Adventures in Birmingham – Music Mayhem

Supporting live/local music

I didn’t set out to break any records but if I did, it will be to hear as much live music as possible. Starting at my own event, Birmingham Vintage Fair to the end of Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival last Sunday, this is the lowdown:

June 25th        Birmingham Vintage Fair

OK I booked them but I had not seen them live so I’m as impressed as everyone else:

Naked Remedy – does psychedelic blues describe them? Whatever, once I’ve got past how well the lead singer sings, while drumming, whilst keeping hold of the audience I realise this trio can make a lot of noise and all of it good, all of it original.

Dakesis – to bring the other side of the early 1970s in, this 5 piece pull together two electrifying sets incorporating some glam rock covers along with a couple of their own. All bought the house down & I ‘m particularly pleased when I see ‘20th Century Boy’ on their set list. Ever since I saw other local favourites, The Whiskey Syndicate include it in their amazing set, it’s become a bit of an anthem in planning BVF. I’m looking forward to the fireworks they have in their real set!

June 28th         The Actress & Bishop

??? who were they??!

Rebecca & The Roses – one to look out for.

Naked Remedy – again, because they were so good I couldn’t resist a little trip to my local venue to see them (just two of them) unveil their acoustic set. Yes they really do live in the 1970s, it wasn’t just for BVF and the acoustic set just as good with a little hint of gospel in the vocals. LOVE.

June 30th         Hare & Hounds

Pharmatronik –  duo comprising guitarist & bassist/singer with a drum machine(?!), don’t get it but somewhat entertaining

Scholars – pretty darn good although they’re not local!

This Burning Age LOVE LOVE LOVE – you already know how I feel so there’s nothing to add.

But I will anyway. It was a little special going to the shrine that is Hare & Hounds for the first time so I’m not sure if that bought the extra emotion, or just because I’m still in a post-BVF dream state or just because they’re that good.

Of all the gigs on this list, this is the only one I had to go out of town for. All the others are within walking distance proving there is so much in the city, I never need to leave it. Except for this lot, of course.

July 1st                        Urban Coffee Co, Live Music Friday

Fingerprint – On the first Friday of each month, there is no need to miss live music at the local coffee house and this month it’s the entertaining duo Fingerprint. Always a pleasure to support ‘Live Music Friday’ but must I explain every month that we’ve come especially to hear the music?? Musicians always assume we are there for coffee/chat and they’re interrupting us. Have faith!

And now it’s on to a highlight of my year, Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival.

July 2nd           Lord Clifden

Zingaros New Gypsy Tango (Argentina) A good start to ‘Jazz week’

 followed by:   Fredericks

New Orleans Jump Band (Spain) My first time in this relatively new place in my ‘hood. I saw these cats last year at Hotel Du Vin. They went on longer this time (past my midnight curfew) and demanded a bit too much (shouldn’t really require anything from your audience other than maybe, attention) but still extremely entertaining and a good spot for music.

3rd                    Hotel Du Vin

Teens Jazz Band Velke Losiny (Czech Republic) Hotel Du Vin was last year’s highlight but this year, they’ve changed the rules and there is no table service and no bar food. Plus, unless you get a seat by the stage, you have to look across Sunday lunch diners to see the band. For me, a formal meal and watching a band just do not mix. A good band though.

4th                    Urban Coffee – JQT

Will Scott (USA) – A first for live music in Urban JQ and it works plus it’s standing room only; pretty good for 4pm on an admittedly steamy Monday afternoon. It has to be an American singer/song writer for Fourth of July and one that sings bluesy country – perfectly.

5th                          Lord Clifden

Will Scott (USA) – he is so good in fact that we go back to see Mr Scott the next day doing a full gig. This is the highlight of the week; supported ably in the promotion and backing singer stakes by the lovely Jan Bell who somehow manages to spot the country fan in me and gives me her details too, when we line up at the back of the queue to buy CDs.

Three sets, one encore and the crowd still want more of the stories in between each song. Value for money, particularly as it’s free.

6th                    Lord Clifden

Brooks Williams (USA/UK) the second of our three nights residency at Lord Clifden and an even bigger crowd for two fantastic bluesy sets from this USA born, UK based guitarist.

7th                    CBD Food Festival & Lord Clifden

Lewis Floyd Henry (UK) – both times late, both times disappointing and yet still the crowd applaud him. There is none of the chat between tracks we’d gotten used to. They really shouldn’t quote Hendrix in his profile.

8th                    Waters Edge, BrindlyPlace

Djabe (Hungary)- the first time I make the live music at the bandstand and these guys are perfect for outdoors music.

9th A night off!

10th                  Hotel Du Vin

Bourbon Street Stompers (Germany) – we save one of the best to last. A full jazz band from Germany with plenty of action and patter to keep us going– who knew? Another highlight and a fitting end to my week of Jazz & Blues.

For each act I’ve seen, I’ve felt as though I have travelled around the world and through time, from New Orleans and Memphis to the 1920s and 1960s. I feel mightily blessed to have all this right on my door step.

16 artists, 16 days, 13 gigs

Right, what’s the next fest, OxJam?

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