajig 2015

And if you need some more homework check out The Rin Tins‘ I’m the One EP, available for an internal haggle through the band’s Bandcamp page – click here.

Or simply shake your shimmy along to Swingamajig’s Arch Stage on Sunday evening… we’ll see you down front.

Other acts appearing at on The Arch Stage are Dark Circus (15:00), Manushka (16:04), The After Hours Quintet (17:25), Gypsies of Bohemia (20:05), Barbarella’s Bang Bang (21:30) + KOG and Zongo Brigade (23:00)  

Swingamajig 2016 comes the Rainbow Venues in Digbeth on May 1st – running form 2pm until 6am. Tickets are priced at £22/£25/£30.

For the full Swingamagig line up, alongside everything else you need to know about the festival – including online tickets, visit http://swingamajig.co.uk/


For more on The Rin Tins, visit http://www.therintins.com/

For more on Rainbow Venues, visit http://therainbowvenues.co.uk/

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BPREVIEW: Burlesque & Cabaret @ Swingamajig 2016 – Rainbow Venues 01.05.16

Swingamajig 2015 / By Ed King

Words by Ed King

5 days to go…

Main with web colour bcg - lrBecause there is only so much swinging and jigging a normal human can do in a day, the best-dressed-fest is providing a sumptuous array of side shows to keep you occupied. And stationary. Kind of.

From the absurd to the sexy, with some quite staggering feats of hand to eye thrown in, Swingamajig 2016 presents a pretty anarchic programme of burlesque, cabaret, dance and the occasional well humored piece of destruction. All well worth a gander, but here are a few cherry picked performers to get you started.

Just, maybe, depending on your… erm, threshold, avoid the front row seats. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Viddy below:


Jon UdryJon Udry

Juggler, standup comedian, and with a Faustian earned ability to defy the laws of gravity (unsubstantiated, but seriously… how else?) Jon Udry brings a stage show to make any circus ringmaster weep into his lion’s mouth. Honestly, the man is like a mix of Bez and Magneto – big-fish-little-fishing his way around the impossible and back again.

OK, maybe Bez was a bad example – but the choreography attached to his show gives Udry a beautiful and fluid stage show. Plus he’s funny, slightly absurd, and the winner of ‘British Young Juggler of the Year’… just don’t ask him to make you a cup of tea.

For more on Jon Udry, visit http://www.jonudry.com/


Cory Baker Phone Box / By Dani BowerCorey Baker’s Phone Box

Brought to Swingamajig 2016 by DanceXchange and the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016, with production credits also going to Without Walls, Phone Box is the latest commission from choreographer and dancer, Cory Baker. Clue’s in the title, right?

So what is Phone Box… well, I’m not 100% sure what to expect, but the freshly commissioned piece (making its debut at Swingamajig 2016) ‘brings to life this nostalgic British icon with thrilling dance and a wacky digital sound-score’. The troupe dance in it, around it, on it, and, I think, through it. And if you were born before 1980 you’ll remember how chicken hutch small those bast*rds were to just stand in.

For more on Cory Baker’s Phone Box, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HI3qlBXWVw


Rubyyy_Jones-Performs-swingamajig-2016Rubbyyy Jones

‘Queen of Queerlesque’, a new one for the event lexicon, Rubyyy Jones combines theatre with dance, narrative with striptease, and bundles the whole well executed cacophony into a poignant stage show. ‘One part Las Vegas Showgirl, one part Broadway Baby and one part Drag Queen’, Rubyyy Jones is a self described ‘Burlesque Sex Education Performer’ who cut her teeth as an actress before adopting the elongggated moniker.

But Jones’ neo burlesque performances carry edge of heartbreak, menace and politicized fun. Be it an internet chat room, a disappointing Christmas, or just a good old poke in the eye to stereotypes, Rubyyy Jones has a touch more than just something to say. And the stage is where she says it, like a velvet glove punching you in the face. Marvelous stuff.

For more on Rubyyy Jones, visit http://rubyyyjones.com/


Eliza DeLiteEliza-DeLite-at-Swingamajig

A British burlesque artist with exuberant flair, and more than a dash of Hollywood’s golden era about her sequins, Eliza DeLite ‘meticulously constructs her acts with a view to transport her audience to a place of visual beauty and wonderment’. Sounds about right.

Winning the British Female Crown 2012 and International Crown 2014 at the annual, London hosted, World Burlesque Games – Eliza DeLite is well established on the international cicuit. Her sets homage burlesque across the eras, from the more traditional tease to contemporary culture reference points such as Twin Peaks. She’s no stranger to the fan dace either… I will never look at a peacock in the same way again.

For more on Eliza DeLite visit http://www.elizadelite.com/


Other burlesque and cabaret acts appearing at Swingamajig 2016 include Kitty Bang Bang, Peggy DeLune, Equador the Wizard, Spider Salah, Dr Andrew Szydlo’s Brief History of BoomDiego Spano (as Charlie Chaplin) + The Brothers Swag.

And for the who, what, when & where’s for all the artists performing at Swingamagig 2016, check out the full event running order below.

Swingamajig 2016

Swingamajig 2016 line up

Swingamajig 2016 comes the Rainbow Venues in Digbeth on May 1st – running form 2pm until 6am. Tickets are priced at £22/£25/£30.

For the full Swingamagig line up, alongside everything else you need to know about the festival – including online tickets, visit http://swingamajig.co.uk/

For more on Rainbow Venues, visit http://therainbowvenues.co.uk/

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BPREVIEW: The Tootsie Rollers @ Swingamajig 2016 – Rainbow Venues 01.05.16

The Tootsie Rollers - High Tea at Richmond ParkWords by Ed King / Pics from The Tootsie Rollers Main with web colour bcg - lr

6 days to go…

In BIG BOLD TYPE on the Swingamajig 2016 bill are The Tootsie Rollers – bringing their all girl line up of mischievous glitz and femme fatale glamour to the best dressed festival in Birmingham.

Comprised of six styled and sassy lasses from darn sarf, The Tootsie Rollers ‘are a retro girl band who fuse old-school classics with contemporary hits’ – reworking modern chart familiars with their homage to a catalogue of Swing standards.

Backed by their booted and suitably named band, The Dappers, a Tootise Rollers’ set can give Pharell Williams’ ‘swingamajigHappy’ a rouge blush, Lordes’ ‘Royal’ a sparkling new smile, Rhianna’s ‘Umbrella’ a touch of the Gene Kelly, and make Meghan Tranior’s ‘…Bass’ pale in comparison – with a little help from George Gershwin of course. Great fun, and arguably sexier the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

So who are these debutantes of debauchery? First up we have Katy, aka ‘the poppet’ – who ‘is cheeky, lively and cute’ and the blonde doppelganger of someone I used to work with (…Christina?). Next up is the ‘enchanting and seductive’ Khiley, aka ‘The Siren’, who’s hopeless romanticism may cost more than an H. Samuel gift voucher, followed by the ‘wide eyed, charming and loyal’ Anna – aka ‘The Sweetheart’.

Flo, aka ‘The Bombshell’, is the ‘epitome of old school glamour’, whilst Lisa, aka ‘The Diva’, has a self confessed The Tootsie Rollers - High Tea at Richmond Park‘penchant for the decadent’ which no doubt earned her the high maintenance moniker. Then last but not least is Meg, aka ‘The Peach’ – a ‘5th avenue princess’ who strikes a remarkable resemblance to Grace Kelly. With a bit of Audrey Hepburn round the eyes. Blimey, it’s like a hen party from heaven.

But it’s serious fun with The Tootsie Rollers, whose website boasts collaborations ‘with everyone from DJ Yoda to Bruce Forsyth’ and a recent sell out show at the 1340 capacity London Hippodrome. Hard to argue with that CV.

Birmingham will get its chance to see The Tootsies for itself when they roll into town as part of the Swingamajig 2016 headline bill – kicking off across the Rainbow Venues on Sunday 1st May.

Meanwhile, back at the speakeasy…

‘All About That Bass/Slap That Bass’ (Meghan Trainor/George Gershwin) – performed by The Tootise Rollers & The Dappers

Other acts appearing at Swingamajig 2016 are The Destroyers, JFB, Electric Swing Circus, Balkan Beat Box, The After Hours Quintet, Jim Wynn Swing Orchestra, C@ in the H@, The Chicken Brothers, Aries, Tallulah Goodtimes, Jenova Collective (DJ set), Father Funk + burlesque from Kitty Bang Bang & friends.

Swingamajig 2016 comes the Rainbow Venues in Digbeth on May 1st – running form 2pm until 6am. Tickets are priced at £22/£25/£30. For the full Swingamagig line up, alongside everything else you need to know about the festival – including online tickets, visit http://swingamajig.co.uk/


For more on The Toosie Rollers, visit http://www.thetootsierollers.com/

For more on Rainbow Venues, visit http://therainbowvenues.co.uk/ 

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BPREVIEW: Swingamajig 2016 @ Rainbow Venues 01.05.16

Swingamajig 2016 / 1st MayWords & pics (from Swingamjig 2015) by Ed King

It’s that time again. Spring has sprung, the chocolate chicks have hatched, and that fantastic festival crocus is popping up in flyers and on Facebook.Main with web colour bcg - lr

Swingamajig 2016 is four weeks away – time to get your glad rags out, dust down your feather boas, and dress up for some fine & dandy debauchery. 1st May people…

Moving to the Rainbow Venues, this year’s Swingamajig is the biggest festival yet – cramming ‘over 4,000 of the UK’s best dressed ladies & gents’ into the sprawling Digbeth events complex.

Curated by Electric Swing Circus & Kambe Events, Swingamajig 2016 has 6 stages on offer, ‘packing a massive program of music and performance’ into its new home – with Balkan Beatbox as the main event headliner, alongside a bevy of the bold and beautiful from Burlesque, ‘electro swing, bassline, gypsy, punk, balkan, folk, jazz, rockabilly and rock and roll.’

There’s also a tie in this year to the International Dance Festival Birmingham, with a few artist crossovers and Stomp Stomp – a day of ‘lindy hop and authentic solo jazz workshops’ at The Night Owl on Saturday 30th April. For more on Stomp Stomp, click here.

But trying to define Swingamajig, or to slot it neatly into one event pigeon hole or another, is a foolhardy endevour – as Birmingham Review found out for the first time at last year’s festival (…shame on us).Swingamajig 2015 / By Ed King

Try not to think of Swingamajig in terms or genres, just imagine a masquerade ball exploding like a glitter filled piñata inside a cabaret circus big top, with all the fire crew dressed by Mr Ben and Dita Von Tease after a mouthful of mushrooms. So hopefully that clears that up a bit.

And if a burlesque tinged psychedelic 70’s children’s TV metaphor isn’t crystal enough for you, have a look at our BREVIEW of Swingamajig 2015 – click here

So then… down to brass tacks. Swingamajig 2016 – who’s on, where, and for how much? As previously stated, this year’s festival headliners are Balkan Beatbox – who will be in The Big Top Main Stage at some point after dark.

Jenova Collective @ Swingamajig 2015 / By Ed KingNext on the live line up are The Destroyers – a local ‘MegaFolk’ ensemble who are as addictive as fun is legally allowed to be (in fact, they may not be legal. Defra are getting back to us), with the band that started it all, Electric Swing Circus, having their rightful place of prominence. Another first, I popped my ESC cherry last year and they are all sorts of awesome.

There’s more on stage show from The Tootsie Rollers, Jack Rabbit Slim, Swingrowers, Tankus the Henge, The Carny Villains, The Rin Tins (again, particularly awesome), Barbarella’s Bang Bang, The After Hours Quintet and Jim Wynn Swing Orchestra – with DJ sets coming from JFB, C@ in the H@, The Chicken Brothers (another stand out set from Swingamajig 2015), Aries, Tallulah Goodtimes, Jenova Collective, and the man with possibly the best biog in history – Father Funk.Electric Swing Circus @ Swingamajig 2015 / By Ed King

Outside all the audio, there’s visual treats with Cabaret from Dr Andrew Szydlo, Sasha Khron, Jon Udry, Those Two Magicians, Rose Rokoko and Brothers Swag. With Burlesque from Kitty Bang Bang, Rubyyy Jones, Eliza DeLite, Peggy De Lune & Equador the Wizard – alongside a site worth of games, sideshows, food stalls and general nice-nice-naughtiness to keep you safe and occupied. Well, occupied.

Click on the highlighted links to get a bit more background on all the above. Or for a wider SELLSELLSELL, have a butcher’s at this little number – you might even win something:

Swingamajig 2016


Birmingham Review @ Swingamajig 2016

Birm_Rev-logo-MAIN - web colours, lrBirmingham Review is absurdly excited to say we will also be at Swingamajig 2016, with an army of well dressed reporters gathering words & pics for a special Birmingham Review @ Swingamajig 2016 souvenir brochure. You know those glossy keepsakes you get from a West End musical… kind of like one of those, but with a bit more show.

So look out for us near The Big Top Main Stage – we’ll be selling food & drink at the Birmingham Review Chai Stall, with a whole play pen of stuff to dig your fingers into as well. Come & say hi, drink some chai, dance Swingamajig 2015 / By Ed Kingaround like a deranged demon child in drag, and scrawl your inner most secrets on the Birmingham Review Chalk Board of Thought. We promise not to tell.

Birmingham Review will also have photographers at our stand taking some souvenir snaps to email out you (free, gratis) after the event – with the first to pre-order a copy of Birmingham Review @ Swingamajig 2016  getting their pics included in the souvenir brochure, should they so desire.

See you at Swingamajig 2016.

Swingamajig 2016 comes the Rainbow Venues in Digbeth on May 1st – running from 2pm until 6am. Tickets are priced at £22/£25/£30. For direct festival info, including online ticket sales, visit http://swingamajig.co.uk/

For more from the Rainbow Venues, visit http://therainbowvenues.co.uk/