Beverley Knight As if she really needs a reason to be back on stage in the West Midlands, Beverley Knight was in town last night, bringing her 'I Love Soulsville' tour to Birmingham's Symphony Hall.


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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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David Byrne and Saint Vincent When it comes to surprising collaborations new wave polymath David Byrne has previous form. Just take his hook up with Fatboy Slim on the Imelda Marcos musical Here Lies Love. Seriously...it happened. Google it. So joining forces with ex Polyphonic Spree disciple turned quirky solo artist in her own right St Vincent shouldn’t really have come as much of a shock. Listen carefully and you might even pick up some shared lyrical and vocal traits too, it really doesn’t take much imagination to hear Byrne coming up with St Vincent’s 2009 track Laughing With a Mouth Of Blood for instance.


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Bo Bruce First up is Gary Nock, a one-man vocal and acoustic extravaganza. Nock, starts off by telling us almost wearily that he can be found on a variety of media including facebook, instagram, myspace...blah blah. In a world now consisting of artist's competitive and avid self-promotion through various media, I could see how this could get a little tiresome. Anyway! With guitar in hand Nock belts out a series of nu-folksy heart felt acoustic tunes, the type that is currently very popular as a heart-warming soundtrack to peoples lives.


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Thurston Moore Two genuine 100% guitar legends for the price of the one. Not bad eh? Whilst Thurston Moore, one of the poster boys of the alt rock scene and founder of Sonic Youth, might be the bigger name of the two Chapman’s been a folk hero for coming up to six decades now with none other than the mighty John Peel muttering his praises and playing his records (no doubt occasionally at the wrong speed) over the years. So what do you get when you bring a 70 something folk/jazz musician from Yorkshire together with an American noise rock icon? We had to wait until the end of the gig to find out...


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Heaven 17 Two years after their last major tour which saw them revisiting their debut album Penthouse and Pavement Heaven 17 are back on the road showcasing its follow up, The Luxury Gap. Developing the sound they’d pioneered on their first release The Luxury Gap added an even more sophisticated soul sheen to the mix with impressive results. The band’s biggest selling album shifted over 300,000 copies in its first year of release and spawned the ruddy massive hit single Temptation. Of course they famously neglected to play that, or indeed any other of the tracks from the album live back in the day so, as with the Penthouse and Pavement tour, this is one of the first times that most of the audience will have heard them ‘au naturel’.


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