BPREVIEW: DJ Format & DJ Pogo – The Brum Do Over BBQ @ The Hawker Yard 28.07.18

DJ Format & DJ Pogo – The Brum Do Over BBQ @ The Hawker Yard 28.07.18Words by Ed King

On Saturday 28th July, DJ Format and DJ Pogo headline a day of hip hop, breaks, summer beats, break dancing, and sizzling snacks at The Brum Do Over BBQ – as presented by Scratch Club, Breakfest, and The Yardbird.

Hosted by The Hawker Yard, doors open to the The Brum Do Over BBQ from 2pm, with the event running until midnight.

Entry is free, gratis, zip, nada, zilch… leaving some room in the pocket for whatever’s looking good on the grill and the cocktails that should be floating around somewhere. It is officially summer, after all.

Coming up from Brighton, DJ Format is a stalwart of UK hip hop – cutting his teeth with Jurassic 5 and DJ Shadow back in the early noughties, then stamping his authority with his revered debut album, Music for the Mature B-Boy (2003), and ‘tougher sound’ sophomore, If You Can’t Join ‘Em… Beat ‘Em (2005). DJ Format’s latest LP, Still Hungry, was recorded alongside MC Abdominal and released on AFF Records in 2017.

Travelling from a little further afield, DJ Pogo is one of the founders of DMC Brazil – setting up the South American arm of the DJ competition after being crowned the UK Champion in 1997. An ambassador for the Brazilian turntable movement, DJ Pogo also has a strong name on the UK scene as the man behind remixes and productions for UK rap troupes such as London Posse, Demon, and Monie Love.

For direct event information about the The Brum Do Over BBQ at The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, check out the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.

So why a ‘do over?’ We get the BBQ bit, but as the event itself declares ‘the do over is a chance to do something over and over again to right a wrong or make something better.’ The key to this is the promoter collaboration; skip back to the first line of this BPREVIEW and say those words out loud. If you’re of a certain age, stage, or sensibility you’ll get this straight away. But if you’re not, allow me to furnish you with a little of Birmingham’s cultural back catalogue.

Before the centre of town was permanently ‘under construction’, and the revolving glass doors of Paradise Forum were still turning (and stalling, and stalling again) there’s was a feisty little independent music venue called The Yardbird. A proper meeting place for artists and performers, The Yardbird had jazz, funk, hip hop, and roots running through it’s small yet well endorsed veins – seeing the rise of DJs like five times World DMC Mixing Champion Mr Switch nestled alongside the great, good, and going to be huge from the jazz fraternity at Birmingham Conservatoire.

As eclectic as Birmingham can be, The Yardbird was quite simply a home away from home for many musicians and music lovers alike. Then one Tuesday evening a new hip hop, freestyle, and breaks night opened called Scratch Club…  eight years later and the event packed around 200 people into The Yardbird every fortnight without fail. Until The Yardbird closed, and a sigh was heard echoing round the city.

It sounds romantic, sure, but just mention a few of these names to certain people in certain corners of this city and see their reaction. The Yardbird was one of those ‘special places’ for many people in Birmingham, with the regular success of Scratch Club born from an open mic/open door policy and supported by a venue whose firm drive was the music.

And now the partners that brought that touch of magic to our city’s soundscape are back – taking over The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, with DJ Format and DJ Pogo headlining a crew of DJs and dancers including DJ Mushroom (Breakfest), Automoton (Scratch Club), Ill Boogs & Rob Life (Breakin Bread), DJ Silence/Tha Tarmac Nomad (Break Mission), DJ Junk (Second to None) and the man who opened, owned, and ran The Yardbird – Ollie Lloyd.

“A ‘do over’ is actually an American expression, it literally means to do something again,” explains Tom Dunstan – aka Automaton, and the promoter of Birmingham’s Scratch Club. “Sometimes it’s to right a wrong, sometimes to do something better than you have in the past, however, in this case, it’s to work in collaboration with Breakfest, Scratch Club and The Yardbird. 

Historically, we’ve each helped one other out from time to time and collaborated at music and dance events. But this is the first time all three of our brands have stood up together to do something like this. 

In a music scene that can be divided at the best of times, we’re genuinely bringing this show to Brum in the spirit of unity. It’s being held in an independently owned, off grid venue; it’s entirely a not-for profit music showcase and, therefore, completely free to attend. I hope it’s the first of many.”

And I’m sure many would agree. But the bricks and mortar that bound you all together shut around three years ago; despite being the hottest British summer on recent records, what’s the impetus for a ‘do over’ now?

“Well, some might say that there is a rare planetary alignment of the hip hop and funk planets over Birmingham on Saturday the 28th of July,” explains Ollie Lloyd, who opened The Yardbird back in 2007, “but I’d suggest it’s more the case that everyone on the bill has a long standing relationship with Darren (DJ Mushroom) and also many of the DJ’s have roots in the Midlands so I’m sure there will be a few family catch ups on Saturday. 

What started off as Mushroom looking for a venue to put on DJ Pogo, whilst he is visiting the UK from Brazil, grew into something bigger and funkier than was ever planned. It’s not often you see a line up in Birmingham with the calibre of DJ’s that this session offers, but luckily everyone involved was available and happy to contribute their records and skills for what promises to be a legendary meeting of musical minds and sounds. 

As owner of now-closed The Yardbird Jazz Club, I had the pleasure of hosting Format, Pogo, and Rob Life over the years, all DJ’s that have instant power and musical charisma over a dance floor and created some of my favourite memories at the venue. Darren is a good friend of mine, someone that I met through his involvement as main organiser of the Breakfest B-Boy events that used to be held nationwide. Tom (Dunstan/Automaton) is an old friend who launched Scratch Club at the bird, which ran with us for many years. Not forgetting DJ Junk, legendary Bournemouth based producer and b-boy (Second 2 None Crew) and Ill Boogs, heavy weight funk/breaks producer (and b-boy too) on the Breakin’ Bread label . 

It’s a nice feeling to work with a collection of Birmingham promoters (and friends) to pull together an event that is just for two things – the music and the people. Our gift to Brum is the perfect line up in the coolest outdoor space, absolutely free, and packing in 10 hours of the slickest funk, soul, hip hop and breaks known to man.”

DJ Format & DJ Pogo headline The Brum Do Over BBQ at The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, in a collaborative event from Scratch Club, Breakfest and The Yardbird. Entry is free, with a range of food and drinks available on site all day. For direct event information, visit the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.

For more from Scratch Club, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/scratchclubbirmingham

For more on The Hawker Yard, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.hawkeryard.com


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 sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BPREVIEW: Plaid (live) @ Hare & Hounds 10.03.18

Plaid (live) @ Hare & Hounds 10.03.18

Words by Ed King

On Saturday 10th March, Plaid… let me say that again, PLAID bring their live set to the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) – with support from Automaton, ADJ, Monoform (live) and Errorbeauty. Live visuals on the night will come from Plaid and Cromatouch.

Doors open to the Hare & Hounds main room at 9pm, with music going on until 3am. All Early Bird Tickets have flown the nest, but you can still get some Standard Tickets priced at £10 – as presented by Scratch Club. For direct event info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

There are certain words that will set a portion of the electronic dance music fraternity all aquiver. ‘Warp Records’ are two of them, ‘Plaid’ is another. So, when the three appear on a poster together some ambient/electronica heads begin desperately scratching the corners of their minds for a trace of serotonin. It’s a big deal. And rightly so, as The Black Dog spawned two-piece have been a further cornerstone of the electronica evolution for over two decades. Or, at least, the good bits. I don’t think they had much to do with Tony di Bart or the Vengaboys.

Plaid formed in the late 80’s – back when rock was still rife, pills were still good, and raves were still illegal. Ah, the glory days. Made up of two thirds of The Black Dog (Messers Handley and Turner), the splinter duo jumped around a few monikers ‘post Dog’ but settled on Plaid for the release of their debut album, Mbuki Mvuki, in 1991. It means ‘the desire to take your clothes off and run around’ in case you were wandering. Plaid’s latest album, The Digging Remedy, was released through Warp Records in June 2016 – check out the album’s opening track, ‘Do Matter’, featured below.

Already revered from the pioneering techno of The Black Dog, Handley and Turner were quick to carve out a new and equally as respected corner of electronica with Plaid. Their second album, Not for Threes, went on to be an established EDM classic – featuring the vocals of a then rising Icelandic balloon, Bjork, on ‘Lilith’. But, for me, it’s ‘Rakimou’ all the way; if you can listen to that track without feeling the glory of God/Shiva/Primark, or whatever you pray to, then you are quite simply dead inside. Click here and see if you’re still pumping blood.

But nine albums, countless festivals, and a seemingly endless international tour schedule later, and Plaid are still at the very respectable sharp end of electronica – whilst having also garnered remix requests from artists including Goldfrapp, Bjork, U.N.K.L.E., and even Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five.

So, the boys done good. And getting to see Plaid at such a superb suburban venue is somewhat of a Christmas come early situation. Just no more snow, please. Enough with the snow.

‘Do Matter’ – Plaid (from The Digging Remedy)

Plaid bring their live set to the Hare & Hounds on Saturday 10th March – as presented by Scratch Club. For direct event information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit http://bit.ly/2oRJuEF 

For more on Plaid, visit www.plaid.co.uk

For more from Scratch Club, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/scratchclubbirmingham

For more on the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath), including venue details and further event listings, visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk

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.