Badly Drawn Boy It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since Badly Drawn Boy (aka Damon Gough) released his first album, The Hour of Bewilderbeast. It proved to be his breakthrough album - it achieved critical success and won him the Mercury Music Prize, whilst catapulting firmly into the public consciousness.


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Suzanne Vega The brief introduction of "From New York City, Miss Suzanne Vega", sees Gerry Leonard take to an understated stage and begin looping guitar riffs and sounds to create a musical backdrop for Fat Man And Dancing Girl whilst an unassuming Suzanne Vega follows and begins delivering her warm vocal line.  No matter how many times you may have seen Vega, you cannot fail to be impressed by her calm and flowing voice which fills the Town Hall and draws you in no matter how far away from the stage you are sat. As the first song draws to a close, Vega places a top hat on her head for the spine tingling Marlene On The Wall.


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John Grant Having last toured the UK in 2013 in support of the distinctly electro flavoured Pale Green Ghosts album Grant’s back this time with a modest, ahem, 34 piece orchestra in tow. It makes sense though given the lushness of that voice and the soaring songs (many of which focus on Grant’s struggles to come to terms with himself, his life and his loves) that practically cry out for the gravitas that only a full fat orchestra can really deliver. The venue’s pretty perfect too, Brum’s grand old Town Hall, a Victorian Grade I listed building that’s seen everyone from Charles Dickens to Black Sabbath do their thang (although sadly not on the same night).


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John Cooper Clarke Tonight we’re at the beautiful Town Hall in Birmingham, to see a full on punk-rock gig, with a twist. There is no music, no musicians, no instruments, it is the words that are the lyrics and the melody. Tonight we’re here for rock with words, the punk god-father of the satirical, the political and the scathing courtesy of Doctor John Cooper Clarke.


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Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Birmingham’s Town Hall built in 1834 for ‘just’ £25,000. In 1996 it closed for a £30m+ refurbishment, re-opening its doors 11 years later. This iconic building in the centre of Birmingham, with it’s beautiful interior, has played host to a multitude of legends over the centuries from classical writers like Charles Dickens to rock gods Led Zeppelin. And here on this Thursday evening - a Hawaiian and a folk twist - welcome to the world of that is The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.


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Bellowhead Having previously thought of 'Folk' as being synonymous with quant country fairs, even in its most modern reinvention a genre that lends itself to being played in a natural setting (such as our very own Moseley folk festival). I was surprised and pleased to learn that a whole weekend devoted to folk, was being held at Birmingham's Town Hall. 'English Originals' a 'mini' folk festival, over a weekend in May featured the likes of folk greats Scott Mathews, Beth Orton and new to the scene Graham Coxon. I went for the Sunday helping, with performances from Jackie Oates and the band they call Bellowhead.


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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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