THE GALLERY: Wood and Nails @ The Flapper 02.03.19

Words by Ed King / Pics by Aatish Ramchurn

On Saturday 2nd March, Wood and Nails headlined at The Flapper – with support from Dearist, George Gadd, and Last Light.

Promoted by Surprise You’re Dead, the gig was a raucous celebration of Wood and Nails’ latest single ‘Searching for an Exit’ – which you can wrap your grubby little music-for-free ears around here. Or better still, click here to buy something from the band in question and keep them in diamond crusted plectrums. Or food. Or whatever it is that artistes need to survive these days.

But by all on and offline reports, recollections, fervent cries and night terrors of loss and longing, the evening was a rip-roaring success. So much so, in fact, that the Birmingham Review front line reporter has been missing in action ever since… if found, please return to BRHQ.

Luckily, we had more troops in the crowd – a man who shall now and forever be referred to as ‘photo ninja’, for his Matrixesque ability to weave through a mosh pit whilst messing about with that all important ISO.

And as for the rest of you, indulge yourselves in some glorious gig shots from Saturday 2nd March at The Flapper in THE GALLERY – featuring headliners Wood and Nails, alongside support acts Last Light, George Gadd, and Dearist. There are a few picked cherries to begin with, then the larger mosaic gallery – so viddy below my droogs, such a gromky shoom horrorshow:

Woods and Nails @ The Flapper 02.03.19 / Aatish Ramchurn

For more on Wood and Nails, visit their Spotify artist profile by clicking here – or to visit the Wood and Nails Facebook page for more info and links, click here.

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Dearist – supporting Woods and Nails @ The Flapper 02.03.19 / Aatish Ramchurn

For more on Dearist, visit www.facebook.com/DearistUK

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George Gadd – supporting Woods and Nails @ The Flapper 02.03.19 / Aatish Ramchurn

For more on George Gadd, visit www.georgegadd.bandcamp.com

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Last Light – supporting Woods and Nails @ The Flapper 02.03.19 / Aatish Ramchurn

For more on Last Light, visit www.soundcloud.com/lastlightuk

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Gallery not found.

All photography by Aatish Ramchurn / Aatish Photography.

For more from Surprise You’re Dead, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.surpriseyouredeadmusic.co.uk

For more on The Flapper, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.theflapper.co.uk

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NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this feature – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse, or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK website.

ED’S PICK: March ‘18

Rews + You Dirty Blue, P.E.T @ Hare & Hounds 22.03.18Words by Ed King

**Due to the severe weather conditions, some March editorial may be delayed. It has nothing to do with 1) hangovers, 2) gigs on a Sunday that cause hangovers, 3) each episode of The Deuce being 1hr long. It’s the snow… it’s all about the snow**

The BIG NEWS this month is that Rews are coming back to Birmingham, finishing of their England tour with a special gig at the Hare & Hounds on Thursday 22nd March – joined by an awesome local line up, Tamworth’s garage rock two piece You Dirty Blue and Birmingham’s rising balloon punksters P.E.T.

Still out smashing holes in radio playlists and the right kind of ear drums across the country,  Rews are back on the road (do they ever stop!?!?) with their debut album Pyro – a rock pop stonker which we thoroughly suggest you check out. Read my Birmingham Review of the ten track beast here, or cut out the middle person and just get yourself a copy. You can bill me if you’re unhappy.

But Rews are a step up live. And don’t just take my word for it, ask any of the following: Hew Edwards, Mark Radcliffe, John Kennedy, Scott Mills, Alice Levine, Dev, Greg James, Scott Mills, Clara Amfo, Adele Roberts… (and that’s just the beeb). Or anyone who’s seen them play. Or Google. It’s not a difficult cross reference.

Of course, the best way to know for absolute certainty is to come and see Rews at the Hare & Hounds on 22nd March – for direct gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here. Or to can hop over to the Facebook event page for updates, info and links aplenty – click here.

Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18WARNING – CONTAINS CIVIC PRIDE: Rews have bolted Birmingham onto their England tour dates because their last gig in the city was such a stormer – Birmingham loves Rews, and it seems there’s a little mutual flutter there too. So, come down to the Hare on 22nd March, enjoy an awesome gig from Rews, You Dirty Blue and P.E.T, and stand on for your local live music scene. BRUMMIES UNITE.

And breathe…. There are other gigs this month, some pretty high profile shows too. In the land of five figure crowds, the Genting Arena hosts All Time Low (15th Mar) and the resplendent resurfacing of Paloma Faith (21st Mar). Whilst at Arena Birmingham we see some of America’s A-Lists rock with Fall Out Boy (27th Mar) and 30 Seconds to Mars (29th Mar). So, that’ll keep you busy. And a little broke.

Feeder @ O2 Academy 14.03.18N.B. Paul Weller was scheduled to play at the Genting Arena on 2nd March, but due to the school run slaying beast from the east (erm, the snow) this gig has been postponed. When we know more…

Editors play an ‘intimate’ gig at the Town Hall (4th Mar) to showcase their new album, Violence. Whilst across town Hookworms headline at the Hare & Hounds (4th Mar), and across the road Amit Dittani introduces his debut solo album, Santiago, at the Kitchen Garden Café (4th Mar).

Elsewhere in the city, Ezio return to Birmingham but this time at the Kitchen Garden Cafe (7th Mar), Astroid Boys tour their debut album, Broke, at The Asylum (1th Mar), Feeder take us on a retrospective love in at the O2 Academy (14th Mar), Joan Baez celebrates the end of a near 60 year live career as her Fare Thee Well Tour comes to the Symphony Hall (14th Mar), The Stranglers come to the O2 Academy (17th Mar),Rae Morris @ O2 Institute 21.03.18 ‘First Lady of Celtic Music’ and Clannad family member Moya Brennan plays at the Glee Club (20th Mar), whilst Rae Morris brings a sneak peak of her sophomore album, Someone Out There, to the O2 Institute (21st Mar). Phew… can anyone lend me a tenner?

And so exciting it gets it’s own paragraph, electronic music pioneers, Plaid, bring their AV tour to the Hare & Hounds on 10th March. A pivotal piece in the EDM jigsaw, Plaid come back to Birmingham after their sell out gig in the city last year – if this show doesn’t pack out then there’s something inherently wrong with the world, so we would suggest getting your Warp loving wriggle on and buying a ticket or two quick smart. For direct gig info and online ticket sales, click here or on the relevant hyper link.

Plaid @ Hare & Hounds 10.03.18A little later in the month the same promoters, Scratch Club, are putting on a breaks, beats and hip hop free bash at One Trick Pony with Dr Syntax (The Mouse Outfit, Foreign Beggars) & Pete Cannon, joined by Birmingham’s own DMC champion Mr Switch (30th Mar). For free..!?!? Now that’s a good bloomin’ Friday.

Film is stomping is size 10s across the city too, a cheeky month before Flatpack #12, with a healthy collage of celluloid (well, probably digital now) coming to screens in a variety of Birmingham venues. Ruben Östlund’s takes a well-penned stab at the pretensions of class and art with The Square – on general UK release from 16th March, before coming to The Electric (23rd Mar) and mac (30th Mar). Whilst mac programme a centennial celebration of Ingmar Burgman with The Seventh Seal (16th Mar), The Touch (17th Mar) and Persona (18th Mar).Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits @ The Mockingbird Kitchen & Cinema 26.03.18

The Mockingbird hosts a Wes Anderson Marathon (18th Mar) featuring The Royal Tenenbaums at 12noon, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou at 2:30pm, Fantastic Mr Fox at 5:00pm and The Grand Budapest Hotel at 6:45pm. Bit of a welcome refresher course before Anderson’s latest (and animated) feature, Isle of Dogs, is out on general release from 30th March – with two preview screenings at The Electric (25th Mar) if you wanted to jump the gun a little.

The Mockingbird are also showing the eponymous biopic about the notorious fashion designer, Westwood, throughout the month. But we recommend you wait until 26th March, so you can jump straight into Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits – another biopic, but this time about an altogether more altogether slice of formative female punk.Comedy Short - fundraiser fro SIFA Fireside @ Artefact (Stirchley High Street) 21.03.18

On the city’s smaller silver screens this March, Neighbourhood present a series of comedy shorts at Artefact in Stirchley (21st Mar) – with a pay as you feel fundraiser for SIFA Fireside, a Birmingham based organisation who support ‘those experiencing homelessness or who are vulnerably-housed.’ A great charity that deserves our cash and consideration; look outside, now pay what you feel.

Elsewhere, The Victoria welcomes the rescheduled Birmingham Horror Group: Mini-Movie Marathon (25th Mar) which is also fundraising – this time ‘with proceeds from ticket sales going to the medical charity Diabetes UK’. Whilst the Kitchen Garden Café screen the Arnie body count craziness and all round awesome… Predator  (20th Mar) – which we are more than a little happy about. I’m off to buy a dog eared cigar, dog eared dog tags, and practice the film’s profound script such as, “if it bleeds we can kill it”. Powerful stuff Arn, Kierkegaard?

The Gilded Merkin @ Glee Club 18.03.18Treading the boards this month, Joe Black starts the UK run of his new show, Touch of Evil: A Celebration of Villainy in Song, with two nights at The Old Joint Stock (09-10th Mar). The Birmingham REP stages fingersmiths’ rewrite of John Godber’s Up’n’Under (12-14th Mar) – a play about pride and adversity (and rugby, to be fair) which has been adapted for all audiences ‘with a cast of Deaf and hearing actors using British Sign Language and spoken English’.

Overlapping a little bit, REP also present The Kite Runner (13-24th Mar) performed in venue’s main theatre, coming to Birmingham after ‘an outstanding’ run in the West End. Then back in the ‘burbs, The Wardrobe Ensemble present their tale 90’s nostalgia and the Blair honeymoon – Education, Education, Education – at mac (20th Mar).

On the more glamourous side of town, Alyssa Edwards’ The Secret Is Out Tour saunters over to the Glee Club (7th Mar), before BCU’s Burlesque society present Dare to Desire at the Bierkeller (15th Mar) and Scarlett Daggers brings The Gilded Merkin burlesque show back to the Glee Club (18th Mar).The Twisted Circus @ O2 Academy 30.03.18 Not far behind is Ben DeLaCreme, with her ‘terminally delightful’ show coming to the Glee Club (29th Mar) – a day before Klub Kids present The Twisted Circus in all its glitz and glory at the O2 Academy (30th Mar).

Comedy has a pretty decent crack of the whip in March too, kicking off with Russell Brand’s Re:Birth at Symphony Hall (8th Mar) before the Glee Club takes the reigns until April, with Phil Wang (11th Mar), John Robbins (21st Mar) and Tiff Stevenson (23rd Mar).

Outside of all that, if you’ve got any dry socks or shekles left, there’s A Notorious Odyssey at The Electric (24th Mar) – as Birmingham’s 35 piece a cappella choir, notorious, take us on ‘a musical voyage where no audience has gone before’ performing ‘tunes from sc-fi films and TV, to music inspired by space and the future.’

Across town and the space-time continuum, Rupi Kaur presents an evening of performance poetry the Town Hall (24th Mar) including work from her recently released second collection, The Sun and Her Flowers.Phil Wang @ Glee Club 11.03.18 Then just shy of a week later, Richard P Rogers rounds off the month with his Frank Cook and the Birmingham Scene exhibition at mac’s Community Gallery (30th Mar) – a study of the titular Ladywood artist, as he worked his way from the north Birmingham back to backs to art school in London in the late 1960’s.

Right then, a fair amount happening in March – I’m off to do some diary/bank statement cross referencing. And maybe drink a glass of wine, or two. What day is it again…?

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.

THE GALLERY: The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18

The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

Words & pics by Aatish Ramchurn

Tuesday evening. My car headlights stop working on my drive home, and the surprise flakes falling late at night are sticking to the ground. I’m hoping that on Wednesday I don’t wake up to eight inches of snow, and I can find a garage to fit me in to fix my headlights. Thankfully, both of my wishes are granted, and I have no problem making my way to see The Bronx live in Birmingham.

Knowing that the night has sold out, I arrive early to Digbeth’s most quaintly-decorated venue, Mama Roux’s. Standing by the stage in a virtually empty room, I watch it gradually fill up, with those arriving the earliest heading straight upstairs to the balcony to get the best view.

Ming City Rockers – supporting The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham ReviewUntil this point, I was unaware of who the support act was going to be, or if there even was a support act. I’d only seen this gig promoted by Surprise You’re Dead! Music, as The Bronx playing their latest album, The Bronx V, ‘in its entirety’. I found it a little hard to believe that The Bronx would be playing two and a half hour sets up and down the country.

Not that I doubt that they could. They’ve been touring as both The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx for 15 years, even playing as both bands on the same night. It was just a gut feeling that there had to be someone supporting them throughout this club venue tour.

As it turns out, Ming City Rockers, from Immingham, are supporting The Bronx on their UK album showcase gigs. The East Lincolnshire rockers capture the attention of the audience with their fast-paced, punk rock and roll sound, reminiscent of The Buzzcocks and MC5.The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

Although there’s no restriction on the amount of photos I can take of bands at Mama Roux’s, I decide to impose the three song rule on myself, just so I can enjoy the rest of Ming City Rocker’s short, but powerful set, along with the rest of the audience. If you like your bands fast, loud, and slightly obnoxious (I mean that in a good way), their album, Lemon, would be worth checking out.

As Ming City Rockers leave the stage, I feel naturally drawn into the dispersion of the room, until this thought suddenly dawned on me: ‘This floor will be packed with people nearer the time The Bronx are on, do I really want to move away from the stage?’

I position myself to the left, until I’m wedged between stage speakers and the rest of the front row. The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review I’m aware I’m not going to be in this position for too long but I have a decent place to start shooting from before things get less than ideal.

With the instruments set up, and beers settled by each amplifier, The Bronx are warmly welcomed by the Birmingham crowd. Frontman, Matt Caughthran, edges closer to the audience, greeting them as if meeting an old friend, before the band explodes into The Bronx V from start to finish. With where I’m positioned, I take advantage of getting shots in the limited time Matt Caughthran spends on stage – he seems more comfortable out in the middle of the crowd.

The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham ReviewI’d gone into this gig presuming that my biggest challenge would be trying to get focused pictures in the middle of a frantic mosh pit, with an onslaught of stage divers and a poorly-lit environment.

However, it was something else entirely. Whenever Matt Caughthran was down in the room, from where I was perched on the slightly poked out corner of a speaker to give me a higher vantage point, I found myself in a Where’s Wally? situation, as I was having trouble differentiatingThe Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review which out of the many bald, tattooed men present was The Bronx’s frontman. Following the trail of the microphone cable into the crowd didn’t help me find him either, as he’s quite short. There were times I’m sure I was focusing on the wrong person.

After playing their fifth, eponymous release from their record label, White Drugs, The Bronx ventured into more familiar territory, with fan favourites such as ‘White Guilt’, ‘Knifeman’, and set closer ‘History’s Stranglers’.

I know us concert photographers tend to prefer to shoot in the comfort of photo pits, away from people knocking our elbows in minimal space. But I have to admit, shooting a vibrant punk show in a packed out, intimate venue with poor lighting, not only provides a fun, yet frustrating challenge. It also gives you images that document the soul of punk rock in Birmingham.

The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

 The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

 The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

 The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

 The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

For more on The Bronx, visit www.thebronxxx.com

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Ming City Rockers – supporting The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

Ming City Rockers – supporting The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

Ming City Rockers – supporting The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

Ming City Rockers – supporting The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

Ming City Rockers – supporting The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

Ming City Rockers – supporting The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review

For more on Ming City Rockers, visit www.mingcityrockers.co.uk

For more on Mama Roux’s, Birmingham, including full events listings, visit www.facebook.com/mamarouxs

For more on Surprise You’re Dead! Music, visit www.surpriseyouredeadmusic.co.uk

BPREVIEW: The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18

The Bronx @ Mama Roux’s 17.01.18

Words by Aatish Ramchurn

On Wednesday 17th January 2018, Surprise Your Dead! Music present The Bronx at Mama Roux’s –  where the band will be playing their latest album, The Bronx V.

Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £17 (+bf) – but be warned, at the time of writing this event has already sold out so for direct gig info, click here.

To celebrate the release of their latest album, The Bronx will be playing The Bronx V ‘in its entirety’ in venues across the UK. The Southern Californian punks will arrive at Mama Roux’s on Wednesday 17th January, with the gig selling out just days after the Birmingham based promoters, Surprise You’re Dead! Music, released tickets.

Founded in 2002 by frontman Matt Caughthran, guitarist Joby J.Ford, bassist James Tweedy, and drummer Jorma Vik, The Bronx quickly attracted attention from major label, Island Def Jam Music Group, after just 12 shows. However, the band decided to put out their first few releases by forming their own label, White Drugs.

Their first major release came with their 2nd eponymous album (a title trend the band would continue) in 2006, when Ken Horne joined the band as their second guitarist. Subsequent albums would eventually be put out on White Drugs, including their 5th and latest album, The Bronx V, which was released in September 2017.

The Bronx last visited Birmingham as part of the Slam Dunk Festival 2017 at The Genting Arena, where they were joined by new drummer, David Hidalgo Jr.

When they’re not playing as a punk rock members of The Bronx also play as a mariachi band, Mariachi El Bronx, having three albums released under this name. But there will be no sign of any mariachi music at Mama Roux’s on the 17th January, as it will be pure, unadulterated punk rock coming from The Bronx as they perform their fifth album in this special showcase event.

For more on The Bronx, visit www.thebronxxx.com

For more on Mama Roux’s, Birmingham, including full events listings, visit www.facebook.com/mamarouxs

For more on Surprise You’re Dead! Music, visit www.surpriseyouredeadmusic.co.uk

ED’S PICK: January 2018

Words by Ed King

January 1st… no finer day to cross off the calendar. But as the world crawls out of bed with hangovers and resolutions, Birmingham’s events diary looks forward to a pretty vibrant January. It seems the ‘quiet month’ is not so dormant this year. Which is a good thing, right? I mean, who needs to stay in and save money? Food and heating are for quitters.

Some pretty big gigs happening this month, with the rock powerhouse that is Paramore (ain’t alliteration ace) coming to the Genting Arena on Jan 14th. Tickets may be sold out by the time I finish this sentence, so you’d better act rápido por favor (just finished watching Narcos) if you want to catch them tour their fifth album, After Laughter, through the second city. On the Lord’s Day as well… dios nos perdone.

On the smaller stages in Birmingham, Surprise You’re Dead are tearing the city in two on 24th Jan – as Ohio’s metalcore Miss May I come to Mamma Roux’s, whilst London’s pop punksters The Bottom Line are joined by Nottingham’s Lacey at The Asylum. In fact, overall it’s quite a strong start to 2018 from SYD as the Birmingham’s stalwart rock/punk promoters are also bringing Dead! to The Flapper on 31st Jan and The Bronx to Mama Roux’s on 17th Jan – although The Bronx gig has already sold out so check the relevant corners of t’interweb for returns.

Elsewhere in the land of live gigs, we have the rising stars Riscas headlining an uber line up at The Sunflower Lounge on 19th Jan – with Spilt Milk Society, Candid and The Real Cool all in support. If this gig doesn’t sell out then I will 1) buy a hat, 2) eat my hat, 3) buy another hat. 2018 is set to be a big year for Riscas, we reckon, so catch them when and where you can. Then The Hunna return to the O2 Academy on 11th Jan, whilst Setting Son Records present Average Sex and Semantics (one of our faves) at the Hare & Hounds on 24th Jan.

Hot on the heels of their recent triumphant homecoming, KIOKO headline a stellar line up of local acts at The Crossing on 26th Jan – with Namiwa Jazz, Zara Sykes, VITAL, Elektric, and revered local poet Kurly all performing as part of the Love Music Hate Racism event at the Milk Street venue. Trish Clowes presents her latest album, My Iris, with a new ensemble of the same name at Eastside Jazz Club on 25th Jan. Whilst those somewhat silent psychedelics, Moon Duo, come back to the Hare & Hounds on 30th Jan courtesy of This Is Tmrw. Then there’s the gig I’m throwing my metaphor in the ring for – This is the Kit showcase their new album, Moonshine Freeze, at The Glee Club on 24th Jan.

January also sees a strong line up of comedy in the city, kicking off with Tina T’urner Tea Lady Steamy Bingo at The Old Joint Stock on 5th Jan. Tracey Collins will be bringing her ‘camp alter ego’ back to The Old Joint Stock in March, so if you miss your numbers this time around you can always try again in spring.

Stand up also starts strong at The Glee Club, with Andy Zaltzman bringing his Satirist for Hire tour to The Arcadian Centre venue on 19th Jan – a week before Fern Brady’s debut Suffer Fools tour lands there on 26th Jan. Quick tip, if either of these stand ups ask you to email in suggestions or comments… don’t. Or at least don’t sign your name. Or sit in the front row. You have been warned. Whilst over at the Town Hall, Ed Byrne brings his Spoiler Alert tour to Birmingham on 27th Jan – a room big enough for some safe anonymity, for the audience at least.

Theatre stamps a reassuringly eclectic foot down on the first month of 2018, with Outer Circle Arts presenting The Death Show at The Rep Door on 26th and 27th Jan. Whilst a stone’s throw behind them in Hockley, Blue Orange Theatre present The Late Marilyn Monroe – running from 30th Jan to 3rd Feb. Then over at The Patrick Centre is the somewhat less self-explanatory Translunar Paradise  – Ad Infinitum’s unspoken story ‘of life, death and enduring love’, presented at the Hurst Street venue for one night only on 31st Jan.

Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet present Swan Lake, also for one night only, at the Symphony Hall on 7th Jan. Whilst The Mockingbird continues to its mission to save The Custard Factory from the cultural abyss with a double screening of Clerks and the documentary behind Silent Bob’s directorial debut, Shooting Clerks, on 19th Jan. There will also be a Q&Q with the latter’s director, Christopher Downie, and some cast members at 9pm.

For more film, mac hosts Playback from 7th to 24th Jan – a touring and ‘interactive exhibition’ of over 200 short films from ‘krumping and parkour dance shorts, to an animated tale of teenage love that unearths our desire to be as cool as the zines we read’. Held in the arts centre’s First Floor Gallery, with free admission, Playback carries a Tubbs and Edward local angle too, as ‘some of the films were originally made in and around Birmingham, where young people based in the Midlands were given the support and funding to create a short film.’

Then rounding off Birmingham’s cultural cache for the New Year, The Chefs’ Forum present their ‘Pay What You Can’ lunch at University College Birmingham on 15th Jan – a networking, trade and showcase event with four courses from some of the city’s top restaurants. Having launched its Midlands’ agenda at UCB back in February this… sorry, last year, The Chefs’ Forum is hosting their Jan ‘18 lunch to raise funds and awareness for its Educational Foundation which supports young chefs across the UK.

And with Louisa Ellis (The Wilderness), Mark Walsh (Opus Restaurant), Luke Tipping and Leo Kattou (Simpsons) and Olivier Briault (The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel) all chipping in a course, it should do just that. Although, the non-fixed donation approach is gratefully received in mid January.

Now if I can just find an energy provider with the same approach…

**Also straddling this month and the next are the two rescheduled Lady Gaga concerts, as the uber-star kicks off the UK leg of her Joanna World Tour at Arena Birmingham on 31st January before returning to play the Genting Arena on 1st February. Tickets to both arena shows are priced at £48.50 (+ fees), as presented by Live Nation UK.

In memoriam of her paternal auntie and namesake, Lady Gaga’s latest song, album and tour appear as personal an affair as you can offer when delivering it to millions of strangers. A curious dichotomy, but one Birmingham will get to see on stage first as the Live Nation machine sets down in our city before anywhere else in the UK. Kudos.

And with tickets being transferred from the previous dates in October 2017, it’s fair to say there may be a bit of a bun fight to get in to these gigs. No doubt it’ll be worth a few scuffed elbows though, but even if ‘I’m never going to know you now, I’m gonna love you any how’. OX Joanne.

For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, for Lady Gaga at Arena Birmingham on 31st January, click here. For Lady Gaga at the Genting Arena on 1st February, click here.’

Tickets for the originally scheduled Lada Gaga shows at the Genting Arena (12th Oct ’17) at Arena Birmingham (15th Oct ’17) can be transferred to the new dates. According to the venues’ websites, ‘if you cannot make the new date, refunds can be obtained at your point of purchase for a limited period’.**

Playback @ mac 7th to 24th Jan

For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlink. 

Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview titles.