ELEANOR’S PICK: Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

ELEANOR’S PICK: Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

Words by Eleanor Sutcliffe

Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) comes to the NEC in Birmingham on 28th May. For a direct event information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk/whats-on/slam-dunk-festival

As one of the most anticipated dates in the UK pop punk calendar, it’s safe to say Slam Dunk Festival are taking no prisoners with this year’s line up. With a bevy of bands and artists descending upon the NEC in just under a week’s time, I took it upon myself to comb through the roster and select a number that I personally love.

ELEANOR’S PICK: Holding Absence at Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

Holding Absence / Rock Sound Breakout Stage

Birmingham favourites, Holding Absence, are set to make their Slam Dunk debut this year on the Rock Sound Breakout Stage. Having recently announced the departure of guitarist Feisal El-Khazragi, it will be one of their first performances without him in their line up. But with Holding Absence recently nominated for Best British Breakthrough Band at the 2018 Heavy Metal Awards, plus playing a string of dates supporting Being as an Ocean across Europe in June, they’re certainly not letting El-Khazragi’s departure slow them down.

Represented by Sharptone Records – who bought us the likes of Don Broco, Miss May I and We Came As Romans – the Cardiff based band also recently toured and released a co-EP with Loathe titled This Is As One, which earned them numerous positive reviews from critics for tracks such as ‘Saint Cecilia’.

Holding Absence perform at 3:30pm on the Rock Sound Breakout Stage. For more on Holding Absence, visit www.holdingabsence.com

Saint Cecilia’ – Holding Absence

_________

ELEANOR’S PICK: PVRIS at Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

PVRIS / Jägermeister Main Stage

Having recently performed at Coachella, PVRIS will be returning to Birmingham hot off the heels of the American leg of their All We Know of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell tour – promoting their latest album of the same name.

Lynn Gunn’s dreamy vocals, combined with the band’s heavy rock influences, have earned them a dedicated fanbase and won them Rock Sound’s Artist of the Year Award back in 2017. Here’s hoping PVRIS also perform some tracks from their debut album, White Noise, with songs such as ‘St. Patrick’ and ‘My House’ being on my personal wish list.

PVRIS perform at 8:15 pm on the Jägermeister Main Stage. For more on PVRIS, visit www.pvris.com

‘Anyone Else’ – PVRIS

_________

ELEANOR’S PICK: Taking Back Sunday at Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

Taking Back Sunday / Monster Energy Main Stage

Returning to Slam Dunk for the 3rd time, Taking Back Sunday were in the first wave of bands to be confirmed to at perform this year’s festival.

Having released their 7th album, Tidal Waves, in September 2016, and parting ways with their original guitarist Eddie Rayes last month, it will be interesting to see if we get to hear any new material from the group. Although I’m hoping to hear classic tracks such as ‘You’re So Last Summer’ and ‘MakeDamnSure’ as well as songs such as ‘You Can’t Look Back’ from their latest album live.

Taking Back Sunday perform at 8:05pm on the Monster Energy Main Stage. For more on Taking Back Sunday, visit www.takingbacksunday.com

‘You’re So Last Summer’ – Taking Back Sunday

_________

ELEANOR’S PICK: Astroid Boys at Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18Astroid Boys / Impericon Stage

The Impericon stage will be hosting hardcore grime band Astroid Boys, who have always delivered impressive shows in Birmingham. Growing steadily since their formation back in 2012, they were bought to my attention after being featured in BBC Radio 4’s documentary Operation Grime, which tailed them on a tour across the UK.

Astroid Boys‘ music is not for the faint hearted – expect brutal lyrics addressing issues such as racism, mashed with hardcore and grime influences to create a sound you probably have never heard before… but will just as probably want to listen to again.

Astroid Boys perform at 2:20 pm on the Impericon Stage. For more on Astroid Boys, visit www.astroid-boys.com

‘Foreigners’ – Astroid Boys

_________

ELEANOR’S PICK: As It Is at Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

As It Is / Signature Brew Stage

Announcing the August release of their latest album, The Great Depression, only a few days ago, Brighton based As It Is will be headlining the Signature Brew stage this year.

A band who’ve amassed a dedicated fan base with tracks such as ‘Dial Tones’ and ‘Hey Rachel’, their material is catchy, easy to listen to and fun – however it’s unfair to assume they lack a more serious side. Their latest release, ‘The Wounded World’, delves into a much darker side of their ever-expanding noise, having been cited by the band as a ‘new era’ of their music which expands on ‘the societal romanticisation of depression’ and ‘the disrepair of present-day human connection’.

As ever with this band, though, As It Is approach their subject with the respect and sensitivity it warrants – referencing their new material as a means for them to work to create a positive change for mental health.

As It Is perform at 8:30pm on the Signature Brew Stage. For more from As It Is, visit www.asitisofficial.bandcamp.com

‘The Wounded World’ – As It Is

_________

ELEANOR’S PICK: Luke Rainsford at Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

Luke Rainsford / The Key Club Acoustic Stage

The Key Club Acoustic Stage is hosting a stellar line up of bands and artists, including Birmingham’s Luke Rainsford – combining upbeat guitar with gut wrenching vocals, making music that is hard hitting but a real treat to listen to.

Having toured the UK extensively since the release of I Feel At Home With You in February 2017, and having recently released his latest EP, I Just Don’t Deserve To Be Loved, in April 2018, Rainsford’s music deals with difficult issues such as loss, bereavement, low self esteem and mental health. Good, honest stuff.

Luke Rainsford performs at 4:15 pm on The Key Club Acoustic Stage. For more on Luke Rainsford, visit www.lukerainsford.bandcamp.com

‘Home Safe’ – Luke Rainsford

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltnvyxgWovs

_________

ELEANOR’S PICK: Stand Atlantic at Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

Stand Atlantic / Rock Sound Breakout Stage

Australian trio, Stand Atlantic, will also be making their Slam Dunk debut this year, having recently toured with other performers such as ROAM and Knuckle Puck. With their latest EP, Sidewinder, reaching an impressive #10 on Rock Sound’s Top 50 Albums of 2017, and having been cited by Kerrang! as one of the hottest bands of 2018, Stand Atlantic are proving they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Claiming influences from Blink-182 to The 1975, they’re certainly considered a mixed bag musically too – but in the best possible way. Trust me. Go and listen to ‘Coffee at Midnight’. You can thank me later.

Stand Atlantic perform at 6:00 pm on the Rock Sound Breakout Stage. For more on Stand Atlantic, visit www.facebook.com/StandAtlantic 

‘Coffee at Midnight’ – Stand Atlantic

Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) comes to the NEC in Birmingham on 28th May. For direct information on Slam Dunk Festival 2018, including details on all the events happening across the UK, visit www.slamdunkmusic.com

For a direct info and online ticket sales for Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands), visit www.gentingarena.co.uk/whats-on/slam-dunk-festival

For more from the Genting Arena, including full events listing and venue details, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk

BPREVIEW: Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

BPREVIEW: Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) @ NEC 28.05.18

Words by Eleanor Sutcliffe

On the 28th May, Slam Dunk Festival 2018 will be coming to the NEC in Birmingham for the Midlands date of the 3-day festival.

Doors open at the NEC from 12:30pm, with tickets are priced at £54.80 plus booking fee – as presented by Slam Dunk Ltd. For direct information on Slam Dunk Festival 2018, including details on all the events happening across the UK, click here. For a direct link to online ticket sales for Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands), click here.

Starting in 2006, Slam Dunk Festival has grown over the years into an inaugural part of every pop punk and rock fan’s calendar. With 6 stages hosting countless bands, and thousands of fans flocking to sites across the UK year upon year, it’s been promised that 2018’s line up will be the pinnacle of the festival so far.

Slam Dunk Festival 2018As per usual, the festival is being split into 6 stages – ensuring it can cater for any fans tastes, be that acoustic or pop punk. Headliners this year include Good Charlotte and Jimmy Eat World, who are both making their debut Slam Dunk appearances at the 2018 festivals, alongside Taking Back Sunday, Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes, and Sleeping with Sirens.

Having recently completed a UK tour, alt rock band PVRIS will be back in Birmingham performing on the Jägermeister Stage – along with State Champs, Knuckle Puck, Four Year Strong, and Southampton’s horror rock band Creeper. To read our Birmingham Review of when PVRIS came to the O2 Academy Birmingham, click here.

The Monster Stage will be home to bands such as Twin Atlantic and Moose Blood, while the Fireball Stage will host Slam Dunk favorites Zebrahead and Reel Big Fish.

However, it’s the smaller stages where many of the festival’s gems really lie – with up and coming bands such as Holding Absence, Loathe, Stand Atlantic and Astroid Boys all making appearances at this year’s festival. The acoustic Key Club Stage is looking to be a belter too, with Birmingham’s Luke Rainsford performing alongside Speak Low If You Speak Love and an extra stripped back set from Four Year Strong.

The rounding off the night will be the Slam Dunk Festival 2018 after party, hosted by Birmingham’s alternative club night UPRAWR – held in the Genting Arena Forum from 11pm to 3am.

So a bit to keep you busy on the Bank Holiday, and with an uber strong line up of the scene’s great, good and going to be HUGE tickets are likely to sell out. You might want to scrap your pennies together a little quickly – this year’s Slam Dunk Festival is looking to quite possibly be the best yet.

On the 28th May, Slam Dunk Festival 2018 comes to the NEC in Birmingham. For direct information on Slam Sunk Festival 2018, including details on all the events happening across the UK, visit www.slamdunkmusic.com

For a direct info and online ticket sales for Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands), visit www.gentingarena.co.uk/whats-on/slam-dunk-festival

For more on the Slam Dunk Festival 2018 after party – hosted by UPRAWR, click here.

For more from the Genting Arena, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk

ED’S PICK: April ‘18

Words by Ed King

Easter Sunday, 1st April… There’s probably a joke in there somewhere. But with a basket of listings and entertainment based excel spreadsheets to plough through who has the time to be witty? Or hunt for Easter eggs, for that matter. Being an adult sucks.

However (…are you ready for this segue) it does allow me to enjoy all the delights of the Flatpack Film Festival without worrying about ID – actually, I’m not sure there’s too much on the programme with an age restriction but Dots & Loops are part of the festival and they brought us Lesley the Pony Has and A+ Day!, so…

Back for festival number 12, those glorious creatives at Flatpack have put on a nine day smorgasbord of celluloid, digital, and other audio/visual treats – running from 13th to 22nd April, in a variety of venue across the city. Too much to cram into this round up; look out for our more in-depth cherry pick in the days to come, or click here for more direct information on the full programme.

Elsewhere in the non-greenfield, Ebola flirting, footwear wrecking land of multi-stage events, we have the Birmingham Literature Festival – hop scotching from various corners of the REP to the Birmingham and Midland Institute from 27th to 29th April. Now old enough to drink beer in America, this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival has a focus on women in literature and publishing, alongside a weekend long programme of ‘inspiring conversations, writing and debate’. Again too much to adequately surmise, but click here for more direct info.

Following on with a female focus, Birmingham Jazz launches its Legends Festival on 27th April – running as a series of satellite events across the city until 20th May. This year’s linchpin is ‘Celebrating Women in Jazz’, with local artists such as Trish Clowes joining a myriad of talent from across the globe. Too much to fit into… you know the drill, click here.

Theatre comes in all shapes and sizes this month, including a couple of choice cuts on Hurst Street – with Wicked beginning its Birmingham run at the Hippodrome (4th-29th Apr) and The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel at the Patrick Centre (4th– 8th Apr).

Across the duel carriageways and road works we have Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock coming to the Birmingham REP (10th – 14th) followed by the political see-saw of 1970’s Britain in This House (17th – 21st) – reminding us fear mongering comes from both sides of the aisle and a dash of vitriol isn’t a particular new idea. How times have changed… or not.

Music takes its usual fat belly slice of our monthly listings, with a few ‘big gigs’ of notE coming to the NEC portfolio – as the Genting Arena sees both Arcade Fire (15th Apr) and Dua Lipa (17th Apr), whilst Arena Birmingham welcomes the Manic Street Preachers (27th Apr) back to the city.

Playing across the non-arena rooms of our musical city, the Hare & Hounds has another eclectic mix – with Kushikatsu Records presenting Shonen Knife (15th Apr) followed Snowpoet (19th Apr) courtesy of Jazzlines. Whilst The Glee Club sees the very welcome return of Nerina Pallot (9th Apr) stopping off in Birmingham on the second date if her UK tour. Fingers crossed there’s a piano on stage.

The Sunflower Lounge sees Killer Wave and Outlander host their ‘Help the Homeless’ pay-as-you-feel charity fundraiser (8th Apr) – with all money raised going to Shelter and Tabor House. Then we have Lucy May Walker playing her first headline show in Birmingham (18th Apr) – both events well worth a stop, look and listen. And £5 of your hard earned cash, of course.

Our mobile branded venues see a bevy of acts this month too, with the O2 Academy presenting George Ezra (4th Apr), The Vaccines (7th Apr), Trivium (17th Apr), The Streets (19th Apr), Coasts (21st Apr) and Akala (24th Apr). Whilst the O2 Institute leads out with Walk the Moon (7th Apr), Little Comets (14th Apr), Aquilo (16th Apr), Of Mice and Men (25th Apr) and Sharon Needles: Battle Axe Tour (26th Apr).

A special mention also has to go to the Hummingbird-Menagerie-Indie-salad days-nostalgia trip coming to the O2 Academy with Love From Stourbridge – featuring The Wonder Stuff and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (14th Apr). Someone pass me my German army shirt, skateboard and a can of Red Stripe, we’re going early 90’s feral…

And if you’re committed to your anti-corporate support of live music, never fear as mac welcomes Juice Aleem & Surge Orchestra (21st Apr) whilst Mama Roux’s serves two sides of the musical rainbow with The Herbaliser (19th Apr) and Mallory Knox (24th Apr)… probably not a good idea to get those dates mixed up in your diary.

Elsewhere in the city, comedy offers a relatively strong respite from those kids and their music – with The Glee Club presenting Tony Law (13th Apr), Alun Cochrane (15th Apr) and Craig Campbell (22nd Apr).

Or if you just want to stand and stare, you could waste a happy hour or two at Lewes Herriot: The Glass Arcana exhibition at Artefact in Stirchley (13th – 14th Apr). Or watching the flyers unfold with an exhibition from the seminal 90’s ambient electro club Oscillate, at Centrala (16th – 28th Apr) – bearing in mind there is an end of exhibition party with HIA and POLE (28th Apr) so you might want to do more than actually just stand and stare. Or not. Depends how you dance to Sun Electric, I suppose. Necking enough amphetamines to kill a small horse always worked for me, but vegetarian options are available.

But to end on the most glamorous of high notes (pun absolutely intended) Paul Alexsandr and Dragpunk present Candyland at The Nightingale (6th Apr) – a choc full celebration of ‘local and national UK drag of all genders, sexualities and abilities that you’ll adore.’ Then at the other end of the April rainbow, Opulence are launching Mother’s Meeting at Bar Jester (28th Apr) – a band spanking new ‘performance night dedicated to showing off a variety of drag and queer talent across Birmingham and the U.K.’, with special guest Charity Kase joined by a pageant of the Opulence crew on stage and Elliot Barnicle on the decks.

Birmingham can be proud for many reasons, but the cross over embrace of its drag community is one to really get those flags waving. We love covering it, and it seems the punters of Birmingham love supporting it. So, Vive la/le drag community of our fair/fairer city, alongside all who sail on these most wonderful of waters. Save some energy though, Birmingham Pride is a mere calendar page turn away.

And wait, I’ve just thought of one. A Jewish carpenter and a 6ft rabbit walk into Cadbury World…

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. To follow Ed King on Twitter, click here.

BREVIEW: Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18

Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe

Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe

I never thought I’d witness a Genting Arena steward dance. Yet here I was, an hour into Paloma Faith’s show, watching a red-haired stewardess shimmy down the central aisle to the bemusement of the surrounding crowd.

Call it cliché, but it was unavoidable – the atmosphere of the evening was intoxicating, and it was all down to Paloma Faith’s incredible performance.

As the lights went down and the stage glowed an ominous red, Faith appeared and strode down the opposite staircase to where the four other photographers and I had been placed.Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe Cue an awkward minute or so of camera clutching as we waited for Faith to safely descend in a pair of mammoth white heels, microphone in hand, as she sang the title track from her latest album The Architect. The stage resembled something out of a post-apocalyptic Sci Fi film, with holographic geometric platforms housing her band whom she referred to as “the dream team”.

Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18 / Eleanor SutcliffeOne thing I was taken aback by was just how fond I grew of Paloma Faith as the performance went on. Between songs, she touched on numerous subjects such as childbirth, self-love, politics and war, with the charm and finesse only the Hackney-born singer could possess. Not pedantic or patronising (as some artists can be on these subjects) but delivered heartfelt and in all honesty, even hilarious at times.

Faith is not one to skirt around details either, as she recounted her hopes for a relaxed home birth before “it all went to shit, and I became a well of pus – Beyoncé didn’t have that, surely”.Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe These witty anecdotes grounded the evening’s performance, leaving the audience cheering for more.

And what a performance it was. Faith’s set list contained a whole host of tracks, both old and new. Songs such as ‘Crybaby’ and ‘My Body’ proved to be hits with the crowd, who were beginning to rise from their seats and dance along. Watching two women leap up and run down the main aisle whilst being chased by security, during ‘Warrior’, was a true highlight to the evening, especially when Faith actively encouraged their behaviour.

Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18 / Eleanor SutcliffeHer slower songs proved to hit a poignant note with the crowd too. Faith’s duet of ‘I’ll Be Gentle’ with her guitarist, BB Bones, left my jaw slack in awe, as did her rendition of ‘Picking up the Pieces’.

Although Faith is working hard to craft herself a new niche in today’s music scene, she hasn’t strayed too far from her former work – a refreshing change from the numerous artists that attempt to reinvent themselves every few years.

But that’s the beauty of a Paloma Faith show, the dynamic is simply ever changing – from clambering onto a grand piano to mournfully sing ‘Just Be’, to knee sliding along the stage during Sigala’s hit single ‘Changing’, you never quite know what you’re going to get. Apart from a bloody good show; that’s a given.

For more on Paloma Faith, visit www.palomafaith.com

For more from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, visit www.gigsandtours.com

For more form the Genting Arena, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk

BPREVIEW: Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18

Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18

Words by Ed King

On Wednesday 21st March, Paloma Faith performs at the Genting Arena – with support from the Liverpool based jazz and soul artist, XamVolo.

Doors open at the Genting Arena from 5pm (Forum) and 6pm (Arena), with XamVolo performing at 7:30pm followed by Paloma Faith’s headline set at 8:30pm. Tickets are priced at £40.45 / £51.75 depending on your position within the arena, as presented by SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours.

For direct show information, including full venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Paloma Faith is out on tour with her fourth studio album, The Architect – coming to the Genting Arena to play one of her final England based shows, before heading out for two dates in Ireland and two dates in Australia. Paloma Faith has further UK dates planned for June, July and August, including the inevitable appearances across the festival season. For direct information on all the Paloma Faith shows announced for 2018, click here. 

The Architect was released in November 2017, entering the UK charts at No1. No small achievement. Mind you, Paloma Faith’s previous three albums all hit the double platinum markers in the UK albums charts. So no small achievement times three, times 600k, and counting. And to think Epic Records wanted to wait a while…

Championed by Radio 2, Paloma Faith was invited to headline one of a series of special concerts from the broadcaster as part of The Architect’s introduction in last year. And despite a somewhat overzealous smoke machine, the show introduced a breadth of new content to Faith’s already fervent fanbase.

Inspired by the call to arms of common concerns and compassion that Marvin Gaye presented with What’s Going On, Paloma Faith’s fourth album moved away from the tropes of relationships, heartbreak, love and loss – exploring a more socio-political landscape and the issues we all face within it.

The album’s opening track, ‘Evolution’, features a soliloquy from Samuel L Jackson about the dichotomy of masculinity, with writer and political/social activist Owen Jones offering a reminder of the basic human rights much of society had to fight for (and our responsibilities to honour those who fought for them) in ‘Politics of Hope’.

But love is always at the heart, and even if it embraces socio-political thoughts, ambitions and endeavour, The Architect is not an outright political record. It’s a human record.

Plus, a Paloma Faith show is just that, a show. And the arena tour that’s supporting her latest LP is set to be packed with all the soul and spectacle the world has come to expect from this unique artist and performer. 

‘Til I’m Done’ Paloma Faith (live session) 

Paloma Faith performs at the Genting Arena on Wednesday 21st March, with support from XamVolo – as presented by SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours. For direct gig information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk/whats-on/paloma-faith 

For more on Paloma Faith, visit www.palomafaith.com

For more on XamVolo, visit www.xamvolo.com 

For more from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, visit www.gigsandtours.com

For more from the Genting Arena, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk