THE GALLERY: Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park – until 01.01.18

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

 

 

 

Words by Ed King / Pics Eleanor Sutcliffe

Open every day up to and including New Year’s Day, the Magic Lantern Festival is on display across Kings Heath Park – featuring a winter wonderland of structural illuminations, statues and fantastical storyscapes.

Suitable for adults, families and children of all ages, the Magic Lantern Festival in Kings Heath Park is accessible from 5pm to 10pm, with the last entry scheduled at 8:45pm. Tickets range from £5.50 to £14.85 (+bf) with concessions for groups, families and children under 16 years old – for direct event info, including online ticket sales, click here.

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham ReviewReturning to Birmingham for its second year, the Magic Lantern Festival has come back to the second city alongside concurrent displays in London, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. Not to be confused with the ‘illuminated trail’ at the Botanical Gardens, the Magic Lantern Festival in Kings Heath Park presents ‘a spectacular fusion of dual culture, vibrant colours and artistic sculptures’ from a soaring phoenix to polar bears, flamingos and reindeer, all nestled in between elaborate and ‘hand crafted’ sculptures. Sounds like a press release, right?

I wasn’t sure what to believe either, having walked past the illuminated event several times throughout December – casting assumptions and assertions from the detached viewpoint of Avenue Road. The cynic in me thought it “all looks a little Disney”, so when I was invited to get a bit more up close and personal I enlisted the help of a friend and her seven year old daughter. If anyone is going to cut through the chintz, it’ll be them.Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Plus, they had survived a rain drenched Botanical Garden’s display in 2016 so would be a useful yardstick; all it would cost me would be a trio of hot chocolates and one “flashing spinny thing” from the stalls at the entrance. A relative small price to pay for objective journalism.

We arrive at bang on 7pm, with Kings Heath Park already showing a healthy throng of customers. There’s a small queue underneath the bright Chinese gateway, one that makes the adults feel reassured but is still short enough for the child in our group to not notice. A trick Alton Towers has failed consistently to pull off on many a Hallmark holiday.

Led by the seven year old, we race (literally… and I lose) to the bright castle that is one of the first displays as you enter the park.Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review Sparkling blue turrets sit across an impressively expansive fairytale structure, as I take a closer look at the Walt inspired illumination I have seen before from the road. This is where the cynic in me stops. It’s beautiful. I wouldn’t decorate my house in the same way, but against the pitch black of the park it shines triumphant, surrounded by a sporadic sea of toad stalls, orchids and lilies. As the seven year old goads me into another race across the grass, to more 2D illuminations of a Birmingham cityscape, facades and industrial icons (well, cogs) I stand somewhat aware my jaw has dropped. I honestly didn’t think it would look this good.

But it gets better. The aforementioned 2D displays aside, which both figuratively and literally pale in comparison to the 3D illuminations across the rest of the park, the Magic Lantern Festival is just that. Magic. Scenes depicting all you would expect from a Christmas display – including reindeer, polar bears, as well as the red and white St Nick – dot themselves around other elaborate illuminations with a more Eastern flavour.

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham ReviewAs our panel of three start to score each display (think Strictly…) it becomes a tie between the huge phoenix rising from the flames to the beautiful temple of lilies. Although the family of reindeer and flamingos come in a close second. But all along the ‘lantern trail’ are colourful scenes of animals, flowers and the occasional mermaid or dwarf that each stand out with individual merit. OK, so it’s a little Disney.

And the layout, which I thought might be too disparate across the somewhat flat plateau that is the top of Kings Heath Park, works perfectly, with just enough space between each illumination and “a chance to really get up close to them, to walk around them and see them from all sides,” which I am informed was lacking a similar event last year at the Botanical Gardens.

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham ReviewAt the end of the trail, we stop of at the small fun fair on the concrete car park near the parks’ Avenue Road entrance and successfully manage to distract our group’s youngest away from the Santa’s Grotto with a well placed inverted bungee. Nothing too dramatic or expensive, but a welcome addition to the main event.

And with the world’s friendliest event security (’tis a time for miracles) happy to let us wander about or even backtrack a little, we wind our leisurely way back to the entrance and some offensively priced hot chocolate – an overall score of 8.5 and “much better than last year at the Botanical Gardens” as the official result. Now, where’s that illuminated toy tout gone.

 

 

 

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

Magic Lantern Festival @ Kings Heath Park / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review

The Magic Lantern Festival runs daily in Kings Heath Park until 1st January 2018, accessible from 5pm. For more on the Magic Lantern Festival in Birmingham, including online ticket sales, visit www.magicallantern.uk/magical-lantern-festival-birmingham

For more on Kings Heath Park, visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/kingsheathpark

 

BREVIEW: All Years Leaving @ Hare & Hounds 22.10.17

Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

 

 

 

Words by Emily Doyle / Pics by Denise Wilson 

On Sunday afternoon, I get off my shift at work and straight on the number 50 bus. I’m necking coffee and a sandwich to power up for day two of All Years Leaving at the Hare & Hounds.

I’m disappointed to get there minutes late for Mutes’ set in the Stables. The boys are still packing down, and there is a gaggle assembled to ogle their pedal boards. I’m assured that the set was atmospheric and moody, and I fear I missed out.

There’s no time to worry about that though, as Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam are just getting started in the Main Room. On entering, the bass hits you square in the chest. It’s sure to shake off a few hangovers this morning. Mutes @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewTheir pop-punk energy certainly garners some appreciative head nods from the already large crowd.

This song is one of two Halloween songs were doing this year. ‘Halloween 6 (He’s Still Gonna Get You)’ is heavy, angular, and accompanied by swirling red lighting. Is this what can be expected from Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam’s Halloween Party with Table Scraps at the Dark Horse on Friday? Time will tell. They follow it up with ‘Too Far From Real’, a song about, being a real shitty dad. Not my dad! But like how I would be if I were a dad”. Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam have delivered a triumphant set on home turf. The bar is already out of Red Stripe.

Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewDowntown Boys are next, hailing from Providence, Rhode Island (the smallest state!). Vocalist, Victoria Ruiz, is clad in a flower crown and dungarees, and has a stage presence that manages to be both primal and authorative. The cutting riff of ‘It Can’t Wait’, supplied by Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, perfectly underlines Ruiz’s sincere delivery. ‘Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)’ is buzzing with hardcore punk energy. The set ends with ‘A Wall’, the contemporaneous opener to Downtown Boys’ 2017 LP Cost Of Living. I catch Ruiz in the Stables later, where I pester her to sign my newly purchased copy of that LP. She is charming and signs it ‘XOXO 4 ever chulas – Victoria’.

My gig-going accomplice, Jo Chustecki, arrives, excited to watch Diet Cig. Guitarist Alex Luciano briefs the crowd: Our shows are safe spaces. Be kind to each other.

Their playful ode to teenage romance, ‘Sixteen’, sees Luciano pirouetting across the stage. She leans into the mic and asks, ready?” – before Noah Bowman kicks in with the drums. This is sugary pop-punk at its finest – not one song outstays its welcome. Luciano is a high-kicking Care Bear. Downtown Boys @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewWeve been on tour for seven weeks and Im sick of eating Cheetos from the gas station. But, being here in a room full of punk-ass festival people reminds us why we love it.

Luciano performs the second drum kit dive of the day (Downtown Boys beat her to it) and it’s not even dark yet. She preaches the true meaning of punk, Inclusivity for everyone and troubleshooting with your friends because your shit is always broken, and climbs atop a speaker to kick Bowman’s cymbals while she belts out ‘Scene Sick’ from their 2015 EP Over Easy.

Luciano introduces the newer ‘Apricots’, telling the crowd, this ones tender if you have your crush and want to kiss them now. Closing the set, ‘Barf Day’ is dedicated to the feeling when you had your favourite food for lunch and you cant get it out of your head”. For Diet Cig, that favourite food is apparently Toby Carvery.Diet Cig @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Repeat of Last Week are downstairs filling the Stables with melodic, interlaced guitars backed with cajón beats. Apparently this was supposed to be an acoustic set, but it got out of hand. I sit outside and listen while eating the packed lunch I brought. It’s a welcome respite from the chaos upstairs, and a recharge is necessary before what’s to come.

The Main Room is the fullest it’s been so far, when Priests take the stage. Vocalist, Katie Alice Greer, is centre stage in a ballet costume and white combat boots. The shambolic bass of 2014’s ‘Doctor’ is the perfect counterpoint to her snarling vocal delivery. In ‘Suck’, Greer achieves a banshee woop to rival Patti Smith.Repeat of Last Week @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Daniele Daniele makes the drums shiver beneath the dissonant guitar. Greer is now thrusting at the crowd as her tutu sways back and fourth. They close the set on the stuttering, atonal post-punk freak out ‘And Breeding’. Priests are touring partners with Downtown Boys, and it’s hard to imagine a more perfect pairing.

TRAAMS frontman, Stu Hopkins, urges the crowd to move forward and fill the dreaded semi-circle before they begin their set. Fellow Hungry Ghost Jay Dyer turns to me ominously, still exhausted from yesterday, and declares Its either bed or pit. I choose pit. He disappears into the fray.

Priests @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewSqueals of feedback mark the beginning of TRAAMS’ set, only to stop abruptly so Hopkins can switch out guitars. They kick back in with renewed vigour, all flailing guitar and percussive bass. After the chaos of Priests, TRAAMS’ brand of krautrock is precise and meditative, thanks in part to their driving rhythm section.

Hopkins pauses to wish the crowd a happy Sunday. He says little else. The sinewy alt rock of tracks like ‘A House on Fire’ and ‘Costner’ says it all. Hopkin’s freeform lead guitar balances their spartan performance style perfectly.

After TRAAMS are over, a woman behind me in the toilet queue overhears the other patrons raving about their set, and tells me she regrets her decision to sit in the bar downstairs eating pizza. TRAAMS @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewShe’s here for Idles and hasn’t seen any of the other bands this weekend, because she didnt know theyd be so good. I have a feeling she is still going to get her money’s worth.

Idles are the most anticipated band of the weekend. The Main Room is packed before the stage, and there is a jostle for room at the front. They march on and carry out line checks, and are greeted with a jarring chorus of Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’. Welcome to Birmingham, Idles. Rattling drums and a single note on bass herald the start of their set with brand new track, ‘Colossus’. Frontman, Joe Talbot, growls into the mic about the building noise: I am my fathers son, His shadow weighs a ton”.

The room erupts. Bodies surge forward. Table Scraps bassist, Tim Mobbs, can be seen thinking better of his decision to bring his camera into the pit and scrambling over the barrier. Without a break, the driving bass of ‘Mother’ cuts above the cheering. Talbot, who wrote the album Brutalism while grieving for his mother, gives a visceral performance. He spews raw emotion into the microphone.Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review The masses scream along to the refrain, asserting that the best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich. The first stage invader of the night takes out the mic stand with a clumsy dive. Hands scramble to pass it back. Fan favourites and brand new tracks sit side-by-side in the unrelenting set.

Idles have the frenzied audience in the palm of their hand. ‘Alcohol’ devolves into primal screams before Talbot announces that, this next ones called White Privilege. If you dont like it, go listen to the fucking 1975. Guitarist Mark Bowen climbs onto Talbot’s back and proudly strums away. The familiar riff of ‘Well Done’ cuts through the room and the crowd are delirious.

Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewBy this point there is an almost constant stream of stage divers, both band members and punters, making their way across the room. In a bold move, they close the set with a brand new song. Relentless, rapid fire drums and thrashing guitar ensure the electric ‘Rottweiler’ is an immediate hit at All Years Leaving. Idles are the white hot punk cherry on top of an unbelievable festival.

Stumbling out into the cold, I see Tim Mobbs and Table Scraps’ drummer Poppy Twist embracing Talbot. I approach him and mumble something about how good their set was. He notices my brand new PINS shirt with approval before disappearing upstairs somewhere. Josh Frost of Mutes and Jay Dyer emerge, covered in glitter that seems to have spread around the audience during the headline set. We try to gather ourselves, shivering in the October cold, before heading home.

All Years Leaving is a testament to what This Is Tmrw are capable of. AYL 2018 can’t come soon enough.

 

 

 

Matters @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Matters @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review Matters @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewFor more on Matters, visit www.soundcloud.com/mattersband

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Mutes @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Mutes @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Mutes @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Mutes @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on Mutes, visit www.mutesuk.bandcamp.com

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Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam, visit www.sunshinefrisbeelaserbeam.bandcamp.com

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Downtown Boys @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Downtown Boys @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Downtown Boys @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Downtown Boys @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on Downtown Boys, visit www.downtownboys.bandcamp.com

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Diet Cig @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Diet Cig @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Diet Cig @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Diet Cig @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on Diet Cig, visit www.dietcig.bandcamp.com

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Repeat of Last Week @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review Repeat of Last Week @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Repeat of Last Week @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Repeat of Last Week @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on Repeat of Last Week, visit www.soundcloud.com/repeatoflastweek

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Priests @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Priests @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Priests @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Priests @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on Priests, visit www.666priests666.com

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TRAAMS @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

TRAAMS @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

TRAAMS @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

TRAAMS @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on TRAAMS, visit www.soundcloud.com/traams

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Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

Idles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Review

For more on Idles, visit www.idlesband.com

For more on All Years Leaving Festival, visit www.facebook.com/allyearsleaving 

For more from This Is Tmrw, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.thisistmrw.co.uk

For more from the Hare & Hounds, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk

 

BREVIEW: All Years Leaving @ Hare & Hounds 21.10.17

All Years Leaving @ Hare & Hounds 21.10.17

 

 

 

Words by Emily Doyle / Pics by Cameron Goodyer

Presented by This Is Tmrw, All Years Leaving is entering its fifth year – returning to it’s Hare & Hounds birthplace as a bona fide institution of the local live scene. I’m ashamed at this point to admit I’ve never been before, but the line-up for 2017 is too good to miss. I’m there for doors on the Saturday, unsure what to expect.http://birminghamreview.net/category/previews/

People are already milling in the Stables. Terror Watts are having a pre-set Guinness outside. Upon entering the main room, the smoke clears and animations by Johnny Foreigner’s own Lewes Herriot are visible; a giant with flaming fists looks down on the proceedings from projector screens hung around the venue.

Terror Watts @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham ReviewTerror Watts kick off proceedings to a healthy crowd. They deliver a pitch perfect set of fan-favourites. The stupidly catchy ‘Time Bomb’ is an ear worm if ever there was one – good luck shaking that from your head for the rest of the weekend. They close the set with newest single, ‘Tough Guy’, released this summer on PNKSLM. It’s a perfect slice of sunshine-y slacker rock.

The room is already a real who’s-who of the Birmingham music scene. Steve Hadley of Setting Son Records is ferrying gear up and down the stairs; He sports an ‘I Am A Hungry Ghost’ badge like a proud dad. Tim Mobbs of Table Scraps is snapping away as the event photographer. I step outside to take a call from Birmingham Review’s absentee editor, Ed King, who is checking I got there okay, remembered to take an exercise book, pencil case, packed lunch and the like. While on the phone I look down from the balcony onto the smoking area to see James Brown of Mutes, immaculately made up, sheltering from the drizzle and nursing a pint of Blue Moon.

BHer’s @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Reviewack upstairs, Her’s slowly fade in an uptempo drum loop. The Liverpudlian two-piece look at home on a stage. Bassist, Audun Laading, bops round wearing a floaty cardigan and high-hanging Rickenbacker. Fragile, sighing vocals float above lush interwoven guitars. The assembled crowd sways. The jaunty ‘Speed Racer’, complete with sequenced hand claps, snaps the room out of its dream pop reverie for a brief moment. Guitarist Steven Fitzpatrick speaks up:

Has everyone got a good strong beer? No? Thats good, we dont wanna be supporting beer all the time. I like Vimto.A pause as Laading configures the next drum loop. This ones a slow sexy one for all the lovers in the room – and all the straight edge people. 

Swampmeat Family Band @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham ReviewThey launch into ‘Cool With You’, the six minute centrepiece of their 2017 Heist or Hit release, Songs of Hers. Half way through it lapses into a bossa nova jam. Her’s closes their set on their swooning shoe-gaze waltz, ‘What Once Was’. I speak to Josh Frost of Mutes afterwards and he suggests that Her’s would have made a good roadhouse band in the new series of Twin Peaks.

Downstairs, the Stables are cosy and filled with the smell of pulled pork. The crowd floods down to watch Miles Cocker. It’s at this point I’m thankful of the lack of set time clashes – the line up is solid, and there’s not one act you’d be willing to miss.

Cocker usually supplies bass for notorious sex punks Youth Man. Today he shows his softer side, strumming on a beat up white Stratocaster. Heartfelt lyrics like, maybe shell grind my bones to make her bread / or shoot an apple straight off my head are quickly offset as Cocker comments, yeah, you can get pretty poetic about diarrhoea.

Back in the main room, Swampmeat Family Band are turning up the heat. A cover of the Rolling Stone’s ‘Down Home Girl’ slots neatly into the set alongside their own tracks. Classic rock ’n’ roll moves paired with numbers like, ‘Brand New Cadillac’ and ‘I’m a Fucker, Not a Fighter’ make them the perfect party band. And party they shall, as Danny C takes pleasure in announcing. Swampmeat Family Band @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham ReviewWere back here on the 21st for a Christmas party with the Hungry Ghosts!Fellow Hungry Ghost, Jay Dyer, is with me – we exchange excited glances and head to the bar. I run into a rather jet-lagged Bryony Williams. She fills me in on her set at The Sunflower Lounge supporting Denai Moore, and her recent adventures in New Orleans, both of which sound surreal.

West Yorkshire trio The Orielles saunter on to stage for some mellow indie pop. They sip beer from plastic bottles. They play their new single, ‘Let Your Dogtooth Grow’, which offsets a pleasingly sloppy riff against lilting drums. At this point my gig-going partner in crime and All Years Leaving veteran, Jo Chustecki, shows up. She is just in time to hear them close the set with the much awaited, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’. The ominous bass gets the crowd moving.

The Orielles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham ReviewI realise it’s been hours since breakfast. Jay and I head out to the chip shop over the road for sustenance, and make it back just in time for PINS.

Since first hearing their track ‘Aggrophobe’, I’ve been looking for a chance to see PINS live. They waste no time filling the room with the driving bass of ‘Hot Slick’. Bassist, Anna Donigan, begins to pogo and the others follow suit. The strutting ‘Heart Is a Machine’ starts up and vocalist, Faith Vern, grasps the mic with both hands and wails at the crowd. Kyoko Swan delivers pounding synths.

The Orielles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham ReviewNew single ‘Serve the Rich’ is anthemic, and Vern takes the opportunity to let the crowd know that, we told everyone that this single is sold out, but we have a few copies to sell after the set. Come find us later”. A savvy move indeed and one that causes much deliberation at the merch stand later (I am unable to choose a record and on Donigan’s sound advice end up going away with a T-shirt). At the end of their set it dawns on me that they didn’t even play ‘Aggrophobe’. As great as it is, PINS are certainly no one-hit-wonders.

Back in the Stables, The Bank Accounts are popping open a magnum of prosecco. They entrust it to a friend of the band who is here on her own, and tell her to go make friends. She hands it around the crowd as they sing: I just bought an Amazon Alexa. I dont need it, but its just nice to have someone to turn the lights off for you.

I am standing with Jo, Jay and James Brown. We all take a swig of prosecco, except for James, who is passed over for some reason. He wistfully watches the bottle drift away. Jo comments that she feels as though she’s just wandered into a rural pub, perhaps in Cornwall, and doesn’t know what’s going on.The Wytches @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

The Bank Accounts proceed to play a tongue in cheek interpretation of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ before producing a bottle of spiced rum. They are excellent hosts. They play a song about having rum and frontman, Benjamin P D Kane, wanders into the crowd to offer it around. He is immediately accosted by local artist and writer Priscilla Baker, who envelops him in a bear hug. James gets his hands on the bottle of rum and drinks his fill.

Hurrying back up the stairs we are greeted by the growling bass of The Wytches, The dirge of ‘Who Rides’ builds to a crescendo as the room fills up. The band are solemn on stage. Spring King @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham ReviewDoom laden riffs like ‘Ghost House’ and ‘Throned’ cement The Wytches as a much heavier band than they were in 2014 when Annabel Dream Reader was released, and the stuttering ‘C-Side’ is the star of the set.

As they’re packing down, I lean over the monitor to inspect bassist Daniel Rumsey’s pedalboard. In doing so I catch the eye of a similar die-hard fan, who narrows his eyes at me. I compliment him on his Black Angels shirt and ask if he was at their gig at the Institute last month. Yeah, he replies. We met at the merch stand for A Place To Bury Strangers. You tried to convince me to shell out £200 for a Death By Audio pedal. I maintain that this would have been a sound investment.

Sitting at the top of Saturday’s line up are Macclesfield alt-rockers Spring King. After a long day of drinking and dancing, the crowd were ready. As soon as they begin to play, the area in front of the stage is a churning mass of bodies. Their 2016 album Tell Me If You Like To is composed of wall-to-wall live winners, and they roll them out one after another without pausing for breath. Before long the crowd are up on stage dancing around the band, and Spring King revel in it. Drummer, Tarek Musa, hands a stick to someone so they can bash away at his kit.

Multiple circle pits later and it’s all over for Saturday at All Years Leaving. The audience members dissolve into the night, those with the prized black wristbands ready to do it all again tomorrow. PINS are outside chatting to Bryony Williams, smoking and planning their journey to Melkweg, Amsterdam. In a discerning booking, they will be opening for The Breeders.

 

 

 

Terror Watts @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Terror Watts @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review Terror Watts @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

For more on Terror Watts, visit www.theterrorwatts.bandcamp.com

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Her’s @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Her’s @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Her’s @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Her’s @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

For more on Her’s, visit www.thatbandofhers.com

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Swampmeat Family Band @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Swampmeat Family Band @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Swampmeat Family Band @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Swampmeat Family Band @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

For more on Swampmeat Family Band, visit www.swampmeatfamilyband.wixsite.com/swampfb

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The Orielles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

The Orielles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

The Orielles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

The Orielles @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

For more on The Orielles, visit www.soundcloud.com/theorielles

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The Wytches @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

The Wytches @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

The Wytches @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

The Wytches @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

For more on The Wytches, visit www.thewytches.com

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Spring King @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Spring King @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Spring King @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

Spring King @ All Year Leaving 21.10.17 / Cameron Goodyer – Birmingham Review

For more on Spring King, visit www.springkingband.com

For more on All Years Leaving Festival 2017, including online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/allyearsleaving

For more from This Is Tmrw, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.thisistmrw.co.uk

For more from the Hare & Hounds, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk