The Voidz In support of their second release ‘Virtue’ earlier this year, The Voidz will play a handful of European dates this fall that includes stops at the pitchfork festival and a two night residency at Village Underground London.


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Paul Cherry The Night Owl proved itself to be a fantastic gig venue, hosting Thursday’s gig headlined by Paul Cherry.


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Garbage Let me begin with a word on the venue. Digbeth Arena is not an arena. That would be too grandiose a term for what is essentially a small space between a railway track and a old viaduct. The enclosed nature of the space acts as a natural amphitheatre that results in possibly the best sound quality I have ever heard at any gig. In short, this is a dream performance space for any artist worth their salt. In Birmingham, we are treated to three bands worth enough salt to keep the second city in fish and chips for a lifetime...


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MADE Festival Reveals 2017 Headliners MADE Festival announce their first 6 headliners; Chase & Status, Giggs, Gorgon City, Sub Focus, My Nu Leng and Chris Lorenzo with the phase one artwork sprayed onto a wall at the festival site. Celebrated as Birmingham’s largest music event, MADE Festival returns to the Digbeth Triangle on Saturday 29th July to showcase a selection of the best in live and electronic talent as well as some of the city’s most exciting and inventive street art, street food and venue spaces. Armed with the most diverse and exciting line-up to date, the UK Festival Award nominated event will return in the fourth year to The Rainbow Venues’ collection of industrial spaces within the Digbeth Triangle for a truly memorable weekend.


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James Arthur A worthy winner of the X Factor ITV show. Having spent 17 of my formative years growing up in Middlesbrough I know how ‘unfairly’ difficult it can be breaking through into any creative area of the arts being a Northerner, and although there has been some controversy surrounding James Arthur it should not detract from the fact that James is an impressive performer.


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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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Dumb It seems slightly perverse that George Barnett’s tonight’s opening act, especially given the fact that his cover of Daft Punk’s new single Get Lucky has (at the time of writing) racked up an incredible TWO AND A HALF MILLION hits on You Tube. Still, it doesn’t seem to trouble him and once again he delivers a set full of hits in waiting that blow most of the current chart guff off the face of the earth. From the cowbell extended clap along version of Lone Rose through to the light pop funk of Cassi and on to the Queen’s We Will Rock You meets hip hop of Light A Fire Barnett bounces around the stage in the same relentless (and seemingly effortless) way in which the music seems to pour out of him. Speaking of which he dropped a couple of new songs into the set this evening, Falling and Crowd, the latter you can easily see becoming an arena staple one day.


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The Rebel Beats Back in 2006 Bromheads (then trading as Bromheads Jacket) briefly flirted with fame and fortune thanks to a bit of a top 10 single (they provided the B side to The Streets’ When You Wasn’t Famous) and the odd comparison or two to fellow Sheffielders The Arctic Monkeys. A couple of albums followed, spawning some great singles of their own but, as is so often sadly the case, they didn’t get the recognition or following they deserved. Resisting the temptation to...ahem...’jacket’ in following the loss of bassist Jono in 2010 the remaining duo, Tim and Dan, hunkered down and cracked out 12 singles in as many months, dropping the Jacket bit of their name...possibly in recognition of their new leaner, meaner incarnation. Then things went quiet. Very quiet. For a good two years in fact the world was a Bromheads free zone. But like some garage rock chrysalis they were locked away somewhere, mutating, sprouting hair, growing wings...


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Lianne La Havas The Institute is fast becoming my favourite venue in the country’s second City. Not only is it a gloriously picturesque venue steeped in tradition and decadent grandeur of design, but it also has some blooming good acts on too – the most recent – Miss Lianne La Havas and her silky smooth vocal.


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Deap Vally Kicking off with the stomping ‘Baby I Call Hell’ combining the howling vocal and banging rhythm which has quickly become their signature sound, the ‘Woah Woah Woah’ repetitive chorus certainly set the tone for the rest of the evening. Comprising singer Lindsey Troy – herself reminiscent of a young Suzi Quatro, combining all the sex appeal and gritty vocal, alongside the ‘cool as shit’ drummer Julie Edwards, it was easy to see why Deap Vally are amongst the current media darlings as they pelted into their next tune, new single ‘Lies’.


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Savages You know what, there’s a worrying lack of girls (ladies, females, women...whatever you’re supposed to call them these days) in music. Sure there are some massive exceptions but they tend to be solo artists, Adele, Sticky Minge, Lady GaGa...there are relatively few ‘girl’ bands...or indeed girls in bands out there. This troubles me more than the lack of females in Government (as if Government’s really change anything these days) or big corporations (ditto). Call me an old idealist but music remains one of the greatest art forms and communication tools in the world and it’s always struck me as curious that considerably fewer than 50% of the bands I’ve seen over the years (roughly 5% in fact I’d say) have any female component whatsoever. Why? Answers on a postcard please. Savages are that rare beast though, an all female group. And, whilst it really shouldn’t matter a toss what sex they are the rarity of this kind of a line up has certainly bought them added attention. Being touted as the ‘female Joy Division’ sets the bar particularly high but would tonight bring Unknown Pleasures or would it be a case of She’s Lost Control? Hmmm...


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The Irrepressibles Blimey, they’ve really tarted up the backroom of this evening’s venue, The Rainbow. I can remember when it didn't even have a roof, now there's decking, a new paintjob, chic bare brick walls...very posh. It’s entirely appropriate given the fact that on their last visits to Birmingham The Irrepressibles played St Martins Church and The Town Hall, arguably two of the more beautiful venues in the City. Tonight was more of a low key, stripped back performance though. The equivalent, Jamie informed us after the show, of a band playing one of those hip n’cool secret post gig sets that the likes of you and I could never dream of getting in to.


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Team Me It might have been an unseasonably cold and damp Tuesday evening... I say ‘might’, what I really mean is “Damn it! What’s with the freakin’ cold... it’s May already... oy vey!!!”... but tonight did more to warm my cockles (stop sniggering at the back) than a bath in a boiling hot toddy.


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Busdriver Bo! Word to your mother. Break it down etc etc. Yep, tonight Digbeth’s legendary boozer, The Rainbow, is well and truly bouncing along to a hippity hoppity beat kicking off with a rising local collective Abes Oddysee. Keeping it old skool there’s a pleasing hint of of J5’s laid back grooves in this four pieces set. Lyrically they’re focused on the key subjects of young inner city kids these days (1) What the fuck am I going to do with my life? and (2) Where can I score some weed? All four took the mic at various times and the different styles worked well together. Of course there’s a rich history of rap collectives going back to the early 80’s but few young crews (yes, crews...I’m down with the street) seem to be making it right now. Shame. No mention of the local rap scene in the recent NME feature on Birmingham either so kudos to tonight’s promoters Fantastic Damage for giving it more of a platform. “Make hip hop one of your 5 a day” one of ‘em shouted at the start of the set. If it’s this good I’d be inclined to agree with him.


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