Images #13 Library of Birmingham – In and Out

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All images are the property of Tim Phillips-White (2013)

Images #12

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All Images are the property of Tim Phillips-White (2013)

Frightened Rabbit + Support – Institute, Birmingham 11/11/13

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What can compensate for a damp, dank and unseasonably warm November evening in Birmingham? Three brilliant bands for only fifteen pounds, that’s what. In terms of value alone, this could at the very least be described as the very best of Monday nights.

So, I was extremely excited about seeing Frightened Rabbit and then I discovered that one of my favourite bands from the last few years were supporting, namely the fantastic Lanterns on the Lake; quite possibly the best thing to come out of Newcastle since, well I don’t know when.

First up we had Paul Thomas Saunders – unfortunately due to pub related activities we only caught the second part of his set; however we were all very impressed – well worth having a listen to his latest EP ‘Descartes Highlands’.

Next the ever wonderful Lanterns on the Lake  – two albums in and after a slight line up change, the North East’s finest just keep getting better and better. Bitter sweet and sometimes fraught lyrics delivered with a musical intensity that moves – all topped off with the spellbinding and beautiful vocals of Hazel Wilde. Exciting to end with my personal favourite, ‘ I Love You Sleepyhead’ – both their albums are essential purchases.

As for Frightened Rabbit – what can one say? They certainly didn’t disappoint – it makes a rare change to find a band that really connects with their audience – this was demonstrated to perfection. As for the music, well this was powerful and sublime. Scott Hutchison is a brilliant frontman; joking with the crowd before launching into a series of intense and sometimes heartbreaking songs. The moment that he turned of the amplification and sand acoustically at the front of the stage to complete silence and reverence from the crowd will stay with me for a long time indeed.

http://frightenedrabbit.com/

http://lanternsonthelake.com/

http://paulthomassaunders.com/

 

 

Library of Birmingham

Unless you’ve been living a life of seclusion in a cave its unlikely that you wont be aware in some way about the impressive new library based in Birmingham City Centre. I visited the site several times shortly after the official opening and found myself  ‘impressed with bells on’. A fantastic building, a great focal point for the city and a magnificent creative hub for the people of Birmingham.

Link:  http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/

 

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All photographs / images are the property of Tim Phillips-White (2013) – Please ask permission before copying / using

Mogwai – HMV Institute, Birmingham 24/2/11

How best to describe the performance from Mogwai last Thursday night at the Institute? It was the first time I’d seen them play live, however, I already had high expectations, and they didn’t disappoint me.

This turned out to be one of the most intense and moving musical performances that I have had the privilege of watching during the twenty odd years that I’ve been watching live music.

I was prepared for loudness, the Institutes acoustics are perfect for this, however as the evening progressed this became more like a prolonged attack on my central nervous system, like having your stomach jumped upon repeatedly by a very large, unforgiving man. Despite the gut wrenching sound attack, you cant help but be taken in by the sheer depth and beauty of their sound. To those who know and love their music, Mogwai are not your average band; they very rarely use vocals, and yet this seems perfectly normal.

Highlight of the evening for me was an amazing performance of  “How to be a werewolf”, (see below), however this was just one of many high points during what turned out to be an awesome night. Amazing sonic soundscapes, sometimes brutal, always beautiful.

This is a band not to be missed on any count. Hopefully their commercial success will soon match their critical reputation.

Their latest album, “Hardcore will never die, but you will” is out now.

Mogwai – “How to be a werewolf”

Mogwai – “Letters to the Metro”


“Right to Work” Conference 2011

On the back of last Sunday’s successful Right to Work protest in Birmingham, it is vital that those of us who support the public service,and are determined to fight the vicious coalition cuts keep the momentum going, and the pressure on.

The public spending review is due at the end of October, and whilst we do not yet know just how far the cuts will go; we can be sure that they will hit the hardest in society the hardest. The public sector plays a vital role in the running of our country and we must do all that we possibly can to resist and fight back against the forthcoming storm.

We must fight for every job, fight for our futures and fight for the right to work. The coalition cuts will be too severe and too fast for our fragile economy to cope with. Putting thousands of public sector workers onto benefits is not the way to lead our country into recovery.

Join the Right to Work campaign today, either nationally, through your union or through a local group. As I will be, consider attending the Right to Work conference taking place in Sheffield on Saturday, 11th February 2011. Booking details and prices can be found on the Right to Work website.

Get involved. Stop the Cuts. Defend public services.

No sympathy amongst the rank and file Tories

Following on from yesterdays Right to Work protest in Birmingham, I thought it would be interesting to listen to some of the fallout / opinions from those attending the Conservative conference.

The 7000 committed individuals who braved the adverse weather conditions in Birmingham yesterday made their point loud and clear. They are not to blame for the countries financial problems; yet those on a low wage or on benefits will be the first to suffer once the coalition cuts really start to bite.

As part of BBC Radio 5Live’s coverage of the conference last night; politics commentator, John Pienaar spoke to several people taking part in the protest. He was joined, amongst others by the Daily Mail’s resident idiot Amanda Platell.

Now, you can always normally rely upon Amanda to make a stupid, ill-thought-out comment at the drop of a hat; however last night she really hit the jackpot in the fuckwit stakes. After hearing comments by one of the comments from one union member, Platell made the sort of comment that made me feel sick. The union member asked the question, “What have we done to deserve this?”, in response to a comment about the awaited cuts. Platell’s response on hearing the interview verged on the offensive; “They, (union members), have voted for Labour for the past thirteen years; that’s why they deserve it”. I’m paraphrasing here, but the quotation is as near as damn it accurate.

So, hard-working, low paid union members and public servants ‘deserve’ the threat of job losses, just because of their supposed political views? I don’t need to reiterate the fact that Platell is the Tories resident rent-a-gob; or that such a moron could only write for the Daily Fail. however, this was insensitive in the extreme.

Whilst this comment annoyed me; one a little later from a Tory party member saddened, but didn’t surprise me. Asked what she thought of the protest taking place outside, she replied:

They should get off their backsides and go and do some work

Cameron may like to present the illusion that the Tories have changed, especially since the coalition with the Lib Dems; however the opposite is sadly true. Amongst the rank and file Tories, it appears to be the same old story. Little regard for the ordinary working man and woman, and no clue as to life in the real world outside the Tory bubble.

For a supposedly intelligent individual to assume that all the protesters were ‘unemployed scroungers’ is pathetic in the extreme. It had obviously never crossed her mind that those people braving the rain were amongst the very people who provide the public services that she uses everyday. Hard working people, who right now live in fear of losing their jobs, and understandably have a bleak and uncertain view of what the future holds for them and their families.

Mumford and Sons (Birmingham 29/9/09)

Excellent gig at the Glee Club, Birmingham last night; and even better value for money, ticket prices were only £6.00. Bloody good considering we got to see the wonderful Mumford and Sons as well as two support acts.

Throw in a great, up for it Birmingham crowd and a wonderful night was had by all – the band obviously really enjoyed it as well judging by the banter coming from the stage.

If you get the  chance to see them in the near future, DO IT!! Failing that, their debut album is released next Monday, (5/10/09), by Island Records…..

While we’re at it, you should also take a look one of the support acts from last night, Sons of Noel and Adrian.