The Wonder Stuff + Ned’s Atomic Dustbin The last time The Wonder Stuff and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin toured together was back in 1990s and tonight they share the stage again at Birmingham’s O2 Academy for first night of two shows. They even brought along another Stourbridge character Graham Crabb from Pop Will Eat Itself who played a Nostalgic DJ Set.


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Girl Ray North London indie trio Girl Ray are still in the early stages of their career and in fact they were all just 19 when they recorded their debut album, ‘Earl Grey’. Amazingly for such a young band Girl Ray have already developed their own distinctive sound, distilled from a melting pot of very diverse influences and they’ve gained a lot of attention and radio play for their well-crafted songs and sincere live performances.


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The Lurkers Although not as well known as many of the classic late 1970s punk outfits, The Lurkers produced some superb songs and have a high standing in punk mythology. Formed in 1976 the band recorded four sessions for John Peel and their debut single, ‘Shadow’, was number 12 in Peel’s 1977 ‘Festive Fifty’. Their album reputation was established by 1979’s ‘Fulham Fallout’, a collection of knockout songs including such gems as teenage anthem ‘I’m On Heat’.


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Embrace Having liked Embrace for over 20 years and only having seen them a handful of times I was more than a little excited. The older clientele in attendance would suggest that I wasn't alone in my 20 year love affair with the Leeds band, and based on the crowd’s reaction it wasn’t the first time many of them had seen them.


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The Wombats A relentlessly energetic crowd jumped, danced and screamed their way into the weekend as The Wombats brought their sold out UK tour to Birmingham’s O2 Institute on 23rd March!


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Rews It may have been a schoolnight, but that didn’t stop the gig junkies of Birmingham turning out in force for an evening of heavy happiness. This show was sold out in advance, and was Rews’ second sold out show in Brum. Take that as prior warning for next time! Their popularity is unsurprising. It’s difficult to pass up the opportunity of seeing a rising rocket so early in their career, and the incredible talent as support was a bonus!


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Cannibal Corpse The band everyone had come out on this now very snowy night to see, American Death Metal outfit Cannibal Corpse, undoubtedly one of the founding fathers of the Death Metal genre we all know today.


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The Handsome Family Husband and wife duo Rennie and Brett Sparks have been performing as The Handsome Family since the mid-1990s and have a string of critically acclaimed albums under their belts. Currently based in New Mexico in the USA their style might be described as something like gothic alt-country noir. Their songs frequently focus on the dark side of life, with death, madness and general strangeness emerging as subjects time and time again. However, their unsettling lyrics are delivered set to gorgeous timeless tunes and, particularly live, with a wicked sense of humour. The current UK tour is centred on a performance of their classic 1998 album ‘Through the Trees’, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.


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Moose Blood Pretty Tron lights charge up the stage to welcome Moose Blood before bathing them in hues of pink. Opening with ‘Talk in Your Sleep’ off their brand-new album ‘I Don’t Think I can Do This Anymore’ which was just released on 9th March. As soon as they blast into ‘Honey’ from 2016’s ‘Blush’ the crowd surfing begins in earnest to set the tone for the rest of the night before the place erupts at the opening bars of ‘Bukowski’ when Eddie’s vocals are lost to those of the crowd as a sea of eager faces experience their first ever gig.


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Tonight Alive It felt a bit special at the O2 Ritz with it being the opening night of the return of Tonight Alive, and there was certainly a buzz in the air.


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The Temperance Movement I have only recently started listening to The Temperance Movement and on record (if that’s what we still call it) they sound fabulous. Tonight was going to be my opportunity to check them out live and that opportunity happily coincided with their opening act tonight being one of my favourite Sheffield bands of the moment, Cellar Door Moon Crow.


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Carnifex It's a fiercely cold night in Birmingham and snow is falling outside Mama Roux's as an almost sold-out crowd stays warm inside for something far more brutal in the shape of deathcore royalty with Aversions Crown, Oceano and headliners, Carnifex.


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The Front Bottoms The Front Bottoms take the stage in a misty orange glow surrounded by wafts of incense. Opening with ‘You used to say (Holy Fuck)’ – the opener from last year’s ‘Going Grey’, this slow build see the crowd swearing at the top of their lungs. As ‘Going Grey’ is the current album they’re touring its extended cover acts as the backdrop; presenting the crowd with a giant penis just behind front man Brian Sella’s shoulder.


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Hell Is For Heroes It's hard to believe that 15 years have passed since Hell Is For Heroes released their first studio album, The Neon Handshake. It was one of the defining albums of the early-2000s rock scene, gathering rave reviews and scoring Rock Sound's Album of the Year award.


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