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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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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Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul 2013 And the award for the most appropriate closing number of a festival goes to...drum roll please...Nile Rodgers and Chic for Good Times at Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul Festival 2013...cue loud applause. Yes, once again this small but perfectly formed musical gem in the festival calendar delivered more ‘good times’ than any sane person could rightfully expect. And here’s how it all went down.


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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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Goodnight Lenin With their much anticipated debut album still being mixed and just a few festival shows lined up this year (albeit including Glastonbury and Moseley Folk Festival) 2013’s been relatively low key for Goodnight Lenin so far. ‘Low key’ certainly isn’t a phrase you’d apply to tonight’s show though, their first headline appearance since selling out Birmingham Cathedral last December...


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Public Service Broadcasting They might not be the first group to have ever used samples from vintage films (older readers may recall through an ecstasy addled haze that The Prodigy started off their career by sampling that old Government ad advising kids not to go off with strangers...possibly using ‘charly’ in an entirely different context altogether) and I’m pretty sure there may have been a few others (answers on a postcard please...). But whereas these bands have often just used the odd sample to flavour one of their tracks Public Service Broadcasting (the band) are building their entire career around them. It’s a neat twist, enhanced by the duo’s adoption of stiff upper lip monikers – J. Willgoose, Esq and Wrigglesworth – and their distinctly vintage live shows.


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Funke and the Two Tone Baby It may have been open for a good year and a half now but this is the first time I’ve been to Ort Cafe. Yes I know, slack eh? It’s a pretty chilled out space too, just across the road from Moseley Baths and a mere 5 minute bus journey (on the number 50) from Birmingham City Centre. Part community centre, part cafe, part gig venue and part hangout for the various colourful characters that occupy Moseley’s hinterlands it’s the kind of place that makes you at least 23% cooler just by knowing about it. All of which makes it pretty much the perfect setting for tonight’s gig headlined by one man blues explosion, Funke and the Two Tone Baby.


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Tom Copson It might have been distinctly uninspiring outside The Flapper tonight (unseasonably nippy and just a trifle moist) but deep in the bowels of this legendary Birmingham boozer and gig venue Patrick Duff (for newcomers yes, he was the lead singer of critically acclaimed late 90s alt rock band Strangelove) is once again delivering the sort of set that makes you glad you’ve got ears. If that sounds a little over dramatic just go and see him first (by the way he's supporting The Blue Aeroplanes on their June tour).


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John Grant For lovers of beautiful vocals and glorious lyrics tonight’s pairing of the fairly recently rediscovered genius John Grant and relative newcomer (although at just 20 he’s already one of the hottest names in his native Iceland) Ásgeir Trausti was a soul lifting treat from start to finish.


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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club I've always been a fan of BRMC, ever since they first glowered into my life in early 2002, hot on the heels of the hipper than hip Strokes and the cartoon garage rockers the Hives, San Francisco 3 piece BRMC always had a touch of the sulky older cousin, a bit distant and not really interested in anyone else, chuffing fags in black leather, always in grainy black and white with smoke billowing around them. It's been an adore/not that fussed relationship for some time now, I stuck with them up to the 3rd album HOWL, a more stripped back gospel blues hand clap album in stark contrast to their thunderous, distortion psyche rock blues of their debut BRMC and the follow up Take Them On, On Your Own. I actually loved this change of direction for them, something they took to with equal talents.


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Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan Stories of sumptuous Maharajahs, simple village life, the aromatic spice-trains of richly dressed camels, heroic romances and the diaspora of the Dhoad Gypsies to Spain were told through traditional songs set against a background of tablas, dhol, harmonium and the captivating precursors of the Flamenco castanets. The call and response instrumental/vocal dialogues were dazzlingly intricate and witty.


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Patrick Duff Free gigs, open to all comers, are always tricky blighters. Inevitably if it’s being held in a bar you’re going to end up with some people who are just there for a drink, in fact they probably haven’t got the faintest idea who’s playing, perhaps they’re even unaware that there’s a gig going on. This was, in part, the story of tonight’s gig. A remarkable night from an equally remarkable artist.


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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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