What’s the world coming to? I’m in The Library Room at the HMV Institute for a gig put on by Usually, Birmingham Promoters fill their calendar with up and coming bands as well as established artists with just a small dedicated following. Something about this gig isn’t making sense. Instead of the usual band associated instruments; drum kit, guitars etc… Tonight there’s nothing, not a jot. Unless you count a pair of decks, notebook pro, Kaos Pad and a microphone as instruments. Oh yeah! And a bare foot judge presiding over the scene. If you’re a working roadie, I’d imagine a job with Beardyman must be considered an easy gig.


Supporting the instrument-less Beardyman is a young looking bloke going by the name JFB. Reviewing JFB is a bit like being at a club and writing about how good the DJ is! What am I supposed to write? JFB played Roots Manuva – Witness, played etc, etc… Scratch DJ and previous UKDMC champ, JFB starts with a wonderful mash up titled “Justin Bieber being torn apart by a pack of wild dogs”.


Scratch DJ’s are A bit like Simon Cowell in that they can make or break a track. Some mix the tracks to a point of them no longer being recognisable, others annoy their audience allowing their skills to become the main focal point, seemingly oblivious that maybe the audience wants to hear the track. JFB was fucking amazing! Mixing with all the hand eye coordination of a metal drummer. Obviously JFB’s spent a lot of time in his bedroom and not necessarily masturbating either. If ever you see JFB on a flyer or get the opportunity to check him out. Do it, I’d doubt you’ll be disappointed.


Without too much ado, out walks a scruffy looking Beardyman. Sporting not so much as a beard, but more like several days growth, and what can only be described as homeless hair.


“Mic check, 1 2 3 4 5678910… 11 12 13 14 15 – 20, remove mic from stand, unwind cable from winding thingy and… Birmingham making some fucking noise! Launching into a Drum ‘n’ Bass loop using nothing but the lungs and mouth he was born with. Morphing Superman theme into Aha, Take On Me.
It’s difficult to decide what’s most impressive. BM’s pure beat-boxing ability. The way BM builds recognisable tracks using only sounds from his mouth or his dry, sarcastic wit. I’m back trying to describe the songs sprouted from the mans voice box. St. Ettienne – Love Can Break Your Heart. Magnetic Man – Air, James Blake “Do you know him?” YEAH!!! “Do you know him personally?” Erm…Silence.
Basically, no musical genre is left untouched. Even made up suggestions from Facebook and direct from the audience feature heavily. ‘Jurrasic Dub-step’ check. ‘Grange Hill in the style of The Worzels’ check.
If I had to criticise one aspect of the show, maybe some genres went on that bit too long. But you have to take into context what you’re listening to. Not a 10 minute song, but several tracks mouthed sequentially. Go see a live band and all you get is their music all night long. Shit! Even Lionel Ritchie had a slot.


Listening I couldn’t help but wonder whether there’s still a need for music producers and all the associated paraphernalia needed to build tracks in studios? Especially given Beardyman builds the tracks live and at times sounding better than the original. I genuinely believe inside the creative mind of Beardyman is a musical genius using free speech rather than being constrained by an array of restrictive instruments.


Like all good things, eventually they must come to an end. The encore of sorts had JFB back on stage in a JFB Vs Beardyman battle stylie. For what it’s worth I’d have presented the medal to JFB. So how does BM and JFB eventually finish the gig? Simple, by flying a mini radio-controlled helicopter over the heads of the crowd to the ‘Airwolf’ theme tune. I shit you not!


A special mention also goes to performance artist David Hopkinson.

DJ David Hopkinson

The artwork of every song and images portraying the made up genres appeared almost as soon as the song or genre was mentioned.

DJ David Hopkinson

David’s art was like the proverbial cherry atop one of the most entertaining nights I’ve had in ages.

DJ David Hopkinson

Really? From where I was it was whatever seemed fitting right at that moment.

Words by Lee Hathaway, email Lee.
Photos by Wayne Fox, email Wayne.

4 Responses to “Beardyman + JFB + David Hopkinson, The HMV Institute, Birmingham, UK – 3 March 2011”

  1. RoadieChick Says:

    Lee, you’re a prick, I’d like to see you packing up that lot at the end of the night, erm, projectors, cables, monitors more cables. It takes more time and brains to wire up something like that than a band with drum kit, bass 2 giutars, horn section and singers.
    You just look like you have a touch of talent envy, if your writing was one tenth as good as Beardy’s performances you wouldn’t be jotting for this little website.
    I suppose it’s easier and requires less brains to slag off an act.

  2. Wayne Says:

    Hello RoadieChick,
    Thanks for your comments. Knowing Lee, he positively wasn’t trying to demean what you guys do do, but I think he was trying to explain the simplicity (to the layman) of how things appear.

    I feel that he was saying – and I am sure he’ll correct me if I am wrong – what appeared to be deceptively simple in it’s set-up in fact yielded a very sophisticated arrangement of music, singing and the performing art that the acts nailed.

    I loved taking the photos of the gig; it all fascinated me where all these weird and wonderful sounds were coming from. I hung on every note frankly. Lee invited me because he’s a fan, and I am grateful that he did!

    Thanks for your efforts anyway; I appreciated them! :o)

  3. Lee Says:

    Dear RoadieChick,

    My apologies if my comments caused offence, obviously they must have for you to have wrote such passionate comments in the first place. At Gig Junkies we welcome all comments – both constructive and destructive.

    I wonder, did you read further than the first paragraph. Generally speaking, describing someone as a ‘musical genius’ are not usually words used to “slag off an act”. What prompted this comment I would dearly like to know.

    As a reviewer, my aim was to draw the attention of the reader to the simple fact that the stage wasn’t filled with a drum kit, guitars, horn sections etc. But highlight the fact that the set-up consisted of JFB’s decks, notebook pro and Beardyman’s samplers. The (now misjudged) roadie line was meant to inject a small element of dry humour into the article, something I hoped Beardyman himself would have smiled at.

    I am envious of Beardy’s talents, who wouldn’t be? But why raise the point?

    I do hope you send a reply, if only to further explain which other parts of the review prompted your comments.

    Kindest regards,

  4. Chris Says:

    I was at this gig and loved every minute of it. Beardyman was on form and JFB was amazing. I thought the review was a pretty accurate description.
    If I were you Lee, Id ignore the comments from Roadiechick, it sounds to me as though she’s spent far too much time on the road and hasn’t gotten all the cock she was hoping for! Maybe she should join a proper band and she what cast offs she can find there!

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