White Denim White Denim may not be ‘sassy’ and I’m not convinced they bring a ‘cool trash aesthetic’ either but one thing they do do (not dodo, that’s just a big extinct bird...) is...pause for dramatic effect...ROCK. Hell yeah! Ahem. In fact within just a couple of seconds of opening track Pretty Green they’d managed to blow a transformer. Now that’s ROCK.


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Mott the Hoople From ‘69 to ‘80 Mott the Hoople enjoyed their fair share of highs and lows, inspiring some pretty fanatical devotion from their followers (The Clash’s Mick Jones famously followed them to the ends of the earth...well Liverpool at least...which is close) and influencing a whole generation of bands. Their charismatic lead singer, Ian Hunter, quit way back in ’74 and given that he turned 70 in 2009 a comeback seemed unlikely. But that’s just what they did. Fast forward a few years and with interest in the band stoked further by 201l’s fascinating documentary Ballad of Mott the Hoople, they’re back for more.


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Everything Everything There’s a rich history of singing like you’ve just trapped your genitals in a car door (stranger things can happen), from Frankie Valli back in the 50s through to the Bee Gees in the 70s, on to Jimi Somerville in the 80s and, latterly that nice Mr Martin from Coldplay (more of them later). On top of the clever art rock electro feel of the music lead singer Jonathan Higg’s soaring vocals made Everything Everything’s 2010’s debut album Man Alive stand out and he’s wisely stuck with this winning formula on the new one, Arc (a top 5 album now no less), albeit with a noticeable shift towards a more epic stadium feel here and there.


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Boy George It’s hard to appreciate just what a big deal Boy George was back in the early 80’s. First of all the ‘is he a she debate?’ was, I recall, something of a national obsession, helping to catapult Culture Club into the big time all over the world. Then the drugs took hold and George was all over the papers again, this time literally fighting for life (at one point he was even outed by his own brother who claimed George had just days to live...looking at footage of the time he had a point). In recent years it’s been all about his battles with the law, culminating with what he tonight called his ‘holiday’ at her majesty’s pleasure last year. The fact that he’s arguably better known for all this other stuff right now than he is for his music is a real shame. Strip away the fuck ups (and boy, George has made his fair share) and there’s a lusciously rich vein of classic pop and dance anthems to get stuck into. Tonight, happily, George decided to do just that, covering all bases from early Culture Club through to his early solo stuff on to Jesus Loves You and right up to date with current single ‘Amazing Grace’.


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The Raveonettes The Raveonettes are Danish, right? It gets pretty damn cold in Denmark, right? Well they should be right at home in Kings Heath tonight then. Yep, it’s cold enough to freeze mercury (and the rest of Queen) out there, but here in the Hairy Hounds a capacity crowd soon help to thaw out my extremities (it was touch and go for a moment though… if anyone finds a finger tip it’s probably mine… pop it in the post, it’ll be fine)...


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The Heavy After fighting off a dubious complaint about noise and fitting a new super roof that’s capable of muffling the sound of a nuclear explosion (probably) The Rainbow, arguably Digbeth’s jewel in the crown, continues to put on some darn fine gigs.


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The Sunshine Underground Tonight’s gig was free entry for all (well, all of us who could fit into the Hare & Hounds that is) courtesy of Birmingham Promoters. Bless ‘em. You don’t get much for free these days. Infectious diseases, ASBO’s… er… that’s about it.


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