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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Just Talk After fighting our way through the infighting Tories currently polluting the good streets of Brum and dozens of Horrors fans (they were also playing The Institute tonight...The Horrors that is, not the Tories...) the relative peace and tranquillity of The Temple (think of it as The Institute’s loft conversion) came as a blessed relief. Of course you can have too much peace and quiet though.


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Burt Bacharach Excitement abounds, and for a Monday night the crowd of gowns and jewels that alight the stairs to the main symphony hall it's clear this is an occasion that's been much awaited. It is in fact the first time that Burt Bacharach has played Birmingham.


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THEBAND Cool music, lovely people, real ale, steam trains, sun...sun...even more sun...wouldn’t the country be a better place if it was run by the good folk behind Indietracks and the bands who played? Yes, yes it would. MJ Hibbert would be Secretary of State for Education, Hidden Cameras would be in charge of the armed forces and Gruff Rhys would be Prime Minister, although given his wonderfully laid back drawl and thoughtful pondering Prime Minister’s Question Time may well last a week.


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Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra Amanda Palmer is naked. Not literally, although she’s not averse to getting her kit off (as her recent Daily Mail baiting set in London amply demonstrated), nope Amanda Palmer’s nakedness this evening is more of the emotional kind. In fact whether it’s her lyrics, blog, occasional webcasts or spontaneous guerrilla gigs she’s possibly one of the most open and ‘genuine’ (whatever that word means in today’s all too superficial world) performers/human beings you’re ever likely to stumble across. Whilst Richey Manic famously carved the words ‘4 Real’ into his arm with a razor blade Palmer demonstrates her realness in rather less bloody, but equally striking ways (cut her in half and I reckon she’d have the words ‘4 Real’ running through her like a stick of rock) as tonight’s gloriously ramshackle (I mean this in the best sense of not really knowing what was going to happen next) show proved.


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Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra Amanda Palmer is naked. Not literally, although she’s not averse to getting her kit off (as her recent Daily Mail baiting set in London amply demonstrated), nope Amanda Palmer’s nakedness this evening is more of the emotional kind. In fact whether it’s her lyrics, blog, occasional webcasts or spontaneous guerrilla gigs she’s possibly one of the most open and ‘genuine’ (whatever that word means in today’s all too superficial world) performers/human beings you’re ever likely to stumble across. Whilst Richey Manic famously carved the words ‘4 Real’ into his arm with a razor blade Palmer demonstrates her realness in rather less bloody, but equally striking ways (cut her in half and I reckon she’d have the words ‘4 Real’ running through her like a stick of rock) as tonight’s gloriously ramshackle (I mean this in the best sense of not really knowing what was going to happen next) show proved.


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Stereophonics It’s not often you get the chance to see a MASSIVE band in a relatively small venue, so when it came up on the gig roster at Gig Junkies HQ that The Stereophonics were playing at Derby Assembly Rooms I was all over it like a cheap dress. Having never been to the venue I was amazed at how well organised and clean it was – two words you don’t often associate with gigs! Because of this and probably because the audience was a little bit older, there seemed to be a more serene atmosphere to the event. By Jove it was even cordial!


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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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