I'd wanted to see and meet these guys for a while now so after i'd waited almost many men with beards (going to see Scroobius Pip) I went up and said hi to Jason 'Pink Violence' Tyler (now part of the Promoter group 'Killr Punx' and a member of the Kaleidoscopes).
Broken Witt Rebels clearly have a bit of the entrepreneur about them, manning their own Merch table and selling me a T-shirt,CD and Poster package for £8 as well as designing their own artwork. I also learned that the name literally came from flicking through a copy of the metro and finding those 3 words amongst the headlines. The Support came from 'Paradise Circus' and The 'Two' N Eights' who were both the sort of bands who would have found success in the 00's indie boom. Paradise Circus played fun but not hugely impressive indie rock, which dabbled a bit in ska and had a very laddish vibe. The Two 'N Eights were the best of the two, they had more melody and it was in the more laid back songs that i felt their talent was most obvious. They've got a lager swilling gallagher-esque frontman and have a similar brummie charm to The Twang.
It took ages for Broken Witt Rebels to get on stage and start playing, due to what i'm assuming was technical difficulties. All while BWR's enthusiastic fans at the front shouted 'CUNTS!' and other random phrases. So BWR wasted no time in getting started when they were ready, with loads of dry ice and fancy lighting they set up the suspense and launched right into the first song. The second song is the one that I filmed and is in the previous blog post.
There is undoubtedly a strong blues influence in the sound of BWR. I used to be a big fan of a lot of blues rock yet i lost interest in the genre purely because many blues players are musicians first and songwriters second. BWR mix Blues guitar playing with the Swagger of early Oasis and do have the songwriting ability to match their musical playing. Blues has always had a home in Birmingham so it's nice to see a band reflecting that in their sound.
Danny Core also happens to be a great frontman, with a soulful voice, a great stage presence and a real ability to connect with and thrill the crowd. not to mention being a great guitarist. This was a very short show but a very very good one for such a new band. I had a great time and highly recommend BrokenWitt Rebels as one of Birminghams best new bands.
End of Year show: December 2013 at The Red Lion Shirley.
When I was doing my stand up comedy thing most of my performances were at the local open mic night at The Red Lion pub, which is literally just round the corner from my house in Shirley. anyway it's mostly local musicians that play, a lot of them come each week to play the same old songs, but they're friends of mine and its a nice thing to do on a Wednesday night. Related to the open mic is the Great Unsigned, a showcase for local talent which is run by Richard Green. I've written blogs about a lot of these acts before, especially 'Duke' who are the most successful group of the scene so far. This gig was recorded for Switch radio, a station which i believe Richard Green does a show for.
Compared with last years great unsigned end of year show, the red lion was very quiet this year, and while we waited for more people to show up, Richard out on his usual set of oldies, he's a massive bowie fan and his voice is very much suited to Bowie's work. It was a rare treat getting to hear 'Running through New York' a very personal and moving song.
Afterwards Ellie Jones played her selection of songs as part of a duo now named 'Dove Heart' and Esther Turner followed with acoustic covers of Lorde, Storm queen and her own material. Both are local young singer songwriters. who write intimate and personal sounding acoustic folk songs.
Andy Wickett was the original singer for Duran Duran, (He wrote ' Girls on Film'). I saw him at the last great unsigned last year and his set was slightly shaky, and he had a hard act to follow from Rohan Delgado. yet this time round he had a backing band and a new sound, singing political folk songs which reminded me of Roy Harper.
Dik Guru is always a pleasure to watch and laugh at. His stories (whether true or not) are believable and hilarious, and alongside old favourites such as'Bullshit Bod' 'The Cobra' and 'My Mate Dave' we got to her a few songs i'm sure i'd not heard before. This night Dik was brilliant as ever.
This left Rohan Delgado and his group Kumari 7 to finish off the night. Rohan is undoubtedly one of the most underrated songwriters in the country right now and his band gave more textures and sounds to his songs. *-they now sound much funkier and Rohans songs have a full band sound. I took this little video with the last of my cameras battery who'll give you an idea of what they're like.
It was a very different gig to the Red Lion Great unsigned End of Year gig I saw last year, and i'm mainly just glad that this is all still happening. there is something very special happening with the Great Unsigned and it's great to be a part of it.
last year felt quite predictable, but in a good way. bands such as Peace and Savages had already made such a mark on the previous year that it was obvious they'd blow up in 2013
Haim, Merchandise, Parquet Courts, Drenge, Savages, Palma Violets, Jagwar Ma, Chvrches, Deap Vally etc etc were also obviously in for a good year.
By the end of the year so much amazing music had been made that now in the first few days of january I can't help feeling that all the eggs were put in one basket and i have no idea who to tip this year. Nethertheless here are my predictions.
1. B-Town year 3 be as amazing as ever.
Scenes like this don't just disappear, Swim Deep and Peace are both putting out new material which hopefully may lead to new albums in 2014, but its the Younger bands who I think we can out our faith in. JAWS, have already got a big following and if they release an album this summer then they could really make the most of their success. Superfood and Dumb are both are also set to only get bigger and bigger, with such great songwriting ability and a 90's style sound these bands will do well. more bands will undoubtedly be formed and i'm hoping that some of the more underrated acts such as Table Scraps, Duke, Grapham water Sailing Club, and Pink Violence might break through.
2. Psychedelica will be bigger than Ever
Despite being one of the most tipped bands of 2013, Temple's album 'Sun Structure's' is due out early this year. I reckon this will help push British Psychedelia into the mainstream, psyche is now cooler than it has been since the 60's thanks to Tame Impala and MGMT and its time the small wave of british bands that have formed lately will make it big with them. TOY, Telegram, Gentlemen, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, The Fat White Family... a wave of music this big can't be ignored.
3.Out with the Old, In with the New?
Peace are seriously cool, they've got the look, the tunes, the epic guitar solos, the attitude, awesome songs and an amazing live show. suddenly Bombay Bicycle Club, Vaccines et al looked a bit well.. naff.
and while many more established acts had great years too we saw no albums or activity at all from The Horrors, The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle club, The Drums and only Ep's from Two door Cinema Club and The Vaccines. With new competition will these bands be able to stay at the top?
This year looks promising for new music too at the same time we've got new acts like Circa Waves, Royal Blood, The Orwells, Radkey and plenty more to root for.
4. Music will be awesome, as always
Hip Hop has been amazing lately, over the past few years the genre has been given a fresh lease of life by acts such as Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Odd Future, Angel Haze and BEAST COAST. I can see this trend continuing with new material likely to be seen by all the big names. Right now Chance The Rapper is the new star in the making. All off the back of his excellent 'Acid Rap' tape, it's soulful, catchy, psychedelic and downright brilliant hip hop. Tipped on the bbc sound of '14 list, for me chance is the winner. Other than that its hard to say what new acts may break through.
Though hopefully Le1f and Zebra Katz will be among them. Both have released brilliant mixtapes over the past two years, both make music that sounds like its come from 10 years in the future and both have yet to release physical albums, so i hope they get round to that soon. I've also been a fan of Logic for sometime now. He's a young white american rapper who has won hearts with his lovably sincere take on hip hop that mixes the best of the old and new school.
Dance music will hopefully stay good too, I can see the mysterious London collective 'Jungle' making it big. Check out their track, 'The Heat' its catchy, yet subtle and they'll fit in well alongside the revitalised sound of dance music that Disclosure and Rudimental helped create in 2013.
...And finally lets stop using the phrase 'Guitar music'. Its stupid, boring and insults the innovators such as Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis who practically invented Rock N' Roll... on the Piano. and while it'd be nice to see indie break through again, i doubt it will be big as the golden age (2001-6) again just yet, but none of this matters, when you're in a mosh pit jumping about to your fave band do you really care where the album got to in the charts?
Though It would be nice if Radio 1 played less Bastille, The 1975 etc and more actual rock music.
and finally the questions on everyone's lips
Who will headline the festivals?
Will Spotify prove it's critics wrong?
Will Physical record sales keep dropping?
So there is a great new record store in Birmingham, I found the place from a leaflet left amongst the local mags in a pile by the entrance to COW. and you know what? is brilliant everything you could want from a record store, its quiet which is good considering what HMV is like this time of year. its easy to to find (right in the centre of the Custard Factory) and it has a great range of CD's, and vinyls as well as some rare prints on sale and a few books. The guy who runs it is genuinely friendly and passionate about music. I chatted with him for a good half an hour and he recommended me music i'd never heard of, music i had heard of, and music I already love, which shows he knows what's good. Its nice inside there, clean. natural light, small but not too cramped and it has a mix of records pre-owned by the man himself and new releases. After a while I decided to buy two Albums -Jon Hopkins, 'Immunity' and 'Champagne Holocaust' by The Fat White Family (Both Brilliant albums). I'll definitely be coming back to this one.