John Grant Here at GigJunkies we're lucky-so-and-so's as we go to some fantastic events and festivals. John Grant is just one of those events. Since our review of the intimate Royal Shakespeare Company gig back in 22 June 2014, John has released his glorious "Grey Tickles, Black Pressure" album back in October 2015. Interestingly he touched upon the reason for the title explaining that "Grey Tickles" is a translation from Icelandic to describe entering middle-age, which is a lovely way to see it, far more cheeky and certainly in John's style. "Black Pressure" was also mentioned as being Turkish for "nightmare", which was quite the opposite from tonight, as it was a dream.


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Duran Duran I was very excited to hear Seal would be supporting Duran Duran on tonight's bill at the new plush Genting arena. When he enters on stage a lady in front of me shouts out "I've only come to see you!" which has the crowd laughing, and I must admit, I would have paid good money to just see Seal himself too. Highlights for me are Crazy, and Adamski's Killer, which is just one of those era defining songs from the 90's Acid House scene. There is something so electric about Seal's voice - which is soulful, and yet something more, sitting so well with an electronic track - much in the same way that Rhianna's voice can.


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Leftfield Shock and awe!! Leftfield are playing the O2 Institute in Birmingham... what?! Really?!! For me this was a gig not to be missed. Leftfield's 1995 release 'Leftism' was one of the most important soundtracks of my youth. More than any other record the heady and fascinating rhythms of Leftism, were the perfect accompaniment to a few drinks and 'indoor boogie' getting ready with chums for various heavy techno and psychedelic all-nighters in the heart of Birmingham and it's more bohemian quarters.


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Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival in Birmingham, 10 + 11 + 12 July 2015 Want to know how great this year’s Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival was? Try this for size... Public Enemy rolled up on Friday to headline that night and loved it so much they came back on Saturday to watch Roy Ayers before heading over to the Moseley Dance Centre for the after show. Rumours that they’re recording DO Believe The Hype as the festival’s new official anthem are still unconfirmed but if you see Flavor Flav queuing up in the Kingfisher Fish and Chip Bar anytime soon don’t be surprised.


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Goodnight Lenin At last, after a gestation period that makes the average Elephant birth seem a tad premature (apparently it takes around 2 years between getting jiggy and wetting the baby’s trunk...who’d be a lady elephant eh?) this year will finally see the release of Goodnight Lenin’s debut album. Definitely. 100%. No question at all. Hurrah! To prove they can deliver the goods against the clock a few weeks back they set themselves the challenge of recording, mixing and mastering a single for Record Store Day in just one mammoth 24 hour session. The resulting recording, just 24 copies of which have been pressed, will be sold on Record Store day itself, this Saturday 19th April (hence the timing of this gig I guess).


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Miss Halliwell The City Tavern. Just a short stumble away from the festering mass of humanity that spills, totters and...I hope you’ve already eaten...oozes all over Broad Street on a Friday night whilst seemingly remaining a hundred miles away. In that respect it’s pretty much the perfect venue for Miss Halliwell, a band that similarly skirts close to popular appeal with some deceptively catchy tunes and lyrics (check out Free Chips for instance... it’s got sing-along hit written all over it) whilst somehow remaining safely outside the ‘mainstream’.


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Charles Bradley If you’ve not heard Charles Bradley’s life story let’s just say that his first 50 years or so (he’s 65-ish now) can best be summarised as ‘pretty grim’ (homelessness, drudgery, heartbreak, murder...short of a plague of locusts the dude went through it all). Happily things took a turn for the better when he began performing as a James Brown tribute act known as Black Velvet back in the 90s. This brought him to the attention of soul saviour and Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth eventually leading to an acclaimed debut album No Time For Dreaming (2011) and the moving documentary Soul Of America (2012). On the back of all this unsurprisingly tonight’s gig in the Hare and Hounds sold out faster than Royal Mail shares...


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Moseley Folk Festival 2013 Oh lordy, the OAPs are right you know. The older you get the faster the years fly by. It seems like only yesterday that we were singing along lustily to All Around My Hat (the degree of lustiness being in direct proportion to the quantity of cider consumed) and yet here we are again at another MoFo. I’m not complaining, it’s the bit between festivals that gets my goat... real life I think it’s called. Jolly silly idea.


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Goodnight Lenin With their much anticipated debut album still being mixed and just a few festival shows lined up this year (albeit including Glastonbury and Moseley Folk Festival) 2013’s been relatively low key for Goodnight Lenin so far. ‘Low key’ certainly isn’t a phrase you’d apply to tonight’s show though, their first headline appearance since selling out Birmingham Cathedral last December...


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The Computers There’s a limb flying through the air. It’s difficult to tell if it’s still attached to its owner. It seems unlikely given the mayhem that’s unfolding in a compact basement in Birmingham. Welcome to the world of The Computers... Lordy, it’s been a while since my last live gig. Nearly a month in fact. I’ve got some decent excuses though, what with the nut shrivelling cold, 3 cm of snow and a misguided attempt to go ‘dry’ for most of the month. Avoiding booze at home is tough enough, not drinking when you’re out at a gig...well...it just don’t seem right. What better way to pop my 2013 gig virginity then than a gig from The Computers eh? Rock and motherhumpin’ roll.


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The Dirty Old Folkers Bain of the bankers' bloated bonus, no succor to the politicians' humbug, the pioneers of alt.punk 'Inappropriate Folk', The Dirty Old Folkers, celebrated their fifth year of Yuletide mayhem with a singularly alternative interpretation of the evergreen childrens' pantomime favourite, Dick Whittington - the dramatic conceit being predicated, presumably, on the childish audience comprising mostly of The Midwich Cuckoos. (And, that might explain the Boris Johnson platinum wigs later on!).


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Steeleye Span It’s strange how some festivals seem to be blessed with good weather and others...well...seem to be doomed to suffer plagues of frogs. Barring the odd shower every single Moseley Folk has been reliably dry and pleasant. Given the fact that this year’s been the most relentlessly grim since Noah took up boatbuilding you’d have been forgiven for packing a lifejacket or two...but no...MoFo was pretty much a rain free zone again, with...yes...some sunshine. Maybe the good lord’s a folk fan eh? That beard’s a dead giveaway, I hear he’s often at the Prince Of Wales necking the real ale too.


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Japandroids at Summer Sundae 2012 Here at GigJunkies we're lucky-so-and-so's as we get to go to some fantastic events and festivals. Summer Sundae is just one of those events. Spanning 3-days in August 2012, about when we were blessed by glorious sun and cooling winds, I got the chance to shoot bands from a very varied cross-section of the popular and alternative music scene. Get in!


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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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