Words & pics by Aatish Ramchurn
There’s something of a relaxed atmosphere on this mild, winter solstice night in Birmingham, which sets the tone for my final visit of 2017 to Mama Roux’s.
In the past year I have become well acquainted with this homely, decorated venue, and experienced a variety of gigs here. Some were sold out and I could barely move; with others I had more freedom to roam around.
Tonight’s gig is the latter. So much so, I believe it is quietest I have ever seen Mama Roux’s. You’d have thought that a headline gig from Shrewsbury’s The Sunset Beach Hut with some local luminaries in support – as presented by Sonic Gun Concerts – would be a little more full of festive cheer. But I guess you can’t expect too much of a crowd for a line up of emerging bands, especially with Christmas Day just around the corner. It seems each act tonight has rely on the support of their friends and family.
Kicking off proceedings are Miss World, an acoustic duo that make some of us feel a little nostalgic with their stripped-down covers of 90s pop and RnB songs, along with a couple of Christmas songs because, why not? It’s Christmas after all. They’re an extremely talented duo and could well be one to watch out for – especially if they start producing more of their own material, something I’m sure Miss World are more than capable of.
With just a small amount of people watching Miss World, I have a virtually empty floor to roam around and take photos on, that is until Junior Weeb appear on stage. A recorded audio track of ‘Tony the Tiger’ introduces the band with many of their fans and friends now filling up the floor. This leaves me doing my usual crouching at the front, but the floor isn’t so busy that I have worry about me being in anybody’s way, and neither is anyone really in mine. I think crouching at the front of stage is something I’m so accustomed to it’s become of a photographic habit.
I remember seeing Junior Weeb over a year ago at The Rainbow, supporting Muncie Girls. Back then their style was a little more shoegaze, but they are a different band tonight. Much more of their set is filled with funky numbers and groovy baselines, so it is virtually impossible not to dance.
But as Junior Weeb leave the stage, so does their audience. The venue is now virtually empty again and I’m wondering what’s left for Quinn when they show up next. Turns out, they have their very own audience too. I’m not even sure where some of these people were before; I’ve been here almost two hours, and throughout that time I’ve not seen any of these faces. Maybe Quinn’s frontman, Sam Lambeth, made them magically appear somehow.
Quinn’s sound is very reminiscent of early 90s indie, with Lambeth vibrant on stage. After performing tracks from their debut EP, Seems Fine, Quinn end their set keeping to Christmas tradition with a cover of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas Time’.
As with Junior Weeb earlier, Quinn’s audience exit the room as the band do – leaving a barely there audience for The Sunset Beach Hut to perform in front of. I admire the headliner’s spirit to still play with passion, despite the lack of people, especially after having to travel from Shrewsbury.
It’s a shame that people don’t stick around to check out other bands who aren’t their friends, but such is the way, I guess. Although, an emptier floor does mean easier pictures for me to take.
Overall, it was great to see The Sunset Beach Hut tonight – performing alongside other young, talented acts emerging from the West Midlands. I hope they all gain more support as they and grow in 2018.
The Sunset Beach Hut @ Mama Roux’s 21.12.17 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
Quinn – supporting The Sunset Beach Hut @ Mama Roux’s 21.12.17 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
Junior Weeb – supporting The Sunset Beach Hut @ Mama Roux’s 21.12.17 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
Miss World – supporting The Sunset Beach Hut @ Mama Roux’s 21.12.17 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
For more on Miss World, visit www.facebook.com/misswworldband
For more from Sonic Gun Concerts, visit www.facebook.com/sonicgunconcerts
For more from Mama Roux’s, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/mamarouxs