Julian Cope Tonight we’re in the delightful and friendly comedy venue that is The Glee Birmingham to see an artist with who own true unique style. This dude does it HIS way. Singer-songwriter, musician, author, antiquarian - his take on life is truly unique, his music and lyrics as eloquent as they are sartorial - his spoken word crazy, mad and bang on the money in the same sentence. Welcome to the world of the Archdruid himself - Julian H. Cope.


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Sun Kil Moon On the hottest day of the year, entering a sold out small venue was not all that appealing but the talents of Sun Kil Moon were what persuaded me to venture into the sweatbox. Sun Kil Moon is the vocalist and guitarist Mark Kozelek who has been making records under this moniker for the past fourteen years or so. Prior to the band’s entrance the venue closes the bar, dims the light and continues to play abstract instrumental music for a further fifteen minutes and just as the audience become fidgety, the four-piece group take to the intimate stage. Kozelek explains that he is feeling ill but is planning to take on board the words of Mike Tyson’s trainer, Cus D’Amato who proposed that to be a professional you have to perform to the best of your ability and with these words of wisdom the music begins.


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Frances I'd not heard of Liv Dawson before... the older I get, the more out of the loop I become. But I DO love a good female singer songwriter - hence being here to see Frances, and who couldn't resist the chance to see someone with a shared name?!


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Jim Adkins Jimmy Eat World’s front man Jim Adkins is venturing solo, and upon his humble entrance to the small stage of the Glee Club, he considerately asked if phones could be switched off: “Seated gigs are all about listening”.


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Shawn Smith Shawn Smith is the prolific vocal and creative driving force behind a number of bands over the past twenty years or so, namely Brad, Pigeonhed and Satchel; however he is still relatively unknown and this is clear from the small number attending this intimate show. As he enters the stage, looking like a young Leon Russell, Smith engages with the audience straight away as he takes his seat at the keyboard and begins with the Satchel song Suffering.  Shawn’s voice powers over the keyboard and his distinctive vocal style takes you back to an era of the mid ‘90’s due to his involvement in so many influential Seattle bands. Through his use of humour Shawn Smith made the night informal, and it was more like a friend playing to a group of mates which led to some supportive heckling from the crowd that was received and responded to with sharp wit.


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Julian Cope Tonight we’re in the delightful and friendly comedy venue that is The Glee Birmingham to see an artist with who own true unique style. This dude does it HIS way. Singer-songwriter, musician, author, antiquarian - his take on life is truly unique, his music and lyrics as eloquent as they are sartorial - his spoken word crazy, mad and bang on the money in the same sentence. Welcome to the world of the Archdruid himself - Julian H. Cope.


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Ani DiFranco The first time I saw Difranco was probably 1998. I proceeded to see her at least once every year since, and even 3+ times in my especially obsessive years between 2001 - 2004.  I feel like I know her face better than many friends, her albums have accompanied me around the world, and she has been the soundtrack to some of my more intimate and lasting friendships.


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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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Boy George Boy George’s recent transformation from...let’s face it...chunky bloke with a police record, drug addiction and penchant for doing stuff that we don’t need to rake over anymore...is nothing short of incredible. If that opening description sounds a little harsh it’s meant to be. George is surely one of the best pop stars we’ve ever had. He coloured my adolescence and was a vital part of that magical soundtrack of the early 80s. To see him fall to pieces, occasionally edging dangerously close to Mr G. Reaper, was pretty sad for all concerned, not least George himself no doubt. He’s been pretty upfront and honest about his various ups and downs but now he’s back, back, BACK (as they used to say in Smash Hits) with his first new album and tour in three years (in recent promotional activities people seem to have forgotten about 2010’s Ordinary Alien for some reason...very odd). Thirty years on from Culture Club’s heyday would we still be mad about the Boy?


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Turin Brakes Beautifully harmonised folk rock with exquisitely detailed lyrics is the order for tonight, courtesy of a couple of the pioneers of indie understatement as Turin Brakes return with new album and UK tour, performing tonight at Birmingham’s comedy venue, The Glee Club.


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Visage And he’s back! Steve Strange has resurrected Visage. The 1980’s studio based supergroup originally formed with Rusty Egan (Rich Kids), Midge Ure (Ultravox) Billy Currie (Ultravox) John McGeoch (Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees), Dave Formula (Magazine) Barry Adamson (Magazine, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds) Gary Barnacle, Steve Barnacle and Andy Barnett et al is now back on the road and with a new line-up, and a new album “Hearts and Knives”.


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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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Thurston Moore Two genuine 100% guitar legends for the price of the one. Not bad eh? Whilst Thurston Moore, one of the poster boys of the alt rock scene and founder of Sonic Youth, might be the bigger name of the two Chapman’s been a folk hero for coming up to six decades now with none other than the mighty John Peel muttering his praises and playing his records (no doubt occasionally at the wrong speed) over the years. So what do you get when you bring a 70 something folk/jazz musician from Yorkshire together with an American noise rock icon? We had to wait until the end of the gig to find out...


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Dirty Three Within seconds of being on stage, you realise how amusing Warren Ellis is with his comments about the lights reminding him of a bad trip that may set trigger a recurrence, followed by an advert for launderette that has made his clothes smell amazing whilst threatening the soundman with the sack if he doesn’t make him sound more Jim Morrison. All of this before Dirty Three have even played a note.


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