BREVIEW: Rosie Tee – launch of Chambers EP @ The Edge 28.03.19

Words by Emily Doyle / Pics by Jessica H Ingram

The Edge is tucked away on Cheapside, arguably one of the less inviting corners of Digbeth. On entry, however, it’s decked out like a disco in a greenhouse.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Birm_Rev-logo-MAIN-300x300.png

The space is awash with green lights and spacey projections, and houseplants occupy every corner. The stage is draped with vines and tinsel, and the DJ is playing a laid-back mix of ambient, jazzy electronica. It could be this reviewer’s imagination, but the room even seems to smell like a garden – although that may be the cocktail bar in the corner, where cucumber margaritas and beetroot G&T’s are being garnished with violets and sprigs of rosemary.

The venue is quite full, so experimental theatre group L Y N N E B E C manage to weave themselves into the crowd without anyone really noticing. However, the four performers soon make their presence known, launching into a performance that quickly has the talkative crowd hushed and watching.

Full of acrobatic lifts and captivating freestyle, L Y N N E B E C’s dance performance is devised to a mix of electronic music put together by Rosie Tee herself. Tracks from the likes of Natureboy Flako and Photay are threaded together with snippets of Tee’s new EP, Chambers. By the end of the performance the dancefloor is scatted with leaves and petals that have fallen from the performer’s costumes during the piece – each dancer is pulling members of the crowd out to dance with them, most of whom are more than happy to oblige. As well as an endearing end to the display, it’s a great way to break down the ‘inevitable semi-circle’ that crowds tend to form around the front of the stage, just in time for Tee’s set.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_03_28_RosieTee-22-of-32.jpg

Rosie Tee and her band make themselves at home on the stage, bathed in the psychedelic projections. It’s the eve of the release Chambers and a stack of copies are already on the merch table. There’s an air of anticipation in the audience, from the crowd stood at the front to the people occupying the tired armchairs and Chesterfields dotted around the space. Within minutes of the band beginning, Tee has the room under her spell.

‘Wax & Wane’ is one of the first tracks from Chambers to make an appearance. Tee’s swaying vocal carries the song, gently conducting the rest of the band with the odd flick of the wrist. Skittering jazz drums from Kai Chareunsy and wobbling bass from Dan Cippico are a sturdy foundation for the glittering keys of Tom Harris, not to mention the ringing punctuation of Tee’s glockenspiel, which she stands poised over like a sequined automaton.

Tee is every bit a host as well as a performer. Between her jazz-pop compositions she shares insights into her writing process, introduces the band – proudly announcing that Cippicolay produced the new EP – and takes the time to thank everyone involved, from the sound team to the bar staff.

New songs ‘Watersong’ and ‘Siren’ close the set just as they close the new EP. The former sees Tee scat singing through a grin, while the shivering rhythm of the latter draws the performance to an uptempo close. Rosie Tee and her ensemble take a bow, but it’s only a few minutes before Harris and Chareunsy are back on stage with their own band, Trampette – who keep the room dancing with high energy grooves late into the night.

Rosie Tee – launch of Chambers EP @ The Edge 28.03.19 / Jessica H Ingram

Gallery not found.


For more on Rosie Tee, visit

For more on L Y N N E B E C, visit

For more on Trampette, visit

For more from Friction Arts and The Edge, visit


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.

BPREVIEW: A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 @ Various 10-26.05.18

BPREVIEW: A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 @ Various 10-26.05.18

Words by Ed King

Running from 10th to 26th May, A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 comes to venues across Birmingham – presenting a programme of events, talks, tours and exhibitions that use ‘arts and culture to encourage open and honest conversation about death and dying.’

A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 has activities suitable for all ages, from children as young as 4 years and upwards – as programmed and run by Brum YODO. For direct festival information, including venue details and online tickets for each event, click here.

Birmingham Review first came across Brum YODO, a‘diverse community collective including health professionals, undertakers, artists, hospice staff and lawyers’, when they were part of the panel discussion following Lucy Nicholls and Antonia Beck’s The Death Show at Birmingham REP – exploring themes from funerals to the fear of finality.

The continuation of the ‘bottomless pit conversation about our own mortality’ though a festival programme was mentioned, and being both obsessed with and skeptical about discussions on death I kept the event on my editorial radar. Then, as with all things final yet sudden, the time had come and I was woefully under prepared. Luckily, and unlike the afterlife or void, there were press releases. So, what can we expect from this year’s ‘festival of arts and cultural activities focusing on death and dying’.

Opening A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 are two events – the exhibition Et in Arcadia Ego by Charlotte Jarvis, being held at Ort Café (10th May to 21st June, free entry) and a screening of Sleepy Hollow at The Electric Cinema with a taste-along from the gloriously macabre Conjurer’s Kitchen (10th May at 8pm, £20.70 – £25.90).

Et in Arcadia Ego sees artist Charlotte Jarvis collaborate with Professor. Hans Clevers and Dr Jarno Drost from the Hubrecht Institute ‘to grow her own tumour’. Why..? This innovative approach ‘aims to examine mortality and create a dialogue with and about cancer’ whilst confronting one of the world’s biggest killers by staring directly at it. Grown specifically for the purpose. As for eating a specially created platter to compliment Tim Burton’s adaptation of Washington Irving’s ghoulish nightmare, beset with headless horsemen and headless villages… I suspect beetroot might make an appearance.

A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 continues with a programme of talks and workshops, including How to Have a Fabulous Funeral at the John Lewis Community Hub (11th May from 10:30am to 11:30am, free), Climbing a Mountain – free creative workshop for children and families at Library of Birmingham (12th May from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, free), A Matter of Life & Death Marketplace at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (13th May from 11:00am – 3:00pm, free) Dying Matters – Ask the Funeral Director at The Coffin Works (16th May from 6:30pm to 8:30pm) and Call the *Soul* Midwife at mac (17th May from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, free). 

Theatre plays a part on the programme for A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018, as Bootworks Theatre Company present The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad at the Children’s Library (12th May from 12:30pm to 1:30pm, £5) – where younger audiences are invited to follow Frank, ‘an inquisitive chap with a big problem: he’s just lost his mum’, in a show about ‘bereavement for kids and their accompanying grown-ups.’ Then there’s The Birth of Death at Friction Arts/The Edge (19th May from 7:30, £8:50) – where Joanne Tremarco explores the often taboo subject of death by ‘drawing on end of life conversations with her mother, training as a death doula and adventures as a Lucid Dreamer.’

Whilst further film comes in the form of A Love That Never Dies, again at The Electric Cinema (21st May from 8:50pm, £7.80) – where Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds travel across North America, following the death of their son, to ‘find out why, in a world where death will always make front page news, real life conversations about death, dying and bereavement are so problematic.’

But perhaps one of the highlights of A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 (especially to a man who can’t keep his gob shut or mind free of thoughts on eternity) is Death Over Dinner at Stirchley Baths (12th May from 6:30pm to 10:30pm, £35) – where patrons can enjoy an eclectic cuisine, ‘fragrant, sumptuous and from around the world, reflecting the global nature of death’, whilst watching a series of talks and performances exploring death and our relationship with it. Probably a bad idea for a Tinder date, but fascinating in both content and approach.

A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 will be holding events across a variety of venues in and around  Birmingham, running from 10th to 26th May. For direct event information, including the full festival programme and links to online ticket sales, visit 

For more on Brum YODO, visit

BPREVIEW: Lady Gaga @ Arena Birmingham 31.01.18 / Genting Arena 01.02.18

Lady Gaga @ Arena Birmingham 31.01.18 / Genting Arena 01.02.18

Words by Eleanor Sutcliffe

After being forced to postpone the European leg of her tour due to a battle with fibromyalgia, Lady Gaga will be performing at Arena Birmingham on the 31st of January and again at the Genting Arena on the 1st February.

Tickets to both arena shows are priced at £48.50 (+ fees), as presented by Live Nation UK. 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’.**

Touring the UK following the release of her fifth studio album, Joanne, Lady Gaga is hitting the ground running in 2018. And why wouldn’t she? As one of the best-selling music artists of all time, Lady Gaga is set to make even more waves this year having signed a residency to perform at the MGM Park Theater in Las Vegas, as well as staring as the female lead in Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born.

A pop icon whose dramatic flair and provocative, outspoken performances have made her one of the most influential stars on the planet at the moment, Lady Gaga‘s numerous accolades include three Brit awards, six Grammy awards and more Guinness World Records than you could shake a stick at.

Unlike many current mainstream artists, Lady Gaga’s performances are about more than just music. Her penchant for unconventional shows that defy social norms have made her one of the most respected female pop stars on the circuit. Lady Gaga has not only managed to elevate music performance to a new level – but she has merged it with fine art to create not just a show but a spectacle.

Even off stage, she has no boundaries; from her meat dress which dominated headlines in 2010, right through to her David Bowie inspired ensemble donned for the 2016 Grammy Awards, Lady Gaga is consistently reinventing herself and her music.

Lady Gaga has come a long way from the electropop tracks she released on her debut album, The Fame. Although tracks such as ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Just Dance’ will always be seen as cult classics, the singer and songwriter has flirted with numerous genres over the years, including jazz, country and pop. And yet she still manages to incorporate her signature style into each track, distilling it down to a sound that is unmistakably Lady Gaga.

With her latest album receiving critical acclaim across the board, I can’t wait to see what Lady Gaga will bring to the stage as she kicks off the UK leg of her Joanne World Tour in Birmingham at the end of this month.

‘Joanne’ – Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga performs at Arena Birmingham on the 31st of January and at the Genting Arena on the 1st February. For direct gig info on the Arena Birmingham show click here – for direct info on the Genting Arena gig, click here.

For more on Lady Gaga, visit

For more from Arena Birmingham including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more from the Genting Arena, including full event listings on online ticket sales, visit

For more from Live Nation UK, including all national tours, events and online ticket sales, visit

BREVIEW: Club Integral – Dan Wilkins, Howie Reeve, Kamura Obsura, Dorcha @ The Edge 07.10.16

Club Integral – Seikou Susso, Howie Reeve, Kamura Obsura, Dorcha @ The Edge 07.10.16Words by Lucy Mounfield / Pics stolen from the corners of t’interweb… apologies

From the first look at Club Integral’s poster, I was a bit unsure of what tonight was all about. From the first step into the small warehouse in Digbeth, home to The Edge/Friction Arts, I begin to understand: eclectic furniture scattered around the space, extra-terrestrial drawings on the wall, neon lighting draped over every surface, this space felt more like a relaxed community-centre-cum-wonder-emporium. This evening is certainly going to be different.

The atmosphere is friendly; The Edge has a community feel and this is at the very heart of their manifesto – according to which Friction Arts have been working within the community for 23 years, helping people and translate their thoughts and ideas into artworks. And as I walk into the venue (being greeted by two alien murals on the wall, with flying saucers in vibrant neon glowing colours surrounding them) I immediately relax; there are definitely no stuffy artists in residence here and I need not worry about my lack of knowledge of contemporary art, or indeed of left-field music.

The Edge is home to the unusual, and it is therefore fitting that Club Integral take over the space for the debut of their Midlands ‘branch’ – an evening of niche sounds, bands who might struggle to be heard outside of London. Interestingly though tonight two of the artists playing are local to the Midlands, whilst the others have roots from outside England.

Seikou Susso, a traditional Kora player from Gambia in North West Africa billed as the first act, unfortunately had to pull out at the last minute due to a family death. Dan Wilkins / Taken from Wilkins, his student (and the first Birmingham name) instead treats us to some of Susso’s work on the Kora. The stage is a makeshift raised platform at one end of the warehouse; this is not a night to marvel at the technical prowess of the venue, but instead we, the audience, are treated to pared down, intimate moments of musical and emotional expression. Dan Wilkins sits alone, centre-stage, with the Kora.

The first three songs are in the Gambian style of Kora music, the first two being Susso’s and the third a composition of Dan Wilkins’ own. The Kora is a plucked string instrument which I had not heard of before, but it reminds me of Nitin Sawhney’s work with delicate Indian string instruments. I particularly like Wilkins’ composition; his face showing an emotional investment. The sound produced is rich, layered and textured, filling the warehouse and captivating the audience. The fourth and fifth songs depart from the previous three in their style; looser and slower than the previous two, which creates an earthy feel to them. It’s worth noting that there is some constant low level ambient noise, such as the kettle going off, throughout the set. For me this wasn’t a problem, it was all part of the atmosphere and to be expected given the nature of the venue, but others might find it an issue. Symphony Hall it is not.

Next to perform are Kamura Obscura, a three-piece band comprising a violinist (Natalie Mason, who is part of the team who run Club Integral), a guitarist (Robert Story) and a singer (Atsuko Kamura) who also plays keyboard. The first played, ‘Chapel of Atheist’, is a traditional Japanese song with haunting falsetto, both guitarist and violinist picking at their strings to create a stark background to Kamura Obscura / Taken from www.kamuraobscura.comthe singing. The second song, ‘Melting’, takes on a political edge, dealing with the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactor in 2011; the band donning headlights and sparkly comic glasses, declaring “we are safe now!” The song mirrors the outfits, comic yet dark, lyrics searing with intent, “The leader said we won’t be affected, the TV said the same”, the instruments scream with anger whilst the singing’s high pitch brakes down back into deep growls.

Each band tonight play for about 30 minutes, and we’re encouraged to drink and eat food from the Ubuntu van outside which sold homemade South African curries. Club Integral seems to be not just about the music but the spirit of trying something different – a culture and style which completely resonates with the locale of Digbeth. Digbeth is an in-between place: abandoned warehouses and patches of wasteland stand next to ‘luxury’ flats, industrial units are next door to independent restaurants, streets lined with pubs and shisha lounges, creative spaces dotted around car parks where buildings used to be, an air of slow dereliction and shadiness yet at the same time a sense of constantly being ‘on the verge’ of redevelopment. Club Integral taps into everything that is weird and wonderful about this fringe of Birmingham; it’s DIY and not shiny or new, but it certainly is expressive.Howie Reeve / Taken from

The next act definitely encompasses this vibe. All the way from Glasgow, Howie Reeve and his bass guitar tell modern day ditties about “Superdrug and children”. Reeve’s bass playing goes from one extreme to another, banging, picking and pulling at the strings. His audience interaction soon becomes part of his act and in a way detracts from his music, as we are sometimes laughing too much at Reeve’s stories to fully listen to his songs.

The dynamics and organisation of a traditional song disappear; Howie Reeve, instead, plays a continuous stream until it abruptly stops; only when he says “done” do we know the song has finally finished. His second to last song about children is my favourite, the quiet glockenspiel keeping the beat whilst Reeve tells the furtive imaginings of three children, with the bass guitar bursting into life when the children get excited or angry. Howie Reeve feels like an overactive mind unable to sleep, one minute he is whispering and the next he is shouting.

The last act to play are Birmingham’s own, Dorcha – normally a five piece band but reduced to three for tonight’s Club Integral. Traditionally Dorcha are loud, a wall of noise, but here they became intimate and inclusive. The paired down band Dorcha @ Club Integral, The Edge 07.10.16 / Taken from folkesque – a violin reed organ, a piano, and singer/guitarist; Dorcha sit on a sofa whilst the audience huddle around them.

‘Space Age’ has a rhythm drum beat that runs through the piece like a military parade, but it is the reed organ that acts as the backbone to the song. For me, the best of Dorcha’s songs are the ones the band admits they played the least, ‘Crimson’ being a good example. The guitar gives a darker tone and at times straddles psychedelia, with the reed organ hovering and twisting throughout.

But their last song best epitomises the evening, a cover of Ane Brun’s ‘Do You Remember’. Dorcha tell us they haven’t rehearsed this until today, the day they perform it live for us, but the song is a work in progress – a sharing of influences and ideas in a safe space.The Edge / Taken from

That, for me, is what Club Integral delivers: an exciting and eclectic mix of music for which there needs to be a space. And I think, after tonight, the Midlands have just found another one.

For more on Club Integral, visit

For more from The Edge/Friction Arts, visit

For more on Digbeth First Friday, visit


BPREVIEW: Club Integral – Seikou Susso, Howie Reeve, Kamura Obsura, Dorcha @ The Edge 07.10.16

Club Integral – Seikou Susso, Howie Reeve, Kamura Obsura, Dorcha @ The Edge 07.10.16Words by Ed King

Tonight, on Friday 7th October, Club Integral launches its Birmingham ‘branch’ at The Edge/Friction Arts, 79-81 Cheapside, B12 0QH.

‘Home to the uncategorisable’, Club Integral was has been promoting an eclectic line up of ‘left field music and performance’ since 2010.  With regular club nights, a radio show and their own imprint – Divine Records – the London based collective have celebrated and championed a wide range of acts, many of whom may not be the first on a commercial promoters speed-dial but well worth some attention.main-with-web-colour-bcg-lr

Hosted as part of October’s Digbeth First Friday – the monthly portfolio of events promoting the cultural city fringe – Club Integral launches in Birmingham from 8pm on Friday 7th October.

Tickets are priced at £4 online/advance and £5 on the door, with Ubuntu Food serving ‘the finest South African eats’ at the event.

For direct event info on Club Integral’s Birmingham debut at The Edge, including links to online tickets sales, click here.

Performing at Club Integral (B’ham) will be Seikou Susso, a traditional Kora player from Gambia in North West Africa. Having moved to the UK in 1991, Seikou Susso has found an active place for his performances in the festival and live music scene – playing both as a solo artist and with his own ensemble, the Allah Lake Afro Mandinka band. For more on Seikou Susso, clcik here.

Also performing in Birmingham on Oct 7th will be Howie Reeve, a Glasgow based solo artist who has previously appeared at the Club Integral London showcases. A solo, acoustic bass player… I’ll just let that sink in, Howie Reeve has been taking his original music and astute lyrics across the world – including a recently crowd funded tour of Japan. For more on Howie Reeves, click here.

Next on the bill is Kamura Obsura, another left-of-centre musical artist who has been part of the Club Integral gigs darn sarf. Born from the wonderful brain of Japanese punkster, Atsuko Kamura, Kamura Obscura also features Robert Storey (guitar) and Natalie Mason (Viola, Accordion) – a trio that ‘explores vocal experimentation, composition and improvisation incorporating enka, chanson and Japanese punk into original multi-instrumental music.’ And whilst I consider myself a versatile writer… for more on Kamura Obscura click here.

Rounding off Club Integral’s Birmingham debut is one of our own and one of our best, Dorcha. A self described ‘song experiment’, Dorcha is the Anna Palmer led ensemble that followed her I Am Anushka solo work. Brave, brash, a little like Kristin Hersh meets The Cinematic Orchestra at the bottom of a box of mushrooms, Dorcha are always worth a stop, look, listen.

Down-scaling for the Club Integral Birmingham debut, three of the band will be ‘something ever so different from our usual NOISEY show’ in a more ‘stripped back, intimate set; so close, we’ll be sat on your laps’. Better iron my slacks then… For more on Dorcha, click here (for the ‘look’) and here (for the ‘listen’).

Club Integral launches in Birmingham on Friday 7th October at The Edge/Friction Arts, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, B12 0QH – as part of October’s Digbeth First Friday. For direct gig info and links to online tickets, click here.

For more on Club Integral, visit

For more from The Edge/Friction Arts, visit

For more on Digbeth First Friday, visit