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Tokio Myers at O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK – 24th November 2019

Tokio Myers
There is something totally rootsy about Tokio Myers. He’s appeared on large stages full of thousands of people, but you could just as easily imagine him busking alongside many of the talented musicians that line the streets & subways of central London. He’s classical, and yet urban all at once. He is the unexpected winner of 2017’s Britains Got Talent. But how so unexpected? Perhaps in the most part, due to how authentic he is as an artist – a self made musician and composer. Already forged from his own melting pot of rich experience – not that of any generic talent show format.

Idlewild + Liela Moss at The O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK – 28th April 2019

Before tonight’s gig to promote their new album ‘Interview Music’, if anyone had asked me how long headline act Idlewild had been performing, I would have never have said that they started in 1995. 24-years has rocketed by for me, but for them they appear to be very fresh indeed.  In fact, if we take a moment to reflect on their careers: starting about the same time as Coldplay, the whole music scene itself feels as though it has slowly but surely moved away from Coldplay’s more relaxed style, to where Idlewild have been “at” for all their career.

Sleeper + Annabel Allum at The Venue, Derby, UK – 4th April 2019

In a time when the country seems to be in a never-ending cycle of political chaos, it is nice to be reminded of a time when we were considered cool (and even a little rebellious). The Brit-Pop era of the 90s brought us Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Suede and, of course, Tony Blair. Amongst them, although never quite reaching the same giddy heights of stardom, were Sleeper. Reforming in the past couple of years, their reunion has resulted in a new album and sell-out gigs. It seems that they are living up to their name and are now finally getting the wider recognition that their music deserves.

Sleaford Mods + Liines at O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK – 23rd March 2019

Sleaford Mods
Sleaford Mods. Don’t let the band name mislead you. Sleaford Mods can’t be pigeon holed as a ‘mod band’ – because they’re not. Their vocalist Jason Williamson has described their sound in the past as “electronic munt minimalist punk-hop rants for the working class.” They are certainly political, and certainly of the people. Yet in an interview with Channel 4 (2015) Williamson has alternatively said that he doesn’t want the music to be described as working class – as when you’re talking about alienation or unemployment there really shouldn’t be that assumption, or stereotype.

The World Of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration at Birmingham Arena, UK – 21st March 2019

The World Of Hans Zimmer
Film scores. We can be forgiven for forgetting to check the credits for the composer at the end of a brilliant film. The very best are so seamlessly put together with film, that they are an integral part of the process. Ever since the very beginning of movie making, with the advent of silent films, film scores have played a very important role in eliciting profound emotions in movie goers.

Villagers + Billie Marten at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK – 17th October 2018

I’d been missing the Villagers for years – always being in the wrong place at the wrong time – another town, or another part of another festival. We made it tonight though, to the modest and cosy interior of Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms.

Shame + Gurr at The Hare & Hounds, King’s Heath, Birmingham, UK – 17th April 2018

I have a lot of feelings about this gig, so this review might get intense. If so, it will only be an accurate reflection of the show itself. As always, I’ll try to make you feel as though you were there, but I don’t know whether I’ll be able to do justice to the savagery and thrill of the evening. Bear with me and I’ll try my best!

IDLES + LICE at Central Library, Coventry, UK – 14th April 2018

Luckily it wasn’t a portent of doom that the evening commenced with the slogan ‘Anger is an Energy’ right before my peepers. Some hours later, Idles had done a striking job of recreating this refrain in aural form, and then some.

Jorja Smith + Mahalia at Central Library, Coventry, UK – 10th February 2018

Jorja Smith
It was a bitterly cold winter’s night in Coventry, for the presentation of two of the brightest and authentic emerging acts in UK music. Jorja Smith being supported by Mahalia at the Coventry Central Library, a very intimate yet beguiling venue, at some points throughout the night you were certain people wanted to let loose but then quickly realised they were in a library.

Jesca Hoop + Lucas Oswald @ Hare and Hounds – 27th November 2017

Jesca Hoop
Tonight we take a trip to the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham to see songstress Jesca Hoop supported by Lucas Oswald.

The Horrors + Baba Naga at O2 Academy 2, Birmingham, UK – 24th October 2017

The Horrors
The Horrors return with their monstrous new album ‘V’, exhibiting class & creativity on their latest UK tour. The boys from Southend-on-Sea delighted Birmingham with a real swagger about them. An indulgent performance that stimulated the senses & entertained throughout.

Michael Kiwanuka + Bedouine at The Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK – 16th October 2017

Michael Kiwanuka
I made a conscious decision recently to never listen to music through a pair of headphones ever again, reason being, having spent my formative years consuming live music in some of the best musical venues in the country, coupled with very acute hearing and constantly, breaking, losing or having my headphones stolen by thin air, it is a brave decision, but it was one I was ready to live with, tonight was the point of no return, It was a brisk night on the 16th of October 2017, I had the pleasure of close friend to accompany me to see Michael Kiwanuka at The Symphony Hall Birmingham being supported by Bedouine, a very charming, charismatic an very funny soulful and folky songstress.

Beverley Knight + DJ Munro + YolanDa Brown + Josh Daniel @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – 8 October 2017

Beverley Knight
As if she really needs a reason to be back on stage in the West Midlands, Beverley Knight was in town last night, bringing her ‘I Love Soulsville’ tour to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

Radiohead + Oliver Coates + Junun @ Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester- 4th July 2017

This is one of the most difficult reviews I can recall being asked to do. People fall into two camps, they either love and adore Radiohead, in which case very few words are needed to tell them how great they were last night (they were likely already there), or the other side are those who don’t “get” the band, they fail to see how visionary they are, pushing boundaries, making you think, not giving you what you expect, and for these people, I have no chance at all to convince them of the greatness of Radiohead in the few words I have.