Boat To Row The Castle and Falcon is undergoing something of a renaissance within the Birmingham music scene. Its industrial brick walled cavern of a gig room has played host to artists such as Cloud Nothings, Boy Azooga, Deap Vally and Yak, in the past year alone. The thought of heading down for my latest fix of music in one of Birmingham’s more intriguing venues really pulls me through an arduous day of work. Boat To Row will headline proceedings, with the undercard being Katherine Priddy and Faux Palms. I must say, I've not seen any of them live before but let’s see what I’m in for.


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Andy Black Tonight Andy Black brought his ‘The Ghost Of The United Kingdom’ Tour to Birmingham’s O2 Institute which concluded his UK run of dates with support from drag queen artist Adore Delano.


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KISS You wanted the best you got the best… the hottest band in the world… KIISSSSSSSSSS! For forty something years the American quartet KISS have jetted around the world unleashing their own brand of fire laden glam rock to the masses and tonight the ‘End of the Road’ farewell tour exploded its way into Birmingham Arena.


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Foals Foals take Birmingham by storm for two sold-out nights of pure magnificence. Without a doubt, Digbeth Arena is one of Birmingham’s most creative and innovative music venues, boasting an impressive large open-air space bordered by railway arches and loading bays. Ready to take the packed space on a journey through jittery dance rock and spacey atmospheres, Foals jump onto the stage performing new material from the off, a bizarro rendition of an instant bop hit, ‘On The Luna’ graces the crowd this evening, fresh off the grill from their latest album, 'Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost'. The boys immediately lead into one of the their most popular hits, ‘Mountain at My Gates’. This pulsating duo of opening tracks raised hands and pints across the arena. And as if bringing luscious guitar licks and harmonies wasn’t already enough, Foals’ latest stage design incorporates captivating abstract video design in the background to really transport you to another place.


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Taking Back Sunday This is the 20th anniversary tour for Taking Back Sunday being a band and to celebrate the occasion we’re treated to Tell All Your Friends in full, followed up with a storming second half full of big hitters. There couldn’t have been a more perfect TBS set.


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Hands Off Gretel Allow me to introduce the bubblegum-coated blaze of glory that is Hands Off Gretel. They describe themselves as having “Gwen Stefani style swagger” with “Nirvana-esque grunge”, and I’d say that pretty much sums them up. Their sound is heavy and dirty, with the type of energy and beat that would make the devil himself want to dance.


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Rita Ora What an amazing past 12 months it has been for Rita Ora, with ‘Phoenix’ marking her first solo album release in five years, the album has received numerous nominations and won awards even though it was only released in the latter half of 2018. ‘For You’ was one of the biggest hits of the year, not a day went by when you didn’t hear it at least three times on the radio, a headline slot at Manchester Pride and returning to the screen as Mia in the 50 Shades film series and just when you thought there was no end to the singer songwriter’s talents she transforms into Dr. Ann Laurent for Pokémon Detective Pikachu with latest offering ‘Carry On’ featuring on the soundtrack, appealing to a whole new set of fans. Not forgetting to mention numerous charity work and an announcement to appear for Soccer Aid this summer, it’s so easy to see why people love her.


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Manic Street Preachers It seems almost a cliche at this point for artists to play older albums in full, relying on nostalgia to bring in the audience for a quick cash grab. However that’s not always the case, some do it for the right reasons, making it a celebration for themselves and the fans. The best example of this at the moment is the Manic Street Preachers, who over the past few years have been playing a slew of excellent 20th anniversary shows of their 90’s albums.


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HOMESHAKE It’s been six years since Peter Sagar aka HOMESHAKE released his first cassette to the world. His reputation as a master of the chill wave sound has continued to grow with each of the four albums released since then. Returning to the Hare & Hounds for the second time, I was intrigued to see how his new album ‘Helium’ would translate to the live setting.


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Michael Bublé “I truly believe that if I do my job right tonight, I can turn this big arena into a little club. So, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to join me tonight, because we’re going to celebrate love.” Those are the words of Michael Bublé as he addresses his sold-out crowd on the opening night of the UK leg of his brand new tour, An Evening with Michael Bublé at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena.


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BEAK> There is a substantial amount of kit on stage that needs manoeuvring before BEAK> can start their set, but this is done swiftly and efficiently so that the banter may begin. Surprisingly, BEAK> are ridiculously entertaining between songs in a slightly old-school Top Gear style, by making jokes at each other's expense which starts as soon as they walk on to the stage.


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Sam Fender Some might say that it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a year for Sam Fender. Since releasing his debut single 18 months ago, the 24-year-old has been listed on the BBC’s Sound of 2018 Award, picked up a prestigious BRITS Critics’ Choice Award and sold out venues across the country. Quite a feat for an artist that’s yet to even release their debut album.


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Mini Mansions Swaggering through their suave suits, Mini Mansions balance their smooth coolness with pure energy at Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds.


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Ten Tonnes It’s 5.30pm and a small crowd has hurried into a corner of Birmingham’s HMV store. The reason? To catch glimpse of one of the country’s rising stars Ten Tonnes.


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