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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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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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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John Grant Gemma Ray strikes me as the sort of girl you might see in a Tarantino movie, with her retro beehiveesque hair, and knife wielding guitar strumming, she’s that heady mix of ‘sweet sixteen’ & edgy B girl femininity. Ray has already a large number of album’s under her belt, and brings a selection here tonight along with her bequiffed and enthusiastic drummer, and shoe gazing bass player. It’s hard to define Ray’s music so many are it’s influences, from bottle slide blues to spaghetti western soundtracks, I’m quite surprised to learn she’s not American (but from the south of England). Central to her sound is the use of a customised Hagström guitar, which she wields with ease, later in the set drawing her large blade like a gun and pulling it across the strings to dramatic effect, eventually discarding the knife like a scene from a fairground sideshow. Ray is the perfect lead in to John Grant, the headline act tonight.


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Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox Okay, so imagine if Lady Gaga had hung around the Noo Yoik jazz clubs of the 30s and 40s or if Robin Thicke had been ‘blurring lines’ in Appalachia back in the 50s? That, in essence, is the brilliant but simple premise behind Postmodern Jukebox, take ‘modern’ pop songs and re-imagine them adding a little (or in most cases a lot) more musical magic all with a distinctively vintage twist. To quote the chap behind it, US jazz musician Scott Bradlee, it’s all about the creation of “an alternate pop universe” (and let’s face it some of today’s pop songs...and their singers...could certainly do with being transported to an alternate universe at times). It’s been pretty ruddy successful too, with one of the group’s best efforts, a heartbreakingly poignant cover of Lorde’s Royals sung by a 7ft tall clown (yep, seriously), picking up almost 8million hits on You Tube to date...and all without the aid of breakdancing kittens, grannies battering would be muggers or drunk frat boys falling off roofs. Impressive eh? Now, after a sell out US tour, the Jukebox has popped over the Atlantic for a mere handful of dates, one of which is in Brum’s suitably vintage Institute.


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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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The Breeders In a week when Kim Deal announces she has quit legendary band Pixies for the second time, she returns in triumph, touring with her 'other band' The Breeders. Gig Junkies catches them at a sell-out gig at Manchester's Ritz, celebrating 20 years since the release of their acclaimed album 'Last Splash'.


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Lez Zeppelin I’m not usually a fan of tribute bands, but I’ll certainly make an exception for the excellent Lez Zeppelin, an all-girl band from New York, who play with absolute passion and great musicianship and add a gender-bending twist to the music of the great Led Zeppelin. They are more of a ‘she-incarnation’ of their heroes than a tribute band. They perform Zep’s music with superb accuracy and are a darned exciting live rock band.


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Gucci Pimp Appropriately enough the fifth Bearwood Shuffle saw five great acts take to the Lightwoods’ Park bandstand on a freakily bright and sunny Sunday... you’d almost think it was summertime eh? Moselele kicked things off, an ever growing collective of ukulele players they put their own unique spin on everything from The Killers’ Mr Brightside to The Violent Femmes’ Blister in the Sun. Great fun.


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Gucci Pimp Appropriately enough the fifth Bearwood Shuffle saw five great acts take to the Lightwoods’ Park bandstand on a freakily bright and sunny Sunday... you’d almost think it was summertime eh? Moselele kicked things off, an ever growing collective of ukulele players they put their own unique spin on everything from The Killers’ Mr Brightside to The Violent Femmes’ Blister in the Sun. Great fun.


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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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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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Maximo Park Aside being named after my mate's moggy (or is it the other way round?) I didn't know a great deal about Maximo Park, but that mattered not a jot as we made our way down to the Glee Club in Birmingham. Before we even got into the venue, there was a furvour - a buzz of excitement around the place. The queue was the biggest I'd seen at the Glee Club - most of the revellers visibly brimming with anticipation. A splendid start...


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Django Django It’s good to go to a gig with no particular expectations and to come out thinking this is your new favourite band. And this happened tonight! I recently saw Django Django on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ and Marc Riley on Radio 6 has been playing them a lot. I thought they sounded interesting, so it was a treat to see they were actually on in Birmingham.


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