Situated next door to Aston Villa FC, the Leisure Centre played host to some incredible gigs in its time including Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers and Morrissey. Incredibly a gentleman by the name of Giovanni Maria Varese recorded the Dylan gig on April 2nd 1995 which I was at was a couple of friends. It remains one of my favourite gigs as to see Dylan up so close in a relatively small venue was amazing.
I’ll be posting up the videos from the gig regularly. To kick us off we have Highway 61 Revisited
Formed in 1988 by Andy Wickett, ex of The Xpertz, Duran Duran and TV Eye, they were the first British band to tour North Africa and the Sahara regions picking up music and cultural influences on the way and would go on to support Duran Duran in the 1990s.
Nick Aletti, a member of The Androids, have sent in this video he made of World Service while studying at Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University).
As Nick recalls:
I hadn’t seen it for years and Andy just got in touch and asked me if I still had it. It took me ages to find it as the VHS tape had been stuffed in a box and kept in storage all this time. Basically it was the final project I did for the video module of the Communications Studies course at Brum Poly. Hardly anyone saw it at the time because it wasn’t completed until late June 1987 when most people had left. I knew Andy from the Birmingham music scene and saw World Service play a few times before approaching him about this. He wasn’t at Brum Poly at the time. They had just done a demo and this was one of the standout tunes on it. The others weren’t bad either.
This is a beautiful version of The Beatles ‘A Day in the Life’ and a great video to boot!
More of Andy and his music can be found at www.andywickett.com
I’m pleased to announce that Made in Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra is now available to watch online. Directed by Deborah Aston, herself a punk from the days of The Mermaid, Barrel Organ and Powerhouse, and made by swish films for the Birmingham Music Archive, Made in Birmingham tells the story of the evolution of the three genres of Reggae, Punk and Bhangra in the city over a period of about 20 years; mid 70s to mid 90s.
In making the film we wanted to show how musicians and audiences from the three music genres interacted and cross-pollinated in shared spaces and places in making and consuming music in the city and how the music that was made reflected the social and cultural politics of the communities of Birmingham and of the time in Britain’s second biggest city.
Uncovering and repurposing old and rarely seen archive footage of bands like UB40, Steel Pulse, The Au Pairs, Musical Youth, Beshara, The Killjoys, Spizz Energi, Swami, Fuzzbox, Apna Sangeeta and others, are interspersed with interviews with those who were there at the time – UB40’s Brian Travers, Paul Foad and Pete Hammond from the Au Pairs, Musical Youth’s Dennis Seaton, Steel Pulse’s Amlak Tafari and David Hines, The Beat’s Ranking Roger and dozens of others.
We had a great time making it, hope you enjoy watching it!
Working with Reggae Archive Records from Bristol http://reggaearchiverecords.com we’re pleased to announce the first release on that album is the seminal Birmingham reggae band Eclipse. Contemporaries of Steel Pulse and UB40, Eclipse were at the heart of the vibrant Birmingham reggae scene that include other great bands such as Unity, Cornerstone, Natress, Iganda, Black Symbol, Afrikan Star, JALN, Velvet Shadow and of course Beshara.
With only 1000 copies pressed, their only album, Inna Reggae Rhythm, has become a much sought after collectors piece. Now for the first time in 30 years you can hear that album, with extra ‘found’ tracks, on Corrupted Society. Sounding as fresh and relevant as when it was first released Corrupted Society is a deep roots reggae album that has to be heard.
Availalble from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and a record store near you!
Following on from the Something Else find, here is another slice of great Birmingham music related material with the BBC Rock Family Tree, Birmingham Beat episode which aired in 1995. I’ve rescued it from the nether regions of You Tube for your viewing delight.
I remember watching this and being distinctly unimpressed at the time. Watching back again now there is/was some absolutely fabulous music being created from the 60s-80s by Birmingham musicians. Roy Wood will always be a genius for me, but the brilliance of ELO and the Moody Blues can’t be overlooked and people like Trevor Burton and Steve Gibbons never get the recognition they deserve. Thinking of the recent Punk Britannia, pub rock only happened in London, by London bands and this was a precursor to Punk, well here is Steve Gibbons to blow that assertion out of the water!
This is great slice of Birmingham music history. Enjoy!
Something Else was a youth (or yoof as it became known) show that ran on BBC 2 from 1978 to 1982. It was one of a fairly large amount of music programmes that was around during this period, picking up on the disruption that punk had caused and broadcasters responded to this ‘new’ youth demographic with these programmes.
Hosted by yoof itself, (what on earth is the spoken word interjection about??) it gave a voice to regional accents, untrained presenters, wide ranging discussions and great, great music.
I’ve wanted to post this up for a while now as it features a whole bunch of Brummie punks as well as Lynval from The Specials and Martin Degville, at the time a hugely important fashion designer and later of Sigue Sigue Sputnik fame, with his close friend Boy George who was living in Walsall and Birmingham at the time.
There is footage of Birmingham punks outside the Crown on Hill St (can you spot yourself?) and then this great discussion.
Recorded at Outlaw Studio, When You’re Wrong is a 2 Tone influenced song but it sounds more authentically sixties. It was the first Beshara song to be played on the radio and it was played by the late John Peel. It’s also a song that some said at the time, would have been a hit if it had been released on the 2 Tone label.
So Paul Apperley, of the local punk legends The Prefects was at the Sex Pistols gigs and has sent us in these photographs of the Pistols on stage. These are, I think, the first time these photos have been publicly shown. These compliment the audio recording below, and capture the energy of the band and the completely different look. Bogarts was a predominately biker and rock club so to be confronted with the Sex Pistols, must have been, shall we say, interesting. I love the bloke sitting on what looks like the PA, and in the second photo, you can just make out part of the Bogarts sign.
As ever, I’d love to hear your memories of this gig. Where you there the night the Sex Pistols played at Bogarts?
Andy Marshall over at the Sex Pistols Archive has just posted another recording from the Sex Pistols gig at Bogarts on 20 October 1976. This is a legendary gig in the history of Birmingham music as it was one of only two gigs the Pistols played in Brum (the other one was at Barbarella’s on 14 August ’76).
We are still after pictures, videos and memories of the gig, so if you were then then please tell us!