fri 25/04/2014

Birmingham

Drenge, Hare and Hounds, Birmingham

Drenge certainly pull in a diverse crowd to their shows these days. Prior to the band coming on stage for this sell-out gig, there was a group of 40-somethings in fairly new-looking leather jackets to my left, talking about Tom Watson MP (who...

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Suzanne Vega, Town Hall, Birmingham

Suzanne Vega clearly likes her new album, Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles. Either that or she’s got this promotional lark down to a fine art. Tonight we were treated to seven of its ten tracks, which is not something you might expect...

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Depeche Mode, LG Arena, Birmingham

Once upon a time, there was an assumption that the DJs and remixers who emerged in the late 1980s would kill off touring bands like Depeche Mode. As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth and 34 years since they first got together,...

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Benefits Street, Channel 4

A week ago the first episode of Benefits Street crashlanded on Channel 4. It visited the eponymous area of Birmingham where most residents are on some form of social security. Housing benefit, child benefit, disability benefit: you name it, they...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Love, Poetry and Revolution

Various Artists: Love, Poetry and RevolutionThe subtitle “A Journey Through the British Psychedelic and Underground Scenes” – with “A” as the operative word – suggests this box set isn’t going to tell a familiar story. Most of the bands were and...

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Simple Minds and Ultravox, NIA, Birmingham

Age can do interesting things to musicians who have once been regular fixtures in the media and who reappear in the public consciousness some years later. Time, it has to be said, has been kind to the two remaining members of Simple Minds’ original...

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Scenes in the City, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

This year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of two landmark albums, both of which were composed and recorded by bassist, pianist and all-round jazz colossus, Charles Mingus. Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus is a reimagining of some of Mingus’s...

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Rudimental, O2 Academy, Birmingham

Without doubt, 2013 has been the year of Rudimental on Planet Pop: a second number one single with “Waiting All Night”; a number one debut album with Home, hugely successful festival appearances, and plenty of TV coverage. It’s no wonder that the...

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Peaky Blinders, BBC Two

Much hype has been whipped up around this tale of a gang of thuggish, racketeering bookies in Birmingham just after World War One. It's a pretty good cast, with Helen McCrory's Aunt Polly laying down the law within the criminal Shelby family,...

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CD: Editors - The Weight of Your Love

Being assigned to review Editors on the Other Stage at Glastonbury 2007, when Shirley Bassey was on the main Pyramid, was not a good way to consolidate my already fragile critical relationship with the Brummie quartet. Their music pushed my mind to...

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Birth of a Collection: The Barber Institute, National Gallery

Lady Barber (1869-1933) née Hattie Onions, had her portrait painted in sumptuous style about 30 times, mostly in a sub-Orpen vein, and almost all by the unknown Belgian Nestor Cambier. But that was the very least of her occupations. Her husband, the...

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Uchida, CBSO, Nelsons, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

“Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” Blake asked the tiger. One might have asked the same question of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, with Mozart’s G major Piano Concerto, K.453, as the lamb, in this hyper-diverse Birmingham concert. The image of...

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