Young Fathers From winning both the Mercury Prize and the Scottish Album of the Year Awards in 2014 (for Dead and Tape Two respectively) through to earning the kind of gushing praise that’s normally reserved for visiting deities Edinburgh’s Young Fathers seemingly came from nowhere. They’ve actually been a going concern since hooking up at an under 16s hip hop night in 2008 though, fusing three distinctly different backgrounds (Liberia via Ghana, Maryland and Drylaw, apparently a suburb on the outskirts of Edinburgh...who says the internet ain’t educational eh?) to create something that’s undeniably different. And at this stage in musical evolution development that’s a pretty rare thing indeed.


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Saint Saviour With some deservedly impressive reviews rolling in for her latest album, In The Seams, there’s a better turn out for tonight’s gig at the Hairy Hounds than there was back in 2012 when Saint Saviour last played here. At that time she was seriously considering packing touring in altogether as, in common with a sadly growing number of artists, she was pretty much doing everything herself which is undoubtedly (a) pretty ruddy time consuming and (b) soul destroying if the turnout’s a little, ahem, slim.


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Kate Tempest Poet, rapper, playwright, novelist, Mercury nominee, winner of the prestigious Ted Hughes Award, inventor of a cure for the common cold (okay, so the last one was made up but frankly you wouldn’t put it past her)...for many Kate Tempest has seemingly sprung from nowhere over the past year or so. The reality’s radically different but no less impressive...


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Norman Watt-Roy Ian Dury and The Blockheads, The Clash, Madness, Nick Lowe, Rodger Daltrey, Nick Cave, Frankie Goes To Hollywood...as CVs go that’s not a bad line up eh? In a career that’s lasted 47 years and counting Norman Watt-Roy’s been the face with the bass and, despite being just a couple of years away from collecting his pension, he’s showing no signs of slowing down, in fact this is his second gig at the Hare and Hounds in less than 12 months.‘Watt’ a trooper.


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Larkin Poe Okay, quick quiz for you...how many famous ‘Poes’ can you name? Go on...if you’re lucky you might just come up with the one, the granddaddy of horror himself Mr Edgar Allen Poe. Even so I was more than mildly surprised to discover that tonight’s band, Larkin Poe (sisters Rebecca and Megan) are actually related (albeit distantly) to the dude behind The Raven, The Tell Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher (serves him right for releasing rubbish records...). Cool eh? Formerly trading as The Lovell Sisters (that’s the sister’s surname, Larkin Poe was their great, great, great grandfather and cousin of Edgar), Larkin Poe have been around since 2010 and tonight they’re fresh from Glastonbury...well as fresh as you can be after spending several days ankle deep in mud and...er...other ‘stuff’...I guess.


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Courtney Barnett I was pretty much sold on Courtney Barnett from the moment I discovered that one of her songs was called Avant Gardener. Clever. I do love a good pun. Happily the track’s as impressive as the title which, despite a still relatively low profile over here in the UK (Courtney’s from Melbourne), probably explains why this gig at the Hare and Hounds sold out a while back.


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Radkey “We are three brothers on a quest to save the world from false rock”. So reads the rather bold claim on Radkey’s Twitter page. Hell, it's not just 'false rock' that the world needs saving from these days so let’s hope they deliver eh?


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Summer Camp Having recently moved into the Hare and Hounds permanently (got myself a sweet little spot just beneath the bar in the back room...no more nightmare journeys on the bus of the damned - aka the Number 11 - for me) tonight’s gig was just a mere stumble away.


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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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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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Saint Saviour Who’d have thought it eh? B-Town’s now seemingly home to the rebirth of old skool house! At least it will be if Greg Bird and Flamingo Flame have their wicked way. Sporting a sparkly eye mask, leather gloves and chain of fairy lights Bird knocks out the kind of tracks that crate digging DJs would willingly sacrifice their Numark turntables for. Singing live with a dude on an array of laptops and electronic gizmos and a guitarist adding additional colour to some of the quieter tracks (shades of Durutti Column in there perhaps) it was a masterclass in bringing this kind of music to life, one of the most glorious, soul lifting, hand in the air like ya just don’t care sets you’re likely to see. Both Animals and Skool (pick of their latest must have EP, Black Tableaux) were stunningly good, temporarily transforming the Hare & Hounds into some kind of fabulously sweaty gay disco in 1980’s Chicago. That’s a rather marvellous thing by the way. Simply one of the most exciting new bands in Birmingham.


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Saint Saviour Who’d have thought it eh? B-Town’s now seemingly home to the rebirth of old skool house! At least it will be if Greg Bird and Flamingo Flame have their wicked way. Sporting a sparkly eye mask, leather gloves and chain of fairy lights Bird knocks out the kind of tracks that crate digging DJs would willingly sacrifice their Numark turntables for. Singing live with a dude on an array of laptops and electronic gizmos and a guitarist adding additional colour to some of the quieter tracks (shades of Durutti Column in there perhaps) it was a masterclass in bringing this kind of music to life, one of the most glorious, soul lifting, hand in the air like ya just don’t care sets you’re likely to see. Both Animals and Skool (pick of their latest must have EP, Black Tableaux) were stunningly good, temporarily transforming the Hare & Hounds into some kind of fabulously sweaty gay disco in 1980’s Chicago. That’s a rather marvellous thing by the way. Simply one of the most exciting new bands in Birmingham.


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Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six There’s an art to putting on lipstick. Arguably taping it to your guitar and trying to apply it WHILST playing isn’t usually the best technique. But then again the chap doing it (yes, I said chap), Mr. Louis Barabbas, isn’t your usual musician either...


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Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six There’s an art to putting on lipstick. Arguably taping it to your guitar and trying to apply it WHILST playing isn’t usually the best technique. But then again the chap doing it (yes, I said chap), Mr. Louis Barabbas, isn’t your usual musician either...


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