THEBAND These are heady... Bulls Heady in fact... ahem... times for the Birmingham music scene. In fact in 25 years or so of gig going in the second city I can’t recall a time when there was as much good shit going on than right here, right now. We’ve got the bands, the venues and, as tonight underlines, the publications (online and ‘real’) in the shape of Brum Notes (an honourable mention must go the marvellous Counteract Magazine too who’ve also pimped this show).


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Saint Saviour Who’d have thought it eh? B-Town’s now seemingly home to the rebirth of old skool house! At least it will be if Greg Bird and Flamingo Flame have their wicked way. Sporting a sparkly eye mask, leather gloves and chain of fairy lights Bird knocks out the kind of tracks that crate digging DJs would willingly sacrifice their Numark turntables for. Singing live with a dude on an array of laptops and electronic gizmos and a guitarist adding additional colour to some of the quieter tracks (shades of Durutti Column in there perhaps) it was a masterclass in bringing this kind of music to life, one of the most glorious, soul lifting, hand in the air like ya just don’t care sets you’re likely to see. Both Animals and Skool (pick of their latest must have EP, Black Tableaux) were stunningly good, temporarily transforming the Hare & Hounds into some kind of fabulously sweaty gay disco in 1980’s Chicago. That’s a rather marvellous thing by the way. Simply one of the most exciting new bands in Birmingham.


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Saint Saviour Who’d have thought it eh? B-Town’s now seemingly home to the rebirth of old skool house! At least it will be if Greg Bird and Flamingo Flame have their wicked way. Sporting a sparkly eye mask, leather gloves and chain of fairy lights Bird knocks out the kind of tracks that crate digging DJs would willingly sacrifice their Numark turntables for. Singing live with a dude on an array of laptops and electronic gizmos and a guitarist adding additional colour to some of the quieter tracks (shades of Durutti Column in there perhaps) it was a masterclass in bringing this kind of music to life, one of the most glorious, soul lifting, hand in the air like ya just don’t care sets you’re likely to see. Both Animals and Skool (pick of their latest must have EP, Black Tableaux) were stunningly good, temporarily transforming the Hare & Hounds into some kind of fabulously sweaty gay disco in 1980’s Chicago. That’s a rather marvellous thing by the way. Simply one of the most exciting new bands in Birmingham.


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Maylight Given the frankly apocalyptic weather conditions (flash floods, lightning, hails stones the size of your head, plagues of locusts... that kind of thing) that struck the Midlands the day before this year’s MoJaFuSo it’s a miracle that the entire site wasn’t washed away into the oceans, only to reappear somewhere on a beach in Trinidad sometime in 2014.


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Pond Great rock band names... Black Sabbath! Iron Maiden! Hawkwind! Def Leopard! Metallica! Motorhead! You know what you’re in for just by the name eh? ROCCCCKKKKK! Call yourself Pond though and you could be a fey folk band with a penchant for songs about Maypoles and a hey nonny no. Any ill informed folk fans who may have stumbled in to this gig expecting a gentle rendition of All Around My Hat though may well now be undergoing counselling...


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PEACE The search for a huge Birmingham band (not fat huge, although I’m sure there’s a few around) has been going on for a while now. For a city as big as Brum, with such a rich musical heritage, we should be churning ‘em out like widgets. There have been a few success stories, Misty’s Big Adventure, Editors, The Twang, Johnny Foreigner and Goodnight Lenin have all flown the flag in one way or another and perhaps it shouldn’t matter if our local bands ‘make it’ or not...but, rightly or wrongly, to me it does. Recently one band’s been getting some really decent press though, PEACE, who proudly claim to make “music to fuck you in the heart”. Ouch. That can’t be good for your ventricles. On tonight’s performance they’ve certainly got the ability, look (all floppy fringes and black outfits) and tunes to more than justify the hype too. Previous single BBLOOD slaps you in the face like a meatier Vampire Weekend whilst elsewhere they channel influences from everything from the Velvet Underground through to the shoegaze movement and on to grunge. Yes, grunge. In fact the monstrously good forthcoming single, Follow Baby, offers up a neat indie twist on the grunge template with the kind of catchy riff that just might grip a generation. Awesome.


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Outfit So what’s the state of music like in 2012 then eh? Discuss. I guess to a certain extent it depends on your age. Try as you might it’s impossible to resist the lure of the stuff that appealed to you during those formative years (13-18) and as you grow older you’re actually legally obliged to start moaning about whatever’s in the charts. The truth is that there’s a lot of crap around right now... but then again there always was. It’s only years later with the benefit of distance that we’re able to conveniently filter out the rubbish and bask in the warm glow of the good stuff. I mention all this because tonight’s gig was a perfect example of that ‘good stuff’ featuring a trio of bands that might well be operating under the radar right now but who each prove that, for all the musical effluent out there, 2012 has plenty to offer.


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