BPREVIEW: Howl feat. Casey Bailey, Heather Wastie, Sean Colletti @ The Dark Horse 10.02.16

Howl @ The Dark Horse 09.03.16

Words by Ed King

On Wednesday 9th March, Howl returns for Round II at The Dark Horse in Moseley – presenting spoken word & performed poetry/prose from Casey Bailey, Heather Wastie, Sean Colletti + various open mics slots to be announced on the day.Main with web colour bcg - lr

Howl is a Sansho event, co-promoted & presented by Leon Priestnall. Doors open at 7:30pm with entry charged at £3 – for direct event info, click here.

Starting off their new monthly run at The Dark Horse in Feb this year, after having been previously fed & watered at The Sun at the Station for one turn round the sun, Howl began in pretty fine fettle. A full room, some cracking open mic spots (including a gherkin/felt tip pen/the frivolity of youth analogy… oh yes) and three different but solid headline slots – Howl once again avoided the uncomfortable self-congratulation that this genre can survive on. Genuine, funny, intelligent, endearing. Give it red hair and a piano, and I’ll walk it down the aisle.

March’s line up at Howl looks similarly eclectic, with three more headline performers who come from very different sides of the ring. For more info on each have a look at the Written Word below:

The Dark Horse - sign, sfwCasey Bailey / A Birmingham poet. A Birmingham rapper. Casey Bailey has a standalone, calm approach – writing and performing material about the more visceral end of the human endevour. He also teaches rap and poetry in workshops and classrooms, using his craft as a vehicle of expression for those who so badly need to express.  Check out Casey Bailey delivering his personal ode to our city, performing ‘Dear Birmingham’ – click here. For more on Casey Bailey, visit http://baileysrapandpoetry.com/

Heather Wastie / Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate across 2015/16, Heather Wastie performs as a ‘poet, singer/songwriter, keyboard/accordion player, actor, humourist and facilitator.’ She promotes too,  running/comparing the monthly Mouth and Music night at The Boars Head in Kidderminster – where Howl host, Leon Priestnall, performed last October. Also a published poet & oral historian, Heather Wastie has compiled four poetry collections – with her last, Weaving Yarns, regaling ‘a unique infectious cocktail of assorted snippets and stories about the carpet industry’ in Kidderminster. For more on Heather Wastie, visit http://www.wastiesspace.co.uk/

Sean Colletti / Born and raised in California (not the one near Quinton), Sean Colletti came to the UK to read Creative Writing at Birmingham University (BA) and the Universtity of East Anglia (MA). Choosing the lesser of two evils, Colletti returned to Birmingham for his PhD and to write his first novel – whilst performing ‘his first love’ at poetry events across the city. And if we’ve found the right Sean Colletti on Twitter, he also enjoys sci-fi, whiskey and losing at poker… sounds like a Friday night in to me. For more on Sean Colletti, visit https://www.facebook.com/sean.colletti    

Howl feat. Casey Bailey, Heather Wastie, Sean Colletti returns to The Dark Horse on Wednesday 9th March. For direct event info, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/842848142527054/

For more from The Dark Horse, visit http://www.darkhorsemoseley.co.uk/Follow-Birmingham-Review-on-300x26Facebook - f square, rounded - with colour - 5cm highTwitter - t, square, rounded, with colour, 5cm high

BPREVIEW: Howl feat. Joe Cook, Lydia Scarlett, Afrah Yafai @ The Dark Horse 10.02.16

Howl @ The Dark Horse 10.02.16

Words by Ed King

On Wednesday 10th February, Howl opens at The Dark Horse in Moseley – presenting spoken word & performed poetry/prose from Joe Cook, Lydia Scarlett, Afrah Yafai + open mics slots to be announced on the day. Main with web colour bcg - lrDoors open at 7:30pm with entry charged at £3 – for direct event info, click here.

Howl is a Sansho event, co-promoted & presented by Leon Priestnall.

Beginning at the Sun at the Station at the beginning of 2015, Howl has carved a solid little curve into the back of Birmingham’s spoken word and performed poetry/pose scene. Named after the Ginsberg poem, which has been both heralded and contested as a poem written for performance, Howl (the event…) had a solid first year at the Kings Heath watering hole.

The Dark Horse - portrait #1, sfwPreviously run for free but well worth some money (it’s now three English Pound Sterling to get through the door), Howl is the familiar set up of more established writers/performers alongside the potential gems and car crashes of an open mic roster. Curated and presented by local poet Leon Priestnall, the night is now moving over to The Dark Horse in Moseley, taking over the second Wednesday of each month at the B13 venue.

Birmingham Review attended Howl at The Sun at the Station undercover and saw a markedly more balanced night than other events of the same ilk. But that may have been the cider. It can always be the cider. Still, it lodged in our ‘good night out’ cerebral cache, that terrifying abyss, and we’re hoping there will be more of the same at it’s new Moseley home. Here’s a little intro to who’s on in Round One at The Dark Horse:

Joe Cook / Seemingly all things to all men, ‘Joe Cook is a spoken word Artist, lyricist, musician and political activist based in Birmingham.’ Sounds exhausting. But the boy can certainly deliver, and has been the front end of many worthwhile endevours in Birmingham – honing many of his wily ways through Beatfreaks and Apple & Snakes. Witty, insightful and confident… let’s just hope he’s a terrible dancer. For a bit more on Joe Cook (and Howl), visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6sd_6KhL6U

Lydia Scarlett / A singer, storyteller and ‘quirky songstress’, Lydia Scarlett has just released her debut album – the appropriately titled, Just Lydia. Out from October 2015, on the potentially inappropriately titled Paddywack Records (unless it’s a reference to cow ligaments?), the 12 track (kind of, sort of) debut is a versatile mix of acoustic and Folk, with narrative firmly at the front. For more on Lydia Scarlett, visit http://www.lydiascarlett.com/

Afrah Yafai / The dark horse at The Dark Horse, to us anyway, we don’t know much about Afrah Yafai – and our customary Google search didn’t do much to help. But in the words of Howl’s own Facebook page: ‘Afrah’s performances are sincere and her writing will have you clicking for days.’ Sounds good, apart from the last three words. I may bring my HAPPY TO BE HERE CYMBALS.

Howl feat. Joe Cook, Lydia Scarlett, Afrah Yafai comes to The Dark Horse on Wednesday 10th February, launching the event’s new a monthly run at the Moseley venue. For direct event info, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1723728741196063/

For more from The Dark Horse, visit http://www.darkhorsemoseley.co.uk/

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INTERVIEW: Scroobius Pip

Scroobius Pip / www.scroobiuspip.co.uk

Words by Olly MacNamee

Bringing that beat back once again to Birmingham, Scroobius Pip’s We Are Lizards returns the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) this Saturday 30th January – for direct gig info & online tickets, click hereBirm_Prev-logo-MAIN - lr

Olly MacNamee caught up with the club night’s well versed founder for a quick Birmingham Review Q&A – sharing a slightly graying love for comics, 12” acetate and the lure of the second city.

BR: What is the draw to Birmingham, given your club nights tend to run in London?

SP: It’s a bit of a second home for me because I went to Wolverhampton University, the only place outside of my hometown I’ve ever lived. With a lot of my friends at Birmingham University I spent a lot of time there around 2001.

Yeah, the people at the Hare & Hounds… every time I’ve gone there, I’ve always got on really well with them. I’ve performed at their Spoken Word nights, Speak Up, that they used to put on. I liked everyone, I liked the venue, I liked the place, so really, although I tend to do the We Are Lizards club nights exclusively in London, Birmingham tends to tempt us back. I’ve also sent artists from my label there (Speech Development Records); B Dolan went there. I’ve also done the Speech Development tour there, with Warren Peace and B Dolan.

BR: As long as you avoid Broad Street, it’s a great city.

SP: Yeah, definitely. And I’ve been in a bit of bother on Broad Street in my time, but that’s Broad Street for you.

Scroobius Pip presents We Are Lizards @ Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) 30.01.16BR: You’re better off staying in the Hare & Hounds.

SP: Yeah, yeah. I agree. The whole Kings Heath area was new to me. The first time I performed at the Hare & Hounds was with, amongst other people, Musa Okwonga, who is a god of the spoken word, and a guy called Ed Sheeran who’s done quite well since. It really is a good spot.

BR: So what can people expect from a Scroobius Pip/We Are Lizards club night?

SP: Simply, a really good party. And another reason we keep on coming back to Birmingham, and specifically the Hare & Hounds, is that the people seem to just get it. Although the music does tend to lean towards Hip Hop, Funk and RnB and a bit of Indie, we never actually have any set rules. As long as people are getting into it and dancing, we’re happy.

I’ve been doing it in London, monthly nights for four years now, then when we took it to the Hare & Hounds and realized it was busy enough for us to come back, we were sold. The next two times it was rammed out and people were getting into it. What I liked, and it is a bit of a Midlands thing, is that the crowd was straight onto it. They were all up for it and up for a dance. In London it can be a slower start, but in Birmingham, and after a live band maybe – offering local talent a stage – we get the DJs on, including DJ Destruction who’s a former DMC champ. People were coming up to him all night long asking who he was, when he’s back, when can they see him again. He’s our jewel in the crown.

The club night in Birmingham is a bit of a weird one for me too. I don’t often drink these days, I’ve just drifted away from it really, but in Birmingham I do always tend to drink. I don’t think I’ve even drunk in 2016 yet, so the We Are Lizard club night might well be the first time.Hare & Hounds / By Ed King - Birmingham Review

BR: I’ll buy you a drink if I see you on Saturday. But moving away from We Are Lizards, like your namesake (‘The Scroobius Pip’ by Edward Lear) you seem to be something of a career chimera – with your Distractions Pieces podcast, your club nights, music, and even a graphic novel. Anything else we should know about?

SP: I’ve got a couple of comic book ideas, but they’re bouncing around with a lot of other projects at the moment. But on Monday I’ve got Kieron Gillen (comic book writer) and Jamie McKelvie (comic book artist) who did the comic, The Wicked + The Divine, coming in to record a podcast that should be out sometime in February. Gillen is currently writing the Marvel Darth Vader comic, so I’m a huge fan of them and looking forward to that. Jamie is the first comic book artist I’ve interviewed, having already interviewed comic book writers like Alan Moore (Watchmen) and Garth Ennis (Preacher).

BR:  And what about your tastes in music? With the way we can access music now, have you found you’ve become more eclectic? When I was younger I had just enough money to buy one album a week, and one only.

SP: Yeah. In my day at school, like you, if you were into Punk, like I was, you were into Punk and that was it. But when I worked in HMV, and before ‘free music’ over the Internet, that was the first place I found I could try out different genres of music more readily. Then people who worked in record shops knew their stuff, they were hugely knowledgeable of the particular section. They knew their shit. You could talk to the Hip Hop guy and he could tell you what was good.

Speech Development - lr, BR web coloursI worry that, because music is a bit more disposable, we are going to see people that don’t have those (physical) albums that changed their lives, that spoke to them. I agree, in my day I could afford a couple of albums a month and that meant that those albums were played inside and out and I knew every lyric to every song, B-sides included. Now you can just grab a hundred songs in moments, skip through the bits that you like only. But I try not to focus on that ‘coz you can come off as the bitter musician asking people to, ‘stop stealing my music’. But yeah, it does sadden me.

The amount of repairs my mum used to have to do to my coats, because the CD Discman didn’t quite fit into my pocket. But again, I would only take the one CD to school, not three or four. I used to have to get the train to school and listen to Punk, Metal, whatever.

BR: Any stand out albums that mean a lot to you? One’s you go back to.

SP: Three albums that stand out for me particularly in my formative musical years was Rancid’s Out Come the Wolves, Offspring’s Smash – which was a great record, Green Day’s seminal album, Dookie. Those were my teen years and I loved them. I’ve still got nothing but love for Green Day, even though I’m not that much into their new stuff.

BR: With the clock ticking… again like your namesake, are you ‘the wisest beast’ of them all?

SP: I think I definitely am (laughs). I feel like I’m old as fuck now, and that translates for me into wisdom.

hare-and-hounds-logo - transScroobius Pip presents We Are Lizards at the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) on Saturday 30th January – featuring Scroobius Pip, Destruction, Push Music, Redshift Rebels, Disco Stu + The Oddysee (live) For direct gig info & online tickets, visit http://hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk/new-show-scroobius-pip-presents-we-are-lizards/

For more on Scroobius Pip, visit http://www.scroobiuspip.co.uk/

For more on the Hare & Hounds, visit http://hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk/Follow-Birmingham-Review-on-300x26Facebook - f square, rounded - with colour - 5cm highTwitter - t, square, rounded, with colour, 5cm high