Joanne Shaw Taylor It was the salubrious surround of Birmingham’s Town Hall that greeted us, surrounded by wood clad stands full of German goods and yummy Bavarian food on the cold Autumnal Friday in Brum for Joanne Shaw Taylor's home coming gig.


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Summer Camp Having recently moved into the Hare and Hounds permanently (got myself a sweet little spot just beneath the bar in the back room...no more nightmare journeys on the bus of the damned - aka the Number 11 - for me) tonight’s gig was just a mere stumble away.


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Untitled Music Project It’s been quite a week for noisy cult Birmingham based bands to reform for a ‘one off’ gig. Last Saturday witnessed the second coming of Distophia during the rather excellent All Years Leaving festival and tonight was the turn of much loved shouty, screamy, punky trio Untitled Musical Project to deafen the nation’s young...and not so young... once more.


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Boy George Boy George’s recent transformation from...let’s face it...chunky bloke with a police record, drug addiction and penchant for doing stuff that we don’t need to rake over anymore...is nothing short of incredible. If that opening description sounds a little harsh it’s meant to be. George is surely one of the best pop stars we’ve ever had. He coloured my adolescence and was a vital part of that magical soundtrack of the early 80s. To see him fall to pieces, occasionally edging dangerously close to Mr G. Reaper, was pretty sad for all concerned, not least George himself no doubt. He’s been pretty upfront and honest about his various ups and downs but now he’s back, back, BACK (as they used to say in Smash Hits) with his first new album and tour in three years (in recent promotional activities people seem to have forgotten about 2010’s Ordinary Alien for some reason...very odd). Thirty years on from Culture Club’s heyday would we still be mad about the Boy?


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Alison Moyet I mentioned to someone the other day I was reviewing a singer who started off in a band called Yazoo. They thought I meant Yazz (as in ‘The Only Way Is Up’) #fail. So to explain to this person, read on because tonight, in the delectable Symphony Hall, we here to be entertained by the iconic and beautiful bluesy dulcet tones of Alison Moyet.


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Troumaca Tonight at the Rainbow really is a night for Brummies to be proud - as both bands on the bill hail from the Midlands. First up is Dumb a four piece who despite their tender years, perform an accomplished and tight set. It’s clear despite their age that their sights are focussed on big things. They play a series of guitar based ballads, which are reminiscent of late nineties American based pioneers Nirvana, Pixies and The Smashing Pumpkins. Dumb keep it short and sweet with a six tune set that certainly gets the crowd warmed up with a few indie chicks drawn to rock out at the front, and at their crescendo big up tonight’s head-liners Troumaca… ’enjoy’.


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Arctic Monkeys It started quietly, overnight. One YouTube upload, one tweet, one Facebook post. The Arctic Monkeys unleashed ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ and took over 2013. It continued on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Drum beats and the opening of a guitar riff silencing the critical anticipation and hype. The deal was sealed with the unveiling of ‘AM’; Arctic Monkeys were back and ready to be bigger than ever.


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AlunaGeorge First on the list is Benedict Taylor a singer songwriter from Hertfordshire. His melodies comprise of slow contemporary vocal and piano based ballads. Taylor's falsetto vocal works perfectly with song highlights including 'Stranger' and "please don't fall out of Love' - a love song "in reverse" Benedict tells us. His heart felt songs certainly warm up this crowd on a cold and wet Tuesday evening.


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Charles Bradley If you’ve not heard Charles Bradley’s life story let’s just say that his first 50 years or so (he’s 65-ish now) can best be summarised as ‘pretty grim’ (homelessness, drudgery, heartbreak, murder...short of a plague of locusts the dude went through it all). Happily things took a turn for the better when he began performing as a James Brown tribute act known as Black Velvet back in the 90s. This brought him to the attention of soul saviour and Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth eventually leading to an acclaimed debut album No Time For Dreaming (2011) and the moving documentary Soul Of America (2012). On the back of all this unsurprisingly tonight’s gig in the Hare and Hounds sold out faster than Royal Mail shares...


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Jay Z If you could go back to the early 80s when Brooklyn’s Finest Shawn Carter was starting out in the newly evolving ‘rap game’ and tell him that by 2013 he would be one of the most financially successful hip hop artists, as well as selling close to 50 million albums worldwide, 17 Grammys, a successful entrepreneur, official NBA scout, CEO of record labels and clothing companies and not to mention he gets to wake up next to Beyoncé most mornings, he would of probably told you it was never beyond reasonable doubt. It was all part of his plans. Fast forward to the 8th October 2013 where he knows all this is true, but still graciously courts all this with a nostalgic mature head on his shoulders. Jay Z has a packed out area in Birmingham, 12,700 to be precise and he doesn’t look remotely phased by it.


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Fleetwood Mac Here at GigJunkies we're lucky-so-and-so's as we get to go to some fantastic events and festivals. Fleetwood Mac is just one of those events. It's not often that you get the chance the see and hear a true rock and pop legend, but these guys have been packing out stadiums and arenas for decades now and are just that; true legends of our time.


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Thomas Dolby Tonight it’s an eclectic left-field multimedia mix of music, film and spoken word including personal history, nostalgia, swizzling synths, WWII, lighthouses and alien invasions. Not your usual gig, welcome to the truly mad, affable and eccentric world of Thomas Dolby.


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Layers Last up, and celebrating the release of their rather spanking new EP, it’s Layers. Any fears that recent fatherhood and engagement (awww bless...more on this later) would have taken the edge of lead singer Lance’s performance were rapidly dispelled. Famous for his neck threatening backflips and relentlessly energetic performances (seriously, the man makes the Duracell Bunny look like a slacker) he and the band kick off (‘kick off’ being the right phrase too) with the punk fuelled Mind On Fire, two minutes of pedal to the metal machine gun drumming, filthy guitars and Lance leaping about like he’s on hot coals.


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Moseley Folk Festival 2013 Oh lordy, the OAPs are right you know. The older you get the faster the years fly by. It seems like only yesterday that we were singing along lustily to All Around My Hat (the degree of lustiness being in direct proportion to the quantity of cider consumed) and yet here we are again at another MoFo. I’m not complaining, it’s the bit between festivals that gets my goat... real life I think it’s called. Jolly silly idea.


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